the streets of philadelphia

For some reason, Philadelphia was never high on my list of cities to visit. I went once for a field trip, maybe in middle school. I remember seeing the Liberty Bell, and maybe Independence Hall. It just wasn’t on my radar to pursue further.

However, when I was looking at the Rock ‘n’ Roll race series calendar, and realized I had a running friend in Philly, I thought it might be cool to give the City of Brotherly Love a chance.


S seemed pretty excited to have me and things fell into place: from an incredibly inexpensive flight from a local airport to no other commitments that weekend – everything just worked out.

I flew in on a Friday morning. I’ve mentioned that I don’t love flying (can someone please invent a way to beam people to their destination?), and I was a little more nervous because I was taking a new (to me) airline from a new airport. Which was really kind of just a hangar. And that was it.

(In all seriousness, once I got over the fact that there was no jetway, Frontier was wonderful).

The view helped distract me from the trip.

I arrived in Philly on time and raring to go.

First order of business was lunch. We enjoyed burgers and whiskey cocktails at JJ Bootleggers. The weather was beautiful and we took advantage of the breeze near the open doors.

With full bellies, it was time to get down to business. S had secured tickets for the double decker sightseeing bus, which we agreed would be a  great way to get an overview of the city.

I was all for it and we rode through the streets, listening to the tour guide and taking in the gorgeous views. Personally, I was loving the break in the temperature and humidity. It was like fall for real.

I fell right in love with the architecture and the vibe. I couldn’t get enough.

And look at me, all needing a sweater!

We made a quick stop at S’ house (which was also incredible), and then we were right back out for a waterfront festival, complete with food trucks and craft beer and cider.

We decided to skip dinner and pick up traditional cheese steaks for later, but we did want to sit and admire the view.

PS – those cheesesteaks, taken out from a little hole in the wall place, were divine.

Even though we are both early risers, I had to beg for mercy on a crazy early alarm. There was a lot of sightseeing to be done, and I was anxious to get it all in, but I also needed just a wee bit of sleep.

Our first stop on Saturday morning was the Liberty Bell. When in Philly, right?

The venue was a lot different than I remember it – I seem to recall it being outside and part of a walk up display, but now it is housed in an building, surrounded by panels detailing all the historical facts about the bell.

We were able to walk right through the line and admire the artifact. And then it was time to turn our thoughts to breakfast.

S picked a place with a gorgeous outdoor garden seating area: Wedge + Fig. Since the weather was still cool and crisp, it was perfect.

I really tried to pace myself for the day, but it was tough. We started with a cheese plate

And I followed that with the Baked French Toast Casserole.

S also ordered some gluten-free peanut butter cookies to go, and they baked them for her on the spot. Amazing. Thus fortified, we headed out to explore on foot. We walked and wandered, wandered and walked. We totally forgot that we had (complimentary) tickets to see Independence Hall, but I was so busy absorbing all the sights and sounds that I didn’t mind too much.

We needed to pick up our race packets, and so we hit up the Reading Terminal Market, across from the convention center.

The sight of all the wares for sale was beyond overwhelming. I wished I was staying longer so I could browse and purchase some of the yummy looking fresh ingredients. The previous night’s bus tour guide had instructed us to pick up black and white cookies, but by the time we made it to the specified vendor, they were all sold out. Boo.

We finally emerged from the hustle and bustle and crossed the street to the convention center for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Expo. Whoo hoo!

We must have arrived right on time, because there weren’t any lines whatsoever, and we were able to move through packet pickup and the merchandise quickly.

The downside to our plan was that we lost track of time. By this point, it was too late to have a real lunch and still be able to have a solid dinner and get to bed at a reasonable hour. What are two gals to do?


Apparently, Philadelphia is home to one of the best gelato shops in the world (according to National Geographic, which is a pretty reliable source): Capogiro Gelato. I love ice cream more than any food, and I’ll obviously have to go back to Italy to be able to do a comparison taste test, but this was a perfect mid afternoon snack.

I got three scoops: pistachio, chocolate peanut butter and hazelnut. Because nuts are full of protein, and I was being smart about fueling for the next day’s half marathon. Or so I told myself.

While were downtown, we also checked into our hotel, the Logan, and dropped off our bags.

We would be a healthy walk from the start and finish lines of race, which was nice so we didn’t have to contend with race morning traffic and parking. The hotel was gorgeous, and I would very much like to spend more time there on a future trip.

There was no time for resting, though! We still had to collect our overnight supplies and race gear from S’ house, and think about dinner. Usually, I like pasta before a big race, but S was singing the praises of Loco Pez. I love tacos, and figured I could supplement with a bowl of rice to get my carbs in. It was a good call. We shared chips and salsa, and I added two (plain, basic) street tacos to my rice. I didn’t want to upset my tummy by being too adventurous, but next time, I would love to try some of the specials (that night, they were serving octopus and duck based tacos).

We took an Uber back to our hotel, and I was absolutely in love with the skyline.

By the time we settled into bed with a glass of wine and college football, we had covered over 17,000 steps (almost seven miles) of wandering about the city! On top of almost 19,000 steps (eight miles) on Friday, I’m not sure we did a great job of resting our legs for the big day. Whoops.

You can read all about my Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon experience in my race recap.

Needless to say, Sunday was bittersweet. S’ husband joined us at the finish line and after we showered, he hung with us for the rest of the day. We had brunch at a rooftop bar and grill (I was craving veggies, so I ordered a salad), and the rest of the day was spent relaxing before our big celebratory dinner at Fogo de Chao.

While I am not a huge meat lover, I had never experienced a Brazilian steakhouse and was game to try. Diners are seated and encouraged to sample the Market Table first. It’s a huge assortment of warm and cold offerings: fruits, vegetables, cheeses, antipastos, and all sorts of delicious things. Delicious puffs of bread (pao de queijo) are served at the table, as well as family style dishes of garlic mashed potatoes, carmelized bananas and polenta. The showstopper is the beef: servers circulate throughout the room, offering different cuts of beef, carved directly from what can only be called a sword. They only stop when you indicated you’ve had enough. Oh, there are chicken and sausage people, too, but they seemed to get turned away a lot. I was stuffed (and obviously too preoccupied by the swords to take pictures) by the time we left. As a once in a while treat, I would go again.

My flight out of Philadelphia was ridiculously early, so after a glass of wine, I said my goodbyes to the rest of S’ family and hit the hay. We are already talking about the next time I can visit, hopefully with Mr PugRunner and little man.

Have you ever visited Philadelphia?

Ever been to a Brazilian Steakhouse?


weekly wrap: 10.9 – 10.15

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


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!

Sunday – 6 miles

I was supposed to run eight miles, but I had limited day and needed to do my run on the treadmill. Honestly, I probably could have managed eight, but I got horribly bored and really didn’t want to.

On top of that, as soon as I was finished and showered, we were getting breakfast and going HOME! I think we were all pretty dang excited about that.

The pugs did great on the drive home, and we pulled into our driveway a little after noon. I was very anxious to get inside to make sure we didn’t have any leaks or internal damage, and after confirming that we were in the clear, we were all finally able to breathe.

We agreed to meet my parents for lunch at a nearby restaurant that was open (which was great because all our food had spoiled in the few days power had been out), and it was wonderful to see them.

Since the county had canceled school for Monday, they offered to take little man for the night so we could do the work around the house, and he was packed and ready to leave before we could even agree. Poor kid was ready for a break after a pretty stressful weekend away.

Monday – rest

We were up an about pretty early. Mr PugRunner wanted to check on his office, and I wanted to join some of the moms from the St. Augustine Moms Blog with the clean up efforts. The Homeless Coalition of St. Johns County was in need of assistance, clearing debris, hauling destroyed furniture and moving items out of one of the homes that was crushed by a falling tree.

I was thrilled that Mr PugRunner came after her caught up with work and joined us.

It was a dirty, sweaty morning, but we got so much accomplished.

That afternoon, we took down our felled tree and brought little man to the fire house so he could deliver the cookies he baked for the firemen as appreciation for all they had done over the past week. The guys were really sweet and shared some of the stories of what they had been doing to help.

Tuesday – 5 miles, speed work

I had some nice (by which I mean not nice at all) mile repeats on tap for the morning. I got through them as best I could, although my body was not a fan.

I did some shopping for donation supplies, and when little man got home, he assembled toiletry care packages for donation to a few of the shelters in town that were in need. We also had enough to send in to school for his class to put together as requested by his teacher.

Wednesday – rest

This was a quiet day. I made some dropoffs of food and cleaning supplies to a local animal preserve that had lost everything in their deep freeze with the power outages, and to a nearby high school who wanted to help their students with toiletries and supplies.

On a lighter note, my first Stitch Fix had arrived in the mail earlier that week. I finally had the chance to open it up and check it out. I was really impressed with the selection, and stunned that things fit so well and also matched my style (or at least, what I wish my style was like).

Thursday – 4 miles, tempo run

I’m not really used to doing tempo runs, and I struggled with this one. I’m sure it had a lot to do with not getting enough sleep, being stressed and being worn out from all the travel, so I just did what I could do.

The boys decided they wanted Chinese food for dinner, so I was able to head out to work without figuring out the crockpot. When I got home, they were out at little man’s cub scouts meeting, so I was able to take a shower and get some down time before they returned.

Friday – body circuit, 60 minutes

I was really glad to get a workout in, and boy, was it tough on my arms and abs. Worth all of it, of course, but tough.

I was looking forward to a chill night at home. I had one quick errand to run in the late afternoon, but after that, it was PJs and TV. Little man and his friends went out to play and got ice cream from the ice cream truck. We ordered pizza, and watched a movie together. It was so nice and much needed.

Saturday – rest

I had planned to wake up early for my 10 mile long run, but at some point on Friday,  I had hit my wall and just couldn’t do it. Ugh. Instead, we decided to drop off some more donations, and then have lunch at one of the local restaurants to help support the reopening businesses.

We hadn’t been over to the beach yet, and it was so sad to see all the damage. Dunes ruined, debris still littered all around. This was a palm tree that had been knocked down by the wind or storm surge and dragged back out out with the tide.

Our city and community has done so much to pull together during this time, but it was sobering to see how much more work is still to be done. We will be back, better and stronger than ever, though.

I am starting to feel like I’m getting back on track. I was able to get some good sleep over the weekend and that helped a lot. I realize that all my big races are right around the corner, and while I am trusting in my training, I am kind of surprised that it’s all less than a month away!

How was your week in training?

Is your race season ramping up or winding down?


great runcations with eagle creek

On my fairly long list of likes, travel and running rank pretty high. When I can combine the two, it’s a rather fantastic feeling. Building a vacation around a race (or finding a race in an area we will be vacationing) has become a bit of a hobby for me. After all, it’s a great way to stay motivated and active, as well as get to explore new places.

The downside is packing. Running shoes are bulky (and smelly). When I’m traveling for races, I obsessively have to keep checking to make sure I have everything I need, and maybe an extra pair of socks or an additional sports bra or top, just in case the weather changes or I’m not feeling my original choice. There have been times when I’ve even forgotten things like my handheld water bottle or phone carrier because I didn’t have all my gear in one location. Not the end of the world, but an unnecessary stressor on a race day.

Enter the Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Line.

Lightweight, brightly colored and compact in size, the Pack-It Sport line items are made an anti-microbial treatment to help prevent microbial growth, minimizing stink. Pieces are designed to accommodate clothes, shoes and accessories, in easy to spot, easy to grab and easy to pack shapes and sizes.

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Shoe Locker comes is available in two sizes, one for up to a men’s size 8/women’s size 9.5, and the other for up to a men’s size 15. I wear a women’s size 10-10.5 (yup, big feet over here!) and my shoes fit beautifully.

The Pack-It Sport Fitness Locker is fabulous for clothes, socks and accessories. I can keep my running outfits together with my fuel, visor and armband.

I’ve found there is plenty of room for a couple of outfits, which is great for longer trips, or if I haven’t fully committed to a race outfit.

It takes no time at all to get everything stowed and zipped: truly an organizer’s dream.

The lockers can tuck perfectly into larger suitcases, or be carried by their handles on their own.

Since shoes would be the hardest and most expensive thing for me to replace if they happened to go missing, I like to slide the Shoe Locker into my carryon tote when flying. Having it on my person does wonder for me pre-race peace of mind.

Now, what about repacking that dirty nasty gear?

I generally have very little motivation to do laundry on vacation, so the Pack-It Sport Roll Top Sac is just the thing. Fill it up with your sweaty clothes and socks.

Squeeze out the excess air, roll down the top and clip it in place.

The Roll Top Sac keeps all the stink and wetness locked  away from the rest of the things in your suitcase. Everything is all ready to be tossed right in the washing machine when you get home.

Knowing my gear is organized and compartmentalized makes my embarking on some favorite hobbies so much easier.

Do you workout on vacation?

How do you pack for runcations?


I was gifted complimentary Eagle Creek gear as a part of my partnership with the Rock ‘n’ Blog program. All opinions are my own.

weekly wrap: 10.2 – 10.8

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


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!

Guys, this past week was pretty awful. Hurricane Matthew came made its way through the Caribbean and up the east coast, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. While we are no strangers to hurricanes, having lived in South Florida for almost 15 years, it’s always pretty scary and nerve-wracking.

Sunday – rest

We started the day with a visit to the Georgia Aquarium. It is one of my favorite aquariums, thus far, and the boys had such a great time exploring.

We figured if we left after lunch, we would make it home in time to clean up, make a quick run to the grocery store and be in bed at a reasonable hour. Well, you know what they say about roads to hell and good intentions. With construction and lane closures, it took us almost 10 hours to get home (regularly a 5 1/2 hour trip). We were spent when we rolled in the house around 11:30 and I vowed it would be a long time before I got back in a car.

Monday – rest

Mondays aren’t too forgiving, so we dragged ourselves out of bed and tried to get back into some semblance of normal. I wanted to pick up some little things for the boys for their upcoming Cub Scouts camping trip, as well as get socks for little man’s pack service project on Thursday.

Most of all, we were all looking forward to bedtime. We made it through, even though it was pretty rough. Boo, Monday. Boo.

Tuesday – 4 miles, speedwork

The plan called for 3 x 1 mile repeats, sandwiched between a warm up and cool down. It was as awful as I imagined it would be and I really struggled holding the pace prescribed. You could feel the storm in the air, and I was starting to worry that Matthew wasn’t going to pass us by.

The morning wasn’t all wretched, though. I met my friend for breakfast. A recovery breakfast, obviously. We had a great time chatting and catching up.

Wednesday – rest

We celebrated National Walk To School Day by meeting up with some teachers, staff, classmates and parents to… you guessed it. Walk to school. We’ve done it every year since little man started kindergarten, and every year there has been a fabulous turnout. It always seems to be a little rainy, but that doesn’t seem to stop anyone.

While we were at breakfast, Mr PugRunner had a conversation with me regarding evacuating.

I really wanted to stay home for the hurricane, but he made the point that the pugs wouldn’t fare so well if the power went out for a few days, and, much as I hated to admit it, he was right. We went back and forth discussing different plans of attack, and we finally settled on St. Petersburg. He found the last pet-friendly room available and after we had lunch with one of our friends, he let me know it was time to start packing.

We already had our water, gas, cash, important documents and other incidentals together. I sent him to the vet for anxiety meds for the pugs, and packed clothes for the three of us in one suitcase. We secured what we could in the house, and shared our plans with our neighbors so we could all stay in touch throughout the week.

Thursday – rest

We packed the car, gave the pugs their medication and got on the road fairly early in the morning.

I was worried about traffic, but we stuck to the back roads and made excellent time to our hotel.

Molly and Bentley were fine through the drive, but Delilah was an absolute head case. We ended up having to crate her in the backseat, because she kept trying to break out of her harness. It was miserable, but it was the safest option for all of us.

When we checked into the hotel, I think we were all just done. We couldn’t even enjoy our view of the Gulf, because we were exhausted and nervous and generally on edge. Mr PugRunner picked up dinner to have in the room, and I obsessively watched The Weather Channel to follow the track of Hurricane Matthew.

It was a monster, and it was headed right for us. The track just didn’t seem to be wavering and we were worried for our home and our city.

Friday –  running 6 miles

Even though Treasure Island was experiencing Tropical Storm conditions, I had to get out for a run. I was supposed to go for six miles, but with the wind off the Gulf, I could only manage four. My head wasn’t in the game at all.

Mr PugRunner took the remote away from me and suggested I take little man out for the day. He had work to do and he didn’t think it was healthy for me to watch the endless loop of storm coverage. We had friends who had also evacuated to the area, and they were planning to see Hope and Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, so we joined them.

It was a gorgeous facility and the kids all loved it. It was an especially good distraction for little man, for which I was grateful. I was so preoccupied that it took me several days to process that we were in the presence of Winter, the amazing dolphin with the prosthetic tail.

After our visit, we met Mr PugRunner for lunch. I had been worried about leaving the pugs alone in the hotel room, but they were absolute rock stars. They seemed to really adapt to the close quarters and having to go for several walks a day (usually, we just let them out back), with an elevator or stairs as part of the deal.

By the time we got back to the room, the storm had moved from St. Augustine to Jacksonville and photos of the damage started to flood in. It was gutting.

The storm surge flooded our beautiful coastal town. Beachfront houses were destroyed, chunks of road washed away. Winds of up to 80 and 90 mph downed power lines and trees, toppled boats and scattered debris. It was surreal and I was in a bit of shock.

When the winds cleared a bit, our neighbor went to our house. The storm had knocked down a good portion of our backyard fence and a tree in the front yard. She wasn’t able to get inside, and we were hopeful that we wouldn’t come home to any leaks or roof damage.

Saturday- rest

By Saturday morning, I was done. I just wanted to be home, and I wanted to make sure the rest of our house was ok. My neighbor had sent some more pictures, and I finally just burst into tears. After several days of being in a hotel room with three people and three animals, we were all pretty overwhelmed. Grateful, but ready to be back home.

By later in the evening, we had learned that electricity was restored, so Mr PugRunner canceled the extra reservation he had made at a hotel closer to home and we planned to leave the next morning. I think we were all pretty excited.

Ok, maybe not the pugs, who were enjoying hotel life.


Obviously, my training plan wasn’t a huge priority this week. I did what I could manage, but it was more for keeping my own anxiety down than to train for any races.

I don’t know how the week ahead is going to go. We are fine. Our home is fine. That is all that matters for us. Others are not so fine and so we are doing our best to help where we can. We did some clean up around town yesterday, and now that the kids have returned to school, I have time to focus on those people and places who are still in so much need. Already there has been so much done to help restore things, but the beaches and coastal neighborhoods are in need of cleanup, there are people who have completely lost their homes, businesses and jobs, and the linemen, military and first responders are busting their butts for the community and could always use backup and support in the form of drinks and ice.

Additionally, our thoughts are with those in the Caribbean and along the coast who also lost so much with this awful hurricane.

We are just going to do our best to get back to as normal as we can.

How was your week in training?

Were you in an area hit by Hurricane Matthew?


weekly wrap: 9.25 – 10.1

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


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!

Sunday – rest

Little man and I went for a nice bike ride through our neighborhood. The weather was gorgeous and there was just no reason not to get some fresh air.

We watched the Dolphins game, and then our friends came over: Mr PugRunner and the dad were going to watch football and grill steaks on the egg, while the mom and little man’s BFF were going to join us for bowling and dinner out. The kids were so happy to hang out together – with the busyness of the school year, it’s been tough to coordinate playdates.

Monday – rest

I took this day off in preparation for the start of my official training. It was kind of nice to have a day of nothingness.

Tuesday – 3.5 miles, speedwork

The coaches have decided upon an interesting approach this training cycle. They are incorporating some slower long runs with speed work that involves more 800 and 1600 repeats, rather than 200s and 400s. I’m not going to lie: I don’t like those sprinty half and full miles, but I’m giving it my all.

Little man’s school hosted a Spirit Night at McDonalds, so dinner was handled. Mr PugRunner didn’t want fast food, so we let little man get a Happy Meal and hang out with his buddies for a bit, then went to another restaurant across the street for our own dinner. It was the best of both worlds.

Wednesday –  5 miles running, spin, 60 minutes

I struggled with holding my pace during this 6 miler. my goal has been to slow things down, and keep running consistently without my intervals, but I felt like I was all over the place with this run.

I finished a little faster than I wanted, but I have time to get it right.

After little man went to school, I went to spin. My legs were a little tired, but I took last week off and was worried about losing strength.

The room was way too hot (no one turned the AC down the night before), and towards the end of class, I felt myself start to wilt a little. I felt ok easing up on the pace a little, but it’s much more pleasant when the temperature is on point.

After that, it was time to pick up some things for our road trip on the weekend. Shopping isn’t my favorite, but it has to get done.

Thursday – rest

My goals for Thursday were simple: go to work, clean the house and finish packing. The boys had Cub Scouts, so I had plenty of time to get everything done. Friday was going to be a busy day, so we all turned in early to get our rest.

Friday – 6 miles running

I woke up super early for my long run. I wanted to get it done and out of the way before we headed up to Atlanta. I considered doing it there, adding a new city to my roster, but I have zero knowledge of the city, so didn’t want to take a chance.

We left around noon, took lunch in the car, and arrived at our destination at around 6:00. It was a relatively easy drive, but we were still happy to check in to our hotel and start coordinating with our friends for dinner.

There was a Miami Hurricanes group at a nearby sports bar, so we joined the party, kept the kids up way past their bedtime, and crashed hard. It was perfect.

Saturday – rest

Game Day!

The whole purpose of our trip was to see the Miami Hurricanes take on Georgia Tech. This was the only game we were able to fit in, and even though it wasn’t a home game for us, it was a manageable trip.

After breakfast, we suited up and took the hotel shuttle to the Georgia Tech campus and Bobby Dodd Stadium. Little man wanted to spray his hair orange, and so we obliged.

It was a great game and the Canes won! We loved every second of it!

After the game, we walked to get a late lunch, and then we had Mr PugRunner drop us off at the hotel. He still wanted to watch football with his buddies, and little man and I were whooped. We got pizza delivered and watched movies until we fell asleep. No regrets.


I admit that we are whooped from the weekend! That being said, I have to get caught up on my sleep and hydration so that I can jump back into training! That’s just how it goes!

How was your week in training?

How do you feel about the 800s/1600s in speed work as opposed to the 200s/400s?


race report: rock ‘n’ roll philadelphia half marathon

And here we go!


When I was considering which Run Rock ‘n’ Roll events I wanted to run, I had to take into account my already crazed calendar, my current race commitments and my travel budget. I knew going to Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah would be an easy (and obvious trip), but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for one or two more.

Philadelphia presented itself on a silver platter: the date was open, it was a manageable drive or reasonable flight from my home, AND I had a friend (a running friend) in the area! Granted, I had never actually met her face to face, but we have a mutual friend and we’ve been friends online for years.

I asked S if she would be interested in a guest for the weekend. She said yes. And voila: my Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Weekend Extravaganza was born.

I flew into Philly on Friday morning and S picked me up at the airport. I had made absolutely zero plans other than attending the expo and running the race, and I gave S free reign to show me all the things she loved about her home city. I will share more about the trip in a separate post.

On Saturday afternoon, we walked to the Convention Center to pick up our race packets and explore the expo. There was a nice crowd, but no major waits, which was nice. I was able to pick up a cute tank and a race souvenir for little man.

I confess we didn’t fuel beautifully on Saturday. I mean, we ate delicious things, but brunch, gelato and street tacos (I did have the presence of mind to order a side of rice for the carby goodness) wasn’t the BEST idea before a half marathon. We were having too good of a time sightseeing and chatting to pay serious attention to what we were ingesting (although I was on point with my hydration, so thumbs up for me).

We spent the night at a hotel right down the street from the start line. Even though S lived within 15 minutes, she didn’t want to stress about traffic or parking, and it ended up working out great. We laid out our outfits, toasted with a glass of red wine and hit the sack.

In the morning, we dressed and rolled out the door to Wawa so I could grab a bagel and Gatorade. I was a little nervous (partly because it had been so long since I did such a big race, and partly because I didn’t want to let down S, whose training has been going beautifully), but I was holding it together well.

After a quick pit stop at the port potties, we climbed the Art Museum Steps, where the We Run Social group was meeting for a picture. I was so excited to meet some blogging friends!

I met Kathryn, Michelle and Briana, who had the presence of mind to commemorate the moment!

The view of the venue from the top of the steps was gorgeous. It was misty, but that added a little something to the ambiance.


S and I felt like we were ready to find our corral, and made our way over. I confess, the start didn’t seem incredibly crowded, for the number of corrals and race numbers. Maybe people had just moved all the way up, but we had plenty of room, and in fact, I kept checking over my shoulder to make sure we were actually where we needed to be and not straggling after all the other runners. It was a little unnerving.

The official race start was 7:30, and we didn’t get moving until right around 8. We crossed the start line and we were off into the heart of Philadelphia.

I’m going to say this: the weather was RUDE. On Friday and Saturday, temperatures were mild (even into the 50s in the early morning and evening) and humidity was low (50ish%). When we walked out of the hotel on Sunday morning, it was back to the 80s with humidity at almost 90%. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY????

I told S that my strategy was to run as far without intervals as far as I could, and then just enjoy the rest of the race. I ensured her that she was free to go ahead or whatever made her most comfortable, but she said she wanted to stay together, and so we were in it for the long haul.

Miles 1-3 were fine. I went out pretty fast, but I think gravity lent a hand with a bit of a downhill grade. There wasn’t much crowding on the course, and aside from the suffocating humidity, everything was lovely. I usually run in the suburbs or near the beach, so getting to run in a city is a bit of a treat for me.

After that third mile, things started to go uphill. Literally. While S is used to the terrain, since she lives and runs in Philadelphia on the regular, it’s a bit different for me. The course is touted as flat and fast, and it is. For anyone who lives outside of Florida. Fairmount Avenue was most decidedly hilly, but since I wasn’t shooting for any particular goal, I didn’t mind that my legs weren’t prepared for the continuous up and down. I just took it all in stride, and listened to my body.

At around mile 5, we turned out of the city to run along the Schuykill River. The view was stunning, unlike anything I get to see normally, and I wanted to soak it all in. The road continued to roll up and down, and I just couldn’t seem to get into a running groove. On top of that, I was dripping sweat like you couldn’t believe. I had Gatorade in my handheld bottle, but it felt like I wasn’t retaining any fluid at all. I focused on the foliage, the water and the stone tunnels and underpasses, and tried not to worry about it.

We started making stops at every water station, and for the first time in forever, I was actually drinking water as well as additional Gatorade (water usually upsets my stomach).  I also hit up the medical stations to get salt, which was available in plain packets, in water, or in Gatorade. Yes, please!

At around the nine mile mark, we crossed a bridge, and were on our way back to the city. Whoo hoo!

We picked up the running a little bit, but I continued to break way for more salted Gatorade to try to replenish the fluids I was losing.  In these last miles, we started seeing a few runners down and being tended to by medical personnel. The weather was really no joke.

S assured me that we were close to the finish. We could see the clock marking 13 miles up ahead, and she swore the finish line was right around the corner.

What she didn’t mention was that the final .1 mile was vertical.

We’d come this far, and there was no help for it. We dug in and pushed up the hill. Her husband and come to the finish to see her and she ran to give him a kiss before we crossed that finish line! Yay!

The after party looked great. We grabbed some water and chocolate milk, but we really just wanted to get back to the hotel and into a shower. I was absolutely saturated, and even though I wanted a beer and some food, the promise of clean, dry clothes won out.

I hope to get to do this one again. Despite the elevations, I loved the city and the course, the volunteers and the music. Barring the weather, it was a perfect morning, and such a great way to start my last day in Philly.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia marked my seventh half marathon, and my official return to distance racing. I also got to add Pennsylvania to the list of states where I’ve raced. Can’t wait to be back!

What’s the thing you love most about running in other states and cities?

Have your done any Rock ‘n’ Roll events this year? Which is your favorite?


If you’re looking to join in the fun at any of the Rock ‘n’ Roll races for the rest of the year, don’t forget to save with my code!

*As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger, my entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon and Global Tour Pass were complimentary. All opinions are my own.

wednesday word: wisdom

On Wednesdays, we (really, really try to) link up with Deb Runs for the  Wednesday Word. You can be part of the action, by checking out her page and linking up, too!

Deb Runs

Today’s word is…

In about seven months, I’m going to turn 40 years old. To be honest, I’m kind of excited. Forty is the new 2o, after all. Ok, maybe it’s the new 3o. It doesn’t matter. I just know that I will be leaving behind a decade spent gaining confidence, growing, developing as a human and discovering lots of cool thing about myself.

For me, with age comes wisdom. Back in my teens, I thought I knew it all, and yet I lacked the self-confidence  that comes with such arrogance. That continued into adulthood and my twenties, when I was out on my own for the first time. I was young and naive, without a lot of life experience on which to build.

I made some monumental errors.  I was unkind, sometimes even cruel, to myself. I wasn’t happy. There were times when I sat back and wallowed in the pity party, but as I got older, I tried to turn each error of judgment and mistake into a teachable moment. I learned to love who I was, with all my flaws. I’m not perfect, but I’m human and learning.

Every step of the way, I’m gaining wisdom.

In the past decade, I have worked hard on my self-esteem and finding my personal worth. My goal is to keep myself open to learning and trying new things. It is my hope to never stop growing and never stop evolving.

The benefits are very rewarding.

I have stopped mentally beating myself up over my appearance, my weight, and my caloric intake. Instead, I have redirected that energy into being more fit and active. I have also stopped worrying about what people think of me. My focus is on myself and those I love, and if someone wants to laugh because I fall out of a pose in yoga or look silly running, it’s a sign of their insecurities, not mine. I’m not going to stop doing the things I love just because someone else disagrees.

In addition, I am more confident in my choices. I have become more adventurous. And I am so much more willing to take on new challenges. Experience has been a phenomenal teacher and I am always excited to see what else I can learn.

Wisdom can be a liberating thing.


How has wisdom played a role in your life?


oktoberfest jacksonville + family fun zone + giveaway winner

I am still seeing some 90s in the weekly forecast, which is… well, it’s disappointing. But I’m sure we’ll be turning a corner, any day now! Any day!

In the meantime, let’s celebrate fall! And October! And beer! Enter Oktoberfest Jacksonville!

Taking place at the Budweiser Brewery Experience (111 Busch Dr, Jacksonville, FL  32218), on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1, Oktoberfest Jacksonville promises to be a fun, family event, celebrating German culture with delicious food, traditional dancing, live music and lots of beer.

Bringing the kiddos? Fabulous! From 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM on Saturday, Oktoberfest Jacksonville boasts its Family Fun Zone, with plenty of activities for the youngsters!

Kids can enjoy carnival games, pumpkin bowling and barrel rolling. They can get their faces painted and at noon, everyone is welcome to check out the wiener dog races!

Check out the following schedule of events for the weekend’s festivities and don’t miss out!


And last, but certainly not least… here’s the winner for the Family Four Pack! Congratulations, Stacey – I hope you have a wonderful time!



I have partnered with Oktoberfest Jacksonville through CF Media to promote this event. In exchange for my promotion, I have been compensated with event tickets for the purposes of this giveaway and for personal use. All opinions are my own.

weekly wrap: 9.18 – 9.24

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


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!

Sunday – Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Race day! S made a great call by booking a hotel room for us – all we had to do was roll out the door and make our way to the start line.

The full report is coming this week, but I’ll just say that it was a lovely time. The weather was hot and humid (a slap in the face after the last two days of mild temperatures with low humidity) and I wasn’t at all prepared for the elevation of the course, but I had a blast. I was quite clear with S that I had no interest in being a hero out there, so we just walked a little, ran a little, jogged a little and danced a little, until the finish line.


Her husband came to the finish line for her, and we hurried back to the room to shower and change before he came for us in the car. And then it was time to eat!

I desperately wanted a salad and a beer (which I got) and after a brief stop back at their house to drop off our stuff and change, we headed back out to a Brazilian steakhouse, for all you can eat meat. It was definitely a new experience for me, but it was fun and we stuffed ourselves! Yum.

Monday – rest

The day started at 4:30AM so I could catch my flight home. I was incredibly sorry to leave, and even more incredibly sorry that I almost missed my flight (due to some customer service issue with some other travelers that kept the counter agent from moving the line along), and that the weather delayed said flight by about 90 minutes (with us sitting on the tarmac). Ugh.

However, we were back home soon enough and Mr PugRunner and I reunited over breakfast.

And then I napped.

I did have to replace my phone so Mr PugRunner suggested we skip karate, hit the AT&T store and grab dinner as a family. It was a solid plan, except for getting stuck in one of the most terrifying lightning storms in recent memory. We thought we had enough of a break in the weather to head for home, but the storm whipped up again while we were out there, and … well… I’m just grateful we made it home safely.

Tuesday – rest

We had little man’s parent-teacher conference before school started. I could have planned that a little better so I didn’t have to get up and be presentable quite so early, but I am always excited to get in the classroom and discuss his progress. He’s doing great and 3rd grade is agreeing with him beautifully. Yay.

I caught up on laundry and all the housekeeping and lounged around a lot. My glutes and calves were sore and I was just fine babying them.

Wednesday – rest

I thought about going to spin class. I really did. But… nope. I was very much all about spending some time on the couch.

Thursday – 3 miles

It was time to run, whether I wanted to or not. And honestly, my legs were feeling a lot better, so I figured an easy three miler would be reasonable. I struggled a little, but I ran the whole thing straight through with a quick break to stretch out my calves and one of my feet. Nothing major, but it was a little achy and I didn’t want to push it.

The rest of the day was a bit stressful. Mr PugRunner ended up cracking his tooth and needed to go in for an emergency dental procedure, but I had to go to work and wouldn’t be able to get little man from the bus stop. Fortunately, my parents were able to come over to help us out until he got home, and he was ok to take him to Cub Scouts later in the evening.

Friday – 60 minutes body circuit

I loved being back in class. It was fantastic to do my HIIT circuits, and I loved the arm workouts. Yay!

I had to do some shopping, and then Mr PugRunner called to see if I wanted to meet him for lunch.

Yay for noon margaritas!

I was really looking forward to that evening. Little man’s school was hosting its annual Mother/Son Cornhole event, and it’s always a great time. Mr PugRunner was volunteering with the Cub Scouts at concessions, and we all ended up having a blast.

We stayed late to help with cleanup, but I think we were all super ready for bed.

Saturday – 6 miles

I was ready for a long run and decided on six miles. My hip was still complaining a little, so I ran miles 1, 2, 4 and 5 straight through, and then used my intervals for miles 3 and 6. That seemed to alleviate some of the discomfort, and I realized I needed to get back into spin this week.

I met some of my girlfriends for a lovely breakfast, did some quick shopping for our vacation in a few months, and spent the rest of the afternoon with my family at the movies.


I think it was a decent week, considering the travel and the half marathon. I was a little disappointed to be so sore (usually my legs are wobbly for a day, but that’s about it). Obviously, the difference of terrain mattered. It was worth it.

In running news: my coaches from Empower have delivered my training plan for the Space Coast Half Marathon. I’m currently processing what they have laid out for me and I’m not entirely encouraged by the fact that this meme was the follow up:


I guess I’m going to take it one day at a time, and hope for the best.

Also, if you are local to the Jacksonville area, you have until midnight tonight to enter to win a Family Four Pack to Oktoberfest Jacksonville on Saturday, October 1. It promises to be an incredible time for adults and kids alike, with beer tasting, entertainment and a Family Fun Zone full of games and activities.


Just click here to visit the entry page, and good luck!*

How was your week in training?

How do you manage when a training plan looks a bit (or a lot) intimidating?

I have partnered with Oktoberfest Jacksonville through CF Media to promote this event. In exchange for my promotion, I have been compensated with event tickets for the purposes of this giveaway and for personal use. All opinions are my own.


celebrate oktoberfest jacksonville + giveaway

With temperatures still in the high 80s, it’s hard to imagine that fall is upon us. But it’s true: September 22 makes the official start of autumn, and we are moving into the season of pumpkins, scarecrows and falling leaves.

It’s also time for Oktoberfest Jacksonville!

This year’s Oktoberfest Jacksonville will be held on Friday, September 30  and Saturday, October 1 at the Budweiser Brewery Experience (111 Busch Dr, Jacksonville, FL  32218).

The celebration of German culture will kick off on Friday afternoon with gates opening at 4:00 PM. Enjoy Anheuser-Busch brewery tours, a keg tapping ceremony, a variety of VIP experiences (with VIP ticket purchase) and a DJ and live music to keep the party moving through 10 PM.

On Saturday morning, head over to the Budweiser Brewery Experience bright and early to take part in the Hands On Jacksonville Human Race 5K Oktoberfest Run. This event is a great way to raise funds for your favorite charity or non-profit and promises to be a great time for the whole family.

Oktoberfest Jacksonville will resume at 11 AM, after the race.

You won’t want to miss out on all the delicious German cuisine and beer,

as well as the live music and traditional dancing,

Entertainment will be plentiful with the traditional Games of Oktoberfest, including Stein Hoisting, Brat Eating, Tug of War and Beer Rolling.

There’s plenty for the kids, too, in the Family Fun Zone, open from 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturday. While the adults are sampling the variety of traditional German beers, the children can enjoy an array of carnival games, pumpkin bowling, face painting and barrel rolling.

And let’s not forget… the Wiener Dog Races!

Here’s the complete schedule of events:

I can’t think of a better way to spend a fall weekend.

Do you want to be a part of the fun at Oktoberfest Jacksonville? We’re giving away a Family Four Pack of Saturday General Admission Tickets to one lucky winner. All you have to do is enter via Rafflecopter and leave a blog comment below. We will announce the winner on Monday, September 26! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I have partnered with Oktoberfest Jacksonville through CF Media to promote this event. In exchange for my promotion, I have been compensated with event tickets for the purposes of this giveaway and for personal use. All opinions are my own.

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