Race Recap: 2017 26.2 with Donna Half Marathon

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

To say that this was a race I was looking forward to would be an understatement. I love the 26.2 with Donna marathon weekend. From the moment I ran my first marathon at the 2013 26.2 with Donna, I fell in love with the race and the city of Jacksonville. There is no race experience like the DONNA. Having missed the 2015 race weekend due to financial reasons, I could not have been happier to return to the 26.2 with Donna.

While there was a 5k, 10k and the full & half marathons on the race weekend schedule, my friends and I were just running on Sunday. So, we hit the road on Saturday morning from Orlando to head up to Jacksonville. There were four of us in the entourage, three running the half marathon, and one running the full marathon. After a stop for coffee and an additional stop to use the restroom (water-loading is fun!), we made it to Jacksonville around lunchtime.

The Girl's Got Sole - DONNA expo

At the DONNA expo

Once we checked into the hotel, we drove over to the expo to get our race bibs and packets. Packet pickup was a bit different than the previous three years I’ve done. It was in the main room with the vendors this time around, whereas previously, it was just off in a side room from the vendor main hall. It was still very easy and quick to get our packets, and I always love the enthusiasm the volunteers have.

After we got our packets, we checked out the vendors. Right off, I have to say that I felt it was a smaller showing than I had seen before at the DONNA expo. It seemed as though a number of notable vendors who I’ve seen at past years’ expos were not in attendance. I’m not sure why that was, maybe there were other races that weekend that made them have to choose between one or the other. Whatever it was, I hope this was just an “off year” for that and that it will go back to what it used to be in 2018.

The Girl's Got Sole - DONNA expo

The vendors I did see were pretty great. I was able to pickup some race nutrition, including some Generation UCAN to try out. I got a couple of UCAN snack bars and some electrolyte powders to add to my water. I’ve been hearing great things about UCAN, so I was glad to get the chance to pick up some individual items. I was tempted by a couple of other running things at some vendors, but I reigned myself in and kept my money in my pocket.

A highlight of the expo was seeing John Fornier right before my friends and I headed out. John is the creator of SQOOSH sport bands. You’ve seen me wearing them at my races and in a lot of my training run photos. The SQOOSH is my go-to sweat band when running. He just redesigned the band a bit and I was anxious to try it out. So, he hooked me up with a new SQOOSH for the DONNA Half the next day as well as a buff. (Note: Stay tuned for a SQOOSH giveaway soon!)

That night, we enjoyed a carb-loading dinner at Olive Garden before returning to the hotel. I sure did enjoy my spaghetti and bread sticks. Nothing like Olive Garden’s bread sticks! I realize the whole carb-loading thing is debatable these days between marathon runners, but hey, it’s a good enough reason to enjoy some pasta for me! Ha.

The Girl's Got Sole -2017 26.2 with Donna

Some of the Orlando Galloway group pre-race.

Once back at the hotel, we all got our race stuff set out, took showers (always a night before race tradition for me), and settled down with some Law & Order: SVU as we eventually fell asleep. Funny how soon that 4am alarm would come ringing.

Getting ready on race morning went pretty smoothly. We were out the door before 5am and heading to the bus to the race start. This time around, we stayed near the race finish by Mayo Clinic, so once we finished we would be able to walk back to the hotel to clean up. In past years, I’ve driven to the race start, then had to take a bus back to there since it’s a point-to-point race.

Arriving in the Runners Village, we found the Galloway tent and hung around for awhile. I saw many familiar faces which is another reason I love running the DONNA. So many fellow Orlando Galloway runners as well as Jacksonville runner friends do the race every year. As a DONNA Race Ambassador in 2014 and 2015, I was blessed to have met a lot of folks who have become friends.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

With my friend, Susie before the race. She was running the marathon.

Before I knew it, we were walking to the starting corrals. With the DONNA, it’s sort of a wave start system. I tend to get in the last couple of waves which works fine for me. I found the 3 hour pacers, one of which was my fellow Orlando Galloway friend, Nancy. My plan was to stick with them and see how things were going at the halfway point. The pacers were doing 30:30 intervals which was perfect for me, it’s become my favorite interval to use.

Once our wave was up to the starting mats, they counted us down and the confetti cannon went off…as were we! Every wave gets the same starting excitement, so it never matters when or where you start. The beginning once we crossed the starting mats was tight, as it tend to be with so many runners out of the gate. It opens up more after about half a mile or so, once we really hit the roads.

