Monday, February 27, 2017

Mesa-PHX Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend was the Mesa-PHX Marathon (which offers a 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon). It marked my TENTH full marathon (and third Phoenix Marathon: 2015 & 2016).

#EarnTheBird

The hubby and I drove to Phoenix on Friday morning. We decided to leave the house by 5am to avoid any of the normal morning commuter traffic (and also get us into town with plenty of time to eat lunch, check into our hotel and get over to the Expo before I was helping to host the #WeRunSocial meet-up).

Yup, I pulled over on the freeway to have Ry take this picture for me

The drive was easy and I even made sure to stop for gas before we hit a half tank because I did NOT want a repeat of last year's incident...

Pit stop on the way to PHX!

When we got into Phoenix we were sure to stop at Ike's Love & Sandwiches. It is one of our favorite sandwich shops to hit up when we go to Arizona. They have so many vegetarian and vegan options - and they are all DELISH! {And when I was getting the website to link the restaurant I noticed they have them in California - SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!}

Yummy in our tummies!

Before we knew it, it was time to head over to the Expo. The hubby and I met up with Brian, Dave and Sarah (we were all staying in the same hotel) and made our way to the Marriott where the Expo was. We grabbed our bibs, walked through the maze of vendors and grabbed our participant shirts (males received tees and females received tanks).

You know how we do... 

Once we had everything we needed we made our way back to the PRO Compression booth for the #WeRunSocial meet-up. I was super stoked to meet new friends, chat with old ones and be amongst the most amazing community EVER ;) Meet-ups can be difficult to organize, but I was pleasantly surprised at how many folks were able to make it.

A few pictures from the meet-up, including some of the PRO Compression Ambassadors and the
Mesa-PHX Marathon Race Ambassadors. This wasn't even everyone who stopped by!

After we said our good-byes and wished everyone the best of luck, we went to dinner. A few of us hit up La Grande Orange Grocery for some pizza. The food was yummy and the company is always amazing.

Apparently we didn't get the memo from EMZ about the pose... ;)

With the Mesa-PHX Marathon being a point to point race, you are required to park at the finish line area and take a bus to your respected starting line. In the past there has been some user error with the race morning arrival, so this year we vowed to be there early and prepared ;) Well, as I'm sure you could guess, that means an EARLY wake-up call.

I was actually out of bed by 2:30am... which was 1:30am PST... OUCH!

Last year's race was abnormally HOT! I remember sweating when we got off the bus (before we even started the race). This year I decided I would rock the arm sleeves that the race gave us in our goodie bags from 2016, and planned my outfit around them ;)

Like I mentioned, my #FlatCarlee was going to revolve around my sleeves, so
I guess it was ROYAL BLUE FTW! Jailbreak PROs, black Handful bra, royal
Sparkle Athletic skirt, gray tank, #WeRunSocial hat, blue and white QALO
silicone wedding bands, gray and blue Momentum Jewelry wraps, blue RoadID,
my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and my Brooks Ghost 9 with silver Shwings.
Also, since it was a full marathon I ran with my Nathan handheld and fueled
with PROBAR Bolt chews.

The only thing I didn't really take into account was the fact that the abnormal heat would be gone... I mean, I was stoked when I saw the weather man calling for "perfect weather", but didn't really plan on the cooler temps at the starting line.

Source: @phxmarathon's Instagram Page

Thankfully Brian was checking a bag and let me throw my coat in with his stuff. Also, the race allowed us to sit on the buses until closer to the starting time which was AMAZEBALLS! When our bus got to the starting area, we got off and got in the port-o-potty line and once we all handled our business we got back on the toasty buses.

The temps at the start were chilly! 

[I did want to mention, even though I was an ambassador for this race, you know I've gotta #KeepItReal... And one area I believe they could improve on is the potties at the start. The set up is two aisles, so the lines are at either end. The issue is that this causes four VERY LONG, single filed lines. Two of the lines are between the buses which are still spitting exhaust for the runners who are escaping the elements. I realize there's limited space at the start, but I think adding more port-o-potties and arranging them so that you could have lines for groups of 3 or 4 would work better.]

Anywho, back to the race. Brian, Sarah, Stephanie and I decided to stay on the bus as long as possible, but finally had to brave the cold and made our way towards the start around 6:10am (the race was set for 6:30am). Sarah and Brian dropped bags at gear check (which was two U-hauls that drove the goodies to the finish line) and we got ready to run.

Dark photos are hard... but "there's an app for that" ;)
Photo Credit: Sarah

I had ZERO time goals in mind for the race (you can read about that decision HERE if you haven't yet), but Brian thought from his 22 mile run that he could shoot for around a 4-hour race (and he let me tag along). We actually knew the pacer for 3:55 (sweet Jen), so we figured we'd attempt to run with her for a while.

Still early in the race because I hadn't tossed my gloves yet...
Source: Jen's Facebook Page

At 6:30am the announcer did a quick countdown, some fireworks went off and we were on our way to another 26.2 mile adventure. (I was surprised there was no national anthem, but maybe we missed it while we were on the bus?)

The first few miles are fairly dark. The road is flat and straight, so you don't really have to worry about your footing too much, but the sun doesn't rise for about 30 minutes after the race starts so there's not much to see. It's a bit of a bummer because I think that the first 3 or so miles of the course are the prettiest.

Source

I'd say from the start until about mile 3ish you are coming down out of the mountains, so there is a decent downhill with views of the hills, cacti, sunrise, etc. Around mile 3 you start coming into the residential areas. The homes are beautiful and the neighbors are kind (I'm always so surprised at how many spectators are out along the course). By the time you hit maybe mile 12 or so you are back down in the city of Mesa and among the industrial/ business areas. Although the views the second half of the course aren't super inspiring, the crowd support definitely picks up and keeps you going.

Source

Along the route I stopped for a couple pictures. (Seeing everyone's pictures from the runDisney Princess Half Marathon weekend left me with a little FOMO so I tried to alleviate the feeling by finding my own "characters" along our course.)

A T-rex, a teddy bear, and some metal dinosaurs... 

Can I also say how much I LOVE free race pictures?! I think I mentioned this during my Pasadena Half Race Recap, but it's my favorite (especially when the hubby isn't there or is running himself and can't snap a couple pictures for me). They may not always capture the best/ most flattering shots, but at least I have proof that I was out there ;)

If you can't tell... running is NO fun... ;)

Heading in towards the finish line!

Brian and I had a great morning (okay, maybe if you asked him he might not use the word "great" to describe it, but I would ;)). We had a strong 17 miles and then decided to back of the gas and listen to our bodies. We chatted it up, gave out high fives, encouraged those around us (checking in on runners who looked like they might be struggling), and crossed yet another finish line.

This guy... He's the best! No words to describe how much his friendship means
to me and the hubby! His family's AWESOMESAUCE too!

I've said it before (and I will continue yelling it from the mountain tops every chance I get). Not every race is about your finish time - shoot, the majority of races (at least for me) have nothing to do with the time on the clock. What matters is the time on the course, the time spent with friends and the memories made! I doubt I will ever win a race or become a professional runner, but I hope to never outrun my love for this sport (or the amazing community/family/tribe I've found).


Oh yeah, and I can't forget to mention that the hubby ran his EIGHTH half marathon! He was lucky enough to run the race with Dave and they had a BLAST (although, if you have met my hubby, you probably know it's hard to hang out with him and not have a great time).

So proud of the hubby! For someone who picked up running for me, he has done some AMAZING things! 
He's my number 1!

While they were waiting for Brian and I to finish they were able to live it up in the finisher area - eating french toast, playing all of the games, getting massages, etc. And somehow they were even able to pull themselves away from the party to come give us high-fives and cheer us into the finish!

Photo Credit: Dave

Like I mentioned at the beginning, this was my THIRD time doing this race, and it will stay on my calendar for at least the next three years (the bling for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 fits together to make a giant STAR). If you want to come join me, registration is already open for 2018 (and if you register today it's only $80).


Will I see you there next year?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 8

Sunday, February 19th – Rest Day

Monday, February 20th – 4 mile progression run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, February 21st –  Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, February 22nd – 75 minutes on the stationary bike


Thursday, February 23rd – 3 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Friday, February 24th –  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, February 25th – Mesa-PHX Marathon, Stretched & Foam Rolled


36.2 miles of running this week. I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday (seeing as my back is still screwed up from December and my chiropractor mentioned she thinks it could be a compression fracture and suggested x-rays), so hopefully I can get my body back to 100%... Thankfully it doesn't hurt any extra while running, so might as well do something I enjoy if it's gonna hurt anyway, right?!

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Goals for the Mesa-PHX Marathon

Had you asked me what my goals were for the Mesa-PHX Marathon in October I would have had a very concrete answer, a very specific time goal. I would have said to best my marathon time by at least 50 seconds, to run a sub-3:30.

"Why 50 seconds?", you ask.

Well, in October I ran my first (and only) Boston Qualifying marathon time. [To qualify for the Boston Marathon, you must run a specific time requirement based on your age and gender. As a 32 year old female {which I was at the time of the St. George Marathon}, I needed to run a 3:35 marathon or faster.]

Finisher selfie from the St. George Marathon

But just because you run a qualifying time does not automatically guarantee you the ability to run the Boston Marathon - it simply gives you access to the application for registration. When registration opens, people who run a marathon time over 20 minutes faster than their required time get to register first. The following week, people you who run a marathon time over 10 minutes faster than their required time get to register next. The week after that, people you who run a marathon time over 5 minutes faster than their required time then get to register. Finally, open registration will allow anyone who ran a qualifying time to submit their time for approval.

The issue is, once the race hits its max registration it closes. That means some people who run Boston qualifying times may not be able to register or run the race since they allow the fastest runners to register first. For example, for the 2017 race, in order to be accepted, runners needed to run at least 2:09 faster than their age group's qualifying time. In 2016 the cut-off was even harder, requiring entrants to run 2:28 faster than their age group qualifying times.
Well, in October, when I ran the St. George Marathon and claimed a Boston Qualifying time as my own, I ran it in 3:30:50... Four minutes and ten seconds faster than my qualifying time. Although in past years this would have allow me a spot, I would feel much better knowing that I was getting my name in the week prior to open registration - hence the sub-3:30 goal (getting me a time over 5 minutes faster than that required). 

With that said, my body has pretty much shot that goal down every chance it got... Since October I've dealt with an angry knee (which stemmed from my hip), a bad belly, and a bum back. I'd say from October to December my running/ training was minimal at best. Although during January and February I was able to get in the mileage listed on my calendar, the speed work has NOT been there (I'm just grateful to be able to run and not want to cry every step I take). 


So, when I toe the line on Saturday for the Mesa-PHX Marathon, I plan on taking whatever the day gives me. I doubt it will be a stellar performance (especially since I have to keep in mind the fact that I'll be running the Los Angeles Marathon in three weeks, and then an Ultra relay two weeks after that), but I plan to give it my best shot.

Maybe I'll run with friends, maybe I'll try and chase down a sub-4, maybe I'll get a PR in high-fives given out... whatever the case, I plan to arrive at the starting line with a smile on my face and hopefully cross the finish line with it still there.

I can't believe Saturday will be my TENTH full marathon... Even without a concrete time goal in mind, 26.2 miles is a BEAST and it deserves respect. Although I've readjusted my goals, I'll forever be grateful each and every time I have the opportunity and ability to lace up my shoes and run - no matter what the clock says when I cross the finish line.

Have you ever had to reassess your goals?

Monday, February 20, 2017

#WeRunSocial Mesa-PHX Marathon Meet-Up

This weekend will be my THIRD time heading to Arizona to run the Mesa-PHX Marathon (although, in the past the race was simply called the Phoenix Marathon - Recap: 2015 & 2016).

Apparently I have a signature pose... Finisher picture from 2015 on the left and 2016 on the right

The 2015 Phoenix Marathon is actually where Pavement Runner's brain-child, #WeRunSocial, was born. I was lucky to be involved from the get-go, so when Brian asked me if I wanted to help host the meet-up for this year's race you know I had to say HECK TO THE YES!

Some of the crew after the 2015 race

I will be tagging along with two of the heavy-weights in the running community - Pavement Runner and RunEMZ (I don't know why they would want little ol' me to help out, but I am all about it) and we want YOU to join us!

The hosts for this year's meet-up

If you will be in the Phoenix area on this Friday afternoon you should totally come hang out (even if you aren't running in any of the races). We will be meeting at the PRO Compression booth at the the Mesa-PHX Marathon Expo (which is open to ALL) starting around 4pm. Stop by, say "HI", selfie it up and meet some AWESOME runners (who also happen to be overall AMAZING human beings).


I have a box of goodies to bring for giveaways, so just in case seeing our bright and smiling faces isn't incentive enough, you could win some goodies so should definitely put this event on your calendar!

Who will I see this weekend?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 7

Sunday, February 12th – 3 mile run with the hubby


Monday, February 13th – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, February 14th –  5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, February 15th – 4 mile run (1 on my own followed by 3 with the hubby), Stretched & Foam Rolled


Thursday, February 16th – 8 progressive mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Friday, February 17th –  Rest Day


Saturday, February 18th – Rest Day


Instead of Christmas gifts, a group of my girlfriends and I do a trip. I think it was planned PERFECTLY because it was during taper - which meant it gave me something to focus on rather than the fact that I wasn't running, along with the fact that I didn't mind the extra couple rest days (and lighter suitcase because I wasn't packing running gear). I was still sure to get in all of my runs pre-trip and decided that any of our exploring would count as my 'cross-training' workouts.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

As you read this I am enjoying a girls weekend in San Francisco - WHOOOO HOOOO! (Some friends and I do a trip instead of Christmas gifts, and this was the weekend of our adventure.) Along with LOVING a few days away and girl time, below are a couple additional Friday Favorites that you all may be interested in checking out for yourself!


Target Swimsuits


I never thought I'd put "bathing suits" on a list of favorites, especially because bathing suit shopping is probably one of the worst things that I can think of voluntarily doing... but it happened! When the hubby and I were going through our purging phase a couple weeks back I got rid of all my old bikinis. They were ill-fitting, faded and old, but I kept them because I never wanted to A. spend the money to replace them or B. go shopping for bathing suits. I figured that if I got rid of all my two piece bathing suits it'd force me to buy a new one (or be left with a really white belly all summer long from rocking my one-piece). Low and behold I was at Target the other day and figured I'd take the plunge. To my surprise I actually found a suit that I liked! I think it's probably because it was similar to my Handful bras, but that's okay. I appreciate that you can mix and match tops and bottoms (especially for women who aren't a straight size across the board). I was able to pick up a top and two bottoms (one for laying at the pool and another for being active). Normally I'd wait until they went on sale, but I knew it was now or never so I bit the bullet and actually paid full price!


#CarleesTreasures


If you don't know what this is A. you probably don't follow me on Instagram (but you can HERE if you'd like) and B. missed my blog post about it. It's okay, I won't hold it against you. Anywho, not only do I like posting my finds, I LOVE when other people "play" along and post theirs as well. But this is about neither... The other day I received a notice in Facebook that I had been tagged in a post. A friend shared about her experience "treasure hunting" and I couldn't help but smile. Not so much because of what she said, but that she sees me as a positive person, someone who looks for the good, and someone who was actually making a difference in the world (no matter how small it may seem). With that, I just wanted to challenge you to keep doing good, spreading kindness, finding reasons to smile - you never know who you may be impacting, but you ARE making this world a better place!


Take It All Back by Judah & The Lion


I think I like this jam so much because it reminds me of a folk-y version of my main man Eminem. Obviously the hip hop artist from 8 Mile doesn't rock out on a banjo or mandolin, but the lead singer's voice definitely has a little Marshall Mathers feel to it (or maybe that's just me). I also love what they had to say about the song in a Red Bull interview, "It's our way of saying that our successes do not define us as people. We would give up everything we do to have the things that matter most to us: love, friends, family, ice cream."


DIY Cards


I feel like I used to be so much more artsy and creative... but I got to rectify this a bit earlier this week. For Valentine's Day, the girls in my small group decided to shower our leader in surprises throughout the day (his wife passed away two years ago from cancer and we wanted him to know he is still deeply cared for). Along with a near botched flower delivery that I made at 6:20am, I also made a homemade card. And while I was at it, I decided to make the hubby a pop-up card as well. They might be a little corny, but I had fun (and they at least acted like they appreciated them ;)).


What are you loving lately?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Our Engagement Story

Today marks NINE YEARS since Ry and I got engaged, so I thought it'd be fun to share our engagement story. I'm not sure if I've told it before, and was too lazy to look before I started typing, so I'm sorry if this is a re-run for some of you ;)

This is one of the pictures from our 'engagement' photo shoot
(that we did with a tripod & a point-and-shoot camera w/ a timer)

As some of you may know, the hubby and I started dating our sophomore year of college. I had 'noticed' Ryan because he actually liked the girl who lived across the hall from me freshman year and was always hanging out over there. Fortunately for me, she didn't like him 'like that' and I was able to swoop in ;)

There's the stud I thought was so dreamy... and artsy... and skater-ish... and God loving... and so unlike anyone I had dated before

We both went to Orlando with our college campus church during the summer between our freshman and sophomore year as part of a leadership training program. As part of the program, we were required to work full-time jobs. Universal Studios had a 'deal' with the organization that they'd hire as many of us as they could - so instead of hunting for our own jobs, the majority of us decided to work at the theme park for the summer. Ryan and I carpooled every day to and from work and got to know each other. Love blossomed and we started dating the beginning of our sophomore year.

Not sure if you can tell, but we were secretly holding hands behind Ryan's leg... Yup, young love ;) 

We look like BABIES! This was 14 YEARS ago! WE WERE BABIES!

Let's stop right here and mention a few things. First, before Ryan and I even started dating, I told the girls in my summer small group that I could see myself marrying him (apparently it would take a little more convincing for Ryan to believe it for himself). Next, it is MY PERSONAL OPINION that you date someone to decide whether or not that is the person you could spend the rest of your life with. Okay, now we can proceed.

Halloween 2006

At this point in our relationship (February 2008), Ry and I had been together for FOUR AND A HALF YEARS. We had dated while living in the same dorm, while living across the country from each other, while moving across the country from everyone we knew but still living in different cities, etc. I felt as though we had dated through just about every phase and I still knew I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life... WHAT WAS TAKING HIM SO LONG?!

Celebrating our birthdays in 2007 (they are 3 days apart)

Although I am NOT a Valentine's Day celebrator, I thought that this would be a decent time for Ryan to propose, but alas, he did not. I remember being so frustrated with the situation that I called my mom and told her that I thought I was going to have to break up with him because obviously the relationship was going NOWHERE. She tried her best to calm me down, to tell me to 'stick it out' and reminded me how much I loved him. (Little did I know he had already called and asked my parents for my hand in marriage and she was trying her hardest not to spill the beans just days before.)

Ryan's sister and her hubby were in town that following weekend, visiting San Diego, so we were planning to head down to spend some time with them. On the way, Ryan thought we could do a little geo caching. (If you don't know what geo caching is, it's sort of like high-tech treasure hunting. You use coordinates and GPS to find caches that could have tradable items or just a log to sign showing that you found it. It was something we enjoyed doing because it helped us discover areas we may have never found on our own. Being in a new city and state, it was a great way to adventure.)


A picture of us geo caching from 2007... I thought RC Pirates was the perfect name for
us because R = Ryan, C = Carlee & Pirates look for treasure like geo cachers!

We stopped at Kate Session's Park to grab a couple caches before meeting his sister for a little sight seeing downtown. When he was ready to pop the question, he called me over (normally, once we got to the location we would divide and attempt to conquer, looking around to find the cache) saying he had found it, and had the ring in his hand.


I always poke fun at him because he was down on both knees, but really it was such a cute proposal, and so US, that he could have been standing or speaking Spanish and I still would have said YES (or maybe sí).

Thumbs up for love

And how fun is it that two of our friends ended up going to the geo cache we got engaged at after our wedding and grabbed the coin we left?! (PS We got married 6 months to the day after we got engaged - note the dates in the log.)


And now you know ;) It might not be uber romantic or what little girls dream about when pondering the way their prince charming asks to spend the rest of his life with her, but it was PURE PERFECTION for me and the man of my dreams!

How did you get engaged?