Latest reviews by Shannon Chenoweth

(2020)
"Virtual Run in Central Florida "
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I ran the 10k virtually in Central Florida. Went out with three of my runner girls early to get in the miles. It was quite humid here, and I remember thinking it was probably cooler weather in Kansas City for the actual race! :)

Spotted a local peacock and heard more of them up in nearby trees. A lot of my running routes in Winter Park have peacocks, and after years of running here, I never tire of seeing the beautiful birds.

On the nice side of things, it may have been hot, but I ran my 10k averaging a pace of 13:52 which is good for me in the heat. Not a 10k PR, but a great pace nonetheless.

Really liked the swag the race sent out. The shirt is a nice soft tee, which I can wear whenever (not a tech shirt), and the medal is really nice. The tee is one of my favorite shirts from a virtual race this year.

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(2019)
"Running in the Rain"
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This was my 3rd time running the Mount Dora Half Marathon, and it's become a favorite way to end my racing each year. The race is about 40 minutes away from me, so it's pretty easy drive to Mount Dora.

I picked up my packet the day before, Saturday and it was super easy and fast. The race had a few vendors there, and I checked them out as well. The highlight was they had Olympian Bill Rodgers on hand to sign his books and take photos with runners. He is a really nice guy, met him a few years ago when I first ran the Mount Dora 5k.

Race morning, it was raining. The forecast was nothing but rain, rain and more rain. Despite my wishes that it go away, I made the best of it and ended up having a great time. It did rain the entire 13.1 miles, though there were a couple of times when it was barely noticeable.

Because of the rainy conditions, I didn't get to fully enjoy the scenery that I typically do at the race. I told my friend who I ran with that she had to do this race again next year, because while it was okay running in the rain, it's harder to appreciate the beauty of Mount Dora that way.

I didn't finish in the greatest time, but I felt that the race support was awesome throughout the course. Volunteers took very good care of keeping runners hydrated and cheered us on. Love the volunteers!

After finishing, I love being able to take Christmas-themed photos with the big inflatable Santa and other fun backdrops and themed portions of the start/finish line. I think the fun holiday theme makes this race unique and I love that. And, the medal is fun too, love it!

I look forward to going back to run the race again in 2020, such a great way to end the year.

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(2018)
"My Hometown Race"
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The OUC Orlando Half Marathon is my hometown half. It's THE half marathon to run if you live in the Orlando area. And, if you are able to visit this time of year, you should run it!

The race is put on by Track Shack, which always does an amazing job on their race events. The OUC Orlando Half Marathon is in it's 42nd year and draws 5,000 runners each year to run it.

In 2018, the race course was changed from previous years, removing about a mile of brick roads. The course contained approximately 1.6 miles of brick all in the first 5 miles. As someone who has run OUC four other years, this was definitely a plus!

The race takes you through five downtown neighborhoods, and has live entertainment throughout. Support is scattered at about every 1 1/2 miles, with nine stops total. The volunteers manning the stops are awesome, some even dress up with themed costumes.

The weather on race day this year was pretty good, we had temps in the low to mid 60s which was great considering this one can vary. You just never know in Florida this time of the year!

The medal, as usual was awesome this year. I love how it's always so well themed to Orlando and Lake Eola which is so prominent.

Post-race, there's great live music, beer and massages! You can also get some awesome photos with Lake Eola as the backdrop, as well as the beautiful swans. If you are a Central Florida local, you owe it to yourself to run this race!

You can check out my personal race recap on my blog:
http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-recap-2018-ouc-orlando-half-marathon/

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(2018)
"Beautiful race through Mount Dora"
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This was my second year running the Mount Dora Half Marathon, and this year, I ran it as a BibRavePro this year.

I enjoyed the race a lot this year, it didn't feel as hard as last year to me. Ha! I think that having run in Atlanta back in October had my legs a bit more used to hills. Don't get me wrong, Mount Dora has some good hills (yes, there are hills in FL), but if you train for them, it's not too bad.

The race itself is very scenic, I love the big old trees that line a lot of the route, and I especially enjoy the last few miles along the water. It's a highlight of running in the town of Mount Dora.

On race morning, I found parking pretty easily, as there are a few public parking garages near the race start/finish area. If you get there by 6am, it's not an issue at all. Once you walk over to the starting area, there were port-o-lets and pre-race water and coffee. While there were more port-o-lets than last year, I do think they need to add more next year as the lines grew for the maybe 9 or 10 that they had.

Race start went smoothly, and since it's not a huge race, about 1600 runners, it's easy to get moving right off the bat. I easily got into a groove with my pace because of this, so that was definitely nice!

Through the miles, I enjoyed the scenery like I said prior, and that really makes Mount Dora special. It's a small town, and the race gives you that experience.

Support throughout the route was great, the volunteers did a great job with water and Gatorade, I never saw any issues with anything running low, and I'm a slower runner.

The only issue I saw out on the route was that while it was supposed to be a closed course, cars seemed to somehow get out on the road during the back miles. It was a little nerving as they got a bit too close in my opinion a couple of times.

The finish is very cool, I love how it's Christmas themed, and there's a big inflatable Santa! Plenty of neat photo opps for everyone for the season. And, the medal was cute, a candy cane spinner.

In prior years, the race shirt featured the iconic logo with the antlers, and this year it was totally different. It feels more like a summer shirt rather than a fun Christmasy one. I hope they bring back the holiday themed shirt in future years.

This year, the race seemed a bit less organized to me, and it was the 7th year for it. They changed the 5k from Sunday (same day as the half marathon), to Saturday, so that they could add on a two-race challenge. That's great, but this change was made sometime over the summer months, and communication on that was not as good as it should have been with folks running the 5k. Hopefully, since this was the first year for the two-race Dora Challenge, the organization on that will be better in 2019. A multi-race challenge is always fun, but needs to be planned well for runners and everyone to feel well prepared.

I would go back and run this race again, as it's a local one for me. It's about a 40 minute drive, and I do enjoy running through Mount Dora. If you get the chance to run this one, especially the half marathon, I do recommend it!

You can check out my more personal review of the race on my blog:
http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-recap-2018-mount-dora-half-marathon/

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(2018)
"Wine & Dine Half "
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I ran the 2018 Wine & Dine Half Marathon as a pacer. While I have done the WDW Marathon Weekend Half a few times, Star Wars Half, and Princess Half, this was my first time running the Wine & Dine.

Wine & Dine Half Marathon used to be a night race, but due to weather issues, runDisney changed it to a morning race in 2017. I do think it kind of takes away from the whole Wine & Dine experience, having it in the morning. This means that the after-party, which is held at the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival takes place that evening. So, you have the race in the morning, and party at night.

Race morning is like any other runDisney race, early! You have to get to the event super early, as the race start is at 5:30am. Since the start is at Magic Kingdom, you take a bus there from either your resort (if you stay on Disney property), or from EPCOT Center if you drive in. The Finish is at EPCOT... just don't forget where you parked your car at dark-o-thirty if you drove in! :)

Since I tend to be in a back corral, I wait awhile before starting. It's usually around 6:15am when my corral hits the starting mat. This year, it was a bit crazy weather-wise during the wait. We had coolish/nice temps, then it rained. Later, it got humid... so it was definitely a wacky morning.

runDisney races are always a great time, with lots of characters along the way, and you get to see some of the parks. Not all of the 13.1 miles is in the theme parks though, as you run on roads as well, in between the more fun parks.

The course can get a bit tight at times, especially at some of the turns and on/off ramps, so that's always something to keep in mind. I mean, there are thousands of other runners/walkers doing these Disney races! The best thing is to just go out there and run it for fun.

Wine & Dine is overall a good race, but I'd have to say it wasn't my favorite half I've done out there. My favorite is the WDW Marathon Weekend Half Marathon, followed by the Star Wars: Dark Side Half Marathon. If you love the Food & Wine Festival though, this one might be right up on your favorites!

You can check out my personal race recap on my blog:
http://girlsgotsole.com/blog/race-recap-2018-wine-dine-half-marathon/

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