Saturday, November 30, 2019

November Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 2017 and 77 in 2018!) has morphed into this passion for books. Let's be real, not having cable TV to keep me "entertained" also gives me more free time to dive into a great book or seven ;) {PS One of my goals for 2019 is to read 19 books, let's see how many times over I can do that.}

There were FIFTY-EIGHT books in the first ten month, so when I add November's FOUR that brings my total for 2019 to SIXTY-TWO thus far! If you're interested in what I read (or how I'd rate them and whether I'd recommend you giving them a read or not), make sure to check out my previous book recaps! {January's BooksFebruary's BooksMarch's BooksApril's BooksMay's BooksJune's BooksJuly's BooksAugust's BooksSeptember's Books, October's Books}

  • Look Me In The Eye by John Elder Robison - The hubby and I needed a book to listen to on our drive to and from Vegas for the #RnRLV race so I went onto our library's catalog website, typed in "mental health" and selected "audiobooks". This was one of the first books that popped up and it sounded interesting. The author grew up with Asperger's (although this was before it was a diagnosis so everyone just thought he was "weird") and the book is about growing up being different than those around him. Although the hubby fell asleep for most of the book (he does that in the car A LOT... he says it rocks him to sleep like a baby... which is why I get the final decision on the audiobooks ;)), we both really enjoyed this one. The story is real and raw. He grew up with the fear he would potentially turn into a murderer because he was seen as a "social deviant" due to his "odd" behaviors. A light switched on when a psychologist friend mentioned a possible diagnosis. Even if you don't have anyone in your life on the autism spectrum, I feel like this book is insightful (not to mention reminds us all to be kind to everyone - no matter what!). I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - I mentioned Hoopla on a recent Friday Favorites post, but in case you didn't read that post, let be give you a brief recap. When I went to the library to pick up the previous audiobook an employee mentioned the Hoopla app. They said that with my Oceanside Library account I could download 4 audiobooks a month (and often the app has titles the physical library did not). Once I got home I downloaded the app and started "borrowing" books. This was the first title I snagged. I remembered friends giving this book high praise and when I saw it on the "featured" page I downloaded it (also, seeing as it was 15ish hours long I thought I might prefer listening to it rather than reading the extra long book ;)). I read the first few sentences of the synopsis before I started listening so I knew it was a historical novel about female spies during the World Wars. I really enjoyed this one. I like when authors have stories told from multiple characters' perspectives and this one switched back and forth between two - Eve and Charlie. It also flip-flopped between two timelines - 1915 and 1947 (but, don't worry, it wasn't hard to keep the two plots separate). I'm not a huge history buff, but thankfully didn't need to be. I found this story engaging (although, to be honest, I enjoyed Eve's storyline more than Charlie's) and had me rooting for both characters and their quests. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello  - A few weeks back my friend Andrea had posted a picture of this book on her Instagram account, thanking the author for his honesty and vulnerability, which in turn allowed her to get real and raw in her recent book. I was intrigued so when I saw the library had it on the shelf I went and grabbed it. As you can probably guess from the title, this is not a happy-go-lucky kind of book. It is a memoir from a journalist (which means you already know it will be well written) about his boyfriend turned husband who battled and ultimately succumbed to a rare form of cancer. Although the story is tragic, Michael's telling will leave you with a sense of hope and a feeling of love. The story of Michael and Kit was brutally honest and raw - showing not just the good times, but the bad and down right difficult times as well. In the end, this book will remind you to live every moment to its fullest, tell those closest to me how much they mean (and tell them often), and that LOVE IS LOVE! I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Uncluttered by Courtney Ellis - This was the second book I listened to on my Hoopla app. In the recent months, especially with the renovation of our condo, we've transitioned into being somewhat of minimalists. That's not to say I still don't have eight pair of running shoes in my current rotation or that we don't have anything in our closets, but I do feel a lot less anxious with less stuff. I didn't realize, but this is actually a book written by a pastor in Southern California. Although her lifestyle is much different than ours (having multiple small kids can do that), I did walk away with quite a few little nuggets. PS This book was not necessarily about becoming a minimalist, in fact, she says that she isn't, but she has found some habits that she (and they as a family) has instilled to help life be less cluttered. I really appreciated the parts on learning to say no (we often fill up our lives and our calendars because we can't say that tiny word...) and for leaving space (we can't clean out our closets and drawers just to refill them, we need to learn to leave space). She mentions some great ideas (like having a Sabbath, not only tidying up your physical space but also your mental space, uninstalling apps on your phone, etc) and hopefully I can put some into practice. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

With that, November has come to a close. My reading may not be going gang-busters like it has in the past, but I hope it never completely stops. If you have any suggestions, let me know! I'm always willing to add them to my library wait list!

