Advertisements

Hiking Parker Loop at High Point State Park

Hiking Parker Loop at High Point State Park

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I woke up early and drove up to Northwest NJ for an all-day hike. We ultimately hiked 13.4 miles, and it took us about 6 hours.

We’ve wanted to get to High Point State Park for a while. It’s just over 2 hours away and the highest point of elevation in NJ. The Parker Loop Trail was about 15 miles long, but there were a lot of spots, you could quickly go off trail, or get lost. If we did it again, we would follow the blue path which ultimately takes you about 15 miles but is much easier to follow.

The trail itself is moderate. It was only difficult for a couple of climbs and also due to the length. It had everything from climbing, to scrambles, to stream crossings, and walking along dried up water beds.

It started off easy and flat. We wandered through the trail for a couple of miles before hitting a stream.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

I’ve never crossed a stream before, so it was terrifying. What if I fell in? My husband just went across like no big deal.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

After the major stream crossing, we followed the trail for several more miles. There are spots that it’s easy to get lost because the trail isn’t the best marked. We added a few sections and had to double back. Ultimately, we would have followed the blue path which does about the same thing but is easier to follow.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

We got to a beautiful campground and lake around mile 6. You can rent cabins and hang out there; it looks like a beautiful and peaceful spot to relax.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

As we kept going, we noticed how many large trees were down. New Jersey has had a lot of storms recently, so I have to wonder if it’s from that, but we noticed dozens, maybe even 100.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Around mile 9, comes the longest and steepest climb which takes you to the top. The view is one of my favorites, and if you look, you can see PA, NY, and NJ. (The Northern NJ tri-state).

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Finally, we headed back. Since we had gotten lost a few times and doubled back, we had no idea how long the trail would be for us. We ultimately did 13.4 miles.  It was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to doing a few more all day hikes before it gets too hot.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

You Can See More Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost?

During one of our first hikes, we got completely lost at Bear Mountain and ended up taking an Uber back. Thank goodness there was one. We learned a lot from that, and how to be much safer hikers.

What is the longest hike you’ve done?

 

Advertisements

Halfmoon Diner (Clifton Park, NY)

Halfmoon Diner (Clifton Park, NY)

While in New York, I wanted to go to a new diner. New York State, has plenty of diners throughout the state and I’ve been to a fair share from Long Island to the City, Albany, Syracuse, the North Country, and Buffalo.  It’s funny; when I went to college in Upstate NY, I spent the least amount of time in Albany. Since moving away, I’ve spent more time in Albany than the rest of the area.

When we arrived at the Halfmoon Diner, it wasn’t crowded, but when we left, it was clear it was the place to be.

Atmosphere: A
The Halfmoon Diner is everything you expect in a stereotypical diner. It’s a big shiny, metallic, building, with plenty of mirrors, and windows.halfmoon diner clifton park ny

The inside has plenty of booths, tables, a full-length bar, and a good looking dessert case.

Coffee (and Wine!):
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh. The waitress brought plenty of refills.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My meal actually came with a small glass of wine. I choose red, and it was delicious. It was the first diner meal I’ve had that has come with wine, so that was fun.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

Food: C
The Halfmoon Diner has plenty of specials. There is everything you want in a diner and with plenty of specials. I decided to order the “leg of lamb” special. It came with A LOT of food. Soup, salad, wine, and two sides. On paper, that sounds awesome.

I decided to order the beet salad which was an extra $3 but was worth it. The beets on top were great, but the lettuce was watery and had no green to it.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

For my soup, I chose the Manhatten clam chowder. This was one of my more favorite parts of the meal. There was plenty of clams and the red sauce was good.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My roast leg of lamb was drowning in brown gravy. It was dry and didn’t taste fresh. To me, it felt as though the meal was taken from a bunch of frozen food, reheated and brought out. I expected a leg of lamb, it was a few slices of lamb underneath brown gravy.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

My two sides broccoli and french fries were both frozen and reheated. The broccoli was good, but the crinkle fries were bland, and I was too full to finish them.

halfmoon diner clifton park ny

In all, the food was decent and right down the middle. It was nothing interesting or fancy but edible.

Service: A
The waitress was one of the best waitresses I’ve had at a diner. Our food came out fast, she gave recommendations for good options, and she was friendly.  She made the visit worth it.

