runfessions: black friday edition

It’s Black Friday, and we are here again to runfess and lay it all out there.

Let’s join up with Marcia’s Healthy Slice for a shop-til-you-drop edition of Runfessions!

I runfess…

That I’ve never been into Black Friday. I usually don’t shop very often, and the idea of chasing after random sales with thousands of other people just doesn’t feel like my jam. Now, I do admit that it sounds like it could be fun to be out all night after Thanksgiving, and wrapping up with a big breakfast, but obviously this is not the year to try. I’ll be sticking to online shopping for the next week.

I runfess…

That even with that admission, I’ve been shopping quite a bit this week. Now that most of our furniture is here, I’m going crazy getting accent pieces and replacing older elements in our home. I just found some cute things for our new coffee table, and I finally replaced all our prep bowls, measuring cups, and spoons. Regrets? Not a one.

I runfess…

That Delilah gave us quite the scare this week. Mr PugRunner was delirious with worry, and I was incredibly nervous about the prognosis. We are VERY lucky that she has improved so well, and the vet sees no reason that she won’t continue on this path. Huge sigh of relief, and lots of cuddles for this beautiful baby.

I runfess…

That it sucked not running an in-person Turkey Trot this year. The one closest to my house was canceled entirely, and the next closest one was supposed to have about 2000 people, which felt like way too many. My friend J and I went out for five miles on our own this morning, and it was a fantastic run, but not quite the same.

I runfess…

That I am READY for the holiday season! I missed out on so much last year with my leg, and now I am ready to up for all of it. I put together a countdown for our family, and I am so looking forward to crossing things off the list. It’s a mix of kindness elements, and fun things for us, so I feel we are getting some balance in the month ahead.

Black Friday runfessions are in the bag. What are you runfessing this Black Friday?


reasons i’m grateful for running

Thanksgiving ii tomorrow, and even though I didn’t really feel in the celebrating mood, the holiday will come whether I want it to or not. Of course, I can salvage my less-than-stellar attitude by remembering all the reasons I’m grateful for running. Somehow, it’s hard to be negative when you’re being thankful.


Running has made me so strong, stronger than I ever though I could be. It’s taught me how to persevere and overcome. I’ve learned how to conquer pain, and the voices in my head that tell me I can’t. Through my experiences in running, I’ve claimed victory over injury and found myself able to keep moving to the next goals. These are such valuable lessons, for which I am so grateful.

winter break


Initially, I started running to support my husband in his journey to getting healthier. Of course, a side effect of that is that I got healthier on my own. For the most part, running helps me sleep better, encourages me to eat better, and helps me stay well (obviously the pandemic messes with the eating and sleeping, but we take what we can get). I am so grateful for that gift.

New Adventures

One of my goals is to run a race in every state, which helps me see so many incredible new things. I’m only at seven states, so far, but once things are opened up again, I fully intend to increase that number, and fast. I am so grateful to get to travel, and get to see so many new and beautiful things, while doing something I love.


The running community is truly incredible, and I am so grateful. Before I started in the sport, I assumed runners would be closed off and standoffish, and, man, was I wrong. I found myself welcomed with open arms, and I so appreciated that acceptance. From the community, I’ve gotten tips, advice, and so much support. There’s really nothing like it.


Most importantly, I am grateful for the friends I’ve made along the way. Never in a million years did I think I would find such incredible people through one sport. There are so many women and men who have been such an integral part of my life, and I don’t know what I would do without them.

What are the reasons you’re grateful for running?

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week 47: when it’s hard to be grateful

If you know anything about me, it’s that I try to be positive at all costs. I look for silver linings and bright spots. Glasses are half full, rainstorms bring rainbows, and there is always something for which to be grateful. After this week, it’s getting harder and harder to count blessings.

We are struggling with Delilah’s health. It was a very long and scary weekend with her, and we still don’t have all our answers. Best case scenario, she will have a full dental and extraction procedure on Friday and all will be well. We won’t talk about worst case.

Monday also marks the one year anniversary of my accident. I am not usually one who swells on things like this, but I have been extremely anxious and edgy about the day, and I want to skip the rest of November altogether.

Sunday – 3.09 miles, walking

Even though we were out super late at dinner, I still got up for some movement. It felt like the right thing to do.

I am pleased to report that I haven’t noticed too many residual aches or pains after my long run days, which I find super encouraging. I’m not planning to up my days or my miles just yet,

Monday – 4.26 miles, walking

And so began A’s last week of school before break! Whoo hoo! I think that motivated me through my morning miles.

His allergies have been acting up, so he was in a bit of a mood, making the work drag a little longer than it needed to be. So close to the end of the semester. So close.

Tuesday – 4.75 miles running + 1.53 miles, walking

Yay for a nice run!

For some reason, we were all very irritable. I don’t know if it was the weather or the weirdness surrounding the holidays this year. We ended up going out for dinner and that helped break up some of the crankiness.

Wednesday – 3.67 miles, walking

Another beautiful morning. The weather has been so perfect for outside time. I hustled out for my walk.

My neighbor asked me if I would help her with her service mini horse. He had a scheduled appearance and she needed someone to assist. I was so happy to do it – I’m always down for some animal time, and this mini is the cutest. He’s also the most stubborn, and our morning did not go as planned.

While I was just happy to be there, she offered to let me ride her other horse, but I’m not ready yet. My leg is stronger but I don’t trust it in the saddle yet. I did happily take her up on grooming him, and my reward was that this beautiful boy fell asleep on my shoulder as I was hugging him.

Thursday – 4.75 miles, running + 1.55 miles, walking

The morning started on the correct foot. It was chilly and we had a great run.

Instead of going home to take a hot shower, I went to grab a coffee, and along the way, my Raynaud’s flared up. Blah.

I didn’t get ahead of it fast enough and managed to get quite a nasty chill. Even bundling up with a hot coffee drink instead of iced didn’t help me out. I spent most of the day in bed, and came to the conclusion that my insomnia and lack of appetite were all contributing factors to my unwellness.

Delilah had a vet appointment. She was a little off this week, and we wanted to get her checked. The first order of business was that she would need a full dental (ugh), but we would have to wait on her labs.

Friday –  rest day

Mr PugRunner asked me not to set my alarm, and to take the day off, which had been my plan. I was also thrilled to wake up feeling like a new woman. Delilah had a rough morning, but seemed mostly ok. I was happy to just hang out and keep an eye on her.

A submitted his last assignment before the holiday week. Normally, all his work is done on Thursday, but he had a few papers that needed a little extra attention, so we scheduled that time.

I also got two awesome surprises – I had almost forgotten about this virtual packet!

And this tank arrived from my blogger Elfster gift exchange. I don’t know who sent it, yet, but I love it and can’t wait to wear it to my Sandy Claus 10K in a few weeks!

Later in the day, D started too struggle a bit with breathing. Mr PugRunner scheduled her dental cleaning for the Friday after Thanksgiving and came home with antibiotics and painkillers, even though all her labs came back clean. We sat with her, trying to keep her calm and safe, but by 9:30, he felt better taking her to the emergency vet. As you can imagine, it was a very, very long night.

Saturday – 5 miles, running

It was a long and sleepless night for most of us. Mr PugRunner left at 6AM to pick up Delilah, but when he got there, they advised that she wasn’t weaning off the oxygen as quickly as they hoped, so they asked to keep her longer. Ugh.

Of course I was a nervous wreck. I bailed on my 8 miler (it didn’t help that it was raining) but tried again a few hours later. It was hot and I had eaten something so my stomach was sloshy. J came with me and we managed five and then I came home to play the waiting game.

She was cleared from the oxygen chamber and spent the day weaning off the O2 until we picked her up at 6. She was thrilled to be home, and we were thrilled to have her.


Obviously, my miles were off this week. Oh, and somewhere along the line, I fell off the Abvember Challenge wagon. My lower back started hurting and when I gel so awful on Thursday with more pain, I gave up the idea of making up any time I’ve missed. Bailing on a challenge bums me out, but I’m not down to be laid up again.

On to Big D. As a pug, Delilah suffers from brachycephalic airway obstructive syndrome. We aren’t sure, right now, what the best course of treatment will be, but we are hoping she is just stressed out because she needs some dental work (which she is scheduled to receive this week).

This week, I’m going to focus on cooking a nice dinner for our small family, and making a kindness and holiday countdown in advance of December. we need things to look forward to this year, probably more than ever after this week.

On Thursday, I plan to run a 5K in honor of turkey day, even though it won’t be an official race. I’m kind of sad about that, but I will make it work on my own.

And just because we need some more cuteness, here’s Luna, waiting for sissy to come home.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

the best black friday deals for every runner

Black Friday is almost here, although things will most certainly be different this years for stores and shoppers alike. To be honest, Black Friday was never really my thing. I don’t love shopping on a good day, and Black Friday just seems like so many people and so many things. I usually opt out unless there’s something I absolutely need. In truth, our Black Friday tradition was to hang at home all morning, and then head to the outdoor mall to visit Santa and grab late lunch or early dinner.

black friday deals

In some cases, sales have already started, as some stores decide to stay closed or keep shoppers to a minimum in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RoadID – up to 80% off

If you don’t have a RoadID yet (or if you want to stock up on stocking stuffers), now is the time. RoadID is offering up to 80% off their IDs, plates, apparel and accessories, to beat the Black Friday rush.

You know I swear by RoadID and don’t leave home without one. Mr. PugRunner, A, and even the pugs have their own, too! Have fun choosing your width, color, and style and be sure to share the love with your runner friends.

FRÉ Skincare

Have you heard of FRÉ Skincare (affiliate link)? FRÉ was created and formulated for active women, whether they are athletes or just maintain an active lifestyle. My skin is super sensitive and picky and I have had awesome results with the 123FRÉ system. Products are vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, won’t clog pores and are good for all skin types.

Right now, you can get 40% off any three products on the FRÉ website (with free shipping, expires today), or you can hold out for their Black Friday sales, which promise to be epic. Use code JENNL any time you purchase, and remember, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

ArmPocket – 20% off with code SHOPEARLY

Armpocket is my favorite armband. I’ve been wearing them for YEARS, as the only band to keep my phone secure while running. In fact, now is that perfect time to snag a new one (especially since I just upgraded my phone and it no longer fits! 20% off with code SHOPEARLY is the way to go!

Brooks Running

Keep an eye on the Brooks website. Right now, all older model shoes are on sale, BUT shoppers can score this adorable holiday-themed running shirt while supplies last. Mr PugRunner and I both wear Brooks shoes, and this is the perfect time for backup shoes, for you or someone you love.

courtesy of


Right now, Amazon, Walmart, and the Garmin website are LOADED with deals on Garmin GPS watches. Looking to upgrade or replace your current model? Want to surprise your favorite runner or offer some encouragement to someone just starting on their fitness journey. You can comparison shop these locations (among others) for just the right deal.

courtesy of

Your Local Running Store or Race Company

Ok, I confess I don’t know what your local running store or race directors is offering this Black Friday, if anything. However, after the year we’ve had, now is a great time to offer support to the organizations that help us the most, as runners. Get your next pair of shoes, shop for a cute running outfit, or sign up for a race, even if it’s virtual. Your support will help these companies keep their heads above water until business returns to “normal.” <3

What’s on your shopping list for Black Friday? Are you keeping up with your regular Black Friday traditions?

Join the Runner’s Roundup!

Link up each week to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.

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Click here to enter

week 45: the storms before the calm

Since it’s 2020, obviously everything is backwards, upside down, and screwed up. We spent the earlier part of the week prepping for a Tropical Storm (weeks after hurricane season ended), and I turned my mind to planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until New Year’s! 2020 can exit stage right!

Sunday – 3.07 miles, walking + 100 pushups

Finally, I got a decent night’s sleep. My insomnia has gotten worse and worse as the year progresses, and it can be hard to wake with the alarm.

I also hopped back into the Abvember challenge, after taking a day off. I just didn’t have the energy after 13.1 miles.

Mr PugRunner made a lengthy trip to the grocery store. He wanted to stock up on some supplies, just in case the storm ended up being worse than anticipated. We haven’t had to pay much attention to the tropics this year, and it was weird prepping so late.

Monday – 4.05 miles, walking + 100 sit-ups

Monday morning walks are so necessary to getting back into the swing of the week. Sometimes, you just have to fake it til you make it, right?

Tuesday – 4.6 miles running + 2.19 miles, walking + 10:00 of planks

It’s frustrating that we can have such beautiful running days, and then other days are just so hot and humid. Ugh. But what else can we do but smile through it?

A had his virtual cooking club, and this week, they got to make quiche. He chose to add provolone, bacon and spinach to his recipe, and it was quite delicious. Cooking club has my fullest support.

Normally, Tuesday nights are date nights, but I wasn’t feeling up to going out. Mr PugRunner brought in tteakout from our regular restaurant, and we enjoyed a nice meal on the couch at home. It was kind of a nice break.

Wednesday – 4.38 miles, walking + 100 pushups

On Wednesday, we celebrated Veteran’s Day. I walked through a nearby neighborhood where they had a gorgeous display of flags, honoring all branches of service and our POWs. It was so inspiring to see them all fluttering in the morning breeze.

Technically, A didn’t have school for the holiday, but since it’s virtual, he took his class and got the work done anyway. Mr PugRunner also spent some time at home, which was nice.

Thursday – 3.00 miles, running + 100 sit ups

We woke up to the first bands of Tropical Storm Eta. Since it was only slightly drizzling, we decided to give it a go. By mile two, the winds had given way to a fairly heavy rain, and we ended up calling it at three.

My shoes may still be wet.

By afternoon, it was mostly cleared up – A had done all his schoolwork on Wednesday just in case of a power outage, so we had a long weekend with few responsibilities.

Friday –  4.40 miles, walking + 10:00 planks

Another Friday. I was pretty well looking forward to the weekend, even if we did get some more fog and rain.

After my workout, I went to grab coffee and was pleasantly surprised that the person in the car ahead of me paid for my order. I didn’t realize it was World Kindness Day until l got home.

I paid it forward by gifting a Starbucks gift card to a neighbor. Giving always feels so good.

Saturday – 8 miles, running + 1.31 walking

After last weekend’s half marathon, I made the executive decision to settle in at eight miles for the next few weeks. I see no harm in getting a bitt more comfortable there before bumping up to nine and ten miles.

This run was special, because J and I wore teal and purple in honor of the Foundation of Suicide Prevention and Awareness. We dedicated our miles to a friend’s father, who lost his life to suicide last year.

While we wrapped up, A spent some time packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child. We are definitely going to spend some time working on our giving and kindness this year. I think it will be good for our souls.


A solid week, even though I did get shorted some miles thanks to the storm. It happens. I hope to make it up this week.

This is our last week before A gets Thanksgiving Break. At his public school, he only ever had Wednesday – Friday off, but FLVS offers a full week. Whoo hoo! I want to find fun things to do, but with the uptick in COVID cases (knock on wood, our area still seems to hover on the edge of “ok”), I’m also thinking about making a run to the store for crafts and activities and spending the week at home.

I have not been quite so dedicated to Abvember, but I’m trying. Somtimes, these challenges are great, but they get difficult (especially if I’m out of the house or in the car, and can’t drop for 10 sit-ups right this second).

Now I have to switch gears for Thanksgiving. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not interested in celebrating at all this year, but I know the boys expect something, so I will get it together. Blah.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

Any big victories this week?

(virtual) race report: team nuun half marathon [11.7.20]

When I broke my leg in November of last year, the main thing on my mind was getting back to running longer distances. I was aware that I might be way slower and have a harder time recovering in the aftermath of my injury, but I was comfortable with that.

My plan was to run the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon in December. Of course, that was until the pandemic came along and forced most large events to go virtual or cancel.

But then Team Nuun offered a virtual half marathon to its ambassadors. I wasn’t sure if I should put myself out there. Running a half marathon on my own didn’t seem at all like something I wanted to take on, but since Memphis was certainly off, I decided to give it a go.

team nuun half marathon

The Weeks Before

Every week, Team Nuun sent out a training plan for the 2500 half marathon participants. It was a solid plan, although a bit more intense than I could handle. At the moment, I’m not comfortable running more than three days a week. I’d love to bump it to four, but I’m not there, yet.

As November 7 got closer, my nerves began to get the best of me. I waffled quite a bit about whether or not I was going to attempt the distance. It just seemed so very far out of reach. Of course, in my head, I knew I could actually traverse the miles, but I wanted to be strong.

I reached out to J, and asked if she wanted to join me for a few miles. She’s training for a 10K, so I hoped she might be in for a bit, whether I finished or not. We had a plan.

Virtual Race Morning

I woke up on the Saturday in question, not really sure what was going to happen. It had been one heck of a week and my nerves were frayed. The weather had been up and down, and my ankle was stiff and had plenty to say to me. Though it wasn’t raining when i planned to leave the house, it had rained overnight and the ground was slippery.

Failure to plan is planning to fail, however. I set up a small aid station in my driveway, with some Nuun tablets and a pouch of Justin’s almond butter. The idea was that I could swing by the house when I needed some hydration and fuel.

Miles 0 – 2

Before you continue, I want you to know this is not going to be one of those super exciting race reports. There was no cute outfit. I took no selfies of us making what seemed like endless loops of the neighborhood. I have no scenery or cool animals or wonderful sights to offer. This is just me, and my friend, and my husband, putting our heads down and gritting it out on a hot and humid Florida Saturday.

So I really wanted to get up super early and hit the road, to get the bulk of my run done by the time I met up with J. For some reason, I was so tired when the alarm went off, and I just snoozed for an inexcusable amount of time.

The fault is mine, but I managed to snag two miles before I came upon J leaving her house.

Miles 2 – 8

J really wants to race a 10Kk, so her goal is building up to that distance. I’m happy to be along for that ride, and so we took ourselves out for six miles together. It was great that I had set up my little aid station, because we both took part in it. Our neighborhood is perfectly laid out to make it easy to loop back to one’s house, so in that regard, we were well set.

Since her shins had been hurting, I dropped our intervals down to 1:30/1 (we usually do 3/1), just to make sure I could take my time on the wet pavement and she could keep an eye on her legs. It worked just fine.

Miles 8 – 9.5

When we hit 8 miles, we switched to walking. At this point, I had decided that I was ok with a DNF. My right toes were tingling with nerves, and I knew when we parted ways, I wasn’t going to have the motivation to continue on my own. This wasn’t really like me, but sometimes, it’s just not your day.

Enter Mr PugRunner.

J and I were just about to split up (me for my house, her for hers), when we bumped into Mr PugRunner. He had a rest day from his plan, but wanted to walk his virtual Alzheimer’s 5K. I did some quick calculations, and thought that if I had a walking partner, I could totally finish the half! He said he was ok with company (sometimes, he likes to be alone), and so off we went!

Miles 9.5 – 13.1

At this point, I regretted everything. I was so happy to be out there supporting Mr PugRunner on his walk, but it was hot and I was starting to get hungry for more than just almond butter. Ugh. At one point, I mentioned that I just wanted to go home, but it would be stupid to quit with just one mile to go. Mr PugRunner agreed (he’s good like that), and so we went on together until I hit the 13.1 mile mark!



While I didn’t register for this event with any hope of receiving anything (shocking, I know) but the joy of completing a half marathon, I did get a special bonus.

1500 participants received a special Team Nuun Half Marathon in the mail, and I about jumped for joy when I opened my mailbox to this sparkly package!

Friends, there is still a lot of work to do. This is not how I would want an in-person half marathon to go, but I am really grateful that I was able to complete 13.1 miles, less than a year from a truly major injury. I’m proud of myself for not giving up (although I think I would have been ok with the DNF in this situation), and I am looking forward to a chance to try my hand (or legs) at the next event)

Have you run a virtual half marathon?

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Link up each week to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.

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Click here to enter

week 44: time for the holiday season?

Now that Halloween is in our rearview mirror, the rest of the holiday season is upon us. I do usually love these last few months of the year, but there is so much uncertainty that it’s just one more thing we have to get through. For A’s sake, I’m really trying to get myself together to give him a great holiday season.

Sunday – 3.25 miles, walking

Halloween and falling back meant no one was getting up with an alarm. We all slept in and then I wandered out for a bit of walk.

I am not ashamed to admit we were LAZY for the rest of the day. Super, super, super lazy. We ate leftovers and candy and watched tv and that was that.

Monday – 4.08 miles, walking + 100 pushups

I felt a bit more “with it” on Monday. I popped up and headed out for a good walk, and then started my Abvember Challenge: 10 pushups an hour for 10 hours.

I still hate the early sunsets, but each day it gets a little easier. We go through this every year, and I don’t know why it always comes as a shock.

Tuesday – 4.51 miles running + 1.92 miles, walking + 100 sit ups

Tuesday was Election Day. I had already voted, so J and I headed out for our run to work out some of the stress. It was actually pretty chilly out, too, which made the run so much more pleasant.

It was a fabulous morning, and for Abvember, I worked on situps.

Mr PugRunner and I had dinner out while A did some leadership training for Scouts, and then we settled in with wine to watch the results. We lasted until 11PM, before giving up and calling it a night.

Wednesday – 3.85 miles, walking + 10:00 of planks

Happy anniversary to Mr PugRunner and me! On Wednesday, we celebrated 14 years of marriage. Hurray!

He went to the gym, and I headed out for a walk.

For lunch, we went to Congaree & Penn, a local farm that offers delicious food, homemade cider, and tours. After our lunch, we wandered around to see the animals and enjoy the property.

In the evening, we went out for a family dinner. It was nice to share the time together.

And yes, in between all that, I still managed ten 1:00 planks through the day! Go me!

Thursday – 4.60 miles, running + 2.00 miles, walking + 100 pushups

Even though we were out late, I still managed to get up for another run. It was sticky and humid, but we slogged it out.

In the meantime, A went to the skate park with his friend. He loves those mornings, and he’s getting more comfortable with some of his tricks.

And back to pushups. My abs were feeling it, for sure.

I had a monthly call with A’s homeroom teacher – we review his progress and discuss how he’s doing. It was a short call. He’s doing really well, and we are all looking forward to the end of the virtual semester.

Friday –  3.15 miles, walking + 100 sit ups

TGIF! First up? A walk! I had to dodge the raindrops, so that wasn’t fun.

From there, I snagged a holiday beverage from Starbucks and went to get my hair done. My stylist is taking me lighter over a few appointments to keep everything healthy, but I do really love how it’s going. I want to end up with some ashy highlights, but it’s taking some time to get there.

The Hurricanes played that night, but I was just worn out and found myself in bed by 8:30. I just couldn’t handle anymore stress and uncertainty. On the plus side, they won!

Saturday – 13.1 miles, running + walking

And then, it was Saturday. I had registered for the Team Nuun Ambassador Half Marathon a few months ago, and was really working hard towards it. However, my confidence was shaken and I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to complete the miles.

In the morning, I went out. My plan was to run my intervals for eight miles, and see how I felt. My nerve pain was acting up and the ground was slippery from all the rain, so I took it nice and carefully. J came out to join me for about 6.5 miles of that distance, and then we switched to walking.

I was almost home when we ran into Mr PugRunner. He was out doing the Alzheimer’s Virtual 5K walk and I asked if I could join him. That would put me super close to 13.1 miles, and there would be no excuses not to finish.

It wasn’t pretty, but I did it!

I don’t think I moved much the rest of the day. I was very happy to snack and snooze. We’ll call it recovery.


So, holy moly! I did a half marathon! It wasn’t quite how I wanted it to be, but considering I didn’t think I would be able to do it at a all, I’ll take it.

Abvember is also progressing smoothly. My abs are angry about it, but I think that’s kind of the point.

There is a hurricane moving towards Florida tomorrow morning. While we aren’t expected to get the bulk of it here, we may see the backend – it has a bit of a bizarre path, which makes perfect sense because 2020. I hope everyone stays safe.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

Any big victories this week?

an election ultimate coffee date

So the 2020 US General Election is on Day 73,412, and here were are in November.

Join us for this month’s Ultimate Coffee Date. After reading here, head on over to visit Coco and Deborah, our awesome link-up hosts.

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Over coffee, I would tell you…

Mr PugRunner and I celebrated 14 years of marriage this week. Normally, we would go on a small vacation in honor of our special day, but clearly, that’s not in the cards this year. Instead, we had a nice lunch at a local farm, and then a family dinner on the patio of a really nice restaurant in the historic downtown. It was nice to take that little break in the middle of the week.

Over coffee, I would tell you…

I’ve been glued to Twitter and all the television coverage of the 2020 election. I like to see all the sides, so I’ve been switching between pretty much all the stations. It’s amazing now differently all the analysts are treating the situations. While I know I am driving myself to anxiety with the back and forth, I can’t look away from any of it. I am the same way about hurricane coverage.

courtesy of Associated Press, as of 11/6/20 at 10:00AM EST

Over coffee, I would tell you…

That it’s time for a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha (with whip, of course). I usually go for iced coffees at Dunkin, but every so often, a festive, mint and chocolate laced drink is just the ticket.

courtesy of Starbucks

Over coffee, I would tell you…

That I joined up with the most ridiculous November challenge: Abvember. I don’t remember who encouraged this nonsense, but holy moly!

I don’t know which of these three exercises is the worst, but I’m getting them done.

Over coffee, I would tell you…

That I am not really looking forward to Thanksgiving. It’s the one year anniversary of my fall, and it fills me with all kinds of anxiety. I don’t know how any plans are going to shake out and I am just over the uncertainty. It’s not my most favorite holiday anyway. Maybe we can skip it.

And there it is. Hope you are having a wonderful November!

How about you? Are you doing any kind of November Challenge? What would you tell me over coffee?

race report: cottonmouth quarter marathon + 5k (10.31.20)

Almost 11 months after I slipped on the stairs and snapped two bones in my leg, I found myself at the start line of the Cottonmouth Quarter Marathon & 5k!

Yes, it was a live, in-person race, one of the first since COVID-19 led to lockdowns in our area. It was a long time coming, thanks to both a serious injury and a devastating pandemic, but I felt somewhat confident this would be a good place to start.

cottonmouth quarter marathon

The Cottonmouth Quarter Marathon and 5K has been in existence for several years. For one reason or another, I just never got around to running it.

The race takes place in Elkton, which is basically farm country. Packet pickup and race day both took place at Sykes Family Farm, which had just closed their pumpkin patch for the season.

On Friday afternoon, I made the drive to the farm (about 20 minutes) to pick up packets for myself, Mr PugRunner, and my running buddy J. I figured it would be best to get that out of the way, even though the runner field was small. Pickup was outside, and the participants social distanced and wore masks while collected their race shirts, chipped bibs, and “goodie bag” (a pencil and Farm Bureau bumper sticker).

For the first time in forever, I got to assemble a flat runner. I went with Halloween colors – orange and green.

The race started at 7:45 AM, so we planned for a 7:00 departure. We carpooled with J and her husband: we have all been engaging in similar social distancing practices, so our families do socialize in these times.

We took the back way to the race, which meant we got stuck at the start line setup and had to redirect to the front entrance of the farm. Whoops. In our defense, I don’t recall seeing that mentioned anywhere, but the volunteers were cool about it and we parked without further incident.

It was a beautiful morning, cool and clear. There was plenty of room to distance from the other runners, so we milled about, and visited some of the adorable farm animals.

All races need animals. And beautiful sunrises.

Soon, it was time to gather at the start line. Again, everyone was very respectful with distancing, so even though we had our masks with us, we never felt close enough to anyone to need them.

The race organizers noticed that there were long lines at the portapotties, so they opted to hold the start until everyone was finished. I was so ready to go, but it was kind of them to allow for that. Again, since there weren’t a ton of runners, the delay was maybe eight to ten minutes, and I’m sure it was appreciated.

Participants registered for either a 5K or a Quarter Marathon (roughly 6.55 miles), and the course was easy: run about 1/4 mile down the road, turn left, run to the 5K or Quarter Marathon turnaround, and come on back.

I hate out and backs, especially with such a major straightaway, but OMG we were RACING! FOR REAL! All was forgiven.

Since the race was chip timed, we were able to shuffle to the start line without crowding and then we were off. Everyone separated out into their paces fairly quickly, and the road was wide enough for all the participants to space out.

J and I stuck together, with 3:1 intervals. It was just a touch warmer than I had hoped for, and we were in the full sun the entire time, but we kept a nice pace, definitely much quicker than we run in training.

Before long, we hit the turnaround and back we came. It was funny because we usually chat so much during our runs, but this time, our focus was on the road ahead, and we were much quieter. I missed the conversation, but I also felt so strong.

And then we were at the finish line – J’s husband had made the cutest sign and he cheered us in!

We collected our medals, cheered Mr PugRunner to his finish, and then popped back in the farm to take our finisher photos in the sunflower field.

Mr PugRunner ran a new PR! And J earned third place in her age group! I was so proud of and happy for them both, and I was also so proud to have gotten a chance to do what I love.

Back at the car, I pulled out some cans of rosé I had brought to celebrate a job well done by us all! I wanted to do something special for everyone, and it was a hit.

And of course, the medals were super cute: they double as bottle openers! I was thrilled to have earned a real-life medal to hang on my rack.

All in all, this was a great experience. It was small, felt safe, and was clearly much-loved by everyone participating that day. Everyone was all smiles, and seemed so happy to be there. It was so good to be a part of the joy and passion of the day, and I would absolutely come out again.

Next up? A 10K in December! It’s on!

Have you been back to in-person racing?

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week 43: trick or treat + into november

Happy November! Or at least, that’s what I’m telling myself. I think we have all struggled with keeping a positive mindset this past year, but I keep trying to talk myself into it.

Sunday – 2.62 miles, walking

After eight miles on Saturday, I wanted just a bit of a walk. That’s exactly what I got.

Then I worked on trying to get the house back together. It feels so great to have purged so much, and now I’m taking my time with accent pieces, framed photos and wall decor.

Monday – 4.20 miles, walking

I woke up feeling very energized. I headed out for a brisk walk, got A all set up with school, and then headed out to vote.

Early voting was open in my county, and everything went super smoothly. No lines, no wait, and the volunteers were incredible.

I usually take A with me, but I really wasn’t sure what to expect this year. I did get him a future voter sticker, though, which promptly found a place of honor on his longboard.

We have talked a lot about this election, and the importance of voting. I hope it sticks with him.

Tuesday – 4.50 miles running + 1.71 miles, walking

Tuesday’s run was hard. The company was great but my leg was angry and it was so humid. Yuck. This called for lots and lots of iced coffee.

That afternoon, A’s friend came over. They were both going to make dinner, working along with the FLVS virtual Cooking Club. The club had a Disney chef lead them through a Thai Red Curry, and the end results were delicious. They are now inspired to make a three course dinner for both our families, and I am absolutely here for it.

Wednesday – 8 miles, cycling


I thought that trading up some walking for cycling would be absurdly smart, but I very much regretted that decision. The ride left me bored and annoyed.

Cycling just isn’t my jam, I guess.

Mr. PugRunner had a late meeting, so A and I were on our own for the night. It was nice to spend some time with him, doing the evening activities.

Thursday – 4.50 miles, running + 1.36 miles, walking

Another tough run. It’s frustrating when you want to go, but outside factors make it so much harder. Humidity and heat can be a runner’s worst enemies, but we pushed through as best we could.

Friday –  4.26 miles, walking

Finally, we had a drop in the temps, and I had to wear long sleeves for the morning’s walk. It was heavenly.

A finally carved our jack-o-lantern in the likeness of “the child,” right no time for the season premier of The Mandalorian. I helped with some of the smaller details, but he did the rest.

We also made a run by IKEA for a few essentials. Our front living room is finally taking shape. I’m still looking at armchairs, but so far, the improvement is incredible.

Later, I made a drive to Sykes Family Farm to pick up our race packets. While they did offer race morning pickup, I wanted to make sure we had everything and didn’t have

Saturday – 3.1 miles, running

And so the big day arrived: Cottonmouth 5K day! We arrived at around 7:20 for a 7:45 start, and were able to keep our distance from the other athletes until the start.

I’ll share a complete race report this week, but it felt so good to be out there. I had some nerves in the beginning, and again at the end, but I was able to shake them off and enjoy the run.

We celebrated with brunch and then it was home to get ready to celebrate Halloween. Even the pugs got in on the action.

It was a quiet evening – we shared it with some neighbors and friends. There was some trick or treating, and god for and drinks, and plenty of laughs. I think we all needed that.


Running-wise, this was a fabulous week. I ran my first 5K in 11 months, and it was truly as good an experience as I could have hoped for. I didn’t get in as many miles this week, because of my dabble into cycling, but it was still a crazy productive week.

With the coming of November, I’m hoping we can kind of immerse ourselves in holiday magic, and forget about everything else.

It’s going to be a long and emotional week, I can feel it. So I’ll hold on to running and everything that’s important and do our best to get through it.

I am linking up with the Weekly Rundown, with Confessions of A Mother Runner and Running on the Fly! Check them out!

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How was your week in training?

Did you have a nice Halloween? Are you ready for the rest of the holidays?

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