Training: Traveling and Hot Half Marathon

Last week was quite the interesting week.  Yay for some sort of excitement of training right?

As most people know from Instagram, I ran the Crawlin Crab half marathon.  I’ll go into more detail, but it wasn’t on my radar this year until last week.  I’ve always wanted to do it.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Easy 60 minutes
Friday: Rest
Saturday: East 45 minutes
Sunday: Crawlin’ Crab 13.1 (1:32.30)+2 miles

Total: 50-53 miles

My weekday runs were just that, easy, and uneventful.  If I had known that I would be running a half that Sunday, I would have probably run less each day or had an extra rest day because the half added a lot more mileage to my week.

Crawlin’ Crab 13.1: 1:32.30

On paper, this looks like a personal worst.  It’s over 5 minutes slower than what I ran just three weeks ago at the Air Force Half on an easier course.  However, at the start, the weather was 75 degrees and 95% humidity.  I felt as though I was swimming.

As I mentioned, I didn’t plan to run the Crawlin’ Crab, but when my husband’s plans changed, I was left with a weekend with nothing to do so I drove back to hometown to see my parents.  I had always wanted to do Crawlin’ Crab, so I toed the line of the half.  Having the hardest week, thus far in my training, plus the weather, made it easy to determine it wouldn’t be a fast race for me.  Everyone suffered from the weather, and even though I was swimming, I placed 4th female and 9th overall.

In all, I’m happy with the week of training.  It’s not what I expected, but the Crawlin Crab felt more like a workout versus a hard race.   I was more happy to meet my goal of having fun and seeing several friends.

Progression (I’ve decided to just keep the last 5 weeks to keep it less cluttered):
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)
Week 10: 50- 53 miles (13.1 miles workout)

Posts of the Week:
September Training
Why I Don’t Post Paces Online

Questions for you:
Did you race this weekend?  There were a lot of good ones!
What was your best workout?

Advertisements

Redz Restaurant (Mount Laurel)

Recently I went to Redz Restaurant in Mount Laurel.  I’ve driven by Redz a thousand times on the way to work but had never been.  For those not local, it’s also walkable distance to exit 4 on the NJ Turnpike, and one of the most accessible restaurant stops you can make.  While certainly not an NJ diner, Redz quickly became one of my favorite local restaurants.  

Redz invited me to try their bread pudding, as most readers know is one of my favorite desserts.  Sadly, my husband had a last minute trip, but I was able to go with one of my close friends who is also a pilot.  Funny enough, her flight was also delayed and it made her able to go because 2 days before, I thought I was going solo.  Which bread pudding is always worth it.  Planning anything these days has become laughable, but it all worked out.  

As mentioned, Redz is easy to find, as it’s directly off of exit 4 on the turnpike and attached to a hotel.  The inside is modern, clean, and with a full-length bar.  I would bring my husband for a nice meal, meet friends, or even bring my parents. 

While they do have a full-length bar,  I stayed sober since I was racing in the morning.  I didn’t pass up an opportunity to try their coffee.  Not that that is different from a typical restaurant!.  Their coffee was definitely one of the better coffees I’ve had in the area, which says a lot for an upscale restaurant.  

The meal started off with complimentary bread with butter as well as a oil dipping sauce.  I always appreciate unique bread baskets.  

In addition to looking forward to the bread pudding, I’m a big seafood fan, so I was looking forward to their newer healthy menu.  For an appetizer, we ordered the shrimp and scallops to split.  I will say the scallops were by far the biggest scallops I’ve had at any restaurant.  The entire appetizer was fresh with a ginger dressing.  Immediately I knew if we were starting there, it would be tough to beat.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I ordered the ahi tuna as my entree.  I haven’t had tuna in awhile, but I appreciated how well seasoned it was.  I had it cooked as recommended and I’m glad I did.  I would order it again.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The waitress still brought out the dessert tray, which to be honest I wanted everything.  Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

I had made my mind up days ago to get the bread pudding, and I’m glad I did.  She also included vanilla ice cream too.  

Red Restaurant Mount Laurel

The bread pudding changes weekly, so there is always something new and different.  Last Tweek was cranberry and rumor is next week its pumpkin.  The bread pudding was everything I dreamed of.  It was extremely rich with a caramel topping.  It was definitely one of the best I’ve had (even as someone who grew up in the south).  The waitress commented I was “the first person ever” to finish the entire thing.  I guess that is a runner’s problem…but it was that good. 

Everything from the service to coffee, to dessert, was top notch and both my date and I agreed our only regret was not coming sooner.  In case you wondered, I did well at the Dragon Run the next day so I would come here before races too (something I’m more picky about…). 

Will I be back?

Well, I promised my husband (since he already saw the bread pudding on Instagram) that we could go again…so I will be back in the next month.  Even if you’re traveling through NJ and need a quick stop off the turnpike; it’s a good option.   

I had a great experience and I cannot thank Redz enough for inviting me to try their menu!  While my meal was paid for, all thoughts are my own.

The Diner (Jamesburg)

With a name like “The Diner,” it must be good right?

A few weeks ago, my good friend Christine and I met at “The Diner” in Jamesburg.  It just so happened to be Christine’s birthday too!

Atmosphere: A
The Diner is very different than any other NJ diner I’ve been too.  It’s located on the main street of Jamesburg, and you feel as though you’re entering grandmas kitchen.  It even has a front door resembling a house. The inside is all hardwood floors with wooden chairs and tables.  While it’s not a stereotypical, diner, it’s nice, and I appreciated it.

Service: B
Our waitress was friendly. However, it took her a while to come back to our table for refills and a couple of requests.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good.  There was nothing unique about it, but it was decent diner coffee.

The Diner Jamesburg NJ

Food: A
The diner has most everything you want in a diner.  They have plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  They even have fajitas.  I did, notice, they were missing a large selection of seafood (which is usually common in diners).

There was also a handwritten page specials.  When I saw a Greek Salad with soup and a dessert for $11.50, I knew I couldn’t beat that price. Originally I wanted something else that would have cost $20+.

The Diner Jamesburg NJ

When the waitress mentioned split pea soup, I knew it was the soup for me.  Split pea soup is one of my favorite soups (next to lentil), and when it’s offered, I take advantage.  The soup was good, and I have no complaints.

Both Christine and I ordered the same Greek Salad and were pleasantly surprised by the size.  Normally on the specials menu, meals are smaller, but the salad was one of the bigger ones I’ve had.  Plus it had both chicken and sardines.  The salad was one of the better Greek diner salads I’ve had.  Special or not, the salad was good and one of the cheapest diner salads I’ve had to date.  It is definitely hard to beat.  Plus the garlic bread was delicious.  Typically greek salads come with pita, and while I missed I like pita bread, the garlic bread was a great substitute.

The Diner Jamesburg NJ

Dessert: A
For dessert, I opted for bread pudding and I must say it’s in the top diner bread puddings I’ve had too.  The Diner Jamesburg NJ

It wasn’t extremely mushy or soggy and still had the texture of bread. I was surprised by that too, especially, for it on the specials menu.

The Diner Jamesburg NJ

Cost: $
For my meals and coffee, it was $13.  That was extremely cheap for the amount of food I got.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
I really enjoyed The Diner, the food, price, and atmosphere is great.  I would go back.

Atmosphere: A
Service: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Dessert: A
Cost: $8-14
Overall: A

Questions for you:
Do you like sardines?
What is your favorite soup? 

September Workouts: I am Actually Training

September was the first month in a long time I felt like “running me”.  Not me in peak shape, or me ready to conquer a goal race, but just LOLZ that actually runs.

The other day, I had a conversation with someone on base and they said: “wow Hollie I’ve never seen you in running clothes before”.  But, the blogging world says the complete opposite or: “wow, Hollie do you ever comb your hair”.

It’s a funny thing, priorities change and running is always there.  With that, here is my log for the month:

Miles Run: 150-160
Paces: 5:55-10:30-mostly untimed
Shortest Run: 2 mile cooldown
Longest Run: Air Force Half Marathon
Rest Days: 4
Workouts: 1 (45-minute tempo run)

Races:
Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
Air Force Half Marathon (1:27.28)
Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
Dragon Run (19:06)
Favorite Race:
Air Force Half Marathon

Thoughts:

I’m slowly building up my mileage.  Most older readers know me as someone as who typically runs anywhere from 60-80 miles when I’m in peak shape and primed for a PR.  I’ve been working my way up there but have stayed in the 40s for the last month.  It’s been a good spot for me right now to balance everything between life and running.  If everything progresses as it has, I do plan to continue increasing my mileage into the 50s next month.

Air force half marathon dayton ohio me running

Other than that, I’m feeling good about my mileage.  Knock on wood, I’m healthy and injury free.  My plan for October is simple: to continue building my mileage and frequently racing as workouts.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

Running Posts from the Month:
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me
Techniques to Help Recover Faster
Staying Fit During the Off Season
How to Build a Running Base and Stay Healthy
Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Questions for you:
How was your month of September?

Care Free Training

I haven’t really posted about my actual training in a while or where I want it to go.  I post my training log and progression since coming back from my break, but quite frankly I’m just running.  I am enjoying the journey to get back to fitness and taking it one step at a time.  I have no interest in training for a big marathon (or a small one), and I don’t have a goal race picked out for any distance.  Thinking out loud, I’m just slowly working my way back.

And you know what? 

I’m enjoying how my running is going right now.  I have absolutely no pressure to do anything (not that I ever had pressure beforehand) but now I have even less pressure.  In training and sometimes even life, I’ve always been one to fly by the seat of pants.  Now more than ever, that is relevant.  With my husband’s career, I can’t tell you I’ll be in New Jersey for the next year.  I can’t sign up for a race 6 months out because I don’t know.  We didn’t know we would go down to Alabama for 6 weeks last January, until a couple of weeks beforehand. I missed races I had signed up before in NJ during that time.

In my training, I normally have a rough outline of the runs and workouts I want to do for the week, but I never have an exact plan written down.

For instance, during a training week, my thoughts begin like this: This week I’ll attempt to run between 40-45 miles with five miles of speed somewhere…is it a race…maybe I’ll have to see what is around…if nothing works with my schedule, I’ll just do a workout. That is the extent of my scheduling and planning.

So Does Not Planning Really Help Me?

I have actually found that it does and it does a lot.  First of all, I’m not obsessed with pace.  I don’t care. I could run 10 miles at 10-minute pace or 10 miles at 8-minute pace.  It’s still 10 base miles.  I’ll run with anyone that wants to run, whether you run a 10 minute or 8-minute mile.  That’s why I rarely post paces online, Instagram, or anywhere.  Because I don’t know and honestly, for training runs…I don’t really care.

When talking with a friend, I realized that it hasn’t always been that way for me.

I used to be obsessed with pace and numbers.  There was a point in my running career that I would run in the same 10-second pace range for every run of the week.  That pace was between 7-7:10.  Do you know what I gave myself?  The glorious gift of a tibial stress fracture on my 21st birthday.

Not to mention, during that period I never got faster, and I was miserable the entire time.   I was so antsy in training if my overall pace was 7:11+ and thought I had lost my all endurance.  It sounds silly now, but that is what the new runner in me thought.

Train fast to go fastRace myself and try and get faster every day.

For stat purposes: during that time of my running career, my 5k PR was 20:10.  I ran about 50 miles a week between 7-7:15 pace.

Now it’s 18:13 (and I had to look LOL).  During that time in training, I was running 60 miles a week with about 50 above 8:30 or even 9-minute pace.

My half marathon PR then was 1:36.56…now it’s 1:22.57.

But the most crucial piece is I enjoy going out to run without worrying about it.  For me, running is a hobby, and it’s something I want to do lifelong without stress.

So for me personally, not caring about pace has turned into continuing to improve on running.  Last fall, when my coach and I focused on paces, I found myself in a similar situation.  Burnout and not improving.

I can’t tell anyone how to train and what works for them and nor do I want too.  I’m telling you how liberating it is for me to be carefree about pace.

What it took for me to get to that point to relax my training wasn’t easy.  Honestly, without being injured or burnout, I don’t think I would have gotten here.  From injury, I quickly learned my body doesn’t respond well to fast runs every day.

I think I should have renamed my blog CasualLOLZ or something.

Relevant Posts:

Techniques to Recover Faster

Cross Training

Five Tips for Coming Back after an Injury

Questions for you:

What are your thoughts?

Do you schedule workouts every day or fly by the seat of your pants?

Run for Recovery (19:12)

A few weeks ago, I heard of the Run for Recovery which benefited a local drug treatment center.  As many readers know, my parked car was recently rear-ended by someone who was passed out at the wheel under the influence of opioids. Even before that incident, drug addiction has been an issue close to home.

After running the Dragon Run the day before, I had no time goals for the race.  I wanted to support something that meant so much to me.  To be honest, I would walk the race before not doing it.  If anything, it would serve as a good workout.  I’ve run many miles around the Cooper River Park, so I knew the area well.

I got to the race around 8 am.  It was scheduled to start around 9 but ended up starting closer to 9:15.

They made several announcements and a speech at the beginning which ultimately brought a few tears to my eyes.  Drug addiction can happen to anyone, no matter the family situation, age, or gender.  They asked everyone who had lost someone to addiction to stand at the front with the organization for a moment of silence, and that is when my tears began flowing. After that, we walked to the starting line.

Races at Cooper River involve about a half mile walk to the starting line.  I talked with a few people during the walk, and before we knew it, the race was off.  Immediately, I found myself in fourth place overall, which is where I stayed the entire time.

Since I raced the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  When I am in shape, I typically feel good the second day of racing, but I am not in peak shape right now.  The first mile goes over a small bridge and heads toward the opposite side of the river.

Since it’s a well-known park, there are plenty of people walking and running who aren’t racing.  There was a bit of weaving involved, but I shocked myself and hit the first mile in 6:02.  (Which was faster than every mile I ran the day before).

I have run one other race at Cooper River in which I call my ultimate regression run.  I ran something like 6:0X, 6:30 and then 7:00.  I thought surely that would happen here, but I attempted to hold on for dear life.

The next two miles went on without much excitement.  I ran a 6:03 followed by a 6:13. It was a beautiful day and ideal conditions, but I still shocked myself.  I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to run but it wasn’t faster miles than the day before.

For the entire race, I ran alone and chased the three guys in front of me (chase being relative as they were a couple of minutes ahead).  I weaved around people using the park for their Sunday morning runs.  I high-fived a little kid who was walking around the lake with his mom.  For me, it felt more like a workout that I was supporting a cause. I was at a race, but with everyone not racing around, as well as the race being more meaningful, it didn’t feel like it.

When I hit the third mile and saw it was longer than .1 to the finish, I wasn’t disappointed.  I knew I would have been under 19 on a perfectly accurate course, but I’ll save that for another day.  I have a love/hate with racing at Cooper River.

You can see me around 19 minutes finishing. 

I like it because it’s easy to park and normally cheap.  I don’t because the course is notoriously long and unlike this weekend, it can get extremely crowded on the trail.

I’m happy I was able to combine two things I’m passionate about: public health and running.  Very few races can do both, with the last being the Lake Effect Half Marathon.

me run for recovery cooper river

I feel happy with my progress so far in 5ks.  My next major goal is to consistently be under 19 minutes, which I hope is by the end of October or November.

Progression:

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1 Run for Recovery (19:12)

Questions for you:
What is a cause that means a lot to you?
Is there a local park that holds a lot of races near you? 

 

Dragon Run (19:06)

One of my favorite races of the fall is the Dragon Run in Swedesboro, NJ.  It’s put on by a local high school, and the money goes to a great cause.  Last year, I had a great race and was the first I was under 19 for the fall.  This year I did not break 19 but my legs were fatigued, and it was windy.  I had an enjoyable time though.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj finish me running

I got to the race, warmed up and by the time I knew it we were off.  It’s a big race, with a lot of high schoolers.  This means the start is crowded.  I was not bullying my way to the start with local high schoolers, so I found a good spot.  Once we were off, the first mile was packed, and I found myself running with local soccer players and a couple of cross country kids.  One kid was determined not to let a female beat him (because he told me that).  We crossed the first mile in 6:11.  To be honest, I was disappointed, but at the same time, my legs didn’t feel fresh at all.

I knew the course well and figured breaking 19 wouldn’t be in the cards.  I stayed along the two kids who helped keep me stay focused and not zoned out.  The second mile went around a 180 turn and over a few rolling hills.  I’ve had great training lately, but it means I’m not entering local 5ks “fresh.”  When you race as frequently as I do, you know that, and you ask yourself: are you going to taper for every race.  No, and use them as workouts.  The next mile went with little note, and we ran a 6:10.

During the last mile, I was tired, but the pack of guys I was running with started pushing so I did too.  We were two miles in so I was just holding on for dear life.  My friend that didn’t want a female to outkick him surged and I couldn’t keep up with that but kept pushing as much as I could. The third mile was a lot windier than the first two.  Around 2.75, we were joined by the walkers towards the finishers shoot.  You can see the finish from about .25 away and I always think the race will be short, but it never is. I ran the last mile in 6:03 and crossed in 19:06.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj finish me running

I was happy with my time, and while it wasn’t my fastest, I was happy with my effort level.  Last year I won, and this year I was second but enjoyed myself.  The overall winners won cupcakes from a bakery which I always enjoy.

Here I was telling the facility: I’ve been waiting for this cupcake since last year.

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

This ends my progression of getting faster each 5k but this time would come.  It has to end somewhere!

dragon run kingsway swedesboro nj me cupcake

8/20 Run the Runway 5k (20:54)
8/27 Philadelphia Airport 5k (19:45)
9/10 Flying Fish 5k (19:17)
9/23 Cherry Hill Book It 5k (18:59.8)
9/30 Dragon Run (19:06)
10/1 Run for Recovery (19:12)

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite race award? 
Would you rather run a small race or big race?