Workouts: First Track Session in Months

As many people know from Instagram, I’ve decided to begin training for 5ks.  While I’ll still run longer distances including half marathons, my main goal of 2018 is to break 18 minutes in the 5k.  I’ve been in that fitness before but have never run the race and never produced the results.

me running

Anyway, this week I went back to the track.  I haven’t done track workouts in over 6 months and probably closer to the year.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12X400 at 6:00 min pace
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Local 5k: 19:02
Sunday: Tempo


Easy runs, more than ever, are done extremely easy.  Sometimes I run above a 9 min mile or even higher.  For the most part, I don’t wear a watch or care about pace.

Wednesday: 12X400s at 6:00 min pace

For my first track workout in a while, it went well.  I know 6 min pace won’t get me below 18 minutes in a 5k.  However, my fastest 5k since coming back from my break is 18:41.  6 min miles would run an 18:35 which is still an improvement from where I am.  It would be unwise to start at a pace my body hasn’t run in over a year.  Slowly I will progress towards the fitness I want.

Saturday: Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

This race had a lot of other things going on, including messing up the race start time.  I only had time for a 1-mile warmup, had to race in things found in my car, and my stomach was a mess.  Yes, I blog about running and I like to run…no I am rarely “put together”.  Anyway, after my food poisoning reared it’s ugly head,  I sat in my car and decided what I should do.  Not that I wanted to be a hero and “finish any race”, but I hoped my stomach could hold out for 20 minutes…which it did.  My splits were 6:08, 6:03, and 6:06 so I was pleased.

Plus it finished on a field with 3 hairpin turns.  I don’t miss cross country that much.

Sunday: Long Run 14 miles (6.5 at 7:18):

On Sunday, I was feeling less than motivated but the exciting races at the CIM marathon, as well as RnR San Antonio, got me out there.  Once I got started, I felt good.

In all, I’m happy with the week.  It was awesome to watch so many people reach their goals, PRs, and dreams on Sunday at local races.  The next two weeks will be busy with things outside of running.

Posts of the Week:

Hiking Grey Back Peak Trail in Colorado Springs

Training without a Coach

Nike Zoom Fly Review

Questions for you:

How was your training last week?

Do you prefer track workouts or tempo runs?  Or races?



Meme’s Cafe (Zion, Utah)

While hiking through Zion National Park, my husband and I decided to stop at Meme’s café in Springdale, Utah.  There are a lot of small restaurants in the area.  With little cell service and other things to do, I didn’t scout out restaurants.  We saw a few listed and just chose Memes.

memes zion cafe

Atmosphere: B
We arrived around 11:30 on a Sunday and Meme’s was crowded.  That is one of the busiest times to eat out so if they aren’t crowded, that is never a good sign.  There is indoor and outdoor seating.  I wanted to eat outdoors. However, there was no room.  We sat inside at the closest table near the door.

Coffee:  B
The coffee came in a huge mug, with plenty of whipped cream.  It was brewed hot.  I noticed a sign on the front that said that one of their coffee machines weren’t working, but that was fine as the coffee was great.

Memes cafe zion national park utah

Food: A
Meme’s café is known for the crepes, so I decided to order the “Poppa’s Harvest Crepe” which came with apples, caramel, and topped with whipped cream. I can’t remember the last time I had a crepe, but the food was good.  It was stuffed with baked apples and topped with whipped cream.  So how could I hate it?

Memes cafe zion national park utah

Service: F
The service at Meme’s was terrible.  We came at peak time, which was no big deal and we are easily able to wait, however, our waitress was not friendly.  After waiting for several minutes, another waitress said: “your waitress will be right with you”.  Then another 5 minutes passed, and she came over.  We were in the restaurant for at least 20 minutes before ordering.  We watched as every other waitress was much more friendly and prompt with guests.  Finally, when it was time to pay the bill, the waitress brought back the credit card with food all over it.

Cost: $$
For the crepe and coffee, the cost was $11.

Overall/Would I Come Back?
I liked the food and coffee at Meme’s. However, the service was terrible.  I’m not sure I would go back.

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: F
Overall: C

Diners Visited on Vacation:
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)
Snooze (Denver)

See more diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is the worst service you’ve received?
Do you like crepes?

The Broad Street Diner (Hamilton)

Recently I went to the Broad Street Diner in Hamilton.  It’s only about 30 minutes from my house, however, it’s taken me about 3 years to get there.

Atmosphere: A

The inside is a lot bigger than anticipated.  It’s one of the top biggest diners I’ve been too.  The outside is a very tall building.  It’s  a big, shiny, metallic diner, but it’s a clean diner.  The inside has plenty of seating with a full-length bar, with plenty of tables and booths.  It’s one of the most spacious diners I’ve been too.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and the waitress brought over a container with whipped cream.  There wasn’t anything too special or exciting about it, but it was good.

Food: B
The menu at the Broad Street diner has pretty much anything you could ask for in a diner.  They have breakfast, lunch, dinner including seafood, steak, pasta, really whatever you want.

I haven’t had pasta in a while so I decided to order pasta with meatball.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered that a diner.

The meal was good but was bland.  It could have used some sort of seasoning (anything!) or maybe more sauce.  It looked and tasted as if they poured a half a can of sauce on top of pasta and cooked giant meatballs on top.  The meatballs were good.  In all, it was a decent meal but I would probably order something else next time.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Service: B
Our waitress was very friendly but at some points she was extremely quiet and it was hard to hear what she was saying.  I felt like I was constantly asking, what?

Dessert: B
I had been back and forth with dessert and ultimately decided to order the chocolate fudge cake with ice cream.  One thing unique about the diner is they have several flavors of ice cream instead of just chocolate or vanilla.  I decided to go with cookie dough ice cream which was a good choice.

The cake itself was excellent.  It was rich and tasted homemade.  The ice cream was definitely suffering from freezer burn.  It needed to dethaw for a few minutes.

Broad Street Diner hamilton

Cost: $
For my coffee, meal, ice cream, and cake the cost was $20 which was a good deal.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
I liked the Broad Street diner and it was a good choice.  Next time I’ll get a different meal but in all, I liked it.  Having several different ice cream flavors to choose from makes it unique!

Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Service: B
Dessert: B
Cost: $8-15
Overall: B

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Two Peter’s, Daphne’s 

You can see all 161 NJ Diners I’ve been too here.

Questions for you:
Where is the best pasta you’ve had?
What is your favorite type of cake?

Hiking Grey Back Peak Trail

The final hiking post on vacation was also in Colorado Springs.  The Grey Back Peak Trail is about 3 miles and follows a ridge up to a summit.  It’s a fairly easy and quiet trail, and we didn’t see a single person or horse out there (apparently, you can ride your horse).

It starts here on a somewhat single track trail.  You don’t climb much but just follow the straightforward trail for about 1.5-1.7 miles.

Grey Back Peak Trail

There are plenty of rocks to stand and take photos on, if that is your sort of thing. It’s one of the most scenic hikes we have done thus far because you have a view almost 100% of the time.

Grey Back Peak Trail The final hiking post of vacation was also in Colorado Springs. The Grey Back Peak Trail is about a 3 miles and follows a ridge up to a summit. It’s a fairly easy and quiet trail, and we didn’t see a single person or horse out there (apparently, you can ride your horse there).
Once we made it to the end, we were rewarded with a great view overlooking Colorado Springs. We saw several military planes flying too and from the bases. I joked, we can never truly get away from planes. 😉
Grey Back Peak Trail
On the way back down, I wanted to climb up one of the rocks. Most people know by now how clumsy I am, so it was better thought than done. With a running start, boost from my husband, and several attempts I made it up. It makes me look more bad@$$ than I actually am.

In all, it was a great short hike. We were out for about two hours. If you are looking for something relaxing with a great view, I highly recommend the Grey Trail in Colorado Springs.  It was a short but quiet hike.  With a view the entire time, it was one of my favorites!

Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon
Hiking 7 Bridges (Colorado Springs)

Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)
Snooze (Denver)

Questions for You:
Do you have a favorite trail?
Have you ever been horseback riding?

Training without a Coach

Training without a Coach

I’ve run off and on since 2011.  Throughout that time I’ve run in college with a coach, out of college without a coach, as well as out of college with a coach.

During each time period, I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I do believe personalized coaching is beneficial for many people.  It takes finding the right coach, both someone who works well for your running style, as well as someone who you socially connect with it.

A few weeks ago, a reader asked me to write about self-coaching and how I liked that.  Thinking out loud, all of my PRs have been set from self-coaching.  Good or bad, it’s just a fact.  I haven’t had a negative experience with any of my coaches. However, my schedule changes often, and I have found self-coaching to work well for me.

I’ve Learned a Few Things:

Self Coaching is Free:

First, I have a firm stance coaching should cost money.  You are getting a service, that you don’t already have.  To be honest, I’m less likely to even follow “free coaching” because I could do my own thing either way and not feel guilty.

You Know your Strengths and Weaknesses the Best:

First, running is a learning process. Your strengths and weaknesses change.  When I lived in the Adirondacks, I was much better at running hills.  Now living in a flatter area, hills are no longer my strength.  If you ever are next to me in the last .1 of race, know that finishing kicks are also not my strength.

You are More Internally Motivated:

My goals, and wanting to run are for me.  I don’t have to report to anyone, and I don’t have to “fear”, telling a bad workout, race, or anything else.

So How Do You Determine Workouts and Paces?

This is different for every single person.  

Personally, I use a few different methods.  In college, we used the McMillian calculator and could find appropriate paces for workouts from that.

When building mileage from a break (whether injury or just a break), I usually start with whatever feels good.  My first run back is never more than a mile.  From there, I add minutes to my run (not miles).  It’s important not to stress the pace when increasing mileage but just the time on your feet.

I also think looking back at your history with the sport is essential.  For me, I ran my fastest 5k and half marathon on “traditional training.”  I went to the track and did workouts like 400s as well as tempo runs.  That isn’t the case for everyone!

Many athletes run very low mileage with more core and strength.  If that is how you thrive, that is how you thrive!

Running is different for each and every person.  Many people thrive on a coach.  Many people enjoyed more of a laid-back approach.  As someone who spent years of high-intensity swimming, I no longer thrive on it both mentally and physically.

Related Running Posts:

How to Choose the Best Running Shoes (For You!)
How to Build Back Mental Confidence
Care Free Training
Who Cares Where You Run?

Questions for you:
Are you self-coached?
What are you currently training for?

Nike Zoom Fly Review

When Nike created the “breaking 2 project”, they created two shoes: the Nike Zoom Fly and the Nike Zoom Vapor Fly 4%.  The Nike Zoom Fly retails at $150, while the Zoom Fly 4% comes in at $250.  That is, if you can find a pair of Zoom Vapor fly 4% in your size.

The Zoom fly is a bit heavier and made for the everyday runner (or any runner not trying to break 2 hours in the marathon).

It’s made more for training.  When we first brought them into work, I wanted to try them because “everyone was”, however, I had plenty of shoes in my rotation.  Waiting enough time also gave me the option to buy a flashy red colorway too.

Nike Voom fly red


The Zoom Fly is more narrow than many of Nikes training shoes including the Pegasus and Vomero.  The upper is seamless so it’s able to fit wider feet.  They don’t make either in a “wide”.  I bought a women’s size 10 which is fine, but I do believe a 10 wide would be a slightly better fit.

Nike Voom fly red


The shoe weighs about 8.75 ounces for men and 6.5 for ladies.  While it’s not the lightest, it’s definitely a lighter shoe.

The Zoom Fly has  10 mm heel-toe drop so it isn’t minimal either.  The focus of the shoe is for “everyday” training.  It’s not the shoe meant to run sub 2 hours in a marathon but the shoe to keep you healthy during training.  Nike is in the process of changing many of their running shoes to the new technology you see in the Zoom Fly and Zoom Vapor Fly.

I’ve run just over 100 miles on it and I like the fit and feel a lot.  It’s soft and cushioned but not too squishy.  It’s responsive enough that I like to do workouts in it without my feet feeling too beat up.  I was doing workouts in either the Saucony Type A or the Altra Escalante but have found the extra cushion to be nice and better to recover faster.

One thing I will say is, similar to the Nike Lunarglide, there isn’t a whole lot of traction at the bottom.  On a rainy day or mud, be prepared to not feel as much contact with the ground.

Nike Voom fly red

Finally, something I shouldn’t comment on but I will is these are a good looking pair of shoes.  It’s always fun to run in a shoe that you’re like…wow these are sharp.

Personally, I see the Nike Zoom Fly as a tempo, speed, or racing shoe.  While I know many people who do the bulk of their mileage in the Zoom Fly, I personally need more cushion.

Current Rotation:
Saucony Freedom (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Glycerin (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Levitate (easy runs)
Hoka Clifton 4 (daily runs, easy runs)
Nike Zoom fly (workouts)
Altra Escalante (workouts)
Saucony type A/Endorphin (racing)

Questions for you:
Did you watch the Nike Sub 2 hours documentary?
What is your current favorite running shoe?

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (19:02)

On Thanksgiving, I ran a local turkey trot.  It’s one of my favorite races, and despite not feeling great, I still wanted to run.  This year my calves were extremely tight, and my food poisoning was not making my motivation any better.  During my warm-up, I had to stop 3 times for 3 miles to use the bathroom.

At the start, I just hoped I could make it from the start to the finish without stopping.  Not something I had much success with it at the Philadelphia half.

My local running club was wearing turkey tutus, so I decided to join in too. We all lined up, and by the time we knew it, we were off.  My friend, Erin and I had planned to run together and see how it went.

Medford Lakes Colony Turkey Trot 5K

The first mile is crowded, and we were surrounded by a ton of people including many high schoolers.  One high schooler elbowed me around a turn, and when I didn’t take it, he cursed me out.  I laughed out loud and just passed him and never looks back.  We hit the first mile in 6:07.  I can’t say I was overly thrilled with it, but you have to race where you are.

The second mile began to spread out and Erin and I were passing a bunch of people feeling decent.  She had also raced the Philadelphia half so wasn’t feeling the best either.  We could see the first and second woman just 10 seconds ahead.  We crossed a few roads and hit the second mile in 6:17.

The third mile became gritty.  Both Erin and I were struggling but just pushed forward.  We passed two younger kids.  The last mile takes several turns and goes around the school.  We both kicked as hard as possible.

Medford Lakes Colony Turkey Trot 5K

Not my most glamourous angle but that’s the pain of a 5k

I crossed the finish line in 19:02 and as third woman overall and Erin crossed in 19:03.  It’s great to have someone to run with.  Erin has beaten me in several races, and we are in about the same fitness.

Medford Lakes Colony Turkey Trot 5K

The awards are always handcrafted from the area which is fun

It’s not my fastest time on the course (last year I ran 18:30), but it’s important not to compare yourself to anyone, including yourself.  I know once my food poisoning passes out and the fatigue runs it’s course I’ll be back to feeling good and racing where I was in October.

Photos via Matthew Renk Photography 

Questions for you:
Do you have someone to race with?
Did you run on Thanksgiving?

%d bloggers like this: