Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's Friday, Friday, gotta share your favorites on FRIDAY! Or at least I do ;) And hopefully you appreciate the #RealTalk and find a couple new-to-you things you want to check out. So, enough of the chit-chat already, let's get on with it!

REI's Anniversary Sale

Did you see REI's Anniversary Sale?! It is running from May 19th through 29th and there are some AMAZING deals! One of my faves is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT. It normally retails for $450, but is on sale for $315. This is the watch I've been rocking for almost a year (I got it in June of last year) and I BIG PUFFY HEART LOVE IT! There are also some great deals on ENO Hammocks (we have two of these in the van), Hydro Flask water bottles, Kelty camp chairs (we got this one for Christmas and it's AWESOME!), and much more! Also, if you're a co-op member, you can use code ANNV17 to save 20% on one full priced item (or one sale item in the REI Garage). {PS I am not sponsored by REI [although how FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC would that be?!], just trying to pass on some great deals when I see 'em.}

Free Jazzercise Classes

I saw this on Dorothy's blog and had to share (because who doesn't love FREE FITNESS?!). Females between the ages of 16 and 21 can now take advantage of a year of FREE fitness classes from Jazzercise with NO STRINGS ATTACHED! Not lucky enough to be between those ages? Then spread the word and tell someone who is about this AMAZING opportunity so they benefit from the kick-butt campaign!


“The goal of GIRLFORCE is for young women to build better health through fitness and boost self-esteem so they have the confidence and strength to do great things.” – Judi Shepherd Missett, Jazzercise Founder

Shwings Sale

If you follow me on Instagram (hopefully you all do, right?! @CarleeMcDot), then you've probably seen a photo or seven hundred of my shoes. And the majority of those shots have Shwings on my running shoes. {Shoes + Wings = Shwings}

Yup, they used this picture of mine in the email so I HAD to share it, right?!

Although Shwings are simply cosmetic (just a fun accessory for your shoes), I always joke and say they are my secret weapon in running... they help me FLY! And right now they are running a Memorial Day sale (30% off their entire store with code "AMERICA30"), so I had to give you the heads up so you can jazz up all of the sneakers in your closet.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Every Day Inspirations

Remember when I posted a few months back that I was asked to be one of the Brooks' Run Influencers?! If not, you can read all about it HERE (or know that the gist is similar to a brand ambassador with a different title).

Every month they send us an update (what they call the "Run Down") on what's going on in the Brooks world - whether it be in the racing scene, with new products coming to market, etc. Seeing as Brooks’ mission is to “inspire others to run and be active” they suggested the crew share some of our inspirations and I thought it was a PERFECT idea for a post.


If you didn't know it already, there are some pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC people all around us (even if sometimes the evil in this world tries to make us forget that fact). And I'm talking normal, every day type people - not professional athletes or the Mother Teresa's of the world (even though those people are amazing too). I thought I'd take a few seconds to share some of the people in my life who are DAILY inspirations to me (and I encourage you to do the same).


Kelly Roberts: I've mentioned Kelly's AWESOMENESS a few times on my blog, so if you don't know her yet, YOU NEED TO! She is a tell-it-like-it-is, down-to-earth, bad-ass lady! Not only does her tenacity to chase goals inspire me on the daily, but the fact that she is trying to change society's perspective of "strong" one sports bra run at a time is AMAZEBALLS! PS If you haven't put the WORLD WIDE #SportsBraSquad Day {June 24th} on your calendar, add it NOW! We are ditching our shirts and insecurities, so GET READY WORLD! It's time to WOMAN UP!

Pavement Runner: Brian's tackling the San Francisco Marathon Ultra AGAIN! If you don't know what this is - you start at midnight the night before the San Francisco Marathon... run the course backwards... then join everyone at 6am to run it again in the 'correct' direction. Not only that, but he's doing it to raise money for the SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (if you're interested in donating, head HERE). Oh yeah, and he's doing all the training between his full time job and being a dad (with two amazing kiddos and an awesome wifey) - sometimes starting as early as 3:30am to get it all in. The hubby and I'll be joining him for part of the adventure and can't wait to be a small part the journey!

Ivie Anne: It's like no challenge is too crazy to undertake. Last year it was 12 marathons in 12 months (yup, she ran a marathon every month in 2016) and this weekend she's tackling her first ULTRA marathon! She'll be running the Nanny Goat Ultra on Saturday, looking to complete her first 50 MILER! I can't wait to follow as she SMASHES this next goal!

Mis Padres: Uh, DUH! I mean, they're the best parents I've ever had... But in all honesty, my dad is one of the most hard working guys I know. He gives of himself and his talents to the community, to his causes and to those in need and is willing to help at the drop of a hat. And my mom, well, she's the definition of STRONG. She won't let a myriad of health issues keep her down (at least not for long anyway). They are my rocks (and they obviously ROCK MY SOCKS).

YOU: Yep, you are an inspiration to me! All of you who are taking life by the horns, loving yourself when society is telling you that you don't measure up, marching to the beat of your own drum, taking care of yourself (body, mind and spirit), working on becoming the best you that you can be... Guys, this life is hard, but WE'RE DOING IT! We are persevering and we will make it! I am proud of you! Thank you for being a source of continued inspiration!


Who (or what) is a source of inspiration for you?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


I was contacted by Stephanie at RaceHer a few weeks back. She was jumping for joy and super exited to open the doors on her start-up company and asked me for a little help with spreading the word on the new brand.

What is a RaceHer Box you ask? 

RaceHer is the ONLY running subscription box just for women runners. Everything inside is designed to help a lady runner feel motivated, empowered and have more fun running! Founded by Stephanie, a long-time runner, who wanted a way to encourage the women in the running community and celebrate the love of a running lifestyle.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?!

RaceHer curates an assortment of gear and goodies that women runners will love. The contents are always a surprise! Boxes typically have 2-3 pieces of run-specific gear, 1-2 snacks, 1-2 pampering items and something extra just for fun (5-7 items total). The value of the box will always exceed the cost {for example, this box has a retail value of $60}.

The contents of what arrived in my first box

RaceHer Boxes are shipped bi-monthly - starting in July. Since this is a brand new venture, they will be opening sales as of June 1st (and you could be one of the first customers - YIPEEEE). Folks will have until June 30th to order the July box (and those boxes will ship between July 5th and 7th). The standard cost of a box is $35 plus shipping.

Boxes are a subscription but you can cancel anytime. And because you know I am ALWAYS looking for a great deal to pass along - if you order 3 months at once, there is a 10% discount ($95 instead of the full price $105). 

Another way to save is by heading to the RaceHer website and signing up to join the mailing list. Once you join you will be sent a coupon code for 10% off your first purchase. #ScoreOneForTheGoodGirls


And, today is your lucky day because you can win a RaceHer Box! WIN IT BEFORE YOU CAN BUY IT! Entering is easy - just use the Rafflecopter widget below. Remember to enter early & often as some options are available daily! [PS The tank in this specific box will be a Medium, but when subscribing to RaceHer you can select which size you prefer.]
This giveaway will run through Monday, May 29th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address on their Rafflecopter account and have 24 hours to claim their prize. The winner must be a US Resident. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected (don't miss out on a technicality).

Monday, May 22, 2017

To Track or Not To Track...

... that is the question.

And this time I'm not talking about tracking your food/ calories/ macros/ etc (although I am still doing this daily and really appreciating all of the insight and knowledge this habit is bringing to my life).

I'm talking about doing your speed work/ interval runs on the track.

Since I started working with a coach a few weeks back (feel free to read the original post HERE and the update on how everything is going HERE), I started adding speed work back into my training {Confession: Prior to this round of training, the last time I did any type of speed work was during my last BQ attempt which ended at the beginning of October}.

Let's be real, sometimes speed work can be intimidating... so although I have the best intentions of doing it, it is one of the first things that falls off the calendar. But if I am serious about my goals (and listening to my coach's expertise), then speed work seems to be here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, where I live, I haven't found a great track to run on. There is one near the house, but it is on the campus of a middle school - which means, when school is in session the gate is locked and I can't use it (not to mention it is dirt, not well kept and I don't even think it is a legit 400 meters around). I've also called a couple high schools with great athletic facilities, but they have said that only students are allowed to use the property. #LAMESAUCE

With that said, I've been doing my intervals during normal runs. There are a few positives I've found with this option.

First, it keeps your runs feeling fun and fresh (even if you are running a familiar route). Although I may know where the mile markers would be on a "normal" run, when you break up a run with 400 or 800 meter pushes and intervals of rest, it can really throw a wrench in your run (in a good way {at least in my opinion}) and keep you on your toes.

Next, I appreciate you aren't running a totally flat workout. Most tracks are pretty level (they are convenient, constant and controlled), so you don't have much elevation change. This can be helpful (to keep pace consistent), but there aren't many races that are super flat, so running your speed work on a route with some up and downhill forces you to really focus on pace (not to mention it seems a little more realistic to me than the "manicured" track workout).

Now, with the positives come a couple negatives.

First, I don't constantly check my Garmin (whether that is a good or bad thing is up for debate). So not running on a track or looking at my watch means I don't know when I am coming up on the end of the interval (my watch does a little countdown beep once I get close enough, but other than that I am not 100% sure where the interval will end). I've found that although it keeps my runs exciting, it is a bit of a mental challenge because I don't know how far I need to push.

Next, I find track workouts tend to build my mental toughness more than pounding the pavement. I know when I step onto the track, I'm there for a hard workout (as opposed to running the same route I consistently run). It's a mental switch in my mind. The track becomes a physical destination that I associate with a certain kind of practice. Running speed work on the track removes most of the variables from your workout so you can focus on the task at hand.

Thankfully school will be out for the summer soon, which means I should be able to use more of the local tracks. Although I may keep some of my intervals on my normal routes, I'm looking forward to getting back to the oval office for some of the harder workouts. But whether you have a track at your convenience or not, that is no reason to toss out speed work all together or to avoid running outside of your comfort zone! You gotta run fast to race fast, so LET'S GO! 

Do you currently have speed work in your training?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 20

Sunday, May 14th – 12 mile run (Goal: 9 @ 8:30 pace, 3 @ 7:35 pace), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, May 15th – 3.74 mile run {30 minute run (Goal HR 145-150)}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, May 16th – 6 mile run (Goal pace 9:35/mile), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, May 17th – 6.18 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 8 x 400 (@ 2:00 pace and 2:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, May 18th –  45 minutes of yoga, 45 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, May 19th –  5.88 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 8 x 400 (Goal @ 1:30 pace and 2:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, May 20th – Rest Day {Active Recovery - 2 mile hike with the hubby and pup}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

We are technically entering "taper time" for my goal half marathon. I will still be pushing the pace in a few of the workouts between now and then but the mileage will be letting up a bit (which is a little crazy because I feel like I am not running very much as it is right now, but I guess I've been in marathon training mode for so long that half marathon training mode is a bit different). Although this week's hard interval workout was HARD (I didn't hit a single pace I was supposed to), I am happy I didn't let myself give up when the going got tough.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Favorites

I thought I'd take this week's #FridayFavorites a different route. I am going to focus on some of my recent favorite YouTube videos/ documentaries. I am normally not a huge movie fan (I have a hard time sitting still and not wanting to multitask for the entire span of a film), but these are short and sweet. So, let's get into them!

Life In The Day

I first heard about this documentary on Kelly Roberts' podcast when she was interviewing one of the FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC runners who was featured, Devon Yanko. The hubby enjoys trail running (and has even mentioned the possibility of one day running an ultra) so I thought I'd be able to talk him into giving this film a watch.


On June 25, 2016 a collection of trail and ultra runners toed the line at the historic Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run running from Squaw Valley to Auburn. Among the 350+ were 4 women vying for the win and a coveted top 10 finish which is recognized annually at this prestigious event. This is a story of their 100 mile journey of which the great Ann Trason compares to living a "life in a day".

The hubby and I both really enjoyed this one. It's about an hour long, but well worth your time! I think sometimes folks who don't run (or don't run insanely long distances) forget how not only physically taxing it can be, but also mentally exhausting! I appreciate that they shared the highs and lows on the journey!

Showing Up

I have "known" about November Project for a long while now. I've got some amazing friends who are an integral part of the movement and can't help but talk about it's awesomeness. Although the closest tribe to us is about an hour away, we were able to hit up a workout when we were in Vancouver for SeaWheeze in August.

The documentary film is only about 30 minutes long but will take you in-depth into the lives of 8 athletes who collectively tell the story of community, identity, and why it matters to be a part of something transformative. November Project, the Free Fitness Movement that started in Boston that is now taking over the world, is simply the vessel for these stories.

The hubby liked it so much he was trying to talk me into heading down to San Diego the following morning  (but at that point it was already pretty late in the evening so I couldn't "just show up"). I'm so excited there's talk of occasional North County workouts - crossing our fingers the attendance is good and we can get something up here more frequently!

I'm Glad You're Here

And while we're on the NP train, we might as well keep it going! The hubby was told about this talk by a friend (and I actually knew about it because a friend of mine was there). It is by one of the co-founders of November Project, Brogan Graham. I follow Brogan on social media, so I sort of feel like I know him (isn't social media weird like that?!), but it was awesome to hear him speak for an extended period of time... and not just on NP but on MAKING MOMENTS!

I think what I love most about this (and the November Project movement in general) is that it's all about connection! Sure, the workouts are great and you can get in a good sweat, but the camaraderie and love for one another (no matter your fitness level or walk of life) is what I think grows this crazy tribe of folks!

Have you seen anything great on YouTube lately?