Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Books

One of my goals for 2017 was to read 17 books. Well, had I known my reading speed (or the fact that the library would quickly become one of my new best friends) I probably would have adjusted that number slightly ;)

In case you missed the recent posts, I blogged about the books I read in January HERE, February HERE, March HERE and April HERE. There were FOURTY-ONE in the first four months, so when I add May's FOUR that brings the total to FOURTY-FIVE! In case you're interested in what I read or my take on them, feel free to check out my little write-ups (and how I'd rate them)!

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank - I am not sure what caused me to pick up this book, but I am so glad I did. I had never read it before, although I knew the story well - or at least I knew the gist of the story (that they lived in hiding until they were found, arrested and sent to concentration camps). It is so interesting to see the deep thoughts of a 13-15 year old (even if she did go back through later in their stay to edit some of her previous entries - she was still at most fifteen years old). The maturity, the turmoil, the life lived - and taken way too early. I appreciate that there are entries about "young love" and tiffs with her parents, while at the same time thoughts on politics and war. Every few pages I had to remind myself of the "ending"... that she wasn't lucky enough to survive, that she would never see the fruition of her work, that she would die at the hands of the Nazis and never get to follow her dreams or grow up. When Anne wrote her diary, she had no idea she would inspire generations of people. Though her story has a heartbreaking ending, her courage through it all is incredibly uplifting. I would give this one a 9 out of 10.

  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - A friend of mine had mailed me a few of the recent books she had finished (yay for sweet friends and cheap Media Mail postage). Apparently this book has been turned into a Netflix series (although I'm not sure that I'll watch it), so I was excited to give this a read. The hubby asked what it was about when I was a couple chapters in and I gave him a quick synopsis. He chuckled and said that it sounded like Pretty Little Liars (okay, sure, I may not be a teen any longer, but I have a few guilty pleasures ;)). I actually really enjoyed this book (seeing as I had a hard time putting it down and sped through it in less than a day). It definitely touches on some very serious subjects (suicide being one of them), but I appreciate that it is giving people a dialog to discuss some of these things. It really reminds you that all actions have consequences, whether you see them or not. I would give this one a 9 out of 10.

  • The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - A friend of mine had offered to let me borrow a few of her favorite books. I knew nothing about this novel, but was excited to get into it. The story is set back in the 60s (well, that's when it starts, it then follows the plot along for another 25+ years). A quick rundown: A couple has twins, the second child born (a daughter) has Down's Syndrome, so while the mother is under anesthesia, the father (also the doctor who delivered the babies) asked the nurse to take the baby to an institution and tells his wife the baby died. As the story unfolds you see how this one decision effects the lives of so many people. I really enjoyed how each chapter was written from another person's perspective. At times it felt a bit long, but definitely kept me interested and engaged. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell - This book has been in our closet for years, but I thought it was time to bust out another classic. I would say that I'm 75% sure I read this in school, but there is a large possibility that I might have only read the Cliffs Notes... and, if I'm being 100% honest, I didn't remember a single thing about it, so hopefully this time it sticks ;) I really enjoyed this one and can see why it's a classic. It's a great reminder of the slippery slope and how things in society can change if no one says anything or takes a stand. It's crazy that this book is over 70 years old and yet it is as relevant today as it was in 1945! I would give this one a 9 out of 10.

And with that, May is complete. This month my reading almost slowed to a halt, but I've had a lot of other projects that have come up (and require my attention) so the recreational reading took a back seat. Hopefully June will ramp back up (especially with our week and a half camping trip that we have scheduled). PS If you have any suggestions on books to grab, let me know! I'm always down to throw them in the queue!

What are you currently reading?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

REVIEW: Belcorva Clothing (& GIVEAWAY)

I was contacted a couple weeks back by the folks at Belcorva. They reached out to me and asked if I wanted to give a pair of their bottoms a try. Affordable Quality Activewear for Women?! Uh... YES PLEASE!

Source@belcorva's Instagram Feed

As normal, the hardest part was picking out my top choice in designs. I narrowed it down to the Black & White Stripe Capris, the Pixel Capris or the Blue Floral Pant (finally deciding on the Black & White Capris because I thought those would go with the most outfits and the capri length would probably be the most forgiving with my short legs).

I may not lay out a #FlatCarlee for every workout, but when your gear is this cute,
you've got to, right?! Top: lululemon, Socks: PRO Compression, Sports Bra:
Handful, Capris: Belcorva, Watch: Garmin

I was waiting patiently stalking the mailman for their arrival! When they were delivered I couldn't wait to go for a run.

Not only is the quality amazing (they are super stretchy and soft, yet not too delicate feeling like I could rip the fabric while being active in them), but... POCKETS! The company was started by a husband and wife team {Robby and Lindsey} and the wife knew we need somewhere to stash all of our goodies. When Lindsey was training for her first full marathon she noticed most activewear lacked pockets or places to store fuel, phone, or car keys when participating in a race - coming up with the idea for the brand! I love that when the pockets aren't in use, they're barely noticeable.

My phone fit easily in the pocket and didn't move while I was running

The pockets may seem small, but they are mighty ;) 

I've been able to go for multiple runs in the capris (from short, recovery runs to long runs including speed work), as well as a yoga session and a normal "day around town" {I realize I've been wearing them often, but I wanted to get in a few different activities so I could report fully}. I found the back zip pocket is perfect for keys, while the leg pockets are great for my phone, fuel and even #CarleesTreasures! The first time I ran with my phone in one of the pockets I checked every few minutes to make sure it wasn't working its way out, but there was zero movement (the only slight issue I had was my camera lens fogged up due to my body heating up/ sweating - but a quick wipe with my sleeve fixed that).

Made sure to get in an assortment of activities (running, yoga, biking, walking the pup, etc) to fully test out these capris

And I just HAD to share this series of pictures because they were too cute not to (even if my downward dog form isn't the best)

And I feel like I need mention their logo. It's the sun rising over the mountains. On March 30, 2016, Lindsey lost her little brother to suicide. The company's logo depicts the saying, "It's always the darkest before the dawn". They hope their logo will be a sign of hope for those people who are in a dark place. Just as the sun rises, good things will come again.

BREAKING NEWS: I'm not just here to tell you about how comfy and cozy these capris are... I'm here to give you an AWESOME opportunity to win a pair for yourself! AWWWWW YEAH! Winning is easy, all you need to do is enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below and then cross your fingers (and maybe toes and eyes while you're at it)! 

This giveaway will run through Monday, June 5th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and have 24 hours to claim their prize. All entries are verified, so be sure to complete them or a new, random winner will be selected (I don't want you missing out due to a technicality).

PS In case you aren't the lucky winner, don't worry, you're still all winners in my book! Use "MCDOT10" to save 10%! 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Tapering for Rock 'N' Roll San Diego


In case you didn't know, it's Rock 'N' Roll San Diego week! Whether you're planning to use one of the RnRSD races to attempt a PR, as a training run for another goal, to tackle a new distance or as a means to party your way through American's Finest City, I wanted to do a quick post on something the majority of us are going through: TAPER TIME! {Feel free to read all about tapering in this Runner's World article (why it's helpful, how to do it, etc).}


I figured I'd share some ideas of what you can do to fill your time during the taper (seeing as you will have more time on your hands since you will be running less). So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my suggestions of things to do while tapering for one of the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego races.

Weather Stalking

Okay, so I know stressing about the weather does very little (seeing as Mother Nature is a beast that has very little regard for anyone else), but I still make sure to do my fair share of weather watching so I know how to plan for the race [i.e. do I need to bring extra hydration / should I pack a rain jacket or duct tape to help "weatherproof" my shoes / etc].


Updating Music Playlists

For those of you who listen to music, make sure to have your jams ready. Some of you may want to rock the same tunes as you used during training (that way when you hear those familiar songs your body 'knows' what to do) while others of you may want to update your playlist to contain a few extra motivational songs and anthem cries. As you can expect, the bands and DJs are a plenty on a Rock 'N' Roll course so it isn't even necessary to bring your own jams, but just in case you desire some specific tunes, make sure your playlists are locked and loaded!

Foam Roll & Stretch

I do my darnedest to foam roll and stretch every evening (although there are some nights where I am just too tired and decide crawling into bed sounds much better), but when it comes to the week before a race you better believe that I am setting aside a chunk of time to roll it out (whether it be your IT band, your quads, your calves, your feet, etc). DO IT!

Review The Course

Knowing the course can have HUGE advantages (when to expect hills, where to be on the look out for aid stations, etc). Although I am one who tends to forget to do much studying of the course map or elevation charts, I know how beneficial they can be... so learn from my dumb tax mistakes and do your homework, one can never be too prepared!




No matter the weather, it is always important to hydrate prior to a race (starting a race dehydrated might be just as bad or worse than starting a race without having adequately trained for it). And hydrating shouldn't start the morning or even day before - make sure you give your body the nutrition and hydration it needs leading up to toeing the starting line!

Although you could definitely "hydrate" with Michelob Ultra, I'd suggest
saving that for your post-race beer and hydrating with some "purple"
Gatorade... Wait, am I the only one who describes flavors by their color?

Charge Electronics

Who wants to show up on race morning with their gadgets and gizmos dead? Uh NO ONE! So while you have some extra time, make sure to grab the power cords and give your electronics {and spare external batteries} some extra juice. This reminds me, if you are traveling to the race, make sure the chargers find their way into your bags.

Decide On Race Outfit

I swear, sometimes deciding on my race day outfit is one of the hardest parts (okay, the mileage is definitely the hardest part, but picking my outfit may come in a close second). Now that you've versed yourself in what the weather will be like on race morning, get your gear ready. (I love taking #FlatRunner photos. Not only does it help your friends know what to look for when they are spectating, but it also helps you make sure you don't forget any last minute essentials.)

This is the "flat" runner my hubby did the night before his last
half marathon... It got a lot of chuckles that's for sure!
Source: @ruggedwoodsman's IG account

Max & Relax

You put in the work, now take a couple deep breaths, trust your training and RELAX! Whether that means taking a couple hours and reading one of your favorite running (or non-running) books, soaking in an Epsom salt bath to relax the muscles, vegging out on the couch to your favorite reality TV show, napping with your favorite four-legged friend, etc., just make sure you take time for YOU! You earned it after all those early mornings, hard workouts and long runs! Your body is physically prepared, now make sure you show up rested and mentally prepared to ROCK San Diego!

Is there anything else you make sure to do during taper time?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 21

Sunday, May 21st – 10 mile run (Goal: 8 @ 8:45 pace, 2 @ 7:15 pace), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, May 22nd – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 3.5 mile run {30 minute run (Goal HR 145-150)}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, May 23rd – 6 mile run (Goal pace 9:35/mile), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, May 24th – 6.11 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 8 x 400 (@ 2:00 pace and 2:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}

Thursday, May 25th –  45 minutes of yoga, 90 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, May 26th –  6.07 mile run {10 minute warm-up, 8 x 400 (Goal 4 @ 1:35 pace, 4 @ 1:30 pace and 2:00 rest between), 10 minute cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, May 27th – Rest Day ("active recovery" - 3 mile hike with the hubby and pup), Stretched & Foam Rolled

I'd say this week was all about progress... not perfection. My hard interval workout (that I do on Fridays) was still tough and I didn't hit all of my paces, but I did better than last week, so that's gotta mean something ;) And now it's almost game time! Next weekend I have two half marathons (the Fontana Days Half on Saturday and the Rock 'N' Roll San Diego Half on Sunday), with one of them being a goal race. I'll be shooting for a new, shiny PR at the Fontana Half (although I've gotta chat with my coach to see if it's realistic with the times I've been running lately). Next week is all about rest, recovery and getting ready!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Favorites

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

REI's Anniversary Sale

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

Free Jazzercise Classes

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


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

Shwings Sale

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

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

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

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Every Day Inspirations

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they simply share a photo or image, but I thought I'd make a little series out of my Wednesdays. And since I love alliteration so much, why not go with Walt Wednesdays (obviously everyone can use a little break from the seriousness, scariness and sassiness of life - and what better way to help put a smile on your face than with a cute wiener dog picture, am I right?!)... So, without further ado...


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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


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

What is a RaceHer Box you ask? 

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

Sounds pretty awesome, right?!

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

The contents of what arrived in my first box

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

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

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


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