Friday, March 31, 2017

March 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 it, I posted about the books I read in January HERE and February HERE. There were TWENTY of them in the first two months, so when I add in March's SEVENTEEN that brings the total to THIRTY-SEVEN! In case you're interested in what I read or my take on them, feel free to check out my synopsis (and how I'd rate them)!

  • #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso - I was really hoping I would love this book (and get a ton of ways to be a kick@$$ female), but it was more of a memoir of how Sophia created Nasty Gal. Don't get me wrong, the story is definitely interesting (and it was a really quick read), but I didn't feel as though I walk away with any action steps - but maybe that is just because I am not a #GIRLBOSS... I would give this one a 5 out of 10.
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance - I have heard great things about this book, and I would say it didn't disappoint. The hubby actually grew up in Centerville, OH (his dad working for Proctor & Gamble) so I was interested in reading about someone who grew up with a completely different lifestyle. J.D. does a great job depicting his life. He doesn't claim to know the answers on how to fix the problems in the white working-class, but offers honest feedback of the reality that many find themselves in. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - Another book that came highly recommended. At first I wasn't sure if I could get over all of the talk about suicide, but eventually did. The story reminds me a little of Mr. Fredricksen from Up (in fact, in my mind I picture Ove as just a taller, buffer version of the Pixar character). The story is super sweet, with quite the cast of characters to share the feelings of both hope and despair. It will make you smile, laugh, and, yes, probably cry, but the best stories do, don't they?! I would give this one a 9 out of 10. 
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines - Okay, let me start off by saying I LOVE THESE TWO! My mom jokes that Ryan and I are like them because Ryan is so off-the-wall like Chip and I am the one that has to reign him in and try to keep him on task. Anywho, I was STOKED to hear that they came out with a book and gobbled it up as soon as it became available for me at the library. Learning their backstory made me love them even more. I love how they put God, each other and their family first. They have been beyond blessed and they haven't taken an ounce of it for granted. They are super down-to-earth and I am thrilled to hear that fame and the spotlight hasn't changed that for them. If you like their show, "Fixer Upper", on HGTV, then this is a must read! I would give this one a 9 out of 10.
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness - A moving story about a boy who is dealing with the terminal illness of his mother. The illustrations throughout the book add to the tone and feeling of the writing. Although the book is found in the Young Adults section, it is a story that is deeply touching to anyone who gives it a read. (And apparently folks have thought it was super good because they made it into a movie... one that now I will have to watch!) I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman - We actually read this book as part of a study with our growth group this semester (and finished it in March, hence why it is appearing in this list). There are definitely a ton of nuggets that the hubby and I are taking away from this book. (We both have Quality Time as our primary love language and Acts of Service as our secondary, but we definitely "speak" different dialects within the language.) Although we used this during our church Bible study (for "young marrieds"), the principles translate across faiths, relationships (marriage, friendship, familial, etc) and stage of life. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom - I read this one many years ago (Mitch Albom lives in Michigan, so I had to pick up a lot of his books when they were first released) and loved it just as much this time around. This one is a super quick read and such an interesting story. It is so fascinating to think about how everyone's lives are intertwined and how one person can impact another without even fully realizing it. "...the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one." I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne - Another book that I read back in the day (this is actually my copy, not one I grabbed from the library). I saw it in the closet the other day and wanted to pick it up again. I love how Shane not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. The challenge to put LOVE and OTHERS first is always one that I take to heart (although, when we are honest with ourselves we never know how great we actually measure up). Even though this is not "Bible", just teaching about the Christian life from an author, it always hits home for me. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • For One More Day by Mitch Albom - When I was in the library last week picking up a couple books I saw this one. I had read some of Mitch's other books and thought I'd grab this one. His stories are always quick reads that make you think. I love how he ties in elements of his own life into the stories he shares. I feel like I always walk away after finishing his books with a smile on my face and a resolution to live better and love deeper. I would give this one an 8 out of 10.
  • Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist - I had heard such great things about this book that I was excited when I saw our library carried it. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the book, maybe some suggestions on ways to change your life, but whatever it was, it didn't come through. I felt pretty disappointed throughout the entire book. It was like the author spent the whole time saying that her life used to be hectic and always chasing movement and perfection and busyness but now she isn't. But how? Why? What tips and tricks do you want to share with the rest of us? "Make the decision to slow down." "Get a basketball hoop." "Throw candy." Again, maybe those resonated with others, but for me I walked away expecting and hoping for so much more. I would give this one a 5 out of 10.
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - I was chatting with the hubby a few days ago and mentioning how a lot of the books you were "supposed" to read in High School I never did (thank you Cliff Notes), so I thought I'd grab a couple of the 'classics' now that I am actually reading. This was the first one and I now know why everyone says it's a classic. It's an easy read, but choked full of great insights. No matter what side of the tracks you live on, you always think the grass is greener elsewhere... but life is all about what you make of it. "Stay gold, Ponyboy." I would give this one a 9 out of 10.
  • small great things by Jody Picoult - This was another book recommended by a friend but I didn't know what it was about before checking it out. Let's just say I LOVED IT! I love how it was written (there were three main characters in the story and each chapter was written in first person by one of them, so it was interesting to see how they felt about certain situations). Without giving the story away, it centers around the issue of racism. I appreciate the way that the author shows that even without being a Skinhead, there is still an issue of institutional power that needs to be dealt with. It may make some of us uncomfortable, but I think it helps shine a light on a something that most "white folk" tend to ignore because THEY CAN. I would give this one a 9.5 out of 10.
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - Another book that was recommended to me by a friend, and another one that I couldn't put down! I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this title but I enjoyed it from start to finish. I will be honest, at the beginning it was a little difficult to keep all of the characters straight, but after a few chapters it wasn't too terrible. A little about the book - it's a murder mystery. If you know me, you know I love me some Law & Order, so this kept me engaged the entire time. I enjoyed that the novel started by mentioning a murder but you really don't even find out who dies until the last couple chapters - totally keeps you guessing (and wanting to read on). I would give this one a 9 out of 10.
  • Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom - Seeing as I have already read two of Mitch's books this month, might as well throw in a third, right?! I was excited to give this one a read - more of a "true story" than his other books (which are more novels that have their basics grounded in real life). This one tells about two men, one older rabbi in New Jersey and one younger pastor in Detroit, and how they both have impacted Mitch's faith. I would give this one a 7 out of 10.
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - I bet you're tired of me starting my recaps with "yet another book I knew nothing about", but hopefully by now you realize I take everyone's suggestions and give them a go. This is another one I hadn't heard about but found to be a great read. I guess you'd consider it a romantic comedy, where the main character, Don, sets off on a "Wife Project" (an effort to find the perfect mate with a 30 page questionnaire he created) and is sidetracked by another project. This was an easy read, but at times I was a bit uncomfortable because Don, a man with (undiagnosed) Asperger Syndrome, tends to gloss over or make light of autism. (I am no expert in the field, so maybe I was just reading a little too much into it, but I did appreciate that the author at least broached the subject.) I would give this one a 7 out of 10.
  • The Girls by Emma Cline - This is not one that was recommended to me by a friend, but one I saw on a "Must Read from 2016" list and figured I'd grab it. It started off slow (when I was 75 pages in I actually thought I might give up on it because I was a bit bored), but it definitely draws you in. The story features a Manson-ish cult and is told from the perspective of a somewhat outsider. It actually had me thinking about how 'easy' it could be to fall into the "wrong" crowd and end up so far down a road you weren't expecting, while never really knowing how you got there in the first place. I would give this one a 6 out of 10.
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom - I figured I might as well round out March with another one of Mitch's books (and probably the last one I'll read for a while). I have read this book in the past and it is just as good this go around. It really reminds you how precious others are and what the truly important things in life are. Mitch recounts his "classes" with Morrie, after his teacher/ coach/ friend has been diagnosed with ALS and knows the end if eminent. "The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." I would give this one an 8 out of 10.

And with that the month is complete. I have no idea how I was able to read 17 books in one month (the amount I was hoping to read over the entire year), and I doubt I will be able to keep up at this pace, but thus far I have been totally enjoying it. PS If you have any suggestions on books to grab, let me know! I'm always down to throw them in the queue!

What's your favorite book?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Three Things Thursday

Okay, so normally I would do this post tomorrow, for my Friday Favorites, but my book recap has to be posted on the last day of the month (at least that's what I am telling myself), so I moved this one up a day and slightly changed the name (what can I say?! I love me some alliteration ;)).

IRL #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K Group Runs

As you hopefully remember, last week was the deadline to register for the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K (crossing my fingers you all got in before it closed). Well, in case you registered for the run but hate the idea of running "alone", there are some group runs being organized! And, if you're lucky, there one may be near you to join! So far runs are being organized in Orlando, FL; Salisbury, MD; Orange, CA; Boston, MA; and Eau Claire, Calgary. For more information about each event, check out Sparkle Athletic's "events" tab on Facebook. PS The hubby and I are in for the Orange meet-up Saturday morning! Hope to see some of you out there!

Handful's Spring Line

Okay, so I had this whole grand idea of doing a post specific to the new Spring Line from Handful (and even modeling all of the gear that they sent me), but then I got self conscious... I told myself it would be vain of me to post the pictures, not to mention I do not feel fit or strong and was pretty embarrassed of the way I looked anyway. But just because I am not sharing my photos doesn't mean I can't share about the AMAZINGNESS of the new line! Handful has added BOTTOMS, more TOPS and even more BRAS (including new patterns AND new styles)! PS The newly redesigned website looks AMAZEBALLS too if you haven't noticed! {And if you use "CARLEEMCDOT" as the discount code you will save 10% on your order - SCORE!}

Momentum Jewelry SALE

If you follow me on social media, there is a 99.9869% chance you have seen a picture of my wrist and therefore a piece of Momentum Jewelry. I love their motivate wraps (and just about everything else they offer). In case you are like me and you LOVE bright colors, it's your lucky day! Momentum is having a SPRING SALE on some of the wraps - 15% off specific colors! These are great for yourself or as gifts for others (stock up for stocking-stuffers, milestone achievements, birthdays, etc). This sale is only until April 15th, so hurry on over and order TODAY!

What are three things you are STOKED about today?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Some people will do a "Wordless Wednesday" post, where they just 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)... So, without further ado...


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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 12

Sunday, March 19th – Los Angeles Marathon, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, March 20th – 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, March 21st –  10K run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, March 22nd – 60 minutes on the stationary bike,  Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, March 23rd – Strength Training (abs, back, legs and arms), 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, March 24th –  Solo 15K run & 3 mile run with the hubby

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

PHEW! 52 miles and I am TOAST! I think I definitely earned my rest day this week! Now less than two weeks before I tackle the SoCal Ragnar Relay as part of the ULTRA #TeamSparkle! We've come in FIRST PLACE out of open female ultra teams the last two years (and third overall in all ultra teams last year), so it's time to get down to business!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's that time again. Not only is it Friday, but it's time to share some of the things I am stoked on. I'll keep it short and sweet, but two of the three are UBER IMPORTANT that you look at TODAY. So don't dilly-dally, okay?! Let's do this!

The Runner's Guide to Disneyland

One of my AMAZING friends had written a book to help runners prepare for their race(s) at Walt Disney World. It was a HUGE success. Well, I'm sure you can guess the obvious next step, right?! DISNEYLAND!

Similar to its Walt Disney World counterpart, amazing tips are included all throughout the book. From preparing for race day, packing tips, information on hotels and restaurants, must-stop photos, tips for spectators, and how to survive the back-to-back challenges, you're sure to find great information to make your runDisney race weekend an awesome one.

This book was a long time in the making. A Disneyland-based mastermind of runDisney enthusiasts was put together to ensure the important information was included throughout the book. If you plan on running a race at Disneyland any time soon, I'd HIGHLY suggest grabbing your own copy of this terrific resource! Order your's HERE.

Los Angeles Marathon / Conqur LA Challenge FLASH SALE

Hopefully you've read my Los Angeles Marathon Race Recap (if you haven't, don't worry, I won't hold it against you, but check it out HERE if you're interested). If any of you are interested in running the Los Angeles Marathon or participating in the Conqur LA Challenge (the Santa Monica Classic 10K, the Pasadena Half Marathon AND the Los Angeles Marathon), then NOW is the time to register. And by NOW I mean before midnight tonight... They have a FLASH SALE going on right now ($160 for the marathon or $295 for the set of three races) and it will NOT last! Register TODAY!

#TeamSparkle Virtual 5K

Just like the FLASH SALE, registration for the #TeamSparkle Virtual 5K closes TONIGHT! Your $35 registration fee will not only earn you a sparkly die-cast medal and official bib, but all of the profits will go to Girl Power 2 Cure and finding a cure for Rett Syndrome! PS Rumor has it that FIVE lucky registrants will win a $25 Momentum Jewelry Gift Card (don't worry, everyone else will get an AWESOME discount code with their goodies even if you don't "win"). PPS (or is it PSS?!) If you are in the Orange area next Saturday, join us for the "IRL Virtual 5K"! The hubby and I will be heading up to meet up with other #TeamSparkle members to get in our 5K together! And if you aren't in the area, talk to your friends, grab your co-workers, coerce the family and run/ skip/ cartwheel your way through the 3.1 miles as a crew!

Alrighty, now that I've shared mine, it's your turn to let me know what you are digging lately! Leave a comment below to let me know something I should check out soon!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Four Months and Counting

When we were in Phoenix, Brian (aka Pavement Runner) was 'joking' with me and said I should run the Ultra San Francisco Marathon (or is it the San Francisco Marathon Ultra or maybe the San Francisco Ultra Marathon?), which entails starting at midnight and running the official course backwards (without road closures, course officials, spectators, etc) and then joining the rest of the runners to run the route the "correct" way at 6am... In total, running 52.4 miles...


AND I LEGIT THOUGHT ABOUT IT! At first I laughed it off, but then I got to thinking and although an Ultra isn't on my "must do" list right now, I'm sure we can all agree it's just a matter of time. But after some soul searching, I decided it probably wasn't best. I mean, I wanted to but I probably shouldn't, right?! (Ha, I'm still trying to talk myself out of it.)

Originally I was thinking that if I would make this my first Ultra, then maybe the hubby would make it his first full... And just like me, he pondered the idea for a good while (until he saw the training necessary). We thought it would be pretty awesome because we would both tackling a new goal, a new distance, and crossing the final finish line together.

Hubby and I after the Phoenix Marathon
(I ran the full and he rocked the half)

But when logic and reality settled in, we decided to make the "smart" choice and downgrade. We are still going to tackle the hills and majesty that is San Francisco, but I am planning to conquer the full marathon while the hubby is going to join in for the first half (The San Francisco Marathon offers two half marathon options - the first half or the second half. We thought I'd be fun if he could start with all of us running the full and potentially run him to a new half marathon PR.).

So, tentatively the game plan is for Brian to run the Ultra (he so cray-cray) with a bunch of us joining him for his second portion and us dropping off the hubby half way through our journey.


But that's not all.

I'm hesitant to share this on here because the InterWebs can be a harsh place, but I finally decided that I needed/ wanted some accountability so I would put it out for the world to see. Go BIG or go home, right?!

Although I'm not going for a world record at the San Francisco Marathon (remember, the game plan is to run with Brian, who will have already run a full marathon at that point), but I want to show up to the starting line in AMAZING shape.

Obviously "AMAZING shape" is relative, but the point is I want to work to get back to my "fighting" weight and fitness.

I have gained a few pounds recently (probably due to the fact that I was dealing with injury issues as well as what feels like a never ending taper) and it is NOT sitting well with me. It doesn't necessarily have to do with the number on the scale (although seeing it was a bit of a shocker), but more that I don't feel strong, don't feel confident, don't feel like a BA. (Okay, that may be going a little too far, seeing as I don't know that before I 100% felt confident or like a bad@$$ before I added the extra weight, but you get the point.)


I'm planning on implementing small changes (more water, less snacks, more fruits and veggies, additional core work, etc) in hopes to arrive at the starting line of the San Francisco Marathon on July 23rd feeling fit, fast and free.

(Oh yeah, and in case I haven't mentioned it before, my ultimate goal is to attempt another BQ at the Chicago Marathon in October, so this training plan will be building towards that as well... I tell ya, there is no "off-season" for a runner.)

Who will I see in the Golden City?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Walt Wednesday

Because sometimes you just need a break from the seriousness (and scariness) of life... So, without further ado...


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

Monday, March 20, 2017

Los Angeles Marathon Race Recap

Yesterday morning I ran the 32nd Annual Los Angeles Marathon.

As you know, I was lucky enough to be part of the Conqur Endurance Group Ambassador team this past year. They are the parent company that puts on races such as the Santa Monica Classic, the Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon. As part of the ambassador program, we were given free entry into these races... but with that said, you know I gotta #KeepItReal and will give you my honest opinion of everything (the good, the bad, the ugly)!

Although LA is only about 80 miles north of us, with SoCal traffic it can take anywhere from 1.5-3 hours to get there... and Saturday I drew the short stick and it ended up taking 2.5 hours to get to the Convention Center for the Expo.

Thankfully the Expo is very efficient and well run. (Sidebar: I saw in one of the emails that parking at the Convention Center would be $20-25. I have been up there enough to know there are some side streets you can park on and walk over... FREE OF CHARGE... So do your homework, get in a few extra steps {I parked within a quarter mile and it only took about 10 minutes to walk} and save some cash if the Expo you are attending charges for parking.)

I was able to grab my bib, participant tee and official Skechers Performance shoes (thanks to my Conqur hook-up), stop by a couple booths to say 'HI' to vendors and friends, as well as snap a couple of pictures (including my entry for the #PhotoWithLinzie contest I mentioned in my Friday Favorites post).

Can't wait to see who won the #WeRunSocial prize pack and $100 to a charity
of their choosing! 

If you look closely my name is right at Linzie's eyesight! How fun (and random)!

On the way to my hotel (PS I stay in Culver City... it's about 15 minutes away from the Santa Monica shuttles and much cheaper than staying closer to the start or finish), I grabbed a Subway sandwich for dinner to eat once I checked in.

With St. Patrick's Day on Friday, I figured I'd go with a leprechaun theme for
my #FlatCarlee. Two Pair Don't Care PROs (green & yellow), green Handful bra, green
Sparkle Athletic skirt, gray tank, homemade rainbow hat, black and green QALO
silicone wedding bands, green and yellow Momentum Jewelry wraps, green RoadID,
my Garmin Forerunner 735XT, and my Brooks Ghost 9 with lightning bolt Shwings.
Also, since it was a full marathon I ran with my Nathan handheld and fueled
with PROBAR Bolt chews.

After eating my sandwich, doing a little reading and foam rolling it was time to hit the hay.

Don't worry, I rolled over every half hour to make sure I didn't miss
my alarms... and was out of bed before 3am anyway...

Since this is a point-to-point race, the majority of folks park at the finish line and take shuttles from Santa Monica to Dodger Stadium - which is what I find easiest and most convenient. Parking and taking shuttles adds to your pre-race time so I ended up having my alarms start by 3:15am so I could be ready and checked out by 4am, over to the parking lot by 4:20am (PS Another great option is the pre-paid parking... All you have to do is buy it online, print out your parking pass and bring it race morning, less things to worry about!), on a shuttle by 4:30am and at the start by 5am.

When you stay at the hotel on your own you have to get good with
your self timer for pre-race shots!

Well, what do they say? Something about the best of plans? Let's just say that the shuttle line this year was CRAZY! I got to the parking lot by 4:12am and in line for the shuttles shortly after that. Last year I waited maybe five minute as they had tons of volunteers counting runners off and filling up buses. This year not so much... I literally stood in line for 35+ minutes and moved very little. I was finally on a shuttle by 5am. (Not to mention, they had the bank of port o potties on the sidewalk right next to where you got on the buses... where people were lined up for the shuttles... so there was no real easy way to get to them or use them...)

As we were getting on the shuttle there were a few folks towards the front of the line who were giving out the plastic bags our bibs and tees came in for gear check, but no one seemed to be looking at or inspecting the contents of anyone's bags so it doesn't seem like it was a security check... Once we got on the bus there were quite a few folks complaining about the long wait and how if they kept it up all morning there would be lots of late runners to the race.

The shuttle ride was pretty uneventful... until the exit to get off the freeway was closed. There were signs saying the exit would be closed EXCEPT FOR BUSES, but the cones and barricades were stopping everyone INCLUDING BUSES from getting through. The bus driver decided he would have to take the long way around and go with the cars. We tried to enter the car route but a police officer directed us elsewhere... And then we got to another officer who told us we would have to turn around and go back to where we came. The driver tried to explain that the exit was closed and the last driveway sent us there but he wasn't having it. Well, when the bus started to do a u-turn some of the runners asked if he'd just let us off where we were and we could huff it to the start from there (no one wants to sit in traffic and have anxiety about being late to a race, even if that means walking an extra mile to the start). Thankfully he was kind enough to open the door and let us off. (There appeared to be quite a few buses behind us and were planning to follow suit.)

I was supposed to be meeting the Conqur Endurance Group Ambassadors by the Hospitality VIP Tent at 5:30am for a photo, so I did a brief warm off by speed walking over, hoping I wouldn't be later than I already was. I was pleasantly surprised to find the tent (and accommodations) SO MUCH BETTER than last year! The tent was heated, there were bars/ bananas/ race fuel/ coffee/ water/ Gatorade and there were many more port o potties for everyone to use (they also had some fun goodies like water diffusers and Air France canvas bags but since I wasn't checking anything I didn't have anywhere to store the freebies)! There were even yoga mats and foam rollers to use - nice touch!

This crew... 100% ROCKSTARS! 

After the crew assembled and talked strategy, we all wished one another the best of luck and made our way to the corrals (the seeded corrals close by 6:30am, so if you don't get in by the cut-off you have to start in the open corral).

Dodger Stadium... It's been real but I gots ta go!

I found myself in B Corral thanks to some past fast races so did a little stretching before we sent the wheelchairs, handcycles and elite women off. Then it was time for the elite men and the rest of the crowds to hit the streets of LA.

My Garmin was ready... but apparently that was about all that was ready to run!

I didn't have a goal for the race. Originally I had applied to SET A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD at the race but that didn't pan out. (Let's just say the folks at Guinness made me rather upset when I sent them my #FlatRunner picture and they came back telling me I needed to add a whistle AND be wearing it, only to send them a photo of me in the gear and get a response that lifeguards can't wear sequins a week later... Well, thanks but no thanks!)

When that idea went out the window (about a week before the race, which is when I had to scurry around to figure out a new outfit to wear), I decided I would run LA for fun. The Los Angeles Marathon was teaming up with Snapchat to make history and cover the course with over 40+ geofilters, so I thought I'd spend the race snapping away... That was until I remembered I didn't really know how to use the platform {DOH!}.

I loved the idea of the selfie wall at the Conqur booth... but the
lighting was HARSH on my selfies and this is what I got when
someone offered to take my picture... Not exactly the best frame job.

Well, if you follow me on social media I bet you can guess what comes next... I am pretty glad I didn't have a plan, because said game plan would have been thrown out the window very early on in the race. By mile 3 my legs felt like lead, by mile 8 I was dumping water on myself at every aid station to cool off (I realize the weather was MUCH BETTER than it has been in recent years, but I was expecting cloud cover and I don't think we had any between miles 1 and 25) and by mile 10 I wanted to walk the rest of the course.

I don't know if my legs were heavy as heck because I ran a marathon three weeks prior, because I started a squat challenge at the beginning of the month or if I was just having an off day. Whatever the case, my quads felt like rocks and any incline was a killer. I took walk breaks when I needed (after mile 13 I swear I felt like I was walking more than I was running), stopped to talk to friends and snap pictures, finally realizing that it just wasn't my day.

Not the race I was hoping for, but marathon #11 is now in the books!

Even if my body didn't have the race I was expecting, the race itself (the course, the volunteers, the spectators, the men and women protecting the runners and the streets, etc) was AMAZEBALLS! I know I am not a huge fan of Los Angeles as a whole, but it is mostly because the traffic (and maybe their sports teams)... So when you can take a 26.2 mile tour by foot (faster than you could by car), it is AWESOMESAUCE!

I made sure to give out TONS of high-fives and as many "THANK YOU"s as humanly possible. We pay to run these races, but the volunteers and spectators are giving up some of their precious time to try and make our day the best it can be... and just out of the kindness of their hearts!

At first I asked if one of the officers could take my picture in front of the Beverly
Hills sign, and then they joked and said I should really get a picture with one of the
officers in the picture too - well DUH! Then the photo guy asked me if he could take
a similar picture for their social media accounts and ended up sharing it on their IG
account over the past couple days! @bhpd_90210

Puppy kisses?! Don't mind if I do ;) 

I also try and get as many kids involved as possible. This may be the first time they're experiencing the running bug, so who wouldn't want it to be the best possible experience?! Give them a high-five, thank them for being on the course, tell them you're proud of their family member or friend running, snap a picture with them. It makes a difference, I promise!

Let's just say the streets were very safe with these little super heroes keeping everything under control!

Sometimes Most of the time (at least for me) races aren't about a finishing time, they're about time spent with friends, time spent doing something you love. Sure, not every race will be a PR or a pain-free run, but you better believe I do my darnedest to find happiness every step of the way (otherwise I might as well save LOTS of cash and sleep in).

Got to run with Pam for a mile before she left me in her dust. Shortly after that Monica caught up with me and let me hang along for a couple
miles before she dropped the hammer on her way to Boston in a few weeks.

I want to give BIG PROPS to all of my spectating friends on the course. I was able to stop and chat for a few seconds with most of you and you'll never know how much that meant! It was just the little motivation I needed to get me to that next stop light, to that next water station, to that next marker I told myself I needed to make it to. Spectating is often a thankless job (one that can often be harder, in my opinion, than running the race), so I want to tell you again, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! Your cheers, high-fives and encouraging words mean more than you may ever know!

This sign right here... It means SO MUCH! Especially when you see it while
you are driving the struggle bus all over town!

I am not lying when I say that runners make the best friends! THEY ROCK MY SOCKS!

And who can forget about the folks who were handing out chili dogs, otter pops, Red Vines, bottles of water, ice chips, wet wipes or BEER?! Yup, like I've said before, the city truly comes out to embrace the marathon and loves its runners (even if they don't totally understand our craziness)! It's a legit party from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica pier.

Since I was an ambassador I saw the bling a while back, but isn't
she purrrrty?! And she is double-sided too! 

Which reminds me, if you want to take part in the festivities next year, NOW is the time to register! I would watch @lamarathon's social media accounts for when they open registration (normally they open it shortly after the race concludes AT THE LOWEST PRICE POSSIBLE and it only stays open for a few days). Whether you live in the area or are planning to make the marathon a part of your racecation, make sure to put March 18th, 2018 on your calendar.

Have you ever run a race faster than you could drive the course on any given day?