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Air quality and running + Race medals + Facebook community invite

Over 30 counties in North Carolina are experiencing drought conditions and there are terrible wildfires burning in the mountains with over 44,000 acres burned so far.

Charlotte Skyline Wildfires


We woke up this morning to a very hazy skyline here in Charlotte and the smell of smoke hanging in the air. As of today, we are under a Code Red air quality warning due to “high level particulate matter.”

Peanut Butter Runner

I went running yesterday before the advisory had been issued and have been paying the price for it ever since. The air was definitely a bit hazy when I went out but the smoke smell wasn’t very noticeable so I thought it was okay. I ran eight miles at around an 8:45 pace and had a headache immediately after the run that is still with me today. I’m having a ton of sinus pressure and drainage.

Clearly, my first prayer is for the fires to be contained for the safety of our mountain neighbors and for our environment. Secondly, (a far, far, far distant second) is my fear that I’m going to have to do my longest long run (I’m hitting 20 this weekend) on the treadmill on Saturday…which sounds completely insane. Maybe it wouldn’t be the worst thing since Kiawah is flat and I can make the treadmill a flat road. Might make for realistic running conditions?



The saddest thing about these fires is that I read all but one of them were started by humans, both unintentionally and through arson, and not by environmental causes. To know that widespread destruction like this could have easily been avoided is so maddening.


Staying on the topic of running, I went to Run For Your Life today to pick up my finisher medals from the Charlotte Half Marathon. I forgot to get them on Saturday because I kept running after the finish and I had to go to a separate location to get my double finisher medal. I got the normal half marathon medal and also a 26.2 “double medal” because I ran the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon and the Charlotte Half Marathon. Pretty cool perk!


When I was cleaning out my closet on Sunday I came across a bunch of old race medals. I always wonder whether or not I should hold onto them but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, especially the ones that required a lot of training, hard work and believing in myself and my goals. They stay tucked away in a drawer but I love the memories they hold and their reminder of how far I’ve come as a runner.

Side note: has anyone noticed how race medals are getting bigger, better and bling-ier? (totally not a word there) Look at the difference between my dinky Myrtle Beach Half Marathon medal with a red, white and blue ribbon and my Charlotte Half Marathon giant spinning medal.

I have quite a few running related post ideas brewing away in my head right now including everything from my must have gear to what does it mean to be a “runner” and overcoming self-doubt when it comes to running to running with dogs and much more. If you have any running related topics you’d like for me to cover, please let me know.

Peanut Butter Runner Facebook Community

I also wanted to invite you guys to join my closed Facebook community. My half marathon training team has decided to keep our Facebook group going post-race. One thing I’ve loved so much about this training group is how positive everyone it has been. It’s extremely refreshing to see a big group of women come together in such a supportive and collaborative way. I’m going to transition the group into a closed community for any reader who is interested to join so that you can connect with other like-minded women, share knowledge and find inspiration. I’ll also be around a ton answering questions and participating in the conversation.

Here’s the link to request to join the group.

Thank you so much for being so awesome. I feel very grateful for each and every one of you whether we have connected in person/via email/through comments/on social/etc. or you’re just reading from afar.


Have you every dealt with bad air quality and running?

What’s the longest you’ve run on the treadmill? Has anyone done a really long run on the treadmill?

What do you do with your old race medals?

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Fiona November 16, 2016, 4:52 pm

    So excited for all of your running posts coming up! I loveee race medals, they tell so many stories and remind me of how far I’ve come. Mine are hanging in the “pain cave” at my house where they are a constant reminder to me to work hard to achieve my goals

  • Katherine November 16, 2016, 5:39 pm

    So excited to be a member of the facebook group πŸ™‚ Hoping the air quality improves for you and all impacted!

  • Shannon November 16, 2016, 6:25 pm

    This past summer I made a little display of my race bibs and medals! There’s a rope hanging below the bibs that I loop the medals around. I’ll post a picture to the facebook group!

    Best of luck with the 20-miler. Longest I’ve gone on a treadmill is 7 miles LOL. I know some people who’ve had to do it on the treadmill split it up and do a morning and evening run so you don’t go insane–and maybe that’ll work better with your schedule! Just an idea πŸ™‚

  • Jennifer Hyer November 16, 2016, 7:24 pm

    I ran 17 miles on my treadmill at home a few years ago. Training in the winter in Wisconsin is no joke. I watched a couple movies – it really wasn’t so bad. Maybe just set your mind that this will be a new challenge to overcome. And reward yourself when it’s over! You’ll do great Jen!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen November 17, 2016, 7:38 am

    I’m so sorry about all of the fires in North Caroline right now. Over the summer, there were some fires here in Colorado that were started by careless campers, so I completely understand the frustration of knowing that the issue at hand and destruction could have been prevented. Good luck to your state and good luck on your long run πŸ™‚

  • Julie Running in a Skirt November 17, 2016, 7:49 am

    Those fires are about 10 mins from my house as the crow flies :-(. Air quality has been like that here for a week, but the wind shift yesterday and took it your way I think and we had a little break. My Brother also said it was bad.
    I’ve had to run on the ‘mill all week, but like you that’s a small inconvenience compared to what others are dealing with. I’ve got asthma so I can’t mess around with it.
    We are pretty certain it would never get this far, but it’s still scary.
    I hope it clears before you 20 miler! That would stinks! Get a movie on an ipad or something!!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 17, 2016, 7:53 am

      Oh my gosh Julie. I am sending you, your community and the fire fighters so many prayers that the fires can be contained. I’m so sorry it’s so close to you and that you are feeling the effects of it.

  • Ali C November 17, 2016, 10:02 am

    I ran 21.5 miles on a treadmill. Just make sure to have something to watch and some good music!

  • Liz November 17, 2016, 10:10 am

    I actually made Christmas ornaments out of my old medals and it worked pretty well. I’m not sure it would work if you have a real tree as some of them are a little heavy. I really like looking at them during the holidays!

    • Kelly November 17, 2016, 10:53 am

      Awesome idea! I never thought of that.

    • Julie November 17, 2016, 4:45 pm

      What a clever idea!!!

  • Leah November 17, 2016, 10:42 am

    Thank you so much for extending the group invite–I’m so excited to join! I keep all of my race medals displayed on a rack in my apartment–I’m inspired every time I walk by them πŸ™‚ My full marathons get their own display, too πŸ™‚

  • Melissa November 17, 2016, 11:00 am

    It’s possible that we could have a break from the smoke on Saturday morning due to a shift in weather that will blow it away from us. So maybe just keep an eye on the weather. I can’t imagine doing a 20 miler on the treadmill, but you do what you have to do sometimes! Good luck!

    You should get you a medal hanger for your office – or make a big hint for one for Christmas! They are a ton of adorable ones on Etsy, or you may see a vendor with them at the Kiawah expo.

  • Jolene November 17, 2016, 11:02 am

    I keep all of my race medals in a box. There is some awesome bling though. I sometimes pull them out when I’m adding a new medal. I’ll get nostalgic and be inspired to keep dreaming and going after my goals. My teenager keeps hers on a medal holder in her room. It definitely motivates her to keep training hard and to run fast. I’d love to check out your Facebook group!:)

  • Amy J November 17, 2016, 11:16 am

    20 miles on the treadmill sounds like a horror story to me. I hope you can get outside!! I’d love to read about overcoming self doubt when running/ training. That’s something I battle with all the time.

  • Kirsten November 17, 2016, 12:43 pm

    I give mine to Medals4Mettle.org. From their website:
    Medals4Mettle (M4M) is a non-profit organization that facilitates the gifting of marathon, half marathon, and triathlon finishers’ medals. Runners from around the world give their hard earned medals to Medals4Mettle. Our worldwide network of physicians and volunteers then awards these medals attached to a Medals4Mettle ribbon to children and adults fighting debilitating illnesses who might not be able to run a race, but are in a race of their own just to continue to live their life. It is in honor of this mettle and courage in bravely facing these challenges that they are awarded a medal.

  • Erin November 17, 2016, 1:07 pm

    Your collection of race medals made me think of this post on Young House Love about turning them into Christmas ornaments: http://www.younghouselove.com/2016/07/race-medal-ornaments/

  • Jill November 17, 2016, 2:26 pm

    Hi Jen! I would love to read about motivation. Clearly you are a fitness pro and your blog alone does help to inspire me, but I would love your take on how to get to the gym when you’re just not feeling it. I’ve felt pretty down/blue all week and haven’t exercised at all since Sunday. Would love some advice for how to overcome those mental blocks in motivation.

  • Somer November 18, 2016, 9:17 am

    I think I might turn my medals into Christmas tree ornaments. I read on another blog that that’s what they’ve done and I love the idea of memories from my runs being put on the tree every year.

    On a side note, I am running my first double on Sunday. A 10K and 5K and I’ve also signed up for a run camp that starts January 20th. I live in Michigan which means I need to figure out cold weather gear.

    Thanks for keeping me going. I wanted to quit a few times but this blog keeps me moving.

  • Teri || a foodie stays fit November 18, 2016, 12:57 pm

    Seriously, these fires are heartbreaking. I’m so glad you blogged about this though; I was JUST debating whether or not to run outside during lunch. To the treadmill I go. I hate it too, because it’s GORGEOUS out.

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