Faith Through Life

This year has been full of ups and downs. I go from highly optimistic and full of smiles to doubts and disappointments depending upon the day. For the most part, I try to keep my head up, knowing that God will continue to take care of me and my faith will carry me through.

You’d think that right now I would be on cloud 9, excited that the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon is in 20 days. I am excited, but I’m also tired and starting to question myself. I have started asking myself things like, ‘why didn’t I get better control over my eating and lose the few pounds I wanted to?’ Or, ‘I should have gotten a better handle on my finances this year.’

The Girl's Got Sole - Faith

The whole weight loss and body stuff is a constant in my life. For so long, I kept all 80lbs off that I lost by the end of 2009, but in the last couple of years, 5-8lbs have creeped back on. I’m not where I was weight-wise that I was when I did the 2015 NYC Marathon. I so wanted to get back to that, or at least close to it. But, it just didn’t happen. It’s all about food, you can work out 5-6 days a week, but if you don’t make sure your nutrition is on point, you can still gain, or at least you aren’t going to lose anything, that’s for sure.

Having to move four times this year hasn’t helped stability in my life. I have gone from living with a friend 45 minutes away from my running group, to living with my parents for a month, to finding a place I thought would be great, then having to move two months later. I’m thankful that my current residence seems to be working out. I attribute that to God. He allowed a friend to help when another friend of hers was looking for a room-mate. My current landlord/roomie is a Christian filled with faith and I just love that. She is incredibly sweet and we talk about the Lord every day. Such a blessing.

Nothing has gone the way I had thought it would go in 2017. And, you know what? I have to believe that it was meant o be that way. God directs my path, and while I don’t always understand why things happen or don’t happen (not sure I ever will), I do believe that God is in charge of my life. Things may have been hard at times, but I have to believe that He knew I would be strong enough to push through whatever the issue might be. Sometimes, I admit I wonder if God believes in me too much. I mean, when I’m in my bedroom, crying into my pillow, how strong am I really?

The Girl's Got Sole - beautiful

God doesn’t make mistakes though, He knows what we are capable of. He is all knowing. Thankfully, those weak moments that I have are few and far between. When I question myself and my life, I know it’s just negativity. It’s not from Him. When I’m looking in that mirror thinking I look bad, that I’m not beautiful, that is not true. That’s the world, the enemy in my head. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m not my struggles. I’m just me, an imperfect beautiful creation.

I’m going to be praying to keep the enemy at bay. He is not invited and I only want God within me, and in my life. His blessings have gotten me this far, and it’s because of God that I’m going to be running my dream race again on November 5th. He makes all things possible!

Workout Recap: W/E 10/14

If I had to choose one word to sum up last week, it would be tired. Ever since my 26 mile training run, I’ve been exhausted, feeling ready for a nap every single day. I think that the reason is two-fold for me. One, I just ran 26 miles, and secondly, my thyroid issues don’t help.

So, while I got my workouts in for the most part, I just wasn’t nearly into it. It was more of a habit getting the workouts done than anything else. That’s fine, but I know rest is also a part of the training plan. Not always easy to back down to take the extra needed rest, but I’m working on doing that now.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sat group post-run

Sunday, October 8th – REST DAY. This was the day after my 26 mile run, so I took a rest day.

Monday, October 9th – Bike workout at the gym for cross-training. Just over 9 miles for 52 minutes.

The Girl's Got Sole - Oct 9th bike workout

Tuesday, October 10th – Run with my group in Baldwin. Actually felt pretty good, this was probably my best workout of the week. Was happy with the pace too. Just humid as heck out.

The Girl's Got Sole - Oct 10th run

Wednesday, October 11th – REST DAY.

Thursday, October 12th – Group run. We opted to hit the road, since some of us weren’t feeling like doing speed work. Also, I woke up with a sinus headache.

The Girl's Got Sole - Oct 12th run

Friday, October 13th – REST DAY.

Saturday, October 14th – 10 mile run with my group. Wasn’t feeling as energized as I would have liked, but run went okay. Last double-digit run until the marathon on 11/5.

The Girl's Got Sole - Oct 14th group run

How were your workouts last week?

She’s a Beautiful Work in Progress

Okay, disclaimer right off here… I am about to admit to a girl crush on a fellow runner and Skirt Sports Ambassador. I just finished her amazing book and I can’t wait to meet her in person next month in NYC. Just who the heck am I talking about? Mirna Valerio!

The Girl's Got Sole - A Beautiful Work in Progress

Her new book, A Beautiful Work in Progress just hit bookshelves, Kindles, other E-Readers and Audible. Let me just tell you right now, YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. Mirna is the real deal. As I listened to her (I bought the Kindle edition and the audible, so I could hear the words from the horse’s mouth, so to speak), I could picture myself running beside her, taking in all the miles together. Of course, I’m not a trail runner, nor an ultra runner, but other than that, totally works.

Mirna, otherwise known online as Fat Girl Running is out there doing her thing no matter what. Period. I LOVE THAT! She laces up her running shoes and goes out and runs, just like you and me. She is here to tell us all that it doesn’t matter what you look like, how much you weigh, what color or whatever you are, that you are beautiful and you can do anything. As someone who has and continues to struggle with myself (we are never truly satisfied with our looks and who were are, sadly), her message hits home.

In her book, she tells us about her life, including her family (whom sound very cool, especially her mom), school years, and how she got into running. She has fought through a lot of hard times, people telling her that she can’t do this or that, yet she proves them wrong every time. Her will to succeed and be herself is nothing short of inspirational. I found myself yearning for more stories when the book concluded.

The Girl's Got Sole - Mirna Valerio

Thankfully, there is her blog, Fat Girl Running. It’s a blog that I’ve known about for awhile now, but honestly haven’t truly explored, until now. Mirna has many race reports, motivational pieces, musings on running, and much more. I plan on visiting her blog regularly from now on. Since it’s new to me, I know I have plenty of fun things in store to check out!

Fall in love with Mirna for yourself, head over to Amazon and check out A Beautiful Work in Progress. I promise that you will love it and not want to put it down until you finish the entire book.

2017 NYC Marathon Training Update #6

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 TCS NYC Marathon training update

My last long training run for the TCS NYC Marathon is done! On Saturday morning, I ran 26 miles. It was a LONG morning, and by the end, I couldn’t have been happier to finish.

The morning began with a way-too-early wake up call at 2am. My alarm went off and I rolled out of bed to get dressed and ready for the run. Once I was dressed, I grabbed my Generation UCAN pre-mixed drink and the two UCAN gels I had made the night before and headed out the door.

There were six of us heading out at 3am to get in our miles. Jenny and myself having the most with 26, and the others were needing 17. We headed out toward Winter Park from the school and within the first half mile, I was warm. Boy was it humid out! Florida doesn’t exactly celebrate that season called, Fall.

The Girl's Got Sole - UCAN gels fuel

I was feeling good other than being hot, which was good. That first ten miles went well, by the time we returned to the school for our pick-up/drop-off, I was feeling content. We added a few more of our group members at this point, and one of the girls that started at 3am opted to finish the four miles she needed in the neighborhood. The group of eight of us hit the road in the opposite direction (I switched things up a bit for the next part of the run).

When we again got to Cady Way, Jenny and I had hit 13.1 miles. Halfway point! We high-fived at the accomplishment. Less than 13.1 to go. The group would be separating soon, since the 17 milers were almost done. We all headed out of the Cady Way water stop and once we hit Phelps, took a group picture and the majority headed left back toward the school, while Jenny, Erin and myself went right to continue on our miles.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sole Warriors group

First stop for us was Phelps water stop. The three of us had hoped the park’s restroom would be open, but no go. So, we did a nearby loop and went off a bit to the local YMCA to use the facilities. Gotta love the Y! The brief stop refreshed us and we again hit the road.

As we made our way toward downtown Winter Park, Erin debated whether she was going to join Jenny and I for the full 26 miles rather than the 23 she had planned to do per her schedule. She opted to stick with us, and we were definitely all for her continued company (of note, later she would question why she did this LOL).

The trio of us hit the golf course route which I had the directions with me for. I had only done the 4.5 mile route with others, and didn’t know it by memory. There are quite a lot of turns, so I wondered how my fellow runners remember it. But, I suppose if you do a route enough times, you can memorize it.

The Girl's Got Sole - 26 mile trio

It was during this route that we got a little loopy. We sang aloud, laughed at silly thing like a house having our trash cans all so evenly lined up in their brick driveway, and awed at a tree that fell over with the sidewalk along with it from Hurricane Irma. It was amazing how many large trees had fallen in that area alone.

By the time we hit mile 20, I think we all were ready to be done with the run. Mentally, I good, but my feet were hurting and legs were getting tired. I’m thankful for my sense of humor, because it kept me going and helped me encourage Jenny who was doing great until about mile 22.

