Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 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 FOUR books in the first month of the year, so when I add February's TEN that brings the total for 2018 to FOURTEEN! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need some possible suggestions on a book to grab, make sure to give my previous write-ups a quick glance over when you have a minute! {January's Books}

  • The New American Road Trip Mixtape by Brendan Leonard - As you may remember from my January post, I wrapped up the month by reading through some of the books the hubby received as Christmas gifts. Well, I might as well continue the trend while I wait for more of my books to become available at the library... This was a quick and easy read. The hubby loves camping and climbing (as well as the author in general), so I know he will love this book even more than I did, but I was still engaged and entertained throughout the entire read. This isn't a typical novel (or even an autobiography), but just a collection of snapshots from Brendan's first couple months living as a "dirtbag" after a breakup. As always, books like this make me want to give away all of our stuff and hit the road... maybe one day ;) One of the last paragraphs in the book really stood out to me and captured the heart of the book - "Because if you could live anywhere, wouldn't you want to live everywhere? For as long as you could? I mean, really, what is a life, and what is the American Dream, and what is a "home?" The best thing you can do with those questions is keep trying to find the answers, not actually find the answers...". I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon - I read and enjoyed her previous book, Everything, Everything, so figured I would pick up this one up from the library as well. I'll be the first to admit, this is definitely more of a teen or young adult book, but sometimes I like those more (they tend to have less sex and more interesting plots that keep me engaged). I love the way that this book is written (flip-flopping back and forth between the different characters, writing from their perspective). I also sort of love that between page 1 and page 336, only about eight hours take place. It is like you are watching real life unfold right before your eyes... no long breaks in time, no having to fill in gaps with your own imagination. I also love how all of the different characters or coincidences mesh and fit into place. (And maybe with the number of times I've used the word love you now can rationally assume that I loved the book). I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I had seen that some of my friends had read this book recently so scooped it up once it was available at the library. It is rather thick, so I was worried it would take me a while to get through, but I legit couldn't put it down. It was so good! The story is honest, tragic and necessary. I appreciate that it is written for a younger audience, because it seems that the young folks are those who are willing to stand up and make a difference! Not only do I hope everyone reads this book, I hope it has a lasting impact and we DO SOMETHING! It's not enough to get mad, post on social media and then move on with life... WE MUST MAKE A CHANGE! Thank you to the author who had the courage to write this book, for the people who are willing to enter into a dialogue and attempt to fix the system that has been broken for way too long, and for everyone who gets involved, joins a movement and demands better. I would give it a 10 out of 10.

  • Sixty Meters to Anywhere by Brendan Leonard - I read two of Brendan's books already this year (the hubby really enjoys him as a writer and this happens to be one of his recent favorite books), so I figured I'd grab the last one of his we had laying around the house. The memoir recounts Brendan's life prior to finding his passion for rock climbing (including two DUI's, substance abuse treatment and a stint in jail, all before the age of 24) to how a gift from his brother of sixty meters of climbing rope changed his life and gave him confidence, a purpose and an identity (I was going to include a "healthy outlet", but I don't know that everyone would consider the death-defying act of scaling walls of granite as 'healthy'). I would say the hubby definitely loves this book more than I do, but that's probably because he is a climber and I'm not. Even still, it is real, redemptive and kept me reading. I finished the entire thing in an afternoon. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey - I felt like I needed just some good, quality entertainment so I picked up Tina Fey's book from the library (sometimes you just need a good laugh, #AmIRightOrAmIRight?!). As I expected, it made me chuckle. She doesn't take herself too seriously and seems truly grateful for the life she is currently living. Although I've never watched 30Rock, I have always loved Saturday Night Live and hearing about some of the behind the scenes made me smile (those comedians/ actors are pretty amazeballs and I am always in awe of their talent). For what it was, I think it served its purpose - it definitely kept me entertained. I saw this term before and think it fit perfectly "junk food for the mind." I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller - In spite of the fact that I would love to say I originally picked up this book because Arthur is an alum from the University of Michigan, I actually grabbed it because it was mentioned in Molly's Game (which the hubby and I saw earlier in the month). I thought this was a great book (although it was actually written in the format of a play with four acts). I have very little knowledge about the Salem witch trials (or at least I have forgotten everything I once may have learned),  so this was all very interesting to me. Such a dark time in American history. This play was based on historical events and real people, even if some of the details have been changed (Abigail was made older and Proctor was made younger, etc). No matter the changes, it still leaves you shaking your head. Not only was the story itself outrageous, but the parallels between this and the communist hysteria in the 50s or even the Holocaust are uncanny. When you read this as an observer, you can't imagine how people would allow this atrocity to occur, but then we look around today and see that when evil people get access to power the same thing happens. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green - I didn't know much about this book when I grabbed it from the library, other than I had seen that a couple of my friends had recently picked it up so I figured I'd give it a try. This is the same author as The Fault In Our Stars and Paper Towns (both of which I did not read but saw the movies and enjoyed). I'll be honest, I couldn't put this down. Sometimes you just need a good little love story (I guess you could consider this one) to get totally engulfed in. This story shows us that it's okay to not be okay, that it's okay to ask for help, and that it's hard as hell to try to cope with life when you feel as though everything is spiraling our of control. I appreciate that the author dives into the topic of mental health. It was raw, honest and real. And, although this might be a little bit of a spoiler, you are left with heartbreak in the end... Because, as Aza says, " The problem with happy ending is that they're either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse." I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone - I originally saw this title when I was grabbing the link for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and actually thought it was about Trayvon Martin. It turned out to be a novel about a 17 year old who is trying his hardest to be more like Martin Luther King Jr. in today's society. It was a very quick read (I think it took me maybe 2.5 hours to get through it), but super powerful. I enjoyed the way the story was told from an outsiders perspective, but then had an incredibly personal touch from the main character's letters he was writing "to" MLK. This is a story that needs to be told. We live in a world where racial inequality exists but just because it commonplace does not make it acceptable, right or permissible. Being disappointed, frustrated or disgusted is not enough. We must ACT. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli - I had seen the preview for the "Love, Simon" movie and didn't realize it was a book until I saw it on Amazon... And thankfully my library had it available so I snatched it right away. Another book I finished within 24 hours. Very easy read, and I gobbled it up. I didn't realize I was a romantic but apparently I can totally fall for a good love story. Not only is this an adorable story (well, not every part is adorable, let me make that clear, but the characters definitely can be), but it touches on important topics - like why white and heterosexual are the default. It also makes you think about folks closest to you and what you really know (or don't know) about them. The author does an amazing job at encapsulating the struggles of coming out (especially in the age of social media). I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - I read Celeste's other book Little Fires Everywhere in December and really enjoyed it, so when the hubby and I were getting ready to head to Phoenix for his FIRST FULL MARATHON I thought I'd grab this one on audio so we could listen to it on our way there and back. I have to admit, I was disappointed. The story seems slow with so little happening that both the hubby and I were fairly bored. I was hoping that the slowness of the beginning would be made up towards the end, but it never really picked up steam... which is a bummer since I liked her most recent book. I appreciate that the author focuses on the pressures we can place on others without fully realizing it, but I was left wanting more (more depth, more mystery, more something...). I would give it a 5 out of 10.

With that February comes to a close. My reading may have slowed, but I definitely hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions on books, please send them my way! I'm always willing to add them to my queue at the library!

What was the best book you read this month?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Movies of the Month {February}

Last month the hubby and I each signed up for a MoviePass membership. In case you are unfamiliar with the program, you pay $9.95 per month and can see as many movies in the theater as you'd like (there are a few restrictions... like "unlimited" means one per day, only certain theaters work and no 3D or IMAX films, but for the most part it's all-inclusive).

I've said it once and I'll probably say it a million times, but movies aren't my jam. I'm a frugal gal and have a hard time sitting still for extended periods of time because I feel as if I could be doing a billion and a half tasks at that moment, but the hubby LOVES movies so I am taking one for the team and enjoying "quality time" (his idea of QT, not mine) with him.


Due to my frugalness, my thought is, if we are paying for this membership, we better get our moneys worth... so off to the theater we go! And why not share our reviews/ critiques of the films with you?! So here are our February films...

Darkest Hour

Technically we saw this in January, but it was after I published my January post so it squeaked into February's share. I didn't know much about this movie going in, other than it was about Winston Churchill, but I guess that is the benefit of our MoviePass (if you are only paying $9.95/month, you can see movies that you otherwise may not go to the theater to check out). The hubby and I chuckled because when we saw the film, it was a Tuesday at 6:30pm and the theater was full of an older crowd. I asked him if he thought it was because of the day/ time/ promo (Tuesdays are $7 at our local theater) or because of the subject matter. He said it was probably a bit of both. Anywho, back to our thoughts. We both really enjoyed the movie. I am not a huge history buff (let's just say I learned what I needed to know for school and forget the majority of the info shortly after I took the tests), so I actually really enjoy historical based films because it's sort of like learning while being entertained (although I am very well aware that Hollywood tends to edit history to make it more appealing to movie-goers). We both appreciated that the movie was revealing what goes on behind the curtain, a "behind the scenes" sort of feel. Seeing as the end of the film surrounds Operation Dynamo, the hubby and I mentioned it felt as though we watched this and Dunkirk out of proper chronological order (but both are good films that can stand alone).



I've mentioned it before, but I will say it again - I do NOT do scary movies! If there is a scary movie on a commercial or a trailer at the theater I legit have to close my eyes and cover my ears. With that said, the hubby really wanted to see this movie. That means we do what any logical couple does... we go to different movies at the same time ;) While Ryan was watching Winchester, I was enjoying Pitch Perfect 3. I figured I'd still include the brief feedback the hubby gave on the movie in case you were interested in being scared poopless seeing it. Unfortunately, he was a bit underwhelmed. First, he said he was expecting it to be a little more about the house than it was. (He has actually been pretty interested in the construction of it for a couple years now so was stoked when he heard about the movie coming out.) Also, he said that it wasn't incredibly scary (probably due to the PG-13 rating). He said that most of the "scare" was predictable (i.e. looking into a mirror multiple times and expecting on an upcoming look that something would appear, etc). Had he not used his MoviePass, he said he would have been disappointed in paying full price (and actually commented that he probably would have enjoyed seeing Pitch Perfect 3 with me instead... but I won't say "I told ya so" to his face ;)).


Pitch Perfect 3

Although I normally dislike sequels (they tend to often feel like they are forced and just riding the coattails of success of the original movie), I really enjoyed Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2, so I figured I might as well go see the third! (Like some of the other movies we've seen thanks to our MoviePass, I don't know if I normally would have paid to see this one in the theater, but with our membership I figured I might as well.) If you've seen the first two movies in this series, you know what they are all about... An acapella singing group of ladies get into some sort of competition, drama/ craziness ensues and the Bellas somehow find a way to be victorious. This one was no different. I knew walking in that it would make me smile, tap my toes and have a good time. These movies aren't about some earth-shattering revolution or walking away with some life changing epiphany, they're just good old fashion entertainment. And entertained I was!


Molly's Game

Okay, so we didn't know much about this movie going in. In fact, the hubby knew absolutely nothing (and for some reason when I originally looked at it, I thought it was about a professional skier turned professional prostitute, so I was a bit off ;)). Maybe that's why we walked away liking it so much... because we had no expectations going into it... but, whatever the case, we both put it in our top three movies that we had seen thus far with out MoviePass. I do tend to enjoy movies that are "based on true stories" (even if they are "done up" to make them more marketable for Hollywood). The hubby and I were both glued to the screen with the story of Molly, a woman obsessed with being the best at whatever she did {whether that be Olympic skiing or controlling the seedy underworld of high stakes poker}. Now I have to go and read the book!


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is another one we didn't know much about (I briefly read the synopsis but the hubby only knew the very small snidbit I told him). It actually wasn't playing at our nearby theaters so we had to head to Escondido. With so many movies being remakes of old ideas, I appreciate when an original movie comes along. I'll be honest, it was a little slow for me (but that's probably because in today's society we want everything instantaneously) but I guess that sort of goes with the whole idea of the movie, huh?! It was dark, funny and heart-felt. The hubby and I both enjoyed the movie and could see why it has won a ton of awards already. I'd say, this would probably be one I'd rent instead of needing to go to the theater (not a ton of action or aesthetically appealing that you'd need to see on the big screen), but I'd recommend seeing it nonetheless.


The Post

For someone who says movies aren't her jam, I was pretty surprised when I went to the theater on my own (and not just because the hubby was seeing a scary movie and I decided to see something a little more "wholesome" - this time the hubby was rock climbing so I went by myself). This was the final day that The Post was playing at our local theater so I figured I'd hit it up before it went away. Similar to our other recent movies, I didn't know much about it before grabbing my ticket (other than it was about "shadiness in the government that a newspaper uncovers"). I had no idea that the film was based on true events, the Pentagon Papers (even if all of the details aren't exactly accurate). Similar to Darkest Hour, I was excited that the majority of the story was historically accurate because it felt like learning while being entertained. The movie definitely had a great cast who all did wonderfully. Some may say the "feminist" movies are becoming white noise, but as a female, I appreciate seeing strong women become successful! The movie reminded me that demanding the truth can be easier said than done at times, but that doesn't mean it's any less important to require of those around us.


The 15:17 To Paris

If you've been to the movies recently, you've probably seen the preview for this movie (or maybe they have just been pushing it super hard around here since we live next to a military base). The movie is a reenactment of a terrorist attack that was heroically stopped by three young Americans. The film tells some of their back stories (since the event itself would have made for a very short movie) and follows them along on their European vacation. What I thought was awesome was that they used the actual guys in the movie. They may not have been actors (and their acting skills may not stack up against folks in Hollywood), but I appreciate that they were able to tell their own story. I wouldn't say this was an award winning film in my book, but it did get us thinking about what we would do if a crisis were to arise in our midst.


Lady Bird

So I put a call out on my social media and asked "What is the best movie you've seen recently?" and one friend said Lady Bird. I had seen the name of the movie but knew nothing about it. Since the hubby was heading tot he climbing gym for a bit and the theater is right down the street, I asked him to drop my off there first (yup - I saw another movie on my own!). I had zero expectations since I had never seen a trailer or heard anything about the movie (except for Smitha's thumbs up) and would say I walked away very pleasantly pleased. When the hubby asked me about it, I said that it was sort of like a Juno. A coming-of-age story, one that follows a seventeen year old through her senior year of high school as she navigates her first love, her first play, applying to college, prom, friend drama, issues with parents, etc. The movie seemed to perfectly capture the tumultuous transition from childhood to "adulthood" and all of the awkwardness that ensues.


I, Tonya

Unlike some of the other movies, we were WELL AWARE of what this one was about... We never saw a trailer or anything, but we grew up when the Harding vs Kerrigan drama was unfolding so we were versed in the story. For the small amount of fanfare we had seen for this movie, both the hubby and I walked out of the theater LOVING it! We both enjoyed the gritty, 90s feel of the film, the way that at times the actors spoke into the camera (sort of like they do in The Office), and the overall realness of the film. It in no way vindicated Tonya, yet in an interview I read after I saw the film, Tonya said that the only two clarifications she needed to make were about the fur coat and about how often she cusses. It was like a trashy triumph. Now I am not saying we should totally excuse bad behavior based on the circumstances of someone's life, but I was surprised at how much I was rooting for Tonya in the end (despite her "easy to dislike" persona).


12 Strong

The hubby and I tried to go see this on Valentine's Day (romantic, huh?!), but the MoviePass app was experiencing technical difficulties so went the next night. This movie is based on the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. I was a little leery at first because my cousin worked in the World Trade Center (he, thankfully, was down the street at the printer when the planes hit) and I wasn't sure how the movie would make me feel. I'd say that although the film is based around the September 11th attack (and the war that ensued), the mention of it was very brief. Also, I wasn't sure how loosely based on the true story it would be, seeing as it was coming out almost 16.5 years later. In fact, the film is based on a non-fiction book, Horse Soldiers, by Doug Stanton. The story itself is crazy - twelve men teaming up with a warlord and riding into battle on horseback (against the Taliban who has tanks, artillery and the manpower to wipe out cities). The action was engaging and intense, but there wasn't much character development. I would say that it's a pretty incredible story, but the movie itself was pretty eh, so-so (but that might also be because war movies aren't my jam).


Black Panther

The hubby and I asked our friends if they wanted to take their kids to the movies with us. I'll be honest, I don't know comic books, but I do enjoy the superhero movies. Since I don't know the story of Black Panther I went in with little expectations. With that said, I really enjoyed it. I thought it was very entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the movie. I don't know if this is technically a spoiler or not, but you've been warned... Anyway, the only negative I have to say is the fact that I had seen a preview for the upcoming Avenger's movie and saw that Blank Panther was in it, so I knew he couldn't die in this film. But other than that I really enjoyed it. I appreciated that it touched on moral and political issues, making the audience think while enjoying their popcorn in their nice, plush seats (even if they don't fully realize the implications. Also, having strong, kick@$$ black actors as more than supporting roles is a huge win in my book!


I think it's safe to say we took advantage of the MoviePass membership for the month of February! I saw ten movies while the hubby saw eight... Meaning each of my movies cost about a dollar and the hubby's movies cost him about $1.25 per film. I don't know that we will see this many movies again in a single month, but there were just so many movies that we hadn't seen so we had a ton of options to choose from... Now that we're somewhat caught up the viewing will definitely slow down (since only a few new movies are released per month), but hopefully we will still cash in on our membership.

What was the last movie you saw in the theater?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 8

Sunday, February 18th – 8 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, February 19th – November Project workout, 10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, February 20th – 60 minutes on the stationary bike, 3 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, February 21st – 4 mile run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, February 22nd – 8.8 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, February 23rd – Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, February 24th – Phoenix Marathon with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Quite the week... The hubby became a MARATHONER and I was still able to hit 60 miles during taper time! Let's just say I am running on fumes and need some sleep... but I can't wait to share all about our adventures over the coming days!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's Friday, Friday. I'm here to share my favorites on Friday! Wait, that's not how that song goes?! Weird... Anywho, that's what I'm here to do... share my favorites with you! None of the things I share on my Friday posts are sponsored, just legit endorsements by me of things I've stumbled across and am loving lately. Hopefully you find them as awesome as I do ;)


The hubby and I hold our publics lands near and dear to our hearts. When the Trump Administration ordered that Bears Ears National Monument be reduced by 85 percent, we knew we couldn't just sit by and watch with our hands folded in our laps. The first thing we did was donate to help fund the Bears Ears Education Center. Visiting the area is a MUST for us! When the hubby told me about this short film, we had to watch it! It's less than 10 minutes long and worth the time.

In response to the current administration’s decision to open up Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments to extractive industries, filmmakers Yeehaw Donkey, producer Andy Cochrane, and photographer Johnie Gall created the film Messengers. It follows 17 adventurers, three dogs, and a film crew as they run a 250-mile relay race across the desert in honor of the native messengers who used to travel this landscape by foot.

How-To Videos

I don't know about you, but my hubby STRUGGLES to get on his compression socks. Like, legit, it often times looks like a workout BEFORE the workout to get them on. I normally just chuckle and shake my head, but recently I showed him this video from PRO Compression and his world was ROCKED! Now he gets them on so easily and tends to wear them more frequently since he doesn't have to struggle to get them on. In case you (or someone you know) has a hard time, I thought I would share this GREAT video with tips on how to get on your socks ;)

San Diego Running Co.

You may remember them as HP Movement, but recently they changed their name to San Diego Running Co. I have worked with them a few times (they are the event production company for races like the San Diego Santa Run, Pacific Beachfest 5K and Balboa Park 8 Miler) and the guys that run the company are AMAZEBALLS! Anywho, they asked if they could use one of my pictures for an upcoming article and of course I said YES! Part of their mission is to make sure you have the best experience at their events. They gathered their 5 best tips to help you crush race day and I thought it had some AWESOME suggestions so wanted to pass it along - 5 Tips to Get You San Diego Race Ready!

Say It Forward

I was listening to Kelly Roberts' new podcast - She Can and She Did - last week and her guest, Stacy Stahl, shared her new venture "Say It Forward" and I was SOLD! Say It Forward is a way to send kind, uplifting, and unexpected notes to the ones you love. To encourage your kindness to continue, they send your card anonymously. Then, after your friend reads the note and smiles, they can unlock who it’s from in one of two ways: SAY IT FORWARD {they send a card to someone else!} or DONATE TO A CHARITY {even a dollar does the trick!}. Not everyone always has money to give, but everyone can share a kind word! It literally takes seconds! "Join the conga line of kindness by writing a card today!"


Be Awesome Unicorn Trucker Hat

Shoot, remember a couple of Fridays ago when I said we were in the process of downsizing/ simplifying?! Well, then Sparkle Athletic keeps releasing awesome products and I have trouble saying "no" so my closet doesn't seem to be shrinking... I mean, I'm pretty sure I NEED their new Be Awesome Unicorn Trucker. It would be pretty perfect to rock around Boston when I go (in less than 8 weeks), right?! #DearSanta

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim Training

Since I've had a couple people ask about our Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim adventure, I thought I'd do a quick blog post about it to try and answer everyone's questions thus far in one place. PS If you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, I nonchalantly announced our next BIG escapade in a recent blog post (which you can read HERE if you missed the first go around).


What is Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim?

The Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim hike {“R2R2R”} is an amazing 44-48 mile trek (depending on the trail(s) you take), with an approximate elevation change of 20,000 feet and a potential temperature change of 70+ degrees. You technically start on one side of the Grand Canyon, hike down, cross the Colorado River and out to the other side... then back!


When do you plan to tackle R2R2R?

From the intel we gathered, we were told that April or October tend to be the best months weather-wise. Since we'd already be marathon trained in April (the hubby has the Phoenix Marathon on his training plan for February, while I have the Phoenix Marathon in February, the Los Angeles Marathon in March and the Boston Marathon in April on my schedule), we figured it was perfect timing. Currently we're planning to attempt our R2R2R hike on April 27th (we'll be camping in the Grand Canyon from the 26th through the 30th so we can truly enjoy the National Park while we're there).

The South Rim is open all year. The North Rim is closed for the winter and reopens on May 15th. With that said, we'll be camping (and starting our hike) at the South Rim, hiking to the North Rim and then finishing back again at the South Rim. 

How are you training?

Remember when I mentioned all of the marathons I have on my calendar? Well, those will definitely help in the training aspect! Thanks to the generosity of the folks at the Los Angeles Marathon, the hubby was also comped an entry to the race, so he has added his second full marathon to his calendar and will be running LA with me - yup, he added his second before running his first! (The training plan we're using had a 50K scheduled for the day of LA, so we said "why not?!".) 

Since this isn't technically a race (we've invited a few ultra friends to join the party, but there's a possibility it'll just be the two of us), we're sort of on our own for the planning and preparation. There's a decent amount of info available about the hike and we're lucky enough to have folks in our lives who have tackled the beast before that we can ask our million and a half questions to. We aren't going for a speed record (although, since it will be the first time we're tackling it, it'll automatically be a PR {personal record}, right?!), but we still want to make sure we're trained for what lies ahead.

I did some research online and found a 50-miler training plan that I have adjusted slightly to fit our schedule. In case you are interested in something similar, we used this Ultra Marathon Training Schedule Generator from the Santa Clarita Runners. I'd say the majority of folks we've talked to said that the distance isn't the killer... it's the elevation change! 

The hubby and I are planning to run the downhills and the flats, while hiking the uphills. Even still we want to make sure that our bodies can handle the trek. Our game plan is to start adding stairs after all of our runs beginning next week (I wanted to wait until after Phoenix so Ryan could "celebrate" his first full before focusing on the next, HUGE goal). So if we have a "short" run, we plan to do 15-20 minutes of stairs afterward and if we have a "long" run, we plan to do 5-10 minutes of stairs afterward. Also, we are hoping to take all of our "long" Saturday runs to the trails, which hopefully will also include more elevation training. We know that the main point of ultra training is "time on your feet", so for our "shorter" Sunday runs we are planning to hit the trails, but are okay it those runs on tired legs turn into more of a hike than a sprint.


Do you have any time goals for R2R2R?

The short answer - NOPE! The longer answer - I would love to go fast enough to not be out there for longer than we need to, but slow enough to enjoy ourselves, the view, etc. For some context, we hiked Half Dome in Yosemite (16.5ish miles round trip, 7,000ish feet of elevation gain) and kept around 29 minute miles (including all of our stops, photo opts, scaling the cables, etc), we we hiked up and ran down from Observation Point in Zion (8ish miles round trip, 6,000 feet of elevation gain) and kept around 17 minute miles, and we recently ran a 20 mile trail run with only about 1,200 feet of elevation gain and kept under 10 minute miles. I think the coming trail runs with more vert we will give us a better idea of what we may actually be able to do time-wise, but I'd love to say we could be somewhere around 15-20 minute mile pace (which would take us between 11 and 15 hours). But, again, time's NOT the focus - enjoyment, safety and adventure are!


I'll be sharing updates over the next nine weeks (which is all we have before we tackle this beast - EEKS!), but, in the meantime, follow me on Strava if you're interested in seeing our workouts. And if you have questions, keep 'em comin'!

Have you ever hiked the Grand Canyon before?

Wednesday, February 21, 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?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


If you follow me on social media (specifically on Instagram), you've probably seen my #CarleesTreasures posts. They're pictures of the assorted items I've found while out and about - usually during my runs/workouts or while walking around with the pup. It originally started when my body decided to revolt against me and somewhat sidelined me from my normal runs. I knew I had to listen to my body, no matter how much it sucked; I was obligated to take it easy and let off the gas!

I needed something to look forward to, especially since being forced to walk for exercise reminded me I wasn't running and it took twice as long. Around that time I noticed a "treasure" on the ground and knew what I was going to do. I had an epiphany... lightning had just struck my brain! Looking for discarded items was a perfect way to spend my time while I wasn't putting the pedal to the medal and grinding through my workouts. Taking joy in the little things and looking for trinkets brought a smile to my face (and I definitely needed that when the frustration and self pity were sky-rocketing!).


Let me clarify — not everything on the ground is a treasure (even though some say "one man's trash is another man's treasure"). I don't pick up edible items. Something I wouldn't give to someone as a 'gift' (whether that is a bottle cap, spit out gum, a dirty diaper, etc) is not coming home as a treasure. I also tried to keep things smaller than the size of my palm (mostly because where I was storing my goodies would fill up way too quickly if I had tons of giant finds). Items that qualified were buttons to bouncy balls, pennies to pins, lighters to Lego's, beads to bracelets and everything in between.


It's been about a year and I knew I needed to do something with all the treasures. We've been simplifying/ downsizing lately but there has been an overwhelming pile of goodies on our dining room table I haven't been able to part with. I couldn't just throw everything I had been collecting away, so I decided to try and do the next best thing... MAKE ART!

The treasures may have been taking over our dining room table ;)

I used four large canvases that the hubby had in the garage and decided to attach (i.e. hot glue) everything to them. The thought was I could then display everything I had found during the project (whether that be in our garage or in a gallery). Because, if you know me, you know I am pretty OCD about organization, I obviously had to arrange the treasures by color. I was originally going to try and make a rainbow (ROYGBIV), but the space wouldn't allow it to turn out perfectly. Even still, I'm pretty proud of how it turned out (especially since everything is technically trash). Not only did I have some pretty awesome individual finds, but the final product to display them all looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

The red and orange items I found throughout the year.

The yellow, pink and purple treasures I collected.

I would say the most frequent treasure I found was definitely a Nerf dart!

The white, silver and black treasures had some of my favorite items.

It might not be a perfect rainbow, but I love the way it turned out!

PS In case you were wondering where the canvases ended up, they're now hanging on the walls of the Backfence Society Clubhouse in Vista, CA. You see, this local non profit is dedicated to positive community engagement through art. They have a program called "Only Losers Litter" and I thought my project aligned PERFECTLY! I spoke with Sarah (a tattoo artist out of the shop the hubby and I go to, and the founder of Backfence Society) and she wanted to display them. The hubby joked and said it's my first official art show. I wouldn't go that far, but I'm still pumped! And if they happen to be included in an upcoming art show you better believe I will be sharing about it with you ;)


I didn't glue everything I found to the canvases because I found money throughout the year and wanted to give it to an organization doing good things in the running community! In the end what I collected totaled $34.21. I decided to donate it to Girls On The Run, a non-profit dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Running is used to inspire and motivate the girls involved; encouraging lifelong health and fitness, and building confidence through accomplishment. At each season's conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5K which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result — making the seemingly impossible, possible, and teaching girls that they can.


Now I can't say I'm done collecting #CarleesTreasures, but I don't think I'll accumulate such a collection in the future ;)

What was the coolest thing you've ever found on the ground?