The Girl's Got Sole - 26.2 with Donna

Dogs with pink tutus!

SO many amazing cheering spectators adorn the course from the beginning. I really do love the love you feel on the course at the DONNA. They make you smile and help keep you motivated as you push through the miles. What I really loved was seeing a lot of dogs out there, a number of them in tutus and other pink cuteness. Add in costumed kids and adults and you’ve got blocks and blocks of fun covered in pink.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

On the half marathon route.

I felt great during those first miles. Really great. I was having a great time and enjoying the race with my friends with the 3-hour pace group. I barely realized that we had run 5k, then before I knew it we were nearing the halfway point. But, it was also close to when the half and full marathon split off from one another at mile 7. That meant three of my Orlando Galloway friends would be heading off with the full route. I said good-bye to my friends and continued onward with my 3-hour pace group.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

Pacer Nancy and her boppy balloon. 🙂

Hitting mile 8, I was still feeling good. I took a gel about this time (having taken one at the 5k point previously), and kept on moving. On a fun, humorous note, my friend Nancy was carrying a balloon as a pacer. Now, you kind of need to know the backstory that she, along with my co-group leader of Running Agents (my pace group with Orlando Galloway), are the balloon ladies for the Walt Disney World runDisney races. So, since they were both pacing at the DONNA (Molly was pacing 3:15), they decided to carry balloons with their finish time written on them. Nancy’s balloon kept bopping me on the head during the race, as well as some of the other runners in the group. I swear the thing was after me a few times. LOL!

The amazing, cheering spectators continued to make me smile through the latter half of the race. Then, there was the bridge. The last two and a half miles are on the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, which most agree is the toughest part of the race. I tend to agree, as it’s takes some pushing to get yourself up the bridge and to keep moving, especially at the end of the race. At the top of that bridge though is some of the loudest, most energetic cheering spectators on the course. You definitely get a motivating push from these great folks as you make your way toward that finish.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

On the bridge with the amazing cheering spectators.

Coming off of the bridge, ahead of me, I saw it. That glorious finish line. Always makes me smile seeing a finish line ahead. I was a bit tired at that point. The bridge, and the weather had begun to get warmer while I was on it had drained my energy. Despite being hot and finally feeling the miles, I pushed. I pushed myself to run to that finish line. I was going to give the end all that I had left.

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

Terrie, Barb and myself post-race.

At 3:00:19 I finished the 2017 26.2 with Donna half marathon. While it’s not a PR for me, I felt great about this finish time. I maintained a consistent pace throughout the race and finished strong. That was all that mattered, that I finished. I’m not out there to win anything, just to enjoy running with my friends and continue to challenge myself in doing so.

The 10th anniversary of the 26.2 with Donna was a great time, and I already look forward to running it again in 2018!

The Girl's Got Sole - 2017 26.2 with Donna

You’ll Always Be My Angel

Today I had to say good-bye to a friend.

My 11-year-old parakeet Angel crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She had a fatty tumor on her underside by her bottom for over a year, and it finally started giving her a lot of trouble. It just got to be too much for my baby girl and I had to make a difficult decision to give her a peaceful ending.

The Girl's Got Sole - Angel bird

Angel bird

It’s never easy saying good-bye to a feathered or furry friend. No matter the situation. I knew that I needed to do what was best for her, and not letting her suffer anymore was important to me. I loved her enough to let her go.

Angel and I, along with my lovebird, Indy have been together for over 10 years. Indy came into our lives about six months after I had Angel. The three of us have gone from Florida to North Carolina and back again. My birdies have been my support system, best friends, and even work assistants through the years. The memories created will forever stay with me.

My little white-feathered girl always made me smile with her singing and happy calls when I would return home. She would come running over to sing to me and give me kisses on a regular basis. Angel was one sweet but tough chick, and definitely an amazing bundle of love.

I will very much miss you, Angel my baby girl, but I know we will see one another one day soon up in Heaven.

The Girl's Got Sole - Angel bird

My baby, Angel

The Weekly Pursuit #30

What a weekend! Let me tell you, this past weekend was a crazy one for me. Mostly, it was good crazy, but the latter half of Sunday was not how I planned or hoped things would go. Life is just so unpredictable…

The 26.2 with Donna marathon weekend took place Friday through Sunday in Jacksonville. I love this race and was sad when I had to miss it last year. This year marked my fourth year running it, and I really did have a great race and time in Jax. I left for Jacksonville with one of my runner friends around 9am on Saturday, then we met up with two other friends before heading up to the race expo.

The Girl's Got Sole - DONNA expo

We had a good time at the expo and enjoyed a great dinner at Olive Garden before heading to our hotel for the night. Once we all showered and laid out our race outfits and all, we headed to bed. The next morning’s wake up call was early (4:30am) and once we got ready, we headed out the door to hit the shuttle to the race start. I had a good time chatting with my friends and then seeing many familiar faces before the race got started.

The race itself was great, as it always is at the 26.2 with Donna. I will be posting a full race recap later this week, so I won’t get into things right now. Once I finished and my other two friends were done that also ran the half marathon, we headed to the hotel to shower and relax a bit before heading back to the race finish area to cheer in some fellow Orlando Galloway friends who were running the marathon.

The Girl's Got Sole - Post-race trio

After the race with Barb & Terrie who also ran the half.

This is where things eventually flipped upside down for me. Somewhere between the hotel and walking to and around the finish area, I lost my license and bank card. I discovered it AFTER we were walking back to the hotel with our marathon friend who was staying there Sunday night. A trek back to the finish area came up empty, no luck finding the lost card and license. I found the race director and let her know what had happened and she will let me know if anything is found, but as I write this, no word. The hotel also didn’t have anything turned in.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I then dropped my cell phone (which wasn’t even a month old) on the ground outside of the hotel and cracked the screen. Talk about bad luck! Despite how stressful this entire situation was, I somehow managed to remain pretty calm. Not sure how I did that, but I credit my faith. I just had a feeling of “this too shall pass” come over me. It’s most definitely frustrating, but getting upset or angry wasn’t going to change what was. I was thankful that my runner friend was riding back to Orlando with me, and she was so sweet making sure I had my post-race smoothie and some caffeine along the drive back home.

Alas, I am hopeful for the rest of my week to be a lot better! I had to buy another new phone (guess some OT is in my future at work!), and a new debit card is on it’s way to me while the lost one got canceled. I’ve got a lot more good things coming in the future, so I’m going to keep my head up! God will take care of me! 🙂

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

That all said, onto my goals for the week. Since I didn’t post a Weekly Pursuit blog last week, I’m just posting this week’s goals.

1. Logging my food. I was doing so well on this, then I slacked over the weekend. Gotta get back on track!
2. Hydration! With three more half marathons in the coming weeks, this is so important.
3. Write race recap. Got to get my 26.2 with Donna race recap up, as well as a review on BibRave.
4. Listen to my body. While I want to workout 5 days this week, I also want to listen to my body if it needs extra rest with all of my half marathons this month.

The Girl's Got Sole - Patience

How was your weekend? What are your goals this week?

Five on Friday: 2/10/17

The Girl's Got Sole - Five on Friday

Hey friends, happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be happier that the weekend is almost here. Of course, I always love Fridays (who doesn’t?), but this particular one represents the start of four weekends of half marathons for me.

I missed posting a Weekly Pursuit blog this week, but it will return next Monday! I just felt like I had a lot on my plate mentally and all at the beginning of the week, so I ended up skipping it. It will be a rare thing, that is, skipping that blog post, but I’m sure it will happen at times. Life is just crazy and unpredictable, so you just have to flow with it. 🙂

The Girl's Got Sole - 26.2 with Donna

1. 26.2 with Donna. One of my favorite races is this weekend! I LOVE the 26.2 with Donna race weekend in Jacksonville. It was my first marathon back in 2013, and I’ve run the half in 2014 then the full marathon again in 2015. I sadly had to miss it last year due to financial reasons, so glad to be heading back up there to run again. It’s definitely one of the best races in Florida, hands down. And, this year is the race’s 10th anniversary!

2. Pacing the Disney Princess Half. If you didn’t see my post on facebook or twitter, I will be pacing the Disney Princess Half Marathon later this month! I’m not only excited to be pacing, but I’ve wanted to run the Princess race for awhile. It’s a race that’s on my race bucket list, so I’m totally looking forward to it. I also look forward to helping some fellow Galloway runners finish in 3:15, which is the time I’m pacing.

The Girl's Got Sole - Not a Race, a Journey

3. My FitJourney. I’m pretty stuck right now on my journey. By that, I mean the scale hasn’t budged, at all. And, I’ve tried moving it around the bathroom, hoping that would help, but yeah, just not the way it works. LOL! I do feel better, and that matters to me a good deal. So, I’m telling myself that while it’s a bit frustrating not seeing that scale downsizing, it’s a process that can be a bit slow at times. Patience and positive thinking will help get me through!

4. Skirt Sports! I’ve got some new Skirt Sports goodness enroute to me as I write this post. I won’t have the new skirts in time for this weekend’s race, but I plan on wearing one of them the following weekend to that half marathon. There’s just nothing like new skirts arriving in your mailbox! If you want to snag some Skirt Sports awesomeness (you know you do), head over to Skirt Sports and use code 1SSCAPT20 to save 20% off your order! If you’re curious what skirt style I am always wearing, it’s the Gym Girl Ultra. LOVE IT!

The Girl's Got Sole - NYC Marathon lottery

5. NYC Marathon. The lottery countdown is on! If you have been considering entering the 2017 marathon lottery, you’ve got just seven more days until the February 17th deadline. Then, the anticipation for the actual drawing on March 2nd begins! I know I’m already counting the days…I mean, it’s not like I know there’s 20 days left or anything. LOL!

Have a great weekend, friends!

Product Review: LEGEND Compression

The Girl's Got Sole - LEGEND Compression

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Legend Compression Wear calf sleeves to review 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!

I love compression wear, especially calf sleeves and socks. I’m a huge fan of compression for runners and endurance athletes. They are great during a run as well as for recovery. So, when BibRave had an opportunity to review another brand of compression, I was excited to jump at the chance.

The Girl's Got Sole - LEGEND Compression sleeves

LEGEND Compression Wear’s mission is to improve the performance of every athlete, no matter what level they are. Their compression sleeves, socks and apparel are designed with the runner or triathlete in mind. It’s all about helping you perform at your best. They aim to provide the highest quality sports compression socks, sleeves and wear so that every athlete can perform and recovery faster and better.

I received a pair of LEGEND Compression Leg Sleeves and immediately wore them on my next run. They were extremely comfortable on a short 3 miler, and then again when I wore them on a long 14 mile run. I felt great during the run, and barely knew the leg sleeves were there. Comfort and performance in a compression sleeve are very important to me, which is just what I got with LEGEND’s sleeves. They did exactly as promised.

The Girl's Got Sole - LEGEND Compression

The leg sleeves come in seven different colors: black, blue, pink, aqua, yellow, lavender and white. The Graduated Compression Technology provides maximum blood flow for muscle performance and endurance. LEGEND is proudly made in the USA and has a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.

LEGEND’s products have proved to me that they can stand right up there with the best compression wear out there right now for runners. I will definitely be picking up another pair of compression sleeves in the future, and I would love to check out their performance and recovery socks.

Right now, you can save 20% off your order of LEGEND Compression Wear by using discount code “rave20.” I highly recommend you give them a try on your next training run!

The Girl's Got Sole - LEGEND Compression

** Don’t miss this week’s #bibchat on Twitter with sponsor, LEGEND Compression Wear. Chat is at 9pm Eastern time on Tuesday 2/7/17. You could win compression wear! **

The Weekly Pursuit #29

OK, where did my weekend go? Wasn’t it just Friday a few minutes ago? It seems that those two days between Friday and Monday go by far too quickly in my opinion. On the plus side, I have a few races coming up soon now that February is almost here. So, I’m happy that those are almost here.

Last week was a good week for me workout-wise. I actually worked out six days instead of my usual five. I ran on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and did bike workouts on the other days. Not sure it helped though in my weight-loss fitjourney because when I weighed myself Sunday morning, I was the same as last weekend. I’m disappointed for sure, but I’m going to keep my head up and keep doing what I’m doing.

The Girl's Got Sole - Bike workout

Monday evening bike workout

On the fitjourney topic besides the weigh-in, I ate well and within my calorie range everyday. I didn’t overeat at all, so I’m happy with my nutrition. I feel like I’ve lost weight, so I just think the darn scale is mean. LOL! Sometimes though, the scale doesn’t reflect the hard work and dedication we have been putting in. Plus, there’s always inches that I’m losing and muscle that I could be gaining, you never know.

This past weekend I had my last long run for the 26.2 with Donna half marathon coming up on February 12th. We started at 5am and I got to run with a few different running group friends through my 14 miles. The first four included my runner friend, Melissa who has been out with an injury for a couple of months. I was so glad to see her and be able to run with her again. I also ran between six and eight miles with some of my usual girls, then finished the last few miles with my runner friend, Terrie.

The Girl's Got Sole - Saturday run

Melissa’s first Saturday run back with the group!

It was a cold morning in Orlando, was about 50 degrees, but felt more like 45 with the wind and all. Despite the cooler temperatures, I had a great run. Felt pretty good the entire 14 miles. We even spotted more than fifteen peacocks during the last couple of miles. We typically see a couple of the birds or maybe four or five, but never that number. There is a private road nearby that takes care of them year-round, which is where they primarily reside.

After my run, I did a few errands on my way home before taking a much needed nap. I didn’t get a very good night’s rest before my long run, so I was more than ready for a nap. I also went by and visited my parents as my birds needed their nails trimmed, and my dad helps with that.

The Girl's Got Sole - 14 mile run

Terrie and I after I finished my 14 miles. [/caption

Sunday started out by going to church with my friend, Pat. Now that I’m not living close to my home church, Northland, I will be going to her church some Sundays. I love listening to my Pastor and church family each week, but watching it online isn’t the same as going to an actual service. So, going to mix it up. I’ll still download my church’s sermons once they go online each week when I don’t watch them live.

[caption id="attachment_7781" align="aligncenter" width="700"]The Girl's Got Sole - Winter Park peacocks Winter Park peacocks

Once we got home from church, I headed out on my own. My cell phone was having issue lately, so after doing some research on the current phones MetroPCS had available, I knew which one I wanted to upgrade to. The first MetroPCS store I went to was out of the phone since it just came out last week, but the second place I went to had it in stock. About twenty minutes later, I was back out the door with a new phone in hand.

I picked up a few more needed groceries for the week at Target, then headed back home. It was a rainy, dreary cold day, so it didn’t take long for me to fall asleep watching Law & Order: SVU on TV. All in all, I got most of what I needed to get done during the weekend, and I guess some extra sleep was what my body needed.

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

Looking back at last week’s goals…

1. Logging my food everyday. Did a good job on this last week.
2. Workout 5 days a week. Worked out 6 days, so thumbs up.
3. Hydration. Did okay on my water intake, not great.
4. Read Daily Devotional each day. I’m right up to date on my reading.
5. Begin reading Fred Lebow book this week. Yay, I started the book!
6. Listening to God. There are a few things I need to listen to Him about where he wants me to go or do. Did well, I feel like He’s talking to me, need to pay attention.

This week’s goals..

1. Food logging everyday.
2. Listening to my body, rest when I need to.
3. Reading Daily Devotional each day.
4. Hydration.
5. Listening to God.

The Girl's Got Sole - My soul finds rest in God

What about you, what are your goals for the week?

Product Review: NuGo Dark

Disclaimer: I received NuGo Dark Bars to review 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!

The Girl's Got Sole - NuGo

What if there was a protein bar that’s delicious and tastes like your favorite candy bar? What if that bar is made with real dark chocolate, antioxidant-rich, vegan, and gluten-free? That’s just what you get with NuGo Dark Bars.

NuGo sent me a mixed box of their NuGo Dark bars to review and let me tell you, they are all amazing! I received two each of Dark Mint Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Dark Chocolate Pretzel, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip flavors. The dark bars also come in Dark Mocha Chocolate, Dark Peanut Butter Cup. and Dark Spicy Chocolate, for a total of 7 flavors.

NuGo Dark bars only use REAL Dark Chocolate which is full of health benefits and flavor. They only use the best quality dark chocolate unlike some other brands that use lesser quality ingredients and palm oil in their coatings. NuGo Nutrition prides themselves on health and taste of their products.

The Girl's Got Sole - NuGo Dark bars

All four flavors I tried were excellent. When I finished my bars, I couldn’t wait to go out and get more at my local store. Thank goodness they are easy to find at Publix, Whole Foods and other health food stores everywhere (search for a store near you here).

The Dark Mint Chocolate is my absolute favorite of the flavors I reviewed. The taste reminded me of a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie, only I could control myself and just eat the one bar instead of a whole roll of cookies. Ha. If you love mint dark chocolate, you will love it. Gives you the goodness of mint chocolate and if you’re like me and watching your portions and/or calories, a bar is only 200 calories.

The Girl's Got Sole - NuGo Dark bar

The Dark Chocolate Pretzel is probably my second favorite flavor. You just can’t go wrong when you combine sweet and salty goodness! Dark chocolate and pretzels together are always a win in my book. It solves that craving for both and you take the last bite feeling satisfied with your snack choice.

Dark Chocolate Coconut and Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip came in tied for third for me. Both taste awesome and I found even a bit better slightly chilled (though, most chocolate is better chilled, don’t you think?). I love coconut, so the dark chocolate with the coconut is a great combination and kind of reminiscent of a Mounds candy bar. Chocolate chip is just always a classic great dark chocolate bar in my opinion, definitely a flavor to throw in your bag to avoid a mid-afternoon snack attack.

The Girl's Got Sole - NuGo Dark bar

Every NuGo Dark Chocolate bar contains 10 grams of protein, is gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, certified Kosher, and antioxidant rich. As someone who is vegan and always on the look out for high-quality, great-tasting protein bars, NuGo is one that I will continue to go-to from now on.

You can check out NuGo Nutrition’s entire product line at their website.

**Don’t miss the January 31st #bibchat with sponsor, NuGo at 9pm Eastern on Twitter! You could win some NuGo Dark bars!**

Skirt Sports Ambassador

The Girl's Got Sole - Skirt Sports Ambassador

I’m happy to announce that I’m returning as a Skirt Sports Ambassador Captain for the third year in a row! I have loved being a Skirt Sports Ambassador, being a part of such an amazing brand and group of ladies since late 2014.

The foundation of Skirt Sports is it’s about REAL women, in REAL bodies, and with REAL inspiration through their lives and life stories. If you follow me and other Skirt Sports Ambassadors (as well as Skirt Sports supporters), you will frequently see the #REALwomenmove hashtag used. Empowering women by showing them that they can still make health and fitness a priority no matter what obstacles they may have to push through.

The Girl's Got Sole - Skirt Sports Ambassador

The clothing itself is designed to be functional, comfortable and make you look amazing all while doing the things that you do. Whether you are a runner, cyclist, triathlete, gym rat, hiker, or just want to look cute when you are out with your girlfriends, Skirt Sports has so many options for you. Not to mention that it doesn’t matter whether you are an XS or XXL, you should be able to embrace your beauty with Skirt Sports.

I invite you to check out all that Skirt Sports has to offer over at SkirtSports.com. As soon as I get my new discount code to share, I will post it for you all to be able to use. Meanwhile, I can’t recommend more everything that Skirt Sports has to offer. I honestly love all that Skirt has product-wise, as well as all that it stands for and behind for women. Only the best running and sport gear, that’s for sure!

The Weekly Pursuit #28

It’s Monday! Last week was kind of a whirlwind, with the swearing in of a new President and over-time at work. Overall, I had a good week. Got in all of my workouts despite feeling tired a couple of times and wanting to just take a nap. I’m not going to achieve my goals if I don’t get up and work for them. So, that’s just what I’m doing.

Yesterday, I got in a great run with my Galloway group. We combined two pace groups and it was a fun time. I ran 8 miles, while some ran up to 26 miles. A number of us are training for the 26.2 with Donna, and this past weekend was the final long run for the marathoners. I’ve got my 14-miler this coming Saturday for the Donna Half Marathon.

The Girl's Got Sole - Galloway group

Saturday run group

After the run, I had breakfast with a runner friend before heading back home. Since I’m not running with my Galloway group on Tuesdays or Thursdays right now (due to being 45 minutes away), I very much look forward to the Saturday long runs now. Having breakfast after with one or more of my runner girlfriends is a highlight as well.

The remainder of Saturday was spent mostly relaxing with my mom. It is nice to be about a fifteen minutes drive from my parents house, as it’s easier to head over for part of a day. We watched Friday night’s Blue Bloods, which she TIVO’ed and some other random TV stuff. I also enjoyed some time with my parents birds and mom’s guinea pig, Abby.

I planned on sleeping in on Sunday morning, but that just didn’t happen. I woke up a few times before finally getting out of bed around 9am. Since I was hearing the weather for the day was going to be potentially bad, I opted to get my gym workout done first thing. I’ve been taking my roomie, Pat with me a couple of days a week to the gym, but she was heading out for church.

The Girl's Got Sole - Bike workout

Did just over 10 miles on the bike at the gym, which I was happy about. I need to up my time and mileage on the bike to get myself out of the 6 mile ‘comfort zone’ I’ve been sort of stuck in. That’s sort of the minimum mileage I tend to do when I ride the bike. Hoping to push that up in the coming weeks.

Finally, I got some new running shoes! There truly isn’t anything like a new pair of running shoes. That new shoe smell, and most of all, the feeling of new shoes on a run. I will be taking them out on Tuesday morning for their first run.

The Girl's Got Sole - The Weekly Pursuit

Looking back at last week’s goals…

1. Logging my food. Yes, I did great on this one last week!
2. Workout 5 days a week. Another successful goal achieved. Got in 3 days of running, 2 days of cross-training.
3. Hydration. I’m doing well on chugging my water lately.
4. Daily Devotional reading. Got behind for a couple of days, but back on track now.
5. Start book reading. Did not start reading my Fred Lebow book yet as planned.

This week’s goals…

1. Logging my food everyday.
2. Workout 5 days a week.
3. Hydration.
4. Read Daily Devotional each day.
5. Begin reading Fred Lebow book this week.
6. Listening to God. There are a few things I need to listen to Him about where he wants me to go or do.

The Girl's Got Sole - God'shand in your plans

#FitJourney

The Girl's Got Sole - #fitjourney

You may have seen me use the #fitjourney hashtag in my instagram workout posts this month. That is how I’m tagging my health and fitness journey to regain the best me.

It has been a struggle for me to try to get back on track. I tried a couple of times late last year, but in all honesty, I wasn’t fully-in. I wasn’t pushing myself like I needed to when it came to my nutrition. My issue is more of a food one than anything else.

In 2016, I ended up putting on 9lbs, the most I’ve gained since losing the 80lbs back in late 2008 to September 2009. Maintaining weight loss is not easy. I think it’s actually as hard, if not more so than actually losing it in the first place.

The Girl's Got Sole - Weight loss progress

Me in 2007 on the left, and in 2015ish on the right.

When I initially lost all of my weight over seven years ago, I didn’t realize how much of a challenge keeping it off would be. It’s a life-long struggle to stay at a particular weight. I’ve learned my comfortable, ideal weight and that’s where I am happiest.

I’ve learned a lot about myself, loving myself since losing all that weight. The weight itself came off faster and oddly easier than accepting and loving myself came. When I was overweight and unhealthy, I thought that all of my problems would be solved by “being skinny.” But, that just isn’t the way it works. Loving yourself is much more than a number on a scale or the size jeans you wear.

Learning that took me a long time. I believe it was a couple of years after my weight loss that I finally learned to love myself. Love that girl in the mirror. I finally saw how pretty I was, how great of a person that I truly was. The weight loss made me a healthier and fitter person, but it didn’t make me love myself.

Through my weight loss and maintenance journey, I’ve learned it’s a life-long one. It will NEVER be easy to be fit and healthy. It’s something you work for and continue to work to keep up. While that can at times be something I dislike, it’s the card I’ve been dealt. And, there’s that saying, “nothing worth doing is ever easy.”

The Girl's Got Sole - Love yourself to live healthy

The first week of 2017 wasn’t fully successful for my FitJourney. I was about 80% in, and that wasn’t good enough. It needs to be an all in thing. So, the second week of January is when I pushed myself to make it 100%. I am not allowing myself to have anything in the house that tempts me to overeat or not eat as well. My biggest weakness lately is cinnamon cereal. I like to eat it dry as a snack. After the first week of the month, it’s no longer allowed until I get myself completely back on track. You need to know what foods are your temptations and not bring them in. If you don’t have them around, you aren’t going to eat them.

So, I’m now almost two weeks into following my plan like I should be, and I have noticed I feel a difference. I plan on weighing myself on Sunday morning to see where I am. I have gone through periods of feeling hungry, but I’ve forced myself to drink more water and think of something else. Not easy, but the beginning is always the hardest.

With my big goal to run the NYC Marathon again in November, I need to get the healthier me back before training really kicks into gear this summer. One day, one week at a time, I am going to get there!

I’m going to continue to post updates on the blog to keep me accountable. Social media is great to help keep me motivated and inspired. The running community is full of amazing people who continue to push themselves, and I just hope that I can be even a bit of an inspiration to people in my own way.

The Girl's Got Sole - NYC Marathon Finisher