race report: daytona beach lap the track 5k {2.10.19}

February is always a fairly busy month for races in Florida. It’s right after the holidays when people are still in the throes of keeping up with their fitness resolutions and the weather is generally good, so it makes sense.

I had a lot of ideas about races I wanted to run in February. The Daytona Beach Half Marathon and the DONNA Breast Cancer Marathon events both fell on the same weekend, which was also the weekend of little man’s Pinewood Derby, so there were pros and cons and choices to be made about challenges, distances and the like. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to run a challenge and I am looking for some extra bling.

The choice was made for me, though, when the boys gave me the Lap the Track 5K registration as part of my Christmas present. They were going to run with me and it was going to be a fabulous family day.

Ah, the best-laid plans.

Turns out little man got the flu, and Mr PugRunner was having some sympathy pangs. On Saturday night, we discussed the game plan, and since everyone was well enough to be left to their own devices without mom (but not well enough to be out and about), we decided that I would just make the drive in the morning, run the 5K and come home.

Not quite as much fun as originally planned, but sometimes, we just have to adapt and overcome.

Per usual, I was up before the sun, and on my way to Daytona. There were some changes to note, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time to snag my packet and get to the start line on time.

I’m not entirely sure what fueled the adjustments, but the good folks at the Daytona Beach Half Marathon added a 5K on Saturday night, removed the original Speedway Challenge, made the start time for the Sunday morning start time much earlier, and moved packet pickup, staging and post-party to the Daytona One complex across the street from the track.

None of these things were bad, exactly. The packet pickup, gear check and post-party were all located at Daytona One, a brand new retail and entertainment complex, full of stores and restaurants. There was plenty of space, and I loved getting my packet at the Bass Pro Shops, because it meant some inside time and a real bathroom rather than a portapotty.

It was also nice that I got to drop off my backpack at gear check en route to the Daytona International Speedway, rather than having to hike all the way back to the car and back again. It was a bit of a distance, and with the wind and raw temperatures, I was grateful for that little reprieve.

There’s a really nice pedestrian walkway that goes over the main road, so it was a fairly easy trek.

By the time I got over to the track, the half marathon was already underway, and I had maybe 15 minutes to go get all the good pictures. In contrast to years past, none of the races would actually end on the speedway.

I had barely wrapped up when the announcer called for the 5Kers to line up, and we were underway.

The Lap the Track 5K is fairly straightforward: runners go along the Daytona International Speedway, which takes up about 2.25 miles. From there, they exit out to the concourse around the base of the speedway. Previously, runners would complete a small loop and then return to the track for the grand finale.

This year, we exited the track, went around the exterior path and then took the ramp to the pedestrian walkway to finish in the Daytona One complex.

It was windy and cold, but also pretty humid, especially in the bowl of the track. It would have been so much more fun with the boys, but I reminded myself of how much I enjoy this particular event and kept it going all the way to the finish line.

While it was nice, there is definitely something to be said for finishing by the checkered flags and getting to enjoy the vibe of the Speedway.

That being said, there were plenty of vendors and awesome volunteers and staff. I got a great photo with the big sea turtle.

And a snap with a racecar.

There was cold beer and gorgeous bling, as always.

All in all, it was a fun morning, but I do hope things go back to “normal” next year. Despite the great swag, friendly volunteers and staff, free photos and fabulous snacks and drinks, there was definitely a little something missing, and I’d love for the event to get that back!

Have you ever experienced a disappoint course change? Did it turn you away from an event?

ups, downs, ins, outs

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

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

This week had its share of ups and downs, ins and outs. Little man was getting over the flu, so we had to take everything nice and easy, except for the parts where we were cleaning like crazy to help keep the rest of us healthy.

Sunday – Daytona Beach Half Marathon Lap the Track 5K

For Christmas, the boys had registered the whole family for the Daytona Beach Half Marathon Lap the Track 5K. One or some of us have run both distances of this race in years past, and while I was hoping to take on a half marathon this particular weekend, a 5K with the family was a great idea.

Only problem was that with little man having the flu and Mr PugRunner not sure if he was down with it as well, I ended up taking the trip by myself and running alone. Womp womp.

I made it back in time for grocery shopping and morel laundry. It’s a glamorous life I lead.

Monday – rest 

It was a fairly long day. Little man was home and the bathroom contractors were here and so we just lounged around the house. He was feeling much better, but we wanted to keep him quiet and make sure he was fully recovered, just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday – 7 miles, running

I desperately needed this run and it felt fabulous to be out there. In fact, I ended up going seven miles. Wheee!

I had to spend some time at the school that morning and then I had to go out for a bunch of last minute bathroom things: extra grout, a new faucet for the bathtub (it’s nearly impossible to find one in stock in a store) and a few extra tiles. Mr PugRunner held down the fort since little man was spending one more day at home.

Wednesday – 50 minutes, abs + arms

I was so excited for Wednesday, for a variety of reasons. After all, February 13, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends. And I have some awesome lady friends.

First up, S and I started back to the gym, and I put together a fairly challenging Galentine’s Day workout for the occasion.

After I showered, I met up with T for a morning showing of “Isn’t it Romantic?”, complete with breakfast popcorn. I’m not a huge love of comedies, but Rebel Wilson does it for me, and this was a really cute flick.

That evening, one of the awesome St. Augustine Moms Blog contributors opened up her home for waffles and mimosas for the team. We all brought toppings and assorted sparkling and regular wines, and had an incredible night celebrating each other.

Thursday –  6 miles, running

S and I kicked off Valentine’s Day with a 6 mile run. The weather had turned pretty cold again, back down in the 40s, so it was tough after all the humidity and again.

For the rest of the day, I was at school, helping supervise stations for the Kids’ Heart Challenge. Our PE Coach did an amazing job coming up with fun jumping activities for the kids and they had a great time celebrating raising almost $9,500 for the cause!

I did manage to sneak away to pick up lunch for my favorite guy.

That night, we just took it easy. Little man had a four day weekend, and he was so happy to be feeling better and be able to get outside to play. He had picked the menu for our Valentine’s dinner, but since he was having so much fun, I went ahead and cooked it (blackened salmon, fettuccini alfredo and green beans).

Friday – rest

S and I were both so freaking sore from our Wednesday gym session that we called this a rest day. I was thrilled to be able to get a little sleep, too.

It wasn’t all play, though. I had a fairly long (but productive) meeting for a new company with which I am working, and then once I got home, I was ready to dig in.

Little man had a friend stay over, too and so it was just a chill night at home.

Saturday – 8 miles, running

The morning started with a solid eight mile long run.

We followed that with a yummy breakfast, and then little man had basketball evaluations. We celebrated by trying a new lunch place, Mack’s Tenders, and we all enjoyed!

Now onto accountability! Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?


It was another great week of running! I felt great with all my miles.

I also got back in the gym! S really says she wants to go at least twice a week, and I am happy to tag along.

Water is eh. I confess to being a little more interested in wine this week. Oops.

And I cracked open a book! Yay! I only got through two chapters, but Pandora’s Box has quite literally been opened, so we are making progress!

In the comments, share about your successes and how you are keeping yourself accountable!

So how was your week in training?

Did you celebrate Galentine’s Day?

valentine’s is for runners

Valentine’s is one of those holidays around here: we celebrate the day by trying to make it special in little ways, but we never really go all out. We rarely even go out to dinner just because it gets so crowded and the service usually isn’t all that fabulous.

As a runner, Valentine’s can be super fun – it’s a day for tiny treats, lacing up to hit the road, special sales and giveaways and just loving the run.

Who’s with me?

Love The Run

I love running on the holidays. Valentine’s Day doesn’t fall on a weekend this year, so it may be harder to find a themed race, but you can grab your spouse, partner, or friends and get out there for a fun run anyway. Wear red and pink and really put your heart into those miles.

Try running 2.14 miles in honor of the date, or even 2.14 mile repeats, if you need more distance.

Up the ante by trying to create a heart shape on your route. Check out Figure Running for some tips on how to do it!

Give A Gift Of Running

Sweet little gifts can be fun for both giver and recipient. Grand gestures are never necessary, but runners always appreciate a new pair of their favorite socks, a headband, fuel or even a gift card to their favorite local running shop. I confess to loving these Bombas right now and would not mind having an extra pair.

Obviously, race entries are a perfect gift as well. I’ve got my eye on a few local races right now, and would love to see a registration in my inbox 🙂

(Local friends can win an entry to the Ready. Set. Glow. 5K & Fun Run in a great Valentine’s giveaway, too! Check it out here!)

Treat Yourself in the Kitchen

Since we rarely go out for a Valentine’s date night, that means it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. A yummy recovery meal is just the the thing, and I love taking the theme to the limits. Heart-shaped strawberries and polenta help make this pesto shrimp meal just a little extra special. Little man is taking over the Valentine’s Day menu and I can’t wait to see what he creates for us.

And of course, we’ll spend the rest of the day enjoying and appreciating each other.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Do you love running and working out on holidays, or do you treat yourself to a rest day?

pushing through the month

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

Please also take a moment to visit this week’s guest host: lovely Michelle from Running With Attitude.

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

This week was fabulous on running, and decent on everything else. They can’t all be winners, but I’m glad for the consistency of the miles and feeling great. Everything else? Well, I’m just pushing through the dreary weather and the less than great news, and hoping for brighter days.

Sunday – 8 miles, running

Sunday started with an eight mile run. In the rain. Which led to a world of hurt for my thighs. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I was quite a mess when I got home.

And then it was time for the Super Bowl. My stepdad came to hang out for the game and spend the night, but I wasn’t really interested in the actual football.  I ended up going to bed right at the end of the third quarter, which was more than enough game time for me.

Monday – 6.5 miles, running 

Back-to-back runs. Whoo. This one actually went fairly well, except for the chafing. I was happy to have a day to recover following this run.

My mom came to pick up my stepdad and we all had breakfast together after little man went to school. He was a bit bummed to miss out, though.

That evening, we had something a bit different on the books; a meeting with one of our local Boy Scouts Troops. The members of our den are in the process of deciding what Troop they want to join next year, so we are “interviewing” some of them in town. It was really cool and all the kids had a great time.

Tuesday – rest

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day, and I was thrilled for that. I’ll take my downtime wherever I can get it.

Little man made his weekly dinner: tacos. It wasn’t anything different, but he checked all the boxes and even made a side of guacamole! He forgot taco seasoning and tortilla chips at the store, so we had to find a recipe for him to make our own taco seasoning, and he subbed potato chips for tortilla chips, but all in all, it was quite delicious.

(He’s not really a salsa kind of guy, so topping included spinach leaves, green olives, corn and black beans).

Wednesday – 6.5 miles, running 

Another solid run. We had planned for something shorter, but once we got out there, neither S nor I was in the mood to back down. It’s funny how that works.

In the evening, the boys went off to karate and I got some work done.

Thursday –  rest

Even though I didn’t have a run scheduled, it was a busy day. We had last minute errands for Pinewood Derby, plus I had to pick up more things for the bathroom renovation job.

Everything seems to be going on track.

Friday – 8.5 miles, running

Since Saturday was Pinewood Derby and I had a race in Daytona on Sunday, we moved our long run to Friday. I was almost going to go back out after little man went to school to make it an even 10, but the weather started to turn nasty and I took a pass. I think I got in enough.

The day did not end on a high note. The school nurse called me while I was in the pickup line to say he had a fever. By the time I got him home, he was fine and in decent spirits. He was hungry and had energy, so Mr PugRunner picked up some dinner from our neighborhood food trucks and kept an eye on him.

Mr PugRunner did end up taking him to the doctor that evening, and it turns out that he had the flu. Ugh. Fortunately, once we got though Friday night, he really didn’t present any symptoms, and has been going on as normal here. (He has stayed home all weekend and will miss a few days of school this week just to make sure he’s all healed up).

Saturday – rest

Some of the scout leaders and volunteers met at the school at 6:45AM to get set up for Pinewood Derby Day. There were a few glitches with the AV systems, but once we got going, it was a really great event!

Little man wasn’t able to attend but his car raced, and he ended up winning third place in his den. For his last year, it was really nice for him to get to bring home a trophy. I facetimed with him while he was at home so he could watch some of the excitement.

I was beat when I finally got home and was more than happy to just crash on the couch and watch TV. Mr PugRunner picked me up a giant KitKat and wine from the store, and made us pizza on the Egg, since it was National Pizza Day. Getting to bed was truly one of the highlights of the day.

Now onto accountability! Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?


Running was great this week. I got in almost 30 miles and short of chafing, I felt amazing. It’s definitely a motivating feeling.

Mr PugRunner took on this week’s new recipe: Fire Roasted Buffalo Chicken Sausage Mac & Cheese from NibbleMeThis.

It was fabulous and decadent, and we had leftovers for DAYS. Definitely a fun twist on a classic favorite.

Reading has been a big, fat fail. I have a book I need to open, but I’m so afraid that if I do, I’ll get caught up and neglect everything else. I need to just go for it.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

So how was your week in training?

Tell me something new and exciting about your week.

be your best self without playing the fitspo shame game


If you’re a fitness blogger, you know all about it. Social media accounts full of aspirational yoga poses, artful açaí bowls, bikini competition podiums, runfies, swimfies, high-speed burpee videos, Transformation Tuesdays…

You get the idea. Everyone in the SocialMediaVerse takes those photos and shares them across the internet. I confess that I love the motivation, support and accountability, and sharing with like-minded people who are also interested in similar things: fitness, food, family and travel. Oh, and pugs.

And it can be truly great. I, for one, love seeing what other fitness bloggers and influencers have up their moisture-wicking sleeves. I love victories, results and progress. I empathize with setbacks and sympathize with failures. I drool over gorgeous food pictures and pretty flat lays.

I adore seeing others succeed.

The thing is, there is no one way to to do that. And what is success anyway? My goals are mine and mine alone, just as I assume the same to be true for everyone else out there. And the way I go about achieving those goals is also part of my own journey, which should never be confused with anyone else’s.

Which is why it drives me up a wall to see the “Fitspo Shame.”

I’m decent at ignoring it, as I do most unpleasant things on social media. I’m capable of swiping and scrolling but it grates on me that others feel the need to defend their actions, and even more grating are those who bash others methods as a means to promote their own.

I love running. Not every day and not in every moment, but it’s the activity that works for me. Running fits into my schedule, is something I can do with friends and family, affords me the opportunity to travel and keeps me moving. I’ve met some incredible people, made some amazing memories and become stronger all because of running.

I’ve seen so many posts and received comments about why running isn’t great. How the sport does more harm than good. That it’s not effective for weight loss or that runners are missing out on X, Y or Z. If runners would just try crossfit/tabata/HIIT/enter-other-workout-of-choice here they would see more and better “results” and be better off.

Which is great except I’m not really trying to lose weight and the results I’m seeing are in line with my goals. All sports carry with them a risk of injury, so the scales are a balanced, and I’m doing quite well, thank you for asking. If running isn’t for you, that’s cool. Go do what makes you happy and gives you the results you are personally seeking. Don’t step on anyone else’s moment.

The same holds true for diet. I love ice cream. Who am I kidding? I love all food. And it’s not always “healthy” food. At the end of the day, sometimes only a hot fudge sundae or plate of  bacon cheese fries (with ranch) will do. Queue the comments about the devil-nature of sugar and carbs or the evils of dairy or why meat should never pass one’s lips or why meat should be the only thing to pass one’s lips.

I’m not particularly interested in that commentary. Eat what works for you. Be crazy and eat what you want. If keto has been successful for you, that’s incredible. Whole 30 is your jam? Fabulous. Going plant-based has changed your life? Rock on with your veg-self. Everybody is different and every BODY is different, too. We all respond differently to a variety of programs.

Also annoying are comments on those days when I don’t feel like splurging and would rather have a salad, or something less decadent. I assure you, I’m not “being good” or “being boring.” Sometimes, I just crave veggies more than anything else on the menu. No biggie. I’m not making any kind of statement other than “this is what I feel like eating right now.” Promise.

The whole thing is exhausting. More importantly, it’s unproductive.

There is no moral high road to a certain form of workout or preference of eating. What works for one person is absolutely not the right answer for someone else. To imply otherwise is nothing short of disingenuous. One size absolutely does not fit all in the fitness universe.

Unless something you are doing is absolutely not working for you, don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong. Don’t let anyone shame you into  a methodology that isn’t right for you. If you are seeking suggestions and help because things aren’t going quite the way you want, then by all means, reach out for other ways and try something new, but don’t be afraid to stick with what makes you happy.

At the end of the day, happiness is the thing that matters. It’s what will keep you on track and motivated. Surround yourself with the right people who support you and hold you accountable, be confident in your decisions and go get those goals!

We are joining in with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness, so check out that link up and share your week in fitness!

Have you ever felt the pressure of Fitspo Shame?

What fitness choice makes you happiest?

in with february, out with winter

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

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

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow on Saturday, which hopefully means an early spring for all of us!

Sunday – rest

Sunday was a miserable day. It was cold and dreary and raw, the kind of day where you just want to stay snuggled up on the couch. I bailed on the planned long run and didn’t think twice about it.

The brightest spot of the day was getting to visit our community’s new Your Pie with FlipperSplash, to try out some of their incredible menu items.

We loved the different salads and signature pizzas, the selection of wines and craft beers, and can’t wait to come back for a yummy dinner.

Shoutout to the celebratory ice cream cake!

Monday – rest 

By Monday morning, I was feeling truly awful. The cold, the rain, being outside all night Friday and all day Saturday, really caught up with me. I slept in, stayed home with the pugs all day and generally did nothing. It did me some good, but I think the weather still had me down.

Tuesday – 6.5 miles, running

Tuesday morning, S and I resumed our running. We completed our 6.5 miles and it felt great.

That morning, I got to assist our PE Coach with donations and prize distributions for our Kids Heart Challenge. I confess, all the fundraisers can get pretty exhausting but I love how our families continually step up to support our school’s different causes.

And then, it was off to the tile store. Our contractor provided me a list of the things we would need to retile the shower and floor of the master bathroom, and gave us the flexibility to pick what we wanted.  I’m happy with what we selected (I was Facetiming with Mr PugRunner for his input), but I just want this over and behind us.

Wednesday – rest 

Another morning at the school and then it was home to dig in to some work I had been letting pile up. Oops. I’m generally not a procrastinator, but sometimes, these things happen.

Thursday –  6 miles, running

It was still super chilly out there, but we got through our last run of January like champs! Yay!

Thursday was a very special day: it was the night of the Fourth Annual SOUPerbowl, a soup tasting event created by a group of local high school students and their parents to help tackle childhood hunger. This year’s beneficiary was First Coast Blessings in a Backpack. Our school was one of many who helped contribute donations to the SOUPerbowl, and we were so excited to be there in person, along with the 26 different restaurants, showcasing their best soups.

We got to try some incredible recipes and I loved the special touch where every guest got to choose a commemorative soup bowl, handmade by an area student.

I had never heard of this event before, and we will be getting more involved in the future.

Friday – rest

Friday was dedicated to the PTA. In the morning, we had a Board Meeting, and in the afternoon, we all showed up to help decorate and prep for our annual Daddy Daughter Dance. I don’t have a single picture as we were so busy with guests, but it seemed to be a great success!

Saturday – rest

We had planned to run but after the late night and the threat of heavy rain, S and I decided to postpone to Sunday.

I had lunch plans with my friend A, and she took me to The French Pantry, which was absolute heaven. We had a bit of a wait, but now all I can thing of is this spinach, portobello and goat cheese bruschetta.

After some more hanging out, it was time for Scout Night at the Jax Icemen. Area Scouts and their families had the chance to buy deeply discounted tickets to attend the hockey game, collect a custom patch and game gift, and then after the game, head on down to the ice, for a chance to shoot the puck and meet and greet the players.

It was an epic night. We have never been down on the actual ice before and it was just so cool (literally and figuratively).


i know it looks like a light running week, but I’m writing this after completing eight miles on Sunday morning. Those will be logged in the next wrap.

Now onto accountability! Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?


Things are solid. I ended January very strong and logged my first miles for February. My current total is 105/1019 for the year, and I’m feeling pretty darn good.

This week’s new recipe was Pizza Soup from Ready Set Eat.

It was delicious although I think I would make some tweaks to it on the flavor profile, but it was perfect for a cold evening.

We also did something a little different: Mr PugRunner took little man to the store, gave him a budget of $10 and asked him to plan (and then prepare a meal). He selected a (not so fabulous cut of) steak, sautéed carrots and spaghetti in pesto. He ended up cooking most of the meal (Mr PR did the meat on the Big Green Egg), and it turned out quite delicious.

We are going to continue this exercise. It’s great for him to understand budgeting, nutrition and also how hard we work putting together balanced meals for our family.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


So how was your week in training?

Are you a hockey fan? Ever gotten to go down on the ice?

february, friday and the ultimate coffee date

Happy February! I know a lot of our northern and midwestern friends are suffering miserably though this polar vortex, and I hope everyone is able to stay warm and safe. Preferably with a warm cup of coffee, shared with Coco and Deborah at the Ultimate Coffee Date.

I’m here in Northeastern Florida, with an iced coffee from Dunkin. Our temperatures have finally risen from the 30s to the 50s (which I know is NOTHING compared to what some of you have been enduring, but it’s still fairly frigid for us), but I still prefer iced coffee to the hot kind. I also prefer Dunkin to anything I have ever been able to make at home.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I’m a little frustrated. The dreary skies and rain are getting me down and I am really saddened by the negative attitudes of people that I see. Fortunately, none of the attitudes come directly from my personal circle, but it’s disheartening to see and hear. I firmly believe that if you don’t like how something is, you need to get up and be that change. Criticism, blame and shame never gets you anywhere.

If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that I struggle with hitting goals sometimes. I really made it far on my 30 day Blogilates Challenges (Day 23), but after a few days out of town and a sinus flareup, I just didn’t get back into it. I could put down my laptop right now and bang out a series of workouts, but … here I continue to sit. I know it’s not a measure of my worth or success, but I always wonder why I fall off the wagon with these things. I have accountability partners, and printouts and all the support, but I just can’t get on top of it. Any suggestions?

If we were having coffee together, I would share that I am bummed our master bathroom suffered a leak resulting in needing to be renovated. This also means the impromptu trip I planned to take for the Best Damn Race Savannah Half Marathon had to be tabled. Well, it didn’t HAVE to be, but I didn’t feel right galavanting out of town for a want when we have several thousands of dollars in need at home (and we won’t know the final total until the contractor gets inside the shower walls). I love this race series and was hoping to be in for an inaugural city and to get to visit some blogger friends, but it is what it is. Instead, let’s all admire the new tile. Ooooh. Aaah.

On the plus side, if we were having coffee together, I would tell you how excited I am that I ended January on such a high note with my running. I ended the month with 97 miles, which is just so great! We are shooting for 1019 miles in 2019 so this is a great and solid start. I need to get a few more half marathons on the books to help build my training, but that shouldn’t be a big deal as the year goes on.

We are also joining in with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness, so check out that link up and share your week in fitness!

What would you share with me over coffee?

What’s something in fitness with which you struggle?

axe throwing: hitting the bullseye on a group date night

Thanks to blogging and my freelance work, I spend quite a bit of time on social media, which is how I first became aware of a new activity making the rounds.

Axe throwing.

Yes. There is actually an activity where you pay your money to go stand in front of a wooden target and hurl axes through the air towards the bullseyes.

And it’s incredible.

The nearest axe cage is probably 35 minutes away from us, and is part of an autobahn go-kart racing venue. Kind of bizarre, but the space absolutely works for Autobahn Axe.

Since we had a larger group (seven people), we opted for a private session. For $35 per person, we got two hours of throwing with our own coach, who would help us master the different techniques and then guide us through different games and competitions.

I was a little nervous about what to expect, especially considering that it was my idea and I wanted it to be great. Truth is, I had nothing to worry about. Within seconds, our coach, Mark, had us all absolutely at ease with the idea that we were hurling actual hatchets through the air.

As we were getting ourselves checked in and settled, we were informed that this was a BYOB type of activity, so one of the couples immediately took themselves to the nearest gas station for wine and beer. I wasn’t entirely sure what kind of adult beverage matched best with axe throwing, but I was in the mood for a beer when it arrived.

The rules were fairly simple. Safety was of utmost importance. There were specific ways to enter the cage, to hold the axe, to throw the axe, and to pass the axe. Nothing was incredibly complicated or difficult to remember and in no time, we were all at ease with the art of axe handling.

First, we learned the basic throw. We could choose to do it with one hands or two (two was way easier for me). There was a trick to gripping and a trick to holding the wrists straight, but once that was mastered, it was not too hard to throw the axe solidly into the target. Aiming was a little stickier, but I got some solid throws.

It was ridiculously empowering to hit the target!

From there, we played different games, pitting men against women, and couples against each other. We had to hit different targets to score points, and avoid other targets to stay in the game. I confess to not having the best luck with actually hitting what I wanted, but I held my own.

The key was really arm positioning and core engagement. We weren’t supposed to feel any strain in the upper arms or shoulders, because we needed to throw from the whole body instead of just the upper part. Since we all know my upper body is not quite where it should be, this was a relief.

We learned how to throw underhanded (which was WAY harder than it looked), to throw two axes from one grip, and ultimately, to throw two axes with two hands at two targets a la Braveheart!

I landed one bullseye for the double-double, and Mr PugRunner stuck both when throwing them together! We may have found his calling.

With the coach’s interaction and a fun group of friends, axe throwing is an incredible night out. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard in ages.

Not only was it something different, it was also a great in the physical fitness category, so we checked all the boxes! I cannot wait to go again!

Have you ever been axe throwing?

What’s your favorite thing to do for group dates?

wrapping up the month

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

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

Things were solid this week. Not great. But solid. They can’t all be winners, right?

Sunday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 20

Even though it was a rest day, we were still slammed. Mr PugRunner left Scouts camp with little man after lunch, delivering him straight to my parents, and then coming home to get ready for dinner and fun with friends.

We had planned to go to an Escape Room and I was pretty excited. It would be our first time and I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

The experience was fabulous! It was just the six of us, and we ended up breaking out in the allotted hour with just three hints! I would love to try another one.

Monday – Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 21

Little man had the day off from school for Martin Luther King Jr Day, so we chilled around the house until my parents dropped him off. We ended up having a grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch because the weather was so yucky and it was fun picking different breads and cheeses for our meal.

Tuesday – 6.5 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 22

This was going to be a heck of a long day. First, a 6.5 mile run.

Then I had to help deliver a portable gaga ball pit to our school for a PE lesson. It was fairly quick and I was able to head off on some errands.

That evening, we had tickets to see Les Miserables at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. For our anniversary, we got the package of tickets for the FSCJ Artist Series, which includes Les Mis, Waitress and School of Rock. To be honest, I’m not super interested in the latter two shows, and I’ve seen Les Mis multiple times, but having the subscription this year means first crack at Hamilton tickets next year.

That being said, the show was wonderful and I’m glad to have some different kinds of date nights.

Wednesday – 6 miles, running + Blogilates Flat Abs/Sleek Arms/Butt Lift 30 Challenges Day 23

It was brutal dragging myself out of bed for this run, but I did it anyway.


Thursday –  rest

Thursday was… a day.

First, it was this girl’s 14th birthday. Can you believe? I raised this girl from eight weeks old. I knew her mommy and daddy and got to snuggle all her litter mates. She’s my baby for sure. Furthermore, she is still in great health, short of her degenerative disk condition and this new dry eye she has. Every day with her is a blessing.

News turned a bit bleak, however. Last week, I found a loose tile in the master bathroom on the second floor, and when the contractor came out to investigate, he discovered that a leak in the shower pan and created quite a bit of damage. There is now a hole in the bathroom floor and I need to spend next week picking and purchasing tile so he can go in, demo the shower and surrounding area and renovate.

I am completely uninterested in spending money on a bathroom, but it needs to be handled. The contractor provided us measurements, so I get to go tile shopping this week. We decided to just go ahead and retile the floor as well, since he will be ripping up a chunk of them, but I will update the paint, vanity, mirrors and lighting on my own after he is done.


Friday – 4 miles, running

It was freezing so I went for this run after little man went to school. I hated every second of it.

And then it was time to pack (and break in my new luggage!)

Our Scouts pack had made plans to do an overnight sleepover in Sea World and Friday was the big day! I snagged him a little early from school and we made the drive, rolling up to the park just in time for the festivities!

I will do a post on the whole event, but when I tell you, this was the most amazing experience. We had dinner, did some crafts and got to tour the park at night, with stops at some of the animal habitats.

Our group got to sleep INSIDE the dolphin observation area, and believe me when I tell you, there is nothing more incredible than waking up in the middle of the night to see a dolphin swimming on by.

Saturday – 10 miles walking, Sea World

We had an early morning wake up call, and after we packed up our things and had breakfast, we were treated to a surprise: private interaction time with the dolphins! The trainer came and let the kids feed them ice cubes (who knew that dolphin love ice cubes!)

It was so special and such an incredible opportunity.

When the sleepover portion came to an end and we got our bags stowed in our cars, our sleepover hosts escorted us to the front of the park, they turned us loose to enjoy our day in Sea World. Since we were there right at rope drop, we got on every roller coaster and ride with pretty much no waits. It was epic.

Mr PugRunner joined us mid morning and while I had intended to leave after lunch, little man was having so much fun with his buddies, we pretty much closed down the park.

Now onto accountability! Are you joining us for the Running Is Our Therapy Link Up?

#RIOTSRunning is good. Even though I bailed on Sunday’s long run, I have still logged 84.4 miles for the month. I’ll stay on track.

As you my have noticed, I slacked on the Blogilates Challenge. Boooooo! With going away and not feeling great, I just couldn’t get myself there for it. I vow to continue tomorrow, even if it hurts.

How about new recipes? Check out this Honey Apricot Chicken and Asparagus Sheet Pan meal!

I have never made a sheet pan meal before, and this was so easy to throw together. I did use fairly large chicken breasts so the baking time was about double what the recipe states, but that was the only adjustment.

Water and reading are on the meh side. I’m working on it.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


So how was your week in training?

Have you ever tried an escape room? What did you think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we were ready to go.

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

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

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

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

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

We collected our medals and headed to the after party!

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

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

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

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

What’s your favorite post-race treat?

5K, 10K or half?


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