Monday, November 30, 2020

November Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 201777 in 2018 and 67 in 2019!) has morphed into this passion for books. As you can see, my reading has slowed a bit, but my love for books has not! In the past couple years I've added longer distance races (which means more time running/ training and less time reading), we've remodeled our condo (I think it legit took us six months to finish the whole thing... DIY seems to take twice as long {and cost twice as much} as you originally think it will), and I'm now working full time at our local running store (which cuts down on my reading time). Even still, I love getting my read on whenever I can.

Truth be told, I was never much of a reader when I was younger (CliffsNotes were my best friend when it came to books), but recently I fell in love. Although I may not read at the same speed as I previously did when I first caught the reading bug, I still want to keep the hobby going (and what better form of accountability than to post a list of the books I finished at the end of the month?!). I don't have any set number of books I am shooting to read this year, but hopefully a lack of goal doesn't mean a lack of books completed. So, without further ado, let's jump into everything I read in November!

  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle - Every few weeks it seems I am doing another closet clean out, pairing down the items I have to the items I really need and use. Well, I came across some gear that I thought I could trade on a running page I belong to, and loandbehold someone was interested in swapping some awesome books for a few items of clothing that weren't getting the love they deserved. In exchange for a tank and jacket I got three books, one of which was this one. I had been on the waitlist at my local library for some time, so it was perfect. I have enjoyed Glennon's other books so was excited to start her latest memoir. I love her ability to not only tell a story, but also to empower you with it and through it. I appreciate her vulnerability - welcoming us into the good, the bad and the ugly in her life and relationships. If you've read her other books you will see the change and growth she has gone through. I am glad this was my personal copy because I was able to go through and jot notes, underline passages, etc. This book reminded me it is okay to feel my feelings and to be a strong woman. There was quite a bit that focused on motherhood, which obviously does not pertain to me, but I still enjoyed reading about her approach to it. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera - I'm not exactly sure why, but for the last few weeks I haven't been listening to an audiobook on my walks to work. I decided to change that up and hit my Hoopla app. I didn't have any specific book in mind, so decided to scroll through to see what struck my fancy. I landed on this book even though I didn't know much more than it was a YA love story. If you know me, you know me I love a good young adult book and this definitely was that. I really like books that switch back and forth between the different character's perspectives (and audiobooks that use different readers for the different roles) and this book did exactly that. Not only that, but the different characters were written by different authors, which helped the two seem a bit more distinct. Sure, some of the story was a bit unbelievable, but the epic is what makes it great, right?! I found myself rooting for both of the main characters even with the constant Harry Potter (which I know NOTHING about) and pop culture references. I never pick up a YA book in hopes of a big epiphany or to learn a ton, more to be entertained and distracted a bit, which this book did. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Can't Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling - I had this book in my "favorites" on my Hoopla app for a while and hadn't grabbed it, so I figured it was time. Miss Ida is an amazing woman (and world record holding runner) and I was excited to hear about her life. I'll be honest, although her life was captivating, I was expecting it to be a little more about her running. Don't get me wrong, I loved learning about how she grew up, events in her life, about her family, etc, but I think I went in expecting the book to touch more on her running and it seemed to be a bit of an afterthought (in the almost seven hour audiobook it was maybe 45-60 minutes). I did love how she married her personal experiences with history (I mean, she was 104 when this memoir was written - ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR YEARS OLD!). It was inspiring to hear about everything Miss Ida not only overcame but thrived through! She was one tough cookie! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis - The hubby and I needed an audiobook to listen to on our road trip to Utah for Thanksgiving and figured this would be great. We had both seen that Netflix had released a series based on this book (that we wanted to watch), but knowing that often the book is better than the screen portrayal, we figured we'd listen to it first. It was a long listen (almost 12 hours), but I was intrigued the entire time. I know the game of chess, so was able to picture some of the boards/ moves/ games. The hubby doesn't know much about it, but even still, he didn't feel like it was over his head or that he got lost. I may be a little partial, but I love seeing females in male dominated spaces, so obviously I was rooting for Beth from the get-go. She was definitely an underdog with flaws, but aren't we all?! We both give this book two thumbs up and are even more excited to start watching the series now {let's just hope it lives up to the novel}. (PS Ryan is actually asking if we can get a chessboard and start playing!) I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, November has come to a close. My reading may not be going gang-busters like it has in the past, but I hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my library wait list!

PS I created an Amazon list that includes all of the books I've read and would recommend to others. Check it out!

What was the best book you read this year? 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 48

Sunday, November 22nd – Rest Day 

Monday, November 23rd – 8 mile run, 3 mile hike (Emerald Pools)

Tuesday, November 24th – 7 mile hike (Observation Point)

Wednesday, November 25th – 5.67 mile trail run with the hubby

Thursday, November 26th – 20 mile run

Friday, November 27th – 6 mile hike (Angels Landing)

Saturday, November 28th – Rest Day

We spent a week in Zion for Thanksgiving (which I will be recapping soon). I told myself before we left that I wasn't going to stress about my mileage - if I got in runs, awesome, if not, that's totally fine too. Even still, I was able to get in over 33 miles of running (not to mention all of the hiking that we did). Now that we are back home, I'm sure my mileage will return to normal, but with no races on the calendar for the rest of the year and 2021 still questionable, I'll welcome the rest. 

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 47

Sunday, November 15th – 10.10 mile run 

Monday, November 16th – 13.5 mile run

Tuesday, November 17th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday, November 18th – 10.10 mile run

Thursday, November 19th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Friday, November 20th – 14 mile run

Saturday, November 21st – Rest Day

Another near 50 mile week - YIPPEE! This week felt both super long and short... I worked Sunday through Thursday, which made for a long week, but the hubby, pup and I are heading out of town to go camping for Thanksgiving so I had a ton to do, which made the time fly at the same time. Waking up early (normally between 3:30-4:15am) to get in my runs or bike rides before work can be a bit rough, but you gotta fit it in whenever and wherever you can. Next week my mileage will probably be a lot lower, since we will be in Zion, but hopefully I'll still get in some gorgeous trail miles.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 20, 2020

PSA: Please Look Both Ways

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while (by the way - THANKS!), you probably know a large chunk of my posts are intended for runners. Well, that's not 100% the case with this one... It's aimed at drivers (but, let's be real, I'd say most runners also have a driver's license and operate a vehicle of some sort, so I guess it's for us too!). Even still, November is Running Safety Month, so I thought it was perfect timing for this PSA (especially with fewer sunshine hours).

I do my darnedest to be a safe runner. I wear bright colors, I throw on a ton of lights and reflective gear if I am running in the dark, I don't listen to music so I can hear my surroundings, I tell others where I will be running and when they should expect me to return, I run in highly trafficked areas, I stop at intersections and make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of vehicles, etc. Even still, I can't tell you the number of times I have almost been hit by an automobile.

In fact, I was hit by a car when I was on my bike a few years back... Thankfully I wasn't injured, but that experience, along with numerous recent close calls has me wanting to stress the importance of today's "public service announcement".

As children, we are taught to look both ways when we cross the street... but what about drivers?! I mean, I'd assume they teach you that in driver's ed, right?! {Confession: I never took driver's ed... I waited till I was 18 and went to the Secretary of State to get my license... but I'm assuming this is something they stress to anyone who may get behind the wheel.}

Runners are told they should run against traffic - that way you can see oncoming vehicles (and can jump out of the way if a crazed driver is heading in your direction). For the most part I follow this guideline, but, let me tell you, I think this is where I run into the most close calls. More often than not, when I come to an intersection or cross a driveway and a vehicle is turning right (meaning they will be heading in the direction I just came from), they look to the left to make sure there is no oncoming traffic AND THEN GO... This can be disastrous for pedestrians who are coming from their right!

I would like to URGE all drivers to look BOTH WAYS before taking their foot off the brake and pressing the gas pedal! I'd even recommend drivers stop a few feet short of a crosswalk/ sidewalk and double check to make sure there are no runners/ walkers/ bikers/ etc making their way to the intersection before looking both ways to ensure traffic is clear.

This is a step that takes an extra second or two, but can literally save a life. I realize sometimes we're in a hurry or we get into a routine and rush through an intersection without paying proper attention, but this is something we MUST prioritize.

PS While we're at it, I wanted to mention grabbing yourself a ROAD iD if you don't have one already. This snazzy (and cute) Medical ID can talk for you if you are ever unable to talk for yourself. You can put all of your pertinent information on it (name, phone number, emergency contact, medical information, etc) just in case an accident does occur. I have multiple (depending on the color of my outfit, duh!) and honestly never leave home without it on my wrist. If you don't have one and want to place an order, use code CARLEE_2020 to save 20%! [FYI: I do not make anything from recommending this to you nor am I notified if you use the link. I am an ambassador for ROAD iD, but had been using their products for YEARS prior to them asking me to be a part of the team. I'm simply passing along one of my fave pieces of safety gear to you.]

Even Walt the Wiener Dog has a ROAD iD on his harness! I also got some for my parents to wear when they're on their bikes, kayaks, etc! 

What is one PSA that you believe everyone needs to hear?

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Monday, November 16, 2020

Recreate Responsibly

Last week, on my Instagram Stories, I posted a question box asking folks to share suggestions on things to do or see that were off the beaten path in a few National Parks that we will be visiting in the coming months. I received a reply from a follower that caught me a bit off guard. She didn't mean it to come across rude (or at least that's what she said) but she felt that not only was it irresponsible for us to be traveling during the pandemic, it was also reckless for me to be sharing about it on social media especially with the number of followers I have. I have been receiving my fair share of hate messages lately and realize oftentimes what people say can be more about them than me, but I still wanted to address this. This post is NOT to say that we have it all figured out, that we won't change our stance or actions in the future or that what we're doing is what everyone should be doing, but I wanted to share a few ways we're trying to recreate responsibly. 

{Side Note (because some of you don't know me from Eve): The hubby and I are both originally from Michigan. All of our family is back there. Due to COVID, we will not be going "home" for the holidays because of the air travel required, the self-quarantine time suggested, etc. Instead, we have decided to do two camping trips [Zion for Thanksgiving and Death Valley in mid-December] for the holidays. Although this may seem frivolous to some, it's a necessity for our my mental health. Both of us use the outdoors to recharge, reconnect (with each other and God) and refocus (on what's truly important). Amid everything going on in the world, these trips are an outlet for us (and I'm not just being overly dramatic). With that being said, we try to do it as responsibly as possible. We'd never want to put anyone in a dangerous situation.}

Obey Local & Federal Mandates

Whether or not we agree with them, we follow the local and federal mandates. This means if there are fire restrictions, we don't burn anything (even if we think there is nothing in the area that could catch fire). If we are told to shelter in place, we don't go out (even if we think the government might be overstepping their bounds). If our camping reservations are cancelled due to fires or a pandemic, we stay home (even if we could find BLM land to camp on instead). If we are told to wear masks, keep social distance and not interact with people outside of our households, we do it (even if we miss feeling hugs, seeing smiles and being with our friends and framily down to our core). I know my fair share of folks, especially when it came/ comes to COVID restrictions, who took/ take the stance of "I do what I want". Although I may not always agree with (or even believe the best in) our government, for me personally, unless it goes against what God says, I will obey those in power. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'm not praying my little heart out, asking the Lord to change something, or doing what I can to effect change, but, in the meantime, I'm abiding by the rules and regulations.

Pack Everything With You

We do our darndest to bring everything we will need with us, that way we can be as self-sufficient as possible. If you checked out my AdventureMobile post, you probably know that we could be "off-the-grid" for quite a while with no issue. {Shoot, we even have our own portable toilet and outdoor shower!} Of course there are times that something might slip through the cracks and we have to make an emergency stop at a local market/ grocery store, but that could happen at home as well. The only exception to this "rule" is firewood. You should always buy firewood where you plan to burn it (you don't want to bring little critters with you that could potentially impact the environment). The only thing we normally plan to stop for on trips is gas (and when we do, we're using wipes and hand sanitizer often to protect ourselves and others).

Leave No Trace {Leave It Better Than You Found It}

Similar to the "Pack Everything With You" section, we try our best to leave no trace. If we are staying in a campground that has trash services then we will leave our rubbish (in designated areas only - like DUMPSTERS!), but if we are staying on BLM land or if services are not offered, we pack out everything with us. For example, when we were staying at June Lake the recycle services had already ended for the season so we packed all of our recyclables with us and put them in our bins at home. We even try to do our best to leave it better than we found it. We have grocery bags in the AdventureMobile so we can do some trash clean-up if we ever see an area with garbage left out. If everyone picked up three pieces of trash that the saw on the ground (or didn't litter in the first place) imagine how much cleaner the environment could be!

Travel Off-Season

As I mentioned, we usually try to find things that are off the beaten path or we travel during the off-season. Call us spoiled or snoody, but we prefer to enjoy the great outdoors with as few people as possible (or at least as uncrowded as possible). This might mean camping in colder weather or setting an early alarm to hit the trails at 5am as opposed to 9am, but, for us, it's worth it. Don't get me wrong, the outdoors is for everyone... we just want them to enjoy it as far away from us as they can ;). But, in all seriousness, we try to schedule our trips when fewer people will be in the area to not only avoid the crowds but also to help minimize our impact on the environment. Not to mention, sometimes the off-seasons is even more magical. I mean, have you ever been to Yosemite in late November?! Sure, you may have to deal with colder temps, but (with the proper gear and planning) the beauty all around you can be evident no matter the weather!

I know that sometimes, when folks are on social media, they don't see the precautions and preparation that goes on behind the scenes, they just see the pretty pictures or end result, so I thought I'd open the curtain a bit to share some of what we do to make sure we are being as health (and environmentally) conscious as possible. Some people may think what we are doing is too stringent, some people may think what we are doing is too lax. I realize I'll never make everyone happy (nor is that my job), but we're doing the best we can with the current information we have - and hope you are too.

As always, I welcome respectful comments {but have no time or energy for hate}. My blogger doesn't allow me to reply directly to a comment, which is lame, but if you'd like to leave a thought, please do so. If you'd prefer to have a conversation, I'm also totally open to that! Feel free email me at CarleeMcDot(at)Gmail(dot)com and we can chat offline. 

What are other ways that you recreate responsibly?