july coffee date: getting through independence day

It’s July and Independence Day weekend. Ordinarily, this would be cause for great celebration and fun, but in pandemic times? It’s just another day.

Join us for this month’s Ultimate Coffee Date. After reading here, head on over to visit Coco and Deborah, our awesome link-up hosts.

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independence day

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

I’m angry. Florida is now THE hotspot in the country, and cases are just increasing exponentially. It reminds of something and I’m not sure I can put my finger on it…

independence day

Just kidding. I know exactly what it reminds me of. And we all know how well it worked out for the peaceful island of Amity.

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

We have made our decision about little man’s 2020-21 school year. Our district offered four choices (homeschool, non-school-based virtual school, school-based distance learning and brick and mortar school with three levels of restrictions based on community spread), and we opted for school-based distance learning. Little man wants to remain affiliated with his current school, but he’s not comfortable with the restrictions and uncertainty of the brick and mortar option. We need to make a 9-week commitment to distance, and while it’s not ideal, we plan to have him collaborate with neighborhood friends making the same decision and supplementing electives on our own. I’m glad the decision is made, but I hope it’s the right one.

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

Hamilton is streaming on Disney+ today and I am so happy. It’s my favorite show and I was so lucky to see it in NYC for my 40th birthday. We had tickets to see it again in Jacksonville on St. Patrick’s Day, but the show was cancelled due to the pandemic. I have planned a super fun, Hamilton-themed dinner (check my Instagram for details later) for tonight, and we are all going to watch it and sing along. Will you be joining in?

independence day

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

Luna is THE BEST. She is growing so fast and she’s so busy. I’m really worried about her and the Independence Day fireworks. She hates thunder, and I know the sky booms are going to terrify her. Clearly, my evening will be spent reassuring her, but I don’t mind at all. Also, she wanted to join in the coffee chat with her “Unimpressed Cafe Au Lait.” How could I say no?

independence day

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

The St. Augustine Moms writers had a small virtual watercolor party last night. It was absolutely magical. I haven’t painted or created anything in so long, and while I’m not thrilled with my end result, I love that there are tutorials and how-to’s for just about everything, and I can’t wait for our next session.

independence day

Over coffee, I would tell you that…

I had a real life coffee date with a friend I haven’t seen in a while and we were both relieved to find that we share so many of the same opinions and values. We both feel we’ve been so guarded, so it was darn right cathartic to share in a judgement free sharing of ideas and thoughts. We are both looking forward to more coffee mornings.

What would you tell me over coffee?

overhauling my skin routine with FRÉ skincare

Disclosure: There are affiliate links below, and I may receive commissions for purchases made through those links. Products endorsed on Runs With Pugs are all items used and recommended by me. All opinions are my own.

I have a confession: before FRÉ Skincare reached out to me, my skin routine consisted of soap, water, and coconut oil. Very basic. Since that day, things changed, and I’m here to share how the 123FRÉ system led to an overhaul of that regimen.

skincare routine

Back to my confession. Yes, some of it was laziness (not wanting to find and stick with the right products), but some of it was also sensitivities. While I have not been able to isolate a specific allergen, my skin reacts terribly to certain lotions, sunscreens, and even cosmetics. And it’s worth pointing out that certain fragrances make me nauseous or give me migraines. It makes finding a proper skincare routine challenging, to say the least.

Since I live in Florida, the Sunshine State, and I spend a great deal of time running and being active outside in that sun, it’s important to treat the skin well and protect it from harmful UV rays. To date, I’ve handled that by wearing long sleeve rash guards, baseball caps, and huge sunnies, and hoping for the best. Now, it’s time to step up my game.

123FRÉ – How It Works

The 123FRÉ System is comprised of Purify Me, Revive Me, and Protect Me, making it a simple to follow skincare routine. The system is perfect for athletes. They most often suffer from dehydration, sun damage, breakouts, and other skin issues exacerbated by active lives.

skincare routine

We start with the Purify Me, a hydrating cleanser. It’s a gentle, exfoliating scrub, with a nice lather, and is easy to apply in your post-workout shower.

Next up is the Revive Me. This is a light moisturizer, that nourishes skin with vitamins and minerals, leaving a healthy glow. I loved that Revive Me isn’t at all greasy, and dries quite quickly after application.

Protect Me is a daily facial moisturizer. It is SPF 30 and completely sweat-resistant. It’s not at all heavy, absorbs quickly, and doesn’t run into your eyes when out in the beating sun. It can be used in conjunction with Purify Me and Revive Me, or on its own.

skincare routine

I was very pleased that all three products had little to no fragrance (it’s very fresh), and that my skin looks and feels fabulous. Everything went on smoothly and absorbed quickly, which is great for my on-the-go, active lifestyle.

FRÉ Skincare Checks All The Boxes

Not only did I find FRÉ easy and effective to use, but I was also pleased to learn about its other benefits. Products are vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free. They are all hypoallergenic, which is critical for someone like me, who doesn’t have time for itchy, ugly reactions. FRÉ Skincare products doesn’t clog pores, and it’s great for all skin types.

skin routine

Aside from these benefits, FRÉ Skincare proudly does its part to give back to the environment and strengthen the women’s empowerment movement. For every set sold, FRÉ plants an Argan tree in Morocco. Not only does this replenish the endangers Argan forest, it also supports the women who harvest Argan oil. I love to support companies that believe in making a positive impact in the world. FRÉ Skincare gives so much back to women and our planet.

Are You Ready to Overhaul Your Skin Routine?

Are you an athlete or active person looking ito upgrade your skin routine? Consider giving FRÉ a try. It’s perfect for active lifestyles, and does a fabulous job keeping delicate skin healthy, nourished, and glowing!

From now through July 3, save 45% on all FRÉ Skincare sets with my affiliate link. It’s the perfect time to try something new or stock up on your old favorites!

fre skincare

Have you tried FRÉ Skincare?

What is your daily skin routine?

graduating couch to 5k

I think it’s safe to say that graduating couch to 5k is one of the highlights of my summer. The program represented a long-term goal for my recovery from two broken bones, and I am so pleased to say that I conquered it!

graduating couch to 5k

I last checked in at the halfway point, which took us to right before the longer runs started. Confidence was high prior to Week 6, but I got served a whopping portion of humble pie.

  • Week 6: 5:00 run/3:00 walk/8:00 run/3:00 walk/5:00 run
  • Week 7: continuous 25:00 run
  • Week 8: continuous 28:00 run
  • Week 9: continuous 30:00 run

As an interval runner, these continuous runs were TERRIFYING, but I planned to stay as true to the program as possible.

So How Did The Last Weeks Go?

With the exception of Week 7, when we were in the mountains of North Carolina, everything went just fine. I was 100% not equipped for the elevation. Much as I didn’t want to take a break, I just postponed that week until we got home, so I didn’t do any kind of (additional) damage.

flat running vs hill running

Other than that, my biggest issues were mental and emotional. I’m a head case athlete for sure.

What Did I Learn From the Experience?

I learned quite a bit about myself by graduating Couch to 5K. First, I learned that while intervals are comfortable, I can actually run a lot farther than I thought I could. I was also pretty pleased to learn that I haven’t experienced any of the anxiety I normally have towards the end of a run. Finally, I discovered that it’s ok to take it easy and a step at a time to reach my overall goals.

week 26

How Did I Celebrate?

With a big jump and a huge breakfast. Obviously.

grauduating couch to 5k

I will also FINALLY complete my Starlight 5K virtual race from freaking December as my “untimed run.”

What’s Next?

From here, I think I need to acclimate for a little bit. I think I will be comfortable settling at the 5K for a few weeks, and then it will be time to make a move. Before the pandemic, my goal was to be half marathon ready by December. It’s not a horribly unrealistic goal, but I think I will focus on getting to five miles, and then a 10K. Then I can see what happens.

graduating couch to 5k

I also need to decide about whether or not I will continue with straight running. The air quality has been terrible lately, thanks to summer humidity and the Saharan dust storm, so maybe I will ease up just a bit.

Do I Recommend This Program?

Graduating Couch to 5K for the second time emphasized how much I really do like the program. I would absolutely recommend it for new runners, and those coming back from injury. Yes, it does work off the premise that the user can lay down a 30:00 5K, but that really didn’t ruin it for me.

I found it a slow, steady and manageable way to come back from a serious injury without hurting myself. It wasn’t easy, especially in the last weeks when the intervals ended, but it wasn’t impossible, either.

Have you tried Couch To 5K?

Do you have any recommendations for a 10K program?

Join the Runner’s Roundup!

Link up each week to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas. Join your hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Organic Runner Mom each week for the Runners’ Roundup linkup! Your link must be running related. Unrelated links will be removed. You must link back to your hosts — it’s common courtesy and a lot more fun! Spread the link-up love by visiting at least two other #running bloggers! Leave a comment and find new blogs to read! Use hashtags #running and #RunnersRoundup to stay in touch and promote your content!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

4th of july cocktails to light up your night

Independence Day promises to be a little different this year, but there’s no reason we can’t find reasons to celebrate. These yummy 4th of July cocktails are sure to add a little sparkle to your night. Serve them up at home or at your socially distanced event and watch the fireworks fly!

4th of July cocktails

Bomb Pop Cocktail

Sometimes, the simplest ideas make the yummiest drinks, and this one couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Popsicle cocktails are really the bomb in summer, and it’s so easy to add these to your line up of 4th of July cocktails.

  • frozen Bomb Pop
  • chilled prosecco, sparkling wine, or champagne

Simply pour a glass of your favorite bubbles and add your Bomb Pop. You’ll have a festive, chill 4th of July cocktail that’s nostalgic and elegant!

4th of july cocktails

Make it kid-friendly, by using Sprite or sparkling water instead of the prosecco.

Red, White + Blue Sherbet Float

On these hot summer nights, I’m always down for something cool and frosty, which makes this cocktail extra fun. Ice cream floats are a delicious option, and it’s easy to customize your own for Independence Day!

  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1/2 cup blue raspberry Gatorade
  • Splash of Sprite
  • 3 mini scoops sherbet (any flavor in dark pink or red)
  • watermelon for garnish

Pour vodka over ice and follow with Gatorade and Sprite. Float your scoops of sorbet on top, and garnish with a piece of watermelon cut in the shape of a star. Serve this up and be ready for an explosion of flavor!

4th of July cocktails
adapted from TheSpruceEats.com
4th of july cocktails

Skip the vodka to make it safe for the under-21 crowd.

50 States Sangria

Sangria is always a crowd-pleaser – it’s quick, it’s easy, and you can use pretty much any kind of wine and fruits you have at home.

  • one bottle white wine
  • one bottle sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup peach brandy
  • any fruits (sliced strawberries, blueberries, sliced apples, blackberries, lime wedges, sliced peaches)

Place fruit in large pitcher and add bottle of white wine and peach brandy. Cover and chill for four hours or overnight. Right before serving, add in sparkling wine. Serve over ice.

4th of july cocktails

What’s your favorite 4th of July cocktail?

week 26 (2020): regressions, setbacks + back to square one

In the event you’ve been hiding from the news (because there is pretty much no good news ever anymore), Florida has experienced a huge regression in the fight against COVID-19. Over the weekend, this state posted record numbers of new cases, which led to the second shutdown of bars and the mandate of masks in the city of St. Augustine (when social distancing isn’t possible).

Sunday – 4 miles, walking

I love kicking off the week with a nice walk. Four miles done and dusted.

week 26

We enjoyed a quiet Sunday, with some cleaning and movie-watching. Little man, on the other hand, checked in with quite the adventurous day: ziplining at Alligator Farm. Yes. The ropes course is directly over the gator and crocodile enclosures.

week 26

Monday – 3.7 miles, walking

Happy Monday! With little man gone, we were able to sleep in just a little bit more (Luna is ok until about 7:00 AM), which was nice. She also loves cuddles when I get back from my walk.

week 26

Mr PugRunner wanted to enjoy a date night, so we picked up dinner from Osprey Tacos and went to the beach.

Tuesday – Couch to 5K Week 9 Day 1 (4.13 miles, total)

And so began Week 9 of Couch to 5K, aka “the final week!” I was really excited.

week 26

In the evening, I had the honor of helping film some equine therapy training sessions for my friend. It was truly a privilege to see her and her team at work. And I can never resist spending time with the horsies.

Wednesday – 3.73 miles, walking

Halfway through the week. Whoo hoo!

It was a quiet day. With Mr PugRunner at work and little man at school, I have the house pretty much to myself. Of course, I treated myself to an iced coffee.

Thursday – Couch to 5K Week 9 Day 2 (4.56 miles, total)

I don’t usually talk about paces, but guys! Look at this!

week 26

It felt so great and rewarding to see that!

And oh, yeah! New shoe day!

week 26

Friday –  3.51 miles, walking

Since we both had new shoes, Mr PugRunner wanted to join me for my morning walk. We chatted a lot about house renovations and updates, and I can’t wait to get started.

week 26

After a delicious dinner that we brought home from Food Truck Friday,

week 26

we headed off to pick up little man from his week of camp. When we arrived, the campers were participating in a circle of gratitude around the fire, after a long day of floating down the Rainbow River and packing up. It was so good to have him home.

Saturday – 2.06 miles, walking

I woke up feeling awful. For whatever reason, I wasn’t rested, had terrible fatigue, and my ankle was aching. There was just no way I wanted to finish Day 3 of Week 9. Mr PugRunner convinced me it was ok to bail, and I compromised with a two mile walk.

week 26

And then I wanted to get things done. We had some empty pots on our porch and patio, so I picked up soil and some hearty plants to spruce up our exterior.

Mr PugRunner and little man found a wing truck and snagged lunch there, to have some bonding after a week apart.

week 26

Goal-getting

There’s a lot of bad news in our neck of the woods, and I just try to keep looking forward. Our Superintendent said that if the current trend continues, we will be distance learning to start the year, which just puts all our thoughts and plans on their ear (again). It’s frustrating and upsetting.

Oh, for funsies, we are also getting swept by some kind of Saharan dust storm? On the plus side, it’s helping to dry up some of the moisture (read: hurricane activity) while it’s here, but it’s also leading to brutal heat and vile air quality. Par for 2020, am I right?

This week, I plan to do some huge purges in the house (I’ve already done cursory sweeps of some cabinets and the garage). We may do a bit of a culdesac get together (socially distant) for the fourth, but who knows? Our city has canceled fireworks entirely, and Jacksonville has created some plan where there will be smaller fireworks displays spread out over the city, so we will see how that works out. Oh, and Hamilton is coming to Disney+ on July 3, so I will be planted in front of the TV for that event.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

Do you have any plans for the 4th of July weekend?

june runfessions: the pandemic roller coaster continues

June is just another loop on the pandemic roller coaster that is our life right now. Sometimes, it feels like it will never stop.

PANDEMIC ROLLER COASTER

Let’s join up with Marcia’s Healthy Slice and talk it out in these June Runfessions.

I Runfess That…

Some days, I just don’t know what to do. The pandemic roller coaster brings with it very drastic mood swings. I get up, exercise, and shower. I put food in my body, and take care of chores. Some days, I’m into it, and some days I feel like a robot going through the motions. This is absolutely not me and I need to snap out of it.

I Runfess That…

I am so grateful to be almost done with Couch To 5K. With literally two sessions left to go, I just can’t wait. It’s been a super hard climb for me, and the pandemic roller coaster led to plenty of highs and lows on the journey. My “free run” is scheduled on Tuesday, and from there, the sky is my limit!

I Runfess That…

New shoes make a difference. I held off on ordering a pair just until my leg and ankle settled into shape, but it was time. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS continues to do well by me, and I loved my test walk this morning.

pandemic roller coaster

I Runfess That…

I am finally ready to tackle some of our big house projects. Since I broke my leg, my ability and motivation faced some limitations. However, Mr. PugRunner and I discussed some goals and I feel like making moves. Unfortunately, the first move has to be finishing our master bathroom. I am completely uninterested in spending any more time or money on a room only the two of us see, but it’s bugging him. I agreed to get it done, but only so I can get started on overhauling the office.

pandemic roller coaster

We need a space that can accommodate all three of us. Mr PugRunner has an out-of-home office, but may transition back to home. I work almost exclusively at the kitchen bar, but as this space continues to grow, I need a more professional venue. And if little man continues distance learning, he needs an area for his work, that is easily accessible to and supervised by us.

I Runfess That…

Having a puppy around makes so many things more bearable. Even when she’s being absolutely insane. She is super mischievous and super smart, so it makes everything a little harder, but none of that matters, when she does something adorable or cuddles up to you. We are having fairly good success with training (she’s an evil genius, so we have to be eight steps ahead of her at all times), and we are passing through that bitey phase, which will make playtime so much more enjoyable. She’s got her own Instagram page, at SweetLunaPug, if you want to follow her shenanigans.

pandemic roller coaster

I Runfess That…

I think it’s time for a blog makeover. About three years ago, I overhauled this site, and it was great. I’ve been prepping by cleaning up my dropdown and working on my ads and SEO, and now I just have to settle on a design and get it done. To be honest, it will help take focus from the pandemic roller coaster, and give me some needed goals.

pandemic roller coaster

And there you have them: my heartfelt June runfessions.

What do you have to runfess this month?

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the changing face of racing

The changing face of racing due to COVID-19 will have an effect on road and trail runners around the world. As we start to see phased reopenings, the status of races is on our minds. What does the future hold for runners? Let’s take a look.

changing face of racing

Smaller races have started operating in our area. Some are road and some are trail, but they have one thing in common: they don’t look quite the same as races prior to the pandemic.

Virtual Race Options

The easiest and most evident example of the changing face of racing is the switch to virtual races. Events that are unable to secure permitting due to restrictions in their area are simply removing the in-person aspect altogether. Runners still receive their bib, shirt, medal, and other relevant swag, but they typically run on their own time and on their honor.

DNS

Some events do offer a tracking platform, where you can upload GPS data, but it’s not quite the same as crossing a finish line.

Limited Registrations

For those races able to proceed with live events, within reason, limiting registrations seems to be a way to keep crowds to a minimum. Several large, upcoming events (runDisney races, for example), sold out in beyond record time, and rumor has it that they drastically cut back on the number of runners permitted to register. It’s frustrating for those who want to take part and get shut out, but race are also trying to survive the current storm and are ready to get back to it.

Staggered Start Times

We all know how crowded a race start line can be, and how tight that first mile is. The changing face of racing means that some events are offering staggered start times, to help keep some space between athletes. Several local races now ask you to select a start time at registration, sending groups of anywhere from ten to thirty runners off in 15 minute increments. This helps maintain social distance and alleviate course crowding, allowing everyone to run as safely as possible.

changing face of racing

Reduced Distances

In order to accommodate those staggered start times, race distances have been dropping to just 3.1 miles. For those events that boasted a multi-distance option, the 5K remains the real-time event, while the longer distances switch to virtual. It’s a solid solution to the race time limits, even if it does keep the distance runners hungry for more.

Modified Pace Requirements

Marine Corps Marathon just announced runners must maintain a 12-minute mile, a staggering decrease from the previous 14-minute mile pace. Race organizers believe this will assist with social distancing and help keep staff, volunteers, and runners safe. Obviously, safety is the top priority, but this change may lead to the exclusion of runners who might not be able to maintain that pace. We will have to see if other races follow suit.

changing face of running

Removal of Athlete Support

The fewer people involved in a race event, the better. While volunteers have always been an integral part of our race community, the changing face of racing means we will see fewer of them. Races are now asking runners to provide their own fuel and hydration, rather than staff and stock aid stations. I’m not sure what this will mean for medical volunteers and medal distribution, but in the meantime, make sure you carry the sustenance you need for your event.

changing face of racing

Mask Requirements

While I haven’t seen a race mandate face masks, yet, there are plenty of states who do require masks while engaging in physical activity. This has not be our reality in Northeast Florida (yet), but I don’t see it as completely off the table for races going forward. Is it ideal? Absolutely not, and I give props to everyone who has been getting through their training while wearing a face covering. However, if it helps bring about the return to racing, I can adapt.

april runfessions

Have you seen a return to racing in your area?

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in the race industry?

Join the Runner’s Roundup!

Link up each week to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas. Join your hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Organic Runner Mom each week for the Runners’ Roundup linkup! Your link must be running related. Unrelated links will be removed. You must link back to your hosts — it’s common courtesy and a lot more fun! Spread the link-up love by visiting at least two other #running bloggers! Leave a comment and find new blogs to read! Use hashtags #running and #RunnersRoundup to stay in touch and promote your content!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

week 25 (2020): salvaging summer vacation

Salvaging summer vacation is really all we can do at this point. While we were away, reports of increasing COVID-19 cases reached us in our remote location. Things that had been open before we left started closing back down. Every day is an emotional roller coaster and I feel the urge to start hermiting again.

Sunday – 2.02 miles, walking

A rest day was just the thing my sore hips needed. My walk was much better after that.

The weather was off and on, so we hung out in the cabin for most of the day. None of us were super comfortable going out to eat, so we made our way over to the mostly deserted Great Lawn with takeout from our favorite BBQ joint for lunch. Those views are unbeatable.

salvaging summer

Monday – 1.88 miles, walking

Today was the first day for Teams for the Best Damn Race Florida Challenge. I really wanted to throw down bigger numbers, but there was just no way. (PS: there’s still time to register if you want to join the fun! affiliate link)

We spent the rest of the day packing and tidying, and then stayed up late with our friends. A blazing fire, funny movies and lots of wine made for the perfect end to our trip.

Tuesday – rest

All good things must come to an end. As much as we hated to go, it was time to say goodbye. We packed up the car, gave the cabin a final once-over, and hit the road. Eight hours later, vacation officially ended as we pulled into our driveway.

On the plus side, it was so good to see all the puggies!

salvaging summer

Wednesday – 4.02 miles, walking

Even though I wasn’t thrilled at getting up with the alarm again, it felt fantastic to get out for a walk on flat ground! I sped through my four miles and felt fabulous! Nothing like a good stretching of the legs, right?

Thursday – Couch to 5K Week 8 Day 2 (3.74 miles, total)

After a week of no walking and far shorter walks, I had a lot of concerns about Week 8 Day 2. The cooler weather helped me immensely, and I was able to side right back into the program. Yay for small victories!

salvaging summer

Luna had her third vaccine appointment. She gained a whole pound while we were away! (We also got great news that Delilah is fine – the meds cleared up any concerning numbers in her urinalysis and she is back to her normal, judgy self)

salvaging summer

Obviously, the reward was another Starbucks Pup Cup. Yes, she shared with the others.

salvaging summer

For dinner? Food trucks and Mr. Softee! I love supporting our local food trucks and few things make me happier than Mr. Softee cones.

Friday –  4 miles, walking

Mr PugRunner joined me for the four mile walk, which was nice.

salvaging summer

While out, he complained of some pain from his shoes, and we decided to treat ourselves to new Brooks. I know I wanted to get back in for a fitting, but the Adrenalines continue to feel fabulous, so I am confident ordering a pair without double checking. Even more exciting is they are Miami Hurricanes colors!

Saturday – Couch to 5K Week 8 Day 3 (4.36 miles, total)

I was the first one up and raring to go to complete my final day of Week 8. Another 28 minutes done and dusted. The humidity made it a bit challenging, but I sucked it up and got it done.

salvaging summer

After a shower and quick bite to eat, we loaded up the car to take little man to his summer Scouts camp. Long story short, his official camp was not canceled, but was heavily restricted for obvious reasons. Rather than travel eight hours, the Troop leaders created an epic plan for an alternate camping trip, including lots of fun and socially distant activities. I am so grateful to them for helping to make something happen for the kids.

salvaging summer

Saturday night was date night. We ordered this grazing board from a local company, and it was absolutely divine.

salvaging summer

We watched Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, which was fantastic, and enjoyed some downtime.

Goal-getting

Salvaging summer vacation has been the name of our game. It’s been hard to figure out what’s safe and advisable in our new normal, and it’s a challenge.

We have determined that outdoor activities with lots of space are way more in line with our comfort levels. To that end, we will still avoid unnecessary shopping and indoor restaurants. I am ok with takeout and pickup, but not so much eating inside an establishment, especially when PPE is not required for staff.

Additionally, we are looking at school options for 7th grade. Ideally, we would all love for little man and the rest of the students to return to school as normal, but that may not be the way things go. We continue to weigh the pros and cons of regular school (in whatever iteration it takes), homeschool, and virtual school. Fortunately, these are all options available to us, but we want to make sure we make the best decision for our family, especially little man.

Oh, and in just one week, I will be a second-time graduate of Couch To 5K! Who would have believed it???

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

How are you salvaging summer vacation?

flat running vs. hill running

Flat running vs. hill running is the theme of the week, and let me tell you, there are some serious differences.

flat running vs hill running

I live and run in Florida, the Sunshine State, which is also known as the “Flat State.” In order to get any kind of hill training, I have to drive to a bridge or a parking garage. Additionally, our city is less than 10 feet above sea level, so altitude is a complete non-issue for me.

I just spent the last five days in a cabin on the side of a mountain. In my (inexperienced) head, I figured running would be harder, but I had no idea how much of a challenge waited for me. The truth is, I managed very little actual running, due to the incline of the hills. I just wasn’t prepared.

You Use Entirely Different Muscles On Hills

I hear so many runners talking about how running on flat roads is difficult because you always engage the same muscles with no variation. Well, I’m here to say that when you are running up and down hills, you work muscles you didn’t know existed. I struggled heading up, and cramped in my left (read: uninjured) leg coming back down. To be honest, I would think running flat would be a welcome relief to everyone, but clearly, it’s the preference to which I’m accustomed.

flat running vs hill running

The Air Is Different Up There

The first major difference in the flat running vs hill running challenge is air. Hillier automatically means higher, and higher means thinner air. In Florida, we deal with humidity, which definitely makes it hard to breathe. I was amazed at how much I exerted myself doing less when at a higher elevation. There was more walking than running, and it was shocking how much hungrier and tired I was than when I do harder and more intense activity at home.

flat running vs hill running

Safety Precautions Are Different

On a flat road, visibility is a bit less of an issue than on a hilly one. Everything is wide open and exposed, so it’s easier to be spotted by drivers and also to have your movements a bit more exposed.

Hills can lead to low visibility with their peaks and valleys and twists and turns. Even a driver paying super close attention might miss someone on the side of the road, which could lead to serious tragedy. This isn’t something I really had to think about before, and I was glad that I don’t run with music very much anymore. No distractions helped me stay more cognizant of approaching vehicles and sprinting deer.

flat running vs hill running

(Please note, safety is super important no matter where you are engaging in activity. All runners, walkers, and cyclists should be on high alert).

Strength Training Might Be Even More Necessary For Hills

I runfessed that since I picked up Couch To 5K again, I’ve been a bit negligent in my strength training. What I learned in my flat running vs hill running lesson is that better core and upper body strength would have been hugely helpful. Is is FAR easier to maintain good posture and form when you’re not leaning into or back from a steep hill. The grades meant I used muscles I never knew existed in order to keep moving. Truth be told, even walking a mile up and a mile back down a road with a 500 foot elevation gain led to DOMS I haven’t experienced since my marathon in 2013. Days later, I was still a little sore! (Thank goodness for my roller!)

recovery progress

Do you train in a flatter or hillier area?

What are your thoughts on flat running vs hill running?

Join the Runner’s Roundup!

Link up each week to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas. Join your hosts Coach Debbie RunsRunning on HappyConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Organic Runner Mom each week for the Runners’ Roundup linkup! Your link must be running related. Unrelated links will be removed. You must link back to your hosts — it’s common courtesy and a lot more fun! Spread the link-up love by visiting at least two other #running bloggers! Leave a comment and find new blogs to read! Use hashtags #running and #RunnersRoundup to stay in touch and promote your content!

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week 24 (2020): venturing out

After all this time, we finally ventured out. We have been maintaining a lot of social distance, and being careful so far as unnecessary trips and gatherings, and we were so glad for the break. Especially me, seeing as I had been mostly homebound even before the pandemic began.

Sunday – 3.1 miles, walking

Despite the miserable weather, little man and I went out for a nice walk. Did it rain on us? Of course it did. Why wouldn’t it?

And then we settled in for another chill day. Mr PugRunner cooked on our Big Green Egg, and we just watched movies and hung out. After getting soaked, I was in zero mood to do much else.

Monday – 3.72 miles, walking

There was no skipping Monday, and I felt great for this walk. I am still trying to run the rainbow, and wanted to show off the orange flower in my succulents along with my orange tank top.

Tuesday – Couch To 5K Week 8 Day 1 (total of 4.15 miles)

This was the sort of run where if it could go wrong, it did. Little man joined me on the scooter, but he was not helpful about it. I accidentally hit the wrong button on the Cto5K app and it didn’t record my efforts. Ugh.

I did get to put my new SNAP ring to work for my post-run selfie, though. And, oh yeah. I did run for 28 minutes straight. And Luna got to attack my running socks.

Wednesday – 3.48 miles, walking

I had a selfie to commemorate this solid walk, but clearly, this is much better than a picture of me.

We had a chill rest of day, packing and prepping the pugs for the sitter. It was off to bed early for a pre-dawn wakeup call.

Thursday – rest

My only exercise on Thursday was sitting in a car for eight hours en route to our socially distant cabin vacation. We planned this trip with friends sometime last year, and had been watching and waiting to see if it would be a go. Happily it was.

I will share all the fun details later this week, but it was just so good to get away.

Friday –  2.68 miles, walking

Mistakes were made. Huge mistakes.

I (wrongly) assumed that mountain running would be ok. That I could just take my time and it would all work out. What I did not anticipate was an elevation gain of 500 feet in 1.5 miles. I came thisclose to calling for a ride but I stuck it out.

The fun didn’t stop there. While our plan was to spend time with friends and enjoy the amenities of the property were we rented our cabin, I wanted to go to the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. The last time we were here, it was winter and the bridge was closed, but now, it was open to limited visitors, and I really felt I needed to take on the mental challenge.

Little man and I ended up crossing the span of the bridge (Mr PugRunner is afraid of heights), but I couldn’t comfortably scramble to the small summit just beyond. I was so proud for handling the bridge, and so disappointed in what I couldn’t do.

Saturday – rest

I was so absurdly sore after my run attempt on Friday that I took the day off from planned activity. Much as I hated to bail, I just couldn’t handle it.

That didn’t mean we weren’t active. We checked out a local farmer’s market, visited some of the great fields and activity areas, and paid a visit to an alpaca farm!

In the evening, we hoped to go to a concert at the local amphitheater, but the rain gods were not on our side, so it was back to the cabin for s’mores and wine and a long night of chit chat and mountain life.

Goal-getting

While I am so happy to be spending time with some people I love very much in a fairly remote location, this was very hard for me on the fitness side of things. I have been very accepting of current limitations, but the last few days have been a straight up struggle.

Granted, I have zero abilities with elevation, but it’s so hard to admit defeat with hiking and getting around. Little man and his buddies climbed to a cave and I couldn’t join them because while hiking up might have been ok, there is no way I could have gotten down. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get to the summit on Grandfather Mountain, and sad that I have done zero running over the last few days because it’s so steep and high.

Of course, I’ll rally, but it stings.

In other news, I finally read The Hate U Give. It was a book I received at Christmas, but with all the medications from my surgery, I couldn’t focus on written words. I have seen the movie, but the book is even more powerful, and I highly recommend it.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

How do you handle physical limitations?

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