Types of Summer Runners You'll See Out
DailyMusings, Running, Running Reads

Types of Summer Runners You’ll See Out

As we enter the summer months, it’s guaranteed you’ll see more runners and characters on the road.  Now with social distancing and gyms closed, many people have taken up the sport. Whether you know the runner, or don’t, you’ll begin to recognize many faces. Maybe you even fall into one of these categories (I know I do).

This follows suit from Exercisers You’ll See During Social Distancing.  Take it with a grain of salt. 

Types of Summer Runners You'll See Out

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Oofos Flip Flop Review
Gear Review, Running

Oofos Flip Flop Review

Oofos Flip Flop Review

A common question I get (especially in the warmer months) is: What kind of shoes should I wear when I’m not wearing running shoes?  During the warmer months, many of us choose flip flops, but not all sandals and slides are made equally. Seriously who goes to the beach in running shoes?

Oofos Flip Flop Review

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under armour copper mountain race me running
DailyMusings

A Summer of Fun

I can’t believe the “technical” summer is almost over.  I had one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time.

Not running wise, but life wise.  For many years post-college, I’ve looked back and said: eh what did I “really” do over the summer?

It’s usually the same: See a few friends? Go to the beach a few times? I always say I’ll do more things, but for whatever reason, I don’t.  Of course, like most adults, I have a job and other responsibilities, but I made time for things when I could.

This summer I made it a priority to get out of my house and do things.  On days I was off from work, I traveled somewhere new.  I didn’t spend oodles of money going across the country every day I was off work, but I did take time to explore various parts of the state, and see family and friends, and explore.

I was lucky to go to all of these states including new to me: New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine.

States I Went to this summer

I didn’t plan the summer to be like that, and if you had asked me in May my plans, I wouldn’t have had much.

The highlight was definitely for my 28th birthday, I decided to run the Copper Mountain 25k Trail Race.  Trails aren’t something I train a lot on, but I wanted to test myself and just do things I’ve never done before. I definitely don’t regret it, and it was one of the best parts of my summer!  I highly recommend the Under Armour Copper Mountain race!

I liked running on the trails so much, I went to Killington to run the 25k there too.  It was a whole different beast to conquer, but I’m glad I did.  I found Vermont to be far more challenging and technical than Copper Mountain, but it taught me: I can do hard things.

Those were my only two races in July and August.  It’s crazy to think, it was the healthiest summer I’ve had but the least amount I’ve raced.  I don’t regret that, and I enjoyed both races.

I feel like my summer can be broken into two sections:

June versus July and August.

I started June off with a bang.  Together with my parents, we visited one of my brothers in Newport, Rhode Island while he was in school for the Navy.  Since he is stationed overseas in Spain, I haven’t seen him as much the last few years, so it was awesome.

I also ran the Newport 10 miler in about 64 minutes which I was pleased with.

The rest of June was relatively quiet, but I ran the Inaugural Bungalow Beach 5 miler in Atlantic City. I was able to hold it together and win, even with the final few strides on the sand.

Then July Came:

My husband wanted to pick up car parts in Connecticut.  I had nothing to do, so I decided to go with him. We made it a weekend adventure and ran (can you believe?) my only 5k road race of both June and July.  We also hiked in Connecticut too. On the way home, I hit my 200th diner.  Despite it not being great, 200 in 4 years is neat.  Will I make it to 300?  Who knows. Here is a recap of the best/worst in 200 so far.

The month of July itself, was actually quiet except for celebrating my 28th birthday at Copper Mountain 25k in Colorado.  I ran and tested myself with one of the hardest races I’ve done (I do think Killington is harder).

Finally August:

I thought August would be a quieter month but it wasn’t at all.  The first couple of weeks of August were.  Then I went to Killington, Vermont and ran the hardest race I’ve done.  Killington was special to me for many reasons.  The biggest was, I got to see two of my closest friends from college, my freshman year roommate, Kierstin, as well as someone who helped convince me to start running, Justin.

Running in Vermont taught me I could do long races where I’m on my feet over 3 hours. It was the longest time I’ve been on my feet as well as the hardest race I’ve done.

On Labor Day weekend, my husband and I decided to drive back to the Northeast.  I haven’t spent much time in New England until this summer!  We had planned to go to Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. That was definitely overzealous for us looking back.  We are the type of couple not to have an itinerary and plan as we go (like we did when we went out west last year).  We decided midway through to skip Boston and save it for a trip in itself.

I ran the Boothbay Half Marathon in 1:29.50 which I’m proud of.  It was a hilly, hard, and hot day. I’m proud of how I ran with how difficult of conditions it was.

And now here we are!

Mid Septemeber and heading into the fall.  I believe fall will be just as great but in different ways.  I have no idea how long we will stay in New Jersey, and I want to make the best of everything while I’m here.  I’ve started increasing mileage and training again.  I do have a few races I’m sorting out, and once I figure that out, I’ll, share. For now, I’m heading to Dayton, Ohio this weekend for the Air Force half marathon again.

Questions for you:

How was your summer?

What is one spot you’ve wanted to go but never have? 

Shark river park monmouth nj
hiking

Hiking Shark River Park

Shark River Park (Neptune, NJ)

Last week I decided to stop at Shark River Park in Neptune, NJ.  Shark River Park was established in 1960 and Shark River Park opened in 1961.  It’s actually the oldest Monmouth County Park. Shark River Park is just under 1000 acres and located between Neptune and Wall.  There is plenty to do at Shark River Park including, fishing, hiking, and even hosts cross country races. There are also several picnic areas in Shark River Park.

Shark River Park has about 9 miles of trails.  I had planned to just check it out and walk about a mile or 20 minutes.  Even though I brought both a hard copy of a map and a trail app, I ended up getting lost and walking around 5 miles.  Since it was my day off and I had nowhere to be, it wasn’t a big deal, but I was glad I brought water out of my car as well.

Here are a few of the trails I covered.  I didn’t use a Garmin, so I can’t tell you how much of each trail I covered.  I do know I know I covered the entire Pine Hill trail since it was a loop.

Shark river park monmouth nj

Ceder Loop Starts at the center of the loop.

Shark river park monmouth nj

There is a “Fitness trail” at Shark River Park which is flat and would be great for running.  It has 20 stations with strength workouts.  You know…workouts I always say I’ll do with running and don’t.

Shark river park monmouth nj

The Hidden Creek trail at Shark River Park is about 2 miles long and connects to the Pine Hills Trail.  I only now I was on this one because I did cover Pine Hills!

Shark river park monmouth nj

Finally, the Pine Hills Trail at Shark River Park close to the Garden State Parkway and goes up a few small inclines.  It’s nothing unmanageable.

Shark river park monmouth nj

In all, despite getting lost, I enjoyed the hike at Shark River Park. I will say it was “comforting” to hear a few sounds of the Garden State Parkway because I knew I wasn’t “lost forever” in Shark River Park.

Shark river park monmouth nj

The take away is…don’t follow your gut…follow the trail map.   Maybe not eat mushrooms on the Shark River Park trail either…

Shark river park monmouth nj

I am definitely going to come back and run at Shark River Park, and I bet it’s such a fun cross country course.

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 hikes here.

Questions for you:

When was the last time you got lost? 

Are there any good hikes near you?

Hiking Hickory run park
hiking

Walk a Mile and It Down Pours at Hickory Run State Park

Hickory Run State Park (Allentown, PA)

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 at Hickory Run State Park. There are miles of hiking trails at Hickory Run State Park. I know a lot of runners and trail runners come to explore.

Hickory Run State Park is about an hour drive from Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York City. Located at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, it’s also an hour drive from Harrisburg, Allentown, Scranton, and Wilkes Barre.

Starting out at Hickory Run State Park 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, before beginning my hike at Hickory Run State Park 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”.

At Hickory Run State Park, I started 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 at Hickory Run State Park 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 at Hickory Run State Park, the skies opened up, and it started downpouring anyway.

Hiking Hickory run park

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

Hiking Hickory run park

Around an hour at Hickory Run State Park, 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 Hickory Run State Park 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 at Hickory Run State Park went as planned but I made the best of the situation and that is all I can ask of myself.

Hickory Run State 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 at Hickory Run State Park, 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?  Have you been to Hickory Run State Park?