home from antigua, off to ragnar trail alafia river

I took the last week off from the blog so I could celebrate 10 years of marriage with Mr PugRunner.

It’s a vacation we’ve been planning for quite some time, and I am happy to report that Sandals Grande Antigua was absolutely everything we could have wanted. I promise to do a full write up on it before the year ends – it was a very balanced mixture of relaxation and activity. This is something that we have been compromising on since we met. We both love travel, but our ideas of a good vacation are very different.

So for six days, this was my view.

with all the frozen drinks, stand up paddle boards, and turquoise ocean I could handle.

Tonight through Saturday, I’ll be surrounded by something like this

A little less glamorous, but… you know what? Adventurous is a good thing.

I’m packed and ready(ish) for Ragnar Trail Alafia River.

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I have absolutely NO idea what to expect, but I do know that I will be surrounded by seven other women and we will rock it to the best of our abilities.

Eeep.

I’ll be posting to Instagram and Facebook while I’m gone, so follow along if you want to keep up with all the shenanigans! I’m sure there will be plenty of mishaps and hilarity. Stay tuned and have a great weekend!

 

 

 

race report: rock ‘n’ roll savannah remix challenge {11.6.2016}

Upon finishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon, it was time to celebrate. (At least until tomorrow’s 5K and 1 Miler races.)

Meghan had secured brunch reservations at The Ordinary Pub, so we donned our medals and walked the mile or so to the restaurant.

The chicken and waffle gyro and bottomless mimosas did not disappoint.

The weather was gorgeous, so we strolled through downtown for a bit, popping in some of the local shops. Before we returned to the car, we went to Leopold’s for ice cream. It just had to be done.

By that point, we were more than ready for a shower and some rest time. We debated going back into the city for dinner, but there was a Cracker Barrel just across the parking lot from the hotel. Laziness won out, and we agreed to have a “down home” dinner and then take a soak in the hotel’s indoor pool.

Dinner was  a carb lover’s dream.

The pool was less awesome – indoor pools are always so tepid and reek of chlorine, and while it was nice to do some walking laps in the water, we didn’t last long.

Even though we didn’t have to be up early on Sunday, we were both tired and feel asleep after watching some home improvement shows on TV.

Sunday morning presented a challenge. The 5K and 1 Mile races didn’t start until 1:00 in the afternoon and were located outside the downtown area in Daffin Park. We did need to be there early enough to get parking nearby, so we figured we would eat a big breakfast (hello, Cracker Barrel again), and then get dressed in our running gear and check out.

Meghan wanted a coffee from The Coffee Fox, so I circled the blocks while she waited. I wasn’t in the mood for anything, and preferred to stick with water.

Mid afternoon and evening races are always tough for me. I never know how to eat or how to prepare. I had some granola on which to munch while we waited, and that did the trick. We found the parking area, and were lucky to get one of the last “onsite” spots. And then it was time to wait.

The 5K and the 1 Miler would start from the same part of Daffin Park, and finish along the baseline of the Savannah Bananas baseball stadium. While the 1 Mile would be a quick out and back near the perimeter of the park, the 5K would extend a little longer and wind through the surrounding neighborhood.

Easy peasy.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah 5K

We checked our gear, and got in the corral around 2:15. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but there were still plenty of people.

We started right on time and out we went. The course was lovely – shaded and lined with more gorgeous homes. While people weren’t out in droves like at the half marathon, there were still spectators on the sidewalks and street corners. There was a well stocked water stop at about the midway point, but we passed it by.

I was having a strong run until the end – to get into the stadium and reach the finish line, we had to cross a portion of rocky gravel, sand and grass. Neither of us was willing to turn an ankle, so we picked our way carefully through that area before the final sprint to the finish.

We got our medals, a beer, fruit cup and pretzels. I was in desperate need of a little salt, so the pretzels were just the thing. With two races completed, we had to pick up our Remix Challenge medals from a tent near the start line, and then hike it back to gear check to switch out our bibs and shoe tags for the 1 Mile.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah 1 Miler

You all know that the mile is my worst and least favorite distance. I’m just not about sprinting, and today was no exception, especially at 2:30 PM, after 16.2 miles already down.

However, Pie Society had offered the carrot (or pastry) that  anyone who completed both Sunday races would receive a personal pie, and we were not to be denied.

And so we toed one more start line.

Down the road and around the block and back to the stadium we went. We slowed for that dicey part one last time and crossed the finish line for the final time that weekend.

Hooray!

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to be done running.

We cleaned up in the stadium restrooms and then hit the road. We had a long drive in front of us and we needed to get going.

And so ended a wonderful racecation weekend in the city of Savannah. I can’t wait to be back!

Have you ever earned a pie at a race?

How many races in a row on a single day have you run?

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

race report: rock ‘n’ roll savannah half marathon + vip experience {11.5.2016}

Drumroll, please.

It’s time for…

I’m going to open by saying this was one hell of a fun weekend. There was no pressure, no expectations, and lots of great friends. I really, really needed this and I was so very grateful for it.

Meghan drove up from Orlando on Friday morning so we could carpool to Savannah. We decided we would go to the expo for our packets and VIP bracelets, get dinner, and then check into our hotel, which was located closer to the airport. We agreed that once we got out of the city, we weren’t going to want to brave traffic and crowds to get back in and would be better served by getting our race clothes out and going to bed.

Party animals, right here.

Barring a pretty nasty traffic snarl that set us back about an hour, the trip was uneventful and we arrived at the expo, excited and ready to pick up our packets.

Three of them, because we were running three races! At this point, I really had to question our sanity, just a tad.

We wandered around the expo for a bit: I bought a Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah tank (I like race shirts, but I don’t usually wear t-shirts), and we picked up our Global Tour Passes. We signed in for our VIP Experience wristbands and got the parking directions to go with it.

Happily for our wallets, there wasn’t much we needed or wanted to purchase, so we wandered a bit, and then made our way to the exit. It was just close enough to dinnertime, so it was off to the Crystal Beer Palace.

Fortunately for us, there wasn’t much of a wait, and we found two seats at the bar. I wasn’t really in the mood for a burger, so I got a salmon BLT instead, with a glass of pinot noir. It was phenomenal, and though I’ve never really done seafood the night before the race, it was a good choice.

By the time we got checked into our hotel, we were both ready for bed. We laid out our races outfits, set the alarm, and off to sleep we went.

The alarm rang early, obviously. We were really concerned with getting the car parked before the road closures started, so it was our plan to be pulling into our assigned garage with plenty of time to spare. As luck would have it, we did run into some blockades, but we managed to find our way.

VIP Experience Pre-Race

Our VIP Experience began with a private, indoor waiting area at the Westin across from the race start line.

Since it was literally freezing out, it was nice to have somewhere warm and quiet to wait. There were plenty of tables and chairs and runners had options of bagels or breakfast breads, bananas, coffee and water.

There was music and we could all check our bags right there without having to brave the elements. On the tables were little packets of hand warmers (the kind that you shake to activate), and I grabbed a pack because I had forgotten gloves and my hands were freezing. Even better, we could just go up to the next floor for private restrooms designated for VIP use. It was great not having any lines.

Of course, we joined up with some of our fellow Rock ‘n’ Bloggers:

(from left) Amy, Me, Meghan, Brandi & Anna-Marie

We wanted to make the We Run Social photo, and so we headed out to the Waving Girl statue on the waterfront.

The hike was a little longer than we planned, and we missed the photo official photo, but we still got this one.

And then it was all the way back to the start line.

I was frozen through, but standing in the corral helped warm me up a little. I was really glad for those hand warmers, though. It wasn’t too long before we were underway, and I was stoked to be moving.

Miles 1 – 5

The first five miles of the race were pretty simple – a long stretch along Bay Street (with a lovely bridge tossed in there), and then some straightaways through the small, surrounding neighborhoods. The sun came up quickly, and with it, the heat and humidity. Boo. We keep up a really nice pace for the first few miles, but one of our group was dealing with injury and we wanted to stick together. My watch was set for 4:1 intervals, while Meghan’s was on 2:1, so we had a nice range of run/walk options when we needed them. I had opted to carry my handheld bottle just in case, but there was plenty of water and Gatorade along the route.

Miles 6 – 8

The course turned into the historic downtown portion of Savannah. We were able to take advantage of the shade of the tree-lined streets, and we admired the beautiful architecture.  We passed the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and SCAD. There was a long out and back along Oglethorpe Avenue, where we were able to take a quick pit stop. The relay participants also had their exchange located in this stretch of the race – it was hard seeing the medals and knowing we were only halfway there.

As a side note, I did snag some Tylenol from a med station during the latter portion of these miles. My hip was chattering a bit and I wanted it to calm down so I could enjoy the rest of the run.

Miles 9 – 11

We took East Broad Street to East Henry Street, and left town. This part of the race reminded me a lot of one of our local races: beautiful, expansive homes with tons of crowds lined up along the streets. It was lovely. We even got a beer from one of the families cheering us on!

Just past mile 11, the marathoners turned off the path to continue with their run. We waved them off and wished them luck.

Miles 12 – 13.1

And this was it! We were in the home stretch. Fortified by our beer, and cheered on by residents and aid stations, our foursome made its way down East Anderson Street towards Forsyth Park. To be honest, I would have loved to see the fountain as we finished, but the cheering spectators made up for it. Thirteen point one miles after we had started, we were done and ready to celebrate!

VIP Experience Post-Race

After we collected our medals, water and chocolate milk (a must-have after a long run), we made our way to the main stage and the VIP tent. After our wristbands were checked, we entered the area and collected our bags from the private gear check. It took seconds. There was even a changing area if we had brought clean clothes.

The VIP tent offered an area of drinks (beer, mimosas, water, gatorade and sodas), as well as a pretty extensive buffet. We opted not to eat because we had brunch reservations, but it was really nice to grab a seat at one of the tables and enjoy a cold beverage. There was even a wait list for complimentary massages, just for the VIP guests. While I’m not on board with massages, it was a really nice touch.

 

All in all, the race was phenomenal. Granted, once the sun came up, we were dealing with some undesirable heat and humidity, but since I was hanging out with friends it didn’t really bother me as much as usual.

Savannah is a gorgeous and hospitable city – the crowd support and community involvement was over the top, and combining that with rocking bands every few miles, plenty of water stops and aid stations made for an unforgettable experience. With the exception of the healthy bridge/hill in the first few miles, the course is mostly flat and it has the potential of being pretty fast. Can’t go wrong with that!

Part one of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah weekend was over, but there was plenty more to come! After all, we had the Remix Challenge and the Pie Society Challenge ahead of us! We couldn’t wait!

What makes a race course memorable for you?

Do you ever do several races in one day or weekend?

 

This Tuesday, we have joined up with My No-Guilt LifeMarcia’s Healthy Slice and MCM Mama Runs for “Tuesdays on The Run”!

Tuesdays on the Run

Check out your lovely hosts for tales of running and adventure!

 

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

weekly wrap: 11.20 – 11.26 + space coast half marathon week

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

WeeklyWrap

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

What a week! I hope you’re ready for some photos, because I have a ton this week! The holidays are in full swing, and we are enjoying them as much as we can. From Halloween through New Year’s, we are always up to something and having fun.

For me, this is the beginning of a whirlwind of running and racing and traveling, so I am keeping my head down and powering through as best I can. I hope I can keep up with everything!

Sunday – 8 miles, running

I made plans to meet up with K for our run. She needed to do five miles and I needed to do eight, so we were at least able to keep each other company for a bit. It was freezing – frost on the cars and everything. It was a good run, even if we did have a scare with a pretty angry dog (he charged towards us but didn’t leave his property, although that was close enough for me).

Little man had one of his playdates again with his bestie. We took the kids to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and we all loved it (with the exception of Mr PugRunner, who can’t seem to stay awake for anything Harry Potter).  They spend the rest of the afternoon playing.

Monday – rest

It was shaping up to be another busy work week, so I got right to it.

Little man had his first karate class as an orange/black stripe belt and he did amazing. He has been quietly practicing his new forms all over the house, which is great to see. He really seems to have found his way with his martial arts and I am looking forward to see how that works out.

Tuesday – 4.5 miles, running

K and I met up once again – she wanted to do five miles before leaving on her Thanksgiving vacation, and I wanted to do between four and five. We were able to have a nice strong run together before biding each other goodbye for the holidays.

And then the boys and I hit up the new Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.

Once little man got home from school, it was time for fun – he was off for five days and was thrilled to get in extra playtime and no official bedtime. We went to Night of Lights in historic downtown, for dinner and to see the beautiful holiday lights before the big crowds start coming to town.

Wednesday – rest

The boys spent the morning picking up more yard decorations and final Thanksgiving dinner ingredients. and met me at work so we could have lunch together. I snagged my Thanksgiving race day packet, and when I got home, I got to work cleaning and prepping. It seemed like our menu was a little reduced this year, and I didn’t have a lot of advance work to do. That being said, I was glad to get the apple pie baked.

And see the house decorated. This is our first year of the projection lights. Confession: I don’t love them. I don’t think they are bright enough by far. But Mr PugRunner doesn’t want to get up on the ladder and we have a lot going on, so I’m going to let it slide. This year.

Thursday – Thanksgiving Distance Classic 6K

The Thanksgiving Distance Classic is always a favorite of mine. The 6K starts incredibly early (6:50 AM!) and I can be home in plenty of time to get the turkey in the oven and start cooking.

I was thrilled to get to see some friends

and meet up with Tricia from Misssippi Piddlin! She was just the sweetest thing and we had a great time catching up before we had to go our separate ways. Yay for blog friends!

On my way home, I stopped for bagels, and by the time I made it back to the house, Mr PugRunner had made an urgent care appointment for little man. He had developed a rather nasty cough overnight – he is prone to respiratory ailments, usually not contagious, but in need of treatment. The hot again/cold again weather caused a bit of a flare up and he needed an albuterol treatment and new prescription for his nebulizer. Poor guy 🙁

My parents arrived and we watched the parade while we cooked. Delilah guarded the oven.

Little man was in good spirits by the time the guys got home, and we were almost ready to dig in to our meal.

After we stuffed ourselves, my mom, Mr PugRunner and I went for a walk around the neighborhood. The weather was gorgeous and the fresh air wiped me out. We probably covered another three miles, and I was almost too tired to eat pie when we got back.

Almost.

Friday – 3.5 miles, walking

Our Black Friday tradition involves sleeping in a little, and then going to the outdoor mall around lunch time to see Santa, have lunch and do some light shopping. It’s usually at a break, when all the midnight shopping warriors are ready to get a nap. We were able to easily breeze through everything without much hassle and things were just picking up again when we were ready to leave.

Perfect.

Shopping leaves me a little frazzled, so when little man begged for these, I just said ok – he was in need of a pair of slippers. I probably could have done without gorilla feet slippers, but he was happy so…

When we got home, we discovered something in a tree in our back yard: Sparkle, the Elf had returned! It looked like she had tried to use a Target bag to parachute into our yard with a pair of PJs and her suitcase, but got blown off course.

I’m so glad we rescued her before it got dark! Anyway, she’s here until Christmas Eve, and will be watching over our family for the time being.

Saturday – rest

Mr PugRunner took little man to see The Polar Express at the IMAX while I finished packing for Space Coast.

I kept wavering between nervous and excited: my usual big race feelings. I really wanted to excel, and I was nervous because Stacey was going to be with me (we were traveling together, but we hadn’t really discussed how race day was going to go down), and I don’t always hold it together well under pressure.

However, I kept reminding myself that this is the race I love and it was going to be great, regardless.

We left around 1:00 PM, got through the Expo easily

and checked into our hotel. The room wasn’t ready yet, so the hotel comped us drinks at their tiki bar. I’m going to be honest. I usually have a glass of wine at dinner before the race, but that mid afternoon Jack & Diet was the best thing I’ve ever done. I was incredibly mellow, the glass of pinot sealed the deal, we were in bed by 7:45 (for a 3:30 AM wake up), and I slept like a boss.

Stay tuned for the full recap of my tenth half marathon!

How was your week in training?

If you were celebrating the holiday, did you enjoy? Any great Black Friday traditions? 

friday five 2.0: five hashtags every runner understands

TGIF!

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

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

This week is a free week, so I decided to have some fun. I want to write about

We know them. We love them. They define us. We understand. These are the hashtags that unite us as runners.

 

Good ol’ “Fear of Missing Out.” No one likes being the odd man (or woman) out, which is why #FOMO is so tempting.

It’s also the reason I registered for, and ran, a marathon. Normal, reasonable me didn’t give two figs about completing 26.2 miles. #FOMO me started wondering what I was missing. If a group of good running friends was up for it, it couldn’t be that bad. A couple glass of red wine later, I had talked myself right into signing up, and eight months after that, I was crossing the finish line of a marathon.

Obviously, I forgot all my childhood lessons about not caving to peer pressure. But I’ve learned my lesson and won’t be doing THAT again. or will I?…

 

“You Only Live Once”, or as I like to call it: “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”

And this, my running friends, is why I have ended up with (edible, non-toxic) colored powder up in my nose, in my ears and in lots of places that don’t need to be discussed. (I don’t care what they tell you – that purple is hard to wash off!)

It’s also why I’ll be a part of a team at the Ragnar Relay Trail in Alafia River in a few weeks. There, I’ll be running my first relay (trail or otherwise), camping for the first time, and running in the woods at night. #YOLO!

 

From “runger” to missing toenails and everything in between, we runners have problems. While this hashtag might not solve our issues, it does give us a way to bond and commiserate over injuries, chafing, upset tummies, shoe updates that leave us cold and  a whole host of other complaints. Misery loves company, and it’s great to have a virtual shoulder on which to cry.

 

Oh, do we know that feeling. We see a race pop up on Facebook, or a friend mentions a cool race she is trying, and the next thing we know, we are forking over our registration fee and filling in dates on our calendar. This running thing is an addictive hobby, and it’s so easy to get caught up in the madness.

 

It’s about the miles. I know it is. But I love collecting my bling. The bigger and sparklier, the better. And if a race offers a multiday or multi distance challenge for extra medals? I am all over that.

I chose my first half marathon on the basis of bling, and I am (mostly) not ashamed to admit it’s part of what my race selection process.

 

Do these hashtags resonate with you? Add your own!

tuesdays on the run: black friday deals & discounts

Please note, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Due to my relationship with certain brands, I may receive compensation or other benefits when people click on these affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

 

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

Tuesdays on the Run

It’s time for..

black-friday-2

Before I begin, I’m going to share one, unyielding fact about me. I don’t do Black Friday. I can’t stand shopping. I can’t stand crowds. And navigating packed stores in search of the best deals just isn’t my idea of fun. I love that people enjoy the frenzy and deal hunting, but it’s not for me. (Granted, my idea of fun seems to be getting up before the crack of dawn and slogging it out on foot for miles on end, so consider the source).

When I was a kid, the day after Thanksgiving was when we drove into NYC to see Santa at Macy’s and catch a matinee with discount tickets. That’s not the most convenient option in Florida, so now we have a relaxing morning, and venture out to see Santa in the afternoon.  We might do a little shopping later in the day, but we might not.

If you are more of a cyber shopper and want to avoid the craziness of Black Friday, here are some great deals for the runners in your life (or, let’s be honest, even for you).

 

Ragnar Relaying the Message

From 11/23 – 11/27, the Ragnar Relay Series is sharing a Facebook offer for $60 off any trail or road Ragnar. That’s a great deal, so don’t miss out!

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Dress up with Old Navy

I do love Old Navy Active for my running and yoga clothes, and, true to form, the store has some big plans for Black Friday. Skip the insanity by online shopping 24/7 – most deals are still valid. Start with the presale to stock up on basics and follow along to see what the end of the week brings.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-15-30-pm

 

Share the love with Armpocket

I have been a devoted Armpocket user for some years now. It’s comfortable, sized right, and doesn’t shimmy around on my arm.

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Their Buy One Get One 50% off deal is great for gift-giving (one for you and one for a friend or loved one) or for personal use (one for now, one for later!).

 

Spartan Up

Spartan Race is offering some pretty big deals for Black Friday. Use code HOLIDAY for 25% of all races

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or visit the Spartan shop for deals on all kinds of branded merchandise.

 

Get Empowered

I have been working with Empower Coaching & Fitness for over a year now, and I have loved both the group fitness classes and customized running plans. Jennifer and Stacey are knowledgeable, encouraging and professional. If you’re local to the Jacksonville area, take advantage of the great price on group circuit fitness classes. If you are looking to try out a running coach to hit a PR or train for new distance, check out the great Black Friday specials on training plans.

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Are you all about getting out and snagging the best Black Friday deals?

What’s your favorite Black Friday deal this year? Feel free to share!

 

weekly wrap: 11.13 – 11.19 + space coast half marathon training week 7

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

WeeklyWrap

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

 

Sunday – 10 miles, running

This was a pretty solid run, even though it was a little warmer than I would have liked. Either way, I got it done.

That afternoon, Mr PugRunner made a bacon-wrapped meatloaf on the egg, and we enjoyed a lovely late lunch outside with my parents. He has really been loving cooking lately, so I’m not complaining.

Monday – rest

Mr PugRunner hopped a plane for four days in Wisconsin and Illinois for business, so it was me and little man on our own.

He went to school, I went to work, and after dinner, it was time for karate. On our way home, we even got a glimpse of the “supermoon” through the clouds. Beautiful.

Tuesday – rest

Another round of work and school.

Little man got his interim report and his grades were excellent again. As a reward, I made grilled cheese and tomato soup, and rented Finding Dory. It was a chill evening, and the movie was fabulous.

Wednesday – rest

One day closer to Mr PugRunner coming home! By this point of the week, I was really having a hard time not being about to get out for a run (or anything else for that matter).

Little man’s interim report became available online, and we were thrilled to see that his grades were excellent. To celebrate, I took him out for sushi after karate.

One more piece of big news? The Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K released their medals! Aren’t they gorgeous?

This year, I am bringing home the big purple one, no matter what! If you want to have one of these beauties for your very own, register here and use code RUNPUGS to save $10!*

Thursday – rest

Little man was pretty excited for Thursday – his daddy was coming home and he was going to be earning some awards at Cub Scouts! My parents came over for dinner and then Papa Bear took little man to his meeting.

He came home, sporting a new badge and belt loop, and thrilled to see Mr PugRunner. It has been a long week, but we were all back together again.

Friday – 3.5 miles running, 60 minutes body circuit

Even though I stayed up way too late the night before, I popped up with the alarm and met my running buddy for some miles. It felt so freaking good to stretch my legs!

I doubled up with a body circuit workout. I confess, I phoned it in a little – my legs were tired. Even with that, it was a good class, and I was happy to hang out with some friends.

Little man had a publishing party in the afternoon. Parents were invited to come in to listen to the kids read their opinion pieces. The topic was choosing a class mascot, and we would be having a vote after all the pieces had been read.

The river otter was little man’s choice, and he presented an excellent case.

The river otter came in third of about eight options, but even with that, he did great. And Mr PugRunner was blown away at the fact that the kids were doing public speaking.

Since it was the end of the day, I was able to sign him out of school. We took a nap, because it was fall carnival night, and we wanted to be well rested.

Our school’s annual carnival is always a huge success: little man and his buddies had a blast. There were traditional carnival games, pie in the face where kids got to throw plates of whipped cream at teachers, bounce houses, pony rides, hamster balls and more.

Since we got there right as it opened, we were able to get through everything pretty quickly and then went out to a nice family dinner.

Saturday – rest

We were supposed to participate in the Alzheimer’s Walk on behalf of my father-in-law. We had a great team organized last year, and while our numbers were reduced, it was something to which we were looking forward.

Unfortunately, scheduling got in the way. Little man finally earned the opportunity to test for his orange belt and black stripe and if he didn’t make it to Saturday’s test, he wouldn’t be able to test until January. He has been working really hard to get this belt, and there was just no way to be in two places at once.

He did beautifully with his forms and all his one-steps. I watch him in class every week, but I was so impressed to see him really turn up his body positioning and placement. At the end of test, all the students had their board breaks (type depending on belt level). The two orange belts had to perform an Axe Kick on TWO boards. That is little man’s most challenging kick by far, but he did it!

And he “graduated!”

After a celebratory lunch and Thanksgiving grocery shopping, we went home, where he spent the rest of the day playing with his buddies and the adults watched some football. The weather has finally taken a turn to reasonably cool so it was a lovely Saturday.

 

So a quiet week, at long last. Aside from running around to different errands and activities, and four days of work, I didn’t get in too much activity, which was both a blessing and a curse. I did my long run on Sunday because of the cooler (cold) temperatures, but that was it.

Coming up this week? A Tuesday training run, a Thanksgiving Day 6K, a very slow and easy walk/run on Friday, and the Space Coast Half Marathon on Sunday. My 2016 race season is drawing to a close, and I’m hoping it will be incredible.

 

How was your week in training?

What’s up on your holiday running calendar?

 

*I am an ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K. I have been compensated for my promotion of the event with a complimentary race entry and amenities from event sponsors. All opinions are my own.

friday five 2.0: holiday foods

TGIF!

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

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

With Thanksgiving in less than a week, I guess it’s appropriate to start thinking about holiday foods.

It’s funny – there are certain foods that I really equate with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I don’t tend to make them the rest of the year. I’m not sure why that is, and it’s a little silly, but it’s just how I roll. Here are my top five favorites for the holiday season.

Cookies

For most of the year, I really don’t eat cookies. I love sweets, but cookies aren’t my jam. However, at Thanksgiving and Christmas, I spend days making a huge assortment of butter cookies, Russian teacakes, rum balls, chocolate chip cookies and a couple of others. For some reason, they taste much better to me than Oreos or other store-bought varieties, and I will go to town on them.

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Egg Nog

With rum, whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, a wee bit of egg nog is something I love to sip while decorating the Christmas tree. Even the lower fat versions are high in calories and unhealthy things, so I really only splurge on Christmas Eve. There is just something so delicious about the cold, creamy nog, and I can’t imagine a holiday without it.

Champagne

I say I like bubbles more than I actually like bubbles. For some reason a sip is always nice, but then I get a headache, so I only save it for very, very, VERY special occasions.

New Year’s Eve is perfect for a small flute of pink champagne – we ring in the New Year and celebrate Mr PugRunner’s birthday, one right after the other.

Cranberry Sauce

At Thanksgiving, we make homemade cranberry sauce. I do like the stuff from the can, but nothing is yummier than boiling fresh cranberries with water and sugar, straining them and letting them gel in the fridge.

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When my mom cooks, she always makes extra so I can have it with leftovers for the next week. It’s hard to find cranberries throughout the rest of the year, so having cranberry sauce throughout the holidays is a special treat.

Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t touch cinnamon rolls throughout the rest of the year, but on Christmas morning… it’s game on. They are decadent and sweet, and the more icing the better, as far as I’m concerned. I especially love baking them, even though it’s a time-consuming process. The smell of yeast, butter and sugar is so comforting and just reminds me of the holidays.

 

Do you love any of these things?

What are your favorite holiday foods?

race report: evergreen pumpkin run 10 miler {10.30.2016}

For the most part, I love the Evergreen Pumpkin Run.

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It’s a great size, on a fairley interesting course, and it’s the perfect distance for me to double up on a race (with bling!) and a training run. In that past few years, the race has sold out about a week prior, so it’s definitely one to register for way in advance.

Granted, for the last few years, it’s been ridiculously hot and humid, but there’s no controlling the weather, so we deal with it as best we can.

Steph and I drove to the race site together. Parking is limited (runners can park inside the cemetery, but have to stay until the end of the race or on the streets surrounding the cemetery), so carpooling is the preferred way to go.

Oh, that’s right. I said cemetery. The Evergreen Pumpkin Run takes places in a historic graveyard.

Neither of us had picked up our packets, so after we found our spot, we figured we would grab those, return to the car to drop off the shirts and bags and then do our bathroom stop and get to the start line.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans.

While packet pick up was smooth and easy, we hit a snag with the port-a-potty lines. By the time the National Anthem started, we were still about 20 people back on line, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. Since the first 5K of the course loops back and passes the restrooms, and since this was just a training run, I told Steph I was just going to have to stop in three miles.

It happens.

Due to the race being at maximum capacity, the director started us in two waves, a few minutes apart. Somehow, we got out with the first wave, but it didn’t really matter.

Miles 1 – 3

The first 5K loops through the pathways of the cemetery. At the end of that, the 5K runners break off and head to the finish line, while the 10 milers turn to leave the grounds. The paths are narrow (which is why the race has a strict cap) and uneven, but well shaded. There is one water stop between mile 1.5 and 2.

Our first three miles were basically a rush to get back to the starting area and the bathrooms. (This is becoming a habit at this race, and I think next year, I’m going to need to pick up my packet in advance so I don’t have to make the long trek back to the car and then hope to get into the restroom before race start.)

Miles 4 – 7

With the 5K runners gone, things thin out a bit. The next portion of the race is comprised of two out and backs: one is on a path that leads away from the cemetery, and the second is on the road alongside the cemetery. The first of the two is kind of dull. It starts with a water stop and then there are several intersections and train track crossings – the area is pretty industrial, so not much to see. It’s not shaded and this is where things usually start getting hot. Things improve on the second out and back, at least in the interest category. The road isn’t shaded, per se, but there are a lot of trees, and there is a glimpse of the faster runners making their way back through the cemetery paths.

The fog lifted and the heat and humidity started in, quite unapologetically. I felt ok, but drained quickly. The one thing that kept me going was that I *think* these two out and backs were reversed this year. I’m not 100% on that, but my brain seems to remember it differently in years past. Either way, since it was different and unexpected, it helped the miles pass. At some point, I needed an extra break, and Steph went on ahead. I was fine with that. It’s nice to have a buddy, but I was ok finishing on my own, too.

Miles 8 – 10

The race finishes on the cemetery paths, following the same course as the first three miles. It’s nice to be back in the shade, and also because it’s easy to tick off the last landmarks.

For some reason, this race always measures a little long. There are a lot of twists and turns, and some weaving, so I guess it adds up. It’s a bit rough to see that 10.00 tick by on the Garmin and know there is still more to go, but it’s no longer a surprise.

Even though the race has been handing out medals to the runners over the last three years, the course is lined with pumpkins for runners to take when they are finished. For some reason, I have never claimed one. I guess maybe I just don’t want to have another thing to carry back to the car. But it’s a nice touch, and the pumpkins are always pretty sizable and well shaped.

Per my coaches, I was supposed to go at this race slow and easy, and that’s exactly what I did. It was hard holding back and getting myself in the right mindset – in fact, I told Steph that I kind of just wanted to finish the 5K and then go run the rest of the miles on my own because I was getting all anxious and pressured. However, I figured that I was already out there so might as well suck it up.

It was a lot of fun running with Steph – I miss getting to see her.

I love that the medal glows in the dark.

I was pretty tired afterwards, and glad to get a shower and a meal. Plus, I got to wear my cute race shirt. The designs have been great.

Do you have a favorite fall race?

Do you ever race the 10 mile distance?

around town: north florida land trust salt marsh brewgrass festival

On Saturday, November 19 from 11:00 AM – 6:o0 PM, join the North Florida Land Trust at  Big Talbot Island Biological Field Station (12134 Houston Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32226) for the Salt Marsh Brewgrass Festival.

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The weather will be perfect for this live music festival, hosted in a beautiful natural setting.   Sample fare from a variety of food trucks, try beers from Bold City Brewery and enjoy cider from Beer 30. Bring the whole family, your chairs or blankets and reusable water bottles, and prepare to sit back and enjoy the afternoon.

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While Parker Urban Band, The Honeycutters and Flat Land play, you can experience the nature around you with a hike or stand up paddle board tour.

With the purchase of your admission tickets, you can sign up for a free guided hike of Big Talbot Island with a Florida Master Naturalist (available times are 11:30 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM).

Guided tours of the waterways around Big Talbot Island will also be available through Jax Paddle Sports. Participants can also sign up for this SUP adventure in advance with purchase of admission ticket.

Advance tickets are $35 or $40 at the door. These tickets cover entry and benefit North Florida Land Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the natural areas, historic rescources and working lands of North Florida. Even better? Kids 12 and under are free, so it promises to be a great day for the whole family! Items from food trucks and beverages will be available at an additional fee.

 

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