Race Recap: 2017 Mt. Dora Half Marathon

The Girl's Got Sole - Mt. Dora Half Marathon

On December 17th, I ran the 2017 Mt. Dora Half Marathon. This was my 30th half marathon, and first time running the half in Mt. Dora.

I was able to carpool in with a fellow Orlando Galloway runner friend, Dave which was great. We opted to do race-day bib and packet pick-up, so we got to the race site around 6am (the race began at 7am). It’s not a long drive from Seminole County, I believe it took us about 40 minutes to get there.

We easily picked up our race packets and then went back to the car to sit for a bit as we had time to spare. At about 6:40, we got out of the car and walked the block over to the starting area. I did have to use the port-o-let, but was lucky that I got in and out of it in time to find my friend a couple of minutes before the race started.

I ran the race with my runner friend, Natalie. Things started out well, we both felt pretty good out of the gate. That first 5k was good, I know I was happy to hit the first “milestone.” The hills weren’t too bad… yet.

The Girl's Got Sole - Mt. Dora Half Marathon race recap

The next three miles however, I believe those were the toughest on the course. Our strategy was the run all of the downhills and then walk fast uphill. The downhills were also where we were able to run more then the 30 second run interval we had set (we were using 30:30 intervals). I know we ran at least a minute and a half a couple of times. And, I actually felt good doing it. Goes to show, downhills are good. LOL!

The Girl's Got Sole - Mt. Dora Half Marathon race recap

On the race course

The support on the course was excellent. Not only did they have a lot of water/Gatorade stops, but the cheering and encouragement from other volunteers and locals was awesome. I love seeing that on a race course, it definitely boosts my motivation and keeps me smiling.

I also need to mention the weather, we got lucky race morning. It started in the early 60s and was maybe 70ish when I crossed the finish line. It was comfortable for sure.

The Girl's Got Sole - Mt. Dora Half Marathon race recap

With Natalie post-race

The last 2-3 miles were walked. My friend, Natalie was having sciatica issues, and I stuck with her. I didn’t have a time goal in mind, plus my Plantar Fasciitis was acting up a bit. I am definitely a social runner, and would much rather be out there with friends than running solo. The race experience has more meaning to me that way.

I did run in the last quarter of a mile or thereabouts. It allowed me to finish strong, which I do admit I like doing. Even if I am walking through parts of a race, there’s just something about running through that finish line! I love a strong finish.

Mt. Dora Half Marathon is a challenging race for those of us used to running in mostly flat Florida. But, I hope to run this race again in 2018. I would train more for those hills though! I mean, it would be nice to have them feel a bit easier next time. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Mt. Dora Half Marathon race recap

Holiday Fun Run 2017

The Girl's Got Sole - Holiday Fun Run Group

Group before the fun run

Every Christmas season, my Galloway pace group does a fun run. It’s usually 6 miles long, and takes place in Winter Park. We did our annual holiday fun run this past weekend, on Saturday, December 23rd. My pace group, Sole Warriors teamed up with our friends in another group, Dream Chasers for the run.

The fun began at Panera on Park Avenue and headed through neighborhoods to Phelps Park. Then, we did the Chestnut Loop before heading back to Panera. We had a lot of fun with or jingle bells on, and some of the group had reindeer antlers! We joked that we need to bring rope next year and make our own herd. Ha!

The Girl's Got Sole - Holiday Fun Run 2017

After the run, we gathered for breakfast at Panera (of course!). It was great getting together post-run, as we rarely get to do that with everyone’s crazy schedules and all. I think I ended up being there for like an hour or more just chatting with friends.

It’s such an awesome way to start the Christmas holiday, it was definitely a highlight of my three-day weekend!

The Girl's Got Sole - Holiday Fun Run

As seen on the run, leg lamp!

Favorite Christmas Movies

We all have our favorites, those movies that are a must-see every Christmas season. I’ve been feeling in the need of holiday cheer, so I thought I’d do a blog post about my favorites. These are the movies that I will definitely be watching this weekend.

1. A Christmas Story. Hands down, my top pick when it comes to Christmas movies. Heck, at least one channel runs marathons of this one every Christmas, and I admit, I end up watching it at least a few times. So much goodness and fun in A Christmas Story, it’s hard to just pick one scene or moment that I love best!

The Girl's Got Sole - A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s so close to being my number one, but it just slightly gets edged out. It’s full of so many hilarious scenes, and Chevy Chase is just awesome. Christmas just isn’t Christmas time without the Griswalds!

The Girl's Got Sole - Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

3. Miracle on 34th Street. I’m talking the classic film, from 1947. No remakes for this one. This is one that reminds you of the magic of Christmas and believing in it.

The Girl's Got Sole - Miracle on 34th Street

A Miracle on 34th Street

4. It’s a Wonderful Life. Another American classic from the 1940s, that has become a must-watch every Christmas. An angel intervenes to save a man who tries to commit suicide on Christmas Eve by showing him how much his life has touched so many. This one is obviously perfect to watch on Christmas Eve, which I plan to do this Sunday.

The Girl's Got Sole - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas is beautifully shown through the Peanuts comic strip characters. I HAVE to watch this one each year, it’s most definitely not Christmas without Charlie Brown!

The Girl's Got Sole - Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Those are my top five, but others I love to watch each Christmas season include: Home Alone (1 and 2), The Santa Clause, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Frosty the Snowman. I admit, I haven’t seen Elf, so I am sure it will rank in here once I do (it’s on my to-watch this weekend πŸ™‚ ).

What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Half Marathon #30!

The Girl's Got Sole - Half Marathon #30

This Sunday, I am running my 30th half marathon. It’s almost hard to believe that since I began running in late 2011, I’ve run that many half marathons!

I’m running the Mt. Dora Half Marathon tomorrow as #30. I have run in Mt. Dora before, but it was the 5k in 2013. So, it should be fun running 13.1 there. It’s going to be a hilly race, that I know! No real time goal in mind, so we shall see how the morning goes. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Half Marathons

Looking back at the previous 29 half marathons I’ve run, I do have to think about the order a bit, but I do know my first half was the 2011 Space Coast Half Marathon. That was followed by the 2012 Orange Blossom Half Marathon. That first 13.1 was done mostly walking. It was back before I was blessed with being told about the Jeff Galloway run/walk/run method. Orange Blossom Half was when I first implemented the run/walk. I recall that race to be a tough one, but I got through it and even signed up that June for the Galloway training program!

Other memorable half marathons include the 2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon where I dressed up as Captain America. It was as fun race, and my first experience with runDisney races. I’ve run the local half, OUC Half Marathon four times, and Space Coast four more times in the 13.1 distance since the 2011 race.

I’ve enjoyed running half marathons up in Western North Carolina, Atlanta, and up in Jacksonville. The JG 13.1 in Atlanta in 2014 is especially memorable, as it was the inaugural year and I had a lot of fun with a couple of runner friends during our road trip there and back. And, I always enjoy my runs at the 26.2 with Donna in Jacksonville. I’ve run that half twice and the full twice up there, and both are great.

The Girl's Got Sole - Half Marathons

The 30th half will end the 2017 year for me, so #31 will be the 2018 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, where I will be pacing the 3:15 finish time. I’m looking forward to seeing what other half marathons I can do for the first time in the next couple of years. It would be a lot of fun to do a half marathon in every state!

Finding that Balance

The Girl's Got Sole - Finding Balance

I’ve learned I’m the toughest critic of myself. I push myself to do things, and have a hard time accepting when my body decides that I’m pushing too much.

Since the NYC Marathon, and even before that in the weeks leading up to the race, my body was trying to tell me something. It even went so far as to cause me to go to the ER in the days before the marathon (though, it was thankfully nothing serious).

My body needs more rest. I need to find a better balance in doing this running thing that I love so much. With my Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, my body can’t handle as much exertion anymore. It takes way too long for me to recover from a hard workout, and I am tired all the time.

This has led me to make a hard decision, I am done with marathons. At least for the foreseeable future. It’s kind of hard to say ‘never again,’ but the likeliness of another is very small. I’m going to stick with half marathons, 15k, 10k and 5k race distances. NYC Marathon was 40 days ago and I have yet to feel completely recovered from it.

The Girl's Got Sole - Life is a balance

Sure, it takes 26 days to truly recover from the 26.2 distance, and running a half marathon 3 weeks after didn’t help matters, but nonetheless I shouldn’t feel this low energy. In 2015, I ran the NYC Marathon and then did the Space Coast Half three weeks later and didn’t feel this drained. In fact, I felt pretty good that year.

I have always had a hard time truly resting since I started running. I like to keep going and when you’ve got issues like an under-active thyroid, that’s not always a good thing. The disease and I have had an ongoing battle since I was diagnosed, and I’m not letting it “win,” but I am also not going to not listen and take care of myself.

It’s time I take things down a notch and focus on my overall health. 2018 has to be the year that I take care of me and just enjoy running more. Not that I don’t still enjoy it, but I’m going to stop caring about pushing myself to do a better time in races, go out there and just run. I’m not fast to begin with, but I’m not going to go out and try to finish in a certain time anymore. Unless I’m pacing, and I will keep that to a time that I know my body is comfortable doing.

The Girl's Got Sole - Pour from an empty cup

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far in my running, I’ve done some really great things. Six marathons may just be where this runner girl stands for that distance. And, I’m good with that. Heck, I never thought I’d run one marathon, let alone six!

So, the theme, if I have one for 2018 is going to be balance. I want that to start with my health and fitness and continue throughout the other areas of my life. I look forward to working on my goals the rest of this month and putting them into action in the new year.

Workout Recap: W/E 12/9/17

I haven’t been good about doing these workout recaps, but need to get back on that. With the new year approaching, it’s a good time to get good routines going! πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Keep moving

Sunday, December 3rd – Bike workout at the gym. Did 9 miles and felt pretty good.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dec 3rd bike workout

Monday, December 4th – Back in the gym before work for 8.5 miles on the bike.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dec 4th bike workout

Tuesday, December 5th – Great morning 3-miler with my group in Baldwin Park.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dec 5th run

Wednesday, December 6th – REST DAY.

Thursday, December 7th – What was supposed to have been a run, ended up being a walk. Once I started running, I felt as though I was going to be sick to my stomach. Thankful for my friend, Melissa who walked the over 2 miles with me.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dec 7th run/walk

Friday, December 8th – REST DAY.

Saturday, December 9th – Had my scheduled run of 6-8 miles, but due to the pouring rain and 50 degree temps, most of my group opted out of the run. So, I ended up in the gym for a bike workout.

The Girl's Got Sole - Dec 9th bike

How were your workouts last week? Anyone run any races?

Race Recap: 2017 Space Coast Half Marathon

The Girl's Got Sole - Race Recap Space Coast

The 2017 Space Coast Half Marathon, the last year in the 5-year Big Bang series. I have to admit, I am happy that my five year commitment was completed this year. Space Coast is a fun race, always with a lot of friendly faces of those I know, but I’m ready to take a year or two off from the race. Not to mention, it’s always on Thanksgiving weekend, which makes it a bit busier when it comes to family and non-running friends during the holiday.

After running the NYC Marathon three weeks prior, I still felt tired going into the race. I was thankful that the Race Director allowed me to pick up my race packet/bib on race morning, so that I didn’t have to make two trips out to Cocoa. This allowed me to get some extra needed rest on Saturday after working on Friday all day (we don’t get Black Friday off at my job), which I was grateful for.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast Half on course

On race morning, I woke up at about 2:30am, and while I would have preferred to go back to sleep, I got up and ready. This time around, I was trying myself out to Cocoa, as I was hoping to stay until my friend and first-time marathoner, finished her race. It’s a pretty uneventful and unexciting drive out to Cocoa from Orlando. I got there right before 4:30am, and finally found a place to park.

I was able to pickup my race packet without any issues, and then hit the port-o-lets. I then had some time to look for my fellow Orlando Galloway friends and other runner friends. I found quite a few of them, before finally checking my bag and hitting the port-o-let one last time.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast Half Marathon 2017

Walking to the starting area, I ran into two fellow Skirt Sports Ambassador sisters, and we were all wearing the same print! Always love running into other Ambassadors. I then found a few other Orlando runner friends as I made my way toward the three hour section. It was especially cool seeing one friend, Mary Jean, whom I haven’t run with in quite some time since she had been injured. It was good to see her back out there.

At 6am, the shuttle lifted off, and the half marathon began! I wasn’t running with anyone at the beginning, so I put on some music and got moving. It’s rare for me to actually run with music anymore, so it was kind of different. I’m so used to running with others now. But, if I run solo, I do like to have some good music on to keep me motivated.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast Half

I kept a pretty decent pace for the first half of the race. I felt pretty good, my feet weren’t bothering me and my energy-level was good. Generation UCAN is definitely working for me in keeping my blood sugar balanced during my runs, and I love it.

Around mile 5, I spotted a couple of runner friends in front of me. I caught up with them, and we ran together. Once we hit the turn-around, I was happy that we were just under 6 miles to the finish. Unfortunately, the last 4-5 miles is where I began to fall apart.

My right foot, not the one with the PF, started to hurt. What was the deal with that? The more I tried to push through it, the more it bugged me. It was a pain along the outside part of the foot. My calf also started tightening up right along with it. This slowed me down a lot. I walked more hoping I could calm it down. Didn’t really work, so I just pushed through it.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast group shot

I couldn’t have been happier when I saw the final finishing shoot ahead of me. With Space Coast, the very end consists of a “tunnel” you go through with a couple of turns before you get to the finish line. I reminded myself to take it a bit easier on my final kick until I got to that first turn, and then I pushed it. I gave it everything I had (or maybe didn’t have) to finish strong. My right foot was not pleased, but I knew I had done my best to cross the finish line at my best.

Looking back, I think I somehow ran funny on my right foot, changing my gait. I also opted to wear both of my CEP Plantar Fascitiis sleeves that day, and in hindsight, it wasn’t the best plan. I should have just worn the one on my left foot, the one with the diagnosed PF. I believe it threw my gait off in some way. I took it easy the days after the race, and didn’t run for four days, when it was finally feeling better.

The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast 5-year finisher

Like I said at the beginning, I love running Space Coast Half Marathon, but I’m glad that I’m done with the 5-year series I signed up for back in 2013. It’s been a fun journey, and I will likely return in 2020 for the next anniversary year, which happens to be the year they have the Apollo medal. That one looks pretty neat. πŸ™‚

Mission has been accomplished, 2013 – 2017.
The Girl's Got Sole - Space Coast Mission Accomplished

Product Review: BOCO Gear Visor

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO Gear visor review

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO visor 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’ve been begging BibRave for a visor pretty much from the time I became a BibRavePro. My wish came true this year with the BOCO visor! Not only is it a visor like I wanted, but it’s the BEST visor out there in my opinion.

BOCO Gear is a top performance gear brand for athletes. They have fully customized, technical head-wear and accessories with style. This allows your brand or team to stand out in the crowd. Every piece of BOCO Gear has wicking ability and is designed and tested by top athletes.

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO visor

The BOCO Gear 360 visor is a lighter, more breathable visor than any other option out there on the market right now. The visor has a wicking internal sweatband to move sweat from your forehead. A soft brushed elastic back for a comfortable fit, as well as a relaxed fit front panel for better performance. The visor also has a black underside of the bill to reduce glare. And, the visor is machine washable.

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO Gear review

Wearing the visor on my runs, I barely knew it was on my head. It’s so light and didn’t feel as though it was squeezing my head like other visors can do. The black underside helped reduce any glare from the sun, and when you’re running in Florida, there’s quite a lot of sun out there! I have found the BOCO visor to be one of the best in my collection of running visors (which seems to be growing LOL), and it’s a favorite in the area of comfort for sure. I’d recommend their visors to anyone looking for great, comfortable head-wear. I think you will be impressed with it’s quality and how well it stands up to your workouts.

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO visor review

Be sure to check out the online BOCO Gear store for all sorts of great head wear options. If you are a hat lover, you will be happy to know they have those as well. Get a custom order made for your group! You can also follow BOCO Gear on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO Gear review

*** Some of my fellow BibRavePro reviews of BOCO Gear ***
Lisa Marie

The Girl's Got Sole - BOCO Gear

Ultimate Coffee Date: December 2017

The Girl's Got Sole - Ultimate Coffee Date

Since I haven’t posted all week, I thought participating in this month’s Ultimate Coffee Date was a perfect way to give you a bit of a life update!

This post is a part of the oh-so-fun link-up that is brought to you by Deborah of Confessions of a Mother Runner and Coco of Got2Run4Me. Be sure to check out their websites and of course today’s virtual Ultimate Coffee Date posts!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you… it’s been a long week! After running Space Coast Half Marathon on Sunday (recap coming soon!), I was pretty exhausted. My thyroid wasn’t happy with me, and I knew it. I guess doing a marathon and then a half 3 weeks later can be tiring! Honestly, I’ve done it before (in 2015), but I think my thyroid wasn’t as bad a couple of years ago, because I don’t recall being this tired after. But, I’m feeling better since yesterday, so I think some extra rest is just what my body needs the rest of the year. πŸ™‚

The Girl's Got Sole - Gilmore girls coffee in an IV

If we were having coffee, I would tell you… my foot seems to be doing better. I didn’t post about it here on the blog, but the last 5ish miles of Sunday’s half had my right foot/calf tight and hurting. This is not the foot with the PF, so I think I may have altered my running gait somehow during that run. I also wore PF sleeves on both feet, which may not have been the best idea. Guess I should have reconsidered that plan.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you… I’m working on myself, getting back on the weight loss journey. It’s been a struggle for me this year with all that’s been going on, so I’ve got about 8lbs I want to lose in the coming months. For me, it’s all about my nutrition, what I’m eating. So, I’m trying to get back to what I know works. That’s old-fashioned calorie-counting and logging all of my food every day.

The Girl's Got Sole - Best project work on is you

If we were having coffee, I would tell you… I haven’t been feeling too festive for the holidays, so I’m hoping to change that this weekend. I’m going to watch some holiday movies with family and friends, and maybe check out some lights in local neighborhoods. Since December just began, it’s the perfect time to get into the Christmas spirit!

It’s your turn! If we were having coffee together, what would you tell me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. πŸ™‚
The Girl's Got Sole - Ultimate Coffee Date