Distance Series 10 Miler
Running, Training, Training Sub 1:25

Distance Series 10 Miler (1:10.07)

Distance Series 10 Miler (1:10.07)

The Distance Series is one of my favorite local races in Virginia. Since I grew up in Hampton Roads, I always have both family and friends racing.  The Distance Series has three races from January to late March to get ready for the Shamrock Half Marathon.  There are 10/15/20 milers in the series or the shorter series 6/10/12.

The last Distance Series race I ran was in 2018, the 15 Miler. It was one of my best races in 2018.  Usually, January is dreary and I like to take a short trip out of New Jersey. This winter has been mild, and in fact, the Distance Series was hot. I haven’t run a January race that was 65-70 degrees and humid in a long time (maybe ever).  It felt like I was running a late May race! Anyway, I still had an enjoyable time and even with the humidity barely missed my “A” goal of under 1:10.

Dad and I arrived around 8 am picked up our packets and talked to a few friends. I saw good friend Mollie and we decided to warm up together. It was hot and to be honest; my body didn’t feel great.  We jogged about 2 miles and then headed to the start.

Distance Series 10 Miler

The Distance Series 10 Miler went off promptly at 9 am. It runs on the Dismal Swamp Trail, which is a boring, flat, trail next to the Dismal Swamp. In the summer, it’s insanely buggy.  The last time I ran there was the day before my wedding in 2015, my how time flies.

My A goal was to run a 1:10.  Based on my 10k, my VDot indicates I’m in between 1:09-1:10 shape right now. I knew the weather was not ideal, so it was a stretch to run 1:09.  I hit the first mile in 7:01. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed, but I evaluated how I was feeling and knew I needed to run conservatively, otherwise it would be a death march to the finish.

I ran the next mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt better about it. For the most part, I was running alone and just lost in my own thoughts.  The 6 miler and 10 miler were together until mile 3, so it was tough to know who was running what. I wasn’t running for a place but more to see what kind of fitness I was in.

I crossed the third mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler in 6:57. I felt decent, but my legs were still stiff. I noticed we had a headwind, so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if the last 5 miles were tailwind…then I realized, did I really want tailwind with how hot it already was?

The next two miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler went by without much note. I was just plugging along. Around mile 4.5, I saw the leaders heading back. I couldn’t tell if it was a tailwind. All I wanted to do was get to mile 5 to find out if it was a tailwind. I crossed mile 5 in 35:10.

As we headed back, I realized it was no wind. The air was a standstill and the humidity was high. I felt like I roasted the last 5 miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler.  I just plugged along. Running in the Dismal Swamp can be mentally challenging because there are mile markers by the .25, so you literally count down. It felt like it was dragging.

As I was heading back, I grabbed Gatorade at the two remaining stops. I ran mile 5 in 7:01, followed by 6 in 6:57.  The miles felt like they were taking forever; I just wanted to be done. Something happened that I’ve never had happen before and that my leg started to spaz out a little bit. I think I was cramping due to the heat. Once I grabbed Gatorade around mile 7.5-8, it felt better.

The next few miles of the Distance Series 10 Miler were uneventful and I ran a 6:59, 6:58, 6:59. I wanted so badly to be under 1:10, but I realized due to not running in a perfect line and adding almost a 10th of a mile, I wouldn’t be there. I crossed mile 9 at 1:03.15, and I knew I would need to haul butt to be under 1:10.

Distance Series 10 Miler

I felt like I was powering during the last mile of the Distance Series 10 Miler.  I passed a few of the six miler races, but I had tunnel vision to the end. I saw the clock ticking 1:09.45 and I knew I was just a little bit off. I didn’t let that dampen my spirits and I still powered to the end. My last 30 seconds was about 6:12 pace. I crossed in 1:10.07.

Distance Series 10 Miler

Distance Series 10 Miler Thoughts:

I’m happy with my effort at the Distance Series 10 Miler.  If it was better weather, I would have run under 1:10 but can’t change the weather. My effort was there and I was much more consistent.  I didn’t “fly and die,” so I was happy with that. Plus, the last time I ran a 10 miler in October, I ran a 1:15.

I’m looking forward to my next race in a few weeks (a 5k).

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

How was the weather near you last weekend?

What is your favorite distance to race? 

 

 

hiking

Hiking Pocahontas State Park

Hiking Pocahontas State Park

On our way from Virginia Beach to Charlottesville, my husband and I drove through downtown Richmond, the capital of Virginia.

Pocahontas State Park is only 20 miles from Richmond. Even though I grew up 90 minutes south of Richmond, I haven’t spent as much time in the city as I would like. On our drive, it was a beautiful day so we decided to stop for a short hike at Pocahontas State Park. You don’t get many 50-60 degree days in December and I like to take adantage of all of them.

A quick google search found Pocahontas State Park on our route and it has 64 miles of hiking trails. There is single track, mountain bike trail, and hiking trails.

Pocahontas State Park offers plenty to do including hiking, boating, picnicking, camping, camping cabins, and even nature programs.  If you want to host a wedding or special event, they have banquet halls too.  Plus, like most parks, there are cabins and lodge, and boat rentals that are available seasonally.  It didn’t look like anyone was boating on Beaver Lake or Swift Creek Lake, so I assume it’s seasonal only.

There is also an Aquatic Center with a toddler pool, fountain wet deck, pools, and slides. I don’t know if I have been to a Park with an entire Aquatic Center, but the swimmer in me loves it.

The other unique component of Pocahontas State Park is the 2,000-seat amphitheater, which hosts concerts.

As you can tell, I’m fascinated with everything there is to do at Pocahontas State Park and I would love to explore the area more. I might be biased after growing up in Hampton Roads, but Virginia State Park System does a beautiful job with their State Parks.

When we went to Pocahontas State Park, we didn’t have a plan or even what trails we were going to hike. We kind of walked around and saw what we saw. It would be a lot of fun to spend a day or two in Pocahontas State Park.

Pocahontas State Park
Pocahontas State Park Amphitheater
Pocahontas State Park
Hiking along Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas State Park

Pocahontas State Park
I assume this is for bees

Pocahontas State Park

In all, we had a great time at Pocahontas State Park and I can’t wait to go back again sometime soon.

You can see more hikes here. 

Questions for you:

Have you been to Pocahontas State Park near Richmond?

Do you have a favorite spot to hike near you?

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe mixed vegetables
Diners

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe (Herndon, VA)

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe (Herndon, VA) 
While driving back to New Jersey, I decided to stop at Amphora’s Diner Deluxe in Herndon, Virginia. I’ve been to many diners in New Jersey, but not many in Washington DC.  One thing I appreciate is a diner open 24 hours a day.  There are fewer and fewer of them these days!

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe

I decided to stop at Amphora’s Diner Deluxe. We wanted to stop at a diner in that general area, and the online menu looked good.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe Atmosphere: A
The exterior of the Amphora’s Diner Deluxe is metallic, chrome, and shiny. If you’re looking for a stereotypical diner, Amphora’s Diner Deluxe is a great stop.

You walk into the giant and well-known bakery. There are plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe Coffee: C
The coffee at Amphora’s Diner Deluxe was brewed fresh and was dark. The mug said Lavazza.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe coffee

I was disappointed with the number of grounds in the bottom. A few I could deal with, but it was a sea of grounds.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe coffee

 

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe Food: A
Amphora’s Diner Deluxe menu has plenty of options from all-day breakfast, pages of salads, lunch, and dinner specials. The menu even has a whole page of vegetarian options too.

Since I was hungry, I decided to order the grilled mixed vegetables, which came with a medley of balsamic grilled Vegetables, including portabello mushroom, yellow squash, red and green peppers, onions, eggplant, tomatoes and carrots. It was delicious and I was happy with my choice. I will say it could use bread.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe mixed vegetables

For my entree, I decided to order the ratatouille bake. I can’t remember if I’ve ever ordered ratatouille at a diner before, but it was incredibly filling. It came with peppers, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, feta cheese and chickpeas over rice.

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe food

Amphora’s Diner Deluxe Service: A
The waiter at Amphora’s Diner Deluxe was great and friendly. He refilled my beverages, and our food came out in the blink of an eye.

Cost: $$
For my coffee, appetizer, and meal, it was $26.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to Amphora’s Diner Deluxe?
I liked it and next time in the Washington DC and NOVA area, I may be back.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: C
Food: A
Service: A
Price: $12-25
Overall: A

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s the best diner near you?
What’s one thing you like to do on road trips?

Exmore Diner Virginia
Diners

Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

Recently I was visiting my parents, and we decided to finally go to the Exmore Diner in Northampton County, VA. They have a home up there, and we’ve always said we would go, but the timing never seems to work out.

Exmore Diner Virginia

Exmore Diner Atmosphere: A
The Exmore Diner is small and is a big, metallic, shiny, diner. It’s a stereotypical diner. Everything you picture in an old school classic diner is true.

Exmore Diner Virginia

The inside of the Exmore Diner has a few booths and a full-length bar. When we arrived, the only seating was the bar. I haven’t sat at the bar in a while, so we decided to. Good thing we did because no tables opened up while we were there.

Exmore Diner Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, and the waitresses refilled it often. While they didn’t have whipped cream, it was good coffee.

Exmore Diner Virginia coffee

Exmore Diner Food: A
The Exmore Diner menu has has 20 different breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. You won’t find healthy options but you will find the standard diner fare from eggs, to pancakes, to sandwiches and fried lunch options.  It’s a small-town diner with a small menu. If you’re looking for a diner with a big menu or healthy options, there are very few.

Exmore Diner Virginia omelet

I decided to order the Western Omelet. It came stuffed with cheese, ham, and onions. It came with toast, and I chose rye. The meal was delicious.

Service: A
The Exmore Diner was busy the entire time we were there. There weren’t open tables at all. The waitresses all kept it moving, and our food came out fast.

Price: $
For my omelet and coffee, it was $9.

Overall Thoughts/Summary of the Exmore Diner:
I liked the Exmore Diner, and it’s a great small-town diner. I’ll be back.  If you are ever on the Eastern Shore of VA and looking for a place to stop, the Exmore Diner is a good one.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: A
Service: A
Cost: $5-10
Overall: A

You can see all diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite omelet?
What’s the smallest restaurant you’ve been to?

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running
Running, Running Reads, Training

Crawlin Crab Half Marathon 1:30.02

Crawlin Crab Half Marathon (1:30.02)

The Crawlin Crab Half Marathon presented by Bon Secours in Motion is a well put together race from J&A Racing. It runs through historic downtown Hampton Virginia. There is a 5k, kids kilometer, and a “shell yeah” challenge if you do both. The post race party features a brew fest with live music, Baker’s Crust Kickin Corn and Crab Chowder plus Craft Beer.  The Crawlin Crab Half Marathon is a flat, fast course, if the weather is good. I think it could easily be the fastest half marathon course I’ve run, but weather in Virginia is dicey that time of year.

The Crawlin Crab Hal Marathon had similar conditions to last year and the Air Force half marathon in Dayton.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was really hoping for a good day to test my fitness, but you can’t control the weather. I raced for the day and 1:30.02 is what happened.

The Crawlin Crab Half Marathon started at 7:30 am.  My dad and I thought it was 8:30 until the day before, so it was a pleasant surprise. I got there around 6:30, chatted with friends and then headed to the start line. I saw Mollie, and we talked for a bit.  All of a sudden we were off.

At the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, it was a hot, humid, day.  Online the weather said, 79 degrees but it was extremely humid. I struggled to get into a groove the first 2 miles of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon.  There were several people in front of me, and I just felt like I couldn’t get going.  I saw my good friend Andrew, and we chatted for a few seconds.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

Then he was gone, and I found myself listening to a conversation between runners talking about a recent Ironman.  I had nothing of value to add to the discussion so I just listened. I hit the first 2 miles of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon around 6:45 pace.  I was happy with that but also knew what happened to my race last year.

(Essentially I ran that pace for 9 miles and then bonked because the humidity got to me).  I didn’t think with the weather; it was a pace I could hold throughout the race.

Around mile 3 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, it was just me and a female triathlete chatting away and just talking about life.  The mile clicked by.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

I hit the 5k of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon in 20:54, which was fairly fast considering the heat and the 5ks I’ve run this training cycle.

The next section of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon was lonely, and I ran most of the rest of the race alone.  I could see people in front, which gave me motivation but no one around me to commiserate with. I grabbed water and Gatorade at every stop.  It’s too hot not too, and because I don’t carry anything with me, it was the best option.

I saw the race director Jerry (J from J&A), and it was nice motivation.  Jerry is out at every one of the races from Shamrock to Crawlin Crab and the rest (most of which I’ve done).

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

I hit mile 4 and 5 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon around 6:55 and I told myself, just stay calm.  If you go out too hard now, you will suffer from humidity.  I didn’t feel bad, just hot.

We turned and ran along the coast.  This section of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon course can be beautiful if it’s not hot.  Since I’ve only run Crawlin Crab Half Marathon when it’s hot, it’s one of my least favorite areas.  You are running and just baking in the heat along the water. It’s hot, the air is still, and there is zero shade.

I hit the halfway point of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon around 44:30.  I didn’t really think under 1:30 was doable. It wasn’t even on my radar. Last year, I ran but suffered a lot from dehydration and heat in the last 4 miles.  I was at a similar pace and ended up running a 1:32 and “crawled” to the finish line.

I kept clicking along, and mile 7-9 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon were the most difficult for me. I just kept focusing on the mile I was in and not what else I needed to get done. I grabbed water and Gatorade, and every water stop was welcomed.  To be honest, I could have used more water, and I drank a lot.

Mile 9 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon went back along the streets towards the Coliseum.  This was the section I was dreading.  I distinctly remember the moment last year that Ithe humidity hit me. My only goal was to continue feeling strong.

I could see a couple of women in the distance, and it gave me the motivation to run faster.  I knew I was somewhere in the top 10 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon but no idea where. At mile 10 o the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, I looked down and realized I was right on a 1:30 half time.  Could I break 1:30 at the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon? I also knew two hills were coming up at mile 11 and 12.5.  The last 3 miles are the hardest part of the course.  The Crawlin Crab Half Marathon is a very flat course except for two hills towards the end.  It can be a PR course if the weather is right.

Having something to keep me engaged in the race, seemed to take my mind off of the weather.  I passed one woman and kept going.  Around mile 11 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, I found Andrew again, and we discussed how unforgiving the course was with no shade.

I charged up the first entrance ramp and coasted back down. I don’t mind running up highway ramps because I think they make the miles go by faster. I’m good at uphill and terrible at steep downhills.

Since highway ramps are a nice, comfortable, coasting downhill, I feel like I can get moderate speed on them. I passed a female and pressed forward.

By the time I knew it, I was at mile 12 of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon. My body was toasty, and I grabbed water and Gatorade from the last stop.  I knew it would not affect my race, but mentally I wanted it.  Then I just charged to the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon finish line. We went over the previous and surprising overpass.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

I saw some friends at the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon who recognized me from Instagram.  They shouted, oh I know her, go LOLZ!  It made me smile.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

As I came down the last .5, and into the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon finish, I knew a 1:30 would be close.  I saw the clock at 1:29.40 and just sprinted. I didn’t have it in me for the last 3 seconds, but I did finish strong of the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon.  Maybe if I didn’t talk or I cut the tangents better…oh well.  I have no regrets of the race.

Crawlin crab half marathon hampton va me running

After I finished the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon, I tried Maurten Gel.  It’s the same gel Eluid Kipchogue uses.  I was not expecting it to be so thick and I felt as though I slurped some ultrasound goo. I went on to run another 7 miles to get to 20.

After I finished 20 I met dad at the car.  I was hot, tired, and probably in the twilight zone. By the time I was done, it was 85 and humid.  Not the most ideal conditions to run 20 miles in but I’m proud of myself for getting it done.  It was one of the mentally toughest things I have done in a very long time.  The marathon will be the same, so I’m glad I did run the extra miles.

I have a lot of lingering doubts about myself after the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon.  First, I am proud of myself for my efforts in the weather.  I’m pleased, I was fairly consistent, drank appropriately, and fueled appropriately that the heat didn’t cause me to bonk like last year.  But, I am very doubtful for New York right now. Many people have told me “sub 3” is easily attainable but if it were easy, I would have done it.  It’s not a goal I have for NY.  My last 3 half marathons have all been around 1:30 which shows I’m not ready to maintain that for a 3:00 marathon. New York is a hard course and my goal still remains to start and finish the marathon healthy.

Questions for you:

What is the hottest race you’ve done?

How do you hydrate and fuel during a half marathon? Have you run the Crawlin Crab Half Marathon?