Brooks Cascadia 12 Shoe Review

When going out west on Vacation, I knew I needed a trail shoe.  My husband and I have hiked several times on the east coast, but many people indicated how rocky and rigorous trails could be out west.  Thinking out loud, there have probably been times I could have used a trail shoe while hiking out east too.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

The Cascadia seemed like a good option.  I’ve had success with many Brooks Running shoes including both the Ghost 10 and Glycerin 15.  Instead of getting a hiking boot, I opted for the gortex (weatherproof) Brooks Cascadia.

Brooks Cascadia Fit:

The Gortex version makes the shoe stiffer and less breathable but that is precisely what I was looking for.  I wanted a shoe that would protect me from harsher elements.  That being said, it still fits appropriately.  In my running shoes, I’ve worn between 10-11 wide.  I purchased a pair of 10.5 shoes and have been fine.  The upper is constructed from a double mesh material that I found highly flexible, breathable, and provided a durable layer of protection.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

Brooks Cascadia Ride:

Personally, I’ve used these more for climbing and hiking versus running on trails.  I’ve used them a couple of times to run, but for the most part, they have been great hiking shoes.

There is a lot of cushion for a trail shoe.  My biggest fear was getting a trail shoe that was firm or rigid.  Since we have done 10+ miles of hiking before, my feet would not be happy with that.  The cushion of the Cascadia is soft like the Ghost but hard enough to grip the ground appropriately.

It doesn’t have the grooves of a rigorous hiking boot, but did have enough for the hikes I was doing.

The Gortex version allowed me to cross several streams without too much of an issue with my feet getting wet.  Something that was ideal.

Final Thoughts:

I like the Brooks Cascadia 12, and I’m so glad I decided to purchase it.  Since purchasing, I’ve done a variety of trails including Zion National Park, Colorado Springs, and even hiking in New Jersey.  It definitely makes a difference when hiking.  I’m glad I finally took the plunge and purchased a pair.

Questions for you:

Do you have a separate pair of trail shoes?

Have you ever used a Gortex or weatherproof product?


Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

I didn’t race last week but got two high-quality workouts in.  Lately, I’ve been enjoying workouts more than racing.  Partly with my stomach, and partly with the weather.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12X400s with 400 jog recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 90 minutes
Saturday: 2X3 mile with 1 mile jog in between
Sunday: 10ish mile Hike


Easy runs were just that, easy.   They were boring and uneventful but that is also how I like them.  On Sunday, my husband and I went for a cold, and snowy hike in Ramapo State Forest. It wasn’t the most evelation we have climbed, but due to conditions: wet, cold, icy…it was not the easiest.

Wednesday: 12X400s (with 400 jog in between)

6x400s at 6 min pace
4x400s at 5:56
2x400s at 5:53

Saturday: 2X3 miles

I have always been intimidated to do workouts on the treadmill.  I’m worried I’ll pull, hurt, or break something because the treadmill makes you run faster than sometimes your body wants or needs.  I was happy the workout went well and much better than anticipated.

In all, I’m proud of how the week went.  I do feel like I’m progressing with my fitness and I am excited to race when I’m tapered to see where I’m at.  I believe with rest and on a good day, I could run about 18:30 in a 5k right now.  The stars have to align for that.


Posts from the Week:
Hiking through Wharton State Forest
November Training
Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite workout?
Where do you like to do your workouts: road, track, trail, treadmill?

The Thunderbird Restaurant (Mt. Carmel, Utah)

The Thunderbird Restaurant in Mount Carmel Junction is one of the most small-town diners I’ve been too.  It’s attached to the Best Western, and when we stopped in, it seemed like the happening spot to stop.  We had opted to stay at the Best Western and didn’t know there was a restaurant/diner attached.

We decided to go in the morning when they opened at 7.  For the short time, we were there, we were the only people in the entire restaurant!

Atmosphere: A
If you are looking for a small town diner, where everyone knows everyone, this is your diner.  The Thunderbird Café is cute, and they are known for their “Ho-Made” pies.  It’s attached to the Best Western so you can see it from the side of the road.  The inside has plenty of booths and tables.

Service: A
Our waitress was friendly, brought plenty of refills, and our food came out quickly.  She was great.

Coffee: B
The coffee at the Thunderbird Café was strong and tasted good.  I could have used a few more refills but other than that, I had no issues.  Strong coffee in the morning is important.

Food: A
For breakfast, I decided to order two eggs, toast, and a blueberry muffin.  Since it was a bit early to order a pie, I thought a muffin would suffice in trying their homemade baked goods.  The muffin was delicious.  It was cooked just enough that the top was crispy.

thunderbird cafe mount carmel junction utah breakfast

The bread was homemade and thick.  It was some of the best diner bread I’ve had, and the eggs were cooked well too.

thunderbird cafe mount carmel junction utah muffin

In all, my food was excellent.

Cost: $

For the coffee, breakfast, and muffin, the cost was $14, which was a little bit more expensive than I expected.
Overall/Would I Come Back?

I liked the Thunderbird Café, and if I’m ever traveling through, I would go back.  I had a positive experience there, and it’s a great stop.  If you’re looking for a local stop, and a friendly hotel too, this is your place.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Cost: $10-$20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of muffin?
Have you ever been to a local favorite?

J&G Diner (South Bound Brook)

Recently I went to the J&G Diner in South Bound Brook.  To be honest, I’ve had to remember the exact letter combination every time I go to type out a post.  Anyway, when I arrived for lunch, I was the only person in the diner.  I met the owner of the website, NJ Isn’t Boring, and while we were dining more customers came in.  Cyd and I have reviewed close to 20 diners if not more.  I believe she is coming close to going to 200 diners!

Neither of us had been to the J&G diner, so it was the perfect stop.

Atmosphere: B
The diner is located on the corner.  It’s not a big metallic building but a regular building attached to several other restaurants.  Inside, it’s clear the diner used to be an old Mexican or Spanish restaurant.  The atmosphere and hand painted murals are a giveaway.  Plus J&G Diner has several specials such as a burrito or flan.

Coffee: B
The coffee was decent and warm.  There wasn’t anything interesting or unique about it, and I could have used more refills.

Food: C
J&G has all sorts of options from breakfast to lunch and dinner.  Unique to the diner is a lot of different Mexican and Spanish options.  As most people know at this point, I’ve been suffering from food poisoning.

If I wasn’t suffering from that, I probably would have ordered something new or unique.  I decided to order their Mediterranian salad with salmon.   When my food came out, I regretted the situation.  The salad was boring, and the salmon tasted as if it was reheated.  I had to request to extra dressings because there was barely any on there.  The food wasn’t bad but probably not something I would order again.

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food came out quickly.  I could have used more drink refills, but other than that, I have no complaints.

Dessert: A
Cyd wanted to order dessert.  I probably wouldn’t have, but when she ordered dessert, it sounded like a good idea.  I decided to go with the bread pudding which came with ice cream.

I like bread pudding, however, after food poisoning, it’s something I need to be more mindful of especially with ice cream.  The dessert was tasty, and it saved my overall opinion of the J&G diner.  I appreciated how many raisins (yes I like them) were in the bread pudding.  However, afterward, my stomach was not all that thrilled with me.  Oh well, live and learn.

The J&G diner charges for everything including whipped cream in the coffee as well as extra dressings.  While I do understand they are extra items, it seemed a bit ridiculous when the salad was very dry, to begin with. For the coffee, salad, dessert, and extras the cost was $22.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the J&G Diner, and I would go back.  The bread pudding was extremely good, and I would like to try some of their more unique items when I feel better.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: C
Service: B
Dessert: A
Cost: $8-18
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Time to Eat DinerSomerset, 

You can find all 162 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite Mexican dish?
What is your favorite salad dressing?

Hiking through Wharton State Forest

My husband and I have hiked a lot.  We’ve been too many states and mountain ranges and we enjoy it.  We might even enjoy hiking more than running.  Something about being out there in the peace is so much fun.  You can read about any our hikes here.

Anyway, you would think we would have already hiked somewhere local and close to home in South Jersey…yet until recently, we had not.  We both had the day off but weren’t in the “mood” to drive 2 hours north to go hiking so we googled a few trails around us.  Someone mentioned the Botana trail in Wharton State Forest so we decided to look into it.

As most people know, south jersey is flat so it wasn’t a mountainous trail.  In fact, it was one of the easier trails we’ve done and we did see a couple of people with pets.  Definitely a much easier trail than last month in Colorado! The trail itself is about 50 miles long and they do host a no frills ultra there.

The Batona Trail itself is about 50 miles longer and wraps itself from the shore to inland.  We hiked about 5 miles and saw a couple of hikers doing the entire trail.  Hiking the entire trail looks like it would be a lot of fun!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

At the end of our personal hike, there is a water tower you can hike up too.  The day we went, it was closed (and there are security cameras, so I don’t recommend jumping the fence).

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

I know we will be back though.  I think it would be a lot of fun to do the entire 50-mile hike over the course a few days.   Who knows, maybe end at a diner!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

To be honest, hiking the Batona Trail opened my eyes that there are gorgeous hikes in South Jersey.  I had always stuck up my nose to hiking in Southern New Jersey but I’m glad we did and I know we will be back.

Other NJ Hikes:
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking the Delaware Water Gap
The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:
Do you like to hike?
What is something interesting you’ve recently found in your area?

November Training

To get it out of the way, November was not really the month I wanted or hoped.  After getting home from one of the best trips of my life, I got food poisoning.  For the entire month, it’s taken a toll on me both physically and mentally.  The doctor said it could last up to 70 days and while I’m staying positive it won’t, I don’t feel 100% 30 days later.  I’m not violently sick, but I am tired, and my body has struggled to digest certain foods including dairy (something it never has).

me running sunrise

Thinking out loud, my workouts and racing in November were slower than anticipated, but you have to run for the current fitness you’re in.  Something that can be much easier said than done.

Mileage: 212
Range of Pace: 6:00-10:31-untimed
Workouts: 3
2X(6.5 tempo runs)

11/11 Haddonfield Road Race  (19:59)
11/12 Blueberry Challenge 5k (20:01)
11/18 Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.57)
11/24 Medford Turkey Trot (19:02)

I didn’t have a favorite race but did have a favorite workout. None of my races felt especially good.  To be honest, my slowest race, the Blueberry Challenge 5k) was probably the best.

My workouts felt better though. The minute I finished 12×400 at 6:00 min pace, I felt strong.  I haven’t felt that in charge of my running in a while.  Food poisoning has made longer runs a struggle (with the constant of the feeling of vomiting and using the bathroom), but speed and track workouts have been fine because I’m never too far from anything.


The first half of December will be busy for me.  Ironically, tcloser to the Holidays will be less crazy.  I won’t race as much, but that is only due to the limited amount of races in NJ/Philadelphia during the next two months.  I’ll hopefully do more track workouts.

I mentioned on Instagram but my 2018 is to break 18 minutes in the 5k.  I have been in that fitness before but never been able to run the race.  I’ll do more track workouts and see where it takes me.  I’ll definitely do some half marathons in the spring as well, but I do hope 2018 brings a 5k PR.


Posts from the month:
Training without a Coach
How to Build Back Mental Confidence

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon

Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)
Snooze (Denver)

Shoe Reviews:
Nike Zoom Fly Review
Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Questions for you:
What are your goals for the last month of the year?
How was your November?

Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

Last weekend I ran a local 5k.  As I mentioned in my training log, the morning was a disaster, to say the least, but the problems were mostly my own doing.  I hadn’t done a lot of research about the race and had thought it started at 8:30.  At 7am, I looked up directions and realized it started at 8 am.  I didn’t have time to run home and get to the race, so I had to race with random things in my car: oversized leggings, a spaceman puffer, and an old long sleeve.  Never the less, my race outfit seemed to work out.

I usually like to do 3-4 miles warmup, however, due to being late, I only had time for 1.  During my warmup, I felt awful.  My stomach wasn’t ready to run and to be honest I contemplated why I was even there.  After debating whether I should just donate my race entry fee and leave, I decided to just run.  My goal for the next 2 months are solid workouts, and while my stomach was in knots, I could gut out a good workout.

After chatting with my good friend and fast runner Joe, we were off.  I didn’t feel as bad once we got moving.  My legs were tired. However, my stomach felt as though it would hold out.  I ran with a pack of people for the first mile, and we hit the first mile in 6:08.  I was happy, but also surprised.  I didn’t feel as though as I was moving that quickly.

My goal for the next mile was just to stay with the pack.  The race made several turns around the neighborhood, and I felt like I was sticking with them.  We hit the second mile in 6:03 and I was feeling better.

me running 1

The goal of the last mile of any 5k is to finish.  It never feels good, and this one was no exception.  I was just trying to grit through.  To my (unpleasant) surprise the final part of the race went over grass.  I felt as if I could break 19 again but the grass was not my friend.  Not only that, but the last .2 made 3, right-hand turns.  Not the fastest finish!

I crossed the finish in 19:02 which was exactly the same as the Medford Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving.  I’m happy with my time.  As I mentioned, the next two months are going to be dedicated to more workouts, and I’ll still run 5ks, but I won’t taper for many, if any.   The plan is to get quality workouts in this winter to prepare for Spring races.

Questions for you:

Are you training for anything during the winter?

How much warm-up do you normally do for a race?

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