Friday, November 24, 2017

GUEST POST: Returning to Running by Holly

I have been incredibly fortunate in so that I haven't really had to deal with major running injuries. During my first round of half marathon training (way back in 2012), my IT Band got angry because I was doing zero cross training or strength training (#NewbieProblems), but other than that I've been super lucky. Unfortunately, there have been MANY of you who have had to deal with injury... Today Holly is here to share why she is so thankful to be returning to running.


Returning to Running

Like many of you, I laced up for my community turkey trot yesterday morning for Thanksgiving. I’ve got an extra dose of gratitude this year because I have not been able to participate since 2014. Like some of you, I’ve been injured.

In 2014 I experienced a devastating disc herniation in my lower back. It immediately affected my ability to move my foot. After attempting several non-surgical options and meeting numerous neurosurgeons, I finally opted for a spinal fusion.

Eventually I was given the “Ok to run as tolerated” so rushed to the gym triumphantly and brandished the note at my coach (who's also a physical therapist). He smiled slowly, because I had no idea what it was going to take to return me to regular running. There's a reason the recovery portion of all those heroic sports stories is a musical montage. Recovery can be a long and boring process. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you’re able to run again, things can get even trickier. For me, the key to a happier return to running has been getting guidance and managing expectations.

Don’t expect to return at the same level of fitness you left at. For me, my base was ZERO, I was essentially a new runner. In my mind, however, I was still at marathoner level fitness! I eventually chose a mindset of discovery - trying each day to discover what I could do, rather than worry about what I used to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to complete a full marathon again, but I’m excited to see how far I get!

Expect that your running social group will change. While I’m still friends with everyone, my distance and pace aren’t where they used to be, and other’s goals and paces have also changed. I’ve joined a local run group designed for all levels, and made more running friends. Who doesn’t want more running friends?

Did I mention I joined a local running group?
Our group coach is a certified coach with the USATF. He tightens up our form, watches for gait problems and gives great advice and encouragement. Having someone keep an eye on you as you return to running is a great way to nip further problems in the bud. You might prefer some one on one sessions, but for me the group is perfect. We don’t all run the exact same workout, but we are all struggling together on track days. We always say we are “better together!” If you aren’t sure where to find a group, investigate your local running store or gym. Most have some sort of group running programs available.

Choose your return race carefully! (But do return! So much fun!) I recommend something fun and low key, like Ragnar Relay. In June, I completed Ragnar Wasatch Back with a group of old and new friends of mixed running ability. 

We all had challenges with the legs we were assigned, but we did it together. I didn’t perform very well, but the experience encouraged me so much that after the event, I was inspired to work much harder to regain my fitness. I’m now getting ready for Ragnar Del Sol with the same group of folks, and any time I feel discouraged, I’m reminded that I can’t wait to show the team how much improvement I’ve had. Overnight relays may not be for you, maybe you want to look into other low stress/low pressure events such as novelty or fun-runs, just be careful not to re-injure yourself!

I’m still on my journey back to 100%. Some days it's incredibly frustrating or downright scary, but most days I’m discovering and developing new mental and physical skills. I hope you're as thankful to run as I am this Thanksgiving!

Not only am I thankful for the ability to lace up my running shoes and get out to run, but I'm also thankful that Holly was willing to share a snippet of her story. If you want to continue following her journey, find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Have you ever suffered a running related injury?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dear Running {A Letter of Thankfulness & Gratitude}

I know that most of us will spend the day being thankful for our families, our friends, our framilies {friends who have become family}, our jobs, our homes, our education, our health, our blessings, but I also want to take a moment to be grateful for something else which is also near and dear to my heart... RUNNING! I thought today was the perfect day to share my thank you note that I recently sent to the sport that has brought so much into my life.


Dear Running,

Thank you, Running, for all of the people you have brought into my life. When I originally picked you up, I was hopeful that you would be a fun hobby, but I never knew how awesome your community could be. The people you have helped me to surround myself with are some of my bestest friends. They push me, they believe in me, they encourage me, they allow me to be me, they accept me, they are exactly who I need in my life. And we all have YOU in common!

Just a few of the MANY, MANY, MANY AMAZING people I've met along my journey

Thank you, Running, for allowing me to find my confidence. There are still days that I waver and question myself, but having you in my life has helped immensely. From seeing my body for what it can accomplish rather than how it looks compared to a photo shopped image in a magazine to having the courage to chase after goals that are outside of my comfort zone - you have given me an inner strength that I have never known before, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Thank you, Running, for all of the amazing places you have taken me. From Santa Cruz to Orlando, from Eugene to Phoenix, from Anaheim to Napa, from Seattle to St. George, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, from San Francisco to San Diego. I love traveling and to be able to combine exploring with you has been amazing! (I mean, I may be a little bias, but touring a new city with you is my favorite way to see the sights and sounds an area has to offer!)

Thank you, Running, for allowing me to express my creativity. Although I may not be very artsy (okay, maybe I am, but I'm just not very talented at being artsy), you have given me an outlet to get my craft on. Pairing you with costumes has helped remind me that you are FUN, you are supposed to be ENJOYED, and to NOT take you too seriously! My costumes may not look professional, but, in my opinion, the DIY part is what makes them great.

Some of my recent costumes that I have run races in

Thank you, Running, for all of the fulfillment you have brought into my life. My ultimate fulfillment and purpose comes from the Lord, but being able to set a goal and see it through till the end brings a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that we often can take for granted.

Thank you, Running, for allowing me to work with some AMAZING brands. I've been floored by the companies who've wanted to team up with me (#BeyondBlessed), and it is all thanks to YOU! Had I not found you, I wouldn’t have found their products, be using them on the regular and have the opportunity to spread the word about their awesomeness. (They may make you easier, more fun or extra sparkly, but without you I wouldn't have stumbled across them.)

Thank you, Running, for being there even when I take you for granted, when I say rude things about you in anger, when I dread you, when I get frustrated with you, and even when I want to give up on you. You have always been there for me, NO MATTER WHAT, waiting patiently, with arms roads wide open, anticipating my return!

Thank you, Running, for not only what you do, but for what you ARE! You have given me a platform, you have given me a passion, you have given me peace of mind, you have given me pleasure, you have given me a push to pursue dreams that I never knew I had (or would be strong enough to tackle). Please know that I appreciate you more than I may ever say or be able to express. YOU ARE AMAZEBALLS AND I CAN'T SAY THANK YOU ENOUGH! 

Is it just me, or does running make you feel like flying?!



Wednesday, November 22, 2017

GUEST POST: Managing Your Runs During the Holidays by Emily

Let's be real, running during the holidays can sometimes feel like a chore. The days are shorter, you have a hundred extra events on your schedule, the temperatures are colder and the excuses are never ending. I knew while I was out of town that I wanted someone to share some tips on keeping their running "on point" and Emily offered to do just that! So, without further ado, let's listen in on some of her thoughts about how to manage your running during the holiday season.

Managing Your Running Around the Holiday Season

Hi everyone! My name is Emily (known as @littlerunnerem on Instagram) and I am BEYOND excited to be a guest blogger today on Carlee's blog! I've been following her running life for awhile now, both on here and on Instagram so to have this opportunity is a dream come true! I have been running for about 4 years now. While that may not seem like a long time, it sure does feel like it with the amount of races I have completed in that short amount of time. I have ran 20+ 5k races, 2 10k races, 4 10-milers, 5 half marathons, and I just completed my second full marathon this past Sunday! I have come a long way in the past 4 years when it comes to running. I have discovered what works for me and what does not. One thing I have noticed that really works for me is running is cooler temperatures. Unfortunately, these ideal temps come during the most busy time of the year: the holiday season. I've compiled a list of my own tried and true tips for managing your running around the holiday season!

Plan out your running schedule ahead of time. Before things begin to get hectic, sit down with your schedule and map out when you want to run or do your workouts. This can either be done in the beginning of each week or if you're feeling good, for the next month or so. Having everything written down (or typed out) and it front of you will help keep you on schedule and allow you to plan around those runs. I like to plan and write my future runs in my Believe Training Journal because once it's written down I personally feel obligated to get it done!

Run early. We've all been there. You tell yourself you will go for a run after work/dinner/a party/etc. When the time comes around, the last thing you want to do is slip on your running shoes and head out the door. You're tired, too relaxed, or too warm inside your cozy house to immerse yourself into the cold air outside. Instead of pushing your run off into later in the day, run as soon as you get up in the morning, before your body has time to find a way to stop you! Forcing yourself out the door in the morning can benefit you in more ways than one. First, you are getting your run over and done with before your busy day begins. Second, you will feel more energized the rest of the day. And third, you will start your day with some time to yourself. Just remember, if you are running early enough where it is still dark outside, wear your reflective gear! Invest in a reflective vest, a headlamp, and any other reflective gear that you wish.

Make your workouts shorter but more intense. With busy schedules and shorter days, long runs may not be possible for you. When I only have a short amount of time to run, instead of just scrapping the whole run because I can "only get one mile in," I choose to run that mile at the quickest pace I can. This allows me to complete the run in a reasonable amount while also making the run effective.

Set a simple goal for the holiday season rather than a more complex goal. I always love to have a goal. Working towards a goal gives me a sense of purpose and is my go-to "why" for when I really don't want to lace up and head out the door. Big goals may be hard to focus on during the busy holiday season so I usually choose to give myself a more simple goal. These goals usually focus on the number of times I will run in a week. Setting a goal for distance is tough because I never know the amount of time I'll get to run each day. I can always manage to squeeze in a quick mile or two a few times a week, though!

Sign up for a holiday themed race to run with friends and family. There are such a wide variety of holiday themed races that range in mileage. Ask your friends and family in advanced if they would like to join you, allowing them the appropriate time to train, if needed. Most of these themed races are just for fun, making them possible for all runners and non-runners. My sister and I have done the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis where you tie jingle bells onto your shoes so you can hear them as you run the whole 5k. It is super festive and also supports a great cause! Also, it's totally acceptable to dress up for the race!

Arrange a "light run" with a group of friends! One of the best parts of the holiday season is Christmas lights, in my opinion. What better way to check out the beautiful light displays in your area than on foot? Gather a group of your friends and head out for a short run (or even walk!) around the neighborhood to check out the lights. Since this is just a fun run/walk, everyone can be included.

My number one running tip for any time of the year is to just have fun! While running may be an important part of your life (I know it is for me!), never let it feel like a chore, especially during the holiday season. Unless you are on a serious training schedule, do not let running come in the way of family events or some holiday shopping that really needs to get done. Do what you can and continue to love running!

Enjoy your running and happy holidays!

Let's give Emily a BIG THANKS for the great tips! Can I just say how much I love the idea of a "light run"?! I've never thought of that, but it will now be a MUST during the holiday season! And don't forget to follow Emily on Instagram!

How do you stay on top of your running during the holiday season?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

GUEST POST: Impacting Those Around You by Jeremy

The running community is pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC if you ask me! I have been BEYOND BLESSED to have connected with so many amazing people since starting my running journey (back in 2012). One such ROCKSTAR is Jeremy! He lives in Arizona but I have been fortunate to hang out IRL on multiple occasions and it's always a BLAST! His HUGE HEART always makes me smile from ear-to-ear, so when he offered to write a guest post on impacting those around you I knew we'd all be in for a treat! The world needs more of us trying to spread kindness! #PayItForward

Paying it Forward with Positive Energy

Our social feeds are saturated with snapshots of our friends’ watches, boosting fast splits and new PRs. We see friends podium, place in their age group, or tackle mind-blowing challenges. While all of this is inspiring on it’s own, I encourage you to take a step back for a moment and remember what it was like when you first started running. All of those personal achievements can seem intimidating to the running newbie or someone struggling to find their inner runner.

Now don’t get me wrong, when I reach a new PR or finish a big endurance adventure, I’m singing loud and proud on social. Keep that up, it’s all good! My point here is this: the online running community is an amazing thing. It connects us with runners from all over the world, creating new friendships and an endless resource for both advice and motivation. And I feel that sometimes we might forget about the latter.

I fall victim to it myself from time to time. I get so swept up in talking about my accomplishments that I forget there are people there that need some positive energy to keep running. No, I’m not talking about posting an inspirational quote. Instead, I challenge you to reach out and engage with your followers. Take some time to scroll and find some runners you might not normally interact with.

Don’t just give them a “like”. Tell them they’re doing a great job. Ask how they’re training is going. Is someone injured and struggling during recovery? Help lift them out of the slump like only another runner can. A virtual high-five, if you will, can do so much. Just a small amount of positive energy can go a long way. It can revive a struggling runner. Help another achieve their personal goals. Or just simply put a smile on someone’s face.

And speaking of high-fives, don’t forget about your fellow runner in person! While running a race, I always try to spread some good vibes. Those out-and-back courses may seem like a pain, but it’s a great chance to give others some high-fives and encouragement. Tell someone you pass “good job”, “looking good”, or “keep it up”. And don’t forget all the runners still crossing the finish line after you’ve gotten your medal. Stick around or return later to keep the crowd’s energy high. Or loosen up those tight muscles by going out on the course to cheer runners in.

There are so many ways we can spread positive energy to our fellow runners. The possibilities are endless! I highly encourage you to take one of those opportunities every now and again to spread a smile. After all, it’s contagious and may come back to YOU when you need it most.

Um... can you say AWESOMESAUCE?! This post is right up my alley! So much so that when I was running with friends at the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon a couple weeks ago I may have been "harassed" by friends because I try my darnedest to spread a little love to my fellow runners. Often times we can get stuck in our own bubble, but I am so thankful to Jeremy for reminding us to take a minute to step outside of ourselves and give to those around us! If you would like to follow Jeremy, you can find him on Instagram, Twitter and on his personal blog.

Can you think of a time someone helped to inspire or motivate you?

Monday, November 20, 2017

GUEST POST: Winter Motivation Tips by Tanya

The hubby and I decided to pack up the Adventure Mobile and head into the great outdoors for the Thanksgiving holiday (we are camping in Zion for the week), but I wanted to make sure you had something for your reading pleasure while we were gone. I lined up a pretty rad group of guest bloggers and I hope you find their posts beneficial!

First up is Tanya. She's a runner from Minnesota who knows a thing or two about cold weather running and tips on staying motivated to get in your miles during the cold months. Although winter doesn't technically begin for another month, I know temperatures are quickly dropping across the country and asked Tanya to offer some advice with you.

Let's be real, I paid my dues while living in Michigan... but now I'm a winter wuss
and enjoy watching winter from the beach in sunny San Diego 

Tips on Staying Motivated Through Winter

Ah, winter. A time for the holidays, building snowmen, and endless mugs of hot cocoa. But for runners, winter can also mean subzero temperatures, less sunlight, and a severe lack of motivation to lace up your shoes and go for a run.

As a tried and true Minnesota runner, I know all too well the effects a long, cold winter can have on training. Motivation can be nonexistent, even on those bright, sunny days where the sun glistens off the snow and everything looks truly beautiful... because once you step outside you realize your eyeballs instantly freeze over. There’s always the treadmill, teasing you with its warmth indoors, but if you’ve ever spent more than, oh, five minutes on one, as most of us have, you know we’d almost rather brave the single digit temps than spend a significant amount of time on the hamster wheel.

So, what do we do? Rather than hibernate until spring, I’ve learned over time that there are a few ways to keep myself motivated. After all, in Minnesota, if we waited for perfect weather, we’d probably only run two months out of the year!

Probably my favorite way to keep myself motivated is to simply register for a winter race. For me, I typically plan the majority of my annual races during the fall. I make it a point to put races on the calendar during the winter months. For the last 8 years, I’ve ran a race on New Year’s Day, with the temperature ranging everywhere from 10 below to a balmy 32 above. Knowing that I’ve invested money into registering for a race helps keep me accountable with my training.

Something else I try and do during the winter months is to run during the midday, if possible. Going to work when it’s still dark and getting home after the sun goes down can definitely put a damper on my running spirit. A few years ago I started running during my lunch break at work. This has helped avoid the treadmill and get in some of my weekday miles. Being a mother with a younger child at home, it can be a struggle to get in the miles at times, so putting in the effort to get in a run while I'm already away from my family helps me get it done. Temperatures are generally warmer midday and even a mile or two outside in the fresh air always seems to brighten my mood.

Lastly, another great motivator? Fellow runners! The running community is fantastic for being uber supportive, regardless of your pace, age, or how long you've been a runner. I find a good way to seek advice or renew my running passion, especially via social media, is to simply reach out to others. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who ISN’T experiencing the same things you are at that moment. Social media is also a great way to get advice on winter running necessities, like YakTraks or how many layers is truly enough. Trust me, you are certainly not alone! The amazing accomplishments of other runners always inspires me to get out and tackle whatever Mother Nature throws at us.


I hope you find some of these tips helpful! Winter doesn’t have to mean spending months bundled up at home under a warm blanket when your motivation becomes nonexistent. Remember that no matter the season, every mile counts!

Let's give Tanya a BIG THANKS for the great tips! And if you'd like to follow her (because adding great running friends to your social media feed is an awesome way to stay motivated, right?!) add her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook!

What is your favorite way to help you stay motivated when the weather is less than cooperative?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 46

Sunday, November 12th – Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon 

Monday, November 13th – 30 minutes on the stationary bike, 30 minutes on the stair climber, 1 mile run to start my #WeavStreak, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, November 14th – 8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, November 15th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike & 4 mile with the hubby

Thursday, November 16th – 12 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, November 17th – 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, November 18th – 7.77 mile trail run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

HECK TO THE YES! I got in 50 miles this week and they were all AMAZING! Ran the #StripAtNight, got in some miles with the hubby and even tackled the trails to celebrate a friend's birthday. I would say this was a HUGE success!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

Another week down and it's Friday again! And, guess what.... Not only will the hubby and I be going on our weekly chips and salsa date today, but WE ARE PUTTING UP THE CHRISTMAS TREE! I know, I know, most folks wait till AFTER Thanksgiving, but since we will be leaving at the beginning of next week I wanted to get it up before we left. Twinkle lights are my FAVORITE (and not just this week or on Fridays, but EVERY day)! But now to share new favorites with you... So, let's get this party started (and make sure to crank up the Christmas jams while you read today's post ;)).


Can you believe Black Friday is next week?! The holidays are sprinting at us in full speed, so I figured now was as good a time as any to share one of my FAVE campaigns. Two years ago REI decided to #OptOutside on Black Friday. They closed their stores, paid all 12,000 of their employees to head outdoors and started a new tradition. Seven million people joined in, and what started as a moment became a movement. If you know the hubby and I, then you know this is RIGHT up our alley! Last year we were camping in Yosemite for Thanksgiving, and this year we will be in Zion! Whatever you love, wherever you are, REI will help you find a great way to #OptOutside with your family and friends.

Virtual Sock Out 50 Challenge

I was contacted by Kelly (@moremilesmorefun) a couple weeks ago about this AWESOME virtual challenge and I knew I had to tell you all about it! After their Run For Texas virtual race which raised over $50,000 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, they wanted a fun way where runners can still give back and be active through the holidays.

From November 20 - December 31, they are hosting the "Sock Out 50 Challenge". The challenge is to run a minimum of 50 miles over that timeframe. There is a $5 entry fee to join. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be used to purchase socks from Bombas which are specifically designed to be donated to homeless shelters across the United States. For every pair of socks purchased and donated through the challenge, Bombas will donate another pair. Everyone who successfully completes this challenge will automatically be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!


To go alongside of this, they are setting up a social media campaign, where you can use the hashtag #runkindchallenge to post your Acts of Kindness. This can be picking up trash on your run, paying for someone's coffee after your run, or running to the local fire station to say thank you - they want runners to get creative, be kind and give back!

Unlock Hope Tees

I was lucky enough to win a $25 gift certificate from Unlock Hope a couple weeks back. I already have about 10 of their tees, but I can always add a few more to my closet. This go-around I grabbed the Love Is Why We Are Here and Make Light Out Of The Darkness t-shirts (I also wanted the Focus On The Good tee but it doesn't come in my size).

And in case you don't know about Unlock Hope, let me give you some info. In Uganda, girls aren't given the same chances as boys. Without access to education they often marry young, have large families that they are unable to care for, and are forced to work difficult jobs for very little pay. Since 2008, Unlock Hope has partnered with Think Humanity, an organization that runs a hostel in Hoima, Uganda for young refugee girls from all across Africa, many of whom are orphaned. Solely through the sale of their products they are able to fully fund the hostel and provide everything necessary for these girls to receive an education. Health care, food, tuition, utilities, transportation, support staff, school fees, clothing, uniforms, toiletries, school supplies, books and more are completely paid for - all thanks to their sales!

I saw an ad about this program on my Instagram (normally I hate ads on IG, but you know I have a heart for giving back and LOVE puppies) and had to find out more. This year, when you buy any bag of dog or cat food from PetSmart, they give a meal to a pet in need. They are hoping to donate more than 60 million meals! That's 320 trucks and over 6,380 tons of dog and cat food to 122+ donation locations serving pet shelters and food banks across the US and Canada. Seeing as you have to buy pet food anyway, you might as well help out some shelter animals at the same time, right?!

New Parks Project Vintage Posters

Parks Project released 23 new products last week and a few of them are their new Parks Posters. Let me just say that I think these are going on my Christmas list! I normally don't like "things", but these would be an AWESOME way to commemorate going to National Parks! They come in three sizes and are here in time for the holidays - SCORE! 

These are the four I see us needing almost immediately ;) 

What are you loving lately?