Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

Last weekend, I ran the Christmas Classic 5 Miler in Bethlehem, PA.  I haven’t been to Bethlehem since the Runners World half in 2017, so it was nice to go back.  I’ve run the Runners World 5k and half for a few years, so I know that Bethlehem is not flat. I wasn’t expecting a pancake course, and it did not disappoint.

The race started at 9:10 which was nice because my husband and I could sleep in.  We left the house around 6:45 am and got to Bethelam around 8.  Packet pickup was at the YMCA and there was plenty of parking. I don’t usually get excited about race t-shirts but a cotton long sleeve race t-shirt is the unicorn of running shirts.

Before leaving for the race, I hadn’t made much of an effort and threw a bunch of stuff in a bag.  When I got to the race, I realized I didn’t have a long sleeve shirt or my puffer vest. It was 20 degrees and I had planned to run in both. I almost ran in the race shirt, but since I had capris, I figured the tank and arm warmers would be fine.

I warmed up and felt decent.  Just as we got to the start, the 5k was off. The 5k started 10 minutes before the 5 miler. It was a crowded downhill start.  I found myself as fifth women overall. My legs didn’t feel great and just felt like I’ve started training again. I didn’t have a big goal for the race, just to get a hard workout in.

I hit the first mile in 6:35 and felt okay about it. Lately, I’ve struggled not to compare myself to earlier in the year, but I know that fitness will come again.  We caught up to many of the 5kers which was frustrating because we were going around many people walking 3-4 across. Finally, we turned off and went different directions.

During the second mile, I passed two women and found myself running side by side with a male.  He would tuck in behind me as if I provided some sort of draft for him.

I liked the course because I could get an idea of where I was in relation to other racers.  I saw my husband flying by and I was happy for him.  He had a rough week as well as a long flight the day before, so he wasn’t thrilled to be running.

We passed the water stop around mile 2.5 and I needed water. I hadn’t hydrated enough and I found myself probably getting a side stitch.  Unfortunately, due to crowding of the 5k and 5 miler, there was no way I could grab water. I didn’t stop and kept going.

I hit the third mile in 6:35 and felt decent. I knew the last 2 miles would be rough. We were at the lowest part of Bethlehem but the race itself had started at the highest peak. When we would go up?  It was a question I kept wondering…

We didn’t run back up in the fourth mile.  During the fourth mile, I found myself running alone and as the second woman, although I knew 3rd was coming up behind me.

Then around mile 4.5, we hit the hill. The 5kers were also climbing the hill and I weaved around people. I tried to run the tangent as best as possible but also not look like I was struggling, and just make it up. The entire hill wasn’t more than .25, but it was steep.  At the last turn, I high fived the local running store mascot and powered to the finish.

During my last .1 finish, I was weaving around 5kers trying to hold the next woman off. Two 5kers went to raise their hands, and cross holding hands but unfortunately one smacked me directly in the face. I looked overly dramatic but I wasn’t all that mad. I crossed in 32:46 which was a decent time for where I’m at fitness wise as well as for the course.me running christmas classic

I’m happy with my effort on the day. I’ve only run a few courses that have racers overlap at different distances and now I’ve done it twice in a row. 5

Questions for you:

Do you like themed races?

Have you ever run in the race t-shirt?

I thought it was borderline comical when I said I might end up doing that and the number of people that thought it was “the end of the world.”

Queen City Diner (Allentown, PA)

Queen City Diner (Allentown, PA)

Recently I was in the Allentown area.  As I mentioned on my hiking at Hickory Run post, I wanted to get through Philadelphia area traffic early.  It also left me with plenty of time to try a new diner.

Queen city diner allentown

Atmosphere: B

The outside of the Queen City Diner is that of a typical diner.  There isn’t a lot about the Queen City Diner that is unusual, but it is old, metallic, and shiny.  The inside resembles the quintessential diner with plenty of booths, tables, and even a salad bar.

Queen city diner allentown

Getting inside the actual diner was difficult because many people were congregated and waiting in the doorway.

Queen City Diner Allentown PA

Coffee: A

The coffee at the Queen City Diner was good.  One thing I appreciated was the fact they left a pitcher of coffee so I could manually refill it myself.  That ended up being great because the waitress didn’t come around much.

Queen City Diner Allentown PA

Food: B

The Queen City Diner has everything you would typically want in a diner.  There are plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.  Since it was around lunchtime, I decided to order an omelet.  It came with both hashbrowns and toast.  The omelet itself was good and was stuffed with plenty of filling.  The toast took an extra 10 minutes to come out after the food which was frustrating.

Queen City Diner Allentown PA

Service: D

To preface the waitress was nice but food took entirely too long to come out.  I think we were in the diner for over an hour.  When the food came out, it came out at different times.  One of my “pet peeves” is when food comes out at very different times.  I dislike when I get my food 15 minutes before someone else or vice versa.  The entire diner just seemed disorganized.

Price: $

For my omelet and coffee, the cost was $10.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:

The Queen City Diner wasn’t the worst diner I’ve been too, but definitely not the best either.  The problem was the disorganization with food orders and the waiting time.  I would come back to see if I just hit it at a wrong time.

Atmosphere: B

Coffee: A

Food: B

Service: D

Price: $8-15

Overall: C

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:

Do you have a restaurant “pet peeve”?

What is your favorite type of omelet? 

Walk Out a Mile and It Down Pours

Walk Out a Mile and It Down Pours

This is the tale of a hike that was supposed to be a hike but then wasn’t.

I was up in the Allentown area last week.  I needed to be up there sometime in the mid-afternoon.  If you’ve ever dealt with Philadelphia traffic, you know you don’t play games during that time (like any city really).  So I left early and ended up having 5 hours of free time.  I like to see various areas and had the day off, so I thought why not?  The drive could either be 90 minutes earlier or 2.5 later in the day.

There are a few hikes I’ve wanted to do in the general area, so I decided to kill some time and went up to Hickory Run State Park.  While driving up, the weather was beautiful.  There wasn’t any rain, and it wasn’t forecasted to rain.  It was sunny, but cooler for the summer (around 80).  I thought it would be an ideal day to hike.

Starting out at Hickory didn’t go as planned either.  I like Nuun when hiking and prefer the caffeinated Ginger.  I would prefer noncaffeinated ginger, but to my knowledge, they don’t make them.  (I’m not a Nuun ambassador and prefer something with more substance while running.).  With Nuun, I also eat food while hiking, so I don’t really eat gels.

Anyway, I accidentally dumped an entire canister of the Nuun into my pack.  So I didn’t see stars from that much caffeine, I diluted, but at that point, I knew the hike would be “one of those hikes”.

I started off on Blue Trail.  It’s a thin trail that winds through the forest. It connects both the Pine Hill and Sand Spring trails.

The path went along a stream crossing, and while trying to cross, I fell in.  I do have a pair of Goretex Brooks Cascadia which are fantastic but when you fall into a stream, there is only so much that will protect you.  As I continued along the trail, the skies opened up, and it started downpouring anyway.

Hiking Hickory run park

I wasn’t expected rain, so I didn’t have anything I would usually have like a jacket or hat.  I kept trecking along.  The trail was overgrown and the further I got, the deeper the water was.

Hiking Hickory run park

Around an hour, and probably only going 1.5 miles, I ended up turning around.  It was a trail I know I could have covered hiking 3 miles per hour, and I wouldn’t make it anywhere at the rate I was going.

Hiking Hickory run park

In all, I’m definitely happy I was up at Hickory Run Park near Allentown, and I do want to go back on a better day.  Nothing about the hike went as planned but I made the best of the situation and that is all I can ask of myself.

The park looks awesome, and there are so many fun trails.  I love NJ, but I’ve done 75% of the hikes here now!  I don’t regret the short but fun hike, I’m happy to be able to do it.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

You can see all the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you hiked in the rain?

Where is your favorite place to hike? 

East Penn Diner (Emmaus, PA)

East Penn Diner (Emmaus, PA)

Last month, I went to the East Penn Diner in Emmaus.  I took a day trip to the area but after running the Runners World Half several years now, I’ve been to many different diners out that way.  The East Penn is towards my way home, so I decided to make a quick stop there.

I arrived around noon on Sunday and it wasn’t too crowded.  It was busy, but not every table was filled and there was no wait.

Atmosphere: A
The East Penn Diner is everything you picture in a stereotypical diner.  The outside is a big, shiny, retro diner while the inside has multiple tables, booths and even a salad bar.

I sat in a booth towards the front which had plenty of space.

Service: D
While the diner was busy, the waitress only came to our table twice.  Even when we needed something she forgot and we waited an additional 5-10 more minutes.

Coffee: A
The coffee at East Penn Diner is good and that’s because it’s locally brewed Lacas coffee.  I was surprised to see it as far out as Emmaus but the coffee is good.  Plus the East Penn has personalized coffee mugs which is always a welcomed touch.  The coffee itself was good.

East Penn Diner Emmaus coffee 1

Food: C
The East Penn Diner serves everything.  They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  With multiple sandwiches, seafood, and entrees.  I decided to order breakfast and went with chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, and rye toast.

East Penn Diner Emmaus breakfast

Breakfast is difficult to mess up and they didn’t.  It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t the best breakfast ever. For the amount of time it took to come out, I was hoping to be wowed.  The pancake was a little overcooked.  It was a big portion and I was hungry, so that saved it…somewhat.

East Penn Diner Emmaus pancake

Cost: $
For my breakfast and coffee, the cost was $10.

Overall Summary/Would I Come Back:
The East Penn Diner isn’t bad but the service leaves a lot to be desired.  I would go back if someone wanted too but it wasn’t in my favorite diners.

Atmosphere: A
Service: D
Coffee: A
Food: C
Cost: $8-15
Overall: C

Nearby Diners I’ve Been: Trivet, Golden Gate, Jumbars

Read all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite type of toast?
What’s your favorite breakfast?

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?

 

%d bloggers like this: