running with ernie

Every so often, a really unique and interesting opportunity comes along, and no matter what, you just have to take advantage of it.

Most recently, that opportunity came in the form of Ernest Andrus, a retired Navy veteran, who had committed to running across the United States in order to raise funds for the LST 325 Ship Memorial. On October 7, 2013, then 90-year-old Andrus started his journey by touching the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California. Ernie then proceeded to make his way across America, running three days a week, traveling alone in an RV, sometimes being going by a group and sometimes logging his miles completely alone.

Did I mention that this man is in his nineties???

One of my running coaches, Stacey, made me aware of Ernie’s journey and progress, pointing out that his last legs were going to be about 90 minutes away from us, in St. Simons Island, Georgia. She had every intention of being on hand for the final leg scheduled for August 20, and I was totally on board with joining her. As the date approached, she got in touch with me to ask if I would be up for going on Thursday, August 18 instead. It would work out better with her schedule, and I was able to pull some strings to make it happen.

We left Thursday morning at 4:00 AM. The drive was fairly easy, even if it was dark and absurdly early. We were both really excited to get to our destination and meet Ernie: the plan was to park the car at the Morningstar Marinas, the designated finish point, and then shuttle to the start line. Per the GPS map, it looked like a straightaway from Point A to Point B, and we tossed around the idea of running to the start line, just to get in some extra miles before Ernie’s group run.

Driving the route changed our minds pretty quickly – it was still pitch black, and there were two bridges with somewhat narrow shoulders and no barriers to separate pedestrians from traffic. Maybe if we were more familiar with the area we would have braved it, but neither one of us felt comfortable taking the risk.

A nice group had gathered at the Marina, and we were able to say hi to Ernie for the first time, as well as meet some of the people who would be walking that day. Ernie was already bright eyed and bushy-tailed. He had been driving the route, setting up the starting point and was handing out waivers and collecting names to those who were waiting. We were all pretty anxious to get started, and Stacey volunteered to drive some people to the start.

Introductions were made, American flags distributed, pictures snapped and conversation flowed in the early morning darkness.

We didn’t have to wait long before the police escort arrived and we were ready to get underway into the rising sun.

This penultimate leg was estimated to be about 3.72 miles. Approximately 40 supporters settled in around Ernie, whose pace averages 22:39 per mile.

It was a beautiful morning. The company was phenomenal, as was the view. We chatted with some of the other people on the route, and were completely blown away by how far people had traveled to be part of this event.

And Ernie, for his part, just put his head down and pushed. He never broke pace and never slowed.

In fact, the only time he showed any signs of exhaustion was when he passed the “finishing point” and was promptly escorted to a chair in the shade.

Ernie graciously posed for more photos and held more conversations. He was an absolute delight.

And I’m sure he was so thrilled to have so many family members, friends and fans around him as he neared his final goal.

We hitched a ride back to our car and then we made our way to a nearby church, where finisher shirts were being sold. I was a little superstitious and didn’t wear mine until after Ernie had completed his final run on Saturday, August 20, a day after his 93rd birthday, by touching the Atlantic Ocean.

And now? Ernie is taking a well-deserved break. By which I mean he’s driving his motorhome to Alaska.

Safe travels, sir. You are truly an inspiration, and I can’t thank you enough for the memories.


For more information on donations, you can visit the following pages:

weekly wrap: 8.21 – 8.27

It’s Monday, and that means 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

In all honesty, I’ve been looking forward to our Sundays – they have been lazy and low-key. We clean, run a few errands and hang out at home. With the craziness of our weeks, it’s really ben quite perfect. On this particular Sunday, we made a trek to the big outdoor mall to pick up little man’s Cub Scouts uniform and have lunch. He was really excited to get his gear.

Afterwards, we had to make a little stop in the McDonalds drive-thru. We had to celebrate Delilah’s Gotcha Day, and that pug loves nothing better than Chicken McNuggets.

I cannot believe this girl has been with us for a year. She has just fit into our family so seamlessly, and we are so glad we were able to rescue her (Don’t worry, Molly and Bentley got nuggets, too).

Monday – body circuit, 60 minutes

I wasn’t in love with this round of body circuit. For some reason, the exercises just weren’t doing it for me. I’m sure each station had its purpose, and did something for me that I didn’t realize, but I wasn’t feeling particularly accomplished when it ended. Oh, well.

Tuesday –  5 miles running

I decided that this would be the day to finish my Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Run Race Series. With just 3.1 miles, I earned my Lead Singer medal.

AND the big Making A Band bling!

I cannot wait for all the medals to ship in September!

For the morning, I had five miles

And I did it all in new shoes! You know how I love new shoe day!

As a reward, I treated myself to a movie. I have been wanting to see Star Trek Beyond for a while, and finally had the chance.

I practically had the theater to myself, too, which was incredible.

Wednesday – rest

Because of scheduling, I haven’t been able to meet up with some of the ladies from my running group. I was really missing D and so I asked her if she could meet for coffee. We ended up spending several hours chatting and catching up. It was fabulous. I’m not always great at initiating get togethers, so I’m glad I went outside my comfort zone.

Thursday – 5 miles running; spin class, 50 minutes

Another sunrise five miler.

And then I got the crazy idea to try a spin class. I haven’t been out on my bike for a while (it’s been too hot and too dark in the mornings), and I figured I would give it a try.

I never knew I could love something and hate something so much at the same time. I loved the dark room and disco lights and great music. I hated feeling so awkward. The instructor told me it would take about three weeks to strengthen my ligaments enough to be able to stand and pedal effectively, but I was doing well.

When class was over, all I wanted was to sleep. And eat. In any order.

That night, Mr PugRunner took little man to his first Cub Scouts meeting. Actually, I should say “their first” Cub Scouts meeting. Little man was absolutely over the moon about attending and he was ready well before his dad.

He came home so excited about new friends, and the camp outs and activities to come.

Friday – rest

I met another friend for coffee in the morning and then just puttered around waiting for little man to get home. His new sparring gear had arrived, so Mr PugRunner wanted to take him to karate to give it a test run.

We got dinner and then we went to his school for Movie Night. It’s always a fun time with blankets and camp chairs and popcorn. Little man sat with some of his buddies instead of us and so we were able to hang with some of our friends, as well. It was a nice way to end the school week.

Saturday – 12 miles running

It took everything I had to get up with the alarm. With 12 miles on the schedule, I knew I had to be out long before the sunrise if I wanted to stand a chance in the heat. Looking back, it was the right call. Mentally, I prepared by dividing the run into three blocks of four miles. For some reason, it was much easier on me to work through it that way. And it was a good run. My knees were still a little tender from spin, so I took my time and worked my way through it, a mile at a time.

It felt good.

Little man had a playdate with his BFF, and so we took them to lunch and the movies (9 Lives – I can’t recommend it but the kids LOVED it), and they played Minecraft together. They always have a blast, and it’s nice to listen to the sound of them laughing and having fun.


I felt a lot more productive this week, which is a big boost to ye olde confidence level. I am looking forward to my last long run for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon next weekend, and then it will be taper time. Whoo hoo! I am going to definitely try spin a few more times to see if I can’t get the hang of it, and I’m glad to have something else to add into the cross training rotation.


How was your week in training?

Have you ever done a spin class? Does it get easier?

weekly wrap: 8.14 – 8.20

It’s Monday, and that means 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 – SUP yoga, 90 minutes

This yoga class was so needed. So. Needed. I never really considered myself a huge water person, but I notice that I find myself craving these SUP times: just sitting on the board in the water is so restorative and brings me so much peace.

While I don’t have a photo of it, a huge manatee was nosing the boards while they were balanced on the pier (the tide was too low for us to do a beach entry). I was over the moon with glee, and was even happier when a trio of the majestic creatures poked their noses up to watch us. I wish they had come closer, but it was so cool seeing them nearby.

Mr PugRunner and little man were busy, too. They bundled up their clubs and went to the driving range to hit some golf balls. I know next to nothing about golf (unless it involves windmills), but his form seems pretty good.

In the afternoon, we did nothing but grocery shop, attempt to meal plan and get ready for the week. Now that school is back in session, that’s what Sundays are for.

Monday – body circuit, 60 minutes

Due to scheduling conflicts, body circuit has been on the back burner. However, I was back to it today, and thrilled, even though it was tough. I’m not going to be at all sorry when cooler weather comes.

Little man also went back to karate after a summer hiatus. He is an orange belt now, which means he will be learning how to spar. It’s exciting to see him put the techniques he’s been learning to practical use, but also a little nerve-wracking!

Tuesday – 5 miles running

I ran near home simply because it was going to be a rough day.

Little man has had a shark tooth situation (adult tooth growing in on top of baby tooth) and it was time for the baby tooth to be extracted. He was extremely anxious about the procedure and there really wasn’t much we could do to calm him. Fortunately, his dentist is a bit of a rock star, so the whole thing went very smoothly. Whew.

Wednesday – rest

I think the heat is really starting to get to me, because I really just wanted to flop down on the couch and do nothing. Not that there’s anything wrong with really taking a rest day – I made sure to get in some good reading.

Thursday – 3.72 miles walking

So Thursday was crazy. My friend had made me aware of a man by the name of Ernest Andrus. He is a (now) 93-year-old retired Navy vet, who has spent the last three years running across the country. He started at the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, and has been steadily progressing ever since (I’ll share more details this week, but you can learn more at at Coast 2 Coast Runs). The final portion of his run would take him through Georgia, and towards the end, he was going to be about 90 minutes away. We had talked about joining him for the final leg of his trip, but our schedules said otherwise.

Instead, we got up at 3:00 AM, loaded into Stacey’s car, and drove to St. Simon’s Island to meet Ernie. Along with about 40 other people, we walked alongside this amazing and inspiring veteran for the second to last piece of his journey.

It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences, and we were both just so overwhelmed by it.

Little man and I did get to have a nice evening in while Mr PugRunner went to the local Cub Scout’s information meeting. Little man has been asking to join, and it seems like this will be the year.

Friday – rest

I met up with a friend for coffee in the morning, and then Mr PugRunner and I had a day date when he was finished with his work of the day. We picked up new running shoes and had a delicious lunch together. It’s fun to have that time together.

Saturday – 10 miles running

Much as I didn’t want to run, it was long run day. And it was all kind of a mess. There was a controlled burn going on, which really ruins my breathing, and I just wasn’t feeling great about any of it. I finally had to just give in and do some serious walking in the last miles. I wanted to get the distance, but I didn’t have anything left. Boo.

I did come home to a plate of pancakes and chocolate milk. Unfortunately, I was too hot and worn out to really enjoy them. Boo again.

In the afternoon, we went to my parents’ house for a BBQ with some other family members – it was a great way to unwind.

Mr PugRunner and I tried to stay up late to watch a movie on TV, but we were both wiped out and had to take a rain check.

I’m not overly impressed with myself this week. I felt pretty lazy and unmotivated, which I don’t love. The summer is getting to me, though, and I’m just trying to tough it out. I am excited about my trip to Philly and all the running adventures to come, but at the moment, I’m struggling. It will be ok, I know, but I would love to feel a little more on top things.

How is your week in training?

Are you starting to see signs of fall where you live?

race report: jaguars 5k stadium challenge & fun run {8.13.16}

Back in 2013, our family donned our running shoes to take on Everbank Field and had a blast. Three years later, with new bling, a new course and a new finish on the 50 yard line, little man and I were back in the game.


To be honest, I really didn’t have any intention of running this. It’s a tough race, incorporating lots of uphill ramps through the concourse and it’s at night (I loathe running at night). Since I have practically zero 5Ks on my schedule and I didn’t have other plans, I figured I would just go ahead and register. I knew that it would be a tough race, on the heels of a long run and a day out at a pool party, but how often does one get to run around a football stadium?

Little man has been a bit off running lately, so I asked him if he wanted to do the fun run. He was on the fence, and I decided that I could always just sign him up at the venue. The day of the race, he told me he wanted to do it, so I packed his sneakers and running clothes along with mine.

We arrived at the stadium at around 6:00 PM. There was a nasty storm hanging around the area, complete with black clouds and jags of lightning, so we were fairly certain registration would be easy. We were wrong. The line for day of registration was HUGE (in fact, we waited for about 35 minutes, before the race director pulled us and moved us to the front of the line so we could make the 6:45 fun run start – huge thanks to him for that!).

I grabbed little man’s bib, and left Mr PugRunner to finish payment. I also left him with my bag, which had my phone, so I was hopeful I would be able to find him again before the start of my wave.

At 6:45, we were off. The fun run made a curve around the outside ground floor of the stadium, up a full set of ramps to the very top, and then wound through the concourse, going down some ramps, back up to the top, and then all the way down to wrap around to the entrance to the field. In order to reach the finish line, we had to go around most of the field, and crossed the line at 50 yard mark. So cool.

Little man was a beast. The last time he did this challenge, he managed to charm his way into a piggy back ride.

This time, he did it on his own, and he ran almost the whole way up the first flight of ramps. Rock star.

We were handed water and ushered up the stairs into the seating area, where Mr PugRunner was waiting for us. Little man collected his medal from one of the Jaguars cheerleaders and then we chilled out and watched more people cross the finish line, before it was time for me to head back to the start line.

This year, the race started in waves. Walkers went out at 7:00 PM, and the different categories of runners started at 7:30 and were staggered every 15 minutes until 8:15. The 8:00 time slot was the “competitive” wave and everything else was deemed “just for fun.”

I had signed up for the 7:45 wave – I wanted some of the experience of the lights on the field, without it being too dark and late. I toyed with the idea of switching to 8:15 to be with some friends, but I was also tired and wanted to go home. It made it tough to coordinate with friends, but I was able to hang out with S for a few.

At the start line, the race director outlined the course to us. He also mentioned that some of the latecomers didn’t have timing chips on their bibs, so they could either keep track of their time via the race clock or their own personal timing devices, and then report it to the race team at the end. It was a nice gesture for those who wanted to be included in the official results.

We started promptly, and I felt very strong going out. I got to almost the one mile mark before starting my intervals – partly because the course was very tight at the start and partly because I felt good. By that point, we had taken care of the ground level part of the race, and were getting ready to enter the stadium.

While the weather was overcast and breezy, inside the stadium was nothing short of humid. The air was so thick you could chew it, and I looked forward to the brief moments of relief when we exited the concourse and got back out in the fresh air.

We had to climb two sets of ramps: the first set was a straight bottom-to-top go, while the second involved going up partway, around the concourse and then up the rest of the way.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 7.59.12 PM

It wasn’t awful, but the downhill run was the best! I confess, I did stop at the very top of the stadium to snap this photo of the Hart Bridge (I’ll see you in March!), but other than that, I kept on trucking.

Finally, we were back on the ground, through the field entrance, and I was making my loop of the football field. Mr PugRunner and little man spotted me from above and cheered me on – I loved being able to see them! A lot of people were slowing down to try to see (and get pictures of) themselves on the big screens, but I was more interested in getting across that finish line, so I just put my head down and did the work.

No PRs on this night, but I was ok with that. It was good to get out at night, good to run the shorter distance race and good to be outside my comfort zone.

I collected my medal,

rejoined the boys, and then went up the steps to the Bud Zone, where finishers could get their free beer or soda and some food.

I met up with a few friends, gave hugs and high fives, and then we were ready to go. It had been a long day and we were all ready for bed.

Despite its challenges, I’m glad I rallied for this one. It was good to stretch my legs, get in those inclines and push myself. And it was even better to run with my little guy. I’ve missed it.

Do you ever get to run in sports stadiums? 

What’s the most unique race venue you have experienced?

weekly wrap: 8.7 – 8.13

It’s Monday, and that means 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

After a quick breakfast at Starbucks, I said goodbye to my friends and sent them off on their long drive home.

The rest of the day was dedicated to absolutely nothing: we watched the Olympics, snacked, and lounged. The upcoming week was promising to be a whirlwind, and we just wanted to be prepared for it.

Monday – rest

Little man and I had the day together and he wanted to just chill. We went out to lunch and Publix, and I took him to buy a new pair of “fun” shoes. I almost cried when the salesperson sent us to the men’s section of the store for his size. Clearly he hit a growth spurt or two this summer.

Mr PugRunner took him to get his hair cut, too. All summer he has been trying to grow it out, but I guess he decided to go for the buzz for school. Totally in favor of it.

That evening, I babysat for a friend of mine so she could take her new Kindergartner to Meet the Teacher Night. It was a nice, quiet, uneventful night, the perfect quiet before the storm.

Tuesday – 5 miles

I popped up for five early sunrise miles.


On the agenda for the day: work (for me) and Meet the Teacher and a dentist appointment for little man.

I got mostly good reports: he loves his 3rd grade teacher and classroom, and while the dentist visit went well, there is a shark tooth that has been hanging on that has to be pulled. Little man isn’t too thrilled about it, but it has to go.

That night, we went out for Italian: little man’s back-to-school request. We had a calm evening, and everyone turned in early to get a good night’s sleep.

Wednesday – rest

The big day had arrived! Little man was off to third grade! He had a yummy, protein-packed breakfast and we made his lunch together.

He wanted us to walk him in to his classroom (I was good with that because I wanted to see where he was and say hello to his teacher), so we all hopped in the car, after obligatory first day pictures, and set off.

Of course, the first day is always chaotic, but we got a decent parking spot and made the drop off.

After we said goodbye, Mr PugRunner and I went out for bagels. It’s nice when we can get a little untraditional date in, and it was a nice way to ease into the rest of the day for me.

I baked chocolate chip cookies for his welcome home snack

and put together little man’s requested dinner: cereal bar.

He had a great first day and we are all excited to see where the year takes him!

Thursday – 5 miles

Another five miles, and it went pretty well. I’m focused more on feeling strong than anything else.

Friday – rest

This rest day was much needed. I’d been dragging a little and there was no body circuit scheduled, so I just took advantage of the time off to watch some movies and Olympics and  hold down the couch. Sometimes, it just has to be done. I had no regrets.

Saturday – 8 mile long run, Stadium Challenge 5K and fun run

After a mostly sleepless night, I went out late for my long run. While I don’t love splitting miles, I didn’t really have a lot of other options, so I gutted out my eight in the sun. Boo.

After I got cleaned up, we packed up our race things and went to a birthday party for one of our friends’ kids. There was a waterslide, and pool, along with lots of pizza and cake and yummy things to eat and drink.

I did my best to only drink water and watch my food intake. It was brutally hot, and I wanted to make sure I was fueling smartly. A storm rolled through, but when it passed, we drove to Everbank Field for the Stadium Challenge 5K. More on that later this week, but it was a fun night, and I was really glad that little man decided he was up for the fun run.

It’s been some time since we raced together, and I’ve missed it. He said he loved it, too, so it’s a win in my book! At the end of the day, I completed 12 miles, and am feeling pretty ready for Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia.


Oh, and that big news I mentioned last week? Well, it’s official. I’m all registered for my very first Ragnar Relay: the Ragnar Trail Alafia River!


For whatever reason, being part of a Ragnar team has sounded like such a wonderful experience. I’ve never camped, never done a relay and I don’t know half the people on my team, but it’s going to be epic! I cannot wait!


How was your week in training?

Have you ever done Ragnar?

race report: celebration 5k {7.4.2016}

Yes. It’s been over a month since the Celebration 5K, and I’m just getting around to the recap.


The only excuse I can offer is that it really wasn’t anything too exciting. It’s a nice race on a mostly pretty course, with tons of stars and stripes, and I enjoy it, even if it is July.

Obviously, it was hot and humid and muggy. The girls and I got a quick picture before we got all disgusting just from being outside.

The race was advertised to start at 7:30 AM, and I was a little disappointed when that was delayed by about 20 minutes to accommodate last minute walk up registration. I love that so many people were interested and wanted to participate, but I didn’t enjoy standing in the street, crowded in with other runners, getting hotter and more uncomfortable by the minute.

Twenty minutes makes a HUGE difference in terms of shade and temperature.

I was glad to be hanging with S, but I also just wanted to be on my way. Edginess sets in when I have to wait too long.

Finally, everyone was signed up and toe-ing the line, and we were good to go. The first mile is the worst: a long straightaway, in full sun at that point. Yuck.

Once we made the turn into the residential area that comprises the last 2.1 miles of the race, things were a little better. There are plenty of big trees throwing lots of shade, and some of the neighbors come out to offer additional aid to the runners. It’s just a nice, quality local race.

I’m not too impressed with my performance. It’s my fault. I could have pushed harder, but it wasn’t in me that day, and I am learning to be ok with that.

I rejoined S and T after the finish line. We really all just wanted some water and air conditioning. The Celebration 5K boasts tons of post-race watermelon, and even though it smelled delicious, it was just too hot to even bother eating.

The beer, however, was just what the doctor ordered.

With everything going on, I’ve really cut back on my 5Ks, and it shows. I am scheduled to run another one on Saturday, over a month after running the Celebration 5K, and I’m really not sure how it’s going to work out. I guess we’ll just have to see.

It’s been a tough, hot summer, and it will be nice to finally get into the fall and see what good the consistent training has done.


Do you race a lot during the summer?

Do you prefer morning or evening races?

weekly wrap: 7.31 – 8.6

It’s Monday, and that means 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

And rest we did. We went over to our friends’ house for a day of swimming.

Everyone pitched in with food and we enjoyed lunch and cocktails until late afternoon. It was much-needed and so fun. I also loved how it was a completely spontaneous event, and it all worked out beautifully.

Monday – 5 miles (Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Series – Drum Solo)

I took advantage of the early wakeup to get in both my five miles and the second part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Series: the Drum Solo.*

I can’t wait to hang this bling on my medal rack!

Tuesday – 3 miles

Time to get back to my group run! I wasn’t really thrilled when the alarm went off, but I put in my three miles without complaint. I didn’t want to do more because I had run the day before. The three was enough.

It was also time to start my yoga challenge (#theheartofpractice on Instagram).

Wednesday – rest

We really wanted to make a trip to the Itchetucknee River to do some tubing, but the forecast called for thunderstorms, and I wasn’t keen on driving two hours just to get rained out. Instead, we went up to the Fort Clinch State Park to visit the fort and the beach.

It ended up being a great choice, and we had so much fun exploring.

When the storm clouds started to roll in, we packed it up and headed to Tasty’s. It’s pretty much our favorite.

While I was in the bathroom (and not supervising LOL) little man somehow ended up with a vanilla milkshake. We all shared it – it was way too big for any one person.


Thursday – 5 miles

Another group run, this time with bridges. I ran four with a friend and one on my own.


Friday – rest

I was very grateful for a rest day. Sadly, sleeping in wasn’t to be, but it was nice not to have to run out in the heat and humidity.

After work, we joined my parents for dinner at a Japanese hibachi place. Little man and I split a shrimp and chicken meal and we had a great time with the chef’s performance (even though we’ve all seen it before – it just never gets old).

Saturday – 8 miles

This was a bit of a disappointment. I had intended to go for 11 miles, but I woke up and was just. so. tired. I didn’t want to get up, didn’t want to run, and generally had a crappy attitude about all of it. My performance (or lack thereof) showed it.

In fact, I ended up texting one of my running friends for moral support – I just didn’t think I could finish and I was in tears when I got home. It was all pretty disappointing, but I took a shower, brushed it off as best I could, and got on with my day.

I had some friends come in from the panhandle to spend the night, and we had a great girls’ night in. A few other mutual friends joined us and it was perfect: there was a mashed potato bar, plenty of wine and cocktails, and lots of wonderful conversation. It’s literally been years since I’ve seen them, and we can’t let it be so long next time.


For the week ahead, the plan is simple. Little man goes back to school, so that will be the top priority: getting back in the routine. After that, my focus will go to getting my long run mojo back, a 5K on Saturday, and maybe a family outing on Sunday to celebrate the first week of 3rd Grade.

How was your week in training?

When a run isn’t going well, do you bail, modify the distance or gut it out?

*As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger, my entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Series/Make a Band and Global Tour Pass were complimentary. All opinions are my own.

friday five: why you should run best damn race + discount code

It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with the Friday Five ladies: Mar, Courtney and Cynthia, but it’s about time I got back in the habit.


We have been filling up our race calendar for the next few months, and while I have a lot of fun things planned, the Best Damn Race Series is one to which I really look forward. It is local to Florida, created by runners, for runners.

Last year, I became an Ambassador for the series, and I have had a blast promoting the events with my fellow Ambassadors:

Check out some of the reasons why you shouldn’t miss out on Best Damn Race!

Best Damn Pictures

Best Damn Race strives to provide free race photographs to its participants. It’s great to be able to smile for the photographers and not worry about having to pay later for those  images. It’s a really nice perk, and makes everything a little more fun!

Best Damn Bling

BDR medals are among the best around: custom, die-cut, with special details like stained glass, real sand and spinner elements. The medals capture the spirit of each market and of Florida – I love the individuality and attention to detail and I cannot wait to see what is waiting at the finish lines of the 2016-17 races!


Best Damn Volunteers

A strong volunteer presence is what makes good races great. The Best Damn Volunteers go above and beyond to create a positive race experience for all the participants. From packet pickup to medal distribution to course support, the Best Damn Volunteers present extra smiles, energy and encouragement.


courtesy of Best Damn Race

And how’s this for extra TLC? At the Best Damn Race Jacksonville in January (recap here), I happened to pass by the cups of Nuun at the water stop. A volunteer on duty told me I had missed them, so I said thanks, turned down a cup of water (it upsets my stomach during a race) and figured I would just deal until the finish line. Well, that volunteer had different ideas. He left his station, snagged a cup of Nuun, and chased me down to get me my beverage of choice. Talk about service! I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.

(Want to join the ranks of the Best Damn Volunteers? Sign up here)

Best Damn After-Party

While it’s fine grabbing a banana or bagel and a bottle of water and heading out, I love when a race has a well thought-out after party. Best Damn Race always delivers with a huge variety of food, drinks, and entertainment.

One of the things I always want after a hard run is a Diet Coke, and a beer (I know – it’s bizarre. But it is what it is).

Neither of those is in short supply.

There is also a plentiful supply of food: oranges, bananas, chips, cookies or something sweet, and even heartier choices like rice and beans.

I love being able to graze on a few yummy options while hanging with friends and cheering on runners at the finish line, while a DJ or band plays in the background.

Best Damn Courses

Races are a fabulous way to check out different cities, and I love how the Best Damn Race courses are able to provide runners with some of the most scenic views in each of its markets: marinas, bayfront, along the river or around a park. There is no shortage of sights, and be assured that courses are fully and frequently stocked with plenty of water and Nuun, as well as Gu for the longer distances. A well-tended, well-maintained and well-planned race course helps makes the miles pass more quickly, and Best Damn Race does a heck of a good job with that in Safety Harbor, Cape Coral, Orlando and Jacksonville.


As if it couldn’t get any better, Best Damn Race recently announced that enhancements are coming. I love it when events grow and evolve, and I think we are all looking forward to these new developments. Check it out:

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 7.52.52 PM


Are you ready to join in on the fun? Pop on over to the Best Damn Race website and register for one or all of the events. The code RUNPUGS will save you $5 on any event in any city, and can be used multiple times!

BDR 1617 code graphic

Looking forward to seeing you out there!


I am an Ambassador for the Best Damn Race series. I am compensated for my promotion of the BDR events through complimentary race entries and similar benefits. All opinions are my own.

august 2016 goals

Now that we have closed down July (rather successfully, if I do say so myself), it’s time to focus on August.


1. Continue with increased mileage.

The changes I’ve made with my increase in weekly mileage have been pretty positive – I felt like I was dragging through my three mile runs, but the five milers are, interestingly, more manageable. I like how the boost in my week’s running has given rise to less wearing long runs. It’s a good feeling, and I know that when the weather cools down, I will be happy with the results.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia is the next big event on the calendar.


I’ve got about six weeks to complete my training and be ready to run. It’s been quite a while since I crossed the finish line on a 13.1 distance, and while I’m nervous, I know it will be a fabulous experience (Want to join me in Philly? Remember that code RUNPUGS will save you $15 on your registration!)*.

2. Yoga, yoga and more yoga.

I found a great yoga challenge on Instagram (follow me at @RunsWithPugs and check out #TheHeartofPractice). There are some positions that are a regular part of my practice, and some that will be greatly challenging for me. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m excited to see where I can go with it.

3. Secure coaching for goal race and establish goals.

While I have several half marathons on the books this year, the one where I really hope to excel is the Space Coast Half.

2016 marks my fourth year running this particular, which will bring me one step closer to the five-year bonus medal. You know how I love my bling.

Last year, I had a very specific time goal in mind, but after my injury and hiatus, I’m not sure if setting such a goal is even remotely realistic. It’s something I will have to discuss with the Empower Coaching ladies. I’m hopeful that my confidence and anxiety doesn’t get in the way, and that I can have a half of which I’m really proud, even if it’s not PR-worthy.

4. Register for another 5K.

I realized that with all the races I have coming up, I have been lacking in 5Ks. It’s not my favorite distance, but I do miss those quick mornings or evenings with my running friends. Granted, I’ve had a few more mornings to sleep in, but I miss the charge of race day. I want to play it smart and safe, but that’s no reason to cut out all the fun.

5. Get back to running with Mr PugRunner.

Mr PugRunner “retired” in November. He was burned out from running and he was complaining of knee soreness (his doctor assured him that it wasn’t serious and wasn’t anything that couldn’t be corrected by strength training). He has been talking about getting a new pair of shoes, and he finally went shopping for them. When I asked if they were for running, or just for a pair of active shoes, he said he thinks it’s time he tried running again.

He did make it clear that he is only interested in 5Ks, and that’s ok. I’m proud of him for deciding to come back and I hope he enjoys it a little more with shorter distances. I have missed him on race day.

There shouldn’t be any reasons why I can’t knock these out of the park. Here’s to another solid month!

What are your goals for August?
Do you ever work with a running coach?


*As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger, my entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Series/Make a Band and Global Tour Pass were complimentary. All opinions are my own.

weekly wrap: 7.24 – 7.30

It’s Monday, and that means 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

Party day! While the birthday girl and her sisters got the clubhouse set up for the afternoon’s main event (my stepmother-in-law’s 80th birthday!), we spent the morning in the pool, and then had lunch on the waterfront. It was a nice lazy morning, and we had plenty of time to get ready.

The party was a lovely celebration: Grandma was beaming the whole time and danced the afternoon away.

We were very lucky to be able to be a part of the big day.

Monday –  5 miles running

The hotel at which we normally stay when we visit my in-laws is nice, but it’s on a stretch of pretty congested roadway – totally not optimal for running, especially not before dawn. I rather reluctantly headed down to the small gym and resolved to run five miles on the treadmill.

On the one hand, it was boring as heck. I really couldn’t stand it.

On the other, the climate controlled temperatures and absent humidity allowed me to actually run. I had started out doing my run/walk intervals, but when other people started coming into the gym, I started feeling a little funny about it so I just tried to see how far I could go. Consistently running was no problem at all, and for a brief second I thought about how nice it would be to have a treadmill at home.

We ate breakfast and made the trek to Clearwater Beach.

I confess, we have never been, but it’s already on my list of places to return. The Gulf Coast is much different than the East Coast, but it’s a nice change.

Little man loved the attention from his cousins, especially when they buried him in the sand in the shape of an octopus.

After lunch on the beach, we all cleaned up and went back to Grandma and PopPop’s house for leftovers and conversation. We ended up staying til pretty late, and finally we had to leave to get little man to bed. I wasn’t far behind him.

Tuesday – rest

We all met for breakfast and then Mr PugRunner, little man and I got on the road. We needed to get home to the dogs and I had work. Everyone else was heading to Orlando to continue their respective vacations. Before we left, my niece worked her magic and gave me a fishtail french braid. It was phenomenal.

I loved it.

As soon as we got home, we started laundry, and packed some things for Mr PugRunner and little man: they were going to be joining everyone at Universal Studios the next day and needed to up and out by 5AM. We all desperately needed that night of sleep.

Wednesday – 5 miles running

I didn’t get up right away when the boys left: Molly wanted to snuggle and I was happy to oblige her. Eventually, though, I got myself up and out and turned in a decent five miles.

Mr PugRunner texted to let me know that little man was being brave and wanted to ride Dragon Challenge with his cousins. It would be the first time he would be riding an upside down roller coaster, and I was so sure he was going to change his mind at the last minute.

A few minutes later, I got this.

He was so proud of himself, although he said it wasn’t his favorite. He’s waiting for Hulk to reopen.

In the meantime, I went to lunch with my parents, and then spent the afternoon picking up the rest of little man’s school supplies and going grocery shopping. When I got home, I had to get myself together and do my hair and makeup for a Wine & Chocolate tasting event with some girlfriends. I was pretty tired and thinking of canceling, but I knew that once I got there I would have a blast.

We ended up finishing our flights of wine and chocolate and then grabbing dinner together. It was much needed and I’m so glad I talked myself into going.

Thursday – rest

Back to work for me. It was nice to get back into a routine. It was an uneventful day, and we enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner at home. It was good to have the family back together.

Friday – 10 miles running

Here it was: my first double digit run in a good long time. Yikes. However, it was quite peaceful in the light of the moon.

It went ok. My stomach got pretty upset with me after six miles, which was rather frustrating. The last thing I need is to be in need of a restroom during a half marathon, so it’s back to trying to tame my GI issues during my runs. Funny how out of practice I’ve fallen.

Little man had a playdate and so I took advantage of the free time to rest up. We had our friend’s surprise birthday party that night and it was going to be a late one. Mr PugRunner and I had dinner together before the event, and spent the night with new friends and old, celebrating.

Saturday – rest

We had the chance to sleep in a little bit, which was nice and probably very much needed.

After lunch with my parents, little man and I headed downtown to a local candy shop for another birthday party. The kids all got to make lollipops, which was so cute.

They also got a tour of the candy kitchen and then enjoyed cupcakes and ice cream with the birthday girl. Adorable!

We got home, stuffed from all the treats, and ready to just chill on the couch with some movies.

Since it’s August, we can take a look at July’s goals and see how I did.

Increase weekly mileage – Yup. I’ve done it. By bumping my short runs from three miles to five miles, I’ve been able to bulk up my total mileage, and it’s been making things a little easier.

Incorporate more yoga – Again, on it. While it’s still not as much yoga as I would like, I’ve been practicing as much as I can.

Register for the duathlon –  Mmmmm. Still a no on that. Not because I don’t want to or because I’m not ready, but because it involves yet another hotel stay and weekend out of town. We have been traveling A LOT. I love it, but I know that the next few months are going to full of more travel and something has to give. I haven’t given up the idea, but I think it’s ok to say I need a break.

Speed work – Doing it. Not loving it because of the heat, but doing it.

Stay consistent with the 30 day challenges – That’s a bit of a fail. Once we went away, I just wasn’t able to keep up. I’m going to get back into it this week.

Overall, it was a good July.


How was your week in training?

How do you decide what to keep and what to sacrifice in your schedule?



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