Training: Every Type of Weather in 1 Week

Last week was a solid week of training.  Even though I didn’t race, I still had a quality week of training and a great workout.  Like many people in the Northeast, we had a little bit of everything weather wise.  On Thursday I swore I could have done my workout in a sports bra, followed by snow on Friday and then a deep freeze again on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday: Easy 40 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 45 minutes
Thursday: Workout
Friday: Easy 4 miles
Saturday: Easy 9 miles
Sunday: Easy 7 with 8X30 seconds fast
Total: About 57

Thursdays Workout:
3 miles (6:18)
3X5 minutes (6:15)
4X400 (5:58)

This was one of my better workouts in the last few weeks.  I feel as though if I had raced, I would have PRed in a 5k.

My easy runs were nothing of note.

Thoughts:

Next week I’ll be tapering and running the Shamrock Half Marathon.  It is my 6th year running the Shamrock half and one of my all-time favorite races.  While it’s not a goal race, I would like to do well, and my coach and I would like to see where I’m at physically.  That is, of course, if the weather isn’t like last year.

Running related posts:
Should You Race in Racing Flats?
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:13)

Questions for you:
How was your week of training?
How is the weather where you live?

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Four Seasons Diner (Toms River)

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Four Seasons Diner in Toms River. This isn’t to be confused with the All Seasons Diner.

The owner of the website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, and I met for lunch. Incase you’re interested we’ve been to several diners together including:
Park Nine
Daphne’s 
Sherbans
Fountainbleau
Jersey Diner
Freeway Diner (Now closed)
Broad Sreet Diner (Her 100th review)!

Holy moly, we’ve definitely been to a lot of diners together. One of her goals and jobs is to review all of the diners in the state, so it’s always great to get her perspective as well as learn about fun New Jersey activities going on!  You can see her review here.

Atmosphere: B
The Four Seasons Diner actually used to be an old Wawa. If you look carefully, you can tell but if you just walked by you would never guess. Inside the Four Seasons Diner looks like a typical restaurant, not a diner. It’s not bad, but it’s not an old metallic building. It’s a clean restaurant, but it doesn’t scream diner.

four seasons diner

Service: C
The diner wasn’t crowded, but we waited for a while to be sat. If it were busy, it wouldn’t have a big deal, but we just waited. We went long periods without seeing out waitress. She was nice. However, she left our table for long periods of time.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good. There was nothing unique or special about it, but there was nothing bad either. Four Seasons Diner Toms River

Food: B
The Four Seasons Diner had every time of diner food you can imagine. Toms River is right along the shore, and they have plenty of seafood options!  I’ve heard their red pancakes were good, so that is what I chose to order. The pancakes were extremely thick and came with a cream cheese frosting. Of any red velvet pancakes I’ve had, these were definitely the best.

Four Seasons Diner Toms River

My date ordered the pizza special which was interesting. It was more of a flatbread than pizza which was disappointing considering they have a brick oven.

Cost: $$
For my pancakes and coffee the cost was $12. Not bad!

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
Even though the service wasn’t the best, I enjoyed the Four Seasons Diner and there were a lot of specials I was interested in trying.  I would love to come back next time I’m in town!

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

Nearby diners I’ve tried: New Crystal Diner  (I need to get to more shore diners)

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite type of pancake?
Have you ever had Wawa?

 

Should You Race in Racing Flats?

As requested, I’m continuing the series of questions and thoughts from working in the running store.  If you have any questions or topics you would like answered, feel free to ask below.

Week 1: Common Questions Asked
Week 2: Today: Should You Run in Racing Flats?

As most readers know, I train in heavier and more cushioned shoes. Right now my favorite trainers are the Brooks Ghost and Saucony Freedom ISO.

Thinking out loud, when I race and do speed work, I use a lighter shoe.  Since I run high mileage, during daily runs I like the extra cushion and weight to keep me healthy.  Personally, it makes me feel more comfortable while training.

This post, however, is about racing flats!

How did I get started in racing flats? In college, we raced in spikes.  A spike is just a very light weight shoe with spikes at the bottom. Since college was on cross country courses, the spikes served to grip dirt and grass better.  Athletes running on the track also use spikes.

Spikes are similar to a soccer cleat.  You can’t run on pavement in spikes, or it wears down the actual “pointed spike, ” and they’ll break.

During the offseason and after college, I also wanted to race in a light weight shoe. I feel faster when I run in flats, and typically I do run faster.

There is no point in training in a flat because the goal of an easy run is not to run fast.

For comparison purposes, the average weight of trainers are about 10 ounces versus the average weight of flats are 5.

The first flat I ever purchased was the Nike Waffle. It was the exact version of the spike I used to race in (but without the spike plate in).

I’ve run every distance from a 1-mile race to my first marathon (which was dumb). To be honest, I raced my marathon in that shoe because I didn’t know any better. While I didn’t get injured from it, I will never do that again.  Most people (myself included) need more cushion during a marathon.

After realizing I liked a little bit more cushion in my racing flat than the waffle, I graduated to the Nike Streak Streak (I’ve gone through several models of both 1 and 2). The shoe is much softer and only weighs an ounce more than the waffle flat.

Keep in mind, what works for me might not work for you and it’s important to find a shoe you are comfortable in.  Out of any racing flat, I’ve had the Nike Streak LT racer has been my favorite (and no, Nike is not paying me to say that).

Recently, I’ve been running more in the Saucony Type A.

So now that I’ve given my personal background why choose to race in flats?

With less weight on your feet, it’s easier to run and increase your turnover. Think about it, less weight (to an extent…) produces faster times.  Carrying an extra few ounces on your feet for thousands of strides really adds up.

Disadvantages of Flats:

  • You are more prone to injury: since there is little to no cushion in a flat, you are more susceptible to injury.  Think about those who train solely in Nike frees or minimalist shoes…that is why it’s not a good idea to train in flats. If you train all of your runs in flats, you will probably hurt yourself.
  • It also takes longer to recover because your feet are taking more of a pounding from the pavement. I’ve always found myself sorer after racing in flats.

How to Get Started in Flats:

As most people know, I work in a running store and tell people the same thing whether it’s kids going to their first XC race, customers at work, blog readers or whomever…you have to slowly work into them.  

Don’t go run a 5k, half or marathon in new shoes. 

I recommend first trying a few SHORT training runs and seeing how you like them.

First try a (fast) mile, then 2 miles…then race a 5k.

Once you have raced a few 5ks, try longer distances.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is not to just jump into a race wearing flats. Not only are they a brand new shoe from your trainer, but flats are drastically different shoe than what most people train in!

If you go from never using a flat to racing a distance event, you run the risk of injury.

Personally, I love the feeling of racing in a different and lighter shoe.  I have no plans to change that!

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask away.  I really enjoy the benefits of racing in flats.  I do alway feel faster and stronger.

Questions for you:

Do you race in flats?

What advice would you give someone beginning to race in flats? 

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 Miler (24:13)

This was the second year I’ve run the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup 4 miler.

In case you wondered, you do get both grilled cheese and tomato soup at the end of the race.  Not only are there a lot of extra race perks, but the race is a flat and fast course.  In ideal conditions, it’s a great PRing course…This year, however, it was 15 degrees.  In fact, this is 1 out 3 races that I’ve run in pants!

Since I spent the last 8 weeks in 70+ degree weather with high humidity, I wasn’t acclimated.  After returning to New Jersey, there have been a few cold days but not many. When I saw the weather report, I was loathing running outside.

We got to the race start around 9 am and did a quick warmup. Even after my deep tissue massage, I didn’t feel as bad as I anticipated.  My body was still stiff, but I felt comfortable.

The race went off promptly at 10 am.  The first mile was chaotic with people.  We went around a big loop with uneven pavement.  About 1k into the race, we went on Washington Crossing Towpath.  I ran with a big group of men for the first mile.

My husband was further up ahead.  I crossed the first mile in 6:10 which I was disappointed in.  Effort-wise, it felt like I was running faster.  My strategy for 4-5 milers is to race them exactly as I would race a 5k…just go.

Washington Crossing is a narrow path, so it made it difficult to pass anyone.   During the second the mile, there was more headwind. It was a boring middle mile, and I just focused on chipping away.  I crossed the second mile in 6:07.

During the third mile, we made a u-turn and went back where we came. Personally, I like out and back courses because I find it motivating to see and cheer for other runners.  I got to see one of my good friends and coworkers, Anita, as she ran to a PR.  I caught two more people and ran a 6:03 third mile.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup 4 miler

The last mile of a 4 miler is always tough because if you treat it like a 5k, the final .9 is just a bonus round…I just focused on finishing.  I was surprised that my legs weren’t as tired as I thought they would.  During the last .1, I felt someone on my heels.  After being passed in the final strides of the Pensacola Bridge Run, I didn’t want that again, and I surged. It turns out, it was a male behind me.

I crossed the finish in 24:13 and as first female and fifth overall.  I was able to break the tape again which is always a fun experience.  My husband was third overall which is impressive because he only started running again last week after his marathon.

Afterwards, I had a workout.  Since running with Mckirdy, I’ve slowly gotten used to doing workouts after racing.   I changed into the Saucony Freedom ISO trainers and ran 2×2 miles (6:43, 6:53, 6:49, 6:53) which I’m happy with.

Thoughts:

This is one of my better races and workouts I’ve had lately.  I haven’t run a shorter race in a month, so it was nice to get faster turnover in my legs.  Despite the weather and how I personally felt, I was happy with my effort.

Questions for you:

What is the best grilled cheese you’ve had?

Do you run the same races yearly or do you like to change it up?

 

Training: Feeling Stale

Last week on Instagram I posted that I’ve been struggling both mentally and physically with running.  In March my goal is to get back to enjoying it. To be honest, I don’t think it’s so much of “I don’t like running,” I think my life is chaotic outside of it.  Between my husband’s job as well as my personal life, I’ve had a lot more than usual going on.

Last week, my coach, and I decided to skip a workout this week and focus on mental and physical recovery.  The week before, I had a frustrating workout.  My tempo was 40 seconds slower than the goal pace, and it felt difficult.  This week, we decided to back off, and I needed it.

I’ve also had a lot of personal life that has kept me busy.  Since coming back to New Jersey, my personal running has taken the backburner. I’ve had other priorities.  I realized that I was burning the candle at both ends and putting far too much pressure on myself!  Which is silly since friends

There isn’t much to say about my week.  I enjoyed a lot of easy and watchless runs.  I ran with my husband for several of them.

On Wednesday evening, I got a two-hour deep tissue massage which helped release knots in my IT band.  I don’t have any major issues, but my legs have felt stiff for the last several weeks.

Race: Grilled Cheese 4 Miler 24:13

Last year I ran and won the race.  It was the perfect race, and I felt great.  This year, going into that, I knew it wouldn’t be as great.  My body was still recovering from my deep tissue massage, I didn’t feel “great”, and it was 15 degrees. It’s always hard to enter a perfect race knowing you did well the previous year.

Even though it was significantly colder and my body felt as though it was still recovering, I was able to run 24:13 which I’m happy with.  I negative split the entire race and felt decent.

Plans for Next Week:

I plan to continue to relax and focus on myself.  With Shamrock in two weeks, I want to relax and regroup now versus feeling stale at the race.  Shamrock isn’t a “goal race” for me, but granted the weather isn’t like last year, I would like to see where my fitness is.

Posts from the week:
February Training Log
Thoughts While Working at a Running Store

Questions for you:
How do you regroup and refocus when things feel stale?
What was your best workout last week?

Scenic 90s Cafe (Pensacola)

While in Pensacola, my husband I decided to stop at the Scenic 90s cafe.  When we moved from Texas to New Jersey, we actually had lunch there previously.  Even though it was about 3 years ago, I remembered I really enjoyed it.

