Garrett Mountain Reservation new york city skyline
Walking Garrett Mountain Reservation

Walking Garrett Mountain Reservation

Recently I was in Passaic County and decided to stop at Garrett Mountain Reservation in Northern New Jersey.  Located off Route 19 in Woodland Park, Garret Mountain Reservation is 568-acres.  Garrett Mountain Reservation reaches an elevation of 500 feet about sea level. I didn’t know until I visited that it is actually on several National Natural Landmarks in New Jersey.

Garrett Mountain Reservation covers the northern tip of First Watchung Mountain.

Most of Garrett Mountain Reservation is located in Woodland Park but Garrett Mountain Reservation also extends to both of the cities of Paterson and Clifton. When I arrived, I thought I was in Rifle Park or Rifle Camp but I quickly learned I was not.

Garrett Mountain Reservation

I’m glad I made it to Garrett Mountain Reservation because the view of the New York City Skyline was beautiful. The Lambert Tower and Observation Tower provide beautiful views of the New York City Skyline.

Garrett Mountain Reservation

Inside Garrett Mountain Reservation there are plenty of things to do including:

  • Main paved path (Morris Canal)
  • Grass fields and picnic areas
  • Walking and Hiking Trails (even paved trail)
  • Basketball courts, picnic areas
  • Barbour’s Pond is state stocked with fish for anglers
  • Equestrian Center with horseback riding lessons.

I also learned a few fun facts about Garrett Mountain Reservation including apparently, Garrett Mountain Reservation is a stopover point for migrated birds and there are over 150 species per year that stop by.

Garrett Mountain Reservation lambert castle

In short, besides hiking there is a lot to do at Garrett Mountain Reservation. If you just want the view of the New York City Skyline, you can take the single-lane road to the look out point.

Also located in Garrett Mountain Reservation is Lambert Castle which is located 0.2 miles off of the Moris Canal.  Lambert Castle has a parking area nearby and hosts the Passaic County Museum. If you are walking on the Moris Canal, it’s closeby. You can also host private events at the Pat DiIanni Boathouse.

Garrett Mountain Reservation new york city skyline

Since I had some time, I decided to walk on the Morris Canal which circles Garrett Mountain Reservation.  It gave me a nice view of the New York City Skyline as well as everything Garrett Mountain Reservation has to over. I enjoyed seeing the Garret Mountain Equestrian Center as well as the Lambert Tower.  In all, it was a fun stop and I hope to get to more Passaic County Parks soon.

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Where is your favorite view of the New York City Skyline? 

What is the last hike you did?

The Viand flatbread
The Viand (New York City)

The Viand (New York City)

The final diner I went to while in New York City was The Viand. I heard good things about it so I was excited to try it out.  The Viand is located on the Upper West Side and there is also a Viand Cafe as well as Viand in New York City.

The Viand

The Viand Atmosphere: A
The outside of The Viand stands out on the Main Street on the Upper West Side. It’s got cute shades, windows, and a closed outdoor seating area. When we arrived, it was already busy and we scored one of the last tables.

The Viand

The Viand Coffee: B
The coffee at The Viand was decent but nothing to write home about. It was hot, but there was nothing unique or unusual about it.

The Viand coffee

The Viand Food: A
The Viand menu has a combination of the typical diner as well as upscale items. A few things that stuck out to me were the huevos rancheros, burgers, flatbread, and pancakes.

For an appetizer, I decided to order the Mediterranean flatbread. The flatbread was one of the best I’ve had. There were olives, onions, tomato and feta. I have no regrets.The Viand flatbread

For my entree, I ordered the blueberry pancakes with whipped cream. An interesting combination of food? The pancakes themselves were excellent, and they were light and fluffy. I was pleased with my choice.

The Viand pancakes

The Viand Service: A
The Viand was great. The waiter took our orders quickly and the food came out fast. I couldn’t have asked for better service.

The Viand Cost: $
For the coffee, flatbread, and pancakes it was $25.

Overall thoughts/Would I Come Back to The Viand?
I liked Viand and I will be back if I’m in the area. The food was excellent and it was a great stop.

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

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Do you like flatbread?
What’s your favorite type of pancake?

Midnight express Diner pancakes
Midnight Express Diner (New York City)

Midnight Express Diner (New York City)

While in New York, I ended up at the Midnight Express Diner. Originally I meant to take the train up to the Upper West Side, but I accidentally ended up on the East Side. No big deal and a quick google search ended up with the Midnight Express Diner.

Midnight express Diner

Midnight Express Diner Atmosphere: A
The Midnight Express Diner sticks out on the corner. There are plenty of windows. I was lucky enough to score a window seat. For a diner in New York City, the Midnight Express Diner is actually fairly large with plenty of booths, tables, and a small bar.

Midnight Express Diner Coffee: A
The Midnight Express Diner coffee was brewed hot and fresh. Plus the waitress brought plenty of refills.

Midnight express Diner coffee

Midnight Express Diner Food: A
The Midnight Express Diner menu has everything a regular diner has. There are plenty of breakfast and brunch options as well as lunch too. A few items on the Midnight Express Diner menu that stuck out to me were the smoked salmon, benny bagel, greek quesadilla, open-faced sandwiches with hollandaise sauce.  Since it was the day before the New York City Marathon, I decided to order the berry pancakes.

The berry pancakes came with strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries baked in the pancakes as well as topped with more berries and granola. The pancakes were light and fluffy and one of the better diner pancakes I’ve had. Pancakes are risky to order at a diner because they are either good or thin and boring. Luckily these were good.

Midnight express Diner pancakes

Midnight Express Diner Service: A
The waitress was friendly and the food came out fast. In all, it was a positive experience.

Midnight Express Diner Cost: $
For the pancakes and coffee, the meal was $14.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to Midnight Express Diner?
I liked the Midnight Express Diner and if I come back to New York City, I would go back. It’s tough to find good pancakes and the Midnight Express Diner served them up.

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

Overall: A

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Where are your favorite pancakes from?
What is your favorite type of pancakes?

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten)
Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten)

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten)
I should tell you how I planned to go the Pearl Street Diner all along, but that would be a lie. While trying to figure out the train system in New York, I missed my stopped and ended up at the end of the line in the Financial District and near Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry.  I was hungry and tired so I decided to stop at the Pearl Street Diner on the corner of Pearl and Fletcher Street. I’m glad I did. The Pearl Street Diner is a no-frills diner in New York City.

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten)

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) Atmosphere: A
From the exterior, you can imagine the Pearl Street Diner is a step back in time. It’s built into a building (or maybe a building built around it). The inside of the Pearl Street Diner seats only about 20-30 people. There are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar. When I got there, the waitress ushered me to a small table so other parties could use the bigger ones.

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) Coffee:

The Pearl Street Diner coffee was brewed hot and fresh and the waitress made sure I had plenty of refills.

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) coffee

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) Food: C
The Pearl Street Diner menu has everything a stereotypical diner would have. There are plenty of breakfast specials.  I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for, just that I was hungry and tired. I decided to order the blueberry pancakes with whipped cream. The pancakes were good, but it was a small portion and I could have used 3X the amount. I would order them again, but I would probably order something else with them.

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) pancakes

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) Service: A
The waitress at the Pearl Street Diner was friendly and the food came out fast. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten) Cost: $
For my blueberry pancakes and coffee, the cost was $12. It was a tad expensive considering the size, but then again, it was New York City.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back to the Pearl Street Diner (Manhatten)?
I liked the Pearl Street Diner in Manhatten and had a positive experience. If I’m in the area again, I’ll go back. It’s worth the stop from Battery Park or on your way to the Staten Island Ferry.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: C
Service: A
Cost: $5-15
Overall:  B

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
Have you ever gotten so lost, you need to take a break? Just me, LOL?
Have you been to Wall Street?

TCS New York City Marathon me running
TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

TCS New York City Marathon (3:27.19)

The TCS New York City Marathon 2019 might be my longest race recap ever so hang on tight.  I’ve run the New York City Marathon two other times: 2013 and 2018. 

In early September, I pulled my hamstring which caused me to miss my previous marathon (Big Cottonwood in Utah). Around that time,  New Balance asked if I wanted to run the TCS New York City Marathon as part of Team New Balance. I love the atmosphere of New York City Marathon and it’s hard to say no. If it were almost every other marathon, I probably would have said no.

The goal of the six weeks leading up to the TCS New York City Marathon were to get my hamstring healthy. I got ART from Dr. Craig and rested. 2 weeks prior, I was able to do a very loose 20-mile run. I ran 13.1 miles at the Atlantic City Half Marathon (logging a personal worst there too) and slogged my way through 7 more. At that point, I was like how on earth am I going to run the New York City Marathon? My hamstring seemed fine, but it felt like I took 12 steps back when I was never in front.

I got to New York City on Thursday night. Danielle and I picked up our packets, did a quick scan of the TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) New York City Marathon expo and went to a diner in Jersey City. The next two days were spent trolling around New York City. New Balance had a shakeout run with Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson. It was a 2-mile shakeout run at the New Balance Pizza Co.

The theme of the TCS New York City Marathon was: I move me and inspiring people through running. It’s one of my more favorite themes from New York Road Runners.

I was on the sub-elite bus again for the New York City Marathon. This meant I got to spent the morning at Ocean Breeze (on Staten Island) amongst all of the elites and other sub elites. I exchanged good lucks with Sara Hall, and I sat within feet of Allie Kieffer, Kellyn Taylor, and Mary Kiettany. I enjoyed it last year and it was equally as fun this year.

First, the elite women off, then the rest of us.  Once we got off the bus, we threw out bags into the elite check-in. Initially, they said we could use the bathroom one last time, but then the line was too long and they made us head to the start. Unfortunately, this meant I started the race needing to use the bathroom. The start of the New York City Marathon is always amazing. They had music blasting and people dancing. They fired the cannons and before I knew it, we were off.  One thing I appreciate about the TCS New York City Marathon is the ability to track mile by mile with the New York City Marathon app. Not that it mattered to me at the time, but family and friends could do so.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

I spent most of the New York City Marathon being passed by people. The first mile of the TCS New York City Marathon goes up the Verrazano Bridge. This means it’s uphill and going to be one of the slowest miles you run. I hit the first mile of the New York City Marathon in 7:52.  All I could think was, wow, I’m in worse shape than I am. I knew it was a slow mile, but somehow seeing the clock beep at 7:52 and knowing (with my lack of training): I wasn’t going to negative split the race, I was nervous.

Luckily, the second mile of the TCS New York City Marathon cruises down the Verazzano Bridge and I hit mile 2 in 6:54.

The next few miles of the New York City Marathon alternate between uphill and downhill. There are very few parts of the TCS New York City Marathon that are flat. I kept my eyes peeled for a bathroom. I knew I was not going to make it through 26.2 miles without using the bathroom so I figured earlier rather than later.  Miles 3-5 of the New York City Marathon were all between 7:22-7:28. I felt fine and my hamstring felt fine.

Just after mile 5 at the New York City Marathon, I found a bathroom. I ducked in and realized I had to go more than I thought. I was in and out within 30 seconds and proceeded on. I hit mile 6 of the New York City Marathon in 7:55. I asked NYRR to pause the clock while I used the bathroom, but they didn’t so I didn’t pause my GPS watch either.

I took my first Maurten Gel around mile 5. I like to take gels every 5 miles of the marathon and Gatorade the rest of the time. Around mile 8 of the New York City Marathon, I saw Amelia in her Giraffe suit. I waved and she snapped this photo of me. During some of the water stops, I found myself weaving and before I knew it, my watch was not matching up with mile markers at all. I was slowly adding time and distance. While I tried to run the tangents, (because I didn’t want to run any further than needed), I also wasn’t that worried about it. I weaved around the course high fiving friends and I wasn’t going to stop in front of people.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

I hit mile 10 in exactly 1:15. Exactly the time I ran at the Cow Town 10 Miler a month ago. LOL, that’s not what is supposed to happen here I thought. I took my gel between mile 10-11 of the New York City Marathon. I could feel a cramp coming on, but after getting the water, it went away. The next 5k of the New York City Marathon was focused on getting to half. I knew the halfway mark was on a bridge. I hit the halfway mark in 1:40.12. I was already at 13.5 and I thought, ok, I am going to make a little more effort, so I don’t run 27 miles.

I thought if I ran a 1:50 for the second half TCS New York City Marathon, that will be under 3:30. It seemed doable, except I remembered my long runs for the TCS New York City Marathon were not there. I did 1 20, and 2 15 milers. I had no idea what to expect for the second half and rightfully so.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Mile 15 begins the dreaded Queensboro Bridge. Mile 15-16 is one of the hardest miles of the New York City Marathon. It goes over the Queensboro Bridge, it’s quiet, and you only have yourself to motivate you up and over. My legs weren’t feeling fatigued going up. During my New York City Marathon, the Queensboro Bridge crushed me and my legs never recovered. During the second, I felt ok. This time at the New York City Marathon, I felt fine going up but going down my quads were on fire. I hit my 15 going up the Queensboro Bridge in 8:17 and rolled right back down in 7:44. I didn’t feel “good” going downhill and actually felt better going up.

The roar, after leaving the Queensboro Bridge, can’t be beaten. That propelled me to a 7:25 18th mile. I saw a few friends, including Amelia again. After mile 18, my goal was to make it to 20. I told myself: okay, Hollie. You have 8 miles to go, then 10k. It doesn’t quite make it easier. When I hit mile 20 in 7:52, I thought this is where you enter the unknown. I imagined 8 min miles would probably be about what I averaged the last 10k. I didn’t care; I just wanted it done.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

The last 10k of the New York City Marathon is no walk in Central Park and the long inline at mile 23 burns. I saw many people stopping and walking. I knew it I stopped; I would never start again. My legs were tired from running, but my hamstring was ok. I saw plenty of friends and I tried to wave, but my arms hurt. I could feel chafing on my arms, legs, and sports bra. At 23 miles, I said: 5k to go. You like 5ks, 5ks are your favorite. I hit mile 24 in 8:32. My slowest race mile ever. I didn’t care; I was making it to the finish.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Then at mile 24 of the New York City Marathon, I recognized buildings I ran by during my shakeout run the day before. Okay, Hollie, you’ve run by these. 2 miles to go. I hit mile 25 in 8:15 and I felt better I was slightly faster. I knew I would be well above 26.2 miles and tried to prepare myself for that mentally. I hit mile 26 in 8:21 and just proceeded on.

The final countdown was there. I just focused on the New York City Marathon finish and what that would feel like. I kept trucking along and finally, I heard (in a familiar Ali F podcast voice:) Hollie from New Jersey.  I crossed the TCS New York City Marathon finish line in 3:27.19 and collected my things.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

TCS New York City Marathon Thoughts:

I’m happy with my time and effort at the New York City Marathon. I knew it wouldn’t be my fastest marathon and I was happy to finish healthy. It’s motivating to me, and I’m hoping I can resume training with a fully healthy hamstring.  I had such an enjoyable experience from before theNew York City Marathon to the end. For now, I think I’m done with marathons for a while. I prefer shorter distance and to get speed back.  Finally, thank you to New Balance for allowing me the incredible opportunity to run.

TCS New York City Marathon me running

Questions for you:

Have you run the New York City Marathon?

What is your favorite distance?

%d bloggers like this: