Monday, July 24, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 29

Sunday, July 16th – 16 mile run (Goal: 8 @ 8:35, 8 @ 7:35), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, July 17th – 8 mile run (Goal pace 9:30/mile), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, July 18th – 6 mile run {Goal: 2 @ 9:30, 2 @ 7:35, 2 @ 9:30}

Wednesday, July 19th – 45 minutes of Yoga, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, July 20th – 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, July 21st – 9.5 mile hike in the Muir Woods [recap coming soon], Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, July 22nd – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

I realize this was a "taper" week for the San Francisco Marathon (even though it isn't a goal race, I still need to make sure the legs are ready to tackle not only the distance but the hills), but I'm still stoked I was able to KILL the majority of my workouts! I feel like I was able to hit most of the paces I needed and felt strong for almost all of my runs. #SCORE

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

As you are reading this, we are probably on the road to San Francisco (the goal was to leave Oceanside by 4am so we could be up there around noon and then hike the Muir Woods before checking into our hotel later this afternoon). Even if we are out of town, that doesn't mean I would leave you high and dry without a post to keep you entertained ;) And seeing as it's FRIDAY, it's time to share a list of some of the things I am loving lately!

Quest Protein Bars

I totally know I'm late to the party on this, but that's okay. I normally will have a PROBAR or Clif Bar in the morning before a run (I've found my tummy can tolerate those before a workout). Well, last week when I was grocery shopping I came across some Quest Bars in the clearance section. I decided I'd give them a try (the main reason I hadn't tried them before was due to their price) and grabbed some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and S'mores Protein Bars. Um... DELISH! Now I see what all the rage is about ;) I love the big chunks in them (the s'mores has chocolate chunks and graham cracker bits) to break up the normal protein bar consistency and they don't have a funky aftertaste like other bars I've tried in the past. Here's to hoping I can find more on sale soon because my stash is quickly being depleted.

Walt may not look impressed, but that's mostly because he knows I won't be sharing any of my goodness with him!

Run Aloha Sweepstakes

I don't even remember where I saw this, but as soon as I did I knew I NEEDED to win... I mean, just look at what the grand prize winner would get... And who wouldn't wanna run the Honolulu Marathon?! And if for some reason I am not the lucky one who wins, I would really love to see someone I know be the winner, so GO ENTER! If you haven't put your name in the hat, do it NOW! (This sweepstake will end on Jul 31, 2017 11:59 PM.)

Broken Things by Matthew West

I heard this song recently on the radio and I love the sentiment behind it. And I love that I serve a God who uses the weak and damaged! Favorite line: "All the misfit heroes you chose tell me there's hope for sinners like me."

MudLove Flash Sale

I've blogged about my love for MudLove before (they have also been part of my last two #12DaysOfCarleesChristmas series). They are an AMAZING company that not only has an AWESOME product, but they do FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC work throughout the world. With that said, they are currently having a flash sale now through July 23rd so I thought I would pass it along. No better time to stock up than the present (and they make perfect presents ;)).

               10% off : code FLASH10 
               20% off $50+ : code FLASH20 
               30% off $100+ : code FLASH30 
                              (excludes fundraisers, bulk, and wholesale orders)


And now it's time to enjoy the weekend! Feel free to follow me on social media (@CarleeMcDot on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc) if you wanna see our San Francisco adventures, otherwise I'm sure I'll recap them once we return.

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

#MyMittenState Story

I've blogged about The Mitten State a couple times before. They are an AWESOME brand with a ton of Michigan gear. The hubby and I have 15+ articles of their clothing between the two of us. So, when their Social Media Manager reached out to me about working with them to spread the word about a campaign I didn't have to think twice.

Not only do I love The Mitten State, but I'm "smitten" with the mitten!
FYI: If you are interested in spreading the love with this tee, you can purchase it HERE.

You see, they have a #MyMittenState campaign (where passionate Michiganders share their love for the state through photos {whether it's a picture of their favorite vacation spot or somewhere nostalgic}) and asked me to not only spread the word, but also share MY Michigan story. Instead of boring you with a timeline of my life in the mitten state (Ida to Monroe to Temperance to Ann Arbor), I thought I'd share a few things that scream MICHIGAN to me.


If you know me, then you probably know my love for sports. And although I can get into just about any sport out there, Detroit and Michigan teams have my heart. Growing up in the Padot household there was ALWAYS some type of sports on (yep, on a slow day there might even be BOWLING). And going to the University of Michigan I'm sure you don't have to think twice about where my allegiance lies. Folks in Southern California don't seem to be as sold on sports as the Midwest, but that doesn't prevent me from breaking out a "Hail to the Victors" every now and then!

You know we had to go see the Tigers when they were in town to play the Padres (and rocked our Detroit gear)
PS They no longer sell the women's cut of this shirt, but you can get the unisex one HERE.

Every time we're back in the Mitten it's like we are hitting up a sporting event of some kind (and if our teams ever make it out this way we try our hardest to see them IRL). It's an AWESOME outing - one that's become a family tradition.

Upper Left: Pistons Game (Palace of Auburn Hills) / Upper Right: Tigers Spring Training Game (Champion Stadium) /
Lower Left: Red Wings Game (Honda Center) / Lower Right: Lions Game (Ford Field)

Lightning Bugs

This one is random, I know, but sometimes it's the little things... I haven't seen lightning bugs since leaving Michigan. To me they scream summer (as does humidity, but we're trying to remember the positives in this post ;)). Little known fact: if you wait until a lightning bug is "lit", you can scrap off his booty and rub the "fluorescent" part on yourself for some glow paint. Yes, I realize looking back, rubbing your body with bug butts is gross, but 'back in the day' it was awesome!


Faygo, Superman Ice Cream, Vernors

There are a few Michigan staples near and dear to my heart. Some of which you've probably never heard of or tried...

The first is FAYGO! It's like a delicious nectar from the gods ;) My favorite is RedPop, but the hubby swears by Rock N' Rye. It's not very common to find Faygo near us, but whenever we do it is a MAJOR SCORE!

Um... isn't this shirt PERFECT?! You can order it HERE. Now I just need the bottle opener!

And apparently the rest of the country is missing out on one of the BEST ice cream flavors around - SUPERMAN! It's hard to explain (sort of like vanilla cake and frosting), but it's DELISH and if you try it, you won't be disappointed.


Vernors is not only a great pop, it's also a form of medicine in most Michigan homes. And, no, I'm not talking about 'Grandpa's cough syrup', I legit mean many homes use the ginger ale as a cure all for many ailments ;)


The majority of Ryan and my family live in Michigan (or pretty close to it). When we head back to the mitten, it always includes tons of family time. Whether we are hanging out in Cheboygan, Temperance, Royal Oak, Monroe, Lambertville, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Carleton, or anywhere in between, you know there will be a ton of family around.

Even if it's been over 11 years since I graduated, packed up two suitcases and moved across the country, the old adage is just as true now as it was then... "You can take the girl out of Michigan, but you can't take Michigan out of the girl."

I'll rock my school pride from coast to coast!
PS You can grab this GO BLUE tee HERE (or other college gear HERE)

Have you ever been to Michigan? What screams HOME to you?

Wednesday, July 19, 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, July 18, 2017

Hiking Half Dome

I can't believe it has already been almost SIX WEEKS since we were in Yosemite. It feels like it was just last week or so (but I guess the old saying "time flies when you're having fun" is true... especially the older you get ;)).

I also can't believe that I never really shared anything about our adventures on the blog (everything I shared was on my social media accounts) - #BadBlogger. Guess it's time to remedy that! And what better place to start than with our MAJOR accomplishment of the trip... HIKING HALF DOME!

But before we get to that, let me set the stage.

Friends of ours had planned a trip to Yosemite a while back (if you've ever tried to go in the summer you know how quickly spots fill up and how far in advance you have to book everything). Well, lucky for us, their campsite held six and there were only going to be four of them. A couple weeks before the trip, they asked if we wanted to join them. Uh... HECK TO THE YES! We had only ever been once before (over Thanksgiving of last year), but it was AMAZING and we have been wanting to go back when it wasn't freezing (literally it was in the 20s at night while we were there).

Since we were sort of a 'late add', we didn't really have anything planned - we were just thrilled to be along for the ride!


Three of them had permits to hike Half Dome on the Wednesday we were there. Since the preseason lottery for Half Dome permits had closed months before, we had a couple options. First, we could hike with them until the cables (where the permits are now required). Second, we could do a different hike while they were doing Half Dome. Third, we could apply for daily permits (availability is based on the estimated rate of under-use and cancellations).

We decided that what we would do would be to apply for the "last minute permits" - if we got them, awesome, if not, we would do the Clouds Rest hike while our friends did Half Dome. The lottery window is two days prior to the hiking day with a notification late that night. The application period is from midnight to 1pm.

A shot of Half Dome I got when we were checking it out from Glacier Point

The hubby set his alarm for 12:00am Monday morning and applied for our permits for Wednesday. (Truth be told, the Internet was slow in the camp site so he fell asleep while the page was loading, woke up at 3am and quickly finished the process.) We found out Tuesday morning (the notification email came around midnight) we did not get the permits...


I had read on one of the websites that for previous years (I believe the specific data was from 2013), that average success rate for the daily permits on weekdays was 56%, but only 31% on weekends. Here is what we decided - since we were already told "no" for Wednesday, the odds were in our favor that we would be told "yes" for Thursday (if the 56% success rate held for 2017). The game plan was to apply for Thursday permits (at 12am on Tuesday morning) - if we got them, then we would hike on Thursday, if we didn't, we would hike Clouds Rest on Wednesday (since you can do the majority of the hike along the same route as our friends would be going for Half Dome).


This meant the hubby set his alarm for 12:00am Tuesday morning and applied for our permits for Thursday. The bummer thing was we wouldn't find out until about 12:00am on Wednesday morning if we got them. So, another plan was concocted... Hubby would wake up at 12:00am on Wednesday morning to check his email. If we got the permits for Thursday, we would turn off our alarms, make a "sign" for our friends who were hiking Half Dome that morning that we wouldn't be coming and go back to bed. If we didn't get the permits, we'd re-set our alarms for 4:00am so we could get ready to hit the trail for Clouds Rest (hiking the first 85% or so with our friends as they went to Half Dome).

A view of Half Dome and Clouds Rest from Glacier Point

Well, I would assume that from the title of the post you guessed that we DID get permits to hike Half Dome on Thursday - YIPEE! (I've gotta #KeepItReal, I was a little nervous about it... Although the hike to Clouds Rest was about 20 miles round trip {with an extra 1,000 feet of elevation gain}, there weren't cables involved {which was what was freaking me out most about Half Dome} so I think I would have been totally okay had we not gotten the permits.)


With the information we had read online and our friends' beta from hiking it the day before, we set off Thursday morning ready to tackle Half Dome. Our game plan was to set our alarms for 4am, wake up, eat some breakfast, use the bathroom and hit the trails. We were staying in the Upper Pines Campground so we were really close to the trail head - which was AWESOME! Although the sun didn't technically rise until close to 5:30am, we left our site around 4:45am (using headlamps) and made it to the start of the High Sierra Loop Trail by 5am.

Still dark out when we hit the main trail

When we were in Yosemite for Thanksgiving we had hiked to Vernal and Nevada Falls. I remembered the hike being soggy, slick and strenuous. Well, I was right. And with the rainfall we received this past winter, the "Mist Trail" was extra misty. Thankfully we wore layers that would keep us warm and dry quickly.

The first video is on the way up (you can still see the moon): 

The second video is on the way down (from above the falls):

The data we saw said that it took folks an average of 12 hours to complete. We didn't have any goals (other than to enjoy the scenery and make it to the top), but it was nice to know some of the times our friends had hit certain landmarks at so we knew how we were doing overall.

Seeing as we started early, there weren't very many people on the trail. I think by the time we got to Nevada Falls we had seen about 5 people total. Since both of us are in fairly decent shape, we seemed to be cruising.

We had the trail to ourselves the majority of the way up

Shortly before we got to the split for the Half Dome/ Clouds Rest trails, two hikers were coming down towards us and told us they had seen a bear up the way. This freaked me out a bit A TON (even though they said you could hear him before you could see him because he was ripping bark off a down tree). Thankfully (for me) we never came across him (although the hubby really wanted to see him). We did have a couple encounters with wildlife - but mostly just deer ;)

A friend of mine calls me Snow White because I "talk to the animals"

As I said, we were cruising because we ended up getting to the cables around 8:30am (which means it only took us about 3.5 hours to get UP). The closer we got, the more freaked out I got (but that also might have been due to BEAR WATCH {I swear, I thought the bear was a crazy ninja and might jump out from behind any tree I happen to walk by.}.).

In case you are unfamiliar with the Half Dome hike, let me give you a couple stats. The hike distance is approximately 14.2 miles (22.7 km) round trip via Mist Trail. Half Dome's elevation is 8,842 feet (2,695 meters). The last 400 feet to the summit have two metal cables which allow hikers to climb without rock climbing equipment. The Half Dome cables usually go up the Friday before Memorial Day (conditions permitting) and come down the day after Columbus Day. Due to the large crowds, permits were introduces in 2012 and are now required seven days a week for the cables.

This is a picture Ryan took of Half Dome from the valley... We hiked TO THE TOP OF THAT!

Although waking up BEFORE the butt-crack of dawn can be difficult, it helped make this hike ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! When we got to the cables there were only a couple people on them, and by the time we had taken our backpacks off, I put on my harness and got up the courage to climb, they were empty.

Having the cables to ourselves made the world of difference. They are scary to begin with, but not having to deal with them wiggling from other climbers or having to wait for other climbers was a total blessed (especially for me). 

My man!

As you can see from the pictures, you are literally climbing up a rock face with two cables to hold on to and wooden 2 by 4s every so often to stand on for balance. I decided since we had all the time in the world, that I'd go first (that way if I slipped I'd fall into the hubby who could hopefully stop me ;)), climb a few sections and take a break when I got tired. Once I got tired, then the hubby would climb up to me. This way only one of us was climbing (and therefore moving the cables) at a time. This system worked out perfectly for us. I literally don't think we could have planned it better.

[Side note: The hubby is a rock climber and a friend of ours who is currently deployed let him borrow some of his gear. His wife had a harness and so I used it as a "safety net". This was more for comfort. Our friends who hiked the day before had their kids each wear a harness with two carabiners attached. At each pole, they would clip the free carabiner one to the higher cable and un-clip the back one - that way they were clipped in at all times. I ended up only clipping in when taking a break and waiting for the hubby. Again, this is not a requirement and had we not had the gear it wouldn't have been an issue, but since we had it, we used it, and I wanted to mention it in case folks saw it in the photos.]

So proud of myself for getting up to the top after being nervous. 

When we got to the summit it was just about 9am (meaning it took us about 4 hours from when we started at the trail head to get to the top). We decided to take our time, snap some pictures and enjoy the views. There were only seven people up on the top (three of which were rangers). #TheEarlyBirdGetsTheWorm #AndTheCablesToThemselves

Can you see me?! I'm out on the end of the "diving board".

And there's Ryan... 

Pictures don't seem to capture the scale of this majesty... 

I wish the pictures did this place justice, but they don't... You will just have to take my word for it that standing on the top of Half Dome is BEYOND what I could ever be able to describe. You feel so small, yet so accomplished. I don't know I've ever felt quite that way before (and I don't know that I'll feel that way again any time soon).

As soon as I saw this picture I thought the chem-trails in the sky said "HI"... Doesn't it look like that?! 

Once we soaked in all that God had orchestrated, it was time to head down. Although going up on the cables is more physically demanding, going down on the cables might be more mentally demanding. We had heard that some people go forward and some people go backward. I originally thought I'd go backward, but I didn't like the fact I couldn't see where I was going (the hubby went backwards and thought it was easier). Again, we had the cables mostly to ourselves (once we got towards the bottom there was a couple on their way up that we let go by us, but other than that it was smooth sailing). I swear, going down took about 1/5th the time it took going up (but you still need to be uber cautious).

[FYI: The rangers check permits. They have an iPad with all of the day's permits loaded and make sure to check you in. If you are hiking without one, you're doing it at your own risk and there's a high likelihood you'll not be able to summit.]

Some hikers will leave gloves at the base of the cables (they are HIGHLY suggested
and I would say are absolutely necessary), but the rangers we spoke with actually
thanked us for packing ours out with us...

You could tell the temperatures were starting to rise the later in the morning it got, as did the amount of people we saw on the trail. The hubby and I would stop to snap a quick picture, but for the most part we were booking it. We even started to run some of the even portions of the trail (there are parts that are rather rocky or sandy or steep, so we took those slowly, but decided to jog what we could... well, what we could in hiking boots that is ;)).

No running over the "water crossings"

When we got to Little Yosemite, we had the choice of either continuing back down the Mist Trail (how we came up) or going the John Muir Trail (which was a longer distance but less vertical). We ended up going back the way we came, which was totally fine - but definitely starting to get very congested with people.

At the top of Nevada Falls

Once we got closer to the bottom I looked at my watch and mentioned to Ryan there was a possibility we could finish in under 8 hours. Well, challenge accepted ;) We ended up running it back in to the camp site and completed our hike (which totaled 16.6 miles and 6,920 feet of elevation gain) in 7:56:51! [I didn't stop my watch at all, whether it was stopping for pictures, enjoying the summit, etc.. My Garmin said our moving time was actually 6:14:31, which cut our average pace down by about 6 minutes per mile.] HECK TO THE YES! WE CONQUERED HALF DOME!

Looks much different in the daytime, eh?

Home sweet home

That whole elevation thing is no joke!

Not sure if you noticed it, but it was 37* when we started, but in the 70s by the time we got back.

I'd say this accomplishment rivals the feeling of running a Boston qualifying time. Although I'd say I put MUCH LESS prep work into this (it's crazy because we hadn't really planned on it and it was pretty intense for the majority of the time), it was on my bucket list and am STOKED I was able to cross it off. It really reminded me that I can do hard things!

Looking back, I'd say the portion of the hike to Nevada Falls is the hardest (in my opinion, if you can make it to Nevada, you can make it to Half Dome). The distance after Nevada isn't anything to scoff at, but the majority of it is a lot flatter. Obviously the cables are cray-cray, but if you are able to attack them as early as possibly you will have the best chance of being able to go at your pace (whatever makes you feel most comfortable) with fewer folks around.

Would I recommend others do this hike? HECK TO THE YES! Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! (Although, truth be told, since there is so much to do and see in Yosemite, we will probably wait a few trips before repeating it.)


When was your last adventure?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Saturday Adventures {Meal Packing, Dog Swimming, Maxing & Relaxing}

Although Saturday was a rest day, it seemed we did everything BUT rest (don't worry, we were able to get in a little maxin' and relaxin' by the end of the day). I thought since we had so many adventures I'd share them with the class ;)

A few weeks ago I had seen a note in our "Hot Sheets" at North Coast (think of it as a church-wide bulletin) about a large volunteer project that was going on in the community. It mentioned an organization, Friends and Family Community Connection, was trying to get folks together to help pack upwards of 300,000 meals for underprivileged families in San Diego and overseas in Tanzania. Well, I looked at our calendar and saw we were free so signed us up.


Other than "wearing comfortable shoes since we'd be standing for our volunteer shift", I didn't know what to expect. I have volunteered at Feeding San Diego in the past and have helped pack lunch bags for underprivileged students, but wasn't sure if this would be similar or not. Whatever the case we packed our "servant spirit" and made our way over to Hunter Industries where the event was being held. (It was running from 8am until 4pm, but our shift was 9-10am.)

Love that they help folks not only globally but locally as well!

She looks so stoked!

Once we arrived, we checked in (FFCC used EventBrite so when you signed up for your shift you were sent "tickets" and when checking in, all you had to do was show your bar code so they could scan you and mark you in). EASY PEASY! Then we were given name tags (have you ever noticed being called by your name instead of "hey you" makes you feel known and part of the group?) and hairnets.

We're bringing sexy back...

This wasn't their first rodeo and with a goal of 300,000 meals packed they needed to keep everything moving as smoothly as possible. When you were checked in and ready to go, you got in line and sort of like at Disney, they called out how many people they needed. Ryan and I were teamed up with four other folks and sent to a packaging table.

The process was one person grabbed an empty bag and put it on the bottom of a funnel. The next person put in a packet of vitamins, followed by a scoop of veggies, then a scoop of soy and topped with a scoop of rice. The final person was the runner - taking the bags off the funnel and putting them into a plastic bin. Once the bin was full, they would then run the box over to the next station.

We were too busy during our shift to take a picture, but this is a
volunteer demonstrating to a new group how the packaging is done

Those filled boxes were then run to a station that would weigh the bags (making sure they met the standards) and then go to the sealing table where they'd be vacuum sealed. Once the bags were ready to go, they'd make it to the final table where someone was counting and putting them in boxes (36 bags to each box, and each bag had 6 servings in them).

Signed, sealed, delivered...

No one at our table counted how many bags we filled, but we were cruising. Ryan was the vitamin guy and I, of course, was the runner. They had the system down to a science and it was pretty impressive to see how efficient it all ran. Once our time was up, they had us put our name tags on the completed boxes - sending a small piece of ourselves with our hard work to those in need. I thought it was a cool gesture, especially since they'd normally end up in the trash.

Once they get a full pallet, they wrap it and get it on the truck!

And as we were getting ready to head out, they surprised us and said that a Mrs. Frostie truck had just pulled up and all of the volunteers got a free mini cone for helping out! Shoot doggy! It's never too early for a cherry dipped cone.

I hadn't had a cherry dipped cone in AGES!

Ryan and I both had a great time and said we'd both go back in the future to help out! There is so much need in the world (locally and globally), so the best thing to do is help... Help however you can, whether it's with your time, your resources, your talents. No matter how big or how small, everything we do matters! #DoGood

After the first two shifts we were already making a dent in the
shipping container!

On the way home the hubby suggested we take Walt the Wiener Dog over to the lagoon to let him 'cool off' (we've been having some pretty humid/ sticky weather lately). I chuckled because Walt normally HATES the water, but since the hubby wanted to do it, I jumped on board (I'd say I took one for the team, but I really think it was Walt who took it ;)).

We went to an inlet by the house. Apparently a few weeks ago some kids tried to go out to the sandbar that's created at low tide and got caught in the current, so they recently posted "No Swimming" signs and had a security guard there. We decided to chat him up and see if he'd let Walt go in (we knew he wouldn't go in very far and he'd be "over it" in less than 5 minutes). He gave us the go-ahead as long as we kept him on a leash and didn't go deeper than our knees.

My guys!

As I suspected, Walt did NOT enjoy himself (although the hubby thoroughly did ;)). Ryan would wade out in the water, then plop the pup in and let him swim to the shore. It lasted all of maybe three or four attempts before we called it a day.

I think Walt extra hates it because he knows that when we get home it means he has to get a bath (which he also does not enjoy), but at least he looks cute in his life vest ;)

Can you tell he hates it (and us) or what?!

After lunch and a doggy bath, it was finally time to get in some chillaxing. Ryan and I made our way down to the pool for a little reading and relaxation. It's crazy, but we had the place to ourselves! Everyone must have been at the beach...

Yup, I may be a nerd... I have an autographed copy of this book!

We capped off the day with some pizza and pistachio flavored Halo Top ice cream. #winning

Although we didn't get a ton of stuff accomplished (read that as our STD {stuff to do} list is still ever growing), we did get to spend some quality time together giving back and having fun. We will consider it a pony WIN!

How was your weekend? Did you get a lot done?