Month: January 2017

The end is in sight.

The family is celebrating

We are a busy family.  Who isn’t these days?  Two full time jobs, 4 kids at home, one about to graduate…and lots of extracurricular activities.  But wait a second, when are we putting our house up for sale?!  Yes, we want to move, no we’re not there yet.  What gives?

Painting.  You’d think this would be easy but no.  Doing it right the first time is a challenge.  So we’ve gone behind and repainted.  We have to move furniture and clean up rooms.  Holy cow!  We are down to 4 rooms.  Bedrooms.  Hopeful.

Flooring.  Wood floors?  Tile?  Carpet?  Which one would look nicest and not cost us an arm and a leg?  18 years ago, we replaced all the shag carpet for $5000.  Now over $10,000.  Ugh!  But it has to be done.  We’ll do the outdoor/indoor carpet ourselves in the sun room.  Replacing the a/c system really made a dent in our finances, so it might be longer than expected.  We will get it done!

Celebrations.   Our bathrooms have new facets.  New toilets too.  New a/c unit.  Painting outside make the house look nice.  Garage is cleaned out and looking 100% better.  And purging continues.  Jacksonville Public Libraries must really love us because we are donating lots of children’s books for their friends of the library sale.  You never realize how much “stuff” you have until you start going through it.  Downsizing is hard to swallow, but necessary.

Where do we go from here?  Believe it or not, Chris is actually not looking to move to the beach.  But like I said before, no sale no buy.  So not really looking yet.  Moving forward a little bit at a time.  2017?  We are outta here!

I wonder how the dogs will react? Hmmm

Remember it’s about the journey not just the destination,


Why Running Alone is not a Choice but Sometimes a Reality

2008.  I was challenged to run(ha ha-I fast walked it) my first 5k with my younger son Ethan.  Back then I had a training buddy, who loved to run with me.  I was able to go from not being able to run a full mile to gradually increase to running for miles and miles.  Ethan would run with me during the week(2 or 3 times a week), and even running with me on Saturdays during my Galloway group runs.  Then…

Nope.  Even bribing didn’t work.

Okay, who wants to run with me now?  Chris?  

Chris is my husband, who actually was a runner way before me.  He ran the infamous cancelled Gate River Run in 1993, when I was humongous and pregnant with our oldest.  He tried to get me to run as early as 1990, but yeah-didn’t happen.  He is a group leader for Jax Galloway’s No Pressure (15:00/16:00).  He runs a 30/30, which is slow for me, but at least I wasn’t alone. Right?  Oh my it kills me to go that slow!  I get frustrated, so I get him to ride his bike.  At least he’s willing, but he’s injured…

I love you honey!


My Jax Galloway group of course!  So during weekdays we run bridges or the beach in the a.m., which is awesome unless you worry you won’t get up on time(yes it sounds bizarre but I worry about being late), so you end up not sleeping at all!  There is no way I’m driving with no sleep, so sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

Now I’m getting desperate.

Thank goodness my middle son Aaron is now training for The Breast Cancer half marathon and of course the Gate River Run.  He likes 30/30, but he’s at least 2:00 minutes faster than his dad, which is a plus for me.  Of course that’s usually on the weekend.  He hates running the Acosta, which is hilarious since both of the races he’s running has bridges.  He still hates it.  Like his dad, he rides his bike when he doesn’t want to run.

My new training buddy💕


What do I do when my running schedule doesn’t coincide with everyone else’s?  I enjoy my own company.  As a runner, this is a reality.  My husband and kids don’t like it, but it’s a fact.  Safety is the key.  Here are some ways to keep safe if you have to run alone.

Be alert.   When I began running, I would run with my iPod to keep running cadence.  The problem, I had it turned up so much I couldn’t hear people coming up behind me.  Not a good idea.  I don’t run with music anymore.  However if you still like music on your run, turn it down or run with only one earbud in.  Better yet,put it on speaker.  That way you’re aware of your surroundings.

Switch it up.  Never run the same route everyday.  People notice routine.  Neighborhood Mondays?  Try neighborhood on a different day.  Different routes, different times.  It’s fun for you and people who might be watching won’t be sure where you are on a given day or time.

Listen to your instincts.  If you see someone coming at you or turn down a road and something doesn’t sit well.  Stop and turn around.  Don’t shrug if off and keep going, trust your instincts.  I was running down a familiar route and saw a person up ahead.  My hair stood up on the back of my neck-I kept thinking about Oprah(trust your instincts, trust your instincts…) needless to say I crossed the street and picked up speed.  Nothing happened, but you just never know.

Run in the dark, light up.  I don’t do this unless I run with a group, but if you do then make sure you have a light that blinks on your back and a light or flashlight for the front.  Cars don’t pay attention as it is, make sure you are seen.

Carry.  Just in case, phone or mace or a whistle.  None of those things available, scream fire!  

Always let someone know where you are.  I always let my kids or my husband know where I’m going and the distance I am running.  They’re not awake in the wee morning?  Leave a note of where, how long, and when you left.  There are also some apps that track you.  Runkeeper , Road ID, and  Run Tracker are just a couple. Some are free.  Good investment though.

Be safe out there!

Check out running club or running stores weekly runs.  New in town?  Don’t want to run alone? Go to your local running store, and there will be more than likely various group runs around town.  I know 1st Place Sports offers a Monday run at their Town Center store, and a Wednesday run at Green Room Brewing at Jax Beach. Also check out your running store’s website or Facebook page too.

School Tracks.  I know some of our elementary schools have a track, and the public can use these after hours.  It’s convenient and your car is close by.  Just check with the school if it will be open.  I know I’ve personally used Alamacani’s and Fort Caroline’s track before.  There are usually other walkers and runners out there along with other sport enthusiasts.

Treadmill.  If nothing else, run on a treadmill at your local gym.  Climate controlled, well lit, and relatively safe.  Yes, it’s boring but at least it’s an option.

Just make sure you don’t let anything or anyone dissuade you from doing what you love to do!  Eight years of running and still loving it!

Remember it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey,


Why I love running in cold weather

It’s cold and I feel good
I know I live in Florida, sunny  and hot year round.  It could be winter every place else and it’s 80 degrees down here.  We’re able to train 365 days a year unlike our northern neighbors with snow and ice.  Still…

I like the cold weather and low humidity.  It’s my favorite time to train.  While everyone across the country is complaining, these are some things I love about the cold weather.

My favorite marathon happens.

I have never run a marathon in April, May, or June.  February is my favorite time to run a marathon-The Breast Cancer Marathon is on the 2nd  week in February, and we’ve been lucky enough not to have a heatwave in recent years.  Temperatures are glorious!  Crowds are heaven sent.  One of the best!  I’ve stopped racing it, and just enjoy it.    However when I was racing, I’ve had my marathon PR on this course.  Why?  Cold weather💕.

No bugs.

Mosquitos, horseflies, gnats are usually a nuisance, but colder weather means minimal bugs attacking you on trails.  I have been covered by horseflies at the beach(inland of course) on some runs.  Yikes!  And ouch!  Cycling, hiking, and running are comfortable during cold weather(December-March).  No way would I chance it after those months.

Racing feels good.

I dreaded the Summer Beach Run and Run for the Pies this past year.  Why?  Afternoon temperatures in the 90’s with feel like heat index of 100 degrees.  I feel like I’m moving in slow motion or worse I feel nauseous.  I don’t like that feeling.  Today I raced in the Resolution Run 5k in Orange Park, and the weather was glorious!  Overcast, windy and temps in the low 50’s-I was flying down River Road.

Happy Runner

Themed Runs.

Some of my favorite races happen during this cooler time of year.  I love December!   Reindeer Run half in Fernandina (I’m a streaker!), Festival of Lights 5k in San Marco(luminaries!), Double G in Atlanta(that was a blast!  5k & 13.1), Ameris marathon/half(beautiful run through tree lined streets in Mandarin), Vystar 5k(new course much better), and the Smiths all time favorite since 2009 The Last Gasp(cross country at JU).  I usually try to dress holiday themed with at least one of these races.  And yes, temperatures are awesome!

Gingerbread Girl?

Dying is not an option.  

Did I mention that I hate hot weather running?  My face turns bright red, I feel sick to my stomach, and it’s a struggle to do long runs.  Did you also notice when I run or cycle? You guessed it.  Summer.  I am part of the Jax Galloway All Year Round runners, so we train for Fall marathons(I’m running OBX marathon this year-early November).  Training alone is awful, training with friends alleviates the suck factor.  Next week we have our longest run in preparation for the breast cancer marathon( my favorite), I’m excited!  The suck factor is low.  Chilly is better.

Cuddle and soup time.

After a cold run, what could be better than a delicious cup of coffee?  Or change into a comfortable long sleeve cotton shirt or sweatshirt?  Cold weather=these options.  Soup is perfect for after an afternoon cold run.  Comfortable clothes, healthy comfort food.  Turn on the oven and enjoy the smells of fresh baked biscuits or coffeecake.    I am a big proponent of crockpot cooking, and nothing’s better than  coming home to stew or chili.  Only in cold weather do I look forward to these culinary goodies.

Remember your gloves and earmuffs.

Layering is a must, but I’m not giving up my running skirts or shorts.  Remember this is Florida, and while we might see one or two days of 20 degree weather, most of the time it’s in the mid 40’s or 50’s.    The only thing I can’t stand other than a runny nose is cold hands, so I invest in some good running gloves.  As long as my hands are warm, I’m good.

I can eat after.

I remember running the Pensacola Marathon, it got warm and I ran hard.  There was a seafood festival at the end, but my stomach rebelled and I just felt awful!  Me, racing,heat, and eating are not a winning combination.  Ameris marathon and the Breast Cancer Marathon…no problem whatsoever.  Soup?  Yep.  Ruth Chris steak(that was unbelievable)? You bet.  I’m not sure why it affects me this way, glad it doesn’t happen during cold weather.

Nothing better than chicken soup with Matzo balls

It’s a new year, no matter where you live bundle up and get out there.  I know I plan to during my favorite weather time of the year.  I might even be able to convince my older son who loves it as much as me.

Remember it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey,


The Real Florida in your own backyard

Wild in urban Jacksonville

This week after over indulging during the holidays, we decided that family hikes might be a good idea to get everyone outside and moving.  We live in an urban environment, so that can be challenging.  Thank goodness for city parks, state parks, and even a national park in our area.

First stop…Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens.  This urban gem is located near I-295 and Monument Rd.  You can hike several different trails including a lake loop, ravines trail, blueberry trail, and live oak trail.  What to wear?  I suggest close toed shoes, and bug repellent.  When we went, it was rainy and bugs weren’t bad(late December).  I’m training for the AT Trail so I had a day pack(3 pounds) and a walking pole.  These trails were not very hilly, so it was a comfortable hike.  We walked for 2.21 miles going through all trails.   It took us about an hour total.  We didn’t see much wildlife but a lot of flora and fauna.

Downed trees due to Hurricane Matthew

Our 2nd hike was at a well loved National Park, Fort Caroline Historic Preserve.  We had the dogs with us this time.  I had a day pack with 10 pounds this time-not bad.  It was a foggy morning even at 10:00.  We meandered to the fort, and then we made our way to the nature trail.  It was very hilly!  You have to remember that a lot of the Fort Caroline area is on a bluff.  Again lots of flora and fauna, but short supply on wildlife.  The nature trail was about 1.50 miles, so again it took us about an hour.  Trails are well maintained.

Water view, but foggy this morning

Then we made our way to the Westside of Jacksonville  to the much used Baldwin Rail Trail.  As a Jacksonville Galloway member, we utilize this paved trail from Jacksonville to the Baldwin Train Depot on our 23, 26, and 29 miles runs in preparation for the breast cancer marathon. This old railway is a multi use trail used by runners, hikers, and cyclists alike. The end of the trail is 14.5 miles one way.  The first couple of miles is out in the open through some neighborhoods and farms.  The middle of the trail is tree lined, and if you’re super lucky you might catch a glimpse of a deer or wild turkeys.  We only ventured out 2.5 miles today on our bikes, skateboard, and scooter.  Like I said, multipurpose.

No GPS watch? That’s okay. You have mile markers.
Jacksonville trailhead

Now we headed up A1A north to The Ribault Club on Fort George Island.  Usually we go into the old Ribault Club to the small museum, but since it was New Year’s Day, everything was closed.  We opted to walk the area trails, which back in the 1920’s and 1930’s was a playground for the well to do including a golf course.  We walked  the main loop(2.5 miles total), and Mount Cornelia.  That was a little steep.  Made even harder because I was wearing a day pack.  13 pounds…oh bother I need to toughen up.  On the main loop, you walk to Annabelle Point with some lovely intercoastal views.  There were a lot of hikers.  That was nice to see.

Mount Cornelia. I don’t remember this!
Beautiful view

Over the Christmas break, we’ve enjoyed getting out and seeing natural Florida.  We didn’t travel across the state, but were able to find these treasures in our own city.  Make a resolution this year to go out and find your own city’s natural wonders.  They’re out there, you just have to look…hike…enjoy!

Remember it’s about the journey not just the destination,