tuesdays on the run: jacksonville race love

It’s Tuesday, so I’ll be joining up with My No-Guilt LifeMarcia’s Healthy Slice and MCM Mama Runs for “Tuesdays on The Run”!

Tuesdays on the Run

The lovely TOTR ladies are sharing all about their favorite local races, and I’ve got plenty to say on the matter!

When we moved to the Northeast Florida area almost a decade ago, neither Mr PugRunner nor myself had running on our minds. It was only in the last few years that we discovered our little hobby was supported by what I would consider one of the best running communities ever.

Here are some of my favorites:

Gate River Run 15K

Touted as the largest 15K in the entire country, the Gate River Run just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Over 20,000 runners come from all over the world to participate in the morning’s events (in addition to the 15K, there is a 5K, a Junior River Run of one mile and a Brooks Rehab Mile).

The course takes runners on a scenic tour of Jacksonville: through the city, over the Main Street Bridge,

through some of the beautiful neighborhoods on the other side of the river, back over the Hart Bridge with a finish line right outside Everbank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Course support is outrageous: residents and fans set up camp in the streets, with signs and high fives, in addition to mimosas, bloody mary’s, extra beer, and even sausage, donuts and popsicles! It’s definitely worth experiencing, at least once.

Run 26.2 with DONNA

Created in 2008 by local news personality and three-time breast cancer survivor Donna Deegan, Run 26.2 with DONNA is amazing as both a race and a charity. The DONNA takes over the entire second weekend of February, with a 5K and 10K held on Saturday, and the half marathon, full marathon and marathon relay on Sunday.

All proceeds from the race go to both the DONNA Foundation (which provides financial assistance for the critical needs of men and women diagnosed with breast cancer) and the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program for breast cancer research, awareness and care.

I ran the Sunday event for the first time in February, and I have been missing out. It is the most inspirational, beautiful race I have ever had the honor of running, and I intend to be back for years to come. From the streets lined with pink, to the nonstop cheering crowds, to the teams supporting each other – it’s really unlike anything else.

Tour De Pain

You know I am all about a good race challenge, and Tour De Pain is one of the coolest. The race takes place over two days with a four-mile beach run on Friday night, a morning 5K road race, and then a late afternoon mile “sizzler.” It’s pretty exhausting, both mentally and physically. There’s enough downtime to psych yourself out, but not enough to really get some good rest. Oh, and did I mention it takes place in August?

Thanksgiving Distance Classic

With half marathon and 6K options, the Thanksgiving Distance Classic has just become part of the holiday. I can’t imagine starting to work on a turkey without a race under my belt.

There’s a nice, early start, and the course is through some pretty, shaded Mandarin neighborhoods. For some reason, it’s almost always one of my faster runs, so I always try to make time for it in my race calendar.

Ready. Set. Glow 5K

I’m a sucker for a good cause, so Ready. Set. Glow 5K is certainly up there on my list. In its second year, Ready. Set. Glow benefits three neighborhood schools with it’s nighttime, glowrific 5K (and a one mile fun run for those who aren’t up to 3.1 miles). It’s a great way to get families out and running, which is always a wonderful thing in my book.

 

What are some of your favorite local races?

weekly wrap: 3.12.2017 – 3.18.2017 + publix savannah women’s half marathon training week 6

Happy Monday!  It’s time for the Weekly Wrap with HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin!

WeeklyWrap

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!

Obviously, when blogging, I prefer to share the positives and the highlights. I don’t like to dwell on the negatives or focus on the bad times. I mention when I have a bad run or training session, or when I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing my goals, but that’s about all the time I like to devote to it.

This week, however, was bad. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how bad it was. There was a perfect storm of causes: the time change, a sudden plummet in temperature, a really awful interaction that left me shaken and off-kilter. I couldn’t get myself together. I barely wanted to get out of bed, let alone run or workout. I was hoping to start boot camp this week, but I didn’t. I didn’t eat well (or much), and I certainly didn’t hydrate properly. I didn’t want to socialize, blog, or even go outside.