PS I created an Amazon list that includes all of the books I've read and would recommend to others. Check it out!

What was the best book you read this year?

Friday, November 29, 2019

#OptOutside and #OptToAct

If you don't follow me on social media then you may not know I have been pretty silent these last few days. Don't worry, I'm not deleting all of my accounts or going on a major detox, we just happen to be out of town for a Friendsgiving camping trip (and we don't have unlimited data, so I have to pick and choose when to get on... which means I end up having my phone on airplane mode for the majority of the time). The snazzy thing about the blog is I can schedule posts, which is how I am sharing this one while being away from my computer and the InterWebs. #TheMagicOfTechnology

Anywho, hopefully you know that the hubby and I love the great outdoors. We are not huge shoppers (ha, if you know me at all you probably know that I don't enjoy shopping in the least) so when REI announced their #OptOutside campaign a few years back, when they were planning to shut their doors for Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and urge their employees and customers to head outside instead of to the malls, the hubby and I were ALL IN! 

In fact, the past few years we have been going on Friendsgiving camping trips over the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year we went to Superstition Mountains in central Arizona, in 2017 we camped in Zion, in 2016 we spent a week in Yosemite and in 2015 the hubby and I were on the North Shore of Oahu (the hubby worked for Reef at the time and when there was an empty beachfront house available for us to use after a surf contest ended we jumped at the opportunity).

Now I'm sure I will have a post to share from our adventures of "Opting Outside" in Idyllwild (where we are currently) when we return, this post is about more than than. In fact, REI is nudging folks to go further than 'just' going outside on Black Friday. They want people to "Opt to Act" and we couldn't love this more! On November 29th, TODAY, they want us all to join them for a nationwide day of action—kicking off a year of change. (Don't worry if you are reading this after Black Friday, because this is literally just the beginning... You have a WHOLE YEAR to join in and make a difference!)


Not sure where to begin?! REI has laid out a 52 week plan - and I promise that these are things all of us can do in our every day lives! They aren't grandiose ideas like chaining yourself to the front of a bulldozer that is threatening to destroy a local park... they are things like picking up a piece of trash if you see it on the ground or checking your tire pressure to optimize fuel efficiency. The hope is that after a year of action not only will we have done a bit better for future generations and the planet as a whole, but hopefully some of these changes will become lifelong habits for you and for me.


You better believe the hubby and I are all in! We hope you are too! #OptOutside is the beginning. Continue to act with 52 weeks of simple actions to reduce your impact, get active and leave the world better than you found it. LET'S DO THIS!

PS I came across the below video on Facebook and it was sort of shocking... but not shocking at all... The hubby and I don't have kids, but want to lead by example and plan to put down our phones and get outside more! Will you join us?!

What is one small change you can opt to act?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

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, November 25, 2019

Q&A with Carlee

From the feedback I've received thus far, it seems like you all have been enjoying this Questions and Answers series, so I'm going to continue it until you run out of questions to ask ;) [If you've missed the previous posts you can find them HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. I'm loving the variety in the questions that have been asked. Keep 'em coming!]

How many half/ full marathons have you done?

As of today I have run 56 half marathons and 25 full marathons. I started running in 2012, so I guess you can decide if that's a lot or not ;) The breakdown of my half marathon tally is - 2012: 1, 2013: 6, 2014: 6, 2015: 10, 2016: 10, 2017: 7, 2018: 10 and 2019: 6. The breakdown of my full marathon tally is - 2014: 1, 2015: 4, 2016: 4, 2017: 5, 2018: 5 and 2019: 6. When I originally started running I said I would NEVER run a full... and, well, we all see how that went ;)

Do you want children?

The hubby and I do not want children. I've written about this a few times [2013: Choice About Children, 2014: Mother's Day for Non-Mothers, 2017: Natural Progression, 2018: A Woman's Choice - Is It Really?], but suffice it to say this is a decision that we have discussed long and hard. I knew since High School that I did not want children and I was lucky enough to find a boyfriend turned fiancĂ© turned husband who felt similarly. Just because we do not want children of our own does not mean we hate kids (we just like ones that we can give back to their parents, hehe). We love our nephews and would take a bullet for our friends' children if ever it was necessary, but do not plan on bringing our own into the world.


