8 years ago…I ran a race

8 years ago…I ran a race

Since 2010 St. Patrick’s day has held a much more sentimental reason to me than drinking beer, wearing green, and pots of gold.  Although if you would like to send me a pot of gold that is fine too!  Eight years ago, I ran a 5k on my college campus that would change the path and direction of my life.

You can read my entire running story here or in the tab above.

When I was a college sophomore, I saw a sign at the gym that said if completed the annual campus 5k you would get a free long sleeve t-shirt.  As a college student, you can never have enough things to stuff in your dorm room.  My college roommates always appreciated my hoarding.  I had plenty of short sleeve shirts, but long sleeve shirts were something I was always looking for.  All I had to do was sign up for a 5k and complete it?

Okay, sign me up.

Sign me up, and I didn’t run an ounce beforehand.

Keep in mind my running history previous to March of 2010 was lackluster.  I barely passed the mile countless times in both middle and high school…Passing was 12:30 and my mile PR was 12:12.

At my high school, you didn’t have to take gym after 10th grade.  So after 10th-grade gym class, I avoided running like the plague.  Thinking out loud, the only two times I had run was to “impress” upperclassman on the swim team.  It wasn’t impressive, and I made a goober out of myself both times.

I wasn’t terribly athletic and certainly wasn’t coordinated through high school.  I did swim competitively and did enjoy that.  During the offseason from swimming, I went to the gym and used the elliptical or lifted weights.

It was nice to keep cardio and strength when I wasn’t swimming but I never (not once) used running as cross training.  Long story short I had no idea what I was getting myself with a trivial campus 5k into but the phrase “if it’s free, it’s for me” comes to mind with this race.

The race itself was a blur, and I finished around 24 minutes.  I don’t remember the exact time, but I remember not dying, texting my shocked marathon running dad, and picking up my t-shirt.  (of course, I didn’t tell my parents I was running this 5k…I didn’t want them to ask if I didn’t finish.

Of course, I didn’t tell my parents about this 5k, I didn’t want the embarrassment their daughter couldn’t finish a 5k.

After the race, I wore the t-shirt all around campus the following day.  I beamed with pride, smiling at random strangers also wearing our cheap cotton long sleeve shirts.

After the race, it wasn’t as if I magically became engrossed with running.  The race did make me realize running wasn’t all that bad.  I ran when it was nice out which ended up being 10-20 miles a week for a good portion of the spring.  When it was sunny, I would run the same 5k loop around campus.  When it wasn’t nice out, I wouldn’t run.  I would just go to the gym.

I mark St. Patrick’s Day as the official day I got my running start because at that point I considered myself someone who didn’t hate running anymore.  When you fail the mile test multiple times in grade school, it’s hard to like it.

I didn’t sign up for another race until the following July over break.  My dad had asked me if I wanted to run both an 8k, and 10k but I turned him down because it was too far.  From there, I slowly ran more and even walked on to my college D3 cross country team.  I never had a “stand out season” there, however it was what I needed at the time.  You can read my entire running story here.

One of my first collegiate cross country races.

After that, I began to consider myself a runner:

I didn’t run every day.
I didn’t run fast.
I didn’t log my mileage.
I didn’t run when it was the cold, windy or not perfect weather.
I had no desires to run with anyone or at a specific time…
I didn’t run any more races until July.
But I ran…and when I did I enjoyed it.

You’re a runner if you say you are and that is all that matters.

Questions for you:
When did you get your (workout) start?
How was your St. Patricks Day weekend?


Adrenaline Run 5k (18:29)

Adrenaline Run 5k (18:29)

Last weekend I ran two races. Initially, I didn’t plan to do both. However, it just worked out. I needed to stay in New Jersey until Saturday, and at that point, I was in town for my local running stores biggest 5k of the year: The Adrenaline Run 5k. Before my plans changed to stay in New Jersey, I had already signed up for the Shamrock Half.

My new goal was to run as hard as possible at the Adrenaline and then just pick up the pieces at the Shamrock. I know I’m in good shape, but in short, Adrenaline didn’t show that. I had reasons I needed to stay in NJ, and I underestimated how busy I would be the week before.

I arrived to the Adrenaline Run and didn’t feel as good as I would have hoped. I felt very meh. I warmed up with my friend Shae, arrived to the start, and by the time I knew it, we were off. During the first mile, I was caught in a pack of people and got a slow start. Not only that, but I just felt stale. My legs felt heavy, and my speed wasn’t there.

I hit the first mile in 6:00 and immediately felt defeated. I couldn’t get in a rhythm and I felt like nothing felt easy.

I know I’m in PR shape and possibly in sub 18 shape, but it wasn’t my day. After I realized that, I just moved past my mentality and just wanted to run a strong race.

During the second mile, I was running with a pack of women, many of whom I knew personally and are friends. We went around a few turns and down a small hill. I nearly slipped, and I panicked I had pulled something. Due to my form, running downhill in a race is one of the most likely places I’ll get injured.

I rounded the turn and saw my coworkers at the water stop, and I gave a quick wave and mile. To be honest, seeing all three put me in a better mood (thanks, Shawn, Ralph, and Jeff) and I knew I was halfway. I climbed a hill and hit the second mile in running haddonfield adrenaline 5k

I went from feeling happy back down into a slump. Apparently, I rode a lot of emotions during that race. The last mile felt like I finally woke up and just powered to the finish line. I was still with the pack, and we all powered through. We ran the last mile in 5:47 and I crossed in 18:32 with a chip time of 18:29.

Thank you for the photo Norm

me running adrenaline 5k haddonfield nj

While I’m not exactly satisfied with the race, I do know I didn’t feel good and it wasn’t my day, I had a great time seeing so many of local NJ friends and runners. I was 10th women overall and I believe 106th overall. It is my fastest 5k in the calendar year, despite not the fitness I know I’m in.

Questions for you:

Do you use positive self-talk to get you through races?

Not Every Run is Fun

Not Every Run is Fun

When I first began my journey running, it felt hard.  Today, running still feels hard.

The meaning has changed and what was once difficult is now longer not, however, every training cycle presents itself with new challenges.

Not Every Run is Fun

Every new runner has asked:

Does running ever any easier?  

Do veteran runners always feel good running?

Do elites feel like they are cake walking every mile?

No, no, and also no

I love running, and for the most part, I’ve had a lot of great runs.  I have a running blog and work at a running store.  However, like anyone I’ve also had some terrible runs.  It’s not all the Instagram highlight and picture-perfect reel.  No one lives are!

There have been plenty of times I’ve woken up and thought, “nope, I’m not running today” and gone back to sleep.  This has been enhanced by the recent time change and daylight saving time.

If you have been running for any amount of time, you’ve probably had a time when running felt stale.

It’s boring; there isn’t anything to look forward too, and you’ve lost all of your motivation.  You’ve had several runs you’ve struggled getting through, and it just seems like…ugh why bother.  This happened to me, around this time last year.  I didn’t go through my big burnout until last April. However, I began to feel stale around March.  I firmly believe if I had taken a couple of weeks off last March, I probably wouldn’t have taken four months off in April.

Could have, would have, should have, but I have no regrets.

The truth is, running never really gets much easier.  Every runner new or old struggled with getting out of the door at some point.

Here are a few ideas that can change your mindset and motivation:

Often times, change is the key to breaking out of a rut. 

Find a Running Partner:

Run by anyone you see, but just don’t approach someone because that could get awkward.  But seriously, change up who you are running with. Thinking out loud, it makes the run feel entirely different!  Even running on the same route with someone new makes the run fly by.  Even listening to a new podcast makes it feel like you’re running with someone.

Run different mileage:

Ideas include:

  • Decrease your distance
  • Run two short runs versus one longer run.
  • If you were training for a longer race, train for a shorter run.
  • Add cross training or find a new class

Change where you run
A change of scenery can be a good thing.  Personally, racing in a different location each week keeps me from getting bored. Try running on the trails, different neighborhoods, or even the treadmill.  Sometimes catching up on trashy TV and running on the treadmill is what I want to do.  I wrote a post about not hating the treadmill!  With a rest day, race, running with someone, and workout, I normally only run the same route 1-2X per week.  It keeps things interesting.

Most importantly!

When all else fails and running is just not going well, take a break.  There is plenty more to life than running.  Even if you’re an elite runner, you still probably enjoy a few things outside of moving your feet.

A break never hurts and can help you come back stronger.  At the end of the day, it’s just running.

Question for you: How do you break out of a rut?



Another week of running down.  This week was quiet.  While I did run, I didn’t race, and just relaxed. In fact, looking at Instagram you might not think I ran much at all.  Ha because we all know that is Instagram is real life.

Monday: Easy 30 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 3X1 mile (6:15)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 10 miles with Shae
Sunday:  14 miles with fast finish


As I mentioned, last week was quiet and uneventful which is what I needed.   We got another storm Wednesday afternoon.  I was glad I ran early in the morning because, by mid-afternoon, the roads were worse and more dangerous than I have ever seen them.

3X1 Mile Workout (6:15)

It wasn’t my fastest workout, but with the wind and rain (which turned to snow later), I’m happy with it.

14 Miles with last fast finish

It was my longest run since the Phoenix half marathon, and I’m happy with it.  I haven’t done a fast finish run in a while, and I progressed into 6:40s for the final 5 miles.

Other than that, not too much exciting in my running world last week.  Boring weeks are never bad though.

Posts of the week:

Meal Planning for Two
Hoka One One Mach Shoe Review
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler

Questions for you:
Did you get any snow from the storm?
How was your training?

Hoka One One Mach

Hoka One One Mach

The Hoka One One Mach is a brand new model from Hoka One One. It is basically the replacement for the discontinued Hoka One One Clayton 2. So if you’re looking for the closest thing to the Hoka One One Clayton, then the Mach is your best bet.  It’s the first model I’ve run in.  I have run in both the Hoka One One Clifton as well as the Bondi.

My apologies, but I took photos when I first got the shoe and lost them.  I realized I had lost “clean photos” of the shoe, so you’ll have to deal with them with over 100 miles of mud and dirt.  At least, you know I run in them.  😉

hoka one one mach shoe review

While I work in a running store, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no perfect running shoe.  Not everything works for everyone, and Hoka is not paying me to write about their shoes.  Here is a stock photo for good measure. hoka one one mach shoe review

Weight: Men’s size 9: 7.7oz Women’s size 8: 6.5oz

Drop: 5mm

It always seems to surprise people that most Hoka Shoes are a 4-5mm drop.  It’s like running on a flatter elevated platform.

The Fit:

The Hoka One One Mach is one of the wider Hoka models.  It has a full knit upper.  The knit upper means it’s seamless and allows feet to spread out as appropriate.  As I’ve mentioned in many reviews, but more shoe companies are going towards a seamless upper.  It accommodates wider feet including bunions.

Knit uppers are more seamless and a more flexible fit.  Personally, I prefer seamless and knit uppers because they fit my foot much better.


I like the ride a lot.  While I never ran in the Hoka Clayton, I do know it’s the most similar and meant to replace it.  It’s lighter and more firm than any other Hoka model.

Why is that?

The Mach uses a new material from Hoka named: ProFly.

ProFly makes the heel firmer in the forefoot but softer in the heal.  It’s designed to role you forward and the difference also helps protect the feet, especially if you are more likely to heel strike. According to Hoka, the Profly is more durable and resilient.  I found it to be the springiest and most “fast” of any Hoka shoe I’ve run in so far.

hoka one one mach shoe review


I’ve logged just over 100 miles in the Mach and like it a lot.  I wasn’t sure how much I would but new shoes are always fun to try (if they are appropriate for your foot).  I haven’t had any issues, or blisters, which is essential as well.  I’ll keep the Hoka One One Mach is my rotation until the cushion is gone.