It was ugly.

I had two opportunities to race this weekend, and I skipped both of them. I didn’t feel like getting up. I can argue that maybe my body needed the rest time, but I can also argue that I was deep (DEEP) in the throes of some blahs (the conditions are perfect for a bout of seasonal depression) and needed a big ol’ kick in the booty to get back to right.

So. Here we are.

Today, I am feeling better and stronger, and more hopeful. Waking up in the dark is still very much not my favorite, but it has to be overcome.

Sunday – rest

After the Gate River Run, a date and the time change, we were all pretty happy to stay in bed and lay low. It was freezing and even a little dreary, and no one was much motivated to do anything.

We met my parents for a late lunch – we had planned for little man to spend a few days with them until I closed out my work week.

Monday – rest

I had a very long day of work, and by the time I got home, I was spent. Mr PugRunner had come home early and made a really delicious lasagna, but I could barely eat it. I went to bed early, couldn’t fall asleep and laid awake most of the night.

Tuesday –  rest

I had promised myself that I would get up for boot camp or running or both, but I didn’t. In fact, I probably didn’t get out of bed until about 30 minute before I had to leave for work. It’s very unlike me and I felt awful about it.

My parents dropped little man off when I got home. We didn’t have any special plans for the night, but were looking forward to doing a few fun things on my days off.

Wednesday – 4.2 miles, running

It wasn’t an early morning, but I did manage to get in 4.2 miles. Even though it was cold out (in the 30s), I wasn’t feeling it much at all. Plus, I missed having a buddy, but since it was Spring Break, not many people were around.

Once I got showered, we went to our local trampoline gym to meet up with some friends. The kids bounced for a while and we had lunch, before we had to leave for some errands. Little man apparently has discovered a new love of wings (no sauce).

Mr PugRunner didn’t get home until later in the evening, after meeting with our accountant (yay tax time), so I didn’t get to the gym then either.

Thursday – rest

Mr PugRunner got invited to Orlando to go watch some of the NCAA games in a suite, so he left pretty early in the morning. Little man and I met up with another friend for a day of laser tag, bowling and arcade games. The kids had so much fun and the other mom and I were able to chat while they played.

Friday – rest

When I woke up, I felt dizzy and a little nauseous. It wasn’t pleasant, and while I wasn’t really sick, my body just wasn’t happy.

I had told little man we would go to the movies, but I asked him if we could postpone to Saturday until I was feeling better. He was ok with that, and I focused on feeling better so we could help Mr PugRunner celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (it’s his favorite), first with lunch at an Irish pub and then a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner at a friend’s house.

Saturday – 5 miles, running

I had been thinking about getting up early to do a last minute 5K at the Vilano Bridge, but when 5AM rolled around, I was more than happy to roll back over and go back to sleep until a little later, when I completed a pretty nice five miles.

In the afternoon, we finally went to see Beauty and the Beast. The boys enjoyed it, but I was really disappointed. I am fairly certain I am the only one who felt there was so much missed potential, and while it was artistically beautiful, I was just left feeling flat.

Lunch and our first frozen custard of the season helped make up for it.

 

I guess we can just call it a lazy, cutback kind of week. I know I haven’t lost much in terms of fitness, but motivation is a little harder to reclaim. I can tell you that I came back in a big way yesterday and I am vowing to work onward from there. I have too many goals and plans to give up.

 

How was your week in training?

Do you ever just find yourself unable to get yourself out of a funk?

race report: best damn race orlando 10k + 5k challenge {3.4.17}

I am an ambassador for the Best Damn Race series. I am compensated for my promotion of the BDR events with race entries and sponsor gifts. All opinions are my own.

The Best Damn Race Orlando 10K + 5K Challenge was a Christmas gift from my parents (thanks, guys!). I’m not entirely sure WHY Meghan and I decided running 9.3 miles that day would be a great idea, but it would keep me on track for Gate River Run and Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon training, so it was definitely the right call.

Last year, due to my hip injury, I ended up not even being able to make the trip down to Orlando attempt the 5K, so I was chomping at the bit to get back to this venue. I love the series, and would, one day, love to run all of the BDR races, as scheduling allows.

I drove down to Orlando on Friday afternoon. I would be staying with Meghan at her house, and we decided that we would just pick up our packets on race morning, so I didn’t have to rush around downtown, and we could spend more time carb-loading and catching up.

It was the right call.

Dinner at TR Fire Grill was beyond amazing, and we were feeling quite well-fueled when we finally headed to bed.

Since the races started at 7:05AM, we were out the door just a little after 5:30. We had to stop for a bagel (I forgot my granola bar), and then we snagged parking in a $5 lot a few blocks from the start line.

The morning was pretty chilly and windy, and I was mostly glad for lower temperatures.

Packet pickup was fairly easy (although a lot of people did opt for race day pickup). We got our t-shirts and wristbands for the beer garden, and then dropped our bags with a friend (although gear check was also an easy option).

We met up with some of our fellow ambassadors and took some pre-race photos. With people running three different races at different times, it was hard to coordinate a big group photo and there were still some running buddies we didn’t get to see. Next time!

Nadine, Haley, me and Meghan

With the 10K starting soon, Meghan and I made a run to the portapotties on our way to the start line.

Corrals were self-seeded and we found ourselves a nice spot. After the National Anthem, the 10K runners started out.

When I ran this course two years ago, it was slick and wet and misty. This year it was chilly and windy, but the terrain didn’t really offer too many issues. Yes, there are a lot of bricks in downtown Orlando, but it wasn’t too bad for the 6.2 mile distance. The majority of the race takes place in some very pretty neighborhoods, and then winds back into the city for the final push to the finish line.

I like the course. It’s interesting, with some small elevation variety. I believe we counted four or five aid stations along the 10K course, although I was too cold to stop for hydration (which Meghan told me was freaking her out). I opted out of my handheld water bottle, because I knew I could get Nuun on the course, but I just never wanted any.

We finished all smiles and made our way through the chute to collect our medals, a bottle of water and then a fruit popsicle. Yum.

There was about 40 minutes until the 5K started, so we spent the time taking pictures of our first piece of bling, going to the restroom. And hitting up the beer garden. Because it just felt like the right thing to do.

Before we knew it, it was time to go again. The 5K was just an abbreviated version of the 10K, and it was a nice run. We spent 3.1 miles chatting and laughing (and with me skipping the water stops again). The wind had definitely kicked up, so our last stretch to the finish line was a little more challenging. Boo.

But we smiled all the same.

(Yes, Best Damn Race offers free race photos! It’s such a great perk and we ended up with several good photos!)

At this point, we were plenty warm, and it was time to get a snack. Best Damn Race is known for his post-party, and we were happy to grab a selection from the food tent: I got a cold Diet Coke, brownie bite and slice of pizza (they also had oranges and bananas, candy, chips and other goodies), and then we returned to the beer garden.

This year, I didn’t have anything going on at home, so I was able to hang out and enjoy the festivities a bit.

It ended up being such a nice morning, and I almost didn’t want to leave.

On our way back to Meghan’s house, we stopped at Se7en Bites for breakfast and drinks. Eggs, grits, fried green tomatoes and a delicious garlic biscuit with a blackberry sangria. It was absolutely everything we needed, and then some.

I was really happy we decided to go ahead with the challenge. I confess that I was having a very hard time getting over the seven mile hump in my training, and getting through 9.3 with a friend made it all so much more bearable and put a great spin of momentum on the weeks ahead.

I am so grateful to Meghan for being such a great running buddy (and gracious hostess) – we are incredibly well matched, and my biggest complaint is that we don’t live closer to do more regular training together.

