South Jersey Belle

It's all about the attitude.

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Blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family. 

I had a story I wanted to share on the blog, but I didn’t know how to spin it or how I was going to include my father. After this weekend I’m glad I waited and I am able to share these two seperate stories as one that allows me to tell you about my family.

As I child I was pretty active playing soccer year round. I wasn’t the star on the team, but I could hold my own. Eventually my Dad became my soccer coach as the town needed someone to volunteer their time. Everyone thinks at first it will be cool to have their parent as their coach- think again kids. He was extra hard on me because I was his kid. I can still remember a time where I hurt my ankle and I played the entire rest of the half until he was convinced I was actually hurt. My Father by no means is the athletic guy. 405718_10100569194795943_395316907_nI just learned he quit his high school football team even though he probabaly would have been great because his size and stature. Soccer gave my Father and I something to bond over and fight about all in the same. When I eventually burned out on playing soccer I gave field hockey a try, something I enjoyed, but eventually learned that my heart wasn’t in it.  I had been playing soccer since I was 5 years old! In my junior year I decided I would go back to playing soccer, but only problem was my high school did not have a girls team! The team allowed girls to try out if you could keep up! So the summer before my junior year I enlisted the help of my mom who has always been active and athletic. Long story short I made the team and both my parents were very supportive, never doubting my abilities or choice to join the boys soccer team.

Fast forward, over a decade later. A newspaper reporter reaches out to my mom and I. About what you ask? Our progression from running races together- 5ks to half marathons to marathons and now our biggest challenge a triathlon. You can read the full article here.  The completed article appeared on the cover of the Courier Post on Mother’s Day!

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My Mother and I have always had a strong relationship. She’s been my best friend and number one supporter from the beginning. We still have that amazing bond, but it’s gotten stronger and we challenge each other to push out of our comfort levels.  I don’t believe my Mom thought I would push myself and her to the ideas we have now of training for a half ironman which covers 70.3 miles between swimming, biking, and running. The thing is I’ve seen our progression from self training and it’s been amazing. This is the first year we have enlisted the help of coaches to take us to the next level. So proud of you Mom. Thanks  for never telling me goals were crazy or out of reach. You have always told me if I want it bad enough then I have to work for it because it’s not going to be easy.

Just this weekend we were out to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. He’s one of those guys who will never tell you what he wants and really doesn’t need another shirt. It dawned on me we still have not been to see the Philadelphia Union ( Philly’s own MLS team). My Dad is far removed from his side line coaching days, but this game is something that brought us together. As we cheered on the Union who brought home a win Saturday night-we booed the Rapids and gladly cheered when the referee threw yellow and red cards at the opposing team.

There was an awesome energy in the newly and specially built stadium for the Union as the challenge for Philly to get a major league soccer team was a struggle. The Sons of Ben (SOBs) fought for this team long before they were even a thought. The story and Netflix documentary captured my interest if you have the time check it out.

Both my Mom and Dad although have very different styles of encouragement have been there for me. Each supportive in their own way and challenge me on a daily basis to be a better me.

Whoever may be there for you at the end of the day make sure you recognize it.




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Women’s Rights in the Grocery Store

I don’t even know where to start. I have a mix of emotions ranging from anger, frustration, and even sadness. The role of the women is so ascrewed anymore. And who is to blame for that? Women are supposed to feel empowered in today’s day and age and yet here I am ranting because of what should have been a simple trip to the grocery store this morning.

Cutting to the chase I went to pick up a few items from the grocery store. Two men saw me in the aisle and starting making comments ranging from hello to you are the most beautiful girl in the world. I laughed it off and continued my shopping quickly moving past them and into the next aisle. Not even five minutes later here they come again this time the one man is much more vocal about me giving him my phone number and grabs my arm. I quickly pull back and push my cart to the opposite side of the store as rapidly as I can. Remember this is broad daylight in the public grocery store.  My shopping trip here is over and I head directly to the check out.

I vent to some friends as I’m shaken up about the ordeal and one friend tells me I should wear less make up and a baseball hat. First off I was wearing gym clothes and no make up. And second off if I was wearing make up why do I have to hide myself doing basic daily errands. Why as a society does it seem we are regressing allowing women to become second class citizens? If I was to approach either of those men in the way I was approached it would be totally uncalled for, so what made it acceptable in their eyes for the way they approached me?

Some may read this thinking I’m taking it over the top, but really is it when you are trying to grocery shop in workout clothes at 10 am? The issue is rooted much deeper and I have no idea how to solve it.

Overly annoyed and frustrated.



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Broad Street Run

Warning-Some may find this blog post extremely annoying, stuck up, or down right vain. If you can not appreciate other’s opinions I urge you not to read the rest of this post.


So I finally caved and ran the Broad Street Run. I’ve never had the desire to run this race for several reasons. I’ve run Philly in half marathons and marathons, what was the big deal about running a 10 miler through Philly? I didn’t see what the draw was, the largest 10 miler in the United States, but there isn’t a whole lot to see during the race-running straight down Broad Street. Everyone who never runs enters this ballot, yes you heard me correct, you have to enter a ballot for this race. Yes there are elite and top runners that do take part in this race, but for the most part I feel like there are so many people that never have run that decide to run this race. They may decide to give training a go and try to get some milage under their belt before its go time, but after the run, their training stops and they go back to their normal every day routine. There are people I know that actually only run this race and barely train for it and don’t start running again until the race comes up again next year. This is absurd to me. Are honestly looking to hurt yourself?


So I figured I really needed to experience this for myself. I’ve run several half marathons in Philly, the Philadelphia Marathon, Hot Chocolate 15k, a 5k for the Philly Zoo, and of course I have my own favorite paths around the city I like to run. So a few months back I entered a ballot with my Mom and when the time came we did get selected. (Does anyone get denied, few and far in between) I had run a few races before this and I was in training mode for my triathlon until my injury. The doctor cleared me for a light jog, so I decided I would still attempt this race, but more as a fun run to get my milage back up and spend time with my training partner-my mom.

img_5724The morning of the race the Broad Street line (the subway line) is free. This 10 miler is a point to point race so you start and finish in different places. I know you have all seen videos of how crowded subway cars look in different countries and people just push their way on. This is exactly how it is for this race. At first is was kind of fun and I had a few laughs, about 15 stops later I wasn’t exactly laughing, but ready for the heard of people to slowing push out of the subway car.

After arriving at the start point, back above ground, it was complete chaos. The corrals were separated by colors, but not well marked so we decided to just slip in where there was an open space. The race was set to start at 8am, but I didn’t even start running until 8:30. I thought that was a really long time to wait and I was ready to get moving. Once the race started, it was hard to get pacing img_5732because the streets were so jammed pack so there was a lot of zig zagging around people. Broad Street runs straight through Temple University (my alma mater) so I did enjoy running thru campus and seeing all the new improvements. After finally reaching the 10 mile finish, it was unclear which spot was specifically the finish line. There was a timing mat prior to the finish line. According to my Garmin Forerunner 235, that first timing mat was the finish and crossing the finish line was .05 after which did not track anything.

So now we are done running and pushed through tents that allow runners to pick up a bag of treats and then at the end get handed their medal. Gear bags were checked on to buses, buses were assigned numbers and you the runner wore a wrist band that matched the number on your bag. After walking down rows of buses I found the one I was looking for and climbed aboard to search for my things. Side note-I highly dislike buses. How unsafe was is no one was checking that the bag I took was actually mine. Runners could then filter through another line to a field where I think pictures were being taken and other snacks were being handed out? It was such a crazy crowd I just could really care less about it. We then had to take another bus that would drop all the runners off at the end of the Broad Street line subway stop to make your way home or to where ever you were headed. It just felt so unorganized. I’ve run many races at Disney World where there are equally large crowds if not more and the organization is so much better. img_5802

Overall, I had a great time with my Mom. The weather wasn’t to bad, it could have been a little warmer, but that doesn’t matter. I have to say I was really happy I was able to run with minor pain. I did feel it today and my ankle is still swollen. Even though I ran this race for myself, more of way to test my abilities with minor training to see if I was ready for a comeback I am still slightly disappointed with my time. I am trying not to think about it and just to think of the positives that my ankle is healing and I will be training at full speed in the near future.

Just keep running!



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Rest & Recovery

I had a great weekend workout and it just flowed right into the week. I almost forgot to squeeze in time for rest day. Good thing today I had to work my part time job today, forcing me to take time out of my workouts. Instead on going on a run, cycling, or swimming, I walked most of center city Philadelphia. From where I live to the closest subway stop is just about a mile away. Then a few errands after work which took me back toward my house allowed me to walk all the way home! Perfect way to stretch out my muscles and enjoy the nice weather we are having in the city.

95bcb40df2013d29c367d020fb4e6ea7As much as I don’t always like to take time for R&R its important! Our bodies need the time to recover from training to allow us to become faster and stronger.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to eat well, hydrate, and get rest. These things can really make such a huge difference in your training and performance when it comes to race day. Rest day can be a struggle, but its the key to help from preventing injury, restoring glycogen (storage of energy), and prevents mental burn outs! There have been plenty of times where I struggle to give myself the time off and I usually get upset with myself when I do take the time off, but you really have to listen to your body.

Tomorrow I’m planning on getting atleast a 6-7 mile run in. I have a 10 miler race the beginning of May, but I want to keep my milage up. I’ve already been running 10 miles so I don’t want to burn out, but build on my foundation and work on my speed.  I’ve started to research different training plans that allows for triathlons, but high milage even though my tri races are sprints. I want to condition my body for longer races and bike rides. Follow my crazy journey between work and school!


Tomorrow I rise and run!



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Hot Chocolate 15k-Philly

It’s important for me to write this today as I crossed the finish line at 9:24 am. This morning as I rolled out of bed at 4:30 am I was thinking to myself, yes I might be a little bit crazy, but I love every second of it. Breakfast consisted of toast with peanut butter and a few slices of banana on top with a cup of coffee. My normal routine when going out for a long run.


I checked the weather and kept debating on what I would wear to the race. My Mom who was also running with me had an array of choices with her. Jacket, long sleeves, short sleeves, or tank top. Well the tank top and short sleeve got ruled out. Eventually we both settled on long sleeve running shirts with a thin jacket over top. We took uber over to the Philadelphia Art Museum where the race starts and finishes. Since it poured yesterday the grassy areas completely turned to mud. After dropping of my bag at the gear tent we went to try to get warm in the merchandise tent. Only to cave in to buying a thin pair of gloves because we were much colder than we thought we would be.

8am start time, we are in our corral about 5 minutes prior. And finally we are off. 9.3 miles to conquer. Two years ago I ran this same race in Philadelphia and it was super windy. The course is pretty flat for the most part and its what runners call an out and back. You run out about 5.5 miles and there is a turn around point where you re-run your exact same path to get to the finish.  Two years ago my pace was a 9:04 min/mile finishing in 1:24. I decided I would be happy with anything under that. I wanted to see some improvement.

I felt pretty confident with the milage as my last long run was 10.2 and I had some great workouts during the week and overall I felt stronger. As I started the race I wanted to pace myself. I have a tendency to go fast in the beginning and then lose steam toward the end of a race. I found myself running with the 9 min/mile pacer and feeling like this is way too slow. So I decided to move along. Ahead of me I could see the 8:30 pacer and thought…ugh can I really keep this up for 9.3 miles? Am I really ready for that? Self doubt crept in. 3 miles passed and still the 8:30 pacer was about a foot in front of me. Little do you know, but I usually listen to some crazy gangsta rap while I run. LOL! Yes you read that correctly. So focused on my motivation and with my music blasting I just kept running. By the time I was passing mile 5 the elite runners were passing us to head to the finish. These elite runner are just incredible. The top 10 all were running under a 6 min/mile!!!

At mile 7 I really stepped up my pace. I was now running shoulder to shoulder with the pacer. This guy had some great energy. It was definitely a huge help. The pacer was so encouraging to everyone running with him and we all talked about the chocolate we were looking forward to at the end of the race. At mile 8 I was able to pull ahead of the pacer. I kept focus on my breathing and pace. Not once did I look at my Garmin as I didn’t want to know. Getting closer and closer to the finish, I just thought to myself, you can not lose this momentum. You have come this far and the pacer is right behind you. Finally, rounding the corner and the finish was in front of me. 8:24 min/mile with a finish time of 1:18.

Goal accomplished.



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Camaraderie as a Runner and Cyclist

One thing the running and cycling community has going for it is the camaraderie. Running and cycling is a sport you have to do by yourself. No one else can do it for you. But during training there are many times that runners and cyclist will meet up together so you are not isolated and training by yourself. If you are covering a long distance it can get pretty lonely sometimes spending hours upon hours by yourself training.

I honestly just thought about the camaraderie of these sports recently. Philadelphia just hosted the Love Run half marathon and toward the end of the race there is video footage that made the news where one runner was limping pretty badly. Two other runners in the race came up besides her and assisted her to the finish line. How awesome is that?!?

7c5e51c99d619e49a994711dab985383This morning I went on a 5.5 mile run through Philly. As I passed most runners they nod, smile, wave, or even say hello. I feel it is a little push of encouragement from my fellow runner. Like good job, keep it up! The same goes with cycling. Thinking back to when I rode the MS ride, my mother and I pulled over to recharge and get some energy chews out of our bags. Riders passing us shouted to make sure we were ok or needed help. Very cool!

Our society today has us more disconnected to human interaction then ever. We can go about so many tasks without ever talking to another person. Just think that little smile, wave, or hello could really help turn someone’s day around. Thank you runners and cyclists for acknowledging each other and supporting the healthy lifestyle we lead.

See you on the road!