Flying Fish 5k (19:35)

To be honest, if I weren’t so excited all month to run the Flying Fish 5k, I would have skipped it.  The Flying Fish Brewery is a local Brewery with some of my favorite beer.  The race director is great, and we did a special group run with them a few weeks ago.

After running RNR last weekend, I can tell you I wasn’t recovering well.  It took me four days for my calves to loosen up, but they were still sore. On Thursday someone burst my bubble and said the temperature high was going to be close to 100. The race started at 10:00 am so I knew it would be a tough day.  I don’t typically like to race at 10:00 (I like the race over) by 9:00 but this race was worth it.

I woke up at 6 am and had no idea what to do beforehand.  The race was closeby do I didn’t have to leave early either.  After twiddling my thumbs for a few minutes, I opted to clean my house and head over.  When I got out of my car, I realized just how hot it was.  I easily picked up my bib, warmed up (which meant I just sweat more through my clothing) and headed to the start line.

The race announcer said the race was going off promptly which I was thankful for.  After the countdown, we were off. There was a lead pack of several men followed by two women, then me.  The first mile went through several turns and by the end of the first mile I found myself as first woman overall.  I was unsure if I would be able to maintain that lead throughout the entire race and honestly if it was another mile, I probably wouldn’t have.  I crossed the first mile in 6:08 which was my fastest mile after injury.

The second mile got hot.  I was running alone, but I knew the two women were on my tail.  I tried to power through, but my legs had minimal pep (which I know was from racing Rock n Roll the weekend before).  After running up the hill and doubling back, I crossed the second mile in 6:37.  I was worried it might be a 5k where I regressed the final above a 7 min mile.

The final half mile was a long straight away where you could see the finish line, but I knew it was coming.  Combined with the 93-degree heat and no shade, I knew it would also be tough.  I knew I had zero kick and that the second place woman was closing the gap.  I had to fight and dig deeper than I had to win.  Did winning fuel my fire? Maybe, but I also really didn’t want to log another 6:30+ mile.  I knew I could potentially run a post injury best, and I wanted to give that a fair shot.

I also knew I had zero kick and that the second place woman was closing the gap.  I had to fight and dig deeper than I had to win.  Did winning fuel my fire? Maybe, but I also really didn’t want to log a 7-minute mile.  I knew I could potentially run a post injury best, and I wanted to give that a fair shot.

I mentally blocked everything out and dug as deep as I could go.

I hurt.

I hurt a lot, but I didn’t injury hurt.

As I saw the finish line draw closer, I saw two kids holding a tape to break.  I powered through and crossed the third mile 6:18 and finished in 19:35.

Flying Fish 5k

I was extremely pleased for several reasons:

  • It was my fastest 5k after my injury, and I was injury free.
  • I actually showed up to the race, which I wasn’t sure I would in the heat.
  • I mentally pushed myself out of my comfort zone again.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m pleased with my time.  I do believe when my legs feel good and with a good weather day, my fitness is closer to 19:00 right now.  I might be biased but the Flying Fish 5k is one of my favorite 5ks because it’s hosted from one of my favorite local Breweries (Flying Fish).  If you’re ever in the area, you should definitely check them out (but you should invite me too).

Questions for you:
Do you have a favorite beer?
Have you ever run from a brewery?

Nutley Diner

Last month, we headed back up to North Jersey and New York State to hike at Bear Mountain State Park.  We wanted to have a big breakfast before hiking. You never know what can happen on the trails and the last thing I wanted was to feel exhausted in the middle of the forest.  It’s an excuse to go out for brunch and eat at a new diner.  What more could I want?

Nutley Diner

Atmosphere: A
The Nutley Diner is a big, shiny metallic building.  When we arrived on a Sunday morning, it was crowded. It’s probably a bad sign if a diner isn’t crowded on a Sunday morning.  That’s prime diner time.  Every parking spot was taken, and we parallel parked on the street.  Even though the lot was full, we were sat quickly.  I was pleasantly surprised they sat us so quickly.

IMG_6212

Service: A
As I mentioned, I haven’t been to a diner that crowded in a while.  The waitress refilled our beverages, and the food was brought out within 10 minutes.  That is great speed for an empty restaurant, let alone a restaurant where every table is filled.  The Nutley Diner was the fastest service we’ve ever received.

Coffee: A

I was surprised to see the Nutley Diner brewed local Lacas coffee.  Lacas is local to me in South Jersey and about 80 minutes south of the Nutley Diner.  The coffee was a darker roast and hot. I have no complaints. I like Lacas Coffee and buy it to homebrew at my house too.  One additional thing I like is restaurants that use logo mugs.  It’s not as common but I always think it’s a great touch.

Nutley Diner

Food: A
Like most diners, there were plenty of options.  Since it was breakfast time, I went with a Mederrenean omelette and bagel. While North Jersey bagels are no NYC bagels, they are better than South Jersey bagels.  I’m sorry South Jersey friends, but it’s true.

Nutley Diner

The Mederettean omelet was good. The omelet was baked, and it was large.  It wasn’t overly greasy and the there was plenty of feta cheese and onions.  I liked it a lot.

Nutley Diner

They added plenty of butter to the bagel. By plenty I mean it was drenched in butter but to be honest, I didn’t mind.  As a kid I grew up with butter dripped bagels as a treat.

Nutley Diner

Dessert: B
We ordered a black and white tuxedo cookie to go.  The cookie wasn’t amazing or terrible.  It tasted like a frosted sugar cookie that we split while hiking.

Nutley Diner

Cost: $$
For my coffee, omelet, cookie and bagel the cost was $20. It wasn’t bad considering all of the food I received.

Summary/Would I come back?
I enjoyed the Nutley Diner a lot.  It’s one of my favorite diners in the area, and I’ll be back.

Atmosphere: A

Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: A
dessert: C
Cost: $10-20
Overall: A

Questions for you:
What’s the fastest service you’ve gotten? 
What’s your favorite type of bagel? 

The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

This summer, my husband and I hiked a lot.  It was a fun hobby, and we saw a lot of neat and unusual things…most recently a bear.

Even though I’m a blogger and having content can be an issue I decided not to stop and take a photo “for the blog.”  In fact, photographing the bear didn’t cross my mind because honestly, I was scared AF.

This guy on youtube was bolder than me…who knows it could have been the same bear.

So let’s rewind to the entire hike.  We arrived back at the Delaware Water Gap around 12.  We had hiked to Sunfish pond the week before and wanted to go back and explore more trails.  The only thing that worried us was parking, but we shockingly found a spot pretty easily.  (There were around 100 cars in the park but grabbed the last one).

We decided to take the blue dot trail.  It was labeled easier than the Appalachian, but honestly, it was straight uphill for 2 miles.  At certain points, I wish I had taken rock climbing at my college.  Fun fact, for those who don’t know, I took backpacking at school…Delaware Water Gap

The first two miles were almost exclusively uphill on loose rock.  We were rewarded once we made it to the top and took some fun pictures up there.

Delaware Water Gap

We ended up taking a back trail which spanned about 5 miles.  We said we would turn around at 5 miles (because we didn’t want to end up getting lost).  Around 4.95, we saw two hikers coming in the opposite direction.  They said Sunfish pond was about 90 minutes away.  We figured it would be about the same distance to the pond as turning around, so we pressed on towards the pond.

Delaware Water Gap

No less than 15 minutes later we saw the bear in the middle of the trail.  Honestly, I stood there shocked, terrified and unsure what to do.  Would it attack? Was I a goner?  I looked like a deer in the headlights.

I was in pure shock.  I made eye contact with the bear, and he ran into the woods.  It was an older adolescent bear who probably weighed 300 pounds.  My biggest fear was that he was running towards his mom.  You never mess with a momma bear.  Even though brown bears are more harmless than Grizzlies, they are still wild and dangerous.

After the bear had left, we stood silent for about 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes felt like an eternity.  We continued along the path to Sunfish pond and never saw any sign of any bears.  We came across two other hikers, and my first thought was more people so we should be okay.

The rest of the hike went without any more issues. We saw a snake but other than that, we made it to Sunfish pond then hiked the 4 miles back down the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the hike a lot but seeing the bear was one of the top 5 most terrifying moments of my life.  I saw a few bears while running in college but they were far enough way they didn’t notice me.

Other hiking posts:
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain
Hiking at Bear Mountain Again
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Hiking to Sunfish Pond (where we were hiking in this post too)

Questions for you:
What is the scariest moment you’ve had recently?
Have you ever come into contact with a wild animal? 

Gotham City Diner

On the way back from hiking, we decided to stop at a North Jersey diner.  I heard the Gotham City Diner was good, and I wanted to see for myself.  Plus after long hikes, normally most things taste good.