Current Shoe Rotation:

Daily runs: Hoka One One Mach, Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph ISO 4
Workouts: Nike Zoom fly, Altra Escalante
Races: Saucony Type A or Endorphin

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?
Do you prefer more or less cushion?

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:30)

This is my third year running and also my slowest time yet!  The wind played a role, and I think my body caught up to me after trying to assimilate back into the real world from vacation.

I woke up on Sunday feeling exhausted.  I had gotten a deep tissue massage a few days prior, and while my legs had recovered well my half PR, I don’t think they did from the massage.

My in-laws, husband, and I got to the race around 9 am.  I did and quick warmup, realized how windy it was, and made it to the start.  By the time I knew it, we were off.

The first mile got out extremely slow.  It loops around the park and you go back under the start line before heading to down the canal.  My husband and a pack of four men was shortly ahead, followed by me.  My byline of racing lately is always chasing someone but never running with anyone.  I hit the first mile in 6:13 and wasn’t all that pleased.  I knew I was sore and it was windy but it’s always hard not to compare to what you have run before.

During the second mile, my husband and the lead pack separated.  I found myself running with another male chasing them down.  The towpath is on soft dirt/gravel and runs along the canal.  It was windy but not headwind or tailwind.  It was a crosswind where I somewhat worried I would be blown into the canal.  I hit the second mile in 6:08.

We made a 180 during mile 3 and headed back the way we came.  I enjoy mile 3 of the race because you see everyone else running and seeing other racers always motivates me.  I hit the third mile in 6:08.

The last mile was just trucking back to the start.  I felt better than the start but not great by any means.  I separated myself and was running alone.  I could see the finish and I saw my husband had pulled away and was going to win which was motivating.

I finished in 24:30 and it’s my slowest time yet, but the wind was definitely a factor.  This is only the second time both my husband and I have won a race together.  There are plenty of grilled cheeses and tomato soup at the end of the race (instead of the traditional banana), which makes it more fun.

grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 miler sick

Questions for you:

Have you done a unique race recently?

Where is the best grilled cheese you’ve gotten?

Training: Recovery and Grilled Cheeses

Training: Recovery and Grilled Cheeses

Last week was spent recovering, traveling, and relaxing.  While Phoenix Half Marathon was a PR, it is only the beginning of the Spring.  I’m hoping to continue to run well.  I will have a few cutback weeks throughout the Spring to make sure I don’t make the mistake of last year with burn out. 

Monday: 45 minutes easy/short hike through White Tank Mountains
Tuesday; 45 minutes easy
Wednesday: 12×400 averaging 86/Deep Tissue Massage
Thursday: 30 minutes easy
Friday; Rest
Saturday: 60 minutes easy
Sunday:  Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run 4 m 24:30 (10 miles total)


I spent a lot of time relaxing in Phoenix as well as indulging in food after the race.  I do think that helped recover faster.  I’m definitely not “fully recovered” but I do feel as though I am recovering well.

Workout Wednesday: 12X400s (400 jog recovery)

Averaging 86 seconds and last 400 84 seconds

Lately, I’ve been doing workouts on the roads.  First, it’s hard to find an available track.  Second, I race on the roads, not on a track.  I could go a few seconds faster on the track, but I also enjoy doing workouts on the roads too.

I felt good during the workout and having good weather certainly helped.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup Run: 24:30

I’ve run the race in both 2016 and 2017 and this was my slowest year.  The race itself is in a park on a trail.  We got a huge storm on Friday that took down a lot of trees but luckily the course was clear.  It was windy but no headwind or tailwind.  The crosswind just felt as though you were one step away from blowing into the canal.  My calve were still sore and recovering from my deep tissue massage and I did not feel the greatest.  That being said, I’m happy with my time.



Posts from the Week:

February Training

Phoenix Half

Hiking Jokey Hollow (Morristown, NJ)

Questions for you:

How do you recover from races?

Do you get deep tissue massages?  How frequently?

%d bloggers like this: