The Weekly Pursuit #27

Happy Monday! Hard to believe that January is more than halfway over…before we know it, February will be here. Thus far, it’s been a pretty good 2017 for me. I am settling in my new place and feeling happy and content. While I miss living in Orlando, being 45 minutes away isn’t too bad. I am seeing the change as an opening for new opportunities.

The Girl's Got Sole - DONNA Sqoosh

The DONNA half next month has been on my mind since it’s my next half. Love my Sqoosh!

Last week went well. Not only did I get in three runs getting myself back on my usual weekly running schedule, but I found a local runner buddy! One of the girls I ran with a couple of seasons ago with Orlando Galloway lives about 20 minutes away from where I am now. When I posted on Facebook that I was seeking local running buddies, I was happy to learn that she was interested. We ran together on Thursday morning and plan on running together every Tuesday and Thursday morning. While I love my Galloway group, driving 45 minutes to and from the run each way in the wee hours of the morning is rough. I will always be there for Saturday group runs, but for now, I’m happy that I can stay and run closer to home.

January is also known as one of the busiest months at my job. That means over-time is constantly requested by the management team. I put in three hours last week and will be doing at least three this week. While I love the time and a half pay for the over-time, working it can be tiring. There’s just something about being able to punch out at that glorious 5:00 hour. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Susie & Shannon post-run

After Saturday’s long run with runner friend, Susie.

On Saturday, I ran 14 miles, you can read about my virtual Disney Half in the previous blog post. I was definitely happy for the nice weather and being able to get in some quality miles not only for my half medal, but for 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon training. That race is in 26 days and I am really looking forward to it. DONNA was my first marathon and I’ve run the half once before (ran the marathon again in 2015), so it means a lot to me. Not to mention that a lot of runner friends are doing the half or full marathon, so I will be able to see a lot of familiar faces that weekend.

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

Looking back at last week’s goals…

1. Logging my food. I did well with this one. And, I’m right on track with my calories and all!

2. Workout 5 days a week. Got this one accomplished too!

3. Hydration, drink up! I am doing the best at my water intake than I’ve done in awhile.

4. Daily Devotional reading. Was behind on this, but I got caught up this weekend, so I’m now back on track.

5. Blogging regularly. I did get up three posts, but the third one went up on Sunday. I had hoped to get it up late Saturday, but didn’t happen.

As for this week’s goals…

1. Logging my food. Keeping this one on the list, will be ongoing.
2. Workout 5 days a week. Three run days, two cross-training/strength.
3. Hydration. Got to keep it up!
4. Daily Devotional reading. Need to read it every day and not have to play catch-up.
5. Start book reading. I’ve got “Anything for a T-Shirt,” the book about Fred Lebow on my bookshelf, time to dig into it!

The Girl's Got Sole - Bible verse

Running 2017 WDW Half Marathon, Virtually

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 WDW Half Marathon

Back in December when I learned I would be pacing the 3:15 finish time for the 2017 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, little did I know that I would be running those 13.1 miles virtually. I was just excited to not only be running the Disney World Half Marathon again, but pacing my first race.

Then, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend was upon us, thousands of runners, volunteers, and spectators were ready for the amazing big races here in Central Florida. As a native of Florida for most of my life, I have seen the weather here change at the drop of a hat. One day, we may have sunny skies and perfect weather, then the next, a dark sky would appear, full of thunder and lightning rain pouring down. Sadly, the latter is just what would happen, causing a difficult decision to be made by runDisney.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 Disney World Half

On January 6th, the eve of the WDW Half Marathon, the race director and staff of runDisney had to cancel the 20th running of the race. I know the decision to cancel the half marathon was one of the most troublesome for the race staff to make, but it was in the best interest of all involved. Not only do you have over 25,000 runners registered for the race, but there are hundreds of volunteers and race staff that have to be coordinated. It’s important that a race director keeps the safety and well-being of all involved in a race at the forefront of their mind. Thus, calling a race cancellation the evening before the race was the right call as disappointing it was for everyone.

So, I found myself without a race to run and pace on January 7,2017. runDisney informed that as well as four options for the runners to choose from because of the race cancellation, that they would be sending out the race medals. I’m the type of runner that refuses to accept a medal unless I’ve run that distance. Sure, you do the training, but that distance needs to be run for the medal. That’s how I view it.

The Girl's Got Sole - Orlando Galloway girls

Saturday’s running group

The morning of the cancelled Disney Half Marathon, I watched my Facebook feed fill up with many runners heading out in the rain (in between the thunder and lightning) to get in those miles. It made me proud to be a runner, our community is so amazing. These runners were out earning their medals on Disney property throughout the hotels they were staying for the weekend.

While a part of me considered driving over and joining the fun, I knew I had 12.5 miles on my training schedule the following weekend. I opted to run 13.1 miles instead of the 12.5 miles in order to virtually run the half marathon. While a virtual race isn’t the same as running a race in the actual location, it has become an option for a lot of races these days. So, running in nearby Winter Park with my Orlando Galloway group for me was the next best thing.

My virtual Disney Half Marathon kicked off at 5:00am a week after the actual event would have taken place. We had such great weather conditions, quite the opposite of what was seven days prior. It was about 60 degrees to start and I felt pretty comfortable once I got moving. The only negative was the thick fog that covered the area making visibility a bit more of a challenge.

The first miles were run with seven of my fellow Galloway runner girls. We ran about 9 miles together, even adding in our local bridge at Cady Way to the fun. There was the usual chatting about this and that, and some laughter through the miles.

The Girl's Got Sole - Susie & Shannon

Susie and I

We returned to the school, our starting location after that to drop off most of the group, and pick up one other. At this point, it was myself, my runner friend Susie who had been with me from the beginning, and our friend, Lourdes. The three of us had about five miles to cover before Susie and I would hit that magic number, 13.1.

I love running with Susie and Lourdes, they have become two of my great running friends through the last couple of years. Lourdes and I run together pretty regularly through the training group runs and we have met up after work on some evenings for runs as well. If I have to put in some miles for a medal, these two ladies are definitely awesome to do it with.

The Girl's Got Sole - Virtual Disney Half

Susie and I hit the 13.1 mark about a mile before we would be returning back to the school. Didn’t bother us though, some extra walking isn’t something we are against doing. Any time you are out there moving is good, it just gave us a great cool down.

I feel that my first “virtual Disney race” went well. I hope that next time, I am actually running ON Disney property though. There isn’t anything like running a Disney race through the theme parks. Having run the WDW Half Marathon and the WDW Marathon previously, I can honestly say, I enjoyed both experiences. I recall the fun Disney music and characters along the miles, and that’s just a part of what makes running Disney magically fun.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 Disney Half Virtually

Cigna’s Great Race

The Girl's Got Sole - Cigna Blogger Meet-up

On Friday, January 6th, I was fortunate to be able to be a part of Cigna’s Blogger Meet-up at the WDW Marathon Weekend. This was my third blogger meet-up event with Cigna and I’ve really had a great time each year.

Cigna is the title sponsor of the 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Cigna has a mission to help people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. The company works with runDisney through the WDW Marathon Weekend to aid runners of all ages achieve fitness milestones and goals through running a 5k, 10k, half marathon or marathon. It’s about celebrating efforts to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

This year’s blogger meet-up was all about Cigna’s Great Race. It was a team versus team fun adventure through Disney’s Hollywood Studios. First, we enjoyed a healthy lunch, then Cigna broke us up into teams. We had an hour and a half to solve puzzles, complete activities, and generally keep moving. It was basically Cigna’s version of the Amazing Race.

The Girl's Got Sole - Cigna Great Race, Team Mickey

I was in Team Mickey, and we had a lot of fun doing this race challenge. There were clues to locate for some portions of the challenge meaning we had to work together to come up with the solutions. It took both our brains and bodies to complete each task. Every part of the Great Race was about incorporating your health knowledge as well as fitness to finish the race.

Our team of seven learned a lot about health and each other through this challenge. I love how teamwork makes a health and fitness journey easier. The support of one another and using each person’s strengths on particular clues or puzzles helped us through each test of the race.

The Girl's Got Sole - Cigna Blogger Meetup Team Mickey

In the end, Team Mickey didn’t take home the winning medal, but we did come away having a lot of fun. We were all winners though, because when you make healthy living a priority, your life is so much better.

Thanks again to Cigna for the invite to the meet-up, it truly was a highlight of my Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year.

The Weekly Pursuit #26

Hey there! I hope you’re having a great 2017 so far! I’m getting myself back on track on so many things since my move, including these Weekly Pursuit blog posts! They always help me know my short-term goals for the week, and I hope just maybe they can inspire one or two of you as well.

This past week has been pretty busy. I finalized my move during the New Year’s holiday weekend, so I’ve now been in my new home for just over a week. It’s a great place I’m in, I feel very comfortable and happy. My friend and her husband are so great. The only downside is that my running group is 45 minutes away, but I know I can work through that for a period of time. I’d prefer not to have to deal with the moving insanity until at least March/April, so I figure I will just need to get myself into a different sort of schedule with my running.

The Girl's Got Sole - First run of 2017

First run of the year.

I fully believe that God puts us in certain situations for a reason. So, while I may miss my old neighborhood and the closeness to my favorite running friends, there is a reason I’m here for now. God will show me the right place back in Orlando/Winter Park when the timing is right. Sometimes, we just have to wait for His timing.

Last week, I worked Tuesday through Thursday. We had Monday off due to New Year’s, so that was good. On Friday, I took the day off to head to Disney and take part in the Cigna Blogger Meet-Up event. I LOVE this meet-up every year. I really do look forward to it, and am so thankful that Cigna thinks of me when they send out invites.

The Girl's Got Sole - Cigna Blogger Meet-up

Blogger Meet-Up fun on Friday at the Disney Studios!

The meet-up is centered around the WDW Marathon Weekend, so I get to see so many fellow blogger friends. This time around, we did an Amazing Race adventure in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I will be posting all about the meet-up later this week, so please do stay tuned for it! I had a blast!

After the blogger meet-up, I headed over to the WDW Marathon expo at Wide World of Sports. I needed to get my race packet for Saturday’s WDW Half Marathon, and I was also helping out at the Galloway Pacer table. It was a lot of fun meeting and talking to fellow runners at the expo and answering questions about Jeff Galloway‘s run/walk/run method and the pacing for the races.

Unfortunately, the WDW Half Marathon ended up being canceled later that evening. I had just gotten back home from the expo when I heard the news. Funny thing was, I heard it first from a runner friend who called me before I even saw the emails and social media postings from runDisney. I was definitely surprised and disappointed that I wouldn’t be pacing the next morning at the Disney Half Marathon. But, I completely understood why the difficult decision was made to cancel the race due to the horrible thunderstorms rolling in. You know when runDisney cancels a race, it’s serious business!

The Girl's Got Sole - runDisney tweet canceling race

runDisney’s post on Twitter about canceling the half marathon.

On the cancellation note, runDisney has offered runners some awesome alternatives since the race didn’t happen as planned. They offered four options: 1. A full refund of the race registration in the form of a Disney gift card. 2. Two one-day Park Hopper tickets. 3. Transfer registration to another runDisney half marathon within the next 24 months. 4. Limited availability to run the full marathon on Sunday. While running the full marathon would have been fun, I am not presently trained for 26.2 miles. So, I’m going to opt for running another half marathon with Disney. Right now, I’m thinking of maybe Star Wars Half Marathon in April, as that would be a lot of fun.

In my book, runDisney handled the difficult situation SO well and with amazing alternatives that I can’t imagine any other race ever doing. runDisney truly is a top-notch race management team. Major kudos to everyone involved in making the other options available to runners.

We will also be mailed our WDW Half Marathon medals according to the email runDisney sent out. A number of runners opted to get out on Saturday morning on their own and “create” their own 13.1 races around Disney property in between the thunderstorms. I saw many photos on Facebook, and it made my heart smile. The running community is awesome! I have decided to run my 13.1 this coming Saturday morning with my group. I’ve got 12.5 miles on my training schedule for the 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon, so I’m just going to make the run 13.1. I will never take a meal I didn’t earn, as I believe you need to earn that bling! πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

So, looking ahead to this week and what I’m going to put on my goals list…

1. Logging my food. SO important, as I’m on my #fitjourney to lose 8-10lbs before training for my next marathon this summer.

2. Workout 5 days a week. I got in more cross-training than running last week, but that’s okay. I am embracing the possible extra gym day, as I may be running just 2 days a week for a bit. I think the treadmill may become a friend. We shall see!

3.Hydration, drink up! I am doing SO much better with this since January 1st, and it need to keep going. It truly does make me feel better.

4. Daily Devotional reading. Gotta stay on track with my daily reading of my devotional!

5. Blogging regularly. I usually have a three posts a week goal in mind with this blog, so getting back up on that. I would love to blog more, but at least three days per week is the minimum I shoot for.

The Girl's Got Sole - Bible verse

How about you, any goals for this week? I’d love to hear about them!

2017 RunDisney Marathon Weekend

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 WDW Marathon Weekend

It’s that time again, time for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The weekend can arguably be considered the most exciting one for the runDisney community with the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon and not to mention Goofy and Dopey Challenges.

I’m excited to be returning to run through the Magic Kingdom in 2017 at the WDW Half Marathon on Saturday morning. I will be a Jeff Galloway pacer at the race. After being a part of Jeff Galloway’s Orlando training program since 2012, and a pace group leader for three seasons, I have been looking forward to diving into race pacing.

But first, before running 13.1 miles on Saturday morning, I will be taking part in a Blogger Meet-Up with Cigna. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been invited to the title WDW Marathon Weekend sponsor’s Blogger Meet-Up for the last couple of years. The event is always a great time and I love seeing fellow blogger friends.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2013 WDW Half Marathon

At the 2013 WDW Half Marathon.

The WDW Marathon Weekend is always an extremely fun time, and while I have many other runDisney races on my “race wish list,” it is always a favorite. I suppose that is because the 2013 WDW Half Marathon was my first runDisney race. I had a great time and it has remained one of my favorite race experiences even after many other races. There’s just something about Disney that makes running a race a magical experience.

2016: Running Year in Review

The Girl's Got Sole - 2016 Running Year in Review

What a year it has been.

In a nutshell, I say “see ya later 2016, don’t let the door hit ya on the way out!” I cannot wait for the new year and to get a new beginning, so to speak.

This year, ended up being almost completely the flip side of 2015. That year, 2015, was a GREAT year for me in running and overall. This year on the other hand, I struggled in a lot of ways. I’m thankful for my faith and how it makes me strong because that has gotten me through a lot. God is good all the time!

The Girl's Got Sole - Galloway girls

My running year was overall pretty good. I will never complain even when it’s an okay running year. Every day I can lace up my running shoes and head out on the road is good. Running is truly a blessing and it means so much to me. It brings back my smile when it seems to be hiding behind a frown or sadness. Running is my stress-reliever and I hope to never take it for granted.

In 2016, I ran 16 races ranging from 5ks to half marathons. It was the year of no-marathons for me and it proved to provoke a longing for that 26.2 insanity. Oddly enough, I can’t wait to start training for marathon number six in 2017. I thought I might be done with marathons, but a year without one showed me that despite the challenge it gives me in training and all, I love them. I guess it’s a crazy runner thing. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Shark Bite Half 2016

January had the Shark Bite Half Marathon in New Smyrna Beach. This race became known as the “Sharknado” race. It had a delay to start with due to the weather, then we had a mix of sun, rain and crazy windy conditions during the 13.1 miles. It was a fun time though with a lot of my fellow Orlando Galloway friends. Then there was the Lady Track Shack 5k. It’s a ladies-only local race that I love running every year. It helps fund mammograms for breast cancer prevention and awareness through Florida Hospital.

The Girl's Got Sole - Daytona Beach Half 2016

February was the Superhero Run 5k, Kissimmee 5k, and the Daytona Beach Half Marathon. The Superhero 5k was a fun run I did with my friend, Debbie who was visiting from Asheville. It was a fun 5k dressing up as superheroes and just having a good time. The Kissimmee 5k was a race I did solo, and it was different, running through the town I went to middle and high school in. Daytona Beach Half was a good time, well less for the cold temps anyway. I enjoyed running with a few of my runner friends at that race.

The Girl's Got Sole - Masters of All Terrain group

Races in March were Masters of All Terrain 5-Miler, Winter Park Road Race 10k, and Swamp House Half Marathon. Masters of All Terrain was my first trail/off-road race. I was glad it was a 5-miler, as it was a perfect distance to try something different than my usual road races. It was also a race that a number of my fellow Galloway friends ran, so that made it even better. The Winter Park Road Race 10k is a Track Shack race I enjoy running every year for the most part. It’s another local favorite and I always have a good time. Swamp House Half was great because I PR’ed at that race. It was the first time I ran that race after hearing good things from runner friends, so that made it an even better experience. I already plan on going back to run Swamp House in 2017, in fact I’m already registered.

The Girl's Got Sole - Winter Park Road Race 2016

Heading into April, it’s always a favorite since it’s my birthday month. I did the U Run U Pick Blueberry 5k, Run for the Trees 5k, and Corporate 5k. The Blueberry 5k was a run in Clermont through and around a blueberry farm. After the race, you got to pick fresh blueberries, definitely a unique 5k. Run for the Trees has become my “birthday 5k” every year since it takes place around the 25th. I always try to PR at that 5k whenever I can. The last two years (2014 & 2015) I did just that, but in 2016, I was a bit off and came close to the 2015 finish time, but didn’t better it. Was a race I ran with friend, Melissa and it was a fun time despite pushing myself. Then, the Corporate 5k is an evening race in downtown Orlando with a lot of area businesses. This year and last, I ran it under Team Cru, since my employer doesn’t take part for some reason.

The Girl's Got Sole - Run for the Trees 2016

Once May comes up, I rarely run any races since it gets pretty darn hot and humid here in Central Florida. In June, my Galloway group’s new season kicks into gear bringing in alum and newbie runners to the program. This was my third season as a pace group leader and I love it (5th year in the program all together). I like being able to motivate and help fellow runners achieve their race goals, especially when that goal is their first half or full marathon.

The Girl's Got Sole - Lighthouse duo

It was all about those training miles from June until October. That was my next race, Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon. I had a good time with some of my Galloway girls, but boy did it end up being a hot one! Especially in the latter half of the 13.1 miles it was rough. It was the race that made me question my training for the season, as I struggled a lot. I felt like I wasn’t as strong as I was earlier in the year at that half marathon.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast Half Marathon 2016

Thankfully, by the time November came, I felt better and stronger when I ran Space Coast Half Marathon. It was the 4th race in the Big Bang Series, and my fifth time running Space Coast. It’s a big local runner half and full marathon, as a lot of Orlando area runners go out and run it. So, it’s basically a race you get to see a lot of familiar faces at and I love it. I have previously PR’ed at Space Coast Half (and full in 2013), but this year wasn’t meant for bettering my half time from Swamp House back in March. I sure came close though! Maybe in 2017, we shall see. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - OUC Half Marathon 2016

December closed out the running year with the OUC Orlando Half Marathon and Hot Chocolate 15k in Tampa. The OUC Half is the weekend after Space Coast, so I didn’t expect much for it. I was happy to help my friend and fellow runner, Esther get her best half marathon time in awhile. If I can’t PR, I love helping friends stay motivated and get it done. Not to mention that the race itself is more fun with runner friends! Hot Chocolate 15k closed out my racing year. It was not the best experience with the hot temps and all, but I did enjoy it for the most part. Races are always rougher when the weather conditions aren’t ideal, no matter whether that be hot or cold. That said, I may not like it really cold, but I would prefer it to really hot weather!

The Girl's Got Sole - Orlando Galloway girls after a hot run

Well, that about wraps up my 2016 running year. I enjoyed the first part of the year a lot more than I did the latter part. I suppose coming off of the awesome high that was the NYC Marathon in November 2015 helped a lot in that regard.

While it may not have been the greatest year for me, I did have a number of fun moments and times with my runner friends. That for me is a big part of why I run, it’s a social party of sorts…we may not make the most exciting parade to watch, but being a part of the activity itself is definitely awesome and priceless to me!

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Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Girl's Got Sole - Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a great Christmas with their family and friends. I enjoyed the time I was able to spend with my family on Saturday and Sunday on Christmas day.

Moving insanity took over my day off Monday. The friend that I’m moving in with and myself had quite the day of packing up our cars and bringing boxes and such to her place where I will be living for 2 or 3 months. The final bit of moving and clean-up will be happening this coming Saturday.

Hoping to update the blog more in the next few days, but it may not be until Saturday or Sunday. The discount page has been updated and there is more to come in early 2017!

Happy Holidays and God Bless you and yours! πŸ™‚

Race Recap: 2016 Hot Chocolate 15k

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate  15k

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k in Tampa as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

On Sunday, December 18th, I ran the Hot Chocolate 15k in Tampa, FL. I was looking forward to the race, as I’ve been hearing about the Hot Chocolate race series and it sounded like a lot of fun. How can you go wrong when you combine the awesomeness of running and chocolate?

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k Tampa

I drove over to Tampa from Orlando the day before the race and was able to stay with a friend. When I arrived in Tampa, the first thing I did was go to packet pickup at the Convention Center. The Hot Chocolate race expo was pretty small, but that made it easy to get my bib and goodie bag pretty quickly. I checked out the few vendors that were there and then headed out.

The race itself was scheduled to start at 8:20am for the 15k. So I arrived to park about an hour early which gave me plenty of time to use the port-o-let and get some pre-race water in my water bottle. I also spotted some fellow runner friends before I walked over to the starting corrals.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k Tampa

Fellow BibRavePro Samantha and I before the race start.

Since I was in the last corral, my start time was even later. I crossed the starting mat at 8:29am according to my watch. Unfortunately, it was already pretty warm and humid out by that time. I found myself wishing for cooler temps and even a light rain even though I knew the weather forecast didn’t call for rain.

The late start time made the weather conditions rough, even for this Florida runner. I’m so used to running early to avoid the sun as much as possible. An almost 8:30am race start is late for Florida since we tend to have questionable weather conditions. You just never know what sort of temps you’re going to get this time of year.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k

As I ran along the first half of the course (it was an out and back), I found myself mentally challenged by the heat. I have to admit, it took pushing myself to get through those miles. Since I was running solo, I also didn’t have the aid of a runner friend to keep my mind off of how hot I was feeling.

So, I did my best to push through the conditions and think of other things while I checked out the course route. On the out portion, we had neighborhoods to our right on Bayshore Boulevard. There was the bay channel to our left, which would be the side we would be looping back around to on the final half of the 9.33 miles.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate Tampa

The course was nice, as I did enjoy looking out at the water view along the bay. The scenic view was most definitely there. The back side of the 15k was just not shaded enough with the high heat that we had that morning. I think it would have been better if we had reversed the course and ran the back portion first, as the out portion was more shaded with the neighborhoods on one side.

As far as support goes, there were lots of Police and EMTs on the course who were there for assistance and safety. I applaud the race director and organizers for that, as it was right on point. What unfortunately wasn’t on point was the amount of aid stations with water and nuun. There were three water stations on the 15k course which was not enough with the hot conditions that morning. That made things tougher as I didn’t feel hydrated enough. Thankfully, I was carrying a water bottle on my Fitletic belt, so I had that in between the actual stations.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate Tampa

I was able to maintain my run/walk/run 30:30 intervals for just over 10k of the race before I opted to walk. I did end up doing almost a mile of 30 sec run to 60 sec walk though in an attempt to get that last 5k done. When the 15 minute per mile pacer came up on me and passed, I knew I needed to pick things up somehow. After strictly walking for a quarter of a mile or thereabouts, I pushed myself to 30:60 intervals. I was still walking more than running, but at least I was running something.

When the finish line was in sight, I was so happy. Crossing it, I was glad to be done and despite being hot, I was ready for chocolate! That said, the chocolate finisher mug had great chocolate to dunk pretzels, marshmallows and a banana in. The hot chocolate, I wished was iced or frozen, but otherwise, that chocolate was good!

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k

Finisher Mug chocolate goodness

Bottom line, the Hot Chocolate race is a unique, fun race. I think once they work on the water station/hydration issues they had at the Tampa race, as well as get the race started earlier (thinking 7am or 7:30am), this race will become really awesome. If they can get frozen hot chocolate, well that would just rule! That all said, I would love to come back next year and run it again.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k with medal

The Weekly Pursuit #25

Wow, it’s hard to believe that in less than a week, it will be Christmas! It always seems to come around so quickly once we hit the end of the year! I’m looking forward to spending time with my family. It’s not about the gifts, it’s about who you are with.

The Girl's Got Sole - Megan & Shannon

With my friend, Megan

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile. I got to see a friend who I’ve known for most of my life (over 30 years). We haven’t seen one another in years, but it’s so great how a childhood friendship can transcend the years. We had such a GREAT time. I loved meeting her husband and four kids. We talked a LOT and later once the little two went to bed played these games through something called JackBox Games via their Playstation. I don’t think I have laughed so hard in quite some time.

On Saturday before seeing my friend, I had hit up the expo for the Hot Chocolate 15k. The race was in Tampa, so I left Orlando just after 10am so I arrived a bit after 12pm. As I was heading up to the packet pickup, I finally met fellow BibRavePro, Samantha Andrews! She was heading out with her mom and nephew. Was a great way to start my time off in Tampa for sure.

The expo itself for the Hot Chocolate wasn’t very big, but in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting that much. The packet pickup was quick and easy, and then I got my goodie bag and checked out the couple of vendors I was interested in before heading out. I would say, I was there for maybe 20 minutes or thereabouts just so I could be sure to see what was there since I was reviewing the race for BibRave.

The Girl's Got Sole - Samantha & Shannon

Fellow BibRavePro and myself at the Hot Chocolate expo.

After the expo, I located the nearby Whole Foods and funny enough, it was right with a Target. So, I was able to get a few things in Target before picking up something for dinner at Whole Foods. Then, I was off to my friends house. It was a nice day and the drive to Tampa isn’t too bad as it’s about an hour and a half from Orlando.

Sunday morning, I woke up just after 6am to get dressed and ready for the race. Funny enough, my friends four-year-old woke up about the same time and boy is he a morning person. Ha. He was asking me questions about my compression calf sleeves and why I was putting on body glide. It was amusing and the most talk I’ve heard that early in the morning less for my running group. πŸ™‚

Arriving at the race, I immediately ran into a familiar face. Fellow blogger and runner, Katy Widrick and I spotted one another as I walked in. It was so good to see her, as it’s been a few months. She always looks so happy and I love the positive outlook she has. I then spotted Samantha nearby with the pacers, as she was the race sweeper. The three of us chatted for a few minutes before I went over to use the port-o-lets and they headed to the starting area.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate with medal

I will be posting a full race recap this week (despite being behind on my Space Coast Half & OUC Half race recaps), so I will give a complete look at the race experience in that. But, in a nutshell, I had a good time less for the heat. Boy was it a hot day! You just never know what you’re going to get weather-wise in Florida.

Once the race was over and I enjoyed the chocolate goodies, I got back in my car and headed toward Orlando. I went over to the parents house though so I could see them and of course shower and all. It was nice to see the parents and the birds and guinea pig. Before I knew it, the time had come for me to head back home. I had a nice short visit though, and am looking forward to being back over this coming weekend for Christmas.

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

Looking back at last week’s goals…

1. Daily Devotional. Ack, got behind on this one, but going to get caught up and stay that way!
2. Write Lighthouse Loop Half race recap. Yup, got this up and my BibRave review as well! πŸ™‚
3. Laundry. Just down to a load or maybe two tops, so did good on this one.
4. Workout 5 days a week. Well, I opted to listen to my body last week, so I rested on Monday and Wednesday instead of working out. I was just tired and felt it was the best thing for me.
5. Food logging everyday. Meh, I am not consistent on this and it doesn’t help keep me on track when I don’t log like I should.

This week’s goals…

1. Daily Devotional, read everyday.
2. Logging food daily.
3. Hot Chocolate 15k Race Recap written.
4. Finish Christmas shopping.
5. More moving cleanup.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dream Big, Pray Bigger

What are your goals for the week?

Five on Friday: 12/16

The Girl's Got Sole - Five Friday

Happy Friday! TGIF for sure! I’m always happy for Fridays. πŸ™‚

It’s hard to believe that we are 9 days away from Christmas! Where has the year gone? Honestly though, I’ve very much looking forward to the end of 2016 and the beginning of a new year. 2016 hasn’t exactly been the nicest year to me. I’m extremely optimistic and positive for 2017!

1. Hot Chocolate 15k this weekend! I’m running the Hot Chocolate 15k this coming Sunday in Tampa for BibRave. It’s a race I’ve been looking forward to running. Not to mention that I get to see a friend I’ve known since I was like 9 years old and haven’t seen in forever.

The Girl's Got Sole - Hot Chocolate 15k Tampa

2. Slaughterhouse Five. Finally reading this book on my Kindle Fire. So far, I am liking it. But, I’m not even close to the halfway point yet. Will have to post more about my thoughts once I finish the book.

3. 2017 WDW Half Marathon. I’m excited to announce that I will be pacing the Disney Half Marathon next month during WDW Marathon Weekend! I’ve been wanting to get into pacing races, and this will be my first go at it. I will be pacing the 3:15 time goal Galloway group. If you see me out there, say ‘hi!” I will also be at the expo on Friday, the day before at the Galloway pacer table in the afternoon for a bit.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 WDW Marathon Weekend

4. Secret Santa fun. With all the things going on with my move and money (or lack there-of), I had to cut down on doing much in the way of participating in Christmas Secret Santa type things. But, I opted to join in with my fellow Skirt Sports sisters for our Secret Santa, and I can’t wait to see what my Secret Santa gets me! It was a little difficult shopping for my secret sister, but I think I got a few things she will like. I like fun surprises, and I hope she does too!

The Girl's Got Sole - Team 413

5. Team 413. I would like to ask you, my awesome readers and friends to please consider supporting Team 413. I’ve posted about the organization before here on the blog. They really need donations to keep funding their efforts in 2017. If you believe in what Team 413 GraceRunner Ministries does for our running community in spreading the word of God through the hearts of endurance athletes.