Sunday, September 30, 2018

September 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 FIFTY-TWO books in the first eight months of the year, so when I add September's NINE that brings my total for 2018 thus far to SIXTY-ONE! If you're interested in what I read (and how I'd rate them) or need a suggestion on books 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 / August's Books}

  • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight - When the hubby and I took a road trip to Mammoth Lakes at the beginning of the month we needed a book to listen to. He already had this one on his phone so we gave it a go. This is a memoir from the co-creator of Nike about how the company came to be. I will be very upfront and let you know that Nike is not a brand I'm normally stoked about, but even still, the story was engaging and captivating. We figured we'd probably get through half of it on the drive up and the second half on the drive home... I'll be honest and say I was a bit surprised that even halfway through we hadn't arrived at the point of the creation of Nike as a brand yet, but I guess there was a decent amount of back story we needed beforehand. Even though I do not expect to create a fast-growing company anytime soon, I still found it interesting (although I had heard a lot of positive things about the book, I was still a little nervous that a "business memoir" would be boring and dry). I think sports fans, economists, history buffs, entrepreneurs, etc would all appreciate this read (but you don't have to identify as any of them to enjoy this one). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine - I didn't know anything about this book when I got in line for it at the library (normally when the line is 10-15 people long I have a feeling it has "got to be" good), but I had seen a few people I follow on social media reading it so I figured I might as well. When it finally became available I didn't even read the synopsis on the back cover - I just jumped right in. I'm sort of glad I didn't know anything about this one going into it, because it definitely kept me in suspense and guessing about where the story was going. I really enjoyed it. When I was describing it to the hubby I told him it was like a reality TV show plot - where everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side... and you don't realize that the green grass is actually green spray-painted cement. I think the catchphrase on the front cover "Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve." fits the novel to a T. No spoilers from me - but I really liked how the story was told from the two different perspectives so you can really get a sense of what everyone is feeling (and I actually love that the "author" is actually the pen name of two sisters who write together as one!). Although summer is coming to a close, I think this would be the perfect book to read while laying at the beach or swinging in a hammock - entertaining, suspenseful and thrilling. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

In fact, I took my copy camping with me ;) 

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han - After reading the "To All The Boys I Loved Before" series last month, I noticed that the author had another series (and our library happen to carry the books - whoo hoo!) so I knew I needed to grab them. Once they became available I rushed over and nabbed them. This is the first book in the series, and, I have to admit, I had high hopes. I really enjoyed her other series and was hoping I would love this one just as much. Well, let's just say it didn't live up to the other books. Now, I am not saying this was bad, it just didn't hook me as deeply (maybe it's because this series was written earlier in her career and she hadn't honed her craft as much, who knows?!). I am still a sucker for YA romances so gobbled this one up on a gray afternoon (when I had plenty of other things I should have been doing but flew through this book instead). Don't get me wrong, I am still planning on smashing the series, but from the way it currently looks, the other one will still rank higher for me. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han - The second book in the series, and it is exactly what I was expecting. The main character, Belly, is struggling between two loves and deciding which is the right one to go with. (I'll be honest, her flippant and somewhat immature behavior is a bit annoying, but, hey, at 16-17, I'm sure we were all a little silly like that, right?!) Like I mentioned with the previous book, I definitely liked the author's "To All The Boys I Loved Before" series better, but I still am enjoying this one. I wouldn't say it would be one that I would necessarily recommend to others (unless you are really a huge fan of YA romance books and have already read all of the other ones I would recommend ;)), but it is engaging and entertaining enough that I will still with it through the final book of the series. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han - Another series coming to an end, and I'm a little sad about it. I think this might have been my favorite book in the series because you could really sense the struggle and conflict in the characters. I was a little bummed when I got to the end (or maybe when I was 30-50 pages from the end) because I felt like there was so much more to the story that I wanted to know... but I guess that is sort of how much books end... letting the reader finish the story with their own imagination. I did appreciate having some of the chapters be from Conrad's perspective because throughout the series I thought he was a little aloof and not too likable, but seeing events from his viewpoint changed my opinion of him. If you are looking for a cutesy teenage summer romance type series, you'll fly through this one. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - I'll be honest, I had no idea what this book was about when I got "in line" for it at the library - I just knew I had a ton of friends who were reading it, loved it or had it on their "must read" list so I figured I'd just on the bandwagon. Let me start off by saying I am so confused as to all the comments (both in reviews online and on the back cover of the book) that state this is "humorous, funny and hilarious". This is a dark story with very serious themes. I have never thought that rape, child abuse, depression, assault, murder, mental illness, etc were amusing. I actually spent the first half of the book thinking that maybe the main character had Aspergers and wasn't sure why a reader would consider laughing at the character's somewhat odd social interactions. With that said, I do believe this was a well written book (especially seeing as it is the author's first novel). It is a great reminder that we have no idea the demons others are battling and to engage with everyone from a place of love and respect. I think had I not read the notes mentioning how "amusing" this book was I probably would have gone in with different expectations and might even have liked it a little more. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman - I swear, I should probably just the first few sentences of my synopsis on loop... This is yet another one that I don't remember where I got the recommendation from, but have been on the wait list at the library for a long while now. I didn't know anything about the book going in and I guess I didn't know what to expect. After seeing some of the reviews, I thought the comment that mentioned it was a mix of Hunger Games and Handmaid's Tale was pretty spot on. The premise of the novel is that females develop the power to electrocute people and subsequently seize control of society. The idea of a society in which one sex is systematically oppressed through the threat (or use) of physical and sexual violence seems outrageous, until you realize that is the society we live in on the daily. I really liked how all of the characters' stories eventually intertwined. At the beginning of the book I felt emboldened for being a woman and by the end I was scratching my head and wondering if in fact women would let power corrupt them just as much as men have. I know this is just a fictional story, but overall it was powerful and thought-provoking. There were a few parts that left me confused (who the end package was mailed to, why the author kept the letters at the beginning and end of the story, etc), but overall I really enjoyed it. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - I was on the wait list for this book for quite a while (a few weeks before the movie was set to hit the theaters) and it FINALLY became available. Although I normally prefer to read the book prior to seeing the movie, it didn't work out like that this time. Even still, I think I prefer the book to the movie. Seeing the film first stifled my imagination a little than normal because I was picturing the events how the looked on screen rather than letting my mind create the scene, but I still appreciated reading the book. And, surprisingly, there were even a few parts of the movie that I preferred over the book (such as Astrid's character and the ending of the film). I also didn't realize that this book was part of a trilogy (although, from the reviews I saw online, it sounds like this was definitely the best book of the three), so I might just have to add the remaining two books to my "for later" shelf at the library. If you've seen the movie, I wouldn't say you need to read the book, but if you haven't seen the film and are looking for an easy, entertaining read, this would definitely be enjoyable. I would give it a 7 out of 10.

  • The Girl Who Smiles Beads by Clemantine Wamariya - This is a memoir written by an activist who grew up during the war, atrocities and genocide in Rwanda. She left her home with her older sister when she was six and migrated through seven African counties before being granted asylum in the US when she was twelve. Her story is eye-opening. Not only was growing up during the conflict unimaginable, but everything she had to endure afterward is something many people don't mention or take time to think about. This memoir is powerful, maddening, thought-provoking, impactful, heartbreaking and so much more. It is about humanity and inhumanity. So often we are fed news about war or genocide and then move on with life, but for so many people "moving on" is not an option. This is not a "happily ever after" type story, it is real and raw, but it is a story that needs to be told. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, September has come to a close. My reading may slow, 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?

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's Friday, Friday, who's excited for Friday?! Uh... THIS GIRL! And I'm extra excited for chips and salsa tonight - GET IN MY BELLY! But there are a few other things that I'm fancying these days I thought you might be interested in as well.

Handful Battle Cry Bra

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you probably remember that I was a Handful ambassador for a couple years. Well, just because I am no longer an official part of the team doesn't mean I can't support them 100%. With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October, I thought this was the perfect time to share about their Battle Cry Pink Handful Adjustable Bras. 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in the US - which translates to 12.5% of the female population. Handful is doing their best to help support and empower these women by donating 12.5% of the revenue of their Battle Cry Pink bras to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), the premier organization dedicated to reaching young women diagnosed with breast cancer, offering resources, connections and outreach. Not only that, all breast cancer survivors receive 30% off Handful products and FREE additional pad sets for use as prosthetics.


Okay, so I don't have a huge sweet tooth, but there is one treat that I love more than most... S'MORES! And the best way to enjoy them (in my opinion) is with friends, at a campfire, and with a White Chocolate Reese's Cup (instead of your standard Hershey's bar). Well, when I was on Pinterest the other day I ran across some more s'more concoctions and I have to say, I'm intrigued. I think I'll have to grab some Andes Mints for our next trip so I can try the Grasshopper S'more.


Christmas Music

Okay, okay, so I know it isn't even October yet, but I give myself a strict cut-off of September to December to listen to Christmas jams so technically I am in that window. I realize some of you may be shaking your head or rolling your eyes, but it is hard for me to sing a verse of "Frosty the Snowman" and not have a smile on my face... Christmas music is just so fun and positive that I need it in my life for more than just the 3ish weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Caprezze Capris 

With fall weather on the horizon (or at least I hope it is... because I have promised myself that Fall PRs are made from Summer Training ;)) I am STOKED to see rabbit releasing some capris! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE their "Catch Me If You Can" short shorts, but for when the weather is on the cooler side I definitely need a little more material ;) I am digging the color schemes of these pants! Here's to hoping Santa remembers how good I've been this year...

I don't even think I can pick a favorite of the three... I dig them all! 

What are you loving lately?

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Why I Didn't Register For Boston

Registration for the 2019 Boston Marathon has come and gone... and I didn't register...


I have a qualifying time (my 2017 Chicago Marathon and current PR), but decided to opt out of the upcoming race.

Don't get me wrong, Boston (both as a city and as a race) is AMAZEBALLS, but I have decided to sit this one out for a few reasons. If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while you may know why, but for all of you newbies (WELCOME) or in case you've forgot, I thought I'd take a quick second to explain some of the reasons behind my choice.

Letting Others Experience Boston

First and foremost, the reason I am sitting this Boston Marathon out (and subsequent Boston Marathons) is because I don't want to take that place away from someone else. You see, in case you aren't familiar with the Boston Marathon, there are a couple things you need to know. Boston, to a large contingency of runners, is the grand daddy of them all (okay, okay, maybe that's the Rose Bowl, but still...). It is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. It is so sought after, in fact, they have qualifying times you must run to be able to register. And even if you hit those times, it doesn't guarantee you an entry to the race! Due to field size limitations, as well as a heightened interest in participation, a varying "cut-off" time (a time below the minimum qualifying standard for age and gender) is in place. For the 2019 Boston Marathon, the cut-off for qualifying times was drawn at those who beat their qualifying standard by 4 minutes and 52 seconds or faster. (To clarify, I am a 34 year old female, so my BQ {Boston Qualifying} time is 3:35. Then you subtract the "extra" 4:42 ,which means I actually needed a 3:30:08 finish time to be able to register for the race. {Thankfully my Chicago time gave me a 9:58 buffer so had I wanted to register I would have been able to get in.}) Chasing that elusive BQ time can be extremely difficult, sometimes a lifelong goal. (For me, it didn't happen until my ninth marathon and after multiple training cycles and failed attempts.) I feel it would be a little selfish of me to take a spot from someone else who put in the hard work to get there, seeing as I had already experienced the magic that is Boston. (Hear me on this - I am NOT judging people who go multiple times - if they qualified, they deserve to be there - but, for me, I think of friends who have been right on the cusp of getting in and would feel terrible if they didn't get in because I potentially took 'their' spot.) And so we're all on the same page, just because I feel this way currently doesn't mean I don't reserve the right to change my mind. Maybe one day the hubby will qualify and I'll want to run with him, who knows. But, let's be real, my 2018 Boston Marathon was EPIC, MEMORABLE AWESOME & HARD TO TOP! 


If you know me, you know I am extremely frugal. Well, let me just say that Boston is a pricey city! Even with staying at an AirBnB outside of the city and splitting the cost with my parents, purchasing flights months in advance, etc the trip is a pretty penny! To be fair, because I knew last year would probably be the only Boston I would run, we made sure to "live it up", stayed an extra couple days and got in as much sight seeing as possible. If I was returning, I would cut the trip shorter and could probably dial back on some of the touristy things we did, but even still, the trip is NOT cheap.

Travel Time

The Boston Marathon is always held on Patriots' Day, which is the third Monday of April. Although some areas in the Northeast observe Patriots' Day, it is not a nationally celebrated holiday - that means race day is on a work day for the majority of folks. And then, unless you are leaving town right after the race, you probably will also have to take another day off on Tuesday to travel home. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have a full time job that I have to request time off from, so this isn't a huge issue for me, but my hubby does so if I didn't want to go alone this is something to consider.

Other Goals

If you read my Tuesday's post, you know I've got a HUGE goal on the horizon... my first official ULTRA MARATHON! Yup, I drank the Kool-Aid, took the jump and registered for my first 50-Miler! Don't get me wrong, I am not giving up on running fast (shoot, I am still planning to attempt a new marathon PR in a few weeks at the Ventura Marathon), but I am excited to change my focus up a bit - swapping roads for trails - and see how far I can push this strong AF body of mine. ;)

So, with those reasons (and probably a few more), I didn't register for the 2019 Boston Marathon. Like I said, maybe I'll be back again in the future (whether to run, spectate or volunteer), but for now I'll spend Marathon Monday like the majority of folks - sitting in the the comforts of my own home, glued to my computer watching live streams and social media.

**PS They've updated the qualifying times for the 2020 Boston Marathon (which will hopefully alleviate the need for a buffer time, but I guess we'll have to wait and see how many people register next year) and made them 5 minutes faster.**


What is the next big goal you are chasing?

Wednesday, September 26, 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, September 25, 2018

Celebrating #TrailTuesday w/ ULTRA BIG News

Happy #TrailTuesday! It's a thing, right?! Well, if it wasn't before, it is now and I'm celebrating in a monumental way ;)


For those of you who don't know my backstory in running, let me give you a brief timeline. In January of 2012, a friend told me about runDisney and an upcoming Disneyland Half Marathon (which they have since discontinued). Although I was not a runner at the time, she knew I liked Disney and only lived about 45 minutes away so she challenged me to consider giving it a go. Between January and March of 2012 I started walking a mile or so on my lunch break. In March of 2012 I started using the gym at work (99% of the time using the elliptical, usually for 45ish minutes, maybe 3 times a week). By April of 2012 I was finally brave enough to start running outside. My boss at the time was an age-group triathlete so helped put together the outline of a training plan. September 2, 2012 was my first half marathon! At that point I had an inkling running would be "my thing" but wasn't sure if half marathons (or distance running) had my name on them. On May 20, 2014 I finished my first marathon and I guess you can say the rest is history. In my first six years of running half marathons I've been able to complete 45, and in about four and a half years of running fulls I have crossed 18 finish lines.

Some of the races from 2016 and 2017 I ran.

I guess it's human nature to finish one task and think "what's next?", so when I ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year and crossed that HUGE goal off my bucket list, I had to think long and hard as to where I wanted to go in my running 'career'. Let's just say that while the hubby and I were training for our Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim adventure I started to fall in love with the trails. I was apprehensive at first, especially since I'm a total Type A personality who tends to be a perfectionist and focused on numbers/ times/ speeds/ distance, but my heart quickly melted when I saw the amazing surroundings you could lose yourself (while at the same exact time "find yourself") in while on the trails.

A picture of us taken about 2 miles from the end of our Grand Canyon "unofficial, unaided ultra"

At first I thought I'd be satisfied swapping the roads for trails, but soon after I heard a little voice in the back of my mind saying "I wonder how far I could push myself." And that's when the thought of potentially tackling an ultra came in. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term "ultra marathon" - it's any distance longer than a standard {26.2 mile} marathon. Most are 50 kilometers {31 miles}, 50 miles, 100 miles, 200 miles, etc.) But with so many amazing races, how do you pick?!


Well, I had a couple of stipulations. First, I was hoping it could be somewhat close to home so that the trip wouldn't turn out to be a billion and a half dollars. Second, I already had a few races on the calendar so I had to make sure they fit in with the new training plan (the biggest race to keep in mind was the Ventura Marathon that I plan to run in mid-October and will be shooting for a new PR {personal record}). Third, I was thinking it would be awesome if we could turn it into a whole crew. Not that we'd all have to run together, but I thought the camaraderie would make the race extra special.


A couple friends of mine have run the Avalon 50/50 Benefit Run in the past and have had amazing things to say about it, so I looked into it. Catalina Island is only about 30 miles (plus an hour ferry ride) from Oceanside. The race is in mid-January, which means I would have approximately 11 weeks after Ventura to build up from my marathon base to the 50 mile goal. And, at least originally, quite a few friends mentioned they might be interested in making it happen.


I talked to the hubby and he's intrigued (he's been having some funky knee issues lately so said he won't officially commit until he sees how he feels after Ventura, but that isn't a "no")! He had been pondering an ultra for a while (he loves the trails and since most ultras are on trails and there are few "shorter" distance runs on trails, ultras just seem like the next logical step), so I'd say I'm about 75% of the way there on convincing him to join me for another one of my crazy ideas.


So, in honor of #TrailTuesday, I officially registered for the Avalon 50K/50M Benefit Run this morning. I will be tackling the 50 MILE race! This will be the longest official event I have attempted and I'm equal parts excited and scared poop-less.


In case you're interested in joining the party, use code "CARLEE10" to save on your registration! The code is valid for 10% off entry into the Avalon 50/50, Catalina Island Marathon 2019, AND Catalina Half Marathon 2019 (*online only)!

I've never been to Catalina Island, and as the runner mentions in the below video, not many people get to see the majority of the island unless you take a tour... and, as you know, there's no better way to tour than running on your own two feet!

I'm sure there'll be tons to share over the coming weeks, but for now I'm STOKED I pulled the trigger and made it official!

What is the longest distance you've ever run?

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 38

Sunday, September 16th – 20.21 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 17th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, September 18th – 6 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, September 19th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, September 20th – 2 mile warm-up, 45 tempo {6.07 miles}, 2 mile cool-down, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, September 21st  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, September 22nd – 6 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Just over 50 miles and I'm feelin' fine! I can't believe we are almost to October, which means we are almost to our trip to Kauai and then almost to my fall goal marathon! EEKS! But I guess the good ol' saying of "time flies when you're having fun" is true! Here's to hoping these next few weeks of training (especially going into my final peak weeks) are on point! Currently I am feeling STRONG, just not necessarily fast... but hopefully that changes over the next 4ish weeks.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

It's been a hot minute since I've shared a Friday Favorites post, but I'm hoping back on it and I'm sure you will be glad to stopped by to check out today's list! PS I'm always looking for new (to me) and exciting things, so make sure you let me know in the comments some of the things you have been loving lately! But, without further ado, let's jump right into it!

The Kindness Diaries

A friend of mine mentioned this Netflix series on her IG stories a couple weeks ago so the hubby and I put it in our queue. The host, Leon Logothetis, travels the world with only a vintage motorbike and the kindness of strangers, which he pays back in unexpected, inspiring ways. The episodes are only about 20-25 minutes long and always leave us with a smile on our face (and a tear or two in our eye). {We used to watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition on Sundays and the hubby would call it his "crying show" because it always left him in tears... let's just say this one is very similar ;)} PS When I was doing an image search for this one I noticed he also wrote a book - guess I'll have to give that a read soon too!


Candy Man

A friend sent me this article through Facebook and said it reminded her of something I would do when I was in my 90s. Let's just say it made me smile! Here's to hoping I make it to 94 years old (and am still spreading a little extra kindness to those around me!)! And Hershey's, inspired by his example, will be spotlighting him in a new marketing campaign.


Every Saturday, Bob Williams, a 94 year old World War II vet, retired teacher and high school football coach walks into a Dollar General store in Long Grove, Iowa, and buys a box of Hershey's milk chocolate bars. Williams hands two to the cashiers, a third to the person behind him in line and then sets off around town handing the rest out to anyone he sees.


Thank You, Zetterberg

Okay, so I can't say I "like" that the Detroit Red Wings' captain Henrik Zetterberg is officially retiring (due to a degenerative back condition he was deemed not healthy enough to play this season) - even if deep down we knew it was coming, but I at least wanted to take a quick moment to thank him for all of his time, love and effort that he gave to the Red Wings, the city of Detroit and to hockey in general. He was definitely one of the good guys! We will miss you Zetty!

National Public Lands Day

Saturday is National Public Lands Day. National Public Lands Day is celebrated annually at public lands in the United States on the fourth Saturday of September. It is a signature event of the National Environmental Education Foundation, which promotes both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands. National parks, monuments and forests that charge fees will be free Saturday in honor of the 25th National Public Lands Day. It’s also the largest single-day volunteer event for public lands, according to the National Environmental Education Foundation’s website. Last year, about 169,000 people turned out to improve local, state and federal public lands. Ryan and I haven't decided how we'll  be celebrating, but you better believe will be out in the great outdoors (and doing our part to leave it better than we found it)!


What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, September 19, 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?

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Woman's Choice - Is It Really?

They say reproductive rights are about a woman's choice, but are they really? I mean, I guess they are... till health issues, government regulations, societal pressures, God and a fallen world, etc get involved, but we don't focus on that, do we?

I read a few articles over the past week on an assortment of "women's issues" and they rocked my world. Some made me nod my head in agreement, some made me shake my fist in anger, some made me think about things from a totally new perspective. In case you haven't read them yourself, I wanted to share them, as well as a bit of my own personal story.


My hope in opening the curtain and letting you (and the rest of the InterWebs) into my private life is that it helps us all to understand and remember that everyone has their own journey... and it's THEIR JOURNEY... and that it's not our right or place to impose our opinions or preferences on others and try to force them into our ideals. NO MATTER WHAT!

The hubby and I have been married for over 10 years (we celebrated our anniversary in August) and together as a couple for over 15 years (we started dating our sophomore year of college, in September 2003). I knew for many-a-moons that kids would not be in the cards for me. The reasons are plentiful (not wanting to pass on health issues, enjoying freedom, not feeling a "call" from God, etc), but I knew my future spouse would also need to be on board. Ryan and I discussed this numerous times, at length, and after much careful consideration, are thankfully on the same page. Let me be clear - this was not a decision taken lightly (just as I hope the decision to have kids is not made willy-nilly). (Just in case you were wondering - he was never 'opposed' to children, thought "if it happened, that'd be cool", but once we dove into it he understood my point of view, which in turn became his perspective as well - but not because of any pressure I forced upon him... he arrived at the extremely personal decision for himself.) This may not be your path, but it is what works for us.

I am not here to ask for your approval or even understanding, just acknowledgement that this is OUR CHOICE! Kids are not for everyone. Couples are childless for many different reasons (whether it is their choice or not). Just because you don't fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the traditional "American family" does not mean you are 'wrong' or 'missing out' or 'selfish'. There may be an ideal out there that the natural progression in life is to find a spouse, settle down, have a family and die... but that doesn't mean it's the only way. Write your own story and live your own adventure!


Anywho, back to the articles I came across last week, with topics including abortion, childlessness and miscarriage. No matter what your personal feelings or experience with these topics, I hope you take a few minutes to read through the articles with an open mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts (as long as we can have a respectful discussion, of course)!

My Twitter Thread on Abortion by Design Mom

I do not want to get into my personal feelings on abortion (although I would be happy to discuss this with you at a different time), but this post was AMAZEBALLS! Gabrielle touches on some opinions that were extremely eye opening. As a society we are told that abortions are all about the women, but, in fact, Gabrielle's article suggests (which I absolutely agree with) that the issue is not with women... but with MEN (and, to be crude, irresponsible ejaculation)! Like I said, you may or may not agree with abortion (I would actually say this article isn't even focused on abortion - whether is is right or wrong, etc), but I hope you read this post. If there was ever a time to use the phrase "mic drop", it is after reading this.

Childless Aunts Are The Most Undervalued Women In America by Tin Nuo Chan

The title of this article drew me in immediately. We didn't decide against children because we hated them... we just knew they weren't right for us. With that said, we still have some amazing kids in our lives (in fact, we will become the legal guardians of our best friends' adopted children if anything happens to them). Even though I am secure with my decision on not having kids of my own, some comments people make still hurt... Phrases like "I never knew real love until I was a mother", "Now that I have kids my life has true meaning", "It's a mom thing, you wouldn't understand". Obviously I know people aren't necessarily saying these things to be insulting. And most folks who say these statements may truly believe them for themselves. But PLEASE take a moment and think about what you are essentially saying... Since I don't (and won't) have children, I must not know real love, have purpose in my life or have the capability to understand your life.

I thought this article was powerful. If you have childless women in your life, please do take an extra minute or two to think about what you are saying (and what they may be hearing). Whatever path the women in your life are on, PLEASE LOVE THEM, THANK THEM, PRAISE THEM FOR ALL THEY DO AND GIVE THEM AN EXTRA SQUENCH OR TWO! 

Our Loss is Not a Secret by Liberty and Ryan

One of my sweet friends recently went through a miscarriage and was brave enough to share her experience on a recent blog post. With miscarriage statistics being as they are - recording that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in her lifetime - you would think that this subject would be one that would be discussed more openly or frequently. Don't get me wrong, I totally understand that women (and men) have the right to keep personal matters private - but I pray that when we begin being more open with one another then the hurt and mourning can be shared as a community. We need women (and men) to know that although we might not know the right things to say or what to do to alleviate the pain they are going through, that we are there for them no matter what to help shoulder the burden of life with them!

You may call me a feminist, a liberal, a hippie, and who knows, I may be all of the above, but all I know is that I will continue to advocate for and fight on behalf of the rights and respect I believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON deserves!


Have you read any interesting articles lately?

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Workout Recap - Week 37

Sunday, September 9th – 12 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Monday, September 10th – 3.4 mile run with the hubby

Tuesday, September 11th – 11.11 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, September 12th – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, September 13th – 1 mile warm-up, 7 x .25 mile hill repeats {3.5 miles}, 1 mile cool-down, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, September 14th  Rest Day, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, September 15th – 10 mile pace run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Although this was a somewhat lower mileage week (and my Garmin is reminding me that I was "unproductive" - HA!), I am still stoked with my workouts. My hill repeats on Thursday may not have been fast, but they felt strong. (FYI - I shared this suggestion on my IG stories, but thought I'd mention it here as well. Folks ask me if I have any tips for hill repeats and my "secret" is to dedicate each uphill to a specific person or family. I take the uphill to pray for them and find it helps me to take my mind off myself and the struggle I may be feeling at the moment.) If I'm being honest, Saturday's pace run was freaking me out a bit, and even though it didn't feel easy (oh how I wish holding my marathon goal pace felt a little more effortless), I was able to nail the workout and have an average pace of exactly what I was aiming for - 7:37/mile!

How were your workouts this past week?