Top five books?

This is a toughie! I like so many different books for so many different reasons, but I guess if I'm being forced to whittle down my favorites I'd say (in no particular order): The Bible, The Handmaid's Tale, The Hunger Game Series (I know, I know, it's more than one book, but it's my list so you'll have to accept it ;)), The Power, To All The Boys I've Ever Loved Series (yup, another series, sorry ;)), Beartown, The Hate U Give, Love Does, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Nightingale, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, This Is How It Always Is, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Freakonomics and Let Your Mind Run. Okay, okay, so someone asked for my top five and I gave fifteen, but it was hard narrowing it down this far to the books I'd recommend. It really depends on the type of books you like and what you're looking for, but this is a jumping off point ;)

Planning any more tattoos? How many do you currently have?

Funny you should ask because the hubby and I were just discussing that once our No Spend November is done we will have to set up an appointment for our next tattoos (but you'll have to wait and see what the next one is ;)). I currently have 12. Stars on my lower back, the symbol for love on the top of my right foot and the symbol for joy on the top of my left foot, a heart (with my initials hidden in it) on my left wrist, a map of Michigan (with a banner that says "SMITTEN") on the inside of my left bicep, a semicolon on my right wrist, a banner of a Shakespeare quote ("though she be but little, she is fierce") on my right forearm, a swallow on my right shoulder, the hubby's name on my right ribs, a large cherry blossom tree covering most of my left lower back, an anchor on my left quad and a pineapple on my right calf.

Any plans for your next World Marathon Major or do you not care about the 6-Stars?

As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm "fairly frugal". International racing (or traveling in general) is not a cheap thing. Currently I have no plans to complete all six World Marathon Majors {Tokyo, London, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Berlin}, but am hoping next year I'll be able to run Chicago (which I have ran before {in 2017}) and New York City (I've already done Boston twice). {FYI: I'll be submitting a qualifying race for both of the time-qualifying systems rather than the lotteries.} The hubby hasn't been to either Chicago or New York City so we would be making mini vacations out of them if I get in. With that said, if you know someone who wants to pay my way to tackle any of the international races, pass along my info ;)


And, there you have it, a handful of your questions with my honest to goodness answers. Hopefully you found some of the information interesting. I think this might be a fun series to continue, so as long as people keep supplying the questions, I’ll keep supplying the answers. Leave a question in the comments or reach out any of the social media platforms you follow me on (I should be @CarleeMcDot on all of them) and let me know what you've been dying to know about me.

Any questions you are dying to ask me?

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Workout Recap - Week 47

Sunday, November 17th – Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon 

Monday, November 18th – 5K run with the hubby, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Tuesday, November 19th – 120 minutes on the stationary bike, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Wednesday, November 20th – 5.5 mile run (3 miles with the hubby, 2.5 miles solo), Stretched & Foam Rolled

Thursday, November 21st – 5 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Friday, November 22nd  10.10 mile run, Stretched & Foam Rolled

Saturday, November 23rd – 10K run with the hubby

I'M BACK! Okay, so my groin may not feel 100%, but it definitely feels better than it has. I'd say I'm running at least 60-90 seconds slower than I have been in the recent past, but I'd much prefer to run slower and still run than not be running at all. My next marathon isn't until February so I feel like I still have plenty of time to ramp up my mileage, but it felt great to get back to do more than just ride my stationary bike. (The hubby and I will be camping for the next week so the running will probably dip back down again, but I'm listening to my body and getting healthy before I do any type of pushing.)

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday Favorites

Another week that FLEW by... but that's probably because we were in Vegas until Monday and we are leaving for a week long camping trip tomorrow so we have had a jam packed schedule for the last couple days. Even with everything going on you didn't think I would leave you hanging on things I am loving lately, did you?! I wouldn't do that to you (at least not this week... next week I will, but who's gonna be reading blogs on Black Friday anyway?!)! Anywho, let's get on with it!

USPS Operation Santa

I came across this new program on Facebook and HAD TO share it. Instead of doing Christmas gifts, my side of the family normally does donations to charities. Everyone picks their favorite charity and family members donate in that person's honor. This year we decided to "adopt" a family in the Toledo, Ohio area and will be blessing them with gifts/ necessities/ etc. Well, USPS is putting together a program to help kids from low-income homes and YOU can participate! All over the country, kids will send letters to Santa, asking for everything from toys to basics, like a warm coat or shoes, and you can make their Christmas wish come true. Letters to Santa from low-income kids are now available for adoption online. You can pick a letter from any city in the country, and it's tax deductible. Just remember, gifts need to be mailed by Dec. 20.


Doll Running Accessories

I didn't really play with Barbies or dolls growing up, but I know a lot of kids enjoy that sort of thing. When I was scrolling through Pinterest earlier this week I came across an ad from Target for a Our Generation Running Accessory Set - Run for Fun! and thought it was pretty awesome. I love that the idea of running for fun is being introduced to kiddos. Included in the set is a running belt with water bottles, a visor, a stopwatch, sunglasses, a medal, running shoes and a race bib belt. (PS It says the accessories are compatible with most 18 inch dolls, so not Barbies, but more like American Girl dolls.)

Keep Nature Wild Ornaments

The hubby and I have had our Christmas tree up for about two weeks (#SorryNotSorry). I saw that Keep Nature Wild recently came out with ornaments and LOVE them. I don't think I would actually buy any because we only have plain red, white or silver bulbs on our tree (#simplicity), but I love the idea of them ;) Maybe we could always grab a couple to put up in our new AdventureMobile (not as Christmas ornaments but just as wooden decorations).


As you know, I love me a good book (or eighteen). Well, when I was at the library last week picking up an audiobook for our drive to and from Vegas one of the employees was telling me about Hoopla. It's a digital media lending service powered by local libraries worldwide. Users sign up with an email address, password, and library card information, and Hoopla gives them access to their local library's collection of digital titles. With my library card through the Oceanside Public Library I am able to get 4 audiobooks a month (they also have things like eBooks, music, etc, but I think I will only really use it for audiobooks). I'm stoked to start using it. I already have like 15 books "starred" that I want to listen to.


What are you loving lately?!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap

This past Sunday was the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. {And this was my fifth year in a row running it.}

Ready to rock and ROLL my way to my 56th half marathon finish!

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you probably remember that I normally join some "crazy" friends and turn the weekend into a multi-race weekend. With #RnRLV not starting until 4pm on Sunday afternoon, it's the perfect opportunity to squeeze in a race on Saturday (or even Sunday) morning. Last year we did the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon on Saturday morning, the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas 5K on Saturday evening and then the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday {we called it #Dirt2Strip}. In 2017 I "only" did the 5K {where I dressed as Elvis Presley} on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. In 2016 it was a Vegas only weekend again with the 5K {where I dressed as the Welcome To Vegas sign with battery powered lights and everything} on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday. And in 2015 we did a #SD2LV trip where we ran the Silver Strand Half Marathon in San Diego on Saturday morning and the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday. I know, I know, we are cray-cray, but we love it!

An assortment of photos from some of those past races.

Last year we decided we weren't going to do the 5K any longer. The course is crappy (you aren't even on the strip), it's dark, the street is tore up, there are a bunch of turns and it's crowded... It's just not that great. We threw around the idea of maybe going to a show instead or a fancy dinner, but all we really knew was we weren't registering for the 5K on Saturday night. When the idea of what Saturday race to run arose I did something out of the norm. Instead of jumping on board immediately, I asked the hubby if he would want to rock climb at Red Rock Canyon. He loves bouldering there so I suggested I could opt out of a Saturday race and we could drive (he needs his pad and gear, so flying isn't really an option) so he could climb. It took him all of three and a half seconds to agree, so that's how I ended up at Red Rock on Saturday morning, taking pictures and videos of my hubby climbing instead of running another race. #GoodWifePoints

On the walk to the boulders I saw these rocks, which I thought looked like they said "I <3 U".

But let me back up just a few hours so you can get all the nitty-gritty deets (okay, so maybe my madre and daddy-o are the only ones who care about the minute details, but it's my blog so I'll share them if I want to ;)). With rock climbing, you don't necessarily want it too warm outside, which can be difficult in the desert. You see, when it's hot, your hands sweat more and become softer, which makes rock climbing harder (due to less friction). Our goal was to leave the house around 4:45am so we'd be to Red Rock a little after 9. Thankfully the roads were clear and we didn't have to worry about traffic.

