race report: best damn race jacksonville 10k {1.12.19}

I am Ambassador for the Best Damn Race series. I receive complimentary and discounted race entries and gear for promotion and honest review of the events. All opinions are my own.

Best Damn Race is just one of those events: no matter which city or which distance, its an event that is always on point.

The Jacksonville BDR is the first of the series, which starts in January. There is a 5K, 10K and half marathon, but as of yet, I have stuck with the 10K. It’ sos rare to find one around here and so I like to do as many as I can.

Packet pickup was offered the day before and on race morning, and we just opted to wait for the big day. I didn’t feel like driving to the pickup location, and with Meghan coming over for the night, I was way more interested in chilling with her than being on the road.

S joined us for the ride to Jacksonville. We left super early because we had to find a parking spot in one of the paid garages and we wanted to be close to the start/finish. Fortunately, we were able to snag a great spot right across the street. Yay!

It was cold but not freezing like last year. With temperatures in the 50s, it really was close to perfect running weather.

We picked up our packets: bibs, cute gender-specific shirts, a pair Best Damn Race socks, and Biscoff cookies in a reusable grocery bag. It’s a great swag bag, and we stashed those with the rest of our gear.

The 10K was the first of the three races to start, so after going to the restroom, we got our start line photos and lined up.

And then we were ready to go.

The 10K course was the same as last year: we left from the Landing and completed one out-and-back along Bay Street to the TIAA Bank Field and back. From there, we ran up and over one of the bridges so complete the next portion of the race through Riverside, under the Arts Market overpass and back to the Landing along the river.

The views are always outstanding towards the end of the race. There were some clouds in the sky, but ultimately, we got the sunrise over the water.

S was feeling great so bounced off with about a mile to go. We weren’t too far behind.

There were two or three hydration stops along the way with water and Nuun, and the last stop also offered gels. The weather was such that I didn’t feel the need to stop, but the fuel was well stocked for those who needed it.

Best Damn Race also offers free photos, which is such a nice perk. There were some great ones from the finish line.

We collected our medals and headed to the after party!

Outside, there were donuts by Dunkin and SoFruitty popsicles. Yum. Inside was a spread of cheese and pepperoni, chips, brownie bites and candy, in addition to water, electrolyte drinks and soda (including diet Coke!). We all had bracelets for the beer garden, where we were able to grab a celebratory drink.

We couldn’t hang out too long as we all had other things going on that morning, but we did get victory shots by the water.

And that’s a wrap on another awesome Best Damn Race Jacksonville!

There are still more opportunities to run a BDR event, and code RUNPUGS can save you $5 on Savannah, Orlando and New Orleans (any distance)! I am definitely in for the 10K + 5K Challenge in Orlando and I am strongly considering the half in Savannah. How about you?

What’s your favorite post-race treat?

5K, 10K or half?


halfway through january and holding strong

It’s time for the Weekly Wrap with  HoHo Runs and Taking The Long Way Home

If you do a weekly recap post, this is a great way to check in with other active bloggers for extra support, sharing and accountability.

Things are moving along beautifully this year.

Sunday – 4 mile hike + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 13

We took the Cub Scouts out for a lovely hike at a nearby nature preserve. It’s sometimes hard to organize things on weekends, but it was great to be able to get outside, even if we did get drizzled on. The kids opted for the four mile loop and it was great to stretch our legs. We are going to schedule another one soon.

Afterwards, little man went home with one of two of his buddies, so Mr PugRunner and I had an unexpected day date!

Monday – 5 miles, running  + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 14 

Five mile run, done!

Little man had a great day of school and an awesome karate class. We are getting used to his new schedule, and I’m not yet sure if I like it or not.

Tuesday – 6.5 miles, running  + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 15

Another back to back run! I am getting more used to them, even if they aren’t my favorite. Since we are running four days a week, it’s bound to happen, so I might as well embrace it.

Wednesday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 16

Little man will be starting basketball in a few weeks, but the organization with which we registered offers clinics and camps leading up to the season. Since he has never played on a team, Mr PR took him to this weeknight clinic to see him in action. He did great and said that he loves it!

Thursday – 7 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 17 

I ended up getting a little bit of an earlier start so managed to finish my run at seven miles instead of six. Yay!

When little man got home from school, he surprised us with his Honor Roll certificate! Reports cards were scheduled to come home Friday, but certificates went out ahead of time! He had struggled a bit this quarter, and we were so proud of him for staying on top of his grade and working hard to achieve his goals!

That evening, we did a Pinewood Derby car cutting session at a friend’s house. We had some difficulties with the saw so didn’t get the entire group’s cars cut, but we made a fairly significant dent.

Also, I got to visit my friend’s horse!

Friday –  Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 18

Friday morning started bright and early, picking up 60 dozen donuts for a Donuts with Dad event at our school. The turnout ended up being HUGE (over 500 people!), so we were absolutely beat by the time the last parents cleared out. Mr PR brought little man and one of his buddies whose dad was out of town.

Afterwards, we went to order trophies for our upcoming Pinewood Derby, as well as to get more supplies for the scroll saws for more derby car cutting later that night.

Saturday – 8.5 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 19

I was really dreading the idea of this long run. It’s been a while since I’ve managed this distance, so it was in my head. However, once we got up and out, things went pretty well. I’m so grateful for a regular running buddy who helps keep my mind off the hard parts.

I had to rush home because little man and Mr PR were heading off to a night of camping. At this point of Cub Scouts, the kids are being invited to join different Boy Scouts troops for meetings, camping and other activities, to kind of check things out and see what troop that might like to belong to when they cross over.

It was a pretty big deal.

After they got on the road it was time for me to get things done. That evening, I was attending a 4oth birthday party with a 1970s theme. Time for all the blue eye shadow, middle parts and beaded jewelry! It was a blast!


Let’s talk about accountability! Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?


Running is awesome. I have logged 67.9/90 miles for the month of January and it looks like I will finish the month with over 100 miles. Whoo!

Blogilates challenges are going strong. I’m having a bit of a struggle with the up up down downs – they are causing a bit of a strain under my one shoulder blade, but I adjusted my form and seem to be going better.

Hydration is going. Since it’s been so cold, I haven’t really been drinking a lot anyway. However, I’m having some form of water daily, which is a huge improvement from the past.

This week’s new recipe was Tamale Pie. I was signed up to deliver dinner to a friend, so I made a double batch of this. Even a single batch made a ton for leftovers to freeze, so it was great. This was a hit in my family and hers and we will add into the rotation for sure.

Almost done with White Fang on the reading front. Little man hoards his books, so I have to go searching for them and read when he’s not watching. I have a book sitting on my nightstand that I need to crack open as well.

Score for the week is A-/B+.

Share your progress in the comments or go ahead and link up with us!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

How was your week in training?

Are you still crushing those January goals?

race report: resolution run 5k {1.5.19}

New year, new race calendar, am I right?

I had hoped to do an actual New Year’s Eve race to wrap up 2018, but with the Starlight Bridge 5K right before Christmas, and knowing how much of a pain it is to get into and out of downtown Jacksonville once the NYE festivities begin, S and I tabled the idea in favor of the Resolution Run.

This is a local Florida Striders’ race that we have both managed to never before race. Its claim to fame is that it runs along the lovely River Road in Orange Park, providing views of gorgeous residential homes and the iconic river.

That being said, due to construction to fix said road from use and hurricane damage, this would the last opportunity to run on River Road this year. Obviously, that made it a “must-do”.

The race started kind of late (8:30 AM), so we had no need to rush. There was ample parking in the lot of the bestbet (the local poker room, which, by the way, had promised to donate $1800 to the local school with the most participation in the free fun run!), and we had built in time to pick up our packets and long-sleeve t-shirts, as well as use the restrooms located inside. (We both LOVED the shirts).

The temperature was in the 50s, but with the gusts of wind, it was raw and freezing. I mostly regretted wearing shorts, and even though I knew I would warm up while running, I was also very happy to hang out in the car and in the bestbet lobby until race time.

We headed over to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. It was slightly warmer in the sun spots, and that’s where we huddled until the National Anthem was sung and the race began.

Mr PugRunner had run other races on this course in the past and his one bit of advice to me was to watch the hills. The road was gorgeous but rolled all the way out and all the way back. There were also some pretty treacherous holes and cracks, so I kept my eyes on my feet to make sure didn’t trip or twist an ankle.

We followed River Road for a bit over a mile, before hooking to the right at the water stop for another quick straightaway to a u-turn. And then back we went. At the start, it was really crowded: the road is narrow and with the damage, it made it very hard to pick around people. Things eased up after the turnaround, but there was still some congestion with runners still taking up both sides. It wouldn’t deter me from registering again, though. The views and time of year make it a great 5K, despite the crowds.

Plus, Florida Striders’ gives back to running programs in community schools, so congested or not, I’m always on board for the cause of promoting fitness and healthy lifestyles.

The first medal of the year is pretty fabulous!

And what could be better than running a 5K on a gorgeous morning in Florida with a great friend?

Actually, there is something better. Kisses from this sweet bulldog who ran across that finish line with his stumpy tail wagging and his booty wiggling!

Yes. I am that person who stops running for all the dogs. Thanks to the awesome owners who allowed me to love on this sweet mush. And document it for the blog.

And so begins my seventh calendar year of running and races. It’s still crazy that what started as a “Fine. I will if you will.” conversation with my husband has turned into seven years of lifestyle and commitment. Who would have guessed?

Happy New Year of running!

What was your first race of 2019?

Is running something that’s always been a part of you or something that began later in your life?


tuesday thoughts: favorite holiday gifts

My goals this year included spending some more time with this little blog of mine, so linking up for Tuesday Thoughts with KookyRunner and Zenaida seemed like just the way to keep things moving!

Please visit these lovely bloggers, plus check out some of the other blogs on the link-up, and don’t forget to share your own post, as well!

This Tuesday, we are talking about our favorite holiday gifts.

I love gifts, both giving and receiving. There’s just something so wonderful about giving someone a present to light up their day, and being on the receiving end of a similar surprise is so great. This year, I was really excited about gifts I was giving to family members, but really didn’t ask for anything for myself.

We had just purchased a really big and beautiful handmade farmhouse table for our dining area, an expense for which we had neither planned nor budgeted. With that came an overhaul of painting and some new chairs and decor.

I told Mr PugRunner to let that be my gift for the year, and we could pick up some new lighting later. I also said I needed new running socks.


Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning, when I found that the boys had gotten me some of the most amazing gifts ever.

Yes, there were running socks, which were fabulous.

The boys also hooked me up with a race entry to the Daytona Beach Lap the Track 5K. The boy missed out on this one last year, and they both love it, so we are going to run as a family. Sweet!

I also loved this beautiful necklace that Mr PugRunner had made for me. He doesn’t really “get” my whole running obsession, and the fact that he went out of his way to give me a keepsake for this goal I set for myself was incredibly touching and thoughtful.

They also surprised me with a gorgeous luggage set. My old luggage has held up beautifully, but it’s almost 20 years old and the age is starting to show. It’s heavy, the wheels are breaking and it’s showing a great deal of wear. Now, I have some new, super light pieces and I can’t wait for our next trip! Plus, I love the color! My last suitcases were red, so this is something bright and different!

Last, but certainly not least, I got the gift of time with my incredible family. With our crazy schedules, it’s hard to sometimes just sit down and enjoy each other, and I was super grateful for the chance to do so over the holidays.

So what fun gifts did you receive over the holidays? Any big surprises?

making progress, crushing goals

As always, we are still linking up for the Weekly Wrap with  HoHo Runs and Taking The Long Way Home

If you do a weekly recap post, this is a great way to check in with other active bloggers for extra support, sharing and accountability.

Things are moving along beautifully this year.

Sunday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 6

Our Sunday was spent getting everything together for the return to school. Mr PugRunner picked up little man from his sleepover and I ended up going grocery shopping and cleaning out the entire refrigerator. Every so often, fridges need a good scrub and overhaul and this was the day.

Sundays are always hard because it means the week is just getting started again, but we took it easy and enjoyed the last official day of the break.

Monday – 6.5 miles, running  + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 7 

Even though it was cold, we kicked the week off with a nice run.

After the morning rush, I went back into the school to help with the Welcome Back Teacher Appreciation Luncheon. Prior to the holidays, it’s always hard to put on a PTA lunch for the staff just because of all the parties, field trips and events, so we have made the decision to host something right after break. Even better, the whole meal was donated by one of our parents’ restaurants, and it was extra delicious.

Tuesday – 6.5 miles, running  + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 8

Thanks to scheduling, we had back to back runs. Not my favorite, but we just gutted it out.

After a shower and getting little man off to school, I was tasked with the super fun duty of getting Molly to the vet. She had woken up on Sunday with gunky eyes, and since it hadn’t cleared up, she needed to be checked. The verdict is that she has autoimmune form of dry eye, requiring drops to help stimulate tear production.

Let me share how thrilled she was with the whole ordeal.

That evening, I got word that two Icemen players were going to be at the grand opening of the new Wendy’s in our area. I texted Mr PugRunner to pick up little man and take him over there for dinner, as they were hosting meet & greets and giving out free hockey tickets and swag.

Wednesday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 9

It was a quiet day. I did my challenges and worked on taking down the rest of Christmas and the holidays.

Thursday – 5 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 10 

It got frosty again, and we had to bundle up for those five miles.

Later that morning, we had a meeting for our local Ready. Set. Glow 5K. It’s an awesome race that a few friends put on and with which I have the privilege to help. The proceeds of the races are split between five of our neighborhood schools, so it’s really an awesome race for an awesome cause.

Friday –  Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 11

I spent the morning at a PTA Board Meeting, reviewing the next few month’s of events. We have some really fun things coming up.

And then my weekend really started! I finished getting the house ready and waited for Meghan to arrive! When she pulled up, we headed out for a yummy pre race dinner and stayed up a teensy bit later than we should have, drinking wine and catching up.

Big race in the morning!

Saturday – Best Damn Race 10K + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 12

We picked up S at around 5:15 to make the drive to Best Damn Race Jacksonville. The 1oK started at 7:00 and we still had to find parking and get to packet pickup. It all went very smoothly and we raced as planned. Yay!

Recap to come! (And will we see you at Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor, Savannah, Orlando or New Orleans? Code RUNPUGS saves you $5 on any distance in any city! I will definitely be running the challenge in Orlando, and am strongly considering Savannah so sign up and say hi!)

After a lovely lunch with Meghan at one of our favorite BBQ joints, I threw together some brownies and a salad for dinner and an evening with some incredible friends.

It was a fabulous day.


Let’s talk about accountability? Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?


This week has been great. I am already at 45/90 miles for the month of January, which has me tracking ahead for my goals of 90 miles in January and 1019 miles in 2019. Yay!

I have been absolutely diligent about my Blogilates challenges, doing all three of them every day without fail. Challenges are always extra challenging for me, but we are on Day 14 and going strong. Almost halfway there!

Water. Well, I’ve compromised and moved to La Croix or Bubly sparkling water. Google says that sparkling water actually does fill hydration requirements, and it is a lot more palatable than plain for me. I’ve been drinking quite a bit of it, even though it’s tough some days. I realize that I just don’t drink a lot in general, so meeting actual ounce goals can be a struggle.

We tried a new recipe this week: Easy Slow-Cooker Chicken Thighs. It was a different flavor than I normally cook, and I ventured into using boneless, skinless thighs instead of breasts, but it was good and a solid first attempt at a different weeknight meal.

I started reading White Fang along with little man, so I am back to reading. I have a few other books I’d like to start as well.

I would give myself a solid A this week!

Share your progress in the comments or go ahead and link up with us!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter



How was your week in training?

What are you reading lately?

race report: starlight 5k bridge run {12.22.18}

I know we’ve moved on to 2019, but I had one last 2018 race I wanted to share.

The Starlight 5K Bridge Run.


We weren’t initially going to register for this race. It was on a Saturday night and almost an hour away. The December race I wanted to do ended up being a little bit more inconvenient and in a not-so-great area, so I made a call on the fly and registered the whole family.

Another friend joined us for the evening, and we all drove down to the race site, being a bit generous on our time. We still had to pick up our packets and we weren’t sure about the parking situation (there was free street parking, but we had no idea how crowded it would be or how far we might have to walk).

We timed everything well and scored a spot a few blocks from the start line. The four of us were able to pin on our bibs, send the shirts and bags back to the car with Mr PugRunner and even get in trips to the portalet.

So far, so good.

As the start time drew closer, the race director took a moment to share course directions. I had expected little man to stay with Mr PugRunner and G, but while we were waiting, he announced he was going to run this race on his own. I was unprepared for his decision, but tried to rally quickly to give him instructions (stay to the farthest side on the open portions of the course away from cars, don’t cut in front of people, be careful on the trail portions of the race). I hoped that if I could keep ahead of him and Mr PugRunner could stay behind him, we would have a fairly decent safety net.

He wasn’t changing his mind, so we lined up and waited for the gun.

The course left the small oceanfront park, crossed a block, went right then left for the first trip up the Flagler Bridge. It wasn’t as high or long as Vilano, but it was a bit of a workout. Little man had sprinted out well ahead of me, but I overtook him about half a mile in. We chatted a moment, and then he fall back. At the bottom of the bridge, there was a turnaround for the return trip.

Little man was just a few minutes behind me. I high fived him as we passed, and when I saw Mr PugRunner, I let him know that little man was still going strong and to keep an eye out.

I finished the rest of the bridge, and then navigated a little stairwell to the access road underneath. We ran away from the ocean for a bit, before turning left on to a packed dirt trail. It was definitely getting darker, the majority of the light provided by the setting sun.

The trail gave way to a wooden boardwalk that cut through the intercoastal wetlands. It was a little narrow and just slightly tricky to navigate, but the view was stunning. I really hope to visit the area again to enjoy a bit more of the beauty.

After all of that, we were back to the road. There were a few more twists and turns, and then it was right to the finish line, line with lit up mini Christmas trees.


The finisher’s chute was fairly narrow, so I wedged myself in to wait for little man and the rest of the crew.

He came in hot about 10 minutes behind me, and proudly collected his medal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of him because people kept blocking the chute. There was no finish line photographer, either.

I texted Mr PugRunner to let him know that I had little man and then we wandered off to enjoy the after party.

Every bib had a ticket that could be submitted for a punch card, good for samples from local vendors and restaurants. Runners were entitled to a glass of sangria from Flagler Beachfront Winery, a donut from Swillerbees, s’mores kits, hot chocolate or coffee, and pulled pork sliders from Bayne’s BBQ & Southern Kitchen.

We were happy to chow down!

It was a beautiful, cold evening, with a huge and stunning full moon.


This is a definitely a do-again race. Little man loved it and asked if we could sign up for next year. I was really proud of him for pushing through on his own and I was thrilled that he seemed to enjoy it.

The shirts and medals were cute and nice quality (the medal glows in the dark), and I really loved how the course encompassed several different types of terrain, keeping things interesting.

My only complaint would be the lack of on-course photography. There were some fabulous opportunities on the bridge and boardwalk, and at the finish line, but maybe this is something that can be worked on in the years to come.

This will be a fun holiday tradition for our family going forward.

What’s your favorite holiday race?

Do you ever get to run more than two different kinds of terrain in one race?

weekly wrap: the first week of the new year {12.30.18 – 1.5.19}

As always, we are still linking up for the Weekly Wrap with  HoHo Runs and Taking The Long Way Home

If you do a weekly recap post, this is a great way to check in with other active bloggers for extra support, sharing and accountability.

Let’s start with a hearty Happy New Year! Our entrance to 2019 was not quite as calm and peaceful as one might have hoped, but things have balanced out a little bit as the days wore on.

Sunday – rest

And I mean that most literally. I don’t think any of us left the house all day. I had been hoping to go to a Jacksonville Icemen family fun day, but the effort to move from the couch proved to be too great for any of us.

Monday – 4 miles, running

I wanted one more run in 2018, just to finish the year right. I went out late in the morning and by myself. Not my favorite but it got done and put me at 1005 for the year.

Lunch was at my parents. We went early because we hate being out on the road on New Year’s Eve, but it was a lovely few hours with them.

That evening, we just went out front to ring in 2019 with our neighbors. I can’t remember the last time I actually stayed up until midnight, but it was fun to toast with everyone and say hello to 2019.

Tuesday – rest

Obviously, staying up until midnight left me absolutely unwilling to do much else in the fitness or running vein. We slept in.

Later that afternoon, we went to our friends’ house for an oyster roast to celebrate some birthdays, including Mr PugRunner’s. Yes, he’s our New Year’s Day baby (born at 12:02 am!). We all brought chili and sides and a cake and it was cut an incredibly chill and laid back day.

Wednesday – 7 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Days 1 & 2 + 3 mile hike

My first run of 2019 felt unbelievable and I ended up staying out for seven miles. It was a great and encouraging way to start the fitness year and my Run The Year Challenge.

The weather was gorgeous and after all the rain and some weekend drama, I wanted to get out. We invited some friends to meet for lunch and go for hike at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park. There was a 1.8 mile hike through the park and gorgeous formal gardens (little man wanted to use his hiking stick and new water bladder).

And then the fun continued across the street at the beach, where the kids navigated a route  along the gorgeous coquina sea wall.

I also started on these fun Blogilates Challenges. Each one goes for 30 days and focuses on a different region. Feel free to join me for these or any others that strike your fancy (there are several on the Blogilates website under “Challenges”).

Thursday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 3 

Little man ended up sleeping over his buddy’s house and when I picked him up in the morning, he showed off a new skill!

In the evening, Mr PR and little man watched a movie and hung out upstairs so I could host a girlfriend for wine and cheese and chit chat. It was great catching up.

Friday – 6.5 miles running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 4

I paid for the two glasses of rosè the night before during this run. Ugh. It was foggy and the  air was so thick you could almost chew it.

We spent the rest of the day as a family, and part of that meant getting back on track with eating. Through the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of junk and meals out, and I was thrilled with this yummy salad, full of beautiful veggies.

Saturday – Resolution Run 5K + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 5 + axe throwing

First race of 2019! S and I opted for the Resolution Run 5K – it was a new race for both of us and it was an awesome time. The course was gorgeous, even if the wind was raw and the road a little hilly.

I’ll recap soon!

Afterwards was a roller skating party for one of little man’s oldest friends, and then off he went on another sleepover (huge thanks to K & A for offering to take him last minute) so that we could both attend a date night/team building axe-throwing event.

I plan to write a post about this, but guys. If you haven’t been axe throwing yet, run, do not walk, to your nearest axe cages. This was honestly one of the best date night we have had in forever. It was so fun and so unique, and would you believe? I’m not terrible at throwing an axe at a target?

Mr PR was able to stick two at once!


2019 is off to a rollicking start, and I have thrown myself headlong into my goals. Want to keep up to date with my progress? Make sure you are checking in with our #RIOTS Accountability Sisters link up, too!



Is your New Year off to a great start?

What new things do you want to accomplish in 2019?

Oysters. Yay or nay?

welcome to the “running is our therapy” accountability sisters link up

Happy New Year!

You may have noticed a new menu header on Runs With Pugs called the #RIOTS link up. The acronym stands for “Running Is Our Therapy” and myself, along with five other amazing running and fitness bloggers, plan to be Accountability Sisters to each other (and whoever else wants to join in the fun) this year.

#RIOTS was born when Anna Louise of Gracious Warrior Princess reached out to some of her running and fitness blogger friends for help in being accountable for the 2019 year. All of us have goals in mind, and we were all incredibly happy to band together as a support network for each other (and everyone else who needs  some encouragement).

Every Sunday, we will share our victories and our setbacks. We are counting on each other to keep on track this year and the results are going to be epic!

Want to join us? Grab our graphic, drop your link below, comment on the host blogs and as many others as you can, and play along!

Meet the Accountability Sisters:

Brandi at Funner Runner

Anna Louise at Gracious Warrior Princess

Briana at Mat.Miles.Medals

Meghan at Meghan on the Move

Jenn at Runs With Pugs

Elizabeth at Train With Bain

I’ll go first!

2018 was a fabulous year and I did check off some boxes, but I have some big goals coming up in the next 12 months.

So far, my running is off to a great start. I’ve completed 16 miles thus far, including one 5K race, and have signed up for the Run The Edge virtual Run The Year Challenge to keep me on track in overall miles.

Running 50 States is one of those bucket list items. I have my eye on a race in Massachusetts this summer, and am hoping to maybe complete something in South Carolina or maybe Louisiana. This is a work in progress.

Last year, I had had a great streak at the gym, but fell off after an uncomfortable incident and a long illness. I have started off the year with three 30 Day Challenges courtesy of Blogilates, and plan to get in a regular gym rotation once the little guy goes back to school.

Drink. Water. This is the hardest one for me. I just can’t stand it. It doesn’t matter what I add or how I try to camouflage it, it still fairly awful. The compromise is I have started drinking La Croix or Bubly sparkling water. It gives me some carbonation and a bit stronger flavor than other products.  Apparently, sparkling water counts towards hydration, so I will tolerate this until I can maybe stomach the plain(er) stuff. It’s a start.

In the cooking and eating arena, we fell into a major rut in the last few months of the year. We don’t eat out a lot, but do so more around the holidays. Meals at home were rushed and thrown together because we were running to this event or that practice, and I think we all got pretty burned out on the same things. I have decreed that every week, we will pick a completely new and different recipe. I would love it if the boys take the lead and give me some input, too, but if not, I’ll just go where Pinterest and Google take me. It’s my goal to try some new ingredients and techniques, and maybe clean up some of our regular options. I have our first experiment all queued up for this week and am excited to share it with you.

Reading is another thing that has gone by the wayside. I read blogs and lots of stuff online, but haven’t picked up an actual book in a while. This is a loss I’m feeling deeply and I desperately need a book club to join. When I have a free moment this week, I am going to get a library card. I don’t have one because I’m impatient and have a book addiction – when I see something I want to read, I just buy it. Additionally, I will read favorite books over and over again. There’s nothing wrong that, per se, but I think I should take advantage of the county’s public library system.

I got so busy with a lot of things in 2018 that I didn’t focus a lot on blog. I was behind schedule a lot and even though I promised I would catch up, I really never did. I love writing and I love the blog and running community, so that had to change. I spent a few hours cleaning up the look of Runs With Pugs and adding some new things. I ordered business cards so I am able to network at some of the great media and influencer events I attend. I was also presented with another wonderful freelance opportunity that will keep me involved with the community and give me even more social media and marketing experience. My brain really enjoys the creative outlets and I’m grateful for the chance to get to exercise mentally as well.

With everything going on, I want our family to be just a wee bit more adventurous in 2019. We have some cool travel coming up, and I’ve already gotten to try one outrageously cool new activity, so this goal is coming along beautifully.

Every week, I’ll keep updating on how things are going, where I need to improve and where I’m crushing it.

What are your big goals for the year?

What motivates you to stay on track? How can we cheer you on?

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and i would run one thousand miles

Yes. I love that Proclaimers’ song. It’s catchy and really gets me going.

But that’s not the point.

At the beginning of 2018, I was a little frustrated. I was back from my hip flexor injury in the technical sense, but I saw no improvements in my running. Some of it was my own fault: I’m notorious for not drinking enough water, skipping speed work, and neglecting cross training. I’m not an elite athlete, a professional, or anything remotely close, so it’s not like my improvements or lack thereof meant anything to anyone besides myself.

But it’s still nice to achieve goals and see some tangible results.

With that said, I had mostly convinced myself that I was ok with the status quo. But something still chafed at the back of my brain.

I decided that I was going to run 1,000 miles in 2018.

Is it a lot? Maybe to some, not so much to others. To me, it was huge. Overwhelming. Daunting, even. Almost 165 miles more than in 2017, it would require me to really focus on a training plan and getting in the distance.

To hit exactly 1000, I had to plan for 83.33 miles per month. It didn’t matter if it was the middle of the blistering Florida summer, or in the midst of hurricane season. Whether I was sore or sick (within reason), tired or unmotivated, I needed to log time on the road.

No. Excuses.

Things started well enough in January. I completed about 81 miles, and felt great about that, considering we had gone on a family ski vacation and lost about a week of running time. I had a few small races, too, and the enthusiasm of the new year made the world feel like my oyster.

In February, the Daytona Half Marathon and several Run DONNA events pushed me over the 100 mark. I loved knowing that I had run 104 miles. I was strong and in charge of the future of this challenge.

Towards the end, I did get a little obsessive.  November and December were lean months, never yielding mileage out of the 60s. I can blame the holidays, the weather and an illness that kept me off the road for about a week, and then too drained to do much more for a few days after that, but I was able to rally to finish strong.

How did my running change?

Instead of “short” weekly runs in the three to four mile range, regular runs ended up being anywhere from six to eight miles at a time. Weekend long runs varied, but never felt particularly draining because I was running so much more during the week. An old goal of always feeling “half-marathon ready” was realized. At any given time during 2018, I could have toed the start line of a half and completed a reasonable race.

Prior to starting this challenge, I shied away from running back-to-back days. My body didn’t take kindly to it and if I did it too often, I would experience nasty aches. With the increased running, if I had to go out on consecutive days, it was no longer a huge deal.

My body changed. I don’t want to say I lost weight because I don’t own a scale, but there is so much more muscle definition in my legs, especially above the knees, and I went down a size in clothing. I also went up a notch in confidence and started dressing a little bit more for my body, rather than what I thought my body looked like. My cross-training was spotty again this year, so I won’t give too much credit to gym time, so I attribute a lot of this to the extra miles.

Overall, I felt in much better shape. I’m not as tired and also, not as hungry. I do still enjoy a good power nap but I’m also able to get out and go go go. Whether it’s just regular errands, taking on a new activity or just getting out to explore, I don’t feel my energy or enthusiasm waning.

I finally met and exceeded a running goal! It can get discouraging to fall short time after time, but in 2018, I logged 1,0o05 miles and went beyond what I said I would do. It required patience, staying on track for 365 days and constantly keeping the target in sight, but being able to say “I did this!” is one of the greatest feelings.

I didn’t necessarily get faster, nor did I worry too much about my pace. I went with the philosophy that a mile is a mile is a mile, and listened to my body. On race days, I pushed but for regular training, I just went with the flow. One thing at a time.

Most of all, I have grown to really appreciate the sport of running.  It’s been both therapy and social time, as well as a vehicle for work and creativity. Since I started, I’ve always enjoyed it, but after this past year, it has given so much to me and my well being.

For 2019, I signed up with Run The Edge for the Run The Year 2019 Challenge. The goal is to go one step further and complete 1,019 miles on my own, and 2019 with my running partner S. I think we can do it!


I’m already synced up with the online tracker, but can’t wait for my package to arrive, so I can start checking off miles on the poster and earning pieces of that medal!

(If you are interested in signing up as well, you can save $3 on your registration with my referral link!)

What goals are you reaching for this year?

Do you set mileage goals for yourself and your running?

looking back at 2018

Happy Wednesday! Happy New Year’s! Happy everything!

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday – yes, he’s a New Year’s baby!

Today, we are going to take a little trip down memory lane.

I always try to stay positive, even (especially) when things don’t go according to plan.

Best race experience in 2018: Tie – Jekyll Island 10K & Starlight 5K

Sorry to have to tie, but these were two brand new-to-me races and I loved both experiences.

The Jekyll Island 10K was such a beautiful course. Jekyll Island is one of our favorite day trip/staycation destinations and the opportunity to stay at the Westin, enjoy the beauty of the island AND race (with Meghan) was the perfect trifecta.

The race itself was fairly simple and it was absurdly cold, but that didn’t detract from the gorgeous ocean views.

The Starlight 5K was an impulse race, and it ended up being a huge win. I still have to write the race recap, but I loved the fact that the race incorporated the road, a bridge, some trail and some boardwalk. It was a night race, which usually isn’t my favorite, but the holiday lights and post-race party vibe more than made up for it.

Best run of 2018: Run Turkey Run 5K

I hate that a 5K was my best run, but I felt amazing during the Run Turkey Run 5K. It was very local, very small and everything just went great. It wasn’t an overall PR, but it was the best run I had all year, and it was such a boost to my confidence and motivation.

I ran hard, felt good and was even pretty happy with my overall placement.

Best new piece of gear: none

Mmmm. I’m not sure I even got a new major piece of gear this year. I’ve been holding strong with my Garmin 735XT (I did get a replacement Garmin after it broke, but nothing new) and my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium. For the most part, the only other things I need are my trusty shoes.

Best medal of the year: Best Damn Race Orlando Challenge Medals

I kind of loved the Best Damn Race Orlando challenge medals. I’m excited to earn a few more BDR medals this year, and you can still save $5 on the Safety Harbor, Orlando, Savannah and New Orleans races this year with code RUNPUGS.

Best piece of running advice received: Just. Run.

I have a tendency to get into my head a little bit (ok, more than a little bit). The advice of “just run” really resonated because honestly, that’s all there is to it. Just getting out there and doing it. I’m not saying it’s overcome all of the anxiety, but it’s made me focus on the actual act of running and not so much on the head games my brain likes to play.

Total number of miles in 2018: 1005!

OMG!!! Last January, I set a goal of running 1000 miles in 2018, and by Jove, it happened! I did it!

And Mr PugRunner commemorated it with this beautiful necklace from The Run Home.

Total number of races: 19

I would have liked to have run more. It just wasn’t in the cards. There was a lot of balancing of family activities and family time vs. going to and especially traveling to races. Obviously, family won. I really felt the lack of half marathons in 2018, and I am hopeful to start adding some of those back in this year.

Total number of shoes: Five

This was the year of the big shoe retirement. I retired a lot of my old shoes and moved into four new pairs: two pairs of Brooks Adrenaline, one pair of the Brooks Bedlam and two pairs of Saucony Guides. I will need to start adjusting the rotation soon, and I’m not sure what direction I’m going to go.

Worst running experience: ???

I know there were some difficult and frustrating runs this year, but nothing really stands out as the “worst.” Which is a good thing, I guess. It means that I am just taking things in stride and getting it done, regardless.

Race I probably wouldn’t run again: Winter Beach Run 5 Miler

Not that it was terrible, because it absolutely wasn’t. However, it’s hotter than Hades, and I just don’t know that I feel the need to run five miles on the beach in the dead of summer, ever again. Not even for tacos.

Race that surprised me: Daytona Speedway Half Marathon

This was a bit of an interesting race for me. My goal was to accompany a friend, and so I got to experience a race from a very different perspective. I was so impressed by how well all the runners were treated, no matter their pace, and I loved that the first runner and last runner got the same amount of respect from the course. Great medals, awesome swag and free photos sealed the deal.

Run experience you to which you are most looking forward in the New Year: 

I am really looking forward to taking on a few more states in my Run 50 States quest, This year, I checked off North Carolina and California. Next year, I am hoping for Massachusetts, and maybe South Carolina and one more. I just have to finalize travel plans.

The most important thing I took away from running this year: My answer is always… the memories.

Most inspirational runner: You know who you are.

The runners in my life are all so incredible. I have learned so much from each and every one of them, and I am grateful for them in my life.

Goals for 2019: I’m not sure where this year is going to take me. Here’s what I have in mind, so far.

  • Run 1,019 miles. I mean, it’s less than 20 more than what I did this year. Shouldn’t be a problem. I’m tracing through Run The Edge this year, so we will see how that goes.
  • Add two more states to my Run 50 States quest.
  • Build more half marathons into my race calendar. Last year was a little lean and I don’t want a repeat in 2019.
  • Get back in the gym. I took a hiatus after an uncomfortable incident, and then I got sick. I never found my way back to it, but that needs to change.
  • Drink. Water. It’s my greatest fitness/nutrition challenge. I need to improve.
  • Make one new recipe a week. We’ve gotten a bit away from experimenting in the kitchen and it’s time to get over it.
  • Continue to build myself professionally. I’ve had some great freelance opportunities and I’d like to stay strong in that facet of my life.
  • Keep building the blog. I love this space and I hate that I can’t always focus on it as much as I’d like. I hope to be able to carve out the time to be more consistent with posting and spend more time growing my audience.
  • Get a library card. It’s not that I don’t read (quite the contrary). It’s that I read too much and lack the patience to wait for the books I want. My house is full of purchased books that I either keep and reread or share and donate. Reading shouldn’t be a line item on our budget, so I want to take advantage of our awesome public library system.

I’m sure I’ll add and adjust to this list as the year passes, but here’s our starting point.

Here’s to 2019! I am hopeful to see great things in the next 365 days!


How was your 2018?

What are some of your goals for next year?

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