Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 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, April HERE, May HERE, June HERE and July HERE. There were FIFTY-SIX in the first seven months, so when I add August's SIX that brings the total for the year thus far to SIXTY-TWO! In case you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them), feel free to check out my previous write-ups when you have time!

  • The Push by Tommy Caldwell - Remember last month when the hubby and I drove to and from San Francisco? Well, I was the one who picked the books. This month, when we drove to and from Lake Tahoe, the hubby picked a title for us. This biography covers much of Tommy's climbing, the survival of a crazy kidnapping and the seven plus year project of climbing the Dawn Wall in Yosemite. I know a decent amount about climbing (thanks to the hubby's passion) and even some about Tommy, but this book went into great depth - not only on Tommy's family life but also the training, patience and dedication required to tackle some of the feats he has under his belt. I don't know if a non-climber would love the book, but it definitely has a ton of insights on endurance, risk, and pushing beyond preconceived limits. I would give it a 6 out of 10.

PS No picture of us with the book since we downloaded
it on the hubby's phone...

  • The Wild Muir by Lee Stetson - John Muir is one crazy cat! He was a naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. This book is a collection of some of his adventures. I love how they are introduced and explained at the beginning (giving background information, dates, etc) and then it is all Muir all the time. Reading about his explorations amaze me. I love that the hubby and I have seen many of the sights he references (although not as up close and personal as he observed them). The only issue I had was some of the language/ spelling is a bit outdated (seeing as he lived in the 1800s), but it's really no big deal. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas - I don't know how I found this book, but I'm so glad I did. This is the story of Ken, who graduated from undergraduate school with mounds of student debt and his quest to become debt-free (even while going back to graduate school). [PS I sort of love this because I was similar to Ken in the fact that I did my darndest to pay off my school loans as fast as possible and had them paid off if less than two years.] Although I sort of wish it was more about his vandwelling, I loved how you went along on his adventures with him for years and saw how he was able to save, travel and live. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • I Was Here by Gayle Forman - Another book that I'm not 100% sure how I came across, but am really glad I did. Although I will be 33 next month, I have no problem reading Young Adult books. This is a fictional story about Cody's journey dealing with an unexpected tragedy, her best friend's suicide. Although the book is fiction, the author based the story on a teen she previously wrote an article about - a young woman who was described as bright, creative, charismatic and non-conformist, but who found a community with a suicide support group and took her life. I admire that this book shows how suicide can everyone - whether they are close to the person or not. I also appreciate that the author not only discusses mental health but gives resources in case anyone reading the book is struggling. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson - I had heard good things about this book so had it on my "For Later" list at the library. When the hubby and I went to the thrift store for the last piece of an upcoming running costume I was told I needed to spend $3 to use my credit card. Off to the book section I went and I grabbed this title for $1 - SCORE! This is a non-fiction book that intertwines the history of the 1983 World's Fair in Chicago and a serial killer. I am normally not a history buff, but this kept me engaged and I was able to finish the book in about two days. Seeing all of the inventions (and famous folks) that came from this era was pretty awesome. Also, I appreciate all of the work the author put into the book (all quotes came from letters, newspaper articles, interviews, etc). I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - A friend was asking me about the books I was reading recently and I told her I had been enjoying the classics (the ones that you normally should have read in high school). She said one of her faves was this book and since I had never read it, I added it to my list. Similar to Anne Frank's Diary or Animal Farm, it is crazy how relevant this book is so many years later. The story follows a futuristic fireman who instead of putting out fires, starts fires to burn illegal books. The part that really stood out was when the author was describing how society was constantly filling their heads with junk - constant chatter - so that the people couldn't think about reality (how true nowadays as well!). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

And with that, my August reading has come to a close. If you have any suggestions on books to grab, let me know! I'm always down to throw them in the ever growing library "for later" queue!

What are you currently reading?

Wednesday, August 30, 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, August 29, 2017

Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport™ Tote (GIVEAWAY)

One benefit of being a part of the #RockNBlog crew is trying out some awesome products. The crew at Eagle Creek, a sponsor of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, wanted to make sure we had the right gear to rock our races in style, so they offered each of us an item just because we rock (okay, maybe more because THEY ROCK, but you get the idea)!

Because I am trying to "live simply", I thought I'd pass along my good fortune to my friends, family and followers! That means the brand new Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport™ Tote will soon be in the hands of one of my lucky readers (and hopefully that special someone is YOU)! This bag is pretty FAN-FREAKIN'-TASTIC with a ton of AMAZING features!

The antimicrobial treatment prevents odor-causing microbial growth (because, let's be real, when you are coming home from a racecation, your stuff can have a funk to it). The TPU-lining allows for easily visibility of items inside the bag. An elastic strap on top gives you the ability to secure yoga mats, foam rollers, beach towels or other items to the tote. The internal organization will keep all of your valuables safe and separated. It is water-repellent and ultra-lightweight. And last but definitely not least, it is completely washable so you can keep it in pristine condition.

The lightweight Pack-It Sport™ Tote is perfect for beach days, sporting events or camping trips, and can pack all the items you need with you on those hectic days. Made with water-repellent and anti-microbial material, this bag is built to keep your contents dry and the odor to a minimum. Pack it, grab it and GO!

Some of my other Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport™organizers
with the Tote in the background

Entering is easy, all you need to do is use the Rafflecopter below and then wait (some of the entry options are available daily, so I'd highly recommend entering early and often to have the best shot at securing some of these for yourself)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through Friday, September 1st at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be contacted via the email address associated with their Rafflecopter account and has 24 hours to claim their prize. US Residents only. 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).

How do you normally carry your running gear?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Muir Woods Adventure

I’m sharing #MiOWhatsNext in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™.

Remember how I shared a couple weeks back about how MiO is helping me to tackle some of my upcoming goals (you know, seeing as the water enhancer is aiding me in my hydration game during these summer months which is of the utmost importance while training for a fall marathon)? Well, if you don't, you can check out that post HERE.

Anyway, just because I've got big aspirations that I'm putting a lot of time and effort into chasing down doesn't mean my life has to be running non-stop, 24-7 (even if that's how my social media can sometimes make it seem).


As many of you know, the hubby and I love to adventure. Shoot, we even recently bought a new #AdventureMobile and customized it a bit to make it more "us" so we can go on more camping trips and exertions.

Our latest adventure was to San Francisco. Okay, okay, some of you are going to call me out on this and say "But Carlee, I thought you went to San Francisco for a race, doesn't that mean your life is in fact running all-day, err-day?!"

Okay, so you're right... BUT just because the main reason for our trip was the San Francisco Marathon (I ran the full and the hubby ran the half), doesn't mean we didn't make sure to take time for our fair share of exploring.

Finisher picture - Aren't we the cutest?! 

We left BEFORE the butt-crack of dawn Friday morning so we'd have the majority of the day to wander through the Muir Woods National Monument (we live about 500 miles south so needed to leave early or risk losing a full day to travel).

Yep, I was up before 3am to start the day... OUCH!

The hubby had never been to the Muir Woods before, so although we didn't want to thrash our legs (remember, we each still had a race two days later) we wanted to see as much of the area as possible.

The entrance to the park 

Prior to our trip, we did some research and found that the Panoramic Loop and the Hillside Loop trails would probably be our best bet. Not only were they off the main drag, but the views were supposedly amazing and they weren't overly strenuous. (Oh yeah, the hubby completed the Adventure 16 3-Peak Challenge a few days before {climbing the three tallest mountains in Southern California within 24 hours} so we let his body dictate what we planned to accomplish.)

We ended up with 9.5 miles of hiking (definitely not the way to "save our legs" but the trails we found online were a bit misleading and it took us a while to get to them) and really got to take in the sights and sounds of the Redwood Forest.

Moss growing on the fences along some of the paths

The redwoods are soooooooo tall (and old)

You can see the ocean in the distance on a clear day

Look up, WAY UP, and I'll call Rusty... (Can anyone {other than my mom} name that line?!)

Now, not only were we adventuring, but we also had to be smart about hydrating for the races we had coming up 36 hours later. Thanks so MiO we were able to live more, do more, be more and play more. We brought the Original Lemonade MiO with us and it was a great break from the plain water we had been drinking on the drive up. [PS Can I just say how difficult it is to hydrate on a road trip?! Talk about constant bathroom stops!] The small bottle is not only convenient (we threw it in our hiking bag without fear of leaking or spilling), but it packs a big punch.

We always try to squeeze in as much as possible on our trips, and I'd say we definitely did that in San Francisco!

PS If you're interested in some of the other adventures from our trip and missed the posts the first time around, head over now to give them a read. The San Francisco Marathon Race Recap // The Walt Disney Family Museum

When you travel, do you like to see the sights and sounds or do more relaxing?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 34

Sunday, August 20th – 16 mile run (Goal: 8 @ 8:00, 8 @ 7:35), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, August 21st – 6 mile run (Goal HR 150), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, August 22nd – 7 mile run {1 mile warm-up, 10 x .25 mile hill repeats, 1 mile cool-down}, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, August 23rd – 6 mile run (Goal HR 150), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, August 24th – 18 mile run (Goal: 9 @ 8:15, 9 @ 7:45)

Friday, August 25th – 2 mile run (Goal HR 150), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, August 26th – 11.58 mile run (Goal: 1 mile warm-up, 4 x 400 {at 6:40 pace w/ 2:00 recovery}, 8 x 800 {at 7:00 pace w/ 2:00 recovery}, 4 x 400 {at 6:00 pace w/ 2:00 recovery}), Stretched & Foam Rolled

We had plans Saturday night that I knew would keep us out "way past my bedtime", so I decided to swap around a couple of my runs. Instead of my track workout on Thursday, I moved my long run in its place (normally it would be on Sunday). Then, instead of my rest day being on Saturday, I swapped it with my track workout (that was now moved to Sunday). This meant that I would be able to take my rest day on Sunday (and sleep in) while still getting in all of my necessary workouts. It does make my mileage look extra high this week (66.58 miles - WOW) because I technically had two long runs, but it'll even out with a low mileage week next week.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Favorites

F to the R to the I to the DAY! The hubby comes back today from his fly fishing trip (he's been in Montana with his dad for the past week) and I am excited to spend some much needed time with him (and friends). Not only am I pumped for his return, but I'm also stoked to share my current Friday Favorites with some of my favorite peoples... YOU!


A sweet friend of mine, Katrina, had an AMAZING idea. She wants runners to spread LOVE. The idea is simple. On Saturday, August 26th, participate in the virtual #UnitedInLoveRun. Run any distance and post a photo (selfie or non) making a heart with your hands and smiling to share light in the world with others! We will run together, no matter where we live or what time we do it that day, to fill our social channels with symbols of LOVE and TOGETHERNESS.


The Mitten State's College Collection Release

I've mentioned The Mitten State on here a couple times, but I've gotta share this new line! If you know me, you know I LOVE college football (but I guess going to the University of Michigan and growing up in the Midwest will do that to you). Well, just in time for the first kick-off, The Mitten State has released their new college collection. Let's just say that a TON of the U of M gear has made its way onto my Birthday and Christmas lists ;)


Some of my faves that I don't currently have in my closet ;)


The hubby and I watched this Netflix documentary last weekend. It is definitely eye opening to the plight faced by African Americans (and the roll that history, politics and the prison system plays in their fight). Powerful, informative, moving and well put together. This is definitely not a happy, feel-good movie, but one that you should still give an hour and forty minutes of your time to. It's time to take a stand and make a difference. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

#WeRunSocial Disneyland Half Meet-Up

The hubby and I will be heading to Anaheim next weekend for the Disneyland Half. It was my FIRST half marathon in 2012 (and his in 2013), so I try my hardest to return every year to run it. I've got my costumes ready for both the 10K and half, as well as the hubby's costume for the 10K [I will post a #FlatCarlee the night before the race to reveal the characters I will be running as]. If you will be in the area, you should come to the #WeRunSocial meet-up on Saturday. It's always a GREAT time with tons of AMAZING runners! Come - sip, selfie and socialize! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Wiener Dog Song

And because some times you just need something that makes you smile and chuckle... I present the Wiener Dog Song!

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Food Tracking Update

Do you remember the post about my new healthy habit of tracking my food?! Well, if not, you can check it out HERE.

And if you don't remember and you didn't read the previous post, let me give you a brief synopsis. As of April 24th I started tracking my food with the My Fitness Pal app (PS This post is NOT sponsored or affiliated with the app, it just happened to be the one the majority of friends recommended and the one I've been using for the last four months).

I did not start tracking as a way to lose weight, but as a way to gain knowledge. I had little idea of what an actual serving size looked like, how much sodium was in certain foods, the amount of calories I was burning during workouts, etc.


I have mentioned it a couple times on social media, but I think that this healthy habit has been a total game changer!


And although I'm not focused on losing weight (but gaining health), I've actually lost a few pounds while on this journey.

PS Yes, I know I removed the weight from the graph... The numbers don't matter!

But aside from a number on a scale, I am feeling fitter, leaner and stronger! I know that running and eating right doesn't build muscle (thanks to Robin {@knead_to_cook} for hammering that point home frequently ;)), but it has made me feel less "fluffy" and allowed some of my previously hidden muscles to make their presence known ;)


As most of you know by now, I am very much a Type A personality. Having this app has definitely made me think about my food choices (having to fess up and put in so many serving sizes, looking at how many calories I have eaten during the day, seeing when I am doing "mindless" eating, etc) much more than I had previously. I may be a little more lax with the exact measuring (mostly because I now know what a specific portion looks like of the foods I eat on a regular basis), but I am super pumped I not only found this app but have stuck with this habit.


PS At no point during these last four months have I felt like I was depriving myself. I see eating healthy as just another way of caring for my body, similar to running or getting adequate sleep. If there is something that I want to treat myself with (whether that's Halo Top in the evening or #AllTheChipsAndSalsa), I just try my best to make sure it fits into my day. (PPS I use the calorie allotment as a model, but am not super strict since weight loss is not my main focus.)


Do you track your food?

Wednesday, August 23, 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, August 22, 2017

REVIEW: Stitchburgh Boutique

I don't know where my recent affinity for cross stitch came from... It is normally not the esthetic I am drawn to... But for some reason, I have been on this kick for it lately and had an apostrophe.

What if we got a couple pieces for the #AdventureMobile?! I mean, they're light so can easily be hung. If you didn't see my recent post, we've been doing a little "remodel" to make the van more "us" and some art would be the perfect touch.

I did what I normally do when I have a question/ need/ dispute and put it out on social media. Since I obviously don't cross stitch (my running costumes involve limited sewing... the hot glue gun is my BFF), I thought I'd ask to see if any of my friends did. A friend of mine referred me to an Etsy shop run by one of her friends - Stitchburgh Boutique.


Once I checked out the shop, I fell in love and quickly found some contact info for the owner, Jaci. I shot over an email to see if she'd be interested in doing some custom pieces for our #AdventureMobile. Graciously she agreed and I sent her over a couple ideas that the hubby and I had. (Since I know nothing about cross stitch, other than I think it's cute, I thought I'd run our ideas by her since I wasn't sure what would be considered "easy" vs "difficult".)

Just a few of my favorite designs that Jaci has made!

Based on the sizes, designs and our budget we edited our ideas down and decided on three final pieces.

Jaci was super easy to work with. She gave us an estimated timeline and was realistic with what she could do. She uses a water soluble marker to draw on the fabric (which washes out when she finishes) so you can okay it before she gets to stitching. She also sent over a few progress shots so we could get an idea of how everything was coming.

I wasn't digging the "font" of the first draft (I really love her cursive script) and since the pieces will be going on an aqua area in the van,
we decided to change the fabric color. 

From concept to work in progress to further along towards completion. 

Getting the final "okay" before finishing them up and shipping them off.

When the pieces arrived, we were SUPER STOKED! We went out and bought some adhesive so that we could hang them in the van immediately. We love how they look and feel as though they fit perfectly with the vibe we are going for!

If you are ever in the need of cross stitch pieces, I would definitely recommend Stitchburgh Boutique. Shoot, I think some of her other pieces will make it on my Christmas list for sure! Make sure to check out her Etsy store HERE, follow her on Facebook or on Instagram, and email her at for custom order requests.

Do you know how to cross stitch?