Hiking Jockey Hollow (Morristown)

Hiking Jockey Hollow (Morristown)

It’s been a few months since my last hike.   With my husband deployed, and a busy schedule, I didn’t make it hiking.  Plus, I’m not hiking in zero degrees.  Anyway, as many readers and people know, I enjoy hiking as much as running.

Jockey Hollow is a large park located near Morristown.  Morristown, NJ has a sizeable military presence. Situated in Jockey Hollow park itself, the Wick House is named after Henry Wick.  It’s a 1,400-acre farm covered by forest.  A large number of trees attracted Washington’s army to the area as a winter encampment site because they needed logs to build cabins for shelter and wood to burn for heating and cooking.

The location is now open to the public and is furnished to portray its use as a general’s headquarters which is what brought us there. My husband enjoys seeing all of the different sites and spots that NJ has to offer.

Even with about a foot of snow on the ground, the trail is relatively easy to follow.  It was about 6.5 miles, and with stops and taking our time, it took about 3 hours.  It felt more of an easy stroll versus a rigorous hike up a side of a mountain.  There were a few people with children as well as dogs, but the trail itself is quiet.  I could see myself running there if we lived locally.

When we arrived at the trail, the cloud and tree cover made it much chillier than anticipated.  We started hiking on the road, and when we met the trail, it was time to hike through the snow.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

The trail went around a small frozen lake.  hiking jockey hollow morristown

Then we crossed another main road and had a few small climbs as well.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

hiking jockey hollow morristown

As we were hiking, it got warmer (around 35) some of the snow began melting, and it got swampy.  In case you wondered, I do all of my hiking in the Brooks Cascadia, a trail running shoe.  So far, it’s worked well. At the end, we stopped and paused for some good snow yoga…or snowga as it is also called.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

(Just kidding, of course, I’m not a yoga person, and I am as flexible as the tinman)

hiking jockey hollow morristown

The Jockey Hollow hike took us about 3 hours for 6.5 miles.  We stopped, and enjoyed the sights and didn’t rush through.  It’s a reasonably comfortable, scenic hike, and even in the snow, we saw several pets and families.

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?

Are there any historical spots in your area?

Don’t Just “Survive Winter Running”

Don’t Just “Survive Winter Running”

In both the summer and winter, there is always an abundance of articles about how to survive running.

Posts like that sometimes assume that we are only surviving the months.  Heaven forbid, we actually enjoy running in the summer or winter.

Most runners will tell you the spring an fall are the best climates to run.  Why?  Typically the weather is more enjoyable, there is more daylight, and it’s easier to get out the door.

Don't Just "Survive Winter Running"

I will say, thinking out loud, typically I enjoy running more in the fall an spring.  Usually, I’m not sweating my face off or waddling because I have a 100 layers on.  That doesn’t mean I hate running in the winter and in fact, all of my PRs are from either January or February.

When it comes to racing, the reality is many spring or fall races are either rainy, cold, too hot, or something else to complain about. So for argument’s sake, we will say about 3 months of the year are good running months.

Last year I wrote a post about gear to race in nonideal conditions which primarily was in the Spring.

That logic leads me back to the beginning.

How do you survive and even enjoy running in the winter months?

It’s something I’ve always battled.  I’ll be the first to tell you, yes I went to college 3 hours north of Syracuse but no I don’t like the winter anymore.   How that makes sense, I don’t know.  Even if it’s on the treadmill, I’ve enjoyed most of my runs and enjoy the feeling of getting out there.

Here are a couple tips to enjoy running during colder months:

If it’s too cold, run inside:

This could mean purchasing a gym membership or treadmill. There is absolutely no shame in running indoors when it’s too cold, dangerous, or miserable. You are a real runner wherever you choose to run and there is no need to justify it to anyone.  I don’t hate running inside.  There, I said it.  There are many podcasts or TV shows that can keep you entertained.

run treadmill me nordictrack

Layer Up: 

There are countless pieces of (expensive and inexpensive) running apparel to keep you warm.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money but it’s important to get the proper gear from windproof to waterproof.  Not many people love running in 30 degrees and pouring rain, however, with the proper gear, it’s not bad.

shamrock half marathon me running 2017

Proper gear made running in torrential downpours, wind and 30 degrees, “not so bad”

Now there are windbreakers, long sleeves, insulated tops, built in windbreaker leggings and just about anything you can imagine. Google can provide you with ideal layering techniques. Since I’m always ten jackets ahead of people, you would think I wrote the post for the arctic circle (when in reality I live in NJ).

Finally, Don’t Forget:

Just remember, running is lifelong. One run is not going to make or break you. If you are truly sick of winter running, don’t force yourself to run through the winter.  It amazes me how many people will compromise safety.  You are okay if you miss a couple of runs.  You won’t be okay if you slip, fall, and break something. Find alternatives that aren’t going to miserable.

Finally, as a public service announcement: don’t try and run fast on ice (run indoors if it’s icy). No run is worth falling and hurting yourself on ice.  I would know since I slipped and fell in a parking lot in college.   I ended up breaking my arm.  I know several friends who have raced in slick conditions, tweaked a muscle, and spent a month or two recovering.

How do you enjoy winter running?

How to Run through the Winter

The way to run through winter is…

The Treadmill…

Most people know, but I actually don’t hate the treadmillAll joking aside, there are other ways to get through the winter if you’re keen on running outdoors.  Last week was cold.  It was between 10-20 almost all week.  This last time last week, half of the east coast was canceled due to a snowstorm.  Thankfully, this week is better (for running).

As someone who went to college and worked in Upstate NY where there is often 2 feet of snow, I also understand everything is relative.  What is cold to someone living in Manitoba is different than Key West and there is no time for judgment.  If someone feels cold, they are and if you argue with them…it does nothing for anyone.

Personally, I’ve lived in several states that handle winter differently!  Both Virginia and New Jersey everything generally shuts down with any snow. (like last week)!  It never snowed while I lived in Texas but I do know several years ago, there was a huge ice storm.

In Upstate NY, it didn’t matter the conditions.  Heck, even a whiteout or blizzard isn’t enough to close down school, classes, or work.  Each area of the world is equipped to handle different situations.  Wherever you live, you are generally most assimilated to that weather and life.

hiking home from swim practice after this happened…during practice

With anything, it’s important to run and train smartly.

If you ever feel unsafe, run inside or rest.  There is never shame in that.

(In college, I slipped and fell on ice.  It resulted in a fractured humorous, and I wasn’t even running outside…I was just walking!)

Last week, I did my workouts on the treadmill because I was just happier inside.  Not happy or overjoyed but happier to run inside.

Another fun fact about winter training is that all of my PRs now are currently from winter races.

February 2015 Phoenix Marathon: 3:14.59

January 2016: Carlsbad Half Marathon 1:22.57

February 2016: Flower Show 5k (18:13) 

So thinking out loud, I’ve created a few tips for running through the winter.   

First and most importantly: Don’t be afraid to adjust your workout:

A few years ago, I was visiting friends in Rochester the weekend of my last long run. Rochester ended up getting a massive blizzard and running outside was unimaginable.  (You know it’s a problem when things in Rochester close!).

I ran my last 20 mile run on the treadmill (see why I don’t hate the treadmill).  It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t desirable either.  Running outside would have been unsafe and hazardous.  If I hadn’t felt good on the treadmill, I probably would have skipped the run altogether.  Luckily, I felt fine.

Prevent Sliding with Yak Trax:

You will be amazed at what a difference Yak Trax make while running outdoors.  You’ll be able to grip the ground and ice much easier and stay safe.  I cannot stress how awesome they are (no they aren’t paying me to tell you).

Don’t Forget: Main Roads are Plowed First: 

The main roads are going to be plowed before local roads and sidewalks.  Who knows, your sidewalk may never be plowed and may clear up when the snow melts.  Being smart with how and where you run is important.  Always run on the opposite side of traffic and don’t run down the middle of the road.

But Certain local roads are cleared Quickly Too:

My high school was located in a neighborhood, and the roads to and from the school were cleared quickly.  During winter storms I could often run a 1-2 mile loop around my high school.  Boring?  Yes, but if you like outdoors then that was your best bet.

Wind Protection:

Even when the temperatures are brutal outside, the wind factor can play a bigger role. Layering appropriately is important.  It’s not just about “wearing as many layers as possible”. 

Recently, I learned that Vaseline can be an excellent protection against the cold and wind. It’s waterproof and helps block the wind too.  I don’t know how I didn’t know that!

Rain and Wintery Mix Protection:

You can prepare for the snow but don’t forget about the rain. In my opinion, winter rain is one of the toughest elements to run through.  It’s important to appropriately layer.  My personal favorite jacket is from Gore-Tex.  I’ve run through 30-degree torrential downpours, and my long sleeve underneath has stayed completely dry.  While it is pricey, it’s worth the cost if you are running outdoors in the winter.

shamrock half marathon me running 2017

With that, winter running can be an enjoyable experience.  Training through the winter can set you up for Spring PRs.  At this particular point all of my PRs are in the winter, however, I have PRed in the spring too ha!


How to Race in Inclement Weather 

Why I don’t hate the Treadmill

Tips for Morning Workouts

Questions for you:

What are some tips you have to train through the winter?

Did you get snow last week?  How much?

Hiking Ramapo State Forest

Right before my husband left, we went on a trip to Ramapo State Forest.  It just so happened that we got snow the day before.  Luckily I had my Gortex Brooks Cascadia trail shoes which kept my feet warm and dry.  If I didn’t have them, I probably would have been miserable.  Since the trail was covered with snow, we got a little bit lost but still had a good time.  We were out for a long time (from 11:30-4:30) so when we got back to the car, I was exhausted.

Ramapo State Forest is located in both Bergan and Passaic Counties.  It is possible to see NYC. However, it was just a little too cloudy when we went.  We plan to go back in the Spring when it’s warmer (and hopefully not frozen).

When we got there it was fairly empty.  I imagine in the spring and summer, the small parking lot is completely full.  It started with a few small but slippery climbs.

Ramapo State Forest hike

Like I mentioned, I was happy to have my Brooks Cascadia Trail shoes because with the ice and snow, my feet stayed completely dry and I didn’t fall which seems to be the theme here.

Ramapo State Forest hikeMore steps to climb

Ramapo State Forest hike

Because the trails were covered, we got lost a couple of times.  You are never too far from main roads so for the most part, you can hear traffic off in the distance.  Which is actually good, because if we got too lost it would have been dark.   Guess who didn’t want to hike in the ice and the dark while lost?  We also crossed between Bergen and Passaic Counties which was cool enough to merit a photo.

Ramapo State Forest hike

Finally, we made it to the Lookout Point.  Since it was so cloudy, we just took a selfie and turned out.  I was disappointed we couldn’t see New York, but after viewing it from private flying, not a lot will compare.  We decided to take photos in our ugly sweaters.  We wore them all along, but as you can tell it was too cold to just hike in them.  In fact, I was freezing taking that photo alone.  The things you do for the internet…

Ramapo State Forest hike

As it got later and later, we realized how close it would be to dark when we got back.  We had started at 11:30 but hadn’t planned to be out until around 4:30.  Getting lost and being slower in the snow, caught up to us.  The moment I saw the car with five minutes of daylight to spare was one of the best moments of the trip. HA!

Ramapo State Forest hike

I liked Ramapo, and I would definitely go back in the Spring or Summer when the trails were more clear.  It was definitely an adventure when we went.  It reminded me of backpacking in Upstate NY when we went to college there.

You can see more hikes we’ve done here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked through the snow?

Do you have an ugly sweater you love?

Training: Ice and Workouts

Training: Ice and Workouts

Last week I planned to do a 5k, but with another week of icy conditions, I opted to DNS.  In college, I slipped and fell on ice (not running).  Ultimately, I broke my arm. To me, not worrying about falling and having a productive run on the treadmill is more than worth it.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 75 minutes
Wednesday: 12X400s
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 3X2 mile repeats 800 recovery
Sunday: 10 mile Run with Amelia and Danielle

12x400s with 400 recovery (average 5:58 pace)

This workout went well.  It was extremely windy on Wednesday.  I felt like a loose noodle the entire time and but 400s are starting to finally feel easier. The first time I ran, I average 6 min pace (or an 18:35 5k) in ideal conditions.  These averaged 5:58 in headwind so there is an improvement.

Saturday: 3×2 mile repeats (6:27, 6:27, 6:23)

I had wanted to race, but knew running on ice would not end well for me.  As I’ve mentioned, I slipped and fell on ice in college.  I broke my arm.  Now, I’ll occasionally run in snow, but I prefer to run inside. The race went on, but I didn’t show up.

The workout itself felt like a struggle to get through.  I counted down the minutes and didn’t feel good.  I felt better by the fact I accomplished the workout, but besides that, I can’t say it was the most enjoyable workout I’ve done.


I probably won’t race for the rest of the month.  I would have liked to race more than I did, but you can’t control the weather and if I hurt myself I would have been more upset than a “meh workout”.   It was a boring but successful week.

Posts from the week:

Brooks Cascadia 12 Shoe Review
Four State Vacation

Questions for you:
Do you ever run on the ice?
What was your best workout last week?

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