Gotham City Diner

Atmosphere: A
The atmosphere of the Gotham City Diner is unique.  I always appreciate a diner that has a theme and concentrates on it.  The Gotham City Diner does just that. Everything focuses on the Gotham City (I.E. New York City).  They have several subway signs, street signs and memorabilia and paintings.  It’s one of the best-themed diners I’ve been too!

Gotham City Diner

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, but there was nothing unique or unusual about it.  The waitress did add plenty of whipped cream. Gotham City Diner

Service: C
The waitress was friendly. However, she seemed to forget about our table.  She only came back a couple of times and I could have used more drink refills as well as napkin (ribs are messy😉.  She came back four times: to take our order, bring out our food and bring dessert and the check.  I could have used a few more drink refills.

Food: A
The Gotham City Diner has plenty of options as well as several unique diner options.  They have a custom salad menu where you can make your own salad as well as a gelato bar.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a diner with either.

Gotham City Diner

After the hike, I was craving red meat.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered ribs at a diner before so I decided to go for it. The ribs were tender, and they fell off the bone.  They tasted great. The shoestrings fries were good as well and rib juice soaked right into them.

Dessert: A
After my hike, I had to order dessert.  Plus how many restaurants, especially diners, have a gelato bar? Gotham City Diner

 

I ordered the red velvet cake as well as the Cherry Garcia ice cream.  The red velvet cake tasted good. It wasn’t the best but plus was plenty of frosting.  If you know me, you know I love my cake frosting.

Gotham City Diner

The Cherry Garcia gelato was homemade, and I enjoyed it a lot.  It was my favorite diner ice cream to date, and I would highly recommend it.  If you go to the Gotham City Diner, you have to save room for their gelato.

Gotham City Diner

Cost: $
For my coffee, ribs, and dessert the cost was $30. That isn’t bad, considering most ribs at other restaurants are $20+.

Overall: B
I enjoyed the Gotham City Diner, but I do wish the service was a little better. Other than that, I enjoyed the food and the cake!

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B 
Service: C
Food: A
Dessert: A
Price: $12-20
Overall: B

Questions for you:
Have you tried gelato before?
Do you like ribs?
I have to be craving them but I like ribs.

Sherban’s Diner

Last week, the owner of New Jersey and I met up at the Sherban Diner in South Plainfield.  We’ve both been to most of the diners in Somerset and Middlesex Counties, so Sherban’s was one of the few we haven’t been too.

We met up around 6 pm on a weekday. There were only a few people in the restaurant.

Her website, New Jersey Isn’t Boring, has opened my eyes to so many different things the state has to offer.  If you ever venture off of the turnpike, I highly suggest you check out her website.

Atmosphere: B
Sherban’s Diner has an older atmosphere too it.  Not in the traditional old dining car way but it is in an older building with an older design to it.  It was clean, and there was nothing bad about it, but it could use a remodel.  It reminded me of a casual “mom and pop” restaurant.

Sherban's Diner

Service: C
When we arrived at Sherban’s, there were only three other parties in the restaurant.  After waiting several minutes for a waitress to come over, a waitress asked if anyone had helped us.  We said no, and she said she guessed she would do it.  She didn’t come around often, and I felt as if I was begging for drink refills.  She also never asked if we wanted dessert and assumed we did not. It took another 10 minutes for dessert.

Coffee: B
There was nothing unique about the coffee flavor.  I did like the cute tea mugs they used.

Sherban's Diner

Food: C
When I arrived at Sherban’s Diner, I wasn’t that hungry.  They had several options.  I knew the “cucumber salad” was one of their signature dishes, so I ordered it, and honestly, there was nothing interesting about it.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t unique or interesting.

Sherbans Diner Cucumber salad

I also ordered the “famous” Greek Salad with chicken.  The salad didn’t come with anything unusual. I don’t know why the menu states it is as: famous.  It was one of the most boring salads I’ve had.  Plus, they didn’t give any pita bread with the salad.  It might be the first Greek salad without pita I’ve had. Sherban's Diner

I ordered the Greek bread as a side which was honestly my favorite part of the meal.  Sherban's Diner

Dessert: C
I ordered the Coconut cake as a dessert to go.  The actual cake was dry, but the whipped cream frosting was good.  The shredded coconut was overpowering.  The cake was decent but once again, it wasn’t that unusual.

Sherban's Diner

Sherban's Diner

Price: $$$
For my cucumber salad, Greek salad, bread, cake, and coffee the cost was $25.  Honestly, it wasn’t worth the price at all.  Something I found entertaining, is they charged 25 cents for a to go box.  Sherbans diner recipt

I’ve never been charged for a to go box before.  Was the price worth the meal? No.

Summary/Would I come back?
Sherbans Diner wasn’t anything to write home about. It wasn’t terrible, and everything was edible. However, it isn’t somewhere I would go out of my way to go too.  In fact, personally, I probably won’t be back.  You have to take the good with the bad, though.

I had a great time catching up which was the important part to begin with…You can see Cyd’s review here.

Summary:
Atmosphere: B
Coffee: B
Service: C
Food: C
Dessert: C

Overall:C
Questions for you:
Have you ever been charged for a to go box? 
Do you like coconut cake?

Hiking the Delaware Water Gap

As I mentioned in a post earlier, hiking has been something my husband, and I have both gotten into recently.  New Jersey isn’t the state you think of when thinking of great hikes but there are a lot of different fun and exciting trails we’ve taken.

I first got into hiking when I was completely injured from running.  Hiking made me feel healthy and strong.  Even though I’m healthy again, my husband and I are still enjoying the adventure of hiking.

Earlier in the week we drove up to the Delaware Water Gap in north west, New Jersey.  It’s one of the furthest points from our house and took about 2 hours to drive.  We wanted to hike to Sunfish Pond.

Sunfish Pond is a glacial lake formed from the last ice age.  It took us about 4 hours for the entire hike.

This is always a welcoming sign:

bear county

After hiking about 3 miles, almost completely up, we made it to the top of the mountain.  It was a gorgeous view over the Delaware Water Gap and we could see into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

hiking sunfish pond view

We continued along the trail to get to Sunfish pond.  The pond was well worth the hike.

hiking sunfish pond 1

sunfish pond

t and i

We spent a little while out there and headed back home.  Since it has rained recently, there were a lot of small waterfalls and creeks.  Last time we hiked, most of the falls were dry!

hiking sunfish pond

Other Hiking Related Posts:
Hiking the Hollywood Sign
Hiking to Hemlock Falls
Hiking at Bear Mountain Park (Getting Lost)
Hiking Bear Mountain Part 2

Questions for you:
Do you enjoy hiking?
Is it flat or are there mountains where you live?

Time to Eat Diner

A few weeks ago, Caitlin and I met at the Time to Eat Diner.  The Time to Eat Diner has been on my to-do list for a while.  I’ve heard it’s good plus who can argue with that name?  Out of all of the names, “Time to Eat” is in the top.

When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don't worry, Chelsea looks great
When in doubt, I will close my eyes. But don’t worry, Caitlin looks great

Atmosphere: A
The Time to Eat Diner is located in Bridgewater, NJ after a semi-confusing roundabout.  It’s modern, clean and has been plenty of parking.

The inside is spacious with plenty of seating. You walk in next to a large bakery case. It’s clean as well which surprisingly has been an issue lately.  We were lucky to sit in a booth towards the front.

Coffee: A 
The coffee was great and had plenty of whipped cream.  The only thing missing was more coffee.

Time to Eat Diner

Service: B
The waitress was friendly, and the food was brought out quickly.  It might have been the fastest I’ve ever received food.

Food: B
It was exceptionally hot that day, and I was craving something cold.  I had only run half an hour but I sweat so much, and I didn’t want any hot food.  I ordered a Mediterranean salad.

Originally I wanted salmon, but they informed me they couldn’t do that, and so I stuck with the chicken.  When the salad came out, I was confused about whether it was chicken or salmon.  Both Caitlin and I stared at the chicken trying to figure it out: was it chicken?  Was it fish?

It was the fishiest looking chicken I’ve ever seen.  That being said the salad was filling, and there was plenty of chicken. When I ate it, it tasted normal, and I have no complaints.  I wish there were more mixed greens, but the salad was good.

Time to Eat Diner

Cost: $$
For my salad and coffee, the cost was $15. It was more expensive for the amount of food, but it was a good meal.

Summary/Would I come back?

I liked the Time to Eat Diner.  The meal was good, and there were plenty options.  It wasn’t the best diner, but it wasn’t the worst either.  It as odd they couldn’t add salmon, but that’s how it goes.

Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Cost: $10-20

Overall: A

Question for you: What’s the restaurant with the coolest name you’ve been too?