Cost: $
For all of my food, plus the extra $3 for the salad, it was only $18.

Overall Thoughts/Would I Come Back?
The Halfmoon Diner was good. The food was boring, but there was plenty of food. It’s a stereotypical diner and a decent stop in the greater Albany area.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee/Wine: A
Food: B
Service: A
Cost: $8-$15
Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of wine?
Do you like lamb?

Training: Base Building

Training: Base Building

Last week began my “comeback” to running.  While I’m still not sure what I’m training for, I probably won’t make any decisions until 2019.  The rest of the year will be just consistently getting mileage in.  I hope I’ll be able to race more, but it will be weather dependent. I’ll race in the cold, but I won’t in icy conditions (something we definitely got last winter).

Monday: 10ish mile walk around New York City
Tuesday: 60 minute run in Central Park/Walking Around NYC
Wednesday: 6 mile run easy/ART with Dr. Trish
Thursday: Medford Lakes Turkey Trot (20:24) Total miles: 8ish
Friday: Easy 45 minutes
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 10 miles with 6 at 7:11

As mentioned, the goal for the next few weeks is consistency.  I plan to do workouts and race, but I don’t have any “big goals” right now. While I enjoyed marathon training more than I have previously, I have running missed shorter distances.  I want to consistently get back under 19 minutes in a 5k.

On Tuesday I got to run in Central Park. I’ve never run in Central Park outside of the marathon so it was cool to run in the park for a relaxing run.  I knew it was hilly, but I didn’t realize it was that hilly!

Medford Lakes Turkey Trot: 20:24

While it’s a Turkey Trot personal worst, I had a lot of fun. After getting active release the day before, my legs were sore.  I knew they weren’t going to be magically better while racing and it was what it was.  Combined with walking more than I have in a long time, I just felt stiff.  Immediately into the race, I knew it wasn’t my day.  I ended up finishing 4th woman and in 20:24.  While I know my legs can move faster, Thanksgiving wasn’t the day.  It was nice to get a shorter race in though and enjoy Thanksgiving morning with friends.

Friday and Saturday were both easy.

Sunday Tempo: 10 miles with 7 averaging 7:11

The goal was to go out for a longer run and see how my legs felt.  I didn’t have a specific time goal in mind for the tempo, just to get some faster miles in. The tempo itself didn’t feel like I was overexerting myself, but it did feel challenging.  I’m looking forward to consistently getting more tempos in.  They have been my favorite workout for a while, and I always appreciate how strong I feel afterward.

It’s hard to remember what it was like doing these runs both longer and faster but that is the beauty of fitness. I’m just glad to get back into it.

Posts from the Week:

Exploring Sandy Hook

Questions for you:

Do you prefer shorter or longer distances?

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Tick Tock Diner (NYC)

Tick Tock Diner (NYC)

Before the New York City Marathon, I decided to go to the Tick Tock Diner. I’ve walked by the Tick Tock before, and this was a diner I wanted to go too before the marathon.

Tick Tock diner NYC

Atmosphere: A
When Tara and I arrived around lunchtime, it was crowded, but we quickly got a seat. In fact, we got the most corner booth, but it was nice to stay private.

Tick Tock diner NYC

The outside of Tick Tock is bright, shiny, and stands out. It’s directly across the street from Penn Station, and you can’t miss it.

It’s the largest diner in Manhattan. There are plenty of booties, and tables, and even a full-length bar.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, but I could have used more refills. I also appreciated the personalized mugs.

Tick Tock diner nyc

Food: A
The Tick Tock Diner has plenty of options from breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. There are several healthy salad options and huge burgers too.

Tick Tock diner nyc

I decided to order the Tick Tock Pancake Trio which came with a banana pancake, cinnamon, and chocolate chip. Plus there was delicious cream cheese frosting too. To be honest, they were some of the best pancakes I’ve ordered!

Tick Tock diner nyc

Service: C
I was happy the food came out quickly but the waiter barely came over, and it took a long time to get the check.

Cost: $$
For my coffee and pancakes, the cost was $15.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back?
I liked the Tick Tock Diner, and it’s one of my favorite diners in the city.

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

You can see all diners here.

Other Diners I’ve Been to in NYC: Cosmic, Ellen’s Stardust Diner

Questions for you:
What are your favorite pancakes?
Have you been to New York? What is your favorite diner in the city?  I’m looking for more

New York City Marathon Race Recap (3:07.15)

New York City Marathon Race Recap (3:07.15)

New York…New York.

This recap will be long. It hasn’t been a secret after my last marathon I said I was tired of them and had no interest in marathoning. So for over 3 years, I didn’t. Then the opportunity to run New York in the sub-elite corral presented itself, and I knew I would kick myself for not taking it. I was nervous, and I knew, and I would be the slowest person in the corral, but I decided to go for it. Spoiler, I have no regrets.

View this post on Instagram

It moved me because I’m here.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

The morning itself was just as great as the marathon, if not better. I got to be around the best of the best. We boarded the bus and were off to Ocean Breeze. Initially, I thought being at the Ocean Breeze track would be ideal because if it rained or was inclement weather, I would stay drier. The weather was beautiful, and I spent about 3 hours just hanging out and watching elites and other sub-elites warm up. Not every person warmed up, and I was on the team no warmups (Running 26.2 miles is enough for me).  It was very relaxed and peaceful which made it hard to think…I’m going to run my 3rd marathon soon.

Since many people asked, I ate a waffle at 5 am, and then a bagel around 8 am. I get hungry in the morning and starting a race at 9:50, I knew it was the best option for me.  It’s probably a lot of food for most people, but I don’t like running on an empty stomach.

When I went to go pin on my bib, I realized OMG my pins had fallen out of my bag.  So like a goon, I had a race bib but no pins. I hung my head in shame and asked one of the volunteers (who was actually talking to Jared Ward) if they had any and they were able to get me some.

By 9:20, we were off to the Verazzano Bridge. We got back on the bus, and when we got off, I felt like I had entered a whirlwind. People were shouting, get to the bridge, drop your stuff off now.  NOW! The excitement finally dawned on me, that yes I was about to run 26.2 miles.

The professional men stood in front of us, then us, then about 30 feet behind corral 1. Since I was the slowest person in the corral, I stood at the back. It felt kind of cool to say; I am the slowest one here.  I chatted with several other women, many of whom, were going to attempt a sub 3. I knew that could be me someday, but New York was not that day.

All of a sudden, they were filming us, and the gun went off.  The first mile is up over the Verazanno Bridge. It’s 100% uphill because you are climbing a bridge. I ran a 7:28.  Many people from the first corral were flying by me, which was fine. I just stayed in a straight line and did my thing. I don’t really ever feel pressure anymore when people run by.  They do them…I do me…

The second mile was my fastest, as it was down the bridge, and I ran a 6:36. I knew it was downhill but seeing a 6:36 made me feel a bit better.  I didn’t have a time goal and I knew with the constant climbs, my miles would be everywhere.

New York City Marathon me running

For the next few miles, I settled into a groove. My goal was to make make it to mile 8. I knew that was where I had the highest chance of seeing friends, although I didn’t.  The next several miles of New York are also the flattest. I averaged between 6:45-6:55.  I could see the 3: 00-hour pacer up ahead but I knew I wouldn’t be running 6:50s up the Queensboro Bridge and in Central Park. I briefly thought about joining the group, but then ultimately decided it would probably cause me to blow up.

So I just kind of trecked along. I took my first Maurten Gel around mile 5. I have a stomach of steel, so most gels do the same thing for me. I felt the same as if I had taken a Gu. I didn’t need a gel at mile 5, but I planned to take them every 5 miles which seems to have worked for me.

Around mile 6, I felt my shoe untie a bit. I also had to use the bathroom, and some people will pee on themselves, but that is not me. I decided when my shoe finally came untied I would tie it.

When I hit mile 8, I saw no one I knew. I wasn’t really surprised, but the crowds gave me life.  I wasn’t bad, and I maintained miles in the 6:50s.

Somewhere around mile 9, my shoe came untied, even though I had double knotted it. I am a clumsy bafoon, and I won’t run any race with an untied shoe and hurt myself. I found an opening on the side and tied it. It took me a little longer than I had hoped because the double knot got wedged in there but I told myself, the more you “panic”, the longer it will take.  I dropped my gloves as well.

I had planned to use the bathroom too but there wasn’t one so I just continued on and never did.  With my stop, I logged a 7:22 mile. I asked NYRR to pause the clock for me while I tied my shoe…but they didn’t so I didn’t pause my Garmin either.

New York City Marathon me running

I hit mile 10 in just over 1:10. The next two miles, were two of the quietest from the crowds. I took another gel around mile 10. I grabbed Gatorade at every mile I didn’t take a gel, and water when I did.  I was mentally struggling for the next two miles, thinking about how far I needed to run.

Around mile 12, I snapped out of it because I knew the half mark was coming up soon. I reached 13.1 in 1:32 which was only a minute slower than the Air Force half marathon. I knew I wasn’t going to negative split and I would probably struggle to run another 1:32. I decided that maybe somewhere between 3:05-3:10 was probably doable. It would be a PR, but also it would be on a much more difficult course than my PR in Pheonix.

New York City Marathon me running

After 13.1, I began mentally prepping myself for the Queensboro Bridge. I stand by the thought that during my first marathon, mile 15 was one of the hardest miles I’ve ever run in my life. I needed to mentally prep myself to know, it would hurt.

Mile 14 clicked off in 6:55 and then I saw the Queensboro Bridge ready to be conquered. Ok…here we go.  Mentally in mind, I just blocked off the Queensboro Bridge as being “almost done”.  My mind just thought, when I was there, I was essentially done…which is dumb because after you still have 10 more miles.

New York City marathon me running

We began climbing…and climbing. It was quiet because there are no crowds on the bridge. Suddenly, I looked around and realized I had begun passing people.  It reminded me of when Des Linden said about the Boston Marathon: Well I wasn’t feeling great, but no one probably was, and I was feeling better than other people.  It was true, and I passed a lot of people up the bridge.  I hit ran the mile in about 7:30 which I was pleased with.

As we came down on 1st avenue, the crowds were incredible. During the downhill, I felt my inner thighs and quads locking up. It reminded me of my first marathon, but also my second. I never really felt good during either after mile 16. Was this it? Was I done?

But as I continued, I realized I felt decent.  Both miles 17 and 18 were relatively flat, and I saw Danielle who was motivating. I ran both in 6:52 and 6:56.

From then on, I began mentally counting down. First I counted down to mile 20. I reached mile 20 and said: “just a 10k to go”.  I knew last time, it was a very long 10k.

This time I didn’t feel as bad. The next couple of miles went without much note. I didn’t feel awful, but I didn’t feel like the beginning of the race either.

Somewhere around mile 22, I saw some friends including Hayley.  I waved and it’s where this photo was taken.

One of the prouder moment is that I was able to see and wave to so many friends from 20 onward. I couldn’t do that and in fact, I don’t remember the last 10k of the race from 2013. I guess I had tunnel vision.

When I reached 24, I thought, just another 5k to go.  Hollie you like 5ks.  Although one of the hardest and longest climbs comes around mile 24 and I ran a 7:27.  I knew friends would be between miles 25 to the finish, so I gazed along Central Park looking.  My legs burned as the neverending climb in central park continued.

I saw my dad around mile 25 and even waved to him too.  I’ve never been that coherent to wave to someone at mile 25 so I felt good about it.

New York City Marathon me running

The last mile felt as though it took forever.  It was my slowest mile, and I ran a 7:34.  I saw the sign “800 to go” and began sprinting (or what I thought mentally was).  I passed a man who was wearing too short of shorts which weren’t covering…anything. :O

New York City Marathon me running

OMG, that is two laps around a track.  I begin powering through.  Then 400 to go.  Then I crossed and averaged a 6:34 last .2.

New York City Marathon me running

I crossed in 3:07.15 which is my fastest marathon by over 7 minutes.  It’s 10 minutes faster than the last time I ran New York.  I’m proud of it.  A few days later, I’m not all that sore and I feel like I was sorer after both of the trail races I did this summer.

New York City marathon me running

Now that I’ve run a marathon and I had a positive experience, I do believe I could run faster at some point.  I don’t foresee myself running another marathon soon, but I do know eventually I’ll run another one. Yes, I have qualified for Boston and I don’t take that for granted, but that isn’t a race that interests me right now. I can barely plan 2 months ahead, let alone a year and a half.

New York City Marathon me running

I still like the half marathon and 5k better, but I am glad to have started and finished a marathon training cycle healthy and with a PR.

Questions for you:

Have you run New York before?

What is your favorite race distance?

%d bloggers like this: