race report: wolfson children’s challenge ultra 55K relay

Since little man was admitted to the NICU at Wolfson Children’s Hospital within one day of birth, we have always done what we could to help support the institution. For the past few years, joining a relay team to participate in the Wolfson Children’s Challenge has been a part of that tradition.

January is the perfect time of year for runners to come out for the 55K Ultra event. The more daring can take on the full distance, while other options include a 30K, an 11 leg relay and a one mile fun run. There is something for every member of the family.

Once again, I joined Empower Coaching & Fitness on the team Lillian’s Warriors. Sweet Lillian will be braving a kidney transplant in the upcoming months and we were so very proud to run in her honor.

Our team was made up of 10 women, and S had done a great job of completing our roster. A 55K makes for a really long day, and some of us had other obligations after our run. I always prefer an earlier slot, and snagged the #2 leg, which was perfect.

Every year I’ve done this race, the course has altered a little bit, and this time was no different. It is just one 5K loop, that starts and ends on the field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. While it’s nice to change things up, I also like to know what to expect. The good news is, I think this has been my favorite course of the ones I have run.

Our team started at 7:30, which meant I was running my first leg a little after 8:00 AM.

The weather was meh – still chilly but very humid. I went out with S & J, who had plans to get in their long run as well, and we kept it very nice and easy so our legs wouldn’t get too tired. We were able to maintain a nice steady pace for the whole 3.1 miles, which was exactly what I wanted.

They split off before the finish line for a bathroom break and hydration, and I continued forward to cross the timing mat and pass our bib belt to our next runner, J.

I sat out one leg and then jumped back in with K. The day was warming up, and I lagged a bit but I was having a blast with the river view and the conversation. At the end of that 5K, I got a drink and a quick snack and then headed out for two more another mile and a half around Everbank Field on my own. I needed a change of scenery and to listen to some tunes.

Business first, right?

The Baseball Grounds are completely taken over by this challenge. Teams have a whole tent village on one side, while the other is dedicated to a stage for live music and announcements, a VIP tent for sponsors, interactive games, food vendors, beer vendors (free beer for runners), and great photo opps.

After claiming my medal,

I took a wander to see what was around.

Obviously, I had to get a picture with some of the 501st. There were tons of characters out and about, who were more than happy to pose.

And then K and I celebrated the day with a toast! We had earned it!

Unfortunately, I had to cut the day short before the rest of the team finished their runs. I do usually love to stay til the bitter end to cheer everyone on, but I had some tight scheduling that afternoon and couldn’t make it happen.

That being said, it was another great event for a great cause. I love getting to see the faces of the Wolfson kids up on the big screen and I love that we are able to run in support of all these young fighters!

I will be back at this race as often as I can, if only to support the cause. Wolfson Children’s Hospital does amazing things in the community and it’s a privilege to be a part of it all.

What’s your favorite cause for which to run?

Would you go for the ultra or take some legs of the relay?

weekly wrap: 1.28.17 – 2.3.17

Happy Monday, Happy New Year and Happy Back To The Grind!  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 was a tough week, all the way around. From the crazy weather, to not feeling my best, to some sad losses and events, I wasn’t operating at 100%. It’s ok. Life happens sometimes, and I believe in honoring those curveballs and setbacks.

Before I get started, let’s give a nod to January. It was a strong month. I came in at about 81 running miles, and after we got back from our Banner Elk vacation, I put in consistent non-running workouts, twice a week. This is huge: not only am I on track for 1000 miles this year, but I forgot how great strength training makes me feel.

Sunday – rest

I was so very happy to rest on Sunday. The boys went to finish work on their Pinewood Derby cars, and after they got home, Mr PugRunner and I went on a date to a local Brazilian steakhouse. It was a wonderful meal, and we got some needed quality time.

Monday – HIIT session

Rain drove us away from our run and into the gym. I hate having to be flexible like that, but there was no way I was dealing with thunder and lightning.

We did two sets of five workouts, including wall ball, burpees and weights. In between sets, we had to burn 25 calories on the treadmill (which I accomplished quickly by boosting the incline and sprinting as fast as I could).

There was no school, so little man spent the day with some friends, while I was at work. They did lots of running around, but also made a volcano.

Tuesday – sunrise power hour

Yoga has found its way back into the training calendar. I have mixed feelings – I know it’s great for me and I do enjoy it, but I also don’t want it to interfere with strength training, and I would love at least one day where I don’t have to set the alarm for crazy early.

We will make it work.

Tuesdays are usually pretty chill in the evening, and we just worked on homework and my closet. It took a few days to get everything purged and sorted, but this is part of the end result.

I’m still working, but I’m really happy with where it’s at.

Wednesday – 7.3 miles, running

Since I hadn’t run since Saturday, it was pretty tough to get going, but we had miles to run, so we got it done.

Thursday – rest

Having a rest day on a Thursday was a little unique. I wasn’t so sure I liked it, even if it was nice to get a little midweek break.