The last 3-4 miles definitely felt like an eternity. More walking than running began to take place at this point. There were segments of silence among the three of us. It’s like, we were all trying to concentrate on finishing the run, and adding conversation would be an overuse of energy that we didn’t have left in the tank. Who thought doing a marathon was a good idea anyway? Oh, yeah…

The Girl's Got Sole - Jenny & Shannon post-26 miles

When we finally got on the street where the school was, and more importantly, our cars, I smiled. Jenny then asked me, if she gave me her car keys if I would drive it over to get her. This made me laugh. No, I replied as I plodded her to keep moving forward. We’re almost there. Can’t knock the girl for trying though. Ha!

Finally arriving at the school, seeing that glorious 26 miles on my GPS watch, I couldn’t have been happier. We did it, we were done! It’s the best feeling, even if all you want to do is lay on the ground and not move another step. Somehow though, we always manage to get some happy-looking photos despite the exhaustion.

As I exchanged my Brooks running shoes for my oh-so-comfy OOFOS sandals, I was beyond glad to be done. Sure, I was exhausted and my feet and legs screamed at me, but mentally I felt good. This would be the longest run I would do until the big race on November 5th in NYC. It was so awesome to be entering taper.

The Girl's Got Sole - 26 miler

30 Days till NYC!

30 days from today, I will be running the five boroughs of the greatest city in the world. I can visualize the starting line on Staten Island on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. I can already hear Frank Sintara crooning New York, New York for 50,000+ runners…

The Girl's Got Sole - 30 days until NYC

While this training season has been nothing like 2015, when I first trained for the TCS NYC Marathon, I know that it’s going to be amazing. I’m blessed with not only being able to run the big race again, but this time, as part of a team.

Team 261 Fearless NYC will consist of 13 runners along-side Kathrine Switzer. We’ve got an awesome team, and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I get more and more so each day. Especially with my last long run coming up this Saturday.

At 3am on Saturday morning, my 26 mile training run will start. I’m thankful that I’ve got such a great running group that I will be doing most of the miles with, and all 26 with my friend, Jenny. It’s going to be a long morning, but I look forward to getting the last long training run done before taper.

The Girl's Got Sole - Verrazano-Narrows Bridge NYC Marathon

That said, I’m still $520 from my fundraising goal of $2,261 for 261 Fearless. I would LOVE to hit that goal by this weekend, but I need your help, your support! Every single donation makes a difference! If you can donate $25, or $26.10, it really helps! Thank you for the support, and especially to those who have donated already. Please go here to make a donation. YOU ARE ALL AWESOME! THANK YOU!

Gifts of 261 Fearless

I LOVE being a part of Team 261 Fearless. The group is full of amazing women all inspired by Kathrine Switzer. In 34 days, I will be running with 261 Fearless, and as the big day gets closer, my excitement grows.

In case you don’t follow 261 Fearless on Facebook or other social media, you may have missed the gifts of 261 Fearless. Leading up to the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon, Kathrine and Team 261 Fearless will be revealing some great gifts. The first, is courageousness.

The second gift has already been teased on the Facebook page. Be sure to follow 261 Fearless so you don’t miss out on the reveal!

The Girl's Got Sole - 261 Fearless

Also, an update on my Team 261 Fearless NYC fundraising… I’m now $801 from reaching my goal of $2,261. Please keep your donations coming, they are greatly appreciated! I know that I will hit that goal soon!

Workout Recap: W/E 9/30

The last week of September went pretty well. I got in my regular workouts, three days of running and two days of cross-training. Felt like I was mostly getting back into my usual weekly routine.

The Girl's Got Sole - Melissa & Shannon

With friend, Melissa after she did her longest run to date, 19 miles!

Sunday, September 24th – Bike workout at the gym for CT. 9.60 miles done.

The Girl's Got Sole - September 24th bike

Monday, September 25th – Another bike workout in the gym for just over 10 miles.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 25th bike

Tuesday, September 26th – Great 5k run with my group in Baldwin. Felt good.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 26th run

Wednesday, September 27th – REST DAY.

Thursday, September 28th – Track workout! So happy that the track was open so that I could get in a speed workout. Did ladders and pushed myself. Good stuff!

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 28th run

Friday, September 29th – REST DAY.

Saturday, September 30th – 10 mile run with my group. Was feeling a bit off that morning, but got it done. Rained for a good portion of the run too. But, actually felt nice.

The Girl's Got Sole  - Sept 30th Sat run

How were your workouts last week?

Benefits of BCAAs

Have you heard of BCAAs, aka branched-chain amino acids? There are three proteinogenic BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine and valine; as well as non-proteinogenic BCAAs that include 2-aminoisobutyric acid.

I know, it sounds like a mouthful, not to mention what the heck is a proteinogenic amino acid? They are amino acids that are biosynthetically incorporated into proteins. It gets all scientific from there, so if you are into that info, I’ve linked to it. The important thing to know is, if you are an endurance athlete, BCAAs can help reduce muscle soreness after a workout, as well as promote muscle growth and repair.

A lot of people believe that a supplement like BCAAs is just something for bodybuilders, but they are so much more. I’m an advocate of BCAAs for runners, as they have so many great benefits for endurance athletes and those who workout regularly.

The Girl's Got Sole - BCAA benefits

1. Muscle Soreness. Consuming BCAAs before and after training, especially a hard or long run, can help reduce muscle soreness. This can help you recover more easily afterwards so you are ready sooner for your next workout or run.

2. Prevents Fatigue. Using BCAAs can reduce fatigue as well as improve performance. The BCAAs can be burned by the body as energy during glycogen-depleting exercise. They also help prevent fatigue of the nervous system by suppressing an uptake of tryptophan (used to create serotonin which increases fatigue) in the brain.

3. Immune System Boost. BCAAs can help protect the body’s glutamine storage levels and keep your immune system from becoming depleted. And, when you are always working out, that’s important.

4. Achieving Leaner Body/Fat Burning. Taking BCAAs can help you have a better overall body composition as well as aid in curbing appetite. Fat burning is increased due to leucine which helps you train harder and workout for longer periods of time. A win-win!

Do you use BCAAs in your training?

Toby Tuesday

I’ve been considering doing some sort of regular post that involves my bird, Toby. In case you don’t know about my baby boy, he is a parakeet. After losing Angel & Indy (my two birds I had for about 11 years) in February and March, my parents helped me adopt Toby. He is named after my favorite Christian artist, TobyMac.

The Girl's Got Sole - Toby bird

Toby is the sweetest little guy. He is about 10 months old right now and he sings, talks and dances up a storm everyday. His vocabulary grows it seems each week and he really is my baby. Definitely already becoming a momma’s boy. LOL!

These Toby Tuesday posts won’t be weekly, but once or twice a month. This particular post is going to be about some of Toby’s favorite songs right now. He LOVES music, especially Christian music. We both listen to Z88.3, a local FM Christian station here in Central Florida. Here are some of his favorite’s right now, the songs that really get him dancing and singing up a storm!

Lights Shine Bright (tobyMac featuring Hollyn). Okay so yes, Toby LOVES the artist he is named after! So, I have to mention this current favorite of my feathered baby and myself. It’s on tobyMac‘s most recent album, This Is Not a Test. It’s a catchy tune, one that I have on my workout playlist and best of all, it’s Toby approved!

The Girl's Got Sole - Lights Shine Bright

Every Good Thing (The Afters). This came on the radio over the weekend and Toby really got his dance moves on. He was singing and bobbing away to this catchy tune. The song is about how God is responsible for every good thing in our lives, that He is the reason. I am a fan of this one too. 🙂

Shout To The Lord (Darlene Zschech). This artist is new to me, and my feathered baby. It’s a great praise and worship song that Toby really gets into when it comes on the radio. Really does get my worship praise on.

The Girl's Got Sole - Every Good Thing

Living in Awe (Hollyn). Hollyn is a new favorite artist of mine, and when I introduced Toby to her music, he puffed up his feathers and began to sing loudly. I considered that to be a definite approval from baby boy!

Lead Me (Sanctus Real). Another song on my workout playlist. From the moment Toby heard it on the radio, he was definitely into it. Dancing and singing commenced and dare I say, it’s becoming a favorite of his. I just love how much some of these songs get him shaking his tail feathers!

Do you listen to Christian music? What are some of your current favorites?

Workout Recap: W/E 9/23

After the hurricane craziness, I was able to mostly get back into my usual workout regime last week. I did take an extra rest day due to running 23 miles on Saturday, 9/16. While I actually felt pretty good soreness-wise, I knew that a rest day was likely the best plan.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 23rd running group

Sunday, September 17th – Rest day. (after running 23 miles the day before)

Monday, September 18th – Back in the gym for a bike workout for cross-training. Did just over 8 miles and felt pretty good.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 18th bike workout

Tuesday, September 19th – Run day. The first half mile or so I felt tight, but then I was good. My group was surprised as much as I was how well I was able to pace our 3-miler.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 19th run

Wednesday, September 20th – Rest day.

Thursday, September 21st – Run day. We were supposed to do track, but since it was closed, we hit the road for a 5k run in Baldwin.

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 21st run

Friday, September 22nd – Rest day.

Saturday, September 23rd – Had a great 10k run with my group in Winter Park. Dare I say it was even a smidgen cooler temp-wise! 🙂

The Girl's Got Sole - Sept 23 group run

How were your workouts last week?