Sunday, March 29, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 13

Sunday, March 22nd – 3 mile run with the hubby


Monday, March 23rd – 10.5 mile run, Foam Rolled and Stretched 


Tuesday, March 24th – 30 minutes of Yoga

Wednesday, March 25th – 13.1 mile run, Foam Rolled and Stretched


Thursday, March 26th – 150 minutes on the stationary bike, Foam Rolled and Stretched


Friday, March 27th  6 mile run, Foam Rolled and Stretched


Saturday, March 28th – 17.4 mile run, Foam Rolled and Stretched


For some reason I got in my head that I wanted to hit 50 miles this week, which is why my Saturday run was 17.4 (a random distance for sure, but I tallied my miles before I left and it helped me hit the 50 mark). I have been doing all of my runs from the house, which can get a little old (because I don't have a ton of awesome routes right out the front door), but I'm excited to try and find different directions to run (hopefully not all uphill...). Besides adding my foam rolling and stretching back into my schedule, I have also been doing a core challenge and 30 burpees a day! I've been extremely thankful for the Peloton app with their stretching, strength training and meditation sessions! I'm hoping to not only come out of this COVID outbreak healthy and happy, but maybe a little stronger physically, mentally and emotionally as well!

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friday Favorites

You would think now that I have less to "officially" do after being laid off that time would drag on, but I guess I have had quite a bit of things to catch up on because this week still flew by. I have definitely been keeping myself busy with cleaning, writing pen pal letters, getting workouts in, reading, etc... and, I've gotta be honest, I don't hate it. I mean, the bank account obviously isn't loving the lack of income, but I'm praying this time of home seclusion the country (and world) is observing (or SHOULD BE observing) is reminding us of how little we actually need and what is truly important. Okay, okay, I'll get off my COVID19 soapbox for a bit and get on with what you all came here for - my list of favorite finds. (PS Most of these things are great no matter the time of year, but specifically for while we are under the "stay at home" order.)


Peloton App


I know, I know, I'm late to the Peloton game (#RealTalk - I'm not planning on getting a Peloton bike or treadmill, unless one magically appears at my doorstep from a fitness fairy), but I finally downloaded the app last week. I was asking on social media if folks had suggestions of core challenges and a few friends mentioned Peloton had a 4-week one and they were offering a 90-day free trial of their app (no credit card required). I snagged it and have been using it now for a week, and I've gotta say, I am super appreciative of it. I have been doing the core challenge (5 times a week), mediation before bed (every night), stretching classes (trying to do them daily, but if I don't take an official class I am still trying to add stretching back into my nightly routing), etc. I know a ton of us runners often say we need to add more strength training or stretching into our routines but are too busy... well, now we aren't, so why not start today?!

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Coloring Pages


I love that companies are putting together free coloring pages for kids and adults alike to use while we are all staying at home. First up are a few awesome designs from Do Good Be Kind. These are more of the intricate, adult type coloring pages I've been seeing lately. Next are the Keep Nature Wild coloring pages that just hit their site. The designs are some of my faves they have released, so I'm stoked they are in coloring format (there are more available than I included, those were just my top picks).  I also recently just saw that the University of Michigan Alumni Association also has some coloring pages available. And you can't forget about the coloring book that one of my favorite inspirational illustrators from Instagram (@PositivelyPresent) released! Now if only we had a printer and colored pencils for me to use.

Do Good Be Kind

Keep Nature Wild

University of Michigan Alumni Association

Positively Present

Online Drawing Classes


You may know this already, but the hubby went to college for art (he went to the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan, while I went to the School of Literature, Science and the Arts). He's quite the creative guy (it'll take you all of about point zero three seconds to realize that if you ever have the opportunity to talk to him). I saw on Facebook that an illustrator of children's books was putting some drawing classes online for the kids stuck at home during the coronavirus and I figured the hubby and I could take them too. The classes are only about 10 minutes long (obviously you can pause them if you need more time on any of the steps) and they are pretty fun. After we finished the first one we got some suggestions from YouTube on other classes to take (like "How To Draw Pizza Steve") that we might need to try too!


Dropps Laundry Detergent Pods


The hubby and I are trying to cut down on our plastic consumption. We have been looking into refill stores that we can get things like hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, laundry detergent, etc. Well, we were looking into these options and then COVID-19 hit, so those plans were put on a brief hold. Thankfully I had ordered some Dropps Laundry Pods to demo while we were finding the best refill shop near us. We have only been using the Dropps for a week or so, but so far, so good. They are a zero waste, green cleaning solution that uses eco-responsible packaging, no unnecessary fillers or dyes, plus FREE carbon neutral shipping. We haven't tried any of the other products, but they do offer dishwasher pods, laundry booster pods, etc. Individuals and families can take simple steps to replace everyday products that are both eco-responsible and economical - which, if multiplied across a multitude of individuals and families, can have a measurable impact on the planet. We're in this together - let's do our part to reduce our intake of single-use plastic, recycle when possible and support companies that offer eco-responsible alternatives.

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What are you loving lately?

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 12

Sunday, March 15th – Rest Day

Monday, March 16th – McDot 50K 


Tuesday, March 17th – Rest Day

Wednesday, March 18th – 4.1 mile run


Thursday, March 19th – 120 minutes on the stationary bike


Friday, March 20th  5 mile run with the hubby


Saturday, March 21st – 10.10 mile run


Wow, this week has been crazy... and not just because my 50K this past weekend was cancelled and I opted to run a solo 31 miles around town on Monday instead... This whole "shelter at home" order has got California (and the country) going a bit stir crazy, but I am so thankful that outdoor activities for exercise are still permitted. Let's just say that although I am now currently not training for anything (all of my races in March and April have already been canceled), I am definitely going to be leaning on running for my mental health now more than ever. PS While running yesterday I was reminded that the only face-to-face interaction some people may have right now is the "hello" or wave you may offer while out running... so please be kind and spread sunshine to everyone you see (while obviously abiding by the social distancing protocol).

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Unemployed...

At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this post. I feel like there is enough depressing, scary and sad news circulating these days and I didn't want to add to it (especially because I try my darnedest to be a bright light to those around me), but this is real life (which some of you are interested in ;)) so eventually I decided to hit "publish".


I'll be honest, up until Wednesday everything seemed to be "business as usual" over in the McDot world. The hubby had been working from home for a few days, but he had been doing freelance design for about a year before he started with adidas, so it wasn't so completely out of the norm for us. I was still working my normal hours at the running store (we had cancelled all of our events and fun runs, but the store itself was still open for business with our normal hours). Don't get me wrong, we were cleaning and sanitizing like mad as soon as any customers came in and left, but for the most part COVID-19 wasn't personally impacting my life (other than being slightly anxious about only having three rolls of toilet paper in the house and not being able to buy any during my recent weekly grocery trip). Well, all of that quickly changed...

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Wednesday my co-worker and I got a call from our store manager, letting us know they were cutting hours while things worked themselves out. It netted out to only lowering my hours by about 6 hours a week (three of my 10am - 7pm shifts would be changed to 12pm - 7pm shifts - not a big deal and it would give me more time in the morning to run ;)). We all knