Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Found Confidence

Over the last week or so I have actually gone out for a couple runs WITHOUT A SHIRT! For those of you who know me, you know how much of a BIG deal this is. For the rest of you, well, let's just say that I have terrible self esteem and pretty much hate my body. It seems as though the heat can make you do crazy things... like seeing mirages (which thankfully has never happened to me) or running in a sports bra for the world to see!


Now, I don't think I would necessarily consider this a case of new found confidence, but I do think I am beginning to see my body for what it can accomplish, rather than how it looks! I am NOT saying that when I look in the mirror I love like what I see, but I am saying that it was a HUGE step to run outdoors sans a top and not care about what body parts were jiggling or wonder what the people I passed were thinking about me.


I have been thinking a lot about the whole confidence thing and how we often times get so caught up in the rat race of trying to look like the models/ athletes/ celebrities we see. Well, my girl Kelly has been speaking my language in her past couple IG posts, so instead of me trying to come up with something better, I figured I'd share her sentiments...

"The only way we'll change the mold is if we refuse to be defined. Strength doesn't look a certain way, it feels a certain way."

Source: @KellyKKRoberts Instagram feed

"CONFIDENCE IS CONTAGIOUS. BE PROUD. BE STRONG. MIDDLE FINGERS UP AT YOUR INSECURITIES. It's all about loving where you're at today and pushing for a stronger tomorrow. Go look in the mirror and tell yourself you're foxy AF."

Source@KellyKKRoberts Instagram feed

OH HECK TO THE YES! We need to break those molds that we allow the world to form for us. We need to look around at those in our tribe and find the role models that we need... the attainable, real life goals that we can go after and conquer! We need to realize that we are enough, that we are strong, and that even though we may not be where we want to be, that we are stronger than we were yesterday and we are one step closer to our goals.

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Now, hear me out, I am not saying that running around in your sports bra will necessarily help give you that jolt of confidence that you are in dire need of, but what I am hoping is that we can all celebrate how far we've come while working towards where we want to be. We need to do whatever we can so that we can learn to love ourselves (and our bodies) with all that we have! And maybe shedding a layer of clothes can be a step in the right direction.

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Maybe running in your sports bra won't fix all of your problems, but maybe it will help to lift a little of the excess weight off of your shoulders that you've been carrying around with you. Right now, let's remove that pressure society has placed on our shoulders of being the perfect woman (or man), looking a certain way while having all of our -ish together. It's not reality and it's not fair that we try to live up to those false standards! We all struggle, we all fall flat on our faces, but the real success is getting back up and continuing to fight the good fight!

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BE REAL! BE YOU! BE CONFIDENT! And, heck, #RunNaked!

Is confidence something you struggle with? 

Monday, June 27, 2016

REVIEW: Run The World By Becky Wade

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. They said that my passion for running, travel and food that I share on my blog aligned with a book that would soon be coming to print and asked if I wanted to give it a read. I am never one to turn down a good book, so obviously jumped on the opportunity.

Last week, a pre-released copy of Run The World by Becky Wade arrived in my mailbox. The synopsis had me wanting to jump in right away. After her successful collegiate running career, Becky Wade was eager to broaden her perspective on the sport. She packed up her shoes and embarked on a yearlong solo journey around the world, meeting coaches and runners and experimenting with diverse training styles. Whether riding around London with Usain Bolt, hiking for an hour at daybreak to run on Ethiopia’s Mount Entoto, or getting lost navigating the bustling streets of Tokyo, Wade’s unexpected adventures capture the heartbeat of distance running around the world.


I flew through this book (finishing it within two days of receiving it in the mail). It was a super easy read. Now, you aren't going to run away with new insights or a step-by-step list of ways to improve your running, but, then again, I knew that when I got ready to dive in. This is a personal story about Becky's adventures as she made her way through nine countries, eleven pairs of running shoes and over thirty-five hundred miles of running. A little running mixed with a little travel and it had my heart longing to pack my bags and hit the road within the first chapter. #Wanderlust 


I love that Becky included pictures throughout the book from her travels (don't get me wrong, I love using my imagination when it comes to fiction, but with this reading more like a travel diary I loved having the accompanying imagery to go with the stories). Also, one of my favorite parts was the fact that she added recipes she acquired throughout her year abroad at the end of every chapter (I'm actually even hoping that she publishes more of the recipes she gathered, especially seeing as many of the running cultures she was immersed in were vegetarian friendly!).


This July, Becky will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials in either the 10,000 meters or 3,000-meter steeplechase. Her travel narrative is a source of inspiration for runners and travelers alike and is the perfect primer for the Summer Olympics this August! You can pre-order your copy of Run The World, which will be available on July 5th, HERE

Let's be real, being able to explore running cultures around the world (and having someone else foot the bill) would be a dream come true, right?! But since that is a far cry from reality for the majority of us, the next best thing is being able to go along with someone on their journey - even if that means simply reading about Becky's once-in-a-lifetime experiences from the comfort of our own home...


If you could run with anyone in the world (living or deceased), who would you run with and why?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Workout Recap - Week 26

Sunday, June 19th – 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Monday, June 20th – 45 minute pool workout, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, June 21st – 7 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, June 22nd – 5 miles of hill repeats, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Thursday, June 23rd – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Friday, June 24th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Saturday, June 25th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled


29 miles of running, a pool workout and a strength training session. Since I'm not following a specific training plan I'm still sort of hopping around from workout to workout, but at least I'm switching it up and trying to find my groove again.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Race Day Essentials

Let's be real, race day can be a stressful time. One way to relieve some of the pressure is by making sure you have the proper race day essentials. Whether you are traveling across the country for a racecation or down the street for a local race, having a list and checking it twice to make sure you have all of your necessities can be the difference between a successful morning and a stressful morning.


Everyone is different when it comes to what they need or desire on race day, but I thought I'd share what I have found useful when getting ready for a race. For me, having a game plan helps to keep the pre-race jitters to a minimum. 

So, let's get into it (PS I thought I'd make it a Q&A so you could copy and paste it into your own post if you wanted.)

Question: What are your top three items that must accompany you to every race?

Answer: My Garmin (totally Type A personality here and MUST know my numbers), my PRO Compression gear (I make sure to pack compression socks for both racing and recovery) and LOTS OF SPARKLE (including one of my many Sparkle Athletic skirts and a Sparkly Soul headband or two).

Q: Do you lay our your #FlatRunner before the race?

A: Every single race (and even for some training runs)! Not only do I love sharing my #FlatRunner on social media (that way fellow runners know what to look for on the course so we can say 'HI'), but it helps me go through a mental checklist to make sure I have everything I may possibly need.

I chuckled the other day because I was looking back through my recent #FlatCarlee's and they are all pretty much the same... I guess when you find what works you stick with it ;)


Q: We often hear, "nothing new on race day". Is this a motto you subscribe to?

A: I've gotta be honest, if it is similar to something I have used before (i.e. an aqua Sparkle Athletic skirt instead of a gunmetal one), then I normally won't think twice about it, but I do try my best to make sure I've trained with the item before it makes my race day cut.

Q: Do you bring your own fuel on race day or rely on the course to provide it?

A: I have a pretty sensitive stomach, so I make sure to train with the same fuel I am planning to use on race day. Currently I am loving PROBAR BOLT chews (the strawberry flavor is my jam). As far as hydration, it really depends on the distance and the weather. I have been known to carry a Nathan handheld so I can drink between the race offered aid stations. And I am never one to turn down free candy (or ice cold orange slices) from strangers on a race course!

Q: Are there any tips you have acquired along the way that you'd like to share?

A: Always overpack. I'd much rather be over-prepared than underprepared. That means I bring my own safety pins to attach my race bib just in case the race doesn't provide them and will have multiple throw-away layers with me. I also suggest that if you are flying to your race to ALWAYS pack your race gear in your carry-on.

Eagle Creek has some AWESOME packing options (specifically from the Pack It Sport™ line). I can throw all of my race day gear in the Fitness Locker conveniently inside my carry-on luggage so I know where everything is. The Roll Top Sac comes in handy once my gear is soggy and sweaty, keeping the stench away from the rest of my clean clothes and containing the funk.


What are some of your race day essentials?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Running Story

It has been a complete HONOR to have folks stop by my corner of the InterWebs and spend some of their precious time (because I totally understand how limited and valuable free time is these days) following along with my journey. Anywho, in case any of you are new to my neck of the woods I thought I'd do a quick post with my running story.

My name is Carlee McDot (well, my last name is technically Padot McClurg, but since I couldn’t talk the hubby into combining our last names when we got married I figured I could at least use the combo on social media). I live in Southern California (and have since I moved four days after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2006).

My running story seems rather boring, but it’s MINE and that is what matters (we all have a story to tell, no matter how insignificant we may think it is)!


Back at the beginning of 2012 a friend of mine told me about a little thing called runDisney. You see, at that point I was NOT a runner, but I did love me some Disney. She knew my affinity for the Mouse and suggested that I consider running the Disneyland Half Marathon. Seeing as I was not a runner, I was glad that she suggested this while I still had nine-ish months to train for the event.

At the time I was looking for something to call my own. My hubby had an array of hobbies (surfing, motorcycle, art, etc) but I didn’t have anything that I felt spoke to my soul sole. I figured that even if running didn't turn out to be my 'thing' at least I’d be doing it at the Happiest Place on Earth and I could cross running a half marathon off my bucket list.

I started by walking daily for thirty minutes on my lunch break and eventually began using the elliptical in the office gym a few times a week. Let’s be real, the beginning is tough (it is for us all), but with a goal in mind, it made the work worth it. In due time I started pounding the pavement and fell in love! Don’t get me wrong, at first I was only running a half mile or so at a time, but I was so proud of what my body could accomplish that I'd smile through the hard effort. [You can read my post about training in January of 2012 HERE and my post about running outside in March of 2012 HERE.]

The 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon was my first half, and this year, when I return for the 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon (as a part of my third consecutive Dumbo Double Dare) it will be my thirty-first half marathon! I would have never imagined that running could have had such an impact on my life when I first started, but I can truly say that it has made the world of difference! I am forever grateful for the ability I have been blessed with, the people running has brought into my life and the places I have been able to see and explore because of this sport!

I did it! And even had the opportunity to run the 2012 Disneyland Half with Megan, my friend who originally
challenged me to start running in the first place! 

What's YOUR running story?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rock 'N' Roll Seattle Half Marathon Race Recap

Before I start, I have to say a HUGE THANKS to Athlete IQ and Alaska Air for selecting me as an ambassador for this race (and providing me with free airfare for the trip), to Justin & Devin for opening their home to me, to Rock 'N' Roll Marathon Series for giving the #RockNBlog crew free registrations to any of their races this year and to everyone I saw who offered up a cheer, hug, high-five or word of encouragement! YOU ALL ROCK MY SOCKS! [But, even still, you know I've always gotta #KeepItReal, so all opinions are 100% honest and completely my own.]

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Friday morning Ryan and Walt the Wiener Dog took me down to the airport so I could begin my adventure to the Pacific Northwest. It's always tough being away from my guys, but at least I had a weekend full of fun that I was heading to.


Seeing as Alaska Air was the title sponsor for #RnRSEA and they selected me as an ambassador, I knew I would 'have to' say a few words about them in my recap, but I've gotta be honest, even if they had nothing to do with the adventure I still would have mentioned them in this post. On the flight to Seattle, before we took off, the captain came out of the cock-pit and welcomed everyone. He thanked us for choosing Alaska and said a few words. I have got to say, I don't know that I've ever actually seen the pilot come out and welcome the passengers - TWO THUMBS UP! Oh yeah, and the planes are near magical... THEY HAVE OUTLETS IN THE SEATS! Alaska Air - you get me! THANK YOU!



The flight was smooth sailing and we even got into Seattle a few minutes early. Justin was able to grab me from the airport before heading to their place for a quick lunch. The #WeRunSocial meet-up was slated for 3pm so we hung out a bit before making our way to the Expo to grab our bibs and party on down.

Source: @Justin_Stone24's Instagram Feed

The Rock 'N' Roll Expos are all pretty much the same - huge and have a lot going on! We walked around for a few minutes to check out the vendors, free samples and upcoming races before heading over to the PRO Compression booth to see the crew.


We had a great turnout for the meet-up, even with the crazy traffic (unfortunately some people got caught in the gridlock and missed the hang-out). Prizes were given out, there were high-fives and selfies a plenty and (at least it seemed) a good time was had by all!

The hostesses with the mostestes! 

PRO SOCKS!

The crew! So glad everyone was able to make it!

Some of the #RockNBlog crew!

A few of us made our way back to Justin and Devin's for a low-key evening complete with pizza and tons of laughs! We called it a night fairly early because we knew our alarms were set for zero dark thirty.


Seeing as we were ending the race at the Seahawks stadium, I thought I should go with their colors... #FlatCarlee consisted of #TwoPairDontCare PRO Compression Socks, a Handful Sports Bra, a Sparkle Athletic Skirt, a couple Momentum Jewelry wraps, a Road ID bracelet, two QALO silicon wedding bands, my new Brooks Ghost 9 shoes (complete with Shwings), my Garmin Forerunner 220, and because I wasn't 100% sure of the weather I had both a Sparkly Soul Headband and #TeamSparkle trucker hat, as well as a cold weather layer and rain jacket all of which I packed in my Eagle Creek gear!

As we went to bed the weather man was still predicting rain, rain and more rain for the race. Although it would have been a true Seattle experience, I was a bit nervous. Sure, I run in the rain at home every once in a while (let's be real, SoCal is in a drought and we get 'rain' maybe four times a year), but I have never actually raced in the rain before and wasn't sure what to expect...


Thankfully when we woke up the weather seemed to have cleared up so there was a possibility we were going to be able to leave our rain gear in our gear-check bags - YIPEEEEEEE SKIPEEEEEEEE!

We might be missing the rain?! OH HECK TO THE YES!

We ended up taking an Uber down to the start; we didn't want to fight with the road closures or traffic, but when we rolled in it was empty and easy.

With the cloudy weather, this was as close as we got to the Space Needle (I was NOT about to
spend $27 to go up and look at the white sky and zero visibility...)

There was a building near the start (I believe it was called The Armory) so we hung out inside (out of the cool air and threatening skies). There were even REAL BATHROOMS... Um, seems like Seattle knows how to potty (and party)!

Real bathrooms?! AWWWWWWW YEAH!

Before we knew it, it was time to get that party started. I much appreciate the gear-check offered at the Rock 'N' Roll races. It is UPS trucks that are divvied up by last name (I was in the P-R truck and think it was truck number 14).

Once we dropped off our stuff, we made our way to the corrals. I believe there were 42 or so. (Although the first one or two numbers on your bib dictates the corral you are supposed to be in, they aren't strictly enforced so it seems like people are pretty much wherever they want to be.) When we got to Devin's corral we heard an announcement that the race would be delayed until at least 7:15am (the official start was supposed to be at 7). They never mentioned the reason, but we had to assume it was due to the shuttles running from the parking garage at the finish to the starting line (although we joked that they were waiting until the rain started to make it an official Seattle race). We all mentioned that we wish they would have made the announcement sooner, before we dropped off our layers at gear-check, but oh well, what can ya do?!

Should be game time... and we are ready to run... but it's time to wait!

After a bit we decided to bid Devin adieu so Justin and I could head up to our corrals. Justin decided to hang back a bit and started in the fifth corral, while I moved up to start with corral three.

Let's get this party started!

I didn't really have a goal in mind. I knew I wasn't 'racing' and figured I'd run comfortably, stop for photo ops and enjoy the city (since I had never been before). I was thinking that a sub-1:50 would be awesome but put ZERO pressure on myself and barely even looked at my watch throughout the race.

The starting line is near the base of the Space Needle. Apparently last year
they shot off fireworks at the start of the race... not this year though!

The crowd is ready to run!

Eventually, after the delay, National Anthem and wheelchair athletes it was our turn to go. I said a quick prayer (something along the lines of 'Lord, Thank you for giving me the ability and opportunity to be here. Please help get me to the finish line healthy and happy.') and hit the start button on my Garmin.

Even though the rain held off, the ground was still wet from the residual water. I actually found the pavement rather slick and made sure to watch my footing, especially when there were metal grates, paint or uneven surfaces.

Around mile 3 I found the cutest Buzz Lightyear and knew I had to stop! I asked his mom if I could take a photo with him and although she seemed surprised that I stopped running she totally approved.

To infinity.... AND BEYOND!!

There were technically three races going on at the same time - an 8K, a half marathon and a full marathon. Shortly after the 8K split off I saw an Alaska Airlines area and had to take a quick pic. (I was taking a selfie and a spectator asked if she could grab my picture for me - PERFECTION!)

Thanks Alaska Airlines for sponsoring the race, for the support along the route
and especially for selecting me as an ambassador!

The rain (or threat of nasty weather) seemed to have kept some of the talent away... Normally the Rock 'N' Roll races are filled with tons of bands, cheer quads, marching bands, dance teams, etc, but everything appeared to be a bit more spread out for the race. I am not one that 'needs' entertainment along the course (seeing as I normally entertain myself enough, HA), but when I saw an interesting mascot with a butt-chin I had to stop for a selfie!

Not sure what he is... but he has a butt chin and I NEED my pic w/ him!

I was keeping decent time, even with the somewhat hilly course, and wasn't feeling too bad (I'm not sure if you read my post from last week, but since Fontana my legs just haven't really had the GO that I would like so I wasn't sure how this race would go). Lena, a local friend, was telling us about the course the previous day and she made it sound like the hills were pretty killer so I held back a bit as to not get to mile 11 and be smacked in the face with crazy elevation.

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Thanks for psyching us out, Lena, and for helping us to appreciate the elevation we came across!

Brooks always knows how to make me #RunHappy! And having the giant ROCKER on the course is a sure-fire way to make me smile (and to get me to stop for another photo).

ROCK ON PARTY PEOPLE!

Shortly after the half marathon and full marathon split we came to the "blue mile". Rock 'N' Roll teams up with wear blue: run to remember, a running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military, on the wear blue mile. I absolutely love this part of the course (although it gets me choked up every single time). There are signs and posters for service members who have lost their lives, followed by vets and active duty men and women holding American flags to pay tribute to the service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I try my hardest to make eye contact with as many of them as possible and say my most sincere 'thank you' to each of them.


That part of the course was actually one of my favorites. Not only is it one of the most powerful miles on the course, it was right next to the water and along a tree-covered path. Talk about beautiful and moving!

Running along the water, especially for the Blue Mile was one of my favorite parts!

Even without the sun it was still a gorgeous view!

We had to run through a couple tunnels on the course, which weren't my jam (it got a little warm, stuffy and claustrophobic in there), but I'm happy to say that even though they were like a quarter to half mile long my Garmin kept chugging along and I never lost satellite the entire race - SCORE!

Source

There weren't many character stops the second half of the course, but that's okay... it gave me more time to give out high-fives to the spectators. (A fellow runner came by and said something along the lines of "Oh my goodness, you are like the friendliest runner I've ever seen." I joked and told her that since we pay to do this I better be enjoying myself!)

Once we hit about mile 11.5 or so it seemed to be downhill till the finish line. Well, that was until the race officials thought it would be funny to add the curving uphill to get the end... Not funny, folks, NOT FUNNY! (Let's be real, it wasn't a crazy grade, but at the end of any race you NEVER want to see an UP!)

I ended up crossing the finish line with an official time of 1:47 and some change. With my character stops and less than thrilled legs I was totally happy with the results.

I DID IT! WHOOOOO HOOOOOO!

I waited for a few minutes and then Justin finished shortly after me. We went and grabbed our gear from the UPS trucks... And just in time too, because the rain that held off and waited for me to finish decided to start falling.

Check out the wrist candy on that arm!

We found some coverage near the stadium and waited for Devin to finish (who did AWESOME despite having a wonky knee that she was worried about and having waited in an extra long port-o-potty line on the course). Once she finished we decided to make our way away from the commotion so we could call an Uber to go back and go get cleaned up.

Imagine my surprise when Justin asked me what I was thinking for lunch, I said "I will never turn down chips and salsa" and he said that they were thinking Mexican too! Because OBVIOUSLY margaritas and all the chips and salsa one can eat is the best way to recover from a race!


After chowing down, we made our way over to the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade. Let's just say for a parade that starts with a naked (but painted) bike ride, it was definitely entertaining! I would NEVER have the confidence to jump on a bike nude and ride through the city - but more power to the crew that turned out! (PS It is actually a family friendly event! Even with all of the boobs and wieners flopping about, you are actually focusing on the creativity and costumes. It is not vulgar in the least bit and I would definitely recommend that if you are in town to check it out - or even participate! We chuckled because we saw people riding on rented bikes, so don't use the excuse of not having a bicycle keep you out of the fun!)

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With the rain starting back up during the bike ride (thankfully we didn't notice much of the paint running), we made our way back to Justin and Devin's for an entertaining round of Cards Against Humanity (because how else do you follow up naked bikers?!), dinner and then another fairly early night after such a full day.

I flew home Sunday afternoon, and of course, on the way to the airport the sun decided to come out and it looked like it was going to turn into a beautiful day (but, hey, at least I got the "true" Seattle experience with the rainy, chilly, gray days ;)). Alaska sent the PERFECT plane to pick me up and take me back to San Diego, if I do say so myself...

KA-CHOW!

When folks ask me about the race, it is only natural to compare it to #RnRSD, especially since I just ran that two weeks ago. Seattle definitely doesn't come out in droves like San Diego does, but then again, the course isn't necessarily running through as many neighborhoods as the SD course does. Seattle actually has quite a bit of industrial areas that I wasn't totally expecting, but it is beautiful in its own way. I totally appreciate that the race is on a Saturday (even though getting to the expo on a Friday can be a little more difficult) because you still have Sunday to recover, travel or just go about your normal routine before you have get back into the grind of the work week. I sort of wish you ran by a few more iconic locations (like Pike Place Market, Gas Works Park, The Gum Wall, Olympic Sculpture Park, Fremont Troll, etc) but I understand with permits and making the course as easy and convenient as possible it isn't always feasible to see 'everything'.

Even still, I would totally run this race again! And, if you are interested in running it next year, it's your lucky day because Rock 'N' Roll currently has pre-sale going for 2017 at cheap, cheap, cheap prices ($59 for the full and $50 for the half). If you are thinking about this race, I'd definitely hop on those low registration fees! (PS This rate is only good until Sunday, June 26th or until they run out of the limited number of entries - so jump on it if you want to run!)

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So, until next time Seattle, CHEERS!


Have you ever been to Seattle? If so, what is your favorite part of the city? If not, is it on your bucket-list?