So ends another fabulous season of BDR (for me). I am hoping to add some other locations to my calendar next season (um, New Orleans anyone?), but we will see how it goes!

What foods and drinks do you like to see at a post-race party?

5K, 10K or both?

get the luck of the irish with the st. paddy’s run and tropical smoothie cafe!

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for my promotion of St. Paddy’s Run and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. All opinions are my own.

Since becoming a runner, one of my favorite things to do is race on holidays. There’s just something so great about joining a bunch of fellow runners, usually in themed clothes, getting a jump on a day of celebration.

Of course, the St. Paddy’s Day Run is a great way to celebrate the luck of the Irish.

Held on Sunday, March 19 at 8:00 AM, and offering a 5K and 10K option, runners can wear their green and race their hearts out through the paths of the historic Evergreen Cemetery for the “gold” (medal) at the end of the rainbow… er… finish line.

Register online or at any 1st Place Sports store to take part! All registrants will receive a gender-specific technical shirt, a gorgeous leprechaun hat medal and free beer at the finish!

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, too!

Swing by your local Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and choose from any of the beautiful green smoothies, loaded with spinach and kale, among other yummy fruits and veggies. Or break out and try the Chia Banana Boost with Strawberries or Peanut Butter, or the Acai Berry Boost.

Will you be joining us for the festivities?

weekly wrap: 3.5.2017 – 3.11.2017 + publix savannah women’s half marathon training week 5

Happy Monday!  It’s time for the Weekly Wrap with HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin!

WeeklyWrap

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!

This past week has been… well…. eventful. It was Gate River Run Week, which meant all hands on deck at work. I was really looking forward to some downtime come Saturday.

Sunday – March to Get Screened 5K Run/Walk

I recapped the race here, but it was a great morning and a beautiful day. I was proud of myself for running my fastest 5K in quite some time, especially on the beach and on the heels of 9.3 miles the day before.

Monday – rest

Monday was less great. Little man had a rough and sleepless night, and Mr PugRunner ended up taking him to the doctor as soon as the office opened. Diagnosis? Strep. Ugh. On the plus side, he doesn’t tend to fever or sore throat when he has strep, but he was pretty miserable with some shallow breathing and coughing. Mr PugRunner and I tag teamed to stay home with him (I went to work in the morning, and we switched off when I got home).

In lieu of karate, we rented Moana, and spent the evening eating soup and singing along.

Tuesday – 4 miles

Little man had a much more restful sleep, and so I was able to get out for a 4 miler before work. It was a bit of a lonely run but I was glad for it.

We decided that little man would spend one more day at home, and we switched off work schedules again to make it happen. He was already 100% better, but we wanted him to have a little more rest and give the antibiotics a chance to really do their job.

Wednesday – rest

Wednesdays are short days for everyone, so it was a nice way to ease back into school. Fortunately, with spring break right around the corner, there wasn’t much makeup work for him, so we were able to enjoy another mostly low-key night. We did end up going to his karate class, just because he was going to be testing on Saturday morning and we wanted him to have one last refresher class before then.

Thursday – 5 miles

I had another solid run this morning, and was feeling pretty decent for Gate. Of course, it’s a pretty intimidating run in and of itself, but I was comfortable with what I had done as far as training thus far.

Mr PugRunner and Papa Bear had planned to spend the day in Orlando at a Yankees game, and my mom came down to help out with little man, so I could hit up the Expo to get my race packet, and then put in some hours at work.

She was also kind enough to take him to cub scouts when I got home so I could clean up and grab some dinner. My parents are, quite literally, the best.

Friday – rest

I was finally able to clean up around the house and get some small errands done. After all that, we headed over to little man’s school for his publishing party. The kids have all been working on informational papers on animals of the west, and little man’s piece on the King Salmon was quite educational. These papers will be part of a larger project for the end of the year, and I am excited to see how it all evolves.

I also got a nice surprise in the mail: the Aftershokz headphones I had won from #bibchat a couple of weeks ago. I know the rule about nothing new on race day, but I was pretty darn determined to try them out at the Gate.

We had a quiet night with takeout Italian for dinner, and I tried to get in bed on the early side.

Saturday – Gate River Run 15K

Due to not wanting to deal with traffic and road closures, I was out of the house by 5:30 AM. I wasn’t feeling great for a variety of reasons, and there were a few moments where I really thought about bailing and going home.

However, this IS one of my favorite races, and I was already up and dressed, so I figured I could slog it out.

Race recap to come, but I will give the huge spoiler alert and say that I PR’d! I had no idea until hours later, and it’s been so long since it’s happened, that I’m really feeling so much more motivated and positive about everything. Funny how that happens.

In the meantime, little man was at his dojo, earning his blue belt! He has been working really hard in karate, and I am so proud to see him moving along so beautifully.

While I worked on getting home, the boys went to spend the afternoon at a local Big Green Egg festival, sampling some delicious, BGE-cooked food. I, on the other hand, took a nap.

That evening, we had plans to go out to dinner with another couple. We shared a sitter between our combined three boys, and they may have had just as much fun as we did. It’s something we definitely plan to do again (although hopefully not after a huge 15k!).

 

Twenty one point four miles for the week, and I am feeling pretty strong. The unexpected PR boosted my spirits incredibly, and I am hoping to build on that this year. I think it was just the thing I needed to gain some more confidence.

This week, I am also going back to boot camp. I haven’t been able to do much cross training due to scheduling conflicts, so I am going to take the hit on sleep and get myself back into the gym for an early class.

I also plan to get back on the bike this week. I wanted to start doing laps, but low temperatures and storms are going to keep me out of the pool (outside and not heated). Yes, I’m that much of a sissy. But I’ll get caught up.

 

How was your week of training?

Are you managing to fend off illness in your house this winter?

 

 

race report: march to get screened 5k run/walk {3.5.2017}

This is a sponsored post. March To Get Screened has provided me with complimentary entries to give away, as well as two for my own use, in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are my own.

On Sunday morning, we were able to take our time getting ready. The March To Get Screened 5K Run/Walk didn’t start until 9AM, and packet pickup began at 8AM. This was pretty late for a morning race, and it was a nice break.

We found parking in a public lot right by the start line, and hopped out to grab our bibs. We also received string bags and soft cotton logo t-shirts. We stashed everything in the trunk and joined the crowd waiting to head to the beach.

There was plenty to do – volunteers were handing out blue beads, leis, sunglasses and tattoos. There was a face painter and balloon artist (little man obviously hopped into line for a balloon animal), and another vendor was handing out coffee, hot chocolate and chicken biscuits.

The area was full of people, alone and in teams, dressed in blue. There was a definite camaraderie in the air.

It was sunny but windy and cold. I was glad to have layered up, and even more glad that I remembered an ear warmer for little man.

After a visit with C, who I haven’t seen in AGES,

and a trip to the portapotty, we made our way to the sand.

The course had changed from the last time I had participated in the event. This time, we would head north, under the pier, passing the finish line along the way, continue for just over 1.5 miles, turn around and come back. The wind would be a factor on the return trip.

Prior to the start, a few trainers led everyone in a warmup session. After that, March to Get Screened Founder and colon cancer survivor Jan Pratt welcomed everyone and spoke a bit about the importance of annual screenings to help detect and prevent colon cancer. It’s such a critical message and just a simple exam can potentially save so many.

With that, we were off.

I wasn’t really sure of my strategy. My legs were tired from the two races on Saturday, but the weather was cool, so I shortened up my intervals and dug deep. Mr PugRunner and little man wanted to walk, so I left them to do just that.

The sand was packed and really flat, which helped a lot. I’m not usually a strong beach runner, but I did feel good, so I pushed. It was really a glorious morning, and before I knew it, I had made the u-turn and was heading back.

March To Get Screened is a very walker friendly event, and I passed a lot of teams in themed shirts as I was heading back. Among the humorous one-liners, there was one group whose shirts all read “Losing is NOT an option” and it gave me chills. I repeated that mantra in my head for the remainder of the course.

It was tough having the finish line in sight for a full 1.5 miles, but finally, I passed the 3-mile marker, cut through the churned up sand and finished.

There was more water at the finish line and finishers received a medal (last year was the first year of medals for this particular event). A nice throng remained on the beach to welcome back the rest of the field. I had a quick drink and then got back on the course to find the guys.

They had decided to start running a little, so I kept pace with them until they got to the finish line.

As always, the awards ceremony took place at Lynch’s Irish Pub, right across from the finish line. Runners could get a complimentary beer, listen to live music by Darren Corlew, and enjoy some delicious menu items. We didn’t join in the festivities this time, but the after-party is inevitably a great time.

To end on a really high note, March To Get Screened reported that this event helped raise over $50,000 for colon cancer research, education and awareness, surpassing 2016 by $10,000! That’s an amazing victory and those funds will be spent finding a way to end colon cancer once and for all.

Do you have a colon cancer awareness event in your area?

Do you run with other family members?

weekly wrap: 2.26.2017 – 3.4.2017 + publix savannah women’s half marathon training week 4

Happy Monday!  It’s time for the Weekly Wrap with HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin!

WeeklyWrap

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!

This week was pretty chaotic, but everything got done, and my workouts weren’t nearly as disappointing as they were the prior week.

Sunday – 1 mile, running

The weather was gorgeous, so I thought little man and I could squeeze in a few miles together. One mile into our run, he took a misstep on the edge of the sidewalk and wiped out.

Of course, he was pretty upset, so we walked our second mile home to tend to it. By the time we arrived, he had gotten over it, but he’s going to have a pretty nice little scar on his knee. Ironically, it will match mine from the time I so gracefully ate pavement last summer.

The rest of the day was pretty chill while we waited for Mr PugRunner to get home from his trip. I had dinner plans with some girlfriends, and it was really good to get out and spend some quality time with them. I confess to hermiting a little over the last few weeks. I’m one of those introverted extroverts, and I guess I just hit my limit and needed to recharge.

Monday – rest

Monday, Monday. Not much to report.

Tuesday – 4.5 miles, running

I had hoped to get in a few more miles at little man’s run club, but I had to stay late at work and missed it. He was a little disappointed and I felt really badly about it, but he said it went well anyway.

After dinner, K and I finally got together for a run! You all know I consider evening running to be awful, but I didn’t even care. I was just so excited to get to hang out with her and get in some miles.

Wednesday – rest

I spent a lot of time stalking my email inbox on Wednesday. I was waiting for this delicious pieces of news!

I LOVED being a part of the Rock ‘n’ Blog team in 2016 and I am so excited to do it again. This year, I am hoping to run Brooklyn, Savannah and Las Vegas. Fingers crossed that it happens.

Want to join me? Enter code RNB15 for $15 off select Rock ‘n’ Roll races!

Thursday – 4.5 miles, running

The weather was decent for a later morning run, so I drove to the beach, and created a route that went from the pier to the beach and then over the bridge and back again.

I could have gone a little more, but Mr PugRunner and I had a lunch date.

We had been wanting to try Prohibition Kitchen, and it was finally time.

The ambiance can best be described as “speakeasy” and it’s a really cool little place. We ordered based on our server’s recommendation, and I wasn’t sorry in the least. This fried chicken sandwich, with lettuce, tomato confit, pickled green tomato and ranch on the side was amazing.

Normally, we don’t do dessert, but it was raining and we needed to buy some time before walking back to the car. This Irish Coffee milkshake with whiskey, garnished with a brownie and chocolate covered bacon was heavenly (I only had a few sips).

That evening, little man earned a few more belt loops for Cub Scouts- we were all quite proud of his accomplishments and love that he enjoys scouting so much.

Friday – rest

Friday was a bit of a whirlwind. Little man had his annual lap-a-thon at school and I had to be on my way to Orlando for Best Damn Race with Meghan. I packed, and headed to the school to support him in his run. He did great, and got through about 20 laps!

I gave him hugs and kisses, loaded the car and hit the interstate.

We wanted to be in bed sort of early-ish, so we caught a happy hour at TR Fire. Holy moly, was it delicious. We shared a fried green tomato appetizer and I indulged in a shrimp po’ boy for dinner.

It was the perfect pre-race meal.

Back at her house, we chatted until a little after 10PM, when we agreed we probably needed to get to bed. We had two races, for a total of 9.3 miles in the morning, and we were going to regret not getting enough z’s.

Saturday – Best Damn Race Orlando 10K + 5K Challenge

Obviously, the full race report is to come, but man, did we have a blast at the Best Damn Race Orlando 10K + 5K Challenge.

It was literally exactly what it sounded like: we ran the 10K, dropped off our medals, grabbed a drink, went to the bathroom and then ran the 5K. For our efforts, we got some extra bling, and it was a great warm up for Saturday’s Gate River Run 15K.

After brunch, I cleaned up and got back on the road for home.

 

This felt like a strong week. I think my runs were productive, and even though there’s still no sign of cross-training, I’m ok with it. I really needed Saturday’s race to push me over the seven mile hump, and I was very grateful that Meghan was such a great running partner. We had a blast the whole way.

Saturday’s race is going to be hot, so my strategy is simply to power through. I want to stay strong and healthy for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half in April, and there’s no point to blowing it now.

There’s still another day on the $25 Publix gift card giveaway! Don’t miss it!

How was your week in training?

What are your thoughts on race day challenges?

 

friday five 2.0: 5 hacks to get through the long run

TGIF!

We are ending the week with the Friday Five 2.0, hosted by Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

frifive2-3

Be sure to link up with your own posts, and visit our hosts and other bloggers in the group!

This Friday, we are talking about

Break it up

Ten miles is ten miles is ten miles. But “ten miles” sounds a lot more daunting than “four miles + four miles + two miles” or “four miles + three miles + three miles.”  The simple act of chopping a longer distance into smaller chunks can make the overall task seem much more manageable. At least in my head. Which is where it matters.

Set up camp

When I am out for a longer run, especially if I am stuck in my neighborhood due to time constraints or until the sun comes up, I’ll usually stash my gear on the front porch. This way, I can lay out a few miles completely unencumbered, and then load up with my visor, sunglasses and any liquid or fuel I may need.

Change the scenery

Nothing gets me more motivated than scoping out a new route, especially on a long run. New sights and sounds give me something different on which to focus, and I can forget about the miles ahead.

If you’re lucky, you can even reward yourself with a nice view when it’s all over.

Recruit a friend

Even though there are many times that schedules and training plans don’t match up, so many runners are more than happy to get out there to support a friend. If you’re running 12 and someone can join you for five, it makes a world of difference.

Use a race

If I have to log the miles anyway, it’s nice to do so in the company of a few hundred (or thousand) of adrenaline-fueled fellow runners. I’ve been known to register for a race, get to the venue super early to log my miles before the start gun, and then happily make use of the great course support to motivate me through the last miles. Scoring a sweet medal helps, too.

What are your favorite hacks to get through long runs?

And don’t forget, there’s still time to enter to win a $25 Publix gift card! Click here and enter through the Rafflecopter widget!

make the 40th gate river run the best yet

This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for my promotion of Gate River Run and Tropical Smoothie Cafe. All opinions are my own.

On March 11, 1st Place Sports will present the 40th running of the Gate River Run.

This 15K prides itself on being the largest of its kind in the United States. While it does provide a beautiful 9.3 mile tour of the neighborhoods of Jacksonville, the challenge comes in the two bridges that bookend the race: the iconic Main Street Bridge at mile 1 and the infamous Hart Bridge (aka Hart-Breaker, aka Green Monster) at mile 7.5.

Between those two elevations are miles of cheering crowds and the best spectators the city has to offer. It’s one the jewels of the Jacksonville race crown, and is not to be missed.

Run hard, though, because the top 10% of men and 10% of women runners score one of these coveted Gate River Run hats!

The week before a big race like Gate River Run is a great time to dial in nutrition. Running 9.3 miles over two huge bridges is no small feat, and the body needs to be properly fueled every bit as much as it needs to be sufficiently trained.

The Cha Cha Sriracha Flatbread is a great choice to satiate pre-race hunger. Grilled chicken is folded into a toasted flatbread and complemented with shredded carrots, cilantro, scallions, mozzarella cheese, house-made roasted pineapple salsa and dressed with a carmelized pineapple sriracha sauce. Light enough for an easy meal, but with a punch of protein, veggies and fruits to keep  you running strong. Visit Tropical Smoothie Cafe to try yours!

blackened salmon + coconut cashew cous cous + publix gift card giveaway

This is a sponsored post. I am an ambassador for Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. Due to that relationship, I receive a complimentary race registration, as well as other sponsor amenities in exchange for my honest reviews and promotion of the event and affiliated sponsors. All opinions are my own.

While logging the miles is an essential part of getting ready for race day, fueling your body well is equally important. Athletes need to get the right nutrients to reknit hard-working muscles, and keep the body strong and prepared for race day. To this end, our family dinners, especially in training season, are focused on lean proteins, grains and green vegetables. While little man doesn’t always love those greens (please note, he will eat lima beans like it’s his job), I try hard to keep it fun and tasty, while still being nutritious. One of our favorites is this

It’s big on flavor, easy to throw together on a busy work night, and is easy to change up with different ingredients. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at our local Publix. The store is always well-stocked and the employees are about the friendliest around. Plus, I am able to set up my shopping list online, which adds to the convenience factor. Here’s what you’ll need for this meal:

Preheat your oven to 400F. First, we’ll gather the ingredients for the cous cous.

Bring 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth and 1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream of coconut) to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. While waiting for the contents of the saucepan to boil, prepare your salmon. I brushed each side of the filets with extra virgin olive oil and placed them on a foil-lined pan, skin-side down.

I sprinkled liberally with blackening seasoning. We love blackening seasoning.

And into the oven they go, for 20-25 minutes. I was in the mood for some Brussels sprouts so I minced up some garlic and quartered the sprouts.

All of that goes into a skillet with some heated olive oil, pepper and salt. Stir occasionally until the sprouts start to brown.

I added a little bit of bacon in the final minutes of cooking, for some extra flavor.

By this time, the pot should have boiled, so add in 5.8 oz of cous cous, 1/2 cup cashews, 1 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup chopped scallions. Stir for one minute, cover with a tightly fitting lid and removed from eat until the liquid is absorbed.

Fluff the cous cous with a fork

and dinner is served!

I love all the colors, textures and flavors!

We couldn’t wait to dig in!

And I confess. It was Fat Tuesday, so we all had a small piece of cinnamon King Cake from the Publix Bakery for dessert. Because it’s only once a year and little treats are part of our moderation.

Thanks to partners Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K and Publix, we want you to go out and create your own delicious training meal! We are giving away one $25 Publix gift card to a lucky blog reader!

Enter below! Leaving a comment about your favorite training meal is required, but there are plenty of ways to score bonus entries, so just play along!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And remember, we would love to see you at the race on April 8. Code PUGS will save you $15 on your half marathon or 5K entry. It’s a deal too good to be missed.

 

  What’s your favorite training meal?

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