Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 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, July HERE, August HERE and September HERE. There were SEVENTY in the first nine months, so when I add October's SIX that brings the total for the year thus far to SEVENTY-SIX! In case you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them), check out my previous write-ups when you have time!

  • How Bad Do You Want It? by Matt Fitzgerald - This is actually the second time I have read this book. The first time was last year, but with the Chicago Marathon coming up I figured it'd be beneficial to read it again. This book is all about mental fitness. And the hope is at the end you become your own sports psychologist. The pages aren't filled with techniques or exercises or a list of "how-to's", but true stories of overcoming which become "teachable moments" when viewed through the lens of the mind's role on endurance performance. This book does not claim to be a step-by-step guide on how to fortify your mental fitness, but one filled with real life stories of endurance athletes (most of whom are at an elite level but are still relatable) who used specific coping skills to better their performances and data to prove how these skills can aid others (like you and me). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan - This was a suggestion a friend saw in a magazine she subscribes to. It was in the book recommendations under "foodie". I wouldn't say I'm a foodie, but I chuckled because with the Chicago Marathon coming up I knew I'd be carb loading and what better way to do it than with sourdough ;). Once it became available at my library I scooped it up. I really enjoyed this book (and actually read it on my flight from San Diego to Chicago). It's a story about a programmer in San Francisco turned baker. It sort of reminded me of Ratatouille (the hubby calls me "lil chef" because of it), even though there are no talking mice in the book. And the author is from Michigan so it's gotta be good, right? I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Since I finished Sourdough on the flight to Chicago, I needed another book to get me through my flight home. While exploring the city, I stopped into a used book store and looked through some options. This was one I hadn't read before, so I picked it up. I have to say, it wasn't as quick of a read as I was expecting, but I think that is due to the dialect... Normally I am a pretty fast reader, but I really had to think about each word individually rather than them naturally flowing together so it took a little more brain power. It was still a great read. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Noticer by Andy Andrews - I don't remember where I got the recommendation for this book, but I'm glad I picked it up. It was a quick read (I got through it in about three hours), but a great little story about an old man helping to spread perspective to those around him. I appreciate the way the author takes self-empowerment tools and uses a novel to display and teach them to the world. So many little nuggets of wisdom to incorporate into your own life - how not to squander your thoughts or words, how to plant seeds in the lives of those you touch and how your actions make your life matter (and matter forever). "The best is yet to come." I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Stronger by Jeff Bauman - This book was actually written in 2014, but it has resurfaced recently because of the movie adaptation (starring Jake Gyllenhaal) that is currently in theaters. Originally I was thinking about going to see the film, but because of my reaction to Patriots Day earlier this year I decided maybe I should read the book instead (in case I needed to put it down or stop it at any point). This is a memoir of the 2014 Boston Marathon bombing survivor, Jeff Bauman. I flew through the book, finishing it in less than a day. The majority of the book focused on Jeff's resiliency and fight to get back to "normal". I'm not sure I will see the movie, but did appreciate reading about Jeff's daily battle. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - I had heard great things about this book and actually looked for it at the used book store while in Chicago but they didn't have it. When I was grabbing some books from the library I made sure to check this one out. It's a story about a shepherd boy traveling through the desert in search of his Personal Legend and a treasure. The fable reminds us never to give up hope and to chase down our dreams with everything we've got. Oh yeah, and the fact that the greatest treasure is always found within ;) It's short and simple, but definitely worth the read. I would give it an 8 out of 10. 

And with that, my October 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?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 43

Sunday, October 22nd – 6 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, October 23rd – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, October 24th – 4.25 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, October 25th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, October 26th – 10 mile run

Friday, October 27th – 45 minutes of Yoga, 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, October 28th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Slowly but surely I am getting back into the swing of running (I took two weeks "off" after the Chicago Marathon and am starting to ramp up again seeing as I have the Phoenix Marathon in February, Los Angeles Marathon in March and Boston Marathon in April). We were camping at the beginning of the week and then we came home to TRIPLE DIGIT temps so I decided to pull back a bit, but still am trying to get in some additional mileage.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Favorites

It's that day again... The best day of the week... The day that the hubby and I go to our favorite Mexican restaurant and chow down on ALL THE CHIPS AND SALSA (yup, that is just about every Friday - not only am I a cheap date, but I am very predictable)! Oh yeah, and the reason you're here...  It's also time for me to share some of my recent favorite finds.

The Handmaid's Tale

Normally I tend to steer clear of movies that are adaptations of book... You may be asking yourself "why?" and that's because normally the books are so much better! Although I told myself I would avoid watching the new "The Handmaid's Tale" series on Hulu, I heard enough raving reviews that I thought the hubby and I could give it a go. Although they definitely took the liberties to add/ change parts, I think it did a fairly good job at staying true to the book. PS There will be a Season 2 (and it will be 13 episodes instead of 10 like the first season), but I'm not sure what will happen, since they've finished all of the material from the book {sources say it'll be darker than the first season}.

The Mitten State Michigan Hoodie

It's football season (and eventually it may be hoodie weather here in Southern California), so you know I am loving the new releases from The Mitten State. They recently announced some of their new sweatshirts and I am loving the new Michigan Wolverine one. If we weren't trying to simplify I would have totally ordered it already... but maybe Santa reads my blog and will bring it to me for Christmas ;) I promise, I've been a real good girl this year!


Halloween Candy

Normally I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I appreciate that Halloween candy tends to be pre-portioned out in a smaller size (because I'm NOT the only one who will mow through an entire bag of Target Sour Soft Watermelon Chews even though there are six servings in the bag... I'm not the only one, right?!). And thanks to the Treadmill Ratings & Reviews website, we now know how many of the fun-sized candies we can devour based on our running distance (and weight) ;)



It’s Rett Awareness month and we’re posting photos and videos of ourselves wearing our clothes on backwards. But why? Because Rett has been reversed in the lab and we want to fund the research that will #ReverseRett in the 350,000 people that suffer from this debilitating disorder around the world. You can learn more and donate HERE.


If you saw yesterday's blog post, then you already know about the Rolflex... but if not (shame on you... KIDDING!), think of it as the foam roller re-imagined. The hubby and I have been using it for a couple weeks now and are in love! He swears by it for his climbing muscles and my running muscles are in heaven because of it. It is so much easier to use than a traditional foam roller (you can use it standing or sitting, no need to lay down on the ground) and can really target your problem areas. And if you want to try one out for yourself, you better enter the giveaway I've got going on!

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, October 26, 2017


A couple weeks ago, while the hubby and I were at the Rise Up Run for Las Vegas, we got to chatting with Patrick who works for Rolflex™. He had actually sent me a message on Instagram prior and I was stoked we were able to connect.

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for any period of time, you know I am just as serious about recovery as I am about training. Rest and self-care are part of the program! And I'm always looking for ways to aid my running, which could be anything from a new stretch to a strength training workout. That's where the Rolflex™ comes in!


Think of Rolflex™ as the foam roller re-imagined. It was designed to provide an easy way to amplify pressure using the power of leverage to effectively apply pressure anywhere on the body, as needed. The intuitive design of the Rolflex™ allows users to relieve the tight overused muscles that come from doing any sport, job or activity. It was specifically designed based on the anatomy and biomechanics of the human body. The unique shape provides awesome leverage with laser-focused pressure without restricting motion, creating an unparalleled therapeutic release of tension.


Coincidentally the hubby was looking for something like this to help his weary climbing muscles. It's difficult to use something like The Stick one handed when trying to roll out your forearms (I'm not always up or available when he gets home from the gym). The Rolflex™ has been a Godsend to him recently and he is STOKED to have been introduced to it! (Although he loves using it for his arms, neck and traps, he has just recently started training for his first full marathon {the 2018 Mesa-PHX Marathon} and has also really appreciated using it on his calves, quads and IT band.)

I personally love using the Rolflex™ in conjunction with my foam roller, but I could totally see it being a one stop shop. Currently I use my roller on my quads and IT band, but then use the Rolflex™ to get more targeted areas like my calves and feet. I've found it easier to use since you don't have to hold your bodyweight up with your arms and simply pinch the contraption to get more leverage and precision. You can really dig in and get those spots that need the attention/ focus.

PS Can we talk about how easy it is to pack this when you are on the go?! No need for a mat to lay on,
just grab the cinch bag and go! And you can do most of the options either seated or standing - SCORE!

The website is super helpful. The Rolflex™ has user guides with suggestions on how to use it for different muscles, but the website allows you to click on specific areas on the body you want to target and will pull up instructional videos.

Because both the hubby and I have found it super easy and convenient (although, let's be honest, just like with the foam roller, we tend to have a love/hate relationship with it), we have both been using it very frequently. We will reach for it so we can randomly use it while sitting in the living room watching football or throw it in the car when we head out for a morning run. The hubby even asked if he could "borrow" one so he can keep one with his climbing gear.

In case you haven't been to the website, you may not know that they offer an "Original" and "Pro" model. We have been trying them both out and love each of them! The Pro model has new dual stability rollers to allow for even deeper trigger point therapy and more balanced approach with pinpoint accuracy than the Original—relaxing muscles and alleviating pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release. The Pro’s ergonomic design enables you to effectively self-massage over nearly every muscle of the body, including hard-to-reach areas such as elbows and knees.

I love spreading the word about local companies (they're located just up the street in San Marcos), but it's even better when they have a product that I believe in and stand behind! Both the hubby and I are stoked to have found Rolflex™ and I know our bodies are better for it as well! We will definitely be using it for years to come.

And because the guys at Rolflex™ are da bomb dot com, they're offering one of YOUPro model! Not only that, they will include a one-on-one video call (Skype or FaceTime) for a demo to make sure you're getting the most out of it!

Entering is easy, simply put your name into the hat via the Rafflecopter widget below (some entry options are available daily, so I would highly recommend entering early and often to have the best shot at securing this prize for yourself)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through Wednesday, November 1st 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. 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).

What is your preferred way to recover during your training?

Wednesday, October 25, 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, October 24, 2017

GUEST POST: Unexpected Training Bumps by Amanda

The hubby and I are currently out of town. With both of our jobs being a little unconventional right now (we both work from home), we decided to jump in the #AdventureMobile and head to Joshua Tree for a little camping trip. I will be sure to catch you up on our adventure when we return, but I didn't want to leave you twiddling your thumbs with nothing to read in the meantime. I asked around and found the PERFECT guest blogger for today - Amanda (I mean, not only is she a joyful runner but she loves chips and salsa almost as much as I do, so she's gotta be awesome, right?! SPOILER ALERT: SHE IS!). So, without further ado, please join me in giving her a hearty CarleeMcDot.com welcome!

Hiiiiii! I’m thrilled to be a guest blogger this week, talking about what to do when the unexpected comes your way during a training cycle! I’m Amanda (aka “the running señora”), wife for 11 years, mother of 2 girls (7 & 5), and a preschool teacher. I’ve been “running” for the last decade or so, but picked up the pace while training for a sprint triathlon last summer. I discovered a new love and passion for this sport that drives & challenges me, and makes me endure setbacks. I’m attempting my first full marathon in just a few weeks in Savannah, but the road hasn’t been so easy.

The first 8 weeks of training were practically perfect in every way. I hit every split, interval, and hill, all while gaining distance week by week.

But one Saturday morning in September, I made it 18.84 miles when suddenly, my left knee/leg completely stopped going. I later learned I was struggling with a bit of ITBS. I hobbled back to my car sobbing and accepted that my perfect training cycle was now altered. Would I get to keep running and still keep my BQ goal in mind? Was I still in the game? Is it alright to eat chips and salsa every day to cope? (The answer to all is: YES.)

Because of injury and travel, what has followed in these last 6 weeks is probably the most unconventional method to training for a BQ at your marathon debut (Yes, I still claim that I want it)! But this is what I’ve learned from it all.

Injury takes time for recovery, but it doesn’t take away your value as a runner. After collapsing after the almost-19 miles that morning, I quickly learned that my body sometimes has to throw in the towel and recoup. I may not be running 50-60 miles/week of intervals and long miles, but I’m still working hard through whatever miles, coupled with strength and cross training. The training isn’t as intense nor as long, but I’m still running and moving forward.

Find your time. With two active daughters, a preschool teaching job, a family to manage, and other interests to foster, the days are busy. For me, running at pre-dawn is the best option. I wake at 4:15 am for quiet time, then I’m out the door by 4:50 am to meet up with friends or head to the gym.

When my husband was out of town for 10 days last month, I ran miles when I could, took my girls for workouts with me, and swam when they had swim practice.

It somehow worked, and I had a nice balance of hard training and extra needed rest. I allowed the busy days go by as “off” days, and tried to tackle a run the next time I could fit it in. Find a time that works best for you, and be flexible when the daily routine changes!

Traveling can make exercising difficult, but not impossible. At the last minute with 4 weeks before the marathon, I hopped on a plane and went to Honduras for a 10 day mission trip. At 4,000ft elevation and in one of the most poorest and dangerous communities in the city, I couldn’t lace up my shoes and run. In order to keep moving but not risk my life, I stacked up HIIT workouts throughout the week and dynamic stretching that kept me sweating and completely out of breath. My first run back on US soil was a strong and easy 7 mile progression with strides. Sometimes our physical location doesn’t allow us to run. And that’s okay – find something else to make it work. More than likely, it’s just a brief interruption to your regular training schedule.

No matter what: Keep the JOY. The rule is, if I wake up and “don’t want to,” then I don’t. It’s not my goal to resent the miles or the sweat. I run because I can, I love it, and it’s liberating – so why not be joyful through it?! One of my most enjoyable races was so phenomenal because I smiled, sang out loud, high-fived spectators, and cheered on the other runners. A positive spirit is contagious, encouraging, and life-altering!

So, whatever it is you have on your plate and however your training cycle is going, keep at it – even when the setbacks come your way. Keep your goals in focus, work hard, and just move forward. You’re bound to learn a few lessons along the way, and you’ll finish stronger from head to toe, no doubt.

Will you join in giving Amanda a HUGE round of applause?! I absolutely loved this post and her journey! I cannot wait to follow along on race day to see her become a marathoner! You know I'm pulling for her to get her BQ too, right?! If you love Amanda as much as I do, please make sure to follow her on whatever social media platforms you use!

                    Instagram: @amandaghent
                    Twitter: @ajghent
                    Facebook: Amanda Jackson Ghent
                    Blog: The Running Señora 

What do you do when something gets in the way of your training?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Processing the runDisney News

If you are in the running community, especially the runDisney running community, you've probably heard the news... Not only that, you've probably heard and seen the outrage (and maybe even felt a little of it yourself)...

It's only fitting that the OC Register would use a picture of Richard in their article... He was always a staple at these events!

runDisney announced on Wednesday of last week that it would be canceling its race events at Disneyland Resort starting in 2018. Races at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris will remain in place. The reason given for the cancellation was they believe the new Star Wars Land and Disney hotel construction will greatly impact the races.


Let's just say that runDisney runners are a passionate group, which can be seen not only in their costume creation but also in the outrage that surfaced once the announcement was made. I saw folks claiming they deserve not only refunds (which they will be given) but refunds PLUS INTEREST for the registration fees they had paid. #Ouch

These people be CRAY-CRAY!

You know I gotta keep it real, so here goes... When I first heard the news I was relieved {and a gasp broke out over the crowd}... Hear me out... The 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon was my first half marathon and the reason I got into running from the get-go. I returned to the Disneyland Half every year as a way to celebrate my running anniversary.

Crossing the finish line at the 2017 Disneyland Half (my sixth year running it and my
fifth year running the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge)

Well, let's just say that over the years the races have lost a little of their magic in my opinion. Maybe it was me, maybe it was the sense of corporate money grabbing, maybe it was a little of everything... Whatever the case, I knew that when registration opened for the 2018 race that I would have a hard decision on my hands (which I alluded to in my recap).


With the canceling of the Disneyland races I no longer have to make that call. It's done and the verdict is in.

Not only was I relieved to have the decision made for me, but we will save upwards of $750 for ONE race weekend (registration for Dumbo Double Dare {which included a 10K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday} was $350, the hubby usually ran one of the races which was another $200, and hotel was at least $200 for two nights). runDisney prices were always steep, but in the past I paid them happily... recently I struggled to justify the enormous price tags.

I used to throw my money freely at runDisney events... but now think of all the
races we could run or the adventures we could take...

But runDisney events are not only about the miles and medals, they're about the people. Although my wallet may not be mad, my heart is super sad. I have a ton of friends who come into town to run the runDisney events and the thought of seeing them less makes me want to cry. I know I've said it a billion and a half times, but the running community truly ROCKS MY SOCKS and I'll definitely miss seeing everyone during those four race weekends throughout the year.


My heart may be torn, but like the saying goes "it is what it is". Until they decide to bring races back to Disneyland (their announcement didn't make it sound like they would be returning, but we can always hope), I'll keep on keepin' on.


I will be forever grateful that runDisney helped me find my passion, helped me find my people, helped me find my pleasure. Thank you, runDisney, for the magic and for the memories - they (and you) will not soon be forgotten!


What are your thoughts on the runDisney announcement?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Workout Recap - Week 42

Sunday, October 15th – 5 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, October 16th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, October 17th – 45 minutes of Yoga, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, October 18th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 60 minutes of rock climbing with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, October 19th – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, October 20th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, October 21st – 5K run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

The hubby has started training for his FIRST FULL MARATHON (the 2018 Mesa-Phoenix Marathon), so I am jumping in on some of his runs with him (since I still have yet to write out a training plan for my upcoming race schedule). We will be camping from Sunday through Tuesday so we moved his 4-miler from Sunday to Friday so he wouldn't have to do it while in Joshua Tree. Now that I've given myself two weeks off (sure, I may have done short runs here or there, but this was a HUGE change from before), I'm ready to get back to pounding the pavement!

How were your workouts this past week?