blackened salmon + coconut cashew cous cous + publix gift card giveaway

This is a sponsored post. I am an ambassador for Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. Due to that relationship, I receive a complimentary race registration, as well as other sponsor amenities in exchange for my honest reviews and promotion of the event and affiliated sponsors. All opinions are my own.

While logging the miles is an essential part of getting ready for race day, fueling your body well is equally important. Athletes need to get the right nutrients to reknit hard-working muscles, and keep the body strong and prepared for race day. To this end, our family dinners, especially in training season, are focused on lean proteins, grains and green vegetables. While little man doesn’t always love those greens (please note, he will eat lima beans like it’s his job), I try hard to keep it fun and tasty, while still being nutritious. One of our favorites is this

It’s big on flavor, easy to throw together on a busy work night, and is easy to change up with different ingredients. I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at our local Publix. The store is always well-stocked and the employees are about the friendliest around. Plus, I am able to set up my shopping list online, which adds to the convenience factor. Here’s what you’ll need for this meal:

Preheat your oven to 400F. First, we’ll gather the ingredients for the cous cous.

Bring 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth and 1/2 cup coconut milk (or cream of coconut) to a boil with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. While waiting for the contents of the saucepan to boil, prepare your salmon. I brushed each side of the filets with extra virgin olive oil and placed them on a foil-lined pan, skin-side down.

I sprinkled liberally with blackening seasoning. We love blackening seasoning.

And into the oven they go, for 20-25 minutes. I was in the mood for some Brussels sprouts so I minced up some garlic and quartered the sprouts.

All of that goes into a skillet with some heated olive oil, pepper and salt. Stir occasionally until the sprouts start to brown.

I added a little bit of bacon in the final minutes of cooking, for some extra flavor.

By this time, the pot should have boiled, so add in 5.8 oz of cous cous, 1/2 cup cashews, 1 cup dried cranberries and 3/4 cup chopped scallions. Stir for one minute, cover with a tightly fitting lid and removed from eat until the liquid is absorbed.

Fluff the cous cous with a fork

and dinner is served!

I love all the colors, textures and flavors!

We couldn’t wait to dig in!

And I confess. It was Fat Tuesday, so we all had a small piece of cinnamon King Cake from the Publix Bakery for dessert. Because it’s only once a year and little treats are part of our moderation.

Thanks to partners Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K and Publix, we want you to go out and create your own delicious training meal! We are giving away one $25 Publix gift card to a lucky blog reader!

Enter below! Leaving a comment about your favorite training meal is required, but there are plenty of ways to score bonus entries, so just play along!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And remember, we would love to see you at the race on April 8. Code PUGS will save you $15 on your half marathon or 5K entry. It’s a deal too good to be missed.


  What’s your favorite training meal?

weekly wrap: 2.19.2017 – 2.20.2107 + publix savannah women’s half training week 3

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


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


Sunday – rest

Much as we hated to leave, it was time to pack up and head home from our Daytona campout. I had to be at work, and there was much to get tidied up for the week ahead.

We were all really happy to get real showers, and little man was excited to spend the night with my parents because he had the day off from school on Monday.

Monday – rest

After work, we had my parents over for BBQ chicken. I was a little bummed not to be able to take advantage of the holiday, but work was busy and went by quickly.

Tuesday – 7.1 miles running

I had to go it alone because my running buddy wasn’t feeling well. Boo. However, I slogged out a nice five miles, and then followed up with another two are run club with little man.

He doesn’t always hang with me while we’re running, but it’s nice to be out there with him.

Wednesday – rest

Just an average Wednesday. Little man had some sparring at karate, and that was that.

Thursday – 1 mile running

My running partner was still down so I vowed I would get up and hit the bridge. The weather had been iffy through the night, but looked to be clearing. I prepared myself to deal with a little wind and a little drizzle and set out.

When I got out of the car, the gusts of wind almost took the door right off the hinges. I told myself it would be good resistance training, and started my Garmin. By the time I hit the top of the bridge (literally 1/2 mile), the wind was blowing me into the median and the rain had started driving. Sideways. It was absolutely horizontal.

I quickly realized that it wasn’t stopping anytime soon, and that my being out wasn’t the safest choice, so I put my head down and returned to the car. Drenched. I had to wring out my socks before driving home. And after.

I was really defeated and disappointed, and it set a low tone for the day. Mr PugRunner told me he would leave a little later on Friday morning if I wanted to get out for another attempt, and I really appreciate his thoughtfulness.

That evening, the guys had cub scouts and I nursed a headache. I needed that couch time.

Friday – 5 miles running

Mr PugRunner left early for a weekend trip to visit with his dad and brother, so little man and I were on our own. I dropped him off at school and went to the beach for my redemption run.

This time, the weather cooperated beautifully. It was warm and sunny, but the cool breeze off the ocean helped keep it tolerable. I was really pleased to be able to get in five miles, with four bridge repeats, as well as another jaunt to the beach.

I also had a fun surprise in the mail: my Winter Runningland virtual medals from Run Rock ‘n’ Roll! They are gorgeous.

I had promised little man we would go to the outdoor mall after school so he could shop for a birthday present. Imagine my surprise when he put on a tie and suggested we go to Cooper’s Hawk for dinner. We had a lovely time, and it was really sweet for him to dress up for me.

Saturday – rest

Little man had a birthday party at a local trampoline venue. He’s at an age now where these parties are starting to be “drop off” but … I just wasn’t ready. I found a bench out of the way and chatted with a couple of his classmates’ moms (who also weren’t ready). He had a great time running around and getting generally worn out.

That night, we watched a movie at home and I introduced him to his first Shamrock Shake.  I know it’s not the best thing, but I have one a year, and for some reason, he’s never had one at all.

He loved it.

Side note. This was the first ice cream I’ve had in two weeks. I know it sounds silly, but I am an ice cream addict. I would have some every night. And if we’re being really honest, I had way more than a suggested serving, and would add chocolate syrup, or nuts or sprinkles or anything else that sounded good. It was a pretty unhealthy, long-standing habit. About fourteen days ago, I finished the last carton, and didn’t replace it. Do I miss it? OMG yes. Will I buy it again? Sure will, but not for a little while.

Fourteen miles of running, but no cross training this week. That’s a little tough to swallow, but I’m hoping to get a grip on it in the upcoming days.

Congratulations to Melanie C for winning two entries to March To Get Screened 5K Run/Walk on Sunday! This is such a great cause, and it will be great to have you there! I will contact you to get your details!

march to get screened

If you are local and want to join in support of colon cancer awareness, there is still time to register.

How was your week in training?

What is your nutrition vice?

friday five 2.0: five reasons to run publix savannah women’s half

This is a sponsored post. I am an ambassador for Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. Due to that relationship, I receive a complimentary race registration, as well as other sponsor amenities in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.


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


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

The last Friday of the month is a free day, so I thought I would share some reasons to add Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K to your spring race calendar.

Five reasons to ru

I am so looking forward to April 8 and the third annual Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5K. It’s a beautifully done event, comprising an entire weekend of running, shopping, friendship and fitness.

Spend the weekend in one of the East Coast’s most beautiful cities.

Savannah is such a beautiful city – it has a little bit of everything. I can easily spend entire days just walking the squares, soaking in the history and architecture, shopping in the local stores, and sampling the delicious cuisine. Getting to run 13.1 miles through these streets is a wonderful way to see Savannah, and having so many sights to see helps the miles pass quickly.


Receive a really unique participant gift.

The Publix Women’s Savannah Half Marathon & 5K offers a little something different than   the standard race shirt to its participants. I do love the idea of race shirts, but the truth is they don’t always fit properly and I very rarely run in t-shirts. At the Publix Women’s Savannah Half, registrants will receive this New Balance gift: a stunning expandable bangle.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 7.05.49 AM

I can’t wait to show mine off after the race!

Gorgeous Bling

But the bling doesn’t stop with a bracelet! This year’s finisher’s medals are even more beautiful than last year’s! The Savannah skyline stands out in relief against a sparkly round frame. I love the cut out details and the thick custom ribbons.

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 7.06.02 AM

Finishers of both distances will receive one of these beauties!

Epic Finish

The Publix Savannah Women’s Half prides itself on its unique ending. The finish line is just past the iconic fountain in Forsyth Park, which lends itself to some absolutely amazing end-of-race photos.

Enjoy a complete weekend with some of your favorite people

Whether it’s shopping at the New Balance Fashion Fitness Expo,

running through the city streets with dear friends

or finding balance at Sunday’s Yoga on the Square,


The countdown is on! Just 42 days until one of my favorite girls’ running weekends! Will you be joining us?

Remember, you can save $15 off your registration to either distance with the code PUGS:


What would you most look forward to in at the Publix Savannah Women’s Half?

What makes a racecation great for you?

the importance of march to get screened + giveaway

This is a sponsored post. March To Get Screened has provided me with complimentary entries to give away, as well as two for my own use, in exchange for promotion of the event. All opinions are my own.

 On Sunday, March 5 at 9:00 AM, the March To Get Screened 5K Run/Walk will celebrate its 8th year in Jacksonville.

march to get screened

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of the cancer deaths in the United States. A simple colonoscopy is the best way to detect pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed.  All proceeds of March To Get Screened will go to the BGC Foundation to be used for colon cancer research and education.

With a beautiful course extending on the sand from the Jacksonville Seawalk Pavilion and finishing at the Jacksonville Beach Pier,  March To Get Screened welcomes both runners and walkers in support of colon cancer awareness.

To be a part of this beautiful day, register here through March To Get Screened. Timed runners may register for $25, while untimed runners and walkers may register for $15. Children 12 and under, whether running or walking, are free. Packets may be picked up at select 1st Place Sports locations on March 3 and 4.

The first 500 participants will receive a 2017 MTGS T-shirt and race bag, and all participants will receive a medal.

After the run, walk across the street to Lynch’s Irish Pub where the awards ceremony for top runners will take place.

Participants can enjoy a complimentary drink while Darren Corlew provides the live musical entertainment for the morning.

It has been an honor to participate in this event in 2014 and 2015, and I am so glad my family will be joining me this year, so I can share it with them.

Are you planning to join us on March 5? March To Get Screened is generously giving away two entries to the 5K. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you’d like to be there or in whose honor you would like to participate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


race report: 26.2 with donna relay {2.11.2017}

The 26.2 with DONNA is a local marathon, founded by local, former Donna Deegan, herself a three time survivor of breast cancer. Deegan created the DONNA Foundation in 2003, as a nonprofit organization to help breast cancer patients with critical needs. The race draws thousands of runners from all 50 states and 20 countries, all heading to Jacksonville, Florida, for two days of running on the second weekend of February: a 5K and 10K on Saturday, and a half and full marathon on Sunday.

2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the race, and I really wanted to be a part of it. I had done the Saturday 5K a few years ago, but the experience just isn’t quite the same as on marathon day.

Additionally, my running buddy was doing her first half and I wanted to be there to support her.

February is a rough time for me to train for a half, so when I stumbled upon the DONNA Marathon Relay option, I knew I had my answer. I rallied four other running friends and we put together Team Pretty in Pink: five runners set to cover 26.2 miles.

As Team Captain, I was responsible for assigning legs to the runners, collecting and distributing packets, and making sure everyone was good to go. The group was easy-going and awesome and made my job incredibly easy. I got everyone’s things at the expo, passed them out and made our final plans.

We were ready for race day.

Parking lots for the DONNA opened at 4:30 AM for a 7:30 AM start. I had heard rumors of bad traffic, and I wanted to be ahead of the game. I picked up E and K at 5:30, and we slid into a spot at TPC right after 6:00 AM, without hitting a lick of congestion.

There was a bit of a walk to the start line area, and it was a lot cooler than I had planned. The race day temperatures promised to be up in the 80s, so I dressed in a skirt and tank and never even considered other layers. Oops.

On the plus side, I am really glad that I added the last minute pink Sparkle Athletic skirt. It was more pink than I’ve ever worn, but I fit right in.

On our walk to the portapotties, we met up with K’s friend S and another teammate L. The Runner’s Village was bustling and well stocked – there were plenty of facilities, as well as coffee and Dunkin Donuts available.

We waited in line for the bathroom, checked our gear (super easy), and then I went to figure out where the relay shuttles were.

Race FAQs recommended that runners be at the shuttle station two hours prior to when  they needed to be running, which we all thought was a little overkill, but we didn’t want anyone missing the shuttles, either. I sent E and L off on the shuttle, and realized that I desperately needed the restroom again.


I got back on line which was significantly longer this time. I was really scared I was going to miss the start of the race. While waiting, I found K and directed her to the shuttles, as well as giving her my predicted arrival time (she was running Leg 2). Finally, with seconds to spare, I was clear for the start line.

Only to find out that K and S stopped for one last potty break and were on their way, too!

Due to the sheer quantity of runners, the event had decided on a “pulse start.” This meant that runners would be released in sections, rather than all at once, giving the course some time to open up a bit. It proceeded very smoothly, with music and huge bursts of confetti each time. Our small trio ended up starting at around 7:45.

Leg 1 of the relay was six miles. It would cover the distance from the start line, all the way down A1A in Ponte Vedra, and end up with the transition on Ocean Drive. My plan was to run with K and S to mile 7, where they would turn around at the halfway point of the half marathon, and continue with my teammate K for her leg of 3.7 miles (each leg was a different length), thus getting my long run in at the same time.

Insert witticism about best-laid plans.

The first few miles rolled by easily. The crowd support was absolutely unreal. Everyone was dressed in pink and had decorated in pink and I couldn’t believe how the homeowners in the neighborhoods had all come together to celebrate the runners. It was beautiful. The weather was humid but cool and overcast and things felt good.

I even got to cuddle a pair of pugs who were out cheering with their owners.

At Mile 4, I felt something in my tummy that no runner ever wants to feel. I took some deep breaths and figured I could just work my way through it until I reached transition. A few blocks later, the cramps were not subsiding and I had to tell K that I loved her and that I was proud of her, but she needed to go and finish the race for which she had trained. I took a short breather on the side of the course, just to collect myself, and then eased back into some slow running.

I texted my teammate K to tell her that the wheels had fallen off, and that I was going to try to make a bathroom stop, and she told me not to worry. She would be in place whenever I got there.

At mile 5, I realized that no bathroom was in my future. I knew there would be some by the transition area, so I decided to just go for it and hope for the best. That last mile was perhaps the coolest, and I hated that I didn’t even manage to stop for photos, because I was so distracted by the cramps. Of course, the portapotties appeared about 50 feet before my handoff, so I rounded the corner, found K, tossed her the baton and backtracked.

Not at all how I wanted it to go down, but it was what it was.

I debated trying to catch up with K, but I wasn’t sure how fast she had gone out or how far ahead of me she was. My best option was to get on the shuttle back to the finish line at Mayo Clinic and wait for half-marathon K to come through.

I collected my medal and some water, and walked the two blocks to the shuttle stop.

Where I proceeded to wait for almost an hour with the other runners in the freezing wind off the ocean. Honestly, my only complaint about the day was this transportation issue. The “shuttle liaison” had no phone numbers, no radio and no clue about contacting anyone to come get us, and finally, a volunteer managed to get in touch with someone who sent a bus right to us.

I missed K’s grand finish by about five minutes. Sad face.

On the plus side, Mr PugRunner had brought little man to the race finish – he loves Ms. K and wanted to make her a sign to celebrate. He did a fantastic job and I think she was really happy with it.

At the finish line, things had warmed up, and I was very grateful to be out of the wind. Mr PugRunner set up a camp chair for us, and we began the wait for Team Pretty in Pink.

Here’s a look at how all the legs played out:

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 3.42.49 PMK took on Leg 2, E had Leg 3, L selected Leg 4, and A was on the final leg.

As each runner finished, she made her way to the Runner’s Village.

There was plenty of refreshment and entertainment: complimentary beers and a selection of soups (which would have been awesome for the freezing temps the race normally endures, but were hard to eat in the summer weather), and then BBQ, Rita’s Ice and other snacks for sale.

I had a cooler with snacks and drinks back in the car at the start line, so I ended up purchasing an ice just to get a little sugar into my system. It helped me feel a lot better.

We kept tabs on A, and when she was halfway through her Leg, K, E and I headed backwards on the course to run her in. She had the hardest leg by far – it was long (and she had been waiting a while), the hottest and involved a huge bridge and an overpass. We figured she would need all the support she could get at that point, and we were happy to take her to the finish line.

By that point, we were ready to head out. We had to take a 20ish minute shuttle ride back to the parking lot, and then walk to the car.

I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss this event for so long. It was simply amazing. I couldn’t get over how involved the community was, and how inspiring it felt to be out there running with so many strong people. It was such a beautiful thing, and I don’t think I can omit it from my race calendar in the future. We actually talked about keeping the team for next year, and how to make it even better, and I’m pretty excited about it, except I also kind of want to do the half marathon, too. So I guess some decisions will have to be made.

Aside from the transportation snafu, I did have a tiny complaint about the relay “baton.” Each of our runners had to carry this.

The “baton” was HUGE. And unwieldy. And ridiculous. I would much rather have had an anklet that runners could pass off to each other. Or even one bib on a belt that could have been handed off along the way. It certainly wouldn’t make me not run again but it was annoying, and there are definitely better ways of timing relay teams.

This was a fabulous day for a  truly wonderful cause and I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Have you ever run a marathon relay?

What’s your favorite “race for a cause”?

tuesdays on the run: three running wishes

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

Tuesdays on the Run

This week?

Oh. Boy.

It’s fun to think of all the wishes a magical genie might be able to grant.

Genie, I wish for you to fix my throat so I can breathe properly.

What does my throat have to do with running, you ask? Well, when I had my tonsils removed several years ago, there were some serious structural changes that went down. It changed everything, and to this day, I have a hard time swallowing certain foods, and breathing, especially when it’s hot and humid. If there was a way for me to breathe normally and swallow my own spit without effort, the running game would be greatly changed for me.

Genie, I wish to run fast.

I’m not fast. You know that saying about being slower than a turtle running through peanut butter? That’s me. And it’s ok. It is. But it would be really cool to be able to run fast. Even if it’s just once. To be that sustained six-minute-mile blur of speed would be such an incredible feeling.

No matter how hard I train, I just don’t think I’ll see these kinds of paces on my own

Genie, I wish for a money tree just for race entries and travel.

I’m fairly certain we’ve all been here…

And so it would be incredibly sweet to have one of these to help defray the costs.

Shoes, socks, cute outfits, fuel, race registrations, and hotel and travel costs definitely add up. It’s totally worth it and I am good with running being my major entertainment. However, it would be nice not to worry about the prices of things.

What wishes would your running genie grant you?

weekly wrap: 2.12.2017 – 2.18.2017 + publix savannah women’s half training week 2

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


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

We had an interesting week in the PugRunner home.

Sunday – 26.2 with DONNA Relay, 7 miles running

I took on Leg 1 of a five-person relay team for the 26.2 with DONNA event. You guessed it: full recap to come. This was my first time running on DONNA Sunday, and it was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to share my experience.

When I got home and cleaned up, we took little man to see the Lego Batman movie. I was absolutely exhausted, but I had promised him and as actually pretty excited to see it, myself. It did not disappoint.

Monday – rest

On Monday, we woke up to the horrible sounds of Bentley hacking. Coughing in dogs is never a good thing, so we whisked him off to the vet. X-rays showed he was clear of tumors and the vet couldn’t detect any heart disease, for which we were so grateful. That being said, it seems he may just have nasty allergies, too. Poor buddy was incredibly uncomfortable.

Tuesday – 5.8 miles, running

Valentine’s Day morning,  I got myself together for a solo run of four miles. I missed my running buddy, but she was taking some well-earned rest.

I came home to some heart-shaped pancakes made by Mr PugRunner.

I sent little man off to school with his class Valentines (click here for link to free printable from

and still had enough time to meet Sharon from Mommy Runs It before work. ZOOMA Florida brought us together several years ago, and we just haven’t been able to catch up. I think we have figured out a way to change that. We talked about blogging and life, and it was really nice to have some writing conversations.

In the afternoon, I laid out another 1.8 miles at run club (we started a little later), and then I brought little man and his friend home for a playdate. We had heart-shaped pizza and gourmet cupcakes for our Valentine’s celebration. February 14 is always pretty low-key for us, but that’s just how we like it.

Wednesday – rest

Wednesdays are somehow the dullest day of my week. Work. Karate. The end.

Thursday – 4.5 miles, hill repeats 

I decided it was time to get my butt back to the bridge. It’s been almost a year since I even thought about hill repeats, and I really didn’t have any excuses. I ran that bridge four times, with a small detour to the beach, just because I could. It was the best, most productive run I’ve had in AGES.

Afterwards, I had to take little man to the dentist (no cavities!) and then it was off to lunch with my parents and some last minute shopping. We were leaving on a two-night camping trip to the Daytona International Speedway and needed the rest of our supplies.

Friday – stair climbing (20 flights singles, 20 flights doubles)

I thought about getting up to run, but I just couldn’t get myself going. Instead, I resorted to climbing stairs: 20 flights of singles and 20 flights of doubles. I got the idea from Kim and it definitely got my heart rate pumping.

After lunch, we finished loading the car and drove to the rendezvous point set up by our scout den leader.

Four or five vehicles caravanned into the Daytona Infield together and we set up camp in a field with a great view of Turn 4 of the track.

We dedicated our first night to getting settled. Mr PugRunner had us in charge of food for three families, so I prepped taco meat and we had all the fixings. Our den leader set up a fire ring and had s’mores.

I was pretty impressed with our campsite, even if it was a little noisy from all the people and practice laps on the track.

Saturday – rest

We had a decent night’s sleep in the camp, and even managed to “sleep in” until about 7AM.

Our cub scouts package entitled us to the campsite, the “Fun Zone”, and seats in the stands for the afternoon and evening race. It was a pretty sweet deal. After breakfast and surviving the public shower, our group headed over and spent the morning checking out the sights.

It was quite a day. I never imagined I would enjoy two nights camping on the infield of a major racetrack and watching an actual race. The night event was rained out, much to little man’s disappointment – he has determined that NASCAR may well be “his thing.” We ended up having a nice evening away – we grilled steaks and the kids played until late.


No real cross-training this week (although I think I can count setting up a campsite as some cardio and lifting), but I did get in 17 miles for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half, including some hills. All in all, it ended up being a strong week, and I’m ok with where I finished up.

How was your week in training?

Have you ever gone to a NASCAR event?

friday five 2.0: five winter running rants


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


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

On this February 17, we are talking about


Ok. In all fairness, living in Florida means that I don’t really have room to rant too much about winter. Our coldest night this year saw temperatures in the very high 20s. We’ve had a light first. The heat has been on. But that’s about it. However, Florida winters do come with their own list of minor annoyances, and in the spirit of the link up, I’m going to share mine.


I don’t know what’s blooming (or why), but allergies and sinus infections are at an all-time high. The cars and patio furniture are coated with yellow and green dust. Running is hard enough, but not being able to breathe properly makes it even more challenging. It would be really nice to have a break from it.



Even though hurricane season is over, we still have some nasty storms. We have had torrential downpours, lightning, power outages, strong winds, and more tornado warnings than I care to count (including one touchdown not too far away from my house).


Northeners avoid going out in snow, Floridians try not to head out in the rain. It’s just the way it is.


While we’re on the topic of weather… Humidity seems to have become a year-round complaint. We expect it in the summer, but winter humidity is its own beast. For some reason, humid cold is colder than regular cold. Ironically, it seems to make you sweat more, which ends up making you even colder, and it’s just a huge mess. Not a fan.


Short days.

Our days probably are a little longer than in regions north of us, but I still don’t like late sunrises and early sunsets. It messes with my body clock and my emotions. I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one who gets down from the additional darkness. I feel like I’m always running in the dark, and it would be nice to benefit from some of our beautiful sunrises, and get to see more of the sights along the way.


I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I confess to missing snowy winters. I mean, the fresh, crisp, new-fallen snow. Not the sludgey, mucky old snow that’s been driven on.


There’s a difference.

I know it would get old fast, and my toes would be soggy and frozen, but there is something about the shine of a new day on the crust of a fresh snow. The air seems cleaner, and possibilities seem endless.


I really can’t complain too much.  At least not until July, when the sharks start migrating close to the coast, the love bugs start loving  and the air is so thick you can cut it with a knife. We’ll need to reprise this with a “Five Summer Running Rants” at that point.

What are your winter running rants?

Do you prefer winter or summer for fitness?



race report: daytona beach lap the track 3.1 {2.5.2017}

The Daytona Beach Half Marathon and 3.1 Mile Lap the Track  came across my radar a few years ago, when I saw the event being promoted at a booth at an expo. I thought it sounded really fun and unique (that whole running on a NASCAR racetrack thing), the bling was pretty awesome, and the theming was cool.

For a host of reasons, scheduling never really worked out, until this year. Mr PugRunner wanted to do a 5K as a family, heralding his return to running (yay!), but the one he chose was the same day as little man’s Pinewood Derby.

I was more than happy to save the day by announcing that the 3.1 Mile Lap the Track event was the day after Pinewood Derby, only an hour away, and not super early… wouldn’t it be perfect????

And so we registered.

tape edges

Since we didn’t want to make two trips to Daytona, we elected to pick up our packets on race morning. Even though the 5K didn’t start until 10:30 AM (there was a half marathon that started at 7:30, with the 5K immediately following for those who wanted to run both the races for a Speedway Challenge), we agreed to arrive around 9:15, in case of traffic and parking. I was also hoping to meet up with Jaime to run some miles with her as she completed her half that morning.

We hit no traffic and were directed to a spot in the infield. Packet pickup was easy as pie (the only “problem” was that they were out of shirts for little man and gave him a choice of a larger size of the cotton shirt, or the correct size of the tech challenge shirt).

We pinned on our bibs and I set out to try to find the end of the half marathon route while the boys hung out at the finish line to cheer.

I ran about two miles through the infield of the Daytona Speedway, before realizing there was pretty much no way out for me. I texted Jaime to let her know that I was stuck, before rejoining the guys.

We wandered around a little to shake out our legs, even climbing to the top of the racetrack. I had no clue how steep it was!

And then it was time to go.

Little man kept saying he wanted to run ahead, so I told Mr PugRunner that I would stay with him. I wanted him to focus on his own race without worrying about his knee.

And then we were off.

It was REALLY cool to lap that track. Most of the 5K took place right there on the Speedway, with maybe 1/2 – 3/4 of a mile as an out-and-back loop outside the track. It wasn’t necessarily interesting, but it was unique and fun.

But back to little man. Traditionally, he starts his runs very strong with great enthusiasm, and then fizzles out quickly. There are a few 5Ks he’s asked to do, only to have us get to the day of the race and insist he really didn’t want to do it, which doesn’t make for a fun time for anyone. I don’t ever want to push him, but it’s a fine line between providing encouragement, honoring commitments and keeping patience.

He sprinted out hard, and I kept him in sight. In his runs with us and at school’s run club, he knows run/walk intervals, and we had talked about running until the crowd thinned out a bit. I just followed his lead until he slowed, and then I suggested we run a little, then walk a little. We fell pretty quickly into a groove, and we went about two miles enjoying the event, which was unprecedented for him.

In the last mile, he started a bit of complaining. He had a side stitch, and those can be completely uncomfortable. That being said, we didn’t break our intervals, and kept pushing forward. Usually, when he’s had enough, he slows down to a crawl, but this time, he kept going. I confided to him that my foot was hurting me, but I wasn’t complaining. He asked me why I was still running and I explained because I wanted to, because I wanted to finish this race for myself and for him, and because I can run when so many people can’t. That running can and does hurt sometimes, but it makes us strong, too. That we had a choice to let the discomfort drag us down or we could choose to dig deep and finish this thing.

I don’t know if he was entirely convinced, but he did stop the negativity and we reentered the track for the finish. At that point, things got fun. I kept him running to the pre-finish photographers, and then I leaned super close to him and said “let’s beat all these people to the finish.”

He couldn’t resist taking off.

This kid? He PR’d by five whole minutes!!!!

And Mr PugRunner finished strong, too!

We collected our bling and found Jaime. I was so happy to give her a huge hug. And then we started making plans for next year’s race.

Post-race offered free beer for runners and there were concessions and food trucks available as well. We opted to take the short drive to Red Robin for burgers, instead.

I loved this race. It was well-organized and well-executed. Volunteers and staff played into the theme wearing pit crew jumpsuits and everyone was very friendly and helpful. Everything from the bibs to the shirts and medals was excellent quality, and I loved that half marathoners also got a beach towel, and challenge finishers got an extra medal and a jacket.

I am fairly sure that next year, Jaime and I are going to take on the Relay Challenge. Neither one of us is up for a February half, but it would be fun to get some more of the Daytona sights on our run.

This was the perfect family race!

Have you ever run on a Speedway?

What’s the most unique venue you’ve ever raced?

tuesdays on the run: stuff i love about running

Happy Valentine’s Day!

For the past few years, my traditional February 14th gift has been an entry to the Space Coast Half Marathon. 2017’s event will be the fifth and final year of the Big Bang Series (I get the Atlantis AND the Intergalactic Finisher medals!), so Mr PugRunner will be thrilled to know it’s time to look for a new race to gift 🙂


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

Tuesdays on the Run

Today’s topic is in honor of Valentine’s Day:

So, this running thing. It’s hard, and it hurts. It demands dedication and sweat, and has been known to cause heartbreak.

What’s to love?

I’m going to tell you.

The endorphins.

There is a feeling after you run: the high of all those neurotransmitters firing like crazy, filling you with a general, indescribable … bliss?  There’s really nothing like it, and it’s a rewarding way to end a run session, no question. No matter how awful the miles seemed at the time, I am 99.99% sure no one has ever actually regretted a run, and I chalk that up to the great way you feel after a workout.

Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 12.02.48 PM

The realization you can do something you never thought you could.

I was pretty sure I would never run farther than a mile. Even when I registered for my first half marathon, I was pretty positive there was no way I could finish. I struggled hard during the marathon distance, but I crossed that finish line on my feet. Who knew??? While I don’t know that another marathon is in the cards for me, I love the idea of a 30K, and maybe some more Ragnar events. Because now I know I can.

The adventure.

Running has opened so many doors for me. I’ve met incredible people, gone to beautiful places, and tried some really cool things. Had I not started running, I feel like I would have missed out on so much.

The confidence.

Running has given me an incredible gift: confidence. First, it was the confidence to wear shorts in public. Then it was the confidence to run in the daylight. And it’s evolved from there, growing into the confidence to do hard things. Things like SUP. And rock climbing. And even aerial work.

A few years ago, these aren’t things I would have even attempted. Now, I’m eager to see how I can challenge myself next!

The community.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. I have made the most amazing friends through running. People who are supportive and encouraging. People who get up at the crack of dawn to help you through rough miles, and cheer for you at the finish line. People who talk you through your anxieties and offer advice. People who believe in you and want you to succeed.

I have so honored to have made friends in other cities, states and even countries. The connections are truly incredible. I never knew anything like this running community existed and it’s something to which I always want to be a contributing member.

What’s some stuff you love about running?

What’s your favorite Valentine’s gift?

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