Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Celebrating #TrailTuesday w/ ULTRA BIG News

Happy #TrailTuesday! It's a thing, right?! Well, if it wasn't before, it is now and I'm celebrating in a monumental way ;)


For those of you who don't know my backstory in running, let me give you a brief timeline. In January of 2012, a friend told me about runDisney and an upcoming Disneyland Half Marathon (which they have since discontinued). Although I was not a runner at the time, she knew I liked Disney and only lived about 45 minutes away so she challenged me to consider giving it a go. Between January and March of 2012 I started walking a mile or so on my lunch break. In March of 2012 I started using the gym at work (99% of the time using the elliptical, usually for 45ish minutes, maybe 3 times a week). By April of 2012 I was finally brave enough to start running outside. My boss at the time was an age-group triathlete so helped put together the outline of a training plan. September 2, 2012 was my first half marathon! At that point I had an inkling running would be "my thing" but wasn't sure if half marathons (or distance running) had my name on them. On May 20, 2014 I finished my first marathon and I guess you can say the rest is history. In my first six years of running half marathons I've been able to complete 45, and in about four and a half years of running fulls I have crossed 18 finish lines.

Some of the races from 2016 and 2017 I ran.

I guess it's human nature to finish one task and think "what's next?", so when I ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year and crossed that HUGE goal off my bucket list, I had to think long and hard as to where I wanted to go in my running 'career'. Let's just say that while the hubby and I were training for our Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim adventure I started to fall in love with the trails. I was apprehensive at first, especially since I'm a total Type A personality who tends to be a perfectionist and focused on numbers/ times/ speeds/ distance, but my heart quickly melted when I saw the amazing surroundings you could lose yourself (while at the same exact time "find yourself") in while on the trails.

A picture of us taken about 2 miles from the end of our Grand Canyon "unofficial, unaided ultra"

At first I thought I'd be satisfied swapping the roads for trails, but soon after I heard a little voice in the back of my mind saying "I wonder how far I could push myself." And that's when the thought of potentially tackling an ultra came in. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term "ultra marathon" - it's any distance longer than a standard {26.2 mile} marathon. Most are 50 kilometers {31 miles}, 50 miles, 100 miles, 200 miles, etc.) But with so many amazing races, how do you pick?!


Well, I had a couple of stipulations. First, I was hoping it could be somewhat close to home so that the trip wouldn't turn out to be a billion and a half dollars. Second, I already had a few races on the calendar so I had to make sure they fit in with the new training plan (the biggest race to keep in mind was the Ventura Marathon that I plan to run in mid-October and will be shooting for a new PR {personal record}). Third, I was thinking it would be awesome if we could turn it into a whole crew. Not that we'd all have to run together, but I thought the camaraderie would make the race extra special.


A couple friends of mine have run the Avalon 50/50 Benefit Run in the past and have had amazing things to say about it, so I looked into it. Catalina Island is only about 30 miles (plus an hour ferry ride) from Oceanside. The race is in mid-January, which means I would have approximately 11 weeks after Ventura to build up from my marathon base to the 50 mile goal. And, at least originally, quite a few friends mentioned they might be interested in making it happen.


I talked to the hubby and he's intrigued (he's been having some funky knee issues lately so said he won't officially commit until he sees how he feels after Ventura, but that isn't a "no")! He had been pondering an ultra for a while (he loves the trails and since most ultras are on trails and there are few "shorter" distance runs on trails, ultras just seem like the next logical step), so I'd say I'm about 75% of the way there on convincing him to join me for another one of my crazy ideas.


So, in honor of #TrailTuesday, I officially registered for the Avalon 50K/50M Benefit Run this morning. I will be tackling the 50 MILE race! This will be the longest official event I have attempted and I'm equal parts excited and scared poop-less.


In case you're interested in joining the party, use code "CARLEE10" to save on your registration! The code is valid for 10% off entry into the Avalon 50/50, Catalina Island Marathon 2019, AND Catalina Half Marathon 2019 (*online only)!

