Exmore Diner (Exmore, VA)

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 1:30.02

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?

Tito’s Diner (Fredricksburg, VA)

Tito’s Diner (Fredricksburg, VA)

Tito’s Diner (Fredricksburg, VA)

A few weeks ago, I went to Tito’s Diner in Fredricksburg. As most people know, I grew up in Virginia, although a few hours South.

We were driving home from Charlottesville and needed a place to stop. Why not a diner, right?

Tito’s Diner Atmosphere: A
If you’re looking for a stereotypical diner, Tito’s Diner is it. It’s a big shiny, metallic, building, located in the center of a large shopping center.  The inside is equally as a traditional diner with plenty of memorabilia and a full-length bar, with plenty of tables and booths.

Tito's Diner Fredricksburg, VA

Tito’s Diner Coffee: A
I haven’t had a great diner coffee in quite some time. It was brewed hot and fresh. My favorite part was the personalized coffee mug; not many diners have those!

Tito's Diner Fredricksburg, VA

Tito’s Diner Food: B
Tito’s Diner menu is extensive with plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.

I decided to order the hummus appetizer.  The pita bread was much crunchy and more of a chip than bread. It’s not my personal preference. The hummus was good, but nothing unique or special.

Tito's Diner Fredricksburg, VA

I was craving breakfast so went with the chorizo skillet with rye toast.

Tito's Diner Fredricksburg, VA

I haven’t had a skillet in a while, and while the meal wasn’t bad, it wasn’t the best ever. It was just a standard breakfast meal with plenty of potatoes, hash browns, and cheese.

Tito's Diner Fredricksburg, VA

Tito’s Diner Service: A
The waitress was one of the most friendly waitresses I’ve had in a while. She was one of the best waitresses, and the food came out very quickly.

Price: $
For my coffee, hummus, and meal, the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Would I come back to Tito’s Diner:
I enjoyed Tito’s Diner, and I would go back. I would love to try some of the other options!  If you’re ever in Fredericksburg, Tito’s Diner is worth your stop.

Atmosphere: A
Coffee: A
Food: B
Service: A
Price: $10-20
Overall: A

You can see all the diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What’s your favorite way to eat eggs?
Where did you grow up?

Training: A Weekend of Racing

Training: A Weekend of Racing

Last week was a good week of running.  While not everything went as planned, I did leave the week feeling satisfied.  I saw so many family and friends which always beats running anyway.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: 8X400 followed by 8x200s (6:00 min)
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes+massage
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Adrenaline 5k (18:29) total miles 9
Sunday: Shamrock 13.1 (1:23.21) total miles 15


8X400 (400 jog in the middle) followed by 8X200 (200 jog in the middle)

The average pace of the workout was around 6 mins.  I’ve done much faster, and I was hoping to feel better.  It was snowing (as many of my workouts have been lately) but my body did not feel great either.  I was happy to be done with the workout.

Adrenaline Run (18:29) 6:00, 6:10, 5:47

After realizing I would need to be in town until Saturday, I decided I would run the Adrenaline Run. It’s sponsored and put on by my work and I’ve always wanted to run.  A few weeks ago, I thought it would be a great way to test my fitness since I would need to be in town anyway. I could leave for Shamrock afterward.  The race didn’t go as I hoped and while it is a fast time for me,  it wasn’t what I wanted. I had a chaotic few days beforehand between life as well as work.  I know I’m in “better shape” than 18:29 and hopefully it will come sooner.

Shamrock Half Marathon (1:23.21)

After the Adrenaline Run, I drove down to Va (about 300 miles) to run one of my favorite races of the year.  I didn’t have a plan for the race other than to have fun.  After a chaotic week, 5k, and driving, making a goal was hard. My primary goal was to have fun and run a healthy race.  I walked around before but didn’t do any extra warm up. I just started at a 6:30 pace and ran by feel.  Slowly I progressed and ran a negative split half which I was pleased about.

In all, it wasn’t the week I thought it would be.  I had hoped to have a fast 5k and see where the half went, but still a great weekend.  The Shamrock half is my third fast ever and the 2nd fastest in the last 2 years, so there are no complaints about that.  I had a great weekend with so many family and friends.

Posts of the week:
Not Every Run is Fun
Hiking the Mesquite Trail (Phoenix)
Dixie Mine Trail

Questions for you:
Have you done back to back races?
How far do your parents live from you?

Distance Series 15 Miler (1:39.46)

Last weekend I ran my first race in almost two months. It wasn’t that I wanted to avoid races. However, races haven’t happened near me.  They have gotten canceled due to storms or just don’t exist. Or the limited that have occurred haven’t fit in my schedule.

Last weekend, I drove to visit my parents. I knew the Distance Series was happening, but I decided to play it by ear.  I’ve run several before, however, not in the last few years. When I lived in VA, I was a member of Tidewater Striders…now I just call myself a Satelite Strider.

I decided if the weather was decent (above 10), I would sign up. As the days drew closer, the weather was looking amazing. It was dreamy.

My dad and I got to the race a lot earlier than we anticipated.  We found ourselves at Fort Monroe a solid 75 minutes before race start. I had no plans to do a warm-up and was able to catch up with friends the entire time.  I rarely do a warmup before half marathons, and since 15 miles was my longest run in a while, I didn’t find it necessary.  I was just going to use the first few miles to warm up.

At 8:55, racers made our way to the start. There was both a 10 miler and a 15 miler. I chose the 15 miler. Even though 15 miles would be my longest run in over a year and my longest race since my marathon 3 years ago. I thought it would be a good challenge for me.  I had no goals and told anyone who asked it was a half marathon with a bonus round.  I had zero clue how the race would go.  I knew I was in decent shape, but how decent was the question.

The course itself is 3 loops around Fort Monroe. If the weather is ideal (like it was when we raced), then it’s beautiful. If there is a lot of wind, then it can be extremely unpleasant. If you asked me to race there in the 20s and a windy day, I would laugh.  I might get blown into the River.  You would never escape the wind since you are running the outer loop of an island. Luckily, the weather was ideal.

I started the race in a large pack consisting of myself, legend Steve, good friend Andrew, and a couple of other local runners. All of them had workouts, and my goal was to finish strong. I knew based on their respected plans, I wouldn’t have people to run with the entire time, but I was going to make the best of the pack while it lasted.

Ultimately we ran the first four miles together. We were talking, catching up and hanging out. Let it be known this is probably the only time I will “hang out” with those guys, as Steve is tapering for the Rocky Racoon and Andrew is getting ready for another marathon.  I’ll take it. The miles went 6:50, 6:46, 6:42, and 6:46. They felt effortless, and by the time I knew it, Steve and Andrew said they were going into their workout.

The other woman and I left the pack. She was doing running the 10 miler and doing a marathon paced workout. She asked if I wanted to join her and I said sure. We ran a 6:36, 6:38, and 6:46 mile. I could tell I was beginning to get antsy and I was raring to go.

So I kicked it into the next gear. I hit mile 8 in 6:33 and felt good. I was surprised and thought, today is the day you need. I ran mile 9 in 6:29 and mile 10 in 6:33. At mile 10 they directed 10 Milers to the finish, and I went into lap 3.

I chuckled to myself because I’ve done a few workouts in my neighborhood doing several laps around the same loop. My 70-year neighbors comment “it’s like watching “real life Nascar” and that’s how I felt.

Between mile 10-11, I began passing people who were on a previous lap. There was some weaving but nothing unmanageable and I thrive off of seeing other runners. I ran mile 10 in 6:31 and mile 11 in 6:25. I couldn’t believe how good I felt.

At mile 12, I grabbed Gatorade and told myself 3 more miles. I knew after 13.1 anything could happen. The half is the longest distance I’ve raced in several years. I’ve run 14 miles in the last few months but not 15 and no races above 13.1. I just hoped I would continue to feel good.  I tried to remind myself it’s unnecessary to run 26.2 miles while training for a marathon and this was the same mentality.

I hit the half around 1:27. I felt strong, and I also felt weird. The last half I ran, the Philadelphia Half marathon I ran in 1:27.57.  I felt like utter garbage and even stopped. Granted I was coming off food poisoning. At 13.1 at the Distance Series, I felt like a million bucks and I was excited.

I passed a few friends on their second loop and gave a couple of high fives. I reminded myself, you now have less than 12 minutes. You can do it.  For some reason, when I feel as though I have 12 minutes left in a race, I tend to get over whatever mid miles mental block I have.

I focused on the guy in front of me who was about 30 seconds ahead. I wanted so badly to catch him. In 2017, I gave up a lot of races because I didn’t have a kick or energy towards the finish. I wanted to start 2018 racing with a new year, new me mentality.

me running distance series va beach

I began cranking, and I ran mile 14 in 6:33. There was a little cross breeze. The final mile faces the finish line. You can see the building in the distance although it doesn’t feel as though it ever gets much closer.

I just ran. I ran as hard as my legs would turn over.  I didn’t waste extra energy. I put all of the energy towards the forward motion of what I was there to do. I passed a lot of people on their second loop as well as the guy I had. Even watching. My last mile was my fastest by far, and I ran a 6:06.

I crossed the finish as the first woman in 1:39.45 and 6:34 overall pace. I was extremely pleased. I hadn’t expected to feel that good, but I have no complaints. It feels good to start 2018 on a good racing foot. I feel as though I gained a lot of my running confidence back.  A couple people have asked but I am not training for a marathon.  It was fun to get out of my comfort zone for a longer race and I felt good doing it, but there is a lot more running, training, and commitment involved with a marathon.

Questions for you:

What is the longest race distance you’ve run?

What are some fun “nontraditional” distances you’ve run?


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