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Scenic 90s Cafe is everything you can picture in a diner.  The outside is retro and shiny.  It looks like an old rail car.  The inside has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.  You couldn’t ask for a more picture-perfect diner.

Coffee: A
The coffee was one of the best I’ve had in awhile.  The waitress refilled it often, it was piping hot, and it tasted great.  I couldn’t have asked for better coffee. Scenic 90s cafe pensacola

Service: A
The waitress was very pleasant.  She refilled our drinks quickly, and our food came out quickly too.  I was shocked because even though it was a Saturday at lunch time, our food came out within 15 minutes.  You can’t beat that!

Food: B
The Scenic 90s Cafe has a smaller diner menu.  They have several omelet and breakfast options and a few different diner staples such as sandwiches and fried fish. Their menu is one single trifold versus 10-20 pages like many diners in NJ.

I chose the Cajun Omelet with a biscuit and fresh fruit.  The omelet had Crawfish tails, Andouille, onions, peppers, and Cajun seasoning.  It was spicy, and I enjoyed it.  The fruit cup was fresh, and it was obvious it didn’t come out of a can.

Scenic 90s cafe pensacola

Cost: $
For my coffee and omelet, it was $13.  Most items on the menu are inexpensive and they have several specials as well.

Overall thoughts/Would I come back?
I enjoyed the Scenic 90s Cafe, and I would definitely go back.  The diner itself is very stereotypical and has everything you need in a diner.  The Scenic 90s Cafe is a great stop in Pensacola, and I highly recommend it.

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

Other Diners I’ve Ordered Eggs/Omelets at: Amys Omelet HouseAngelos Diner (Pitman, NJ)

Questions for you:
Do you like Cajun food?
Have you ever been to Florida?

Angelo’s Diner (Pitman, NJ)

Before Angela moved, we were able to go for one last run and diner together.  Despite Angelos being close and being ranked as one of the best diners in New Jersey, neither of us had been.  It’s a tiny, local diner and only seats about 20 people at one time.

When we arrived around 10:30 am, it was filled with locals.  We sat at the counter but then moved to a booth when one opened up.  

Atmosphere:  A
Angelos is the stereotypical diner.  You feel as though you are walking into a time machine. It’s an old metallic building on the corner of the street.  The inside only has booths and a full-length bar.  You seat yourself, and it’s clear it is a local favorite.

Service: A
Despite being busy, the waitress was friendly and refilled our beverages.  She was one of the nicest waitresses I’ve had, and she made it a point to get to know us a little bit.   For being crowded, the food came out extremely quickly.

Coffee: A
The coffee was often refilled and was always hot.  Like many stereotypical diners, It was strong.  Plus, there was plenty of whipped cream, so it was perfect.Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Food: A
The menu at Angelos is extremely small.  There is nothing fancy and it a typical greasy spoon diner.  You won’t find gourmet salads or fancy filet mignon.  There a few different types of omelets, pancakes, eggs and toast.  I decided to order two over easy eggs with fried tomatoes and rye toast.

Angelos Diner Glassboro Nj

Growing up in England, I loved fried tomatoes.  I haven’t seen them at too many diners so it was a rare treat and they were cooked well.  The toast came lathered in butter which tasted great, and the over easy eggs were perfect.  In all, it was a great meal.

Cost: $
For my meal and coffee, it was $5.50.  It was literally the cheapest restaurant meal I’ve ever gotten and will probably ever get.  It was excellent.

Summary/Overall Thoughts:
Angelos is a great stop if you’re ever in Pitman.  It’s a fast, inexpensive and great meal.  I wouldn’t go for a fancy date or anything, but it’s a great diner.  I’ll be back again.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
Cost: $3-7
Overall: A

 Closeby diners: PBs Diner and Taproom, Seven Star Diner

Questions for you:
What is the cheapest restaurant meal you’ve had?
Have you tried fried tomatoes?