Things Runners Training through the Heat Understand:

As warmer weather approaches, a change in attitude does too.  Personally, I’m attempting to refind my running mojo, but for me I know it’s a lot easier when it’s warmer.

This year seems to have gone straight from winter to summer.  In the greater Philadelphia area, it’s either 90 degrees or pouring rain and 40.  Let’s be honest, we complain about running in any weather: hot, cold weather, rain, snow, ice…there is probably a week of weather we don’t complain about.

Thinking out loud, here are some thoughts I have when training through the summer.

So far in my running history, I’ve run in many climates,  I’ve gone to college in upstate New York and spent summers in Hampton Roads, VA.  I spent most of the last winter in Alabama which was hotter in January then New Jersey is in June.

Over the last 16 months especially, I’ve learned, you can’t control the weather.  It might be extremely hot, thunderstorming or hailing but everyone is dealing with the same elements.

So What do Runners Training through the Heat Deal With?

The Weather APP is your best friend, and you stalk it:   

It’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you check at night.  Forget about other social media, that is where it’s at my friends.

Running at 5 am or late at night doesn’t bother you. 

In the summer, it’s light, cooler and you beat rush hour traffic. You never knew you were an early morning runner until the summer hit!

You have more (weird) tan lines than the average person.

Runners have every tan line from a sports bra, watch, sunglasses, compression socks, and even shoes.  I am not even running and have a permanent tan line!

Your diet consists of salt tabs, Gatorade and Gu.  

With all of those electrolytes lost, hydration is essential

The lighter weight the clothing, the more expensive it is.  

Who knew you would pay so much for a moisture-wicking tank top? It keeps from sticking to you when it’s 90 degrees, so it’s worth it.

Sunscreen and Bodyglide are your lotion.

You and your running group all smell like a glorified trip to the Carribean.

Your route is planned to end at the pool, lake or ocean.

Perfect to cool off.

There is always a mystery if what kind of workout you’ve done.  

Why is your clothing wet?
Did you go swimming?
Did you just sweat that much or run through sprinklers? The mystery is always there…

Related Posts:
Are Losing Toenails a Runners Rite of Passage?
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat: 
Why 5ks are the Best
How to Race Well
How to Race in Unfavorable Conditions

Questions for you:
Do you do any of these things?
How do you train through the summer?

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Running Related Posts

Recently a reader sent an email and asked if I could put together a list of articles I’ve written recently about running shoes and training.  Thinking out loud, none of the articles are “new”, but it makes a lot of sense to have them all compiled into one spot.

Instead of doing a Running Store post this week, I thought I would get all of the posts together in one spot.  As always, if you have a question about shoes, the running store, or anything else feel free to ask.  I’m not an expert or professional but I do like running and working in a running store.

Recent Shoe Reviews:

Adidas Energy Boost
Adidas Supernova

Asics Nimbus 19

Brooks Ghost 9
Brooks Glycerin 14
Brooks Launch 4

Hoka Clifton 3
Hoka Bondi 5 

New Balance Zante

Saucony Freedom ISO
Saucony Zealot ISO 2

Important Shoe Related Topics:

There is no Perfect Running Shoe

Running Shoe Reviews Are (Mostly) Worthless

Running Shoe Specific Topics:

Five Secrets about Buying Running Shoes
How Alternating Shoes Can Benefit Your Running
Should You Wear Running Shoes Outside of Running?
Should You Race in Racing Flats?
How to Transition into Minimalist Running Shoes

Training Posts:

Are Losing Toenails a Runners Rite of Passage?
How to Prepare for Running in the Heat: 
Why 5ks are the Best
How to Race Well
How to Race in Unfavorable Conditions
How to Run in the Heat

Running and Nutrition:

Protein and Running

Other:

Thoughts While Working in a Running Store

There you have it!  As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask.  I’ve gotten a couple questions regarding nutrition (something I’m still trying to figure out) as well as fun things to do outside of running that I’ll be chatting about soon too!

Questions for you:

What is a fun fact about your job?

What is one thing you enjoy about the sport of running?

Three Years of Diner Reviews

It’s now been three years since I started reviewing Diners.  Since starting my quest, I’ve been to about 130 diners in New Jersey and about 50 diners in other parts of the world. You can see reviews here or using the link at the top of the blog.

March of 2014 is when I first started reviewing diners.  At year three, I decided to highlight some of my favorite (and not so much diners).  Keep in mind, these are my personal favorites.  Do you have a favorite or different opinion about a New Jersey diner?  Comment below.

All Time Favorite Diner: Mastoris

Mastoris isn’t a typical diner.  It’s more of a modern and upscale restaurant, but I like their food and cake.  This was one of the first diners I went too and I still continue to go back.

Least Favorite Diner: Garden State Diner, Ponzios or Stafford

Each diner was a definite letdown.  Ponzios served me a salad with still frozen fish and canned pears.   It’s a shame because Ponzios is almost always listed as a “top NJ diner”, but I haven’t had a positive experience any of the three times I’ve gone!

Diner gone to the most times: Vincentown

I used to live closer to Vincentown.  Sadly, the quality of the food and service has gone down hill, so I haven’t been much at all.  I went from going three times a month to none.  I’ve been 30+ times

Best cake: Mastoris (I wanted them to make my wedding cake, but they wouldn’t deliver).

Mastoris Cake
But which cake to get?  Hint: We got both carrot cake and red velvet cake

Personal Favorite Diners: 

Year 3, didn’t bring any significant changes to my “all time” favorite list.
Mastoris Great cake
Jefferson Diner Also great cake
State Line Diner Also great cake
Chit Chat Diner Great atmosphere
Mustache Bills Quinetesantal diner of NJ

Tropicana How many “tropical” diners do you know of?

Healthiest Diner: Silver Diner (it’s a chain, and there are a few across the east coast).  How many diners have Quinoa pancakes or a roasted vegetable salad? 

Best Coffee: Any diner that serves the local Lacas coffee and has homemade whipped cream.  Candlewyck Diner coffee

Worst Coffee: Princetonian: they charge for refills!

Biggest portions: Tropicana: For $24, I received all of this food.  I had run 15 miles and still made a full meal out of leftovers.

tropicana diner

Best value: Elmer Diner (cinnamon roll) and Angelos (my entire meal was $5) Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

At the Elmer Diner: A Coffee, cinnamon bun, eggs, toast, and hashbrowns was $8.00.  You can’t beat that!

Most expensive: Vincentown: They charge 75 cents extra per coffee with whipped cream.  I’ve ordered a salad with salmon which costs $20+.  Every meal is going to be at least $18.

Best Pancakes: Red Velvet Pancakes at Four Seasons Diner: Unlike the Springfield Diner, they were actually red velvet.  The cream cheese frosting was perfect. Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Best Eggs: The Surburban Diner offered a unique breakfast bowl with hashbrowns, melted cheese, onions and a fried egg on top.  You don’t see that many diners!suburban diner

Best Diner Gyro: The Woodstown Diner.  Gyros are a staple of any diner.  I haven’t posted the review yet, but the Woodstown diner had a neatly packaged gyro with plenty of meat.  It was easy to eat as well!

Woodstown Diner

Best Decor: 

Chit Chat Diner: I love the black and white retro theme. 

Tropicana Diner: It felt like a blast from the Carribean. 

Tropicana diner

Angelos: It’s the metallic trolley car diner that you picture.

Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Best Out of State Diners:

Trolley Car, Philadelphia (fresh ingredients as well as beer on tap)

John’s City Diner, Birmingham (Best chicken and waffles)

So where does my diner journey go next?

 

Questions for you:
Have you been to any NJ diners? 
Do you have any diner recommendations from anywhere? 

Why 5ks are the Best

It’s no secret that I love racing 5ks. While I love racing in general, 5ks are the easiest to distance to race hard, recover, and race again next week.

Recently I was asked about tips and strategies of how to race and PR.  I can show you what has worked well for me in the past.  Keep in mind I’m not a coach or an elite!

During a 5k, you have two options:

Option 1: You blink, and the race is over

Option 2: You take the race out too fast, and it feels like five back to back marathons.

If you’ve run more than one 5k, you’ve probably experienced both situations.

So first why race such a short tactical and precise race?

It’s clear the marathon bug has bit a lot of people. The word “only” becomes associated with half marathons.

“New Runner” has become associated with those training for 5ks. To be honest, despite being short, 5ks are one of the hardest races distances to run well. There is little room for error.  Thinking out loud, most any athlete can benefit from adding a few 5ks into their training plan.

But Why?

Reason 1: The need for speed: 5ks make you feel fast. Longer distances make you feel strong while shorter distances make you feel fast.

5ks are quick and dirty. 5ks are all of a distance “race pain” in a short amount of time.

Reason 2: Easier to Recover From: If you have a terrible race, try again next week: I’ve had a terrible 5ks only to be followed by an awesome 5k the following week.

A few years ago, I raced one of the most mentally challenging and grueling 5ks I’ve ever run. It was slow (for me), my legs were fatigued, and I felt awful. I had high expectations and fell hard. I was devastated.

What did I do? I rested and recovered.  The following weekend, I ran an entire 90 seconds faster.
Reason 3: Benchmarks:  You can mark your progress. Two years ago in my quest to gain speed back, I raced no less than 30 5ks in a year.  I was able to track my progress and see small results lead to bigger results.

For some people, myself included, seeing progress is motivating. I like to feel like my hard work is paying off!

Reason 4: 5ks are Fun! It’s one of the few distances you can see a range of people finish. It could be someone’s first 5k or someone going for a PR. Either way, you see a broad range of people from every fitness level!

Tips for Racing 5ks:

These are tips that have helped me throughout the years.  I haven’t counted, but I’ve probably run about 100 5ks.  They still remain my favorite distance.

  • Get a good warmup:  While I don’t always warm up for longer distances such as a half marathon, I find I need to warm up at least 2-3 miles with a few striders before a 5k.  You want that blood pumping.
  • Pacing: I’ve learned that you have to give a 5k everything you have and then keep giving it more. If you take out a 5k too slow, you can often regret it in the last mile.  My goal is always to make it through the middle mile.  I remind myself after mile 2, the race is almost over.
  • Run the Tangents: Okay yeah so .1 doesn’t matter, but realistically it does! A tenth of a mile run in tangents can mean an extra 30-40 seconds.  In such a short race, that is even bigger of a deal.
  • The 5k Hurts: Of course it is easier to finish running a 5k versus a marathon, but it is not easier to race a 5k.  The 5k is all of the pain of a half or full marathon in a short amount of time.  Look around while you’re running and you will see plenty of other runners, riding the pain train.

The 5k is a rewarding and fun distance.  Sure, it’s the shortest to complete but that doesn’t make it the easiest!

Incase you missed any of the previous weeks Running Store and Training:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Should Race in Racing Flats?
Are you Getting Enough Protein for Running?

Questions for you:

What is your favorite race distance?
When was the last 5k you ran?

 

 

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:26.49)

Last year, at Shamrock Half Marathon I ran a 1:26.50.  This year, my chip time was a 1:26.49.  While not a course PR, I did beat last years time.  Despite the race conditions being very similar (I.E. awful), for me, the races themselves were drastically different.  My last mile last year was probably 7:30+ and this year my last mile was a 6:11.

So let’s start from the beginning.  Shamrock was never a goal race for me.  It’s a race I like to do and I was hoping to run better than last year.

How did I quantify running better? By not only having a faster race but also not drastically blowing up like last year.

So technically, even though I’m much faster than 1:26 fitness, I did achieve my goals. But to be honest, I’m effing tired of running in terrible conditions.  Over the past year, I haven’t many longer races that are in decent conditions.  Most races have been in either pouring rain, sleet, snow, high humidity or windy. The only good weathered race that comes to mind is the Runners World Half, but I ran a 5k the day before.

Enough complaining! Last Friday, I prepared for the worst weather and brought my thick mittens, waterproof Gortex jacket, and appropriate attire.  By now, I know I need to be overdressed in cold, pouring rain or I’ll be miserable.

My coach James Mckirdy, Heather, Dad and I got to the race around 6 am, and we were lucky enough to stay with a personal friend right near the start.  I warmed up with Mollie and Heather.  I rarely do half marathon warmups, but while warming up, I didn’t feel terrible or even that cold.  It was pouring rain, but I wasn’t “as” miserable as last year.

We got to the race start at 7 am, and we were quickly off.  The first two miles were into a headwind.  With the headwind, I began settling into a negative mindset.  I hit the first mile in 6:59.  I was devastated.  Another race I had tapered for only to be foiled by rain.  I tried to clear my mind but just progressed on.

In hindsight, it’s easier to look back and see…yes it was windy.  Yes, the weather was awful.  In the moment, when you look down and quickly see you aren’t hitting your goal, it stinks.  I ran the second mile in 6:58.  It was mindless, and I was just staying with a pack of people.

shamrock half marathon me running 2017
So happy

As we rounded mile 3, I felt a wind break.  While it was still raining, it wasn’t as windy.  I ran a 6:54. Around mile 3, I wasn’t sure I would break 1:30 but I hoped I would be able to pick it up.  It’s a long gradual uphill from about miles 3-5.

During the fourth mile, one of the UGH moments of running happened.  My shoe came untied.  I was running in a new pair of Saucony flats, and while I did double knot them, they came untied.  Was it a combination of pouring rain and the material the shoe laces are made out of?  Probably because it happened 3 times and it stunk.  Looking closely at the shoe laces, the plastic coating seems to be the cause.

I stopped to tie my shoe and progressed on.  I didn’t catch the people I was with until around mile 5-6.  With the stop I ran the 4th mile in 6:49 but I was motivated because I knew I stopped for at least 15 seconds.  The race clock doesn’t stop when you tie your shoe, so neither does my garmin. shamrock half marathon me running 2017

I ran the next two miles by myself.  I was alone and lost in my own thoughts.  The race conditions were awful, but I was slowly changing my mindset. I ran the next two miles in 6:30 and 6:36.

As we entered Fort Story, I thought about last year.  Last year, the wind from Fort Story broke me.  I went from running around 6:30 miles to running 7+ and crawling to the finish line.  I was determined not to let that happen.  The wind was blowing more through Fort Story this year, and it had blown sand across a section of course.  We ran through 2 inches of sand!

This year, I felt good during the middle miles, and I credit most of that to overdressing.  My other shoe lace came untied, and I briefly stopped to tie it.  I ran a 6:37 mile.  As I began thinking about the finish, I knew my body felt able and willing to run faster than a 1:30 than I had previously anticipated during the first few miles.shamrock half marathon me running 2017

I crossed mile 9 in 6:24 and mile 10 in 6:25.  I began catching a few people, and one male was running with me.  I saw Chris who ended up finishing a few feet in front of me and 7th lady overall.  The man told me to “go with her”…

The last three miles were a blur.  I just found myself counting down the miles.  2 miles to go and then 1 and then the final mile.  I saw James and Heather with about .5 to go and shouted: “I’m not dying”.  I guess that is always a good thing for an athlete to say. I also saw my friend Sika, who had raced the One City Marathon the weekend before.

As we approached the boardwalk, I saw the finish line, and I knew it would be close to my previous time.  Until that moment, I hadn’t even dreamed it was a possibility to actually run faster than 2016.

For no reason, I mentally separate a 1:26.XX half in a different category as a 1:27+-half.  I wanted to break 1:27 and sprinted to the finish. shamrock half marathon me running 2017

I crossed in 1:26.50…the same time as last year.  With chip timing, my official time was 1:26.49.

shamrock half marathon me running 2017
My husband didn’t run but still came out to support us!

Thoughts:

To be honest, I’m tired of racing in bad conditions.  While I’m proud of myself for handling the race well this year, I am also tired of not racing in good (not even ideal but good) conditions.  I feel as though I’ve been in PRing shape for the last 6 months but the weather has had other plans.  I’m hoping the April Fools Half Marathon will have better weather.

Questions for you:
What is the worst race conditions you’ve run in?
Which race have you done the most times?

 

February Training Log

 Miles Run: 247
Range of Paces: 6:02-9:50-untimed
Workouts: 6
Races: 2
Pensacola Double Bridges 15k (58:48)
Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01)

Best Workout:
4X2 mile (12:50, 12:48, 12:48, 12:40)
During February, I didn’t make a lot of my workout paces and intervals.  My two mile workout was the first one I felt successful and that I finally able to make my intervals and feel strong doing so.

Favorite Race:
Easily the Double Bridges Run. Despite the cold and having a rough morning, I was able to feel good during the race.

Double Bridge 15k me running

Thoughts:
February was definitely a grind month. Instead of racing frequently, I got through a lot of quality workouts. I typically post most of them on instagram and you can follow along there.  Not every workout (if any), felt easy and I do feel as though I was pushing out of my comfort zone.

As a whole, I’m happy with the month.  Not every month can be an exciting, PRing month.  I have come to realize as a runner, I am more confident when I race frequently but grind months do pay off later on.

Run Mercedes Half Marathon me

My goal for March is to get back to enjoying the process of running.  I had my fair share of negative (running related) thoughts during February and I’m looking forward to just focusing on the positive.  I’m running Shamrock Half Marathon in about 2 weeks which is one of my favorite!

Posts of the Month:
Thoughts While Working in the Running Store
Living in Alabama
Mr. LOLZ Mercedes Marathon (2:59.45)
Saucony Freedom ISO Shoe Review
Love Yourself
How to Race Well

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

What is your favorite month of the year?

Training: Running with Friends and Quality Workouts

Last week makes two weekends in a row that I did not race.  It’s surprising if you know me, but there was nothing that peaked my interest.  I have been enjoying catching up with friends and getting quality workouts in as well.

Last week I did just that: I ran with friends and got quality workouts in.

Monday: Easy 6 miles
Tuesday: 10 Miles with Angela (8:29 pace)
Wednesday: 4X2 mile repeats
Thursday: Easy 8 miles
Friday: Easy 5 miles
Saturday: Easy 9 miles with friends
Sunday: Tempo+Workout
Total: 64 miles

Easy Runs:
It’s been great to catch up with friends and run with them.  Unfortunately, one of my closest friends (and blogger) Angela is moving to Colorado this week.  Last week, we were able to run and go out to eat a diner which was a lot of fun.

On Saturday, my good friend Julie, who is training for the New Jersey marathon, did a long run and I joined her for part of it.

Workouts:
4X2 miles (12:50, 12:48, 12:48, 12:40)

To be honest, this is the best workout I’ve had in a very long time.  The goal pace was 6:21, and while I only made one, it was the last.  I ran these on the road, and I could not be more pleased with how it went. 

Sunday: 6-mile tempo (Goal 6:44) Average: 7:18

2X10 minutes (Goal 6:21) Average 7:01

It was extremely windy on Sunday.  The night before, I didn’t sleep well, and body was just tired from training.  Am I disappointed that I missed my paces by a lot?  Of course, but bad workouts happen, and it was a combination of factors.  Upward and onward!

Next Week:
Next week I’m running one of my favorite races, the Grilled Cheese, and Tomato Soup 4 miler. I’m looking forward to seeing how my training has paid off.

Posts from the week:
Living Minimally
Life in Alabama
Guest Post: Mr. LOLZ marathon (2:59.45)

Questions for you:
What is your next race?
How was your week of workouts?