I've never been to Catalina Island, and as the runner mentions in the below video, not many people get to see the majority of the island unless you take a tour... and, as you know, there's no better way to tour than running on your own two feet!

I'm sure there'll be tons to share over the coming weeks, but for now I'm STOKED I pulled the trigger and made it official!

What is the longest distance you've ever run?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 38

Sunday, September 16th – 20.21 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 17th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, September 18th – 6 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, September 19th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, September 20th – 2 mile warm-up, 45 tempo {6.07 miles}, 2 mile cool-down, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, September 21st  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, September 22nd – 6 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Just over 50 miles and I'm feelin' fine! I can't believe we are almost to October, which means we are almost to our trip to Kauai and then almost to my fall goal marathon! EEKS! But I guess the good ol' saying of "time flies when you're having fun" is true! Here's to hoping these next few weeks of training (especially going into my final peak weeks) are on point! Currently I am feeling STRONG, just not necessarily fast... but hopefully that changes over the next 4ish weeks.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's been a hot minute since I've shared a Friday Favorites post, but I'm hoping back on it and I'm sure you will be glad to stopped by to check out today's list! PS I'm always looking for new (to me) and exciting things, so make sure you let me know in the comments some of the things you have been loving lately! But, without further ado, let's jump right into it!

The Kindness Diaries

A friend of mine mentioned this Netflix series on her IG stories a couple weeks ago so the hubby and I put it in our queue. The host, Leon Logothetis, travels the world with only a vintage motorbike and the kindness of strangers, which he pays back in unexpected, inspiring ways. The episodes are only about 20-25 minutes long and always leave us with a smile on our face (and a tear or two in our eye). {We used to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition on Sundays and the hubby would call it his "crying show" because it always left him in tears... let's just say this one is very similar ;)} PS When I was doing an image search for this one I noticed he also wrote a book - guess I'll have to give that a read soon too!


Candy Man

A friend sent me this article through Facebook and said it reminded her of something I would do when I was in my 90s. Let's just say it made me smile! Here's to hoping I make it to 94 years old (and am still spreading a little extra kindness to those around me!)! And Hershey's, inspired by his example, will be spotlighting him in a new marketing campaign.


Every Saturday, Bob Williams, a 94 year old World War II vet, retired teacher and high school football coach walks into a Dollar General store in Long Grove, Iowa, and buys a box of Hershey's milk chocolate bars. Williams hands two to the cashiers, a third to the person behind him in line and then sets off around town handing the rest out to anyone he sees.


Thank You, Zetterberg

Okay, so I can't say I "like" that the Detroit Red Wings' captain Henrik Zetterberg is officially retiring (due to a degenerative back condition he was deemed not healthy enough to play this season) - even if deep down we knew it was coming, but I at least wanted to take a quick moment to thank him for all of his time, love and effort that he gave to the Red Wings, the city of Detroit and to hockey in general. He was definitely one of the good guys! We will miss you Zetty!

National Public Lands Day

Saturday is National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually at public lands in the United States on the fourth Saturday of September. It is a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, which promotes both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands. National parks, monuments and forests that charge fees will be free Saturday in honor of the 25th National Public Lands Day. It’s also the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation’s website. Last year, about 169,000 people turned out to improve local, state and federal public lands. Ryan and I haven't decided how we'll  be celebrating, but you better believe will be out in the great outdoors (and doing our part to leave it better than we found it)!


What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

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, September 17, 2018

A Woman's Choice - Is It Really?

They say reproductive rights are about a woman's choice, but are they really? I mean, I guess they are... till health issues, government regulations, societal pressures, God and a fallen world, etc get involved, but we don't focus on that, do we?

I read a few articles over the past week on an assortment of "women's issues" and they rocked my world. Some made me nod my head in agreement, some made me shake my fist in anger, some made me think about things from a totally new perspective. In case you haven't read them yourself, I wanted to share them, as well as a bit of my own personal story.


My hope in opening the curtain and letting you (and the rest of the InterWebs) into my private life is that it helps us all to understand and remember that everyone has their own journey... and it's THEIR JOURNEY... and that it's not our right or place to impose our opinions or preferences on others and try to force them into our ideals. NO MATTER WHAT!

The hubby and I have been married for over 10 years (we celebrated our anniversary in August) and together as a couple for over 15 years (we started dating our sophomore year of college, in September 2003). I knew for many-a-moons that kids would not be in the cards for me. The reasons are plentiful (not wanting to pass on health issues, enjoying freedom, not feeling a "call" from God, etc), but I knew my future spouse would also need to be on board. Ryan and I discussed this numerous times, at length, and after much careful consideration, are thankfully on the same page. Let me be clear - this was not a decision taken lightly (just as I hope the decision to have kids is not made willy-nilly). (Just in case you were wondering - he was never 'opposed' to children, thought "if it happened, that'd be cool", but once we dove into it he understood my point of view, which in turn became his perspective as well - but not because of any pressure I forced upon him... he arrived at the extremely personal decision for himself.) This may not be your path, but it is what works for us.

I am not here to ask for your approval or even understanding, just acknowledgement that this is OUR CHOICE! Kids are not for everyone. Couples are childless for many different reasons (whether it is their choice or not). Just because you don't fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the traditional "American family" does not mean you are 'wrong' or 'missing out' or 'selfish'. There may be an ideal out there that the natural progression in life is to find a spouse, settle down, have a family and die... but that doesn't mean it's the only way. Write your own story and live your own adventure!


Anywho, back to the articles I came across last week, with topics including abortion, childlessness and miscarriage. No matter what your personal feelings or experience with these topics, I hope you take a few minutes to read through the articles with an open mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts (as long as we can have a respectful discussion, of course)!

My Twitter Thread on Abortion by Design Mom

I do not want to get into my personal feelings on abortion (although I would be happy to discuss this with you at a different time), but this post was AMAZEBALLS! Gabrielle touches on some opinions that were extremely eye opening. As a society we are told that abortions are all about the women, but, in fact, Gabrielle's article suggests (which I absolutely agree with) that the issue is not with women... but with MEN (and, to be crude, irresponsible ejaculation)! Like I said, you may or may not agree with abortion (I would actually say this article isn't even focused on abortion - whether is is right or wrong, etc), but I hope you read this post. If there was ever a time to use the phrase "mic drop", it is after reading this.

Childless Aunts Are The Most Undervalued Women In America by Tin Nuo Chan

The title of this article drew me in immediately. We didn't decide against children because we hated them... we just knew they weren't right for us. With that said, we still have some amazing kids in our lives (in fact, we will become the legal guardians of our best friends' adopted children if anything happens to them). Even though I am secure with my decision on not having kids of my own, some comments people make still hurt... Phrases like "I never knew real love until I was a mother", "Now that I have kids my life has true meaning", "It's a mom thing, you wouldn't understand". Obviously I know people aren't necessarily saying these things to be insulting. And most folks who say these statements may truly believe them for themselves. But PLEASE take a moment and think about what you are essentially saying... Since I don't (and won't) have children, I must not know real love, have purpose in my life or have the capability to understand your life.

I thought this article was powerful. If you have childless women in your life, please do take an extra minute or two to think about what you are saying (and what they may be hearing). Whatever path the women in your life are on, PLEASE LOVE THEM, THANK THEM, PRAISE THEM FOR ALL THEY DO AND GIVE THEM AN EXTRA SQUENCH OR TWO! 

Our Loss is Not a Secret by Liberty and Ryan

One of my sweet friends recently went through a miscarriage and was brave enough to share her experience on a recent blog post. With miscarriage statistics being as they are - recording that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime - you would think that this subject would be one that would be discussed more openly or frequently. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that women (and men) have the right to keep personal matters private - but I pray that when we begin being more open with one another then the hurt and mourning can be shared as a community. We need women (and men) to know that although we might not know the right things to say or what to do to alleviate the pain they are going through, that we are there for them no matter what to help shoulder the burden of life with them!

You may call me a feminist, a liberal, a hippie, and who knows, I may be all of the above, but all I know is that I will continue to advocate for and fight on behalf of the rights and respect I believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON deserves!


Have you read any interesting articles lately?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 37

Sunday, September 9th – 12 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 10th – 3.4 mile run with the hubby

Tuesday, September 11th – 11.11 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, September 12th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, September 13th – 1 mile warm-up, 7 x .25 mile hill repeats {3.5 miles}, 1 mile cool-down, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, September 14th  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, September 15th – 10 mile pace run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Although this was a somewhat lower mileage week (and my Garmin is reminding me that I was "unproductive" - HA!), I am still stoked with my workouts. My hill repeats on Thursday may not have been fast, but they felt strong. (FYI - I shared this suggestion on my IG stories, but thought I'd mention it here as well. Folks ask me if I have any tips for hill repeats and my "secret" is to dedicate each uphill to a specific person or family. I take the uphill to pray for them and find it helps me to take my mind off myself and the struggle I may be feeling at the moment.) If I'm being honest, Saturday's pace run was freaking me out a bit, and even though it didn't feel easy (oh how I wish holding my marathon goal pace felt a little more effortless), I was able to nail the workout and have an average pace of exactly what I was aiming for - 7:37/mile!

How were your workouts this past week?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

#Carlees34 Recap {34 Acts of Kindness}

In case you don't follow me on social media (or maybe you found this post from searching for "Acts of Kindness"), then maybe you don't know I spent the 34 days leading up to my 34th birthday doing at least one intentional act of kindness per day. I called the project #Carlees34 and it was my small attempt at spreading a little extra love to those around me. I know it may seem outlandish to some, but I truly believe that one person (and one act) CAN and DOES make a difference!

Here are the 34 ideas I implemented, in case you're looking to pay it forward to those around you. {PS I'm not sharing this as a way to toot my own horn or get any type of acknowledgment, I'm simply hoping it'll inspire others to do the same.}

34 Intentional Acts of Kindness

  • Sponsor a child through World Vision
  • Make bookmarks and "hide" them in library books
  • Take cookies to local police officers
  • Leave cold water on a running/ biking trail

  • Create a Charity Miles account to help raise money when running/ biking/ walking/ hiking
  • Clean up trash at the beach
  • Write and mail 34 notes to friends

  • Spread the word about rare chromosome disorders and donate Chromosome Disorder Outreach
  • Paint encouragement rocks and leave them around town
  • Send a postcard to a cancer patient

  • Take candy to the employees at our favorite restaurant 
  • Donate dog treats and toys to the local Humane Society

  • Buy car washes for people at the gas station
  • Take family friends to a live taping of one of their favorite TV shows
  • Make blessing bags for homeless friends (and keep them in the car)

  • Buy groceries for the local food pantry
  • Write encouraging chalk notes on running/ biking trails
  • Volunteer at Feeding San Diego

  • Pass along books we've finished to people who will share them once they're done
  • Pack an Operation Christmas Child box
  • Buy pizza for homeless friends

  • Buy coffee for the car behind us
  • Acknowledge everyone I come in contact with

  • Take donuts to local firefighters
  • Create a thank you box for delivery drivers
  • Hide toys at playgrounds and donate to a school's playground fund

  • Host a giveaway of runner's goodies

  • Bake cookies for neighbors
  • Take books to a local children's hospital
  • Delivery flowers to an elderly care facility

And, although the 34 days are officially over, that doesn't mean I will stop my acts of kindness. In fact, I hope this is a lifelong campaign... one that I hope you will join me in continuing! These acts don't have to cost a ton of money or be some grandiose plan, every tiny smile or kind word helps. As Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Hold the door for a stranger, give a compliment to a friend, call your mom, etc. We can make a difference in the lives of people around us! LET'S MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE! 

What's your favorite way to spread a little extra kindness to those around you?