I had intended to go to the movies, but got caught up with some stuff around the house, and finally just resigned myself to staying home.

At our Cub Scouts meeting, we worked on wrapping up some of our final badges and answering last minute questions about the upcoming Pinewood Derby.

Friday – 6.3 miles, running

I didn’t want to run on a Friday, but we got out and got it done. These ladies are always so great for motivation.

First up, a PTA meeting. Afterwards, I had to pick up some gift cards so I treated myself to a nice lunch out. Our evening had gotten a little complicated: I was on call to help set up for Pinewood Derby setup, and Mr PugRunner needed to attend a wake, so S offered to bring little man to the movies with her kids and some other friends. I was so grateful for the help and really can’t get over how lucky we are to have such a fabulous village.

Saturday – rest

Pinewood Derby Day! This is such a huge deal for our scouts, and I was feeling the pressure. I wasn’t in the role of den leader last year, and I really wanted it to be a great experience for my boys. Everyone participated in the race, and some of our den parents were absolutely vital in helping with last minute weigh-ins and adjustments.

Our den, as the second oldest den, was responsible for posting the colors, leading the pledge and assisting with car catching and return. They were absolutely on task and on point, and when it was their turn to race, their sportsmanship was incredible. I was so proud of them, and I know all their parents were, too.

At the end of the action, little man snagged third place in our den! He was thrilled!

This is his second trophy in as many years, and he is already making notes for next year.

After all that, my parents came back to the house and then we went out for Papa Bear’s birthday. I went for the full-on carbload, because I had a half marathon on Sunday morning.


I realize it looks like a light running week, but I was gearing up for the Daytona Beach Half Marathon on Sunday, so don’t worry. I got my miles, and will be getting plenty more this week, with another back-to-back race weekend.

After this week, I am definitely going to carve out some time for either a solo movie or a hair appointment. I need just a little bit of individual time to decompress.

How was your week in training? Your January?

What do you do when you need some time to yourself?

weekly wrap: 1.21.18 – 1.27.18

Happy Monday, Happy New Year and Happy Back To The Grind!  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!

Consistency continued through this week, both with miles run and time put in at the gym. I’m feeling really good, and glad to see that my efforts are being rewarded.

Sunday – 6.06 miles, running

As agreed, we made up the rest of our weekend’s run. We were able to leave a little later in the morning, and take advantage of some sunshine.

That afternoon, we went to a friend’s house for the kids to work their Pinewood Derby cars. This is always such a fun time of year for the kids, and their creativity is always so awesome. We ended up bringing appetizers and ordering pizza so we could watch the Jaguars game when we had wrapped up. It was a lovely day with friends.

Monday – Interval training

Gym time for a HIIT session. We had two rotations of five activities each, with a 1/4 mile run between each rotation. We did wall ball, kettlebell swings, walking lunges, jump rope, and all manner of not-so-fun things.

The good news is that I am less and less sore after these workouts, so something must be getting through to my body!

There was work and karate to end the day.

Tuesday – 7 miles, running

Rain, rain go away. In fairness, it wasn’t raining when M and I left my house, but by the time we got to the farthest point of our route, there was a bit of shower. Ugh. Every time we thought about calling it quits, the rain would ease up and we tried to stick with it. I’m glad we did it, but I don’t love running in the rain.

Tuesdays are our last free evening of the week, and I was grateful to not have much to do after work.

Wednesday – AMRAP

First, can we say Happy 14th Birthday to this sweet baby? She is sassy and feisty and just as fabulous as ever. Believe me when I tell you she got lots of extra snuggles.

Even that cute face couldn’t keep me out of the gym. C wanted to do an AMRAP, which we learned means “as many reps as possible.” She set up a fairly serious warm up with burpees and partner setups, and then we had 15 minutes to complete as many sets of 10 goblet squats, 10 shoulder presses and 10 step ups as we could. I don’t think I did terribly for my first time, although it was pretty intimidating. Obviously, we are all feeling very strong.

Little man was dragging a bit when he got home from school, and even asked to take a nap. He rarely admits to being tired, so I decided to let him stay home from karate and get some rest. With all the crud going around, I much preferred him not to get run down.

Thursday – 6.15 miles, running

Another run, this time a little shorter. The weather was fluctuating again, and I’m really tired of that.

In the evening, we had our first Cub Scouts Pack Meeting of the new year. The boys were awarded a few more of their achievements, and I was even presented with a ribbon for our den’s involvement in all the summer activities! I’m so proud of all these kids!

Little man also got his popcorn reward – an emergency kit stuffed with all kinds of neat crisis type tools: multitool, wire saw, whistle and flints and steel to name a few. He was over the moon!

Friday – rest

Due to being shorthanded because of a local race, I ended up working on Friday. Business was booming and when I got home, I was ready to crash. Mr PugRunner went for a bike ride and then asked me if I wanted to go to Home Depot to look at closet organizers. We’ve had the same single-level wire shleving since we moved into the house,and I’ve been jonesing for a huge purge and re-do of the closets.

We ended up getting supplies for 2/3 of our walk in closet. He’s not always the best with change, so sometimes I have to show him how something is going to look before he’s 100% on board.

I was excited to get started.

Saturday – Wolfson Children’s Challenge 55K Ultra Relay (5K + 4 miles)

On Saturday morning, I drove up to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for one of my favorite causes: the Wolfson Children’s Challenge 55K Ultra Relay, to run on the team Lillian’s Warriors. Our relay team of 11 women would be completing the 55K distance on behalf of brave Lillian, who will be having a kidney transplant in the upcoming months.

The course is just a 5K loop, that starts and ends on the baseball field. I was officially second runner, but also went out with another of our friends for her loop and went for my seventh mile on the roads surrounding the course.

I hated to admit it, but when I got home, I was tired. And hungry. So I went grocery shopping and while the boys worked more on their Pinewood Derby cars, I took a nap.

That evening, it was off to C’s house for a Girl Scout Cookie & Wine Pairing party! I have been wanting to do this for years, but it never really worked out, and I finally had my chance.

Even though I love red wine, my favorite pairings were the Riesling with S’mores cookies and the Rose with the Do-Si-Dos. We also bought plenty of boxes of cookies!

We had a great night in, and it ended up not being super late, which was even better!


This weekend, I have the Daytona Beach Half Marathon. I’m pretty excited for it, mostly because i get to hang with a sweet friend and I have an adorable outfit. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

I’m also slightly behind track for the 1000 in 2018 challenge. I’m hoping to make up for it in February, even though it’s a short month. I’m not going to worry too much about tit, only because I know there are so many miles left to go this year.

How was your week in training?

Have you ever paired Girl Scout Cookies and wine or beer?

january runfessions

It’s the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time for Runfessions with Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Let’s get started:

I runfess: This training cycle has got me exhausted.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s the good kind of exhaustion. However, waking up at 4:30 AM five days a week isn’t easy, and I am definitely dragging by 8:30 at night. That being said, I know that my running will improve with cross training, and I will be stronger, more efficient and hopefully less prone to injury if I continue doing what I’m doing.

I am just going to appreciate my rest days a lot more than I used to.

I runfess: That massage really did me a world of good.

Back in October, I had my first massage in more than a decade. I just don’t enjoy them and they make me very uncomfortable. However, with my hip chattering loudly at me every time I ran, it seemed a prudent measure to take, and when the opportunity for a sports massage came up at a Girls’ Spa Weekend, I took it.

The experience was not wholly negative (it was all very professional and serene and all that), but my takeaway was an end to that chatter. Since that day, I haven’t had a single twinge or hitch in my right hip, which means I’m going to have to be more regular about my massage sessions.

I runfess: I don’t love running alone as much as I used to.

I used to very much a lone wolf. I could handle running in a group, but I was much more comfortable on my own. In the last few months, that has changed, and now the idea of going out alone is much more of an unappealing burden. I do it sometimes because it has to be done, but I would much rather be in good company.

I runfess: My eating has been much healthier.

I don’t really follow a strict nutrition plan, nor do I pay much attention to ingredients or calories or anything like that. I cook a lot of pretty balanced meals at home, we all pack lunch and we don’t purchase a ton of processed stuff. Lately, my body has been craving more protein and fruits and veggies. I’m going with it. I’ve been more hungry, but I’m managing it with smaller, nutrient-dense meals and snacks, and the overall results have been great. I’m hoping that the healthier habits stick around.

It’s been a pretty fabulous January and 2018 is off to a great start, fitness-wise. I’m hopeful to continue with this momentum and make the next 11 months something really amazing.

What do you have to runfess this month?

running with raynaud’s

Before I begin, I will make you a promise.

I’m not going to share any pictures of my feet.

No one needs that kind of horror in their life.

Let’s move on.

I have Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s a condition where the small arteries that supply blood to the skin constrict, reducing blood circulation to those areas. A flare up can be triggered by stress, severe emotional reactions, and cold temperatures. In my case, it’s nothing serious, and at this time, I am not at risk for further complications.

It is, however, something I have to watch while running.

Even though I live in a typically warmer climate, I am not in the clear from flare ups. Being in winter temperatures or too-cold air conditioning, or even holding something cold like a cup with ice or bowl of ice cream can lead to the constriction of those small arteries. I have also experienced incidents if I am really upset about something.

In layman’s terms, it means that when I get cold, or really upset, my fingers, and sometimes toes, turn a vampiresque shade of purple white. They tingle or go numb, and are like ice cubes to the touch. It’s a neat party trick.

I’ve always had cold hands, but I first noticed a specific issue at a race four years ago. Temperatures were in the mid-20s at the start, and I thought I was dressed appropriately in lots of layers, with an ear warmer and gloves.

I clearly remember that in the first few miles of that race, I couldn’t feel my toes. They were absolutely numb, and I was so nervous that I was going to lose my footing because I had no control of what those toes were doing or not doing.

After that, I started paying more attention.

Primary Raynaud’s affects women more than men, often beginning between the ages of 15 and 30. Obviously, those who live in colder areas are more likely to suffer from the syndrome. It’s also noted that the syndrome can be hereditary, which makes sense, because my mother also has had some bouts of it.

All my cold weather running and racing this season has definitely led to an uptick in flareups.

I’m not really in any pain, but it is uncomfortable in the moment. The numbness leads to a lack of dexterity so it becomes difficult to use my fingers or find my balance. The imbalance can lead to trips or missteps, so I always have to pick my way very carefully when I’m on my feet. What hurts is when the circulation comes back, usually facilitated by  a hot shower. I can best compare it to the return of senses after your foot falls asleep: this is a throbbing feeling with the bonus of some severe prickling. Good times.

While there is no cure, in my case, it is also not very serious (please note this is not the case for everyone and if you think you suffer from this condition, please schedule an appointment with your doctor). However, I do my best to prevent incidences.

First, I am incapable of controlling the weather. As Floridians, we are fortunate that our freezing days are limited, but I am not going to spend all winter holed up at home in front of a roaring fire cuddling with the pugs, tempting as that might sound.

When I head out for a run and I know it will be below 50 degrees or particularly damp, I make sure that I am wearing nice socks and gloves. I stock up on cheap gloves at Target during winter, and keep them in every bag, pocket and drawer. Usually, that’s enough to keep my extremities from turning icy and sometimes I can even remove the gloves during my run, but it’s an easy thing to keep me comfortable.

This past weekend, I had to go one step further, by using Hot Hands in my gloves and Toe Warmers in my shoes. These are also readily available at Target, on Amazon, or anywhere camping gear is sold. Each package comes with one pair, activated when the package is opened and the warmers are kneaded a bit. I used them religiously when we were in Banner Elk to stay warm in the snow, so it was easy enough to slide them into my “running” gloves.

I had never tried the Toe Warmers for running before. It was a little odd having the slight bumps adhered to the bottom of my socks, but it didn’t impede my stride or cause blisters, so it was more than worth it for warm feet.

After colder runs or activities, I make it a point to get in the shower as soon afterwards as I can. Cooling down in cold and sweaty clothes can definitely prolong the discomfort, so my goal is to warm up and get my blood flowing again. Even though I prefer going barefoot at home, I have accepted that socks or cozy slippers do make a difference in keeping my feet comfortable and we make sure to never have the air conditioning too cold so I don’t struggle in our house.

The physical limitations our bodies set for us are certainly frustrating, especially when there is no effective treatment. No matter how hard I work or train, this is a (minor) speed bump with which I have to contend. Being prepared and proactive is half the battle in dealing with this condition, and I will be good to go as long as my stash of gloves and Hot Hands holds out.

Do you have Raynaud’s Syndrome?

How do you cope with the limitations you can’t control?

For more information on Raynaud’s Syndrome, please visit the Mayo Clinic informational page. If you are exhibiting symptoms of Primary or Secondary Raynaud’s please get checked out by your doctor.



jaunt around jekyll: jekyll island marathon & 10K race report (1.14.2018)

I was a guest of the Westin Jekyll Island and the Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K for this weekend. All opinions are my own.

Races are always more fun when they are part of a fun weekend getaway, and the Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K was no exception.

Neither Meghan nor I was in marathon race shape, so we were more than happy to take on the 10K distance. We both find 10Ks lots of fun, and 6.2 miles would be a great way to round out the weekend.

Packet pickup took place on Saturday in a conference room at the Westin Jekyll Island, although runners could snag their bibs on race morning, too. Since we had been registered a week prior to the race, we received our bibs and reusable grocery bags but would have to pick up our long-sleeve race shirts after the event, if any were available.

We checked our bibs at the tracking computer to make sure they were correctly linked, and continued on with our day.

After a delicious dinner, we laid out our running outfits, planning for lots of layers (morning temperature promised to feel like 17 degrees!), and got some sleep.

In the morning, I confess to checking the temperature one more time, and decided I wasn’t going to bring along another jacket. I did, however, bring along a packet of hand warmers and feet warmers for my gloves and shoes.

Our first stop was the hotel restaurant for a complimentary runner’s breakfast (runners who weren’t guests of the hotel could purchase a bagged meal for a nominal fee). I had a bagel and some juice. We used the facilities and then we braved the cold.

The start line was located just less than 1/2 mile away, on Beachview Drive, in front of the Convention Center. There were some portapotties and the Convention Center was open for those who wanted an indoor restroom.

We had a little time before the 7:45 10K start time, so we met up with another blogger friend, Chelsea,

and got some photos taken by the race photographer.

At 7:15, there was an announcement regarding the course and the run. When the race director had finished, the photographer called for everyone’s attention, and announced that the day’s photos would all be free, courtesy of True Speed Photo! He went on to promise us that he would take awesome pictures of us as long as we didn’t wave at him (because then our hands would be covering our faces), talk (because then our mouths would be in a funky position) or put our bibs on our backs (because he wasn’t taking pictures of butts).

This was already shaping up to be a fantastic race.

We said goodbye and good luck to Chelsea as the marathoners headed to the start line, and we ducked into the Convention Center. I needed one more trip to the restroom and to get the warmers in my gloves and shoes. Raynaud’s Syndrome is never fun for runners, and my fingers and toes were already tingling.

When 7:40 hit, we took our place with the other 10K runners.


And at 7:45, we were off.

Since this was an inaugural race, I had no idea what to expect. I did know that both distances were capped at 350 runners each, so it was going to be one of my smallest events, but that was ok.

The first half of the race was along a regular, flat street, directly into the wind. About half of that was in the sun, and we were treated to beautiful views of some of the beachfront and grassy dunes. It was wonderful.

After a ways, the road curved and we were plunged into shade cast from the canopy of trees. That made it feel a lot colder, but it was lovely getting to see some different scenery in the form of the little neighborhood through which we ran.

One thing to note is that is was so very quiet and peaceful. I don’t think I would have run with headphones, even if I wasn’t with someone, because it was so very serene. Usually, I like to have a little something going on, but in this race, that peacefulness was part of the overall experience.

At 3.1 miles, we made the turnaround. The wind dropped off immediately, and it didn’t take long before Meghan took off her long sleeve because she warmed up so quickly. We did have to contend with some vehicular traffic as the course opened up at a certain time, but we just stayed alert and didn’t encounter any difficulty from the few cars on the road.

There had been one water stop in the first portion of the race, and when we hit it on the return trip, we were directed to turn to the beach walkway, a paved path that wound alongside the sand. I had been so looking forward to this: all the beauty of a beach run without the soft terrain.

It didn’t not disappoint. I could barely feel my fingers but I had to pull out my phone to snap these shots.

The path was a constant bustle of people. We stayed to the right in case anyone wanted to pass us, but it never got too congested or choked up. I was glad because I was really enjoying the run.

Finally, Great Dunes Park was in our sights and I told Meghan we had to sprint it in to the finish. Those last yards were in an empty parking lot and we had plenty of room to open up.

We are cracking up in these finish line photos because the photographer was absolutely hilarious. As we ran up the final stretch, he was calling out instructions: “Smile! Just run! But stay together!”

I absolutely loved it! The announcer did, too. He called our names as we came through and said that it looked like we were having so much fun out there.

He wasn’t wrong.

There was a small post-race gathering set up in the park with water, bananas, cookies and chips. We had a little snack, and then wandered over to the nearby beach pavilion to see if we would be able to get a race shirt.

They had plenty, and we were excited to be able to warm up with a dry layer.

We stayed to cheer on a few of the incoming 10K runners and passing marathoners (they still had many more miles ahead of them), and then made our way back to the hotel to get some coffee and a hot shower.

For a first-year event, Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K did not disappoint, at least on the 10K side (although a few of the marathoners I know said they had a great, well-supported race as well). It would have been nice to have bling for the runners of the shorter distance, but with how lovely this event was, it certainly wasn’t a dealbreaker.

Runners would get a chance to celebrate at an after-party that started at 5:00 PM, but Meghan and I had to head home well before that. We celebrated with lunch and a beer at a local pub and started planning our return trip for next year.

The Jekyll Island Marathon and 10K made for a perfect racecation getaway – an overnight trip was fine, but two nights would have been even better. It was also perfect for families, groups of friends or solo runners.  The colder temperature was perfect running weather, especially for the marathoners, and while the ocean breeze presented a challenge, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant. The course was fast and the scenery was gorgeous, all elements to help make the miles pass more quickly.

This will definitely be on my race calendar for 2019. I can’t want to see how this run continues to grow and evolve in the years to come.

Have you ever run and inaugural race?

Has a race photographer ever coached you into the perfect run photos?


a winter weekend in jekyll island

I was a guest of the Westin Jekyll Island and the Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K for this weekend. All opinions are my own.

Even though I live less than two hours from this Georgian barrier island, I had never visited Jekyll Island. When the opportunity arose to spend some time there AND run a race with my sweet running friend, Meghan, I leaped at the chance.

The drive was easy enough and we arrived at our destination at midday. Even though it was wintery cold and we had a race the next day, we were excited to check in and start exploring our surroundings.

I fell straight in love with our ocean-view room at the Westin Jekyll Island.

There was plenty of space, the decor was light and airy,

and the bathroom was huge with a rainforest head in the shower. I loved the decal on the mirror telling about their Gear Lending program: for only $5, athletic clothes and shoes from New Balance will be delivered to your room, so if you didn’t have room to pack your fitness gear (or even if you forgot), your exercise regimen won’t be derailed! Little touches like that always make my experience so much more special.

After we dropped off our things, we made our way down to the Expo for packet pickup. This was located right in the hotel, which made things very uncomplicated. We also took the opportunity to snag some coffee, which we enjoyed in the lobby.

Our host joined us briefly to give us an overview of the hotel and the surrounding areas, and we put together an afternoon plan as we cleaned up.

After its discovery, Jekyll Island found fame as a vacation destination for the affluent. The Pulitzers and the Rockefellers were among the elite few who spent their leisure time hunting and enjoying the beaches and marshes here. In 1947, Jekyll Island was turned into a State Park, and it remains one to this day.

For a mere $6 fee to enter the Island (weekly and seasonal passes are available), visitors have an entire, secluded world at their fingertips. Whether they choose to explore the serene beaches, wander the historic downtown, sample delicious food overlooking the water, take a bike or kayak tour or engage in a round of golf, there is no limit to the fun to be had.

We opted to start our fun with a trip to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center. This conservation center serves to treat and rehabilitate sick and injured sea turtles, as well as to educate guests on the dangers turtles face from their environment and how we can help reduce their risks.

In a separate building, recovering sea turtles basked in their pools. We had a few minutes to read the backstories and diagnoses of the different patients,

and then we were able to watch a feeding.

Little man would love it here.

Next on our walking tour was the Jekyll Island Club Resort. We wandered the grounds and the lobby,

and then made our way through the historic cottages on the property to admire the trees and the architecture.

We walked out to the wharf overlooking the water.

and visited all the little shops. I was especially interested in the local glass art. There were some beautiful pieces of decor and jewelry created by the area’s artists, and we even got to see some of the unique glass fishing floats, similar to the ones that get hidden around the

With more time, a bike or trolley tour of the island would have been just the thing. I would have loved to see Driftwood Beach and checked out the trail systems. I also know that the Summer Waves waterpark will be a favorite with our little guy.

By late afternoon, we were thoroughly worn out by the fresh air and ready for dinner, so we took the quick ride back to the Westin.

A Happy Hour cocktail at the hotel bar was a great way to toast to a beautiful weekend.

Our meal at The Reserve was nothing short of incredible. From the ambiance, to the wine list, to our server, we couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful dining experience. Choosing from the menu was difficult because everything sounded divine, but we finally settled on sharing the Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese, toasted pistachios and balsamic

the Lobster Macaroni and Cheese,

and then we each had our own entree. After much consideration, I went with a seafood classic: Fried Shrimp.

Sadly, there was no room for dessert.

That night, we very happily crashed into the signature “Heavenly” beds and enjoyed a wonderful night’s sleep. I’m sure a long afternoon outside and the serenity of the island helped, but I was so comfortable and woke up well-rested and raring to go.

Hotel guests were welcome to enjoy a pre-race breakfast in the restaurant, and we grabbed coffee, juice and bagels before we headed to the start line. It was great to have some fuel available and not have to worry about packing something to bring along.

Both the start and finish lines were within a quarter mile of the Westin, which was incredibly convenient, especially considering the cold weather. We were able to walk both ways, and left anything extra in our room.

The race was wonderful (more on that in a later post), and we loved getting the chance to see even more of Jekyll Island on our 6.2 mile run.

No island trip would be complete without a visit to the beach, so we did just that.

Of course, Meghan and I were sorry to leave so much history, nature and beauty. With the Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K and upcoming events like Whiskey, Wine and Wildlife, the winter months in Jekyll Island promise more than a little something for everyone.

I’m already checking our calendar so we can schedule our return.

Have you ever visited Jekyll Island?

Do you have nearby destination gems within a few hours of you?

weekly wrap: 1.14.17 – 1.20.17

Happy Monday, Happy New Year and Happy Back To The Grind!  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 calmed down a little bit this week. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a welcome relief in a lot of ways.

Sunday – Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K, 6.2 miles running

I had a truly incredible night’s sleep in the “Heavenly” bed at the Westin Jekyll Island. Of course, it was hard to leave, knowing that race morning temperatuers were going to be in the 20s, but … you do what you have to do.

I will share my race report later, but the Jekyll Island Marathon & 10K was fabulous, especially for an inaugural event. Just check out that view!

I also got to meet Chelsea, a fellow member of Team Nuun! She was running the marathon that day (and rocked it!)

After the run, Meghan and I warmed up and headed for a delicious recovery lunch at a local pub. Yum.

Then it was time for the drive home.  It was incredibly hard to say goodbye, but we will be back, for sure!

My night wasn’t over. Our Brooks rep was coming in to share with all the latest updates and new happenings with their running shoes and apparel. It was a fun night with some coworkers, and I am excited for some of these new products to launch in the upcoming months.

Monday – name workout

Since it was a school holiday, we decided to take the day off from group fitness. However, I was pretty energized from the weekend, and went ahead with a name workout. It was fairly challenging (hello, 110 jumping jacks in a row, two times!), but it was a good way to start the week. And Bentley helped to make sure I was handling those wall sits properly.

Little man enjoyed the rest of his long weekend at my parents’, and then they came over for a home-cooked meal. Things were basically back to normal.

Tuesday – 7 miles, running

Colder and colder! We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves for getting out there in the hard freeze.

After work, I was very much looking forward to some downtime. Tuesday is the one day we don’t have much planned, so little man could do his homework and I could work on making a yummy dinner (homemade pasta fagioli for a chilly night).

Wednesday – deck of cards workout

I was glad to be back in the gym, and even more glad that this particular workout didn’t leave me suffering from soreness for days afterwards.

I’m really loving the variety of these deck of cards workouts, even if we are digging deep at the end.

After school, little man had his last karate class before his big test on Saturday. He was focused and strong and I knew he was going to do a great job.

Thursday – 6.25 miles, running

This was quite the adventure. The “feels like” temperature was 17 and it was brutal! We hit a huge patch of black ice from where someone left their sprinkler running overnight and I dropped my phone, which shattered. Ugh. I meant to run a little further, but I think we were all too cold.

It was off to the phone store to deal with that nonsense (ugh) and then I had to pick up some things while I was out.

In the evening, it was Cub Scouts, and we worked out music. The boys had written songs and made their own instruments, and it was time for them to perform their tunes. They all did a great job and I was very proud of them and their efforts.

After little man went to bed, I had a video call with some of my fellow contributors from the St. Augustine Moms Blog. There are lots of new faces writing with us, now, and I love reading the posts from all the different perspectives.

Friday – rest

I was incredibly grateful for a rest day. I even got to “sleep in” a little. Yay!

That’s not to say it was a quiet day. Our school’s Daddy Daughter Dance was that evening and even though I don’t have a daughter, I was volunteering for the evening and with some of the decor and behind the scenes work.

I left around 3:30 to help for the duration of the event, while the boys had a night at home. Mr PugRunner had a contractor over to look at doing some floor and kitchen renovations, and I had left him with instructions for things to ask for in the quote. I’m nervous and excited to see what we’re looking at and what we might be able to do.

Saturday – 4.10 miles, running

I didn’t have time for a long, long run, but two of my friends joined me for a quick four miles. I’m so grateful that they are always up for joining in.

Then it was time for little man to test. We were in the dojo for almost three hours, as he and about six of the intermediate students showed off all their skills and forms. He did really well, won his sparring match against a more advanced student, and finally broke a board with a spinning hook kick.

When he tests again, that’s when his instructor will put in the order for his black belt. All the students with red/black stripe belts get to see their black belts, embroidered with their names, hanging on the rack at the front of the gym. It’s a great incentive, and he is so close to achieving that goal! We are incredibly proud of him.

I was ready to call it a day.


Over 20 miles of running this week, and I’ve kept up with the gym and my cross-training. Sure it’s early in the year, but I’m on track, and that feels great. I didn’t race this weekend, but I will be back at it next Saturday at the Wolfson Children’s Challenge Relay. This one is close to my heart, and I’m excited to be there for another year.

How was your week in training?

Deck of cards or name workout? Which would you prefer?

the best damn time at best damn race jacksonville (1.13.2017)

I am an Ambassador for Best Damn Race. Through my promotion of the event, I earned a complimentary entry to this race. All opinions are my own.

Since Best Damn Race came to Jacksonville in 2015, I have been a huge fan. I had to run the first race virtually (it was an option, and I do love that first year medal), as I was running my first marathon in another city at the time, but since then, I have been at every 10K start line.

This past Saturday was no exception.

I did a turn volunteering on Friday at packet pickup, which was great, as the volunteer crew is always awesome, and the excitement increased when Meghan arrived at the house! We were going to run our first 10K of 2018! Let the games begin!

I struggled picking the right outfit. The temperatures were supposed to be in the low 40s, but we were also planning on sun. I decided on capris, a tank top and long sleeve shirt, gloves and my visor. I considered my ear warmer and then left it behind (a decision I would later regret).

I wanted to make sure we had parking that was close to the start line, so we left the house at 5:40AM. We scored a spot in a large right across the street from the Jacksonville Landing, which was a quick walk to the race start.

We snagged coffee for Meghan and wandered through the Landing a bit. The BDR merchandise area and packet pickup were located in an empty bar space, which was a nice way to get out of the cold and wind. Later, post-race food would be set up in the same area.

With the start time of 7:00 AM ticking down, we hopped in line for a port-a-potty (there were plenty) and took care of business, and then found our place at start. The 10K and 5K would start together, with the Half Marathon joining the fun at 7:15.

I recall the temperature being in the 40s, but dropping throughout the morning. The promised sun never materialized either. I would have enjoyed a little warmth, but you take whatever weather race day gives you and go with it.

After the start, we headed up Bay Street and alongside Everbank Field, making a turn around at the 1.5 mile mark. When we rounded that cone, we got slapped in the face by a sharp and relentless wind. Ugh. There was nothing to be done but put our heads down and push, and so we did, retracing our steps until we got to the overpass that would lead us into Riverside.

The windy uphill created a bit more of a challenge, but these bridges and ramps are common for the city of Jacksonville. I knew it was coming (there’s really no other way to get to the other side of the St. Johns River) and braced for it.

We turned left onto Riverside Avenue, and just followed the road. There are plenty of buildings and cute houses along the way, although crowd support was low, undoubtedly because it was awful out. One of my running friends was handing out bags of Swedish fish, and I very gratefully snagged a bag at Mile 4.

The last turnaround came at Mile 4.5 and we were heading back! We turned right at the Riverside Arts Market and left at the RiverWalk, affording us a gorgeous path along the water. The path is wide enough to accommodate the runners and we were able to take in the view of the city and bridges as we hustled to the finish line, and warmth!

Right before the final stretch is this combination of a steep bike/walking ramp and corkscrew downhill. To be honest, while the uphill ramp is tough, I like flying down the spiral. I think I’m pretty alone in my opinion, but again, this feature is part of most local city races, and I’m used to it. Obviously, the best part is that we were almost done.

I kept chatting with Meghan to keep our mind off the last bit of distance, and we powered towards that finish line (hooray for free race photos, too)!

I was super excited to collect my medal and head for some recovery food and drinks. As always, Best Damn Race does not disappoint: they offered oranges and bananas, candy, brownies, cookies and wings from Hooters. They also had Coke, Diet Coke, Bloody Marys and lots of beer.

We remained inside to warm up, see our fellow race ambassadors and snap a quick photo with some of the staff.

Celebration breakfast at Maple Street Biscuit Company? Check!

It was another fabulous experience and a great way to kick off 2018! Meghan and I had more race adventures planned for the weekend so it was time to get going!

Have you ever run a Best Damn Race? You can join us in Safety Harbor on February 3 or use code RUNPUGS to save $5 on any distance in either Orlando or New Orleans in March!

What makes  a race “the best” for you? Great course? Great swag? Great post-party? Let us know!

six days of rest

Resting is an integral part of running and working out.

We all know it to be true. Whether or not we honor the rest period is another story.

I’ll admit it: I am afraid of taking an extended break from running. While I am active and in good shape, the idea of losing fitness while on hiatus can be terrifying. Even though I have been in the running game for over five years, I still don’t consider myself  “good” (whatever that means), and my confidence hinges on my ability to get out there, week after week, putting up the miles.

In fairness, I take rest DAYS. But nothing more than that.

In the first week of the new year, there were decisions to be made. We were going on vacation to a new climate. Bitter cold winter. I wouldn’t have access to a treadmill, and while I had plenty of layers and gloves available, I didn’t know how I would fare in snow, ice, wind and altitude. The thought of abandoning my running shoes for a full six days was pretty unappealing, But at the end of the day, I had to consider my own safety and well being.

I also had to consider my family. They are so very generous with the time I take for my running and fitness, and they know I will usually sneak out to get in a run or two. This time, with no treadmill available, I would have to cut into our day in order to get in some miles in the warmest, brightest part of the afternoon. I could see how that wouldn’t fly.

The shoes stayed home.

This didn’t mean I sat on my rump for six days. Oh, no, sir. I just didn’t do any traditional (for me) exercises.

After spending a total of eight hours in the car, I was really ready to move. Granted, the amount of shivering I was doing probably counted as its own workout, but I craved fresh air and movement.

On the Wednesday of that day, I learned how to ski for the second time. We spent about four hours on the slopes. I’m not going to pretend I was great at it, or even that I did anything heroic on the hill, but the effort of tramping around in the boots alone left me in a sweat. In fact, I ditched my jacket within minutes of getting all my gear on because I was so hot.

The next day, weather kept us housebound. I took two naps. We went for a nice family walk in the snow, and then a second walk when visiting a friend’s cabin. Nothing major. The exercise seemed to come from bundling up and trying to stay upright on the snow and ice.

And then we tubed. It didn’t feel like we were exerting a ton of effort, especially since there was a magic carpet to get us from the bottom of the runs back up to the top of the hill, but marching around in our boots, dragging a tube around sure did tucker me out.

At the end of the week, and after another full day in the car, I was desperate to slip into my running shoes. I didn’t care that the temperatures were still freezing in Florida, or that I would have to set my alarm after a super early morning the day before. I was so nervous to see what impact the time away had on my run.

The verdict? Not a thing. I fell right back into it as if nothing had happened. Although I elected for a shorter run of just over four miles as my comeback workout, it wasn’t even a notably slow or difficult effort. In fact, I felt energized and if I didn’t have obligations for the rest of the day, I might have kept going. Additionally, I wasn’t sore at the time or in the days to come.

It was comforting to see that a week of average (maybe even below average) activity wasn’t a huge derailment to my overall fitness.  I will also note that I kept my eating reasonable. We cooked most meals in our cabin, and  enjoyed our out meals. I may have had a few more glasses of wine than I normally would, but hey. We were on vacation.

Now, it’s time for me to ramp back into training for the rest of my race season. My longer distances will take me through April, and I feel like I’m in a great place, physically and mentally, to take on the challenges ahead.

How often do you take dedicated rest breaks?

Do you always continue workouts through vacation or do you take time off from your regular regime?

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