Obviously the hubby slept while I drove (but it could be 2pm in the afternoon and he'd still doze off... he says it rocks him to sleep like a baby...). {My mom suggested I make a collage of all the "sleeping Ryan" shots... I think I need to do that!}

It's a good thing I prefer driving anyway, right?!

I guess that's why I get free reign to choose the audiobook we listen to since he misses at least half of it every time!

We stopped in Primm to fill up gas, so I snapped a quick photo before running in for the restroom.

After Ryan climbed for a few hours we made our way over to the race expo. I grabbed my bib (it felt weird not having to pick up multiple bibs!) and participant shirt, then we walked through the aisles so I could say HI to some friends.

I loved the graphic, but it's too bad they misspelled Wyoming, huh?!

Welcome to Vegas, baby!

We stayed at The Linq this year because we snagged a great deal a few months back and it would be convenient for Sunday's finish line {FYI - The 10K, Half and Full Marathons all finish at the same spot}. Check-in wasn't supposed to be until 4pm but we decided we'd head over early and see if there was a possibility to get into the room. Thankfully there was a room available and we got settled by 3. [Remember, we're currently in our No Spend November challenge, so since The Linq charges for parking that meant we parked at The Palazzo's free parking garage and then walked the half a mile or so down to where we were staying. We also packed all of our own food because we wouldn't be eating out while in town.]

Of course I had a list to remind us what we had for meals...

Saturday evening was chill. We watched some college football and waited for Brian, David, Richard and Carmen to get into town. Once they were showered (the guys ran the Lexus LaceUp Palos Verdes Half Marathon that morning before jumping on a flight to Vegas), we joined them for dinner {well, Ryan and I ate our PB&J's beforehand [The Linq doesn't have microwaves, so whatever food we brought couldn't require cooking ;)] so just hung out and enjoyed their company while they ate at Tao}. I guess it's a good thing we didn't decide on a show since our No Spend November would've put a kink in those plans. (Hubby was already heart broken because we couldn't go to his fave pizza place, Pizza Rock... oops!)


I'll be honest, night races aren't usually my jam because I never really know what or when to eat before them, but one of the positives is not having to set any crazy alarms for Sunday morning. Well, we did meet up with the crew at Hash House A Go Go for breakfast (again, we ate beforehand but thankfully they didn't seem to mind that we were just along for the friendship and not for the food) at 7:30am, but my body is used to waking up early anyway so it wasn't an issue.


After breakfast the hubby and I went back to the room to do a little maxing and relaxing. While the hubby did a little more snoozing (he is not so much a morning person, hehe), I watched some football and made sure I had everything I needed.

Since it's a night race I had to break out all my reflective gear. The bottom picture shows with a flash.
#FlatCarlee consisted of (well, besides my die, haha) Black and White PRO Compression sock,
a black Handful bra, black reflective chevron Sparkle Athletic skirt, black lululemon Swiftly Tech top,
reflective Brooks canopy jacket (older model), reflective Brooks Chaser hat (older model), white and
black QALO wedding bands
, black Momentum Jewelry wrap, COROS APEX watch, and Brooks Ghost 11.

Yep... In the past I had only dressed up for the 5K, but since we weren't running that race I thought I'd try a costume for the half marathon. The issue was, I waited until a couple weeks before the race to decide I wanted to run in some sort of costume, and at that point we couldn't spend money. One afternoon I told myself if there was a square box in the recycle-ables I'd try and make a die. Low and behold the dumpster gods were shining down on me and a near perfect sized box appeared ;) We had plenty of black and white paint, so I got to work. I ended up doing quite a few coats of paint (I think it took four or five of the white so none of the cardboard was showing through) but I was happy with the final product.

Walt is never very impressed with my creations... Ah well... 

While trying on the box, I quickly realized something was different between the die cardboard box and the Ms. PacMan costume I had made for Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles. You see, I physically made the Ms. PacMan costume from different pieces of cardboard, so I was able to make it just wide enough for my shoulders. This worked perfectly because I was able to add arm holes into the side. Well, although I fit inside of the found die box, it wasn't a perfect fit. I had to decide whether I'd want to keep my arms inside of the box (I had enough room to swing them a bit inside the box, but it did make the whole thing shift around) or if I wanted to cut holes in the sides but run awkwardly with my arms out like chicken wings. In the end I decided to run with my arms inside of the box, even though I knew this would lead to problems like drinking at aid stations and not being able to catch myself if I fell over... I was hoping the good would outweigh the bad ;)

I'm an old pro at running side of cardboard costumes, HAHA!

We met in the lobby at 1:30pm, which may seem crazy early for a 4:30pm race start (and it is), but we had to walk down to the runners' village and the line to get through security in years past has been crazy long so we wanted to give ourselves enough time (also, the first wave, which we were in, opened at 3:30). And there was a #WeRunSocial meet-up at 2:45pm.

When we arrived there was like zero security line, so we walked right in. Since we were so early we snapped a few pictures and got the lay of the land. We also stopped by the port-o-potties (there were a ton, but then again, there were only like 100 of us milling around so of course we didn't have to wait in line), gear check trucks (the hubby would be meeting us at the finish, so he'd be bringing my jacket, but I'd absolutely suggest checking a layer or two in your gear bag because when the sun goes down and you stop running it can get chilly) and the foam rolling/ stretching area.

We almost needed a panoramic picture for this one ;) 

This is how we ROLL ;) {Lisa and Carmen were actually rolling, I was using
the bathroom and left my box so Brian decided to have a little photo fun}

Eventually it was time to meet up with all our running friends. We had a decent turn out and I loved seeing and chatting with everyone. It was a little rough trying to give hugs to folks while I was in my box, but thankfully everyone understood ;)

These three are quality guys right here! Lucky to have them in my life!

Around 3:30pm we made our way to the gate and they released the blue bibbed runners to the street. The course had changed again this year, as had the walk to the corrals. Last year I remember thinking the walk to the start was a cluster (they said you had to go to the runners' village, but the walk to the start was open for everyone {at points just random tourists were getting swallowed up in the hoards of runners walking to the start} and it definitely didn't seem closed off or secure). This year the walk was a little more streamlined (we were walking down back alleys to get back to the strip), but it did feel a bit like cattle. Thankfully the time we spent walking to the start wasn't too long (with the shooting that occurred in 2017 ever present, our safety and surroundings are definitely things I pay more attention to now than I had before).

Once we got out onto the strip the crowd spread out a bit which was nice.

As with all of the Rock 'N' Roll races I've run, the corrals are more just suggestions. No one is enforcing where runners should go (I actually don't even remember if people were checking the color of our bib, but maybe that's because I was focused on not knocking into people with my box than I was looking for volunteers) and the size of the corrals (notated with blow up signs on the side of the street) are pretty laughable for the number of people they are trying to squeeze in. We always joke that we need a flag to carry so the group can see where we are going (it gets pretty crazy trying to squeeze through the masses to get up to our appropriate spot), but we were able to reconvene without any lost souls ;)

Not only is trying to fit into the corrals difficult, but so is fitting everyone into a selfie ;)

Before long we were counting down the chair and elite start before the rest of the runners were getting ready to hit the strip. In years past they've spread out the start between corrals (or at least between chunks of runners) a little more, but once the race started it seemed like there was maybe only 10 seconds between the next set of runners going. I'm not sure if they had complaints about how spread out the starting times were and that's why they changed it or what the rationale was, but I think it played into the overly crowded feeling on the course (at least it felt more crowded than in years past).

Ready to rock and ROLL! And hope I don't DIE since I didn't have use of my arms...

If you've read my recaps from years past (or have looked at a course map), you may know that the first detour we make is to the Welcome To Vegas sign. It's about a mile and a half into the race and it's normally a good place to regroup with friends who may have slipped away from the pack. This year there was a stage in front of the sign (I guess that's where they were doing the "run thru wedding" this year) which was sort of an annoyance, but we made it work.

No one knew the Elvis that jumped into our picture... but that's okay ;) 

It's hard to get great night shots, but at least the reflective gear was on point! 

Once we all got our pictures we merged back into the race and got to running. There was a tribute to those lost in the 2017 shooting at the turn-around point. There was an ensemble of musicians on stage and the music they were playing was beautiful. It definitely was a moment for reflection and thanksgiving. I could have stayed there for a lot longer.

I took this picture of the Vegas Strong sign at the Expo, but it was the backdrop behind the musicians.

