Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


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

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Volunteering at a Race

At the beginning of the year I shared my 19 goals for 2019. You may be surprised, but not all of them are running related (although, #RealTalk, I do have a handful of those too). I have goals that include everything from learning to French braid and attending four concerts to being able to do three pull-ups and mailing at least four cards (via snail mail) a month.


One of the goals I set for myself was to volunteer six times in 2019. A few weeks ago I posted about the first volunteer opportunity I had this year - where I went to a camp and helped cook meals for 200+ high schoolers for a long weekend


Today I am sharing about the second.

Last week a friend of mine asked if the hubby and I were available on Saturday, March 16th. I looked at my calendar and surprisingly we were free. She wanted to know if we would be willing to help at an aid station for a local race, the Ramblas Run. The trail race offers a 5K (a standard one and one specific for youth), 10K and Half Marathon. She was manning the Harbor Saddle Aid Station at Mile .7 and 2.7 {there is a loop the runners take, hence coming back to the aid station a second time} and was looking for more volunteers. I checked with the hubby and he was in! 

The game plan was to meet at the race around 7:30am, which meant we needed to leave the house a little before 7. (The trail was about 30 minutes north of us, but since I wasn't 100% certain about the parking situation I figured I'd give us a little extra time and we left the house around 6:50am. We got there in plenty of time!) 

Still wearing our jackets since it was about 45* outside

We met the crew at the finish line and walked  to our aid station about .75 miles away (on the walk there I could already tell I was thankful to be volunteering instead of running because the course seemed tough with quite a bit of elevation gain!). All of the supplies were already there for us, we just had to hike ourselves there and get everything set up.

Always stoked when the hubby is willing to come along for the adventure! 

There were two different start times, with the Half starting at 8:45am and the 5K/ 10Ks starting at 9:30am. That gave us plenty of time to get the aid station set up (pre-pour some water and electrolyte cups, cut up oranges, pour pretzels and potato chips in bowls, open up the cookies, pump up the jams for a mini dance party, etc).

The dark mass on the horizon is Catalina Island!

The views from our spot were pretty spectacular. Flowers a plenty and the trails were covered in lush greenery (which is not the norm in this dusty area). The sky was clear and you could even see Catalina Island between the hills.


Where we were located on the course was a little hectic, but we helped the runners as best as we could. (All three distances came through our aid station twice. They got to us at Mile .7, then did a 2 mile loop and hit us again at Mile 2.7, then the Half Marathoners and the 10K'ers veered off and continued their race, while the 5K'ers went back the way they came originally. It was easy to direct everyone from around 8:50am till 9:35am, because we knew they were all half marathoners and needed to continue through, but then once the shorter distance runners started coming {and there were still half marathoners in the mix} we really had to be vocal about where everyone needed to go.)

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It's been rather mild here in SoCal lately (not to mention the rain we have been getting recently), so it was a bit surprising when it started warming up quickly. Thankfully we had plenty of hydration and fuel to keep the runners chugging along. (And hopefully our encouragement and running tunes kept them motivated to charge the rest of their race!)

MORE COWBELL!

Around 10:45am everyone had come through our aid station so we were able to break everything down and call it quits. It was awesome being able to give back to the community and hang out with some of my Orange County running friends.

Some amazing trail running, ultra OC mommies!

On the way home we made a quick pit stop at the SoCal Adventure Vehicle Show and then made our way back to Oceanside. Unfortunately, seeing as it felt like summer out, the summer traffic was already out in full force and our drive which should have taken us about 25 minutes took over 90! And, of course the hubby slept through most of it ;)

Friends joke that falling asleep in the car might be the hubby's super power...
I don't disagree with this assessment... 

Have you ever volunteered at a race before?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Superbloom Sadness

If you follow me on social media (you can find me @CarleeMcDot on all platforms), you may have noticed that the hubby and I went out to see the "superbloom" yesterday morning. What you may not have realized (especially if you either don't follow me or you just look at the pictures and don't read the captions) is I didn't want to go. Like not in the slightest.


Don’t get me wrong, I big puffy heart L-O-V-E nature, flowers, etc, but I knew not only would the poppy fields be a mad house but people would be destroying God’s creation, making me frustrated, annoyed and disappointed. Let’s just say I wasn’t wrong... the flowers were gorgeous, but the people were terrible (not all, but definitely the majority we saw).

I like it when you call me BIG POPPY!

The only reason I went was because the hubby was actually really excited to go, so I decided to take one for the team and stock up on a few extra "good wife points" ;) I mean, I even had to go as far as to wake up at 3:45am so I could get my 10 mile run in before we made our way to the poppy fields. That's what you call love (or maybe insanity ;)).

Had to start running by 4:45am so I could be home by 6:45 and showered and ready to go by 7:30.

I was actually pretty surprised that the hubby wanted to go, because he HATES crowds and lines - and I figured that's exactly what we were walking into... And, I was right. Think of it as Disneyland crowds when Star Wars Land opens.

Not sure if you can see the traffic at the bottom of the hill, but this is at least 2 miles from the open
exit and the line of cars is already stopped... And this was before 9 in the morning! And can you see
all of the people that look like lines of ants coming up the hills?!
POPPYGEDON!

We left our house around 7:30am so we could get to Lake Elsinore before 8:30. (Technically we could've went earlier, but the poppies don't open up fully for a few hours after sunrise, so we were walking a thin line of when to go so we'd beat the mad-dash of people and yet not get there too early so we wouldn't see them in all their glory.) As soon as we got close to the exit we could already see the pandemonium. Sure, the hills were gorgeous and covered in orange and purple, but the lines of cars and hordes of people were very disheartening. I could already feel my cynical side coming out.
We originally got off at the main exit, but as soon as we got off we were directed right back on the freeway because the parking areas were full. We decided we'd drive down to the next exit, take some of the side roads and then just walk in. 

Although we walked along some of the paths in the canyon, I didn't want to stop and take pictures because
the crowds were so insane... so this is a shot on the walk back to the car (hence the barbed-wire fence)

On the drive down to the next exit we saw so many visitors disrespecting nature. People were trouncing up the hills wherever they wanted, stepping all over the flowers, laying down in the fields, picking the poppies, etc. It literally made my soul sad. Not only did it hurt my heart to think about how the environment was being impacted, but it frustrated me because I assume 95% of the people visiting (and, I might be wrong about this, but that is at least how it seemed as an outsider) were just "doing it for the 'gram". Well, I'm so stoked they got their Instagram shot and killed a ton of beauty in the process {that's sarcasm, in case you weren't pickin' up what I was puttin' down}. #ThisIsWhyWeCantHaveNiceThings
In fact, it got so bad that the city of Lake Elsinore had to SHUT DOWN the canyon! Literally, the freeways and side streets were at a standstill! In a statement city hall released, they said "#PoppyShutdown: The situation has escalated beyond our available resources. No additional shuttles or visitors will be allowed into Walker Canyon. This weekend has been unbearable. We will evaluate all options next week including ways to shut this down. Thank you for your understanding. We know it has been miserable and has caused unnecessary hardships for our entire community."

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I get it, public lands are for the public to enjoy, and although at one point I literally said out loud "I sort of wish these people would stay home and not #OptOutside", I really do want folks to take pleasure in the great outdoors... but I don't want them to destroy it. I want everyone to be able to enjoy it - that includes future visitors! Sitting or lying down to take a selfie or even walking off an established trail can damage both existing flowers and the next generation that would have grown if the soil hadn’t been disturbed. You may think it's not a big deal, but multiply that act by tens, hundreds or thousands of visitors and it can quickly destroy an area! We need to be respectful - period!

On our walk back to the car we came across this artist painting the hills. Sort of loved it!

If you are planning to check out the superbloom (or anywhere in nature actually), visit responsibly. While I encourage everyone to take in the incredible sights of God's creation, I hope we will all be a responsible visitor while there. That means walking on marked paths only, taking photos in front of the flowers rather than on top of them, and otherwise leaving no trace. In fact, while we are at it, let's leave it better than we found it! If you see a piece of trash, pick it up. If you come across a ranger or employee, thank them for their hard work. And wherever possible, make as little an environmental impact as possible (carpool, visit during an off-season, look into ways of volunteering, donate, etc).

An assortment of the flowers and weeds currently in bloom

And, with that, I will step down off of my soapbox (although, let's be real, I could go off on this topic for quite some time!).

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What is one way you will leave it better than you found it?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Workout Recap - Week 11

Sunday, March 10th – 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Monday, March 11th – 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Tuesday, March 12th – 8.5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Wednesday, March 13th – 8.68 mile run



Thursday, March 14th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Friday, March 15th   22 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled


Saturday, March 16th – Rest day, Stretched & Foam Rolled


I swapped around my runs a bit this week (moving my cross training day from Monday to Thursday and then moving my 4, 8 and 8 miles up a day) because the hubby and I were volunteering at a race aid station on Saturday and I knew I wouldn't be able to get in my long run so had to move that up to Friday. Instead of running my 22 miles straight, I decided to break it up into three legs and run them four(ish) hours apart to mimic #Ragnar4Rett. I don't remember having done this in the past, but when I saw a fellow teammate doing it on one of her long runs I thought it was a great idea and wanted to give it a try. Although the back-to-back runs weren't fast or pretty, getting in the miles was a bit of a confidence boost. Now to do it a time or two before the race and I think we will be all set! And on Saturday the hubby and I were able to give back to the running community by volunteering at a trail race aid station! I'm gonna call this week a MAJOR success!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Friday Favorites

WHOOO HOOOO! It's Friday! I think the whole "Spring Forward" thing this past weekend really threw me and my body for a loop (even though, truth be told, I do appreciate more sunlight in the evenings for when the hubby and I take Walt for his "Walt Walk Streak"). I swear it feels like we lost more than an hour... Anywho, I'm stoked it is finally the weekend (and we get the full 48 hours this time around) and I'm stoked to share some of the things I have been enjoying recently.


O'Dang Hummus Dressing


If you follow my Instagram stories, you have probably seen that I have been loving my BIG FREAKIN' salads for lunch recently. With the weather starting to warm up (hello spring), I am loving all the fresh veggies I can get my hands on. And recently I found a new salad dressing that I have been LOVING! It's the O'Dang Honey Mustard Hummus Dressing. I was originally looking for a salad dressing that was vegan (and although this is dairy free, obviously honey is not vegan so as you can tell from the name, this dressing isn't completely plant based), but when I saw this one I wanted to give it a try. The ingredients are super basic and there's no crazy additives! I love how thick it is - like a hummus, DUH! I don't know why I never thought of using a hummus as a dressing, but now I might look into making my own!

My salads normally contain spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots,
and some sort of protein (baked tofu or a meat substitute).

#TrashTag Challenge


Let's be honest, most of the viral challenges can be rather silly or idiotic (read: Tide Pod challenge), but I was STOKED when this most recent challenge started to catch on. The #trashtag challenge inspired people to go to locations covered in garbage, pick up the trash, and post before and after pictures on social media. As you may remember, as part of the Wild Keepers program I took part in last year I did "impact" days where the hubby and I went and picked up trash in February, March and April. Although I haven't done a specific clean-up recently, the hubby and I do our best to leave places better than we found them. With that said, I think we need to jump on the #TrashTag challenge and get our garbage pickin' on!

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Brooks Off-Road Runners


If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you probably know that I've been getting more into trail running recently. (I'll be honest, it took be a while to take the plunge - I was always scared of seeing the slower paces or hurting myself - but once I did, it was hard to look back.) Well, Brooks announced earlier this week a new trail running ambassador program, Brooks Off-Road Runners, created to inspire other runners like you to get outside, enjoy the trails and celebrate the outdoor spaces we all love to explore. I'm not sure if they will ever open up the program to public applications, but I'm still stoked that they have a handful of runners on their team who spend the majority of their time on the trails - that can only mean more and better trail focused products are coming down the pipeline, right?!

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Ultra-Low-Cost 3D-Printed Homes


I came across an article about these Ultra-Low-Cost 3D-Printed Homes and had to pass it along! Over the past year, in a lab in Austin, a team of engineers and materials scientists tweaked and tested the design of a massive machine that can 3D print the frame of a small house in less than a day. Later this year, it will begin printing a neighborhood of more than 50 homes. The new neighborhood – the first of its kind in the world – will be built in a semi-rural part of Latin America for families who earn less than $200 a month. The machine builds walls and floors by squirting layers of concrete, and can finish a house in a day or less. Adding a conventional roof, windows, and utilities can be completed a day later. The company plans to fund the houses, with the new homeowners paying for them via a no-interest loan that the new home owners pay back with a monthly fee based on income. The money will go into a community fund for more community improvements over time. HOW STINKIN' AWESOME IS THIS?! #DoGood

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Small Ways To Reduce Plastic Consumptions


As I am sure we are all well aware, America has a HUGE waste problem, and municipalities are now burning recyclables. Why? Because in 2017, China, which used to buy most of America’s discarded recycling, decided it was tired of being the world’s garbage bin. Unfortunately, the U.S. isn't equipped to do its own recycling. This Outside article includes nine ways we can stop using so much plastic. Sure, some of them takes a little forethought (like making sure to bring your reusable bags with you to the grocery store), but a little effort can go a long way! For example, throw a set of utensils in your car for when you grab food on the go and skip the single-use plastic cutlery from the restaurant. #EasyPeasy

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What are you loving lately?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Cinnamon Sugar Almond Recipe

In case you are new to my corner of the InterWebs (in that case, WELCOME), you may not know that for the past few years I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to work part time from home (major props to my sugar daddy hubby who helps support the pup and I). With that said, when the holidays come around I don't really need to worry about buying gifts for co-workers (Walt the Wiener Dog can't read a calendar so doesn't know when he should be expecting a gift from us). The hubby, on the other hand, is fortunate enough to have an office job with tons of amazing co-workers. I realize gift giving is not a "requirement" per say, but the holidays are a great time to show extra appreciate to those around you. Well, let's just say when you have quite a few members on your team the costs can add up rather quickly.


This past Christmas I decided that instead of buying gifts, I would do homemade gifts for the hubby's co-workers. Cookies and brownies are always a welcomed treat, but I thought I'd switch it up a bit and do something different. I had really been digging the cinnamon sugar almonds from the grocery store around that time, so I figured I'd try my hand at trying to make some myself. (#RealTalk: Homemade or store bought, I would HIGHLY recommend you pre-portion your nuts in individual serving sizes so you don't eat an entire batch/ canister in one sitting... but maybe you have more self control than I do ;))


I found a recipe online (I think I came across it on Pinterest, but since I wrote it down on a piece of paper I don't know who to credit for the original recipe) and gave it a go. Let's just say they were scrum-didily-umptious! Not only were they tasty (and somewhat dangerous because I could inhale tons at a time), but the cooking process made the house smell delicious as well! All of the hubby's co-workers raved about the nuts and I've had a ton of folks ask for the recipe since so I thought I'd put it together in a blog post so I can easily share it with all of you. They take maybe 10 minutes to make and are so yummy (not to mention, they don't have any preservatives or funky ingredients like store-bought ones may have)! 


(If you are giving these as a gift, add a gift tag with a pun like "We're NUTS about You!" or "Have a SWEET Holiday!".)

Cinnamon Sugar Almonds


Ingredients
  • 3 cups raw whole almonds 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 cup water 

Instructions
  1. Cover a large cookie sheet or pan with parchment paper; set aside. This will be used in the cooling process.
  2. In a large skillet, on medium-high heat, combine the sugar, cinnamon and water until the sugar has dissolved. 
  3. Slowly add the almonds into the mixture and stir, making sure to completely coat the nuts with the mixture. Once the almonds have been added, you need to continue to stir constantly until they're done. 
  4. After a few minutes of stirring, you will notice the syrupy mixture starting to thicken. After about 5 minutes of stirring, the sugar will begin to crystallize and have an almost sandy consistency. Once the sugar has crystallized on the almonds, you can remove the skillet from the heat. 
  5. Carefully pour the almonds onto the parchment paper covered pan and allow them to cool. {In my opinion, waiting for them to cool is the hardest part of the whole process. #PatienceIsAVirtue #ButItIsAlsoDifficult}

                    Nutrition Information -- Yield: 12 // Serving Size: 1/4 cup
                    Amount Per Serving -- Calories: 225 // Total Fat: 14g // Saturated Fat: 1g // Trans Fat: 0g // 
                    Cholesterol: 0mg // Sodium: 0mg // Carbohydrates: 22g // Fiber: 4g // Sugar: 17g // Protein: 6g


WARNING: These are tasty and slightly addictive. Like I mention, I portion them out ahead of time so we don't eat the whole batch at once. On a slightly more serious note, I do realize raw almonds are pricey, so this isn't the cheapest homemade gift ever (I also bought mason jars to put the nuts in), but man is it delicious and I promise the receiver of them will be overjoyed (unless they're allergic to nuts, of course, and if that's the case, I'd recommend a pair of socks instead)!


What is your favorite nut?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What I Eat In A Day

Last week I did one of those "Ask Me Anything" Instagram stories (I should have been doing our taxes but I wasn't really feeling it and needed a break ;)) and had some fun responses. Folks wanted to know everything from what I'd recommend for recovery since I run so many miles injury-free to how the hubby and I were getting along being a one-car family.

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Someone asked about what I eat on a normal day. I often try to post pictures on my Instagram stories of what I am eating or snacking on throughout the day, but I thought maybe I'd turn their question into a blog post so I could include some additional details that don't really fit in an IG story. Obviously, before you go any further I need to make mention that this is what works for me. I'm including calories and macro for everything in case you're curious. Keep in mind, you may need more or less calories than me. This is NOT a "diet" or a "how to lose X pounds" post. This is simply a breakdown of what I eat on an average day to give folks who were interested a better idea of what fuels and feeds me. #YouDoYou #IllDoMe

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Okay, now that I've given my little disclaimer, we can get on with the show ;) {FYI: This was a low mileage day for me, which means I was not having to refuel much after my run, but it'll still give you a general sense of what I eat.}


5:30am - PROBAR BASE Bar (Frosted Peanut Butter)
               Calories: 290
               Protein: 20 grams
               Carbs: 33 grams
               Fat: 10 grams


7:00am - 40 ounces of water (Obviously I don't drink this all at once, but around this time in the day I have finished my first extra large bottle of water.)


8:30am - Banana
               Calories: 106
               Protein: 1.3 grams
               Carbs: 26 grams
               Fat: .4 grams

Since I normally wake up pretty early (thanks to my Fibromyalgia), I
usually eat another little something before heading out for my run.
The banana smiles at me and I smile at the banana.

10:00am - 32 ounces of water (Obviously I don't drink this all at once, but around this time in the day I have finished my next large bottle of water. Often times in my second bottle of water I will add a water "enhancer" to give it a little flavor.)

There just happened to be a sale on MiO at the grocery store, normally I
tend to stick with the generic, Kroger brand. 

11:30am - Big Ol' Salad (3 cups spinach, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup cauliflower, 3 ounces sliced carrot, 114 grams spicy baked tofu {high protein tofu + 6 teaspoons hot sauce + .6 tablespoons corn starch + .25 tablespoon olive oil}, 2 tablespoons honey mustard hummus dressing)
               Calories: 383
               Protein: 27 grams
               Carbs: 37 grams
               Fat: 17 grams

Just started baking tofu and I'm loving it! And the hummus
dressing is AMAZEBALLS too! Gotta look at making my own!

1:30pm - 2 cuties
               Calories: 70
               Protein: 0 grams
               Carbs: 18 grams
               Fat: 0 grams


3:00pm - 40 ounces of water (Obviously I don't drink this all at once, but around this time in the day I have finished my last extra large bottle of water {if I don't stop drinking around this time I'll be up all night using the restroom}.)

The sun finally came out so I grabbed my book and water bottle and went to the
pool to read for a bit (even if it wasn't super warm, at least it was sunny!).

4:00pm - Chick'n Pasta (3 ounces whole grain penne pasta, .5 cup sautéed mushrooms {sautéed in their own "juice", nothing added to them}, 1 cup broccoli, 1 ounce red onions, 1 tablespoon olive oil {to sauté the broccoli and red onions in}, 16 strips Morning Star Chick'n, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, .5 teaspoon everything but the bagel seasoning)
               Calories: 646
               Protein: 49 grams
               Carbs: 75 grams
               Fat: 22 grams

YUMMY, YUMMY, YUMMY IN MY TUMMY!

6:30pm - A bowl of strawberries and blueberries
               Calories: 263
               Protein: 4 grams
               Carbs: 65 grams
               Fat: 2 grams

PS This is a picture of the Tupperware of berries, I portioned
out a bowl of them for me (even if I could've eaten them all ;))

Total Macros:
               Calories: 1,757
               Protein: 101 grams
               Carbs: 253 grams
               Fat: 51 grams

**On days where I am running longer or working out harder, I may throw in an extra protein bar during the day, maybe a bag of popcorn in the evening or munch on some nuts throughout the day. I also don't limit myself on fruits and veggies - so I have no problem eating an extra bowl of blueberries and strawberries or grabbing four six cuties to snack on.**

Some of the information in pie chart format (thanks to MyFitnessPal)

Now I know I am going to get flack for posting this. Some of you will say "that's too much protein", others will say "that's not enough calories for you" and more of you will say "that's too much sugar". Let me stop you right there and say, I do what works for me. I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. I try my best to live a well-balanced, vegetarian lifestyle. Like I said at the jump, this is in no way a prescription on what you should eat, it is simply a description on what I do eat.

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And don't let me fool you, there are days when I am hangry after a long run and I gorge myself on all the chips and salsa I can shove down my gizzard. I am not perfect and I do not claim to be, but I do my best to live a healthy lifestyle - eating my fair share of fresh fruits and veggies. I see food as fuel for my body, but don't fret about treating myself to processed crap every once in a while. PS I did some blood work recently to make sure I was getting the proper amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients and I am well within the healthy limit for everything I was tested for, so I'll keep on keepin' on.


Do you routinely eat the same thing or do you constantly change what you eat?