When Your Body Physically and Mentally Match

As most people know, I took a 6-week break after the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  It’s been the topic of discussion on this blog because it’s the only thing I’ve done running related.  I was not injured, but both physically and mentally exhausted.

I asked myself: at what point do I just mentally rest and refocus?

On the drive home from the race, I knew I was at that point.  Thinking out loud, I never anticipated taking as much time off from running as I did but my body did not recover well from a season of hard training or even the race itself.  One week turned to two, then three to six.  As I continued to rest, I was still burnt out and in no mood to run.

After a while, the running bug bit me again and I decided I wanted (key word: wanted) to get back into running again.  Along with beginning to run again, I decided to get my blood analyzed again with Insidetracker.

Recently, InsideTracker has been a popular topic amongst running blogs.  As someone who graduated with a health degree, I do believe blood tests and results should be more accessible to those who would like the information. Another aspect people don’t realize, is you can send your Insidetracker results to your doctor as well.  Instead of making multiple appointments, you can come in with bloodwork results in hand.

It is not a replacement for a doctor, and they don’t claim to be. The biomarkers tested are endurance athlete focused.  For the average person, results might seem extremely high in a routine blood test.  Endurance athletes typically have skewed results.  Depending on your lifestyle, individual blood results can always be skewed.  For instance, people in upstate NY might have a Vitamin D deficiency, where those living in Florida might not have that issue.  Physical Environment plays a key role in results.

InsideTracker gives simple recommendations that anyone can benefit from.  If a result needs medical attention, they tell you and highly recommend you see a doctor.

It was my third time getting Insidetracker done.  Each time, I chose to pay extra and get the entire process done at my home.  First, I’m not the best with needles. Second, driving into Philadelphia during rush hour, after fasting for 12 hours isn’t a situation I’m comfortable with.  It’s the best situation for me!

Just as the previous sessions, the process went smoothly.  After a few days, I received my results which confirmed everything I felt.

My blood indicated I was both physically and mentally fatigued.

There were a few things that popped up that directly matched how I was feeling.  It was “nice” that my blood confirmed I was mentally and physically fatigued.  (So I didn’t feel like it was “all in my head”)

All three of my AST/ALT/GGT liver enzymes were elevated.

So what does this mean?

One enzyme elevated could mean you were tired but the fact that all three were up meant by muscles were extremely fatigued.  My blood essentially showed that no wonder I was exhausted.  It was overtrained and fatigued.  Before getting the blood work done, I had thought that it was possible I was overtrained, but I didn’t think results would be as high as they were.’

I don’t have a liver disease, but all three remained elevated due to the stress training caused to my body over the past year.  Like most things, it takes time to recover!

How Have I Been Fixing the Problem?

Are having elevated enzymes, the worst thing in the world?  No.  In fact, it justifies why I felt the way I did.

After getting the test, I waited another two weeks and decided to slowly start running again.

I’m not running every day and I’m not running nearly the volume I was previously.  Right now, I can truly say I enjoy each run.  I don’t run for pace, time or speed (unless it’s a race), but just run.  As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve ultimately decided to use the summer as down time too.

With my schedule, running is taking a backseat.  It’s allowing my body to relax even more.  I’m doing many of my runs mid day on the antigravity treadmill at work.  My options are outdoors in 85 degrees, indoors on a treadmill, or indoors on the antigravity treadmill.  If I’m not training hard for anything, why stress my body hard during this period?

Rome wasn’t built in a day and your body doesn’t heal overnight.  Using the summer to run casually, will allow my body to continue to physically and mentally recover.

I’m also taking both a probiotic and liver enzyme which I feel has been working well for me.  It’s only been 4 weeks since starting to take the enzyme but once I go through the entire bottle I’ll discuss it more.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle is I am also striving to eat proper recovery foods.  As my husband trains for another marathon, we’ve made it a focus to work on both proper recovery foods for both of us.  Neither of us has a terrible diet, but we do treat ourselves a few times a week or go out to eat more than the average couple.  For now, we limited eating out (our budget has also thanked us) and focused on cooking more foods together.

Nutrition wise, another aspect I appreciate about InsideTracker is they give personal food recommendations for your own needs.  A few recommendations including peanut butter, wheat germ, and eel.  (I don‘t know if I’ve mentioned but I really enjoy eel, octopus, and squid ;).

Eel tubes

I’ve been incorporating several of these foods into my diet and I’ve felt better and stronger because of it.

I do plan to get my blood tested again sometime in late July or August to see how I’ve progressed. I’m happy to have gotten the test done.  It’s a good feeling when both your mental and physical mindset line up.  When I scheduled InsideTracker, I wasn’t sure what it would show but I’m relieved that it provided answers and is allowing me to recover even more.

I would consider this time for myself, the off season.  Or maybe even the off year.  Relaxing, recovering well and building for a better training cycle is going to allow me to PR at a later time when I’m ready to train again.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten bloodwork done?

What are some of your favorite foods?

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Maurice River Diner

I haven’t been to many Cumberland County Diners lately, so one of my goals this summer is head south occasionally.  So when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to drive down.

Cumberland County is a beautiful area of New Jersey.  It’s right along the water and an area that many people realize doesn’t exist in NJ. There are far more trees then traffic and parts border the water.

Atmosphere: A
The Maurice River Diner is right along the main road and water.  It’s a big, clean diner with plenty of seating.  Both the inside and outside is modern. It’s wide open so you don’t sit here on top of each other either.  In fact, it’s one of the biggest diners I’ve been too in awhile.

Coffee: A
The coffee was brewed hot each time and there were plenty of refills.  It was everything you could want and hope in diner coffee.Maurice River Diner

Service: A
The waitress was kind and hilarious.  She refilled our beverages often and one of the friendliest servers we’ve had in a while.  I have no complaints.

Food: C
The Maurice River Diner has most typical diner options: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and seafood.

The burger came with soup.  I decided on their tomato bisque.  I wasn’t expecting it to be creamy but it was good. Maurice River Diner

I decided to order the black and blue burger with sweet potato fries. Maurice River Diner

It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either.  In fact, I wanted to like the diner food more than I did.  It was edible, but the burger was far from my favorite. I was actually somewhat disappointed since I had hoped it would match the expectations of the service and atmosphere.  You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  The food was edible but it was not my favorite.

Dessert: B
I originally asked for red velvet cake but they didn’t have any.  So I went with bread pudding.  It was good and I enjoyed the pieces of bread crumbled in.  It was nothing unique but it was good.Maurice River Diner

Price: $
For my burger, coffee and bread pudding the cost was $14.  It wasn’t bad for the amount of food I received but I do wish it was better quality.

Overall Thoughts:
I like the Maurice River Diner but I was hoping to like the food more than I did.  I would go back if the opportunity presented itself but probably try something new.

Overall:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Service: A
Food: C
Dessert: B
Cost: $8-12
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve been too: Not too many!  The closest would probably be the Deepwater or Woodstown Diner

 

Questions for you:

What is the best coffee you’ve had recently?

What is something in your state?

Many people don’t realize New Jersey is the Garden State.  Abeit, most of the gardens/farms are in Southern New Jersey.

May Training Log: 7 Miles

Another month has come and gone.  Towards the end of the month, I thought this would be the month of the 0.0 but I ended up running a grand total of 7 miles.  All of which were this past week.

So instead of trying to come with a few hundred words about the 7 miles, I’ll tell you they were ok.  I didn’t feel amazing and I didn’t feel terrible.  I didn’t feel as if it was “the greatest comeback ever”.  I probably ran about 10 minute pace but I have no idea.  In fact, I don’t even know if it was 7 miles.  It could be 6 or it could 8…Despite charging it, my watch still hasn’t gone for any runs with me. I just ran around my neighborhood until I felt sufficient.

Moving right along.

I did do quite a bit of cross training:
Swam 3X (total 3 miles)
7 Strength classes
6 Core classes (all between 15-30 mins)
Elliptical: 1X run in rabbit core

Rest Days: 14

In summary, the month was what I needed.  It was a break from running and I didn’t try and compensate with doing a lot of cardio.

I gained weight, lost fitness, but my life moved right along. I know taking a break was the best thing I could have done and I have no regrets.

Life wise, I also had a lot going on that kept me busy and I didn’t miss running.  I knew how burnt, when I could stand at the Broad Street 10 mile finish, watch the race and not feel sad I chose not to run.  

It was a whirlwind month. I had both my dad and in-laws come visit in Early May.  Then, my mother came and visited the following week.

Eastern State Penitentiary philadephia
We made it!

After that, my husband came home mid May and spent a few days in New York.  While in New York, I felt a slight twinge of exciement to run again.  Not enough to actually run, but I had a little bit of excitement.

After having fun in New York City, we drove down to Virginia to see my brother Matt.  Due to being stationed overseas, I hadn’t seen him since my wedding in April 2015.  It was a great month, but such a busy month as well.  matt and i

What’s on tap for June?

I am going to continue slowly build my base.  I don’t have any major races in June but I will probably jump into a local race.  I do plan to continue with strength and core classes because I’ve grown to enjoy them.

My husband and I are actually focusing more on nutrition this month so expect to see a few posts about that.

Posts from the month:
36 Pairs of Running Shoes Later
Visiting New York City
NonRunning Workout Ideas
A Week with Family
My Running Burnout
Running Related Posts
Are you Getting Enough Fiber?

So in summary, it’s been a great 5 weeks but I’m also excited to get back into training.  It’s not a feeling I’ve had in quite some time.

Questions for you:

How was your month of training?

Have you ever taken time off? 

 

NonRunning Workout Ideas

As most people know by now, after the April Fools half marathon, I experienced a serious running burnout.  In fact, I wrote about it here. It wasn’t the race itself, but more of running hard for 6 months and not achieving a goal.

My personal friend Steve asked to write about other things to do outside of running!  To be honest, I’m still not running, but I am enjoying doing other things.  Don’t get me wrong, running is a great workout, but it’s not the only one.  It’s important to take the time to look at other things to do.

Right now, I have no goal races I’m trying to maintain fitness for.  Thinking out loud, I have no need to hit up the gym daily.  Do I like working out?  Yes.  Do I need to workout for several hours daily?  No.  Do I care if I missed a workout?  No…

Ideas for Cross Training to Maintain Fitness:

Here are a few things I like to do to preserve cardio fitness:

Elliptical:

I might be one of the only people who doesn’t hate the elliptical.  If you workout hard on the elliptical, then it will simulate running.  If you leisurely pedal, you aren’t going to get the same benefits as having a higher heart rate.  There are a lot of programs that you can adjust based on ability and how hard you want to workout.  My heart rate is never as high as running, but I can say it has gotten pretty high during the elliptical.

Alter G Treadmill:

Finding an Alter G treadmill can be hard.  If you’re in Southern Jersey/Philadephia area and want to use one, let me know, and we have one at RunningCo.

Admittedly, I haven’t used it right now.  That’s only because I don’t want to run.  The AlterG is running without the pressure of body weight.  It takes body weight off so you can simulate running without putting the extra pressure and weight on your body.  The chamber fills with air, so you are essentially free floating around. Here is a more in-depth post about the AlterG when I was using it!

Alter G
After my metatarsal stress fracture, I used it frequently

Swimming:

Before picking up running in 2010, I was a competitive swimmer.  I swam through college.  While I no longer swim regularly (and have no interest in Tris), I will frequent the pool.  Swimming takes all of the pressure off your body will still allowing for a great cardio and strength workout.  It’s one of the best workouts you can do.

Strength Work and Core:

To be honest, right now this is what I’ enjoying the most.  I’m going to several body pump and core classes as well as lifting weights myself.  It may not “burn calories, but I am enjoying the constant state of feeling like jello and feeling stronger.

Running is a great sport but it’s not the only workout.  There are plenty of other activies that are equally as fun to do.Other Running 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:

What are your favorite nonrunning activities?

 Do you like to cross train? 

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?

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?