The next stop I made was to see the hubby. He wanted to get in a run, so ended up running about 2 miles from the hotel to see us on the course (and then ran the 2 miles back so he could shower and eat dinner before meeting us at the finish line). I pulled over so I could give him a quick kiss and he snapped a couple photos. He's the bestest!

Normally I hate pictures of me running away, but it's pretty funny to see a die running down the street!

When I caught back up with the group they were keeping great pace. As you may remember, my groin has been angry with me since the Ventura Marathon about four weeks ago so I wasn't sure how it'd hold up (besides running the REVEL Big Bear Half Marathon the weekend before this race I had mostly been either biking on my stationary bike or resting), but thankfully it wasn't giving me much of an issue - not sure if it is slowly getting better or if it is the CBD balm I use.


This race is always about the fun, friends and memories. I know some people will race it (I mean, someone always has to win, right?!), but this will never be that kind of race for me. Don't get me wrong, it's normally decent weather (once the sun sets it cools down and you can get some great running temperatures) and the course is flat, but that's about where the pros for running fast end (at least in my opinion). Some years the crew we roll with is small, while other times the group is so large that we all have to take a number and count off when leaving aid stations to make sure we aren't losing people or leaving anyone behind. We normally end up running a two-ish hour half marathon with about thirty to forty-five minutes worth of stops for pictures and shenanigans along the way. It's what we've deemed "Party Pace".

We couldn't catch this guy breathing fire, but we still snagged a shot with him.

In fact, we're so serious about the party that we always stop about a mile before the finish so folks can grab a beer... I mean, it's Vegas... (I don't drink beer, so I don't partake, but I may have enjoyed a shot of Fireball before we left the bar.)

While everyone else drinks their beer, I'll just make a crazy face and stand in the middle - HAHA!

I would say that the die costume was a HUGE success. I got shout outs from runners and spectators alike. Most of the runners were flabbergasted that I could run with my arms inside the box for the entire race, while most of the spectators were drunk and just looking for something to yell about ;) Surprisingly the box wasn't as difficult to run in as I was expecting. It did get rather toasty inside since there was no air movement, but it wasn't terrible. I ended up pushing my arms out on the edges of the box while I ran because it helped to keep the box from moving around and made me feel a little more stable in the process. The only bummer part was that because I didn't have use of my hands I couldn't give out high-fives or take photos along the course (all of the pictures included in this post were photos other folks took and kindly sent to me after the race). Oh yeah, and drinking at aid stations wasn't as hard as I was expecting either. I was able to get my hand up through the top of the box at my neck hole, so I just stopped at a volunteer, explained that I would need them to put the cup in my hand and then was able to shimmy it up to my mouth and grab a couple sips. Originally I was thinking I wouldn't be able to drink at all, so being able to slurp down a couple cup fulls of water on course was nice.

My favorite aid station was obviously the one where we saw our favorite
vegan hotdog! She will be joining us at the LA Marathon in March - YAY!

I made it to the finish line without falling, so I'm considering it a success!
PS How awesome is it that this picture was on the Review Journal. Doesn't it SCREAM Vegas?! 

Seeing as we are still on our No Spend November, I won't be registering for next year's race quite yet (and since I haven't worked out my 2020 calendar I'm not 100% certain this race will be included, which is crazy to think I might skip it, but we will see), but if you're interested to run the #StripAtNight, you can take advantage of the presale prices till November 24th.

We did it! 

This race is never about the finish time... but the time spent with friends on the course!

Everyone joked and asked if I added a medal hanger in my box... I didn't, I was just holding it at the neck hole ;)
And isn't the chair/foot stool that we found at Secret Pizza PERFECT! 

Word on the street is Las Vegas just approved a Rock 'N' Roll race for April (starting in 2021), so I'll be interested to see what happens to this race in the future. The April race is supposedly going to be on Saturday, which would make it more difficult for a multi-race weekend, but would be easier for folks who have to work on Monday (seems like you either have to take a redeye flight Sunday night, a super early flight Monday morning or take the day off work if you aren't local).

We stopped by Seven Magic Mountains on the drive home so I could snap a #MedalMonday picture.
The race bling glows in the dark, has a flat bottom so it can stand on it's own and the poker chip
on the top spins. It isn't as large as medals we've received in the past, but the design gets two thumbs up.

What do you think is more impressive - running in a box for a half marathon or not spending money while in Vegas?