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Social Media: Are We All Too Slow?

The answer is no, so stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

In 2010, I created my blog about a month after I decided to start running.  At the time, I was still in college and more of a swimmer than a runner. To do this day, I still believe I was a better swimmer than I am a runner. Not that it matters because I don’t get in the pool at all anymore.

Since starting my blog, my running story has been a journey filled with highs and lows, and you can read my entire running story here.  When I first created my blog it was not big nor did it have the connections and friends I do now.  I wrote a similar post in 2015 and here we are 3 years later.

Even in the last two years social media and oversharing training has grown more. Instagram is much more popular and I am one of the few people left blogging.

Who blogs anymore anyway?

It’s easy to write a novel on Instagram and get instant gratification on social media. I think a picture tells a thousand words so the caption doesn’t need to be. So my captions will stay short…maybe that means less “followers” but I still run for me.

Back in 2010, my blog as not big. I knew 3 people that read it until maybe 2011.  I knew my immediate college teammates who ran, a few local runners on other teams, and a few running idols back home.  I did not know so many amazing and talented runners all over the world existed!  Garmins were the size of your wrist and there was no Strava and people didn’t share their workout every day.

I first created this space to reflect upon my personal journey of running. It started with a 12-minute mile and 8 years later I am here today. My blog allowed me to meet people online who also shared a love for running and working out.

This was before there were hundreds of blogs and blogging became an advertisement platform.  Do I like to make money from blogging? Sure. Will I ever sacrifice who I am or what I believe in to do so? No.

When I first started running, I was in my own bubble. I watched countless races where local heroes ran 17-18 minute 5ks. The first 5k I ever ran was in a time of 30 minutes! I was in shock of how people could that fast. To me, these local athletes were my only inspiration and the people I strived to be like. I never knew elites were running 14 minutes 5ks. It’s funny because now I routinely talk to these local legends and fangirl them at races.

The Evolution of Running and Social Media’ing:

Now, running and blogging is much different. I have raced in several states and have seen and met hundreds of inspirational athletes. With race results readily available, I’m no longer in a single community with a single running inspiration. I have many running inspirations, some I have met and some I have not. When reading race recaps and reports the definition of “fast” becomes skewed. Do I consider myself fast? What exactly makes you a “fast runner”? What is the standard? Why does it even matter?

The athletes running the Olympic Trials marathon this weekend are fast.

The athlete that won a local race is also fast.

The athletes finishing their first race are fast.

My definition of “fast” will always be different from someone’s else definition.
With so many different social media platforms it makes me think: Am I selling myself short saying that I won a half marathon when I ran an X? Or once that I ran a (bad race for me) and got 3rd overall?

Before social media, I would have no problems bragging about a race…Now I don’t want to be “showy” because I know if someone else had shown up they would have won. The fact is they didn’t show up, and I won. Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, your results are everywhere. People with lots of credentials or even no credentials are judging performance.

Now with social media and website forums like letsrun.com, results are everywhere. Individuals with and without credentials are judging performance. With race results being judged so quickly, I can’t imagine the pressures of being a professional runner.

One of the most common questions a runner will receive after a race from a nonrunner is:

Did You Win?
Runners are afraid to say they won or placed in an age category. Instead of saying I won and my time was X, someone will mention “I won but”…Adding but just adds a backhanded compliment to yourself. Whether there are ten people are 10,000 if you won, you won. Even if you didn’t win, place or just had a bad race, you still ran.

So while local races give you a glimpse of a single group of athletes…social media connects you to thousands of athletes of every speed and ability. It’s overwhelming.

Where do this all connect?
Social media is here to stay. Runner or not, everyone is plugged in and connected. It’s important to remember everyone’s definition of progress and perception of fast is different. There is no need to compare yourself to others or even to yourself! It’s hard to keep your personal training at the forefront of the mind when it’s so easy to compare. There will always be someone better or faster. You should use them as a role model and inspiration rather than comparing.

When we let other people’s goals and life decisions influence us, it takes away from what we want to accomplish. For instance, I have been vocal the marathon is not my favorite distance. My goal has never been to break 3 hours or Qualify for the Olympic Trials but I know it’s many other people’s and I’m happy for them. When I run a personal record in any distance, I’m happy for myself and don’t need to think: “well X ran this, so I should be able to run that too”. It just takes away from our own accomplishments.

If you are out there and running, you are fast.

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X Half Marathons Later

April 17 marked 7 years since my first half marathon.

It’s hard to believe it’s been that long! Many people ask why I like halves and why I  don’t run full marathons.  Simply put, I’ve had the most success with the half marathon distance…and we like what we are most successful at right?

Just kidding, I like half marathons because there is enough time to warm up during the race but they aren’t neverending like a marathon.  Thinking out loud, the training for a half doesn’t consume you.  If you have a bad half, you can recover quickly and race again relatively soon.

Until I compiled this list, I had no idea how many I had actually run so I hope I didn’t forget any.

2011: 
April 2011 Plattsburgh (1:41) PR
April 2011 Flower City (Rochester) 1:39 PR
May 2011 Run for the Dream (Williamsburg, VA) 1:36.56 PR

2012: 
March 2012 Shamrock (VA Beach) 1:33.29 PR
April 2012 Plattsburgh (1:27.17) PR and Win
April 2012 Flower City (1:29)
May 2012: Run to the Sun (Watertown, NY) 1:33 Win
May 2012 ZOOMA Annapolis (1:31)
Sep 2012: Turning Stone Utica (1:33.33) 2nd Female

2013: 
Feb: Lake Effect (1:31)
March: Shamrock (1:25.15) PR
April: Nike Women’s DC (1:24.49) PR
May: Run for the Dream (1:28) Win
Sep: RnR VA Beach (1:28.39)
Sep: Scallywompus (San Antonio) 1:28.30 Win

2014: 
Feb: Lake Effect (1:25.32) Win
March: Shamrock (1:25.29)
April: April Fools (1:23.23) PR
May: NJ half (1:28)
May: Run for the Dream (1:31)
Nov: Harbor Lights 1:41 **Training Long Run

2015: 
Mar: Shamrock half (1:33.04) *Injured
Aug: RnR Va Beach (1:31)
Oct: Runners World (1:28)
Oct: RnR Philadelphia (1:25.45)
Nov: Philadelphia half (1:25.00)

2016: 
Jan: Carlsbad (1:22.57) PR
March: Shamrock Half (1:26.50)
April: April Fools Half (1:24.04) Win
Sept. Rock n Roll Virginia Beach (1:29.46) 5th Woman
Sept. Rock n Roll Philadelphia (1:27.37)
Oct. Runners World Festival Half Marathon (1:24.17) 2nd Woman
Oct. Base Half Marathon (1:25.29) Win
Nov: Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.44)
Dec: Dallas Half Marathon (1:23.44)

2017:
Feb. Mercedes Half Marathon (1:27.01) (Birmingham, AL)
March. Shamrock Half Marathon (1:26.49) (VA Beach)
April; April Fools Half Marathon (Atlantic City) 3rd Woman
Sept. Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28) 5th Woman
Oct. Crawlin Crab 13.1 (1:32.29) 5th Woman
Oct. Runners World 13.1 (1:24.52) 2nd Woman
Nov. Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.57)
2018:
Feb. Phoenix Half Marathon (1:22.03) PR*
March: Shamrock Half Marathon 1:23.21 (VA Beach)
April: April Fools Half Marathon (1:26.08) Win

Some random fun facts:

Hottest: Scallywompus (San Antonio, Tx)

This might be the only one I raced in just a sports bra.
This might be the only one I raced in just a sports bra.

Coldest: Lake Effect 2013

And maybe the only race I wore pants in...
And maybe the only race I wore pants in…


Worst Weather:

Shamrock 2016, Shamrock 2017 Pouring rain, 40 degrees, and windy
Shamrock

Best Swag:

Scallywompus gave out a huge growler for winning.

Run to the Sun gave out wine tour tickets.

I think in general the best race swag comes from the Shamrock races.  On top of a t-shirt, medal and four free beers they typically give out an additional item.  It’s been anything from a hoodie to towel to blanket.

Best logistics:

Parking is always the best at smaller races.  Any race I don’t have to take a bus or shuttle.  For the amount of racers, most of the RNR have been good.

Best Value:

If you register early you receive a lot for the Shamrock races.  There is lots of food, beer, heating and everything you could want in a race.

Worst Value:

Carlsbad.  I found the race to be poorly organized, and there wasn’t a heck of a lot for the price of the race.  Since it was 120+, it was expensive.  I don’t race for “free things” but the race was unorganized as well.

Philadelphia Half Marathon: I know I’ll take the hit because it’s local, but when I wait 45 minutes in line for security and they take my gatorade because ”it’s not a clear liquid”, I can’t say it’s well organized.   It’s also expensive (over $130).

Biggest: Nike Women’s DC (15,000), RnR Philadelphia, RnR VA Beach

RnR Virginia Beach
#TBT to when my husband wasn’t in shape and ran my pace…now he is too fast 😉

Smallest:

Run from the Sun (Probably around 300-400 racers?)

My brothers, dad and I all ran it before my college graduation.
My brothers, dad and I all ran it before my college graduation.

Best On Course Aid:

Shamrock, Nike Women’s, RnR, Dallas  (The pricier ones)

Worst On Course Aid:

Run to the Sun: It was a smaller race, but it was hot, and you end up in the middle of cornfields and don’t know if you are going the correct way.  I distinctly remember being thirsty during the race, and that doesn’t happen often.

Coolest Medal: 

Lake Effect 2014 or RnR Va Beach

**Nike Women’s gave out a Tiffany and Co Necklace, but I haven’t worn it.  It’s not for me honestly.

Most Zoned Out:

Shamrock 2014 or 2016 Where did this race go?  In the blink of an eye, I was done.  

“Felt like it was never going to end”:

Turning Stone Half Marathon

NJ half marathon

Both races I had stomach issues.  I stopped to use the bathroom during the Turning Stone half, and I felt like I was going to projectile vomit red velvet cake during the NJ half.

Nj half race
But you can’t even tell I’m about to voms

Overall Favorite Races:

  • Shamrock 2013 It was a lot of fun to watch my dad run the full marathon, hang out with my friends, I Pred and the race is fabulous.  Shamrock 2014 and Lake Effect this year are very close runner ups
  • Nike Women’s Half because I wasn’t expecting a PR.
  • April Fools half 2014 because it gave me the confidence that my fitness was still there.
  • April Fools half 2016 because I redeemed myself from my Shamrock and I didn’t talk myself into a negative race.  The weather was awful, but I got over it.
  • Dallas Half 2017: I enjoyed the race and the atmosphere.
  • April Fools half 2018 because I came back after having being burned out the previous year.nikerunning

Regretable Races:

Shamrock 2015.  It’s the only race I ran somewhat injured after my second marathon, and it wasn’t a smart decision.  It set me back in recovery.

States Raced in: NY, VA, TX, MD, NJ, PA, AZ, OH, AL (also DC)

Placements/Awards:

I’ve won 6 (Plattsburgh 2012, Run from the Sun, Run for the Dream 2013, Scallywompus, Lake Effect 2014, April Fools 2016, April Fools 2018)

Winning my very first goal race: Plattsburgh
Winning my very first goal race: Plattsburgh

me april fools half marathon atlantic city running

I’ve placed second or third in 8

I’ve come in places 3-10 in: 7 (My most notable is 9th in Nike Women’s)

And most half marathons I’ve had no placements at all.  To be honest, I would rather run a competitive race than “win one”. 

Debut half marathon:  The Plattsburgh half marathon in April of 2011.  I didn’t know what to expect honestly.  With less than a full year of running and never having done more than 10 miles beforehand, I had no idea what to expect! I took it out at a pace that seemed maintainable, and it was.

Hilliest:

  • Flower City (2014)
  • Run for the Dream. I would honestly say that Run for the Dream felt a little harder, but that is because it’s also hot and humid.

    Finishing on the track
    Finishing on the track
  • Runners World (Curse you Bart) Runners world half festival me

Most Surprising time:

Lake Effect Feb 2014

Most Surprising placement:

Nike Half Marathon I was 9th overall.  It was not expecting to PR and honestly wasn’t even sure I was going to go all the way to DC alone to race.  It was at the peak of my anxiety, and I’m so glad I did.

Worst Chafing:

  • Flower City 2012 (cotton top…armpit chaffing)

    I raced in a men's cotton top.
    I raced in a men’s cotton top.
  • Shamrock 2014 (thigh chaffing was awful)
  • Run for the Dream 2014: (Thigh Chafing)
  • Shamrock 2016 

Questions for you:

Have you run any half marathons?  How many?

What is your favorite racing distance?

hoka one one mach shoe review
Running, Running Reads, Uncategorized

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.

Ride:

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

Summary:

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?

Uncategorized

Mark Twain Diner

A couple of weeks ago, I met my friend Devon at the Mark Twain Diner.  I had heard it was a good diner and I was looking forward to trying it out.  After taking the Garden State Parkway with minimal traffic, we arrived at 5:30.  The diner was crowded, but there was still plenty of spots available.

Atmosphere: A
The Mark Twain Diner is open, and there are several different rooms including an entire bar and lounge area.  It’s much bigger than it looks from the outside.  The outside is a typical building.  It’s not a “retro metallic style” diner, but it was clean.

Mark Twain Diner

Service: A
The waiter was funny and refilled everything we needed.  Occasionally the manager jumped in and helped too.  It was evident the staff worked well together, and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Coffee: A
The coffee was good.  They brewed a hot pot, and I don’t have any complaints.  It was fresh.  It always cracks me up when they serve the whipped cream on the side, but I’ve seen that a couple of times at various diners.  I always appreciate logo coffee mugs too.

Mark Twain Diner

Food: B
There are plenty of options at the Mark Twain Diner.  It’s typical of what you see at a big menu diner.  There were about eight pages of menu items.  I hadn’t had a salad in over a week, so both Devon and I got matching salads.  Hashtag twinning?

Since the salad came with soup, I ordered for the Manhatten Clam Chowder.  I haven’t had red clam chowder in a while.  There was a lot of clam meat which is rare (often it feels like there is more potato than clam).  There was a little kick to it too.  It was some of the better clam chowders I’ve had.

Mark Twain Diner

The Greek salad came with lots of greens, tomatoes, anchovies, olives and feta.  It didn’t come with any pita bread which is unusual for a Greek salad.  Entrée salads should always come with bread.  Oh well, I ordered a side of pita as well as salmon which was good.  In all, the food was good.  I’m a strong believer entree salads should have both a meat and bread so it is always disappointing when they don’t.

Spinning Wheel Diner
Cost; $$

For my coffee and salad, the cost was $22.  It’s one of the pricer meals, and the salad wasn’t as big as similar salads that have cost that much.  It was decent quality food, so it wasn’t a huge turnoff.

Would I come back/Summary:
I enjoyed the Mark Twain Diner, and it was one of the better diners I’ve been too.  While it was pricy, the food and service were high quality.  It isn’t a diner I would make a special trip too, but it’s not bad either.  I had such a great time with Devon which is all that matters anyways!

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Cost; $10-25
Overall: B

 
Questions for you:
Have you had Manhatten Clam Chowder?
Do you like anchovies?

 

Uncategorized

Hiking Bear Mountain Part 2

As I mentioned last week, my husband and I have been enjoying hiking.  After getting lost last week and spending several hours on the trails, we wanted to go back, retrace our steps and conquer the trails.  There are hundreds of miles of trails at Bear Mountain, so it’s hard to run out of options.

The Appalachian Trail goes from Maine to Georgia...so plenty of Hiking
The Appalachian Trail goes from Maine to Georgia…so plenty of Hiking

Right now, I enjoy hiking because I’m able to be active without the worry of being injured.  Hiking doesn’t use the same muscles as running, and I’m able to hike completely injury free and “not worry about it”.   Even though my running is currently injury free, I still worry. During my injury, I’ve discovered a new and exciting hobby to be active.  Plus, it allows me to see various local areas from a whole new view (and of course new diners too).

We started off near the lake and hiked upwards.  The first 2 miles were nearly straight uphill to get to the top of Bear Mountain.  Fitbit told I climbed 100+ flights of stairs and two days later, I’m extremely sore.

At the bottom of the mountain
At the bottom of the mountain

We made it to the top and were able to see several different views including the lake we started.  It’s hard to believe how high we climbed.

bear mountain hiking 2

After that, we worked our way in a large loop around the mountain and to the opposite side.  We were able to see a faint view of NYC about 50ish miles away.  If you look close towards the center, you can see the New York City skyline about 50 miles away.

bear mountain hiking 1

Of course, we had to take a selfie as well.

hiking bear mountain

Finally about four hours later, we got back to the bottom of the mountain.  To be honest, I was more sore and tired than any run I’ve ever done. Hiking is a lot of fun and a serious workout. bear mountain hik

Other Hiking Posts:
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Hiking the Hollywood Sign

Question for you:
What is the most tiring workout you’ve ever done?
For me, I believe it’s cycling or hiking.

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