Friday, August 31, 2018

August Books

I am stoked that even with our MoviePass membership, I am still getting in a decent amount of books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;)

There were FORTY-FIVE books in the first seven months of the year, so when I add August's SEVEN that brings the total for 2018 thus far to FIFTY-TWO! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to check out my previous recaps - I try to post them on the last day of the month! {January's Books / February's Books / March's Books / April's Books / May's Books / June's Books / July's Books}

  • To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - So, remember last month when a sweet friend of mine had sent me a bunch of Young Adult novels she thought I would like? Well, this month she sent me a few more recommendations and our library happened to have them in stock! She actually sent me the trailer of the Netflix movie but mentioned she had read the books and loved them so I wanted to give them a go (especially if I was ever planning on seeing the movie). This was the first book in the trilogy and I gobbled it up (like I started it in the morning and had finished it by the early afternoon). The premise is the main character wrote her five crushes letters to get over them, addressed them and hid them in her closet... until one day they are somehow mailed out and she has to deal with the fallout that ensues. It is teenage drama and YA fiction as its finest. The only bummer part was they fact that my library didn't have the second and third books available to read right away so I had to wait to find out how the story continued. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Runner's Guide to the Meaning of Life by Amby Burfoot - I was going through the closet to see what books I could give away (always looking to simplify and minimize) and came across this one. I remember liking it, but wasn't sure if I liked it enough to hold onto it or if I should find a new home for it. Seeing as I was waiting on some of my next books to become available at the library I figured I'd read through this one to make a decision about if it was going to stay in my collection or not. It is a quick read (maybe an hour or two). The chapters are quick snip-bit essays, each focusing on a different life lesson Amby's learned over his long (and pretty stellar) career of running. Overall I'd say it is a pretty simple book, but has some great insight throughout. I think I will bless someone else with this one, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth the read. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Last Season by Eric Blehm - This is another book I grabbed while waiting for some of my picks to become available at the library. The hubby actually finished it a week or so before I read it (and, lucky for me, hadn't given it back to the friend he borrowed it from). He isn't much of a reader and really enjoyed this one... and let some of the details slip when he was reading it, so there may have been a few spoilers I knew before I started, but it was still worth the read. It's an account of a backcountry ranger who went missing while on duty and the search and rescue efforts that ensued after his disappearance. "Ranger Randy" sounded like an awesome guy with a ton of love (and knowledge) for the great outdoors and left us with many lessons - like taking the time to stop, look around and enjoy the beauty around us. It is quite the reminder that no matter how skilled you are, we must be extra cautious because nature always wins. As I am sure you can guess from the topic of the book, this is not a happy go-lucky, feel good type read, but it was still one I would recommend. And now I want to head to the Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks... like today! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han - Yup, this is one that I had anxiously been awaiting for from the library. In fact, as soon as I started the first book in this series (which I read at the beginning of the month) I got in line for books 2 and 3 on my library's wait list. Well, let's just say I couldn't wait any longer for one to become available at my normal library location so I went out and tracked down the "bookmobile" that still had one in stock. I flew threw this book in a single afternoon (what can I say?! I love me some YA love stories). I can't say for certain if I like this one or "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" more, but maybe that's because I feel like this is just a continuation of the original story so it isn't really fair to have to pick which one is better ;) I was a little sad when Josh (their neighbor) wasn't a bigger part of the story, but was glad to see more of her crushes get involved in this one. Now to wait till the library opens so I can grab the final book in the series. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han - All good things must come to an end eventually, right?! At least that's what I told myself when I started this book... The last in the "Lara Jean" series and I was excited to get into it but sad because I knew the end would come sooner than I would like. But then I remembered they were releasing a Netflix series at the end of the week so I could at least "relive" some of the moments onscreen ;) I didn't realize that this series was only originally the first two books (seeing as I just found them a week or so ago) because this one fit in perfectly with the other ones and truly wrapped up the story so well. I sort of love that the popular guy was the one that was so in love. I mean, don't get me wrong, Lara Jean was definitely head over heels in the relationship, but I feel like so often stories portray the girls as the love-struck one so it was nice to see it a little from the other perspective. I would have loved a little more focus on the relationships in this book (if felt like it was more centered around school than the previous two books), but understand that this is "real life" when it comes to high school seniors. Overall I flew through this book, wish there was more to come, but am satisfied with how it turned out. Thanks to the author for indulging me and my YA love for a good three days or so ;) Now to find the next series! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • I'm Still Here (Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness) by Austin Channing Brown - I don't remember how I came across this title or when I added it to my library list, but I am so glad I did. This is a memoir written by a racial justice leader about her experience growing up as a Black Christian female in middle-class America (actually right across the Michigan/ Ohio border from where I was raised). The book is extremely powerful and personal. I'll be honest, it is hard to read at times because racism and white privilege is so ingrained in our American society that often times it is invisible to the white race and we become numb to it. I appreciate Austin's bravery for putting her experience on paper. This book forces you to take accountability and take action. It isn't enough to just say the right things, we've gotta walk the walk! I would definitely recommend folks read this - no matter what race, religion or gender you identify as. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver - A friend of mine had read this book on a recent backpacking/ camping trip and thought I would really enjoy it. I was stoked that our library had it, especially since it was originally written in 1991. I was hoping to love this one (since my friend had talked it up so much), but I would say it wasn't my favorite. Don't get me wrong, it was still really good, but the storyline didn't get me hooked like some of my recent reads had. I love that it was about a strong woman finding her place in the world, how it incorporated topics such as politics, water rights, Native Americans, etc, and how all of the characters felt extremely real and relatable. The story itself is fiction, but the underlying themes are just as relevant today as they were in the 90s and earlier. I think the slower pace of the book might have been what didn't have me absolutely loving it, but I still flew through it in a day and a half or so. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

With that, August has come to a close. My reading may have slowed, but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my queue if our library offers them!

What was the best book you read this month?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Movies of the Month {August}

A few months ago the hubby and I signed up for MoviePass memberships. They recently changed the program away from the original unlimited option to a 3 movie-per-month deal. Although going to the theater has never really been my jam, it speaks the hubby's love language so I'm collecting some 'wife award points' and the hubby is getting entertainment ;). {FYI - On Tuesdays, our local theater's movie tickets are discounted for $7 a piece, but otherwise the cheapest you can find is $10.70 for a matinee... which means if you go more than once a month you're technically saving money, so three for $9.95 is still decent pricing!} Since we're seeing more movies now, maybe you wanna know our thoughts on them.

So, let's get into it already, shall we?! I mean, that's why you are visiting the blog today, right?! You all are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to get our thoughts on the movies we saw... I guess you can call us the new Siskel and Ebert!

The Spy Who Dumped Me

I don't think this normally would have been one I would have seen in the theater, but with our MoviePasess potentially on their way out, we figured 'why not?'. The hubby and I both thought it was decent. I wouldn't say it was amazing, but it was entertaining and had us LOL'ing a few times. As I'm sure you can imagine, this movie is definitely more about the jokes than the plot, but still... it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple hours. The violence is comical and over-the-top. I really like Mila Kunis and thought she did a great job in the role. Overall I think it could have been a bit shorter (I noticed myself checking the time once we got near the 90 minute mark), but other than that it would be a fine rental flick.


Eighth Grade

I am not sure why, but I was really looking forward to this movie. Maybe it was because school was "the worst" and I thought we could all commiserate about that with this film. Whatever the case, I walked away disappointed with this one. It sort of felt to me like they were just playing up the awkwardness and nothing else really stuck. With that said, it did make the hubby and I chat for a long while about the effects of cell phones and social media on kids/ growing up/ etc. When we were growing up, we had dial-up AOL at most (and Facebook had only started when we were in college and you had to have one of a few specific university email addresses to have access to the platform), so it's sort of crazy to think about how inundated younger generations are with the social media culture. PS While looking for a photo to use for this one I saw many of the reviews for this movie were incredibly positive, so I guess to each their own ;)



With all of the recent changes with MoviePass, we were trying to figure out which movies we could actually see when we noticed the new Spice Lee film was available for us at our local theater - YUP! This film is based on a true story of an African American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. The hubby and I both wanted to see it when we first saw the trailer and walked away very glad that we saw it. Originally I thought it was just going to be an interesting comedy featuring some cool cinematography, but it was so much more than that. The film not only focuses on the racism back in the 70's, but it is also politically relevant to the current state of our country. And the last few minutes of the movie - WOW! That's all I can say; I really have very few words... I can totally understand why Spike Lee is receiving all of the praise he is for this film! It left us both thinking about things for a long while after the film ended. I would definitely recommend everyone go out and see it, but I do want to warn you - there are definitely some hard to watch scenes.


Mile 22

The hubby (and, if I’m completely honest, probably me too) loves just about anything with Mark Wahlberg in it, so we knew we had to see this one when it came out. I figured it would be your typical action movie, but I was actually surprised that there was a little more plot than I was expecting. It definitely kept us both on our toes and kept us guessing (normally I feel like most action movies are pretty predictable and you are just in it for all the action). No spoilers from me, but at the end I was even a little confused and had to think through back through the movie to put all the pieces together. Sort of feels like they were setting up for a sequel... I think this would be more of a rental for me, but still entertaining.


Crazy Rich Asians

So I've been in line at the library for this book for months (and I think I'm still #8 in line), but I figured if we didn't see it now I'd have to wait until it came out on DVD, so we went to the theater before I read it. The hubby was actually down to see it (although RomComs aren't normally his cup of tea) and we both walked away really enjoying it. I was fun with all the feels thrown in for good measure. I'll definitely be giving it a read when I get my chance (I am in the camp who believes the books are better than the movie adaptations 99% of the time). It's sort of like a modern-day Cinderella (but in Singapore) and I love it. We need more diversity on screen and I'm stoked to see the tides changing a bit. Again, RomComs aren't ones I normally say are a "must see" in the theater, but if you are looking for one to see, this one will do the trick!


And with that our August movies have come to an end. We were able to see 5 movies (our subscription renewed on the 25th so from here forward we will only be able to see a max of three movies per month {or pay for them in addition to our membership fee}). I think that is what you consider a WIN for the McDots ;) With our MoviePass membership, our movies each cost approximately $1.99 a viewing - a MAJOR savings compared to actual box office prices! BOOMSHAKALAKA! (FYI We have not decided if we will continue with our MoviePass subscription much longer, especially with all of the new changes, but currently we are riding it out and taking advantage of it for as long as we can.)

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 34

Sunday, August 19th – America's Finest City Half Marathon, Stretched & Foam Rolled

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

Tuesday, August 21st – 9 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, August 22nd – 4 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, August 23rd – 90 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, August 24th  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, August 25th – 9 pace mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

So, I skipped my hill repeat workout I was supposed to do on Thursday... My left hamstring has felt "less than 100%" since the race on Sunday so I decided to give it a little extra rest and ride on my stationary bike instead. I wouldn't say the rest fixed it completely, but by the time my 9 mile run came around on Saturday it was more of a dull annoyance than a painful pain. (PS I didn't hit my GMP miles on Saturday {goal 7:37/mile, actual 7:47/mile}, but I was trying to keep it a bit dialed back as to not aggravate my hammy more.) Here's hoping I can continue to take it easier and be back to normal soon!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday Favorites

If you have been following my #Carlees34 on IG then you know we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Taco Tuesday this week (since they were the recipients of my Day 14 act of kindness) which means no Mexican food tonight... but that's okay because I am surprising two of our friends' kids and taking them to see a live taping up Fuller House! But before I grab them from school and head to the Warner Bros Studios, I wanted to share what I have been loving lately.

Hello Rainbow Sweatshirt

If you were to look in my closet, you would see A LOT of t-shirts. And one of my favorite brands is Hello Apparel. I have a ton of their stuff and am LOVING some of their new releases. I mean, the new rainbow sweatshirt is a MUST! It's so cute!


REI's Used Products

Did you know REI sells some of their products used at discounted prices?! I had no idea until I saw an email earlier this week! REI inspects gently used items that have been returned and selects the best. Then they put it up for sale so that it can get back outside where it belongs. When you buy used gear from the co-op, you keep an item out of the landfill and cut down on the production of new stuff. Bonus: You save moola (who doesn't love saving green while being green?!).


Netflix True-Crime Docuseries

The hubby and I have been on a kick of crime docuseries on Netflix recently. The last couple we have watched have been The Staircase, Evil Genius and The Keepers. I swear, they always leave you guessing "whodunit". I guess unless someone comes out and flat out admits to the crime there will always be some speculation on who did it, what exactly happened and why. I guess real life isn't like Law & Order where they neatly tie up all the loose ends in a 50 minute span. 

Andrea's Vlogs

Remember how I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was surprising some of our friends' kids with a trip to see a live taping of Fuller House?! Well, in case you aren't in the LA area but still want to get a taste of what goes on around the studio (and in the daily life of Andrea Barber), you should check out Andrea's new vlog series. She currently has two episodes on her YouTube channel and I can't wait to see what she (and Michael) put out next!


Wild Keeper Applications

If you've been around these parts for a while you may remember that I was a Wild Keeper earlier this year with the brand Keep It Wild. I loved being a part of the crew but opted out on reapplying so that other folks could have the opportunity. I had a handful of you asking about how you could officially be a part of the program. In case you're interested, they'll be opening applications for the Fall Term next week (on August 31st). To be notified when the apps open, fill out this form.


What are you loving lately?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

America's Finest City Half Marathon Race Recap

This past Sunday morning was the 41st Annual America's Finest City Half Marathon!


And, although I've lived in San Diego since 2006 (wow, can you believe it's been over 12 years?!), this is the first time I've run the race. Now, because I believe in transparency, I need to let you know that I received a free entry to this race in return for a few social posts, but that will not change my recap in the slightest - you know I've always gotta #KeepItReal!


I'll be honest, one of the main reasons I've never run this race is because it is in the middle of August... when it tends to be HOT and, in recent years, HUMID. But, if you remember, this race fell on the exact weekend I needed a half marathon for my Ventura Marathon training plan so I decided to suck it up and go for it. #MotherNatureBeDarned

If you haven't read last week's post with my goals for this race yet, I'd suggest popping over and giving them a peruse before you continue with this recap so you know what my game plan was going into the race. Don't worry, we'll wait ;)


And now that we're all on the same page, let's continue ;) As you saw, one of my main goals was to "be brave". I figured, I might as well go "all the way" and make this the first race as part of the #SportsBraSquad. Yes, I've run around town in my sports bra many-a-times but showing up to a race without a shirt is something I've never been bold enough to do - till now.

My first #FlatCarlee without a shirt (EEKS) included: Navy Dot PRO socks, navy Brooks FastForward Crossback sports bra, royal blue
Sparkle Athletic skirt
elite Road ID, sunshine trucker I made, black and blue QALO silicone wedding bands, navy and teal Momentum
Jewelry wraps
, Nathan handheld, PROBAR BOLT chews, Garmin Forerunner 935, and Brooks Ghost 11 (with navy Shwings).

This race is a point-to-point race, meaning you start 13.1 miles away from the finish line (instead of starting and finishing near the same spot), so there were a few logistics that needed to be worked out. All of the runners had to take race supplied shuttles to the starting line (the start was at a local national monument so due to safety and security purposes you couldn't get there by walking, ubering, etc) which were scheduled to run from 4 to 5:30am. Since I was able to work into my agreement that I could pick up my bib on race morning, I knew I needed to allot myself some extra time to get to the parking lot, grab my bib from the finish line festival, put my participant tee back in my car and then get to the shuttles to head to the start with ample time (I would much prefer to be an hour early than feel even the slightest rushed). With that said, my alarms had to start MUY early! (My game plan was to be up around 2:15am so I had time to eat, get ready, use the potty, etc, and be on the road by 3:15am, getting me to San Diego by 4am and hopefully on the buses by 4:45am.)

Thankfully there is like ZERO traffic on the roads at 3:30am so it was easy peasy getting down to Balboa Park. I got to the parking lot right around 4am and made my way to the finish line festival. Let me tell you, I'm SUPER APPRECIATIVE when events offer race-day bib pick-up (especially since normal weekend traffic to San Diego and back would probably take 2-3 hours for a 2 minute bib retrieval) - although, $20 does seem a bit steep for this feature if you ask me.

As you can see, there was no one else around so I flew through check-in

And on my way back to the car to drop off my participant tee I stopped to use the brand new port-o-potties. Sometimes it's the little things that make runners people happy - like port-o-potties that haven't been used before and have NO LINES!

It's the thing runner's dreams are made of ;)

Since grabbing my bib took no time, I had a few extra minutes to hang out in my car before heading to the bus line.

Eventually it was time to walk over to the buses (they were filling them two at a time, which was nice, so we didn't have to wait more than say 3 minutes before we were boarding). The ride over to the start was a breeze (although the bus was a little chilly due to the A/C blasting - but I knew soon enough I'd be begging for the cooler feel so didn't get too upset ;)).

It's not the temperature but the HUMIDITY that is killing me...

When I got to the starting area I jumped in line for the potty (even if I don't have to go, I always get in line because the wait normally tends to get a bit out of control the closer to start time it is) and then made my way to find folks I knew. One of my friends, Megan, was helping to pace the 2:45 group and I wanted to see her so went to track her down.

Around 6:15am I said my goodbyes to Megan and made my way up towards to the start. They had large banners on the sidewalk with estimated finish times (1:30, 1:45, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45 and 3:00) and then the pacers were spread out within that area. I had originally told the hubby that my goal was to start behind the 1:35 pacer but try to keep them in my sights. Well, although I could have sworn that the website said there would be a 1:35 pacer, there wasn't, but, I think it worked out for the best. I situated myself between the 1:30 and 1:40 pace groups and got ready to go.

A little nervous, but when you're chasing goals they should feel a little out of reach, right?!

As I mentioned, my game plan was to try and #BeatYesterday (if everything worked out, I would be running away with a shiny new PR) while I did my darnedest to #BeBrave... I wasn't planning to run to the point of puking or anything like that, but I still wanted to know I did my best and left it all out on the course (a couple of weeks ago I ran the Balboa 8-Miler and finished disappointed because I felt like I gave up on myself when it got hard, so I wanted to try to avoid that at all costs).

Since I was "racing" this one, I kept my phone in my Nathan handheld - so you'll just have to trust me when I say that the course was pretty beautiful. I have run my fair share of San Diego races but the fact that this one started at the Cabrillo National Monument made it special. The first two miles you are running through a national cemetery. I'll be honest, I was worried that it would feel creepy, but it was awesome (and the perfect time to reflect on life when starting to get into the groove of the run). I've run other parts of the course during previous races, but that doesn't make them any less amazing just because I've "been there, done that". San Diego is truly a stunning city and it was on full display during this race.


The first 8 miles of the race are downhill. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some rolling hills thrown in there (which I guess I wasn't 100% expecting), but overall you have a decent net drop for the first two-thirds of the race. Looking back, I probably should have reigned myself in a bit at the start because I knew the uphills came in the last third of the race, but I figured I'd rather go "balls to the wall" and fade than play it safe {FYI this is NOT a pacing strategy I would recommend ;)}.

A friend of mine, Eric from San Diego Running Co., snapped this action shot of me around Mile 7.5

Seeing as the first 8 miles were downhill, I felt strong during them. In fact, after the race I looked at the "achievements" and it showed that I beat my current 1-Mile, 5K and 10K PRs during this race thanks to the loss in elevation. {FYI - These are not necessarily things you want to see when racing a longer distance... it normally means you're running too fast.}

My current 5K PR is 22:26 and my current 10K PR is 47:02.

Once I hit Mile 9, though, I could tell the fatigue was setting in. The temperatures were starting to rise (when I got to my car it said it was 83* out), the humidity didn't appear to be backing off and the hills were coming quickly. My quads were starting to feel like rocks and my left hamstring was tightening up on me. Let's just say it didn't appear to be the recipe for success... but no matter what the clock said when I crossed the finish line I knew I wanted to keep fighting the good fight (at this point I stopped looking at my watch... I knew that no matter what it said I wasn't going to be able to give it more gas and didn't want to be bummed if I saw a pace slower than I wanted, so I just averted my eyes... #IgnoranceIsBliss).

How rude to put a hill at the end of the race... 

I knew the BIG hill started around Mile 11.5, once we turned onto Sixth Street, so I had prepared mentally for it (in fact, during my #Carlees31 project the hubby and I went down and spectated this race and stood on the hill to try and encourage runners to keep pushing). I told myself that if I needed to walk, I could, but I wanted to make sure it was a physical need and not just me giving up because it was getting tough... And, you know what?! I ran the whole thing! Now, looking at my splits I didn't run it fast (especially in comparison to my other miles), but I ran each and every step!


Once we finally crested the hill, it was on like Donkey Kong. I tried my best to give it everything I had left in the tank and make my way to the finish line. Once I got close I heard Rudy, my favorite announcer, give me a shout out (I love when he's at the races - he truly is THE BEST), I pointed up at him, said a little "thanks" and crossed the finish line!

You can see Rudy up in the announcers booth in the shadow ;) 

Like I said, I hadn't been looking at my watch for the last 4-5 miles so I had no idea where I was at. Once I finally had a second to check I had to chuckle... You see, my PR going into this race was 1:38:38 from the 2016 Fontana Days Run Half Marathon. Well, my watch showed 1:38:37... Yep, one second faster... I normally try to start my watch before I cross the starting line and stop it as I'm crossing the finish line so I was hoping I had a little wiggle room, but there was a possibility my watch was off from the race time and I didn't get a new PR - only time (and the official results) would tell.

Runner's High - Still Legal In All 50 States ;) 

But crossing that finish line I truly felt like I had succeeded. Races aren't about times for me, they are about running with friends, enjoying life and seeing what I can do when I put my mind (and body) towards a goal. I am definitely happy with my effort - especially on a difficult course! (I would be lying if I said I gave 110%, because, let's be real, I never got to that "I'm going so fast I am going to puke if I push any harder" place, so maybe I was still a little too comfortable in my pace and could have given more, but I am still going to consider it a win in my books because I never gave up on myself!)

Starting around Mile 9 I was dumping cups of water on myself to try and cool down, hence
the sweaty, glistening mess ;) 

And, in case you were curious, the official results came out and I actually did PR by TWO seconds - 1:38:36. Overall I came in 151th place (out of 3,528), 34th female overall and 10th in my age group (which is a very competitive age if I do say so myself). You can see from my splits that once the flat and then uphill hit my fate was sealed, but I will be proud of my valiant effort and say "a PR is a PR is a PR!" I know I have a faster time in me, but on a different course (hills, heat and humidity are not your normal equation for PRs). But, with this being a check-in race for my fall marathon PR attempt at the Ventura Marathon in a little over 8 weeks, I will say we are progressing nicely and I'm happy with where I'm at!

A big thanks to all the volunteers, spectators and race officials on the course making sure we had the best experience possible - YOU ALL ROCK MY SOCKS! And MAJOR PROPS to the team at In Motions Events for the comped entry!

Would you prefer to race on a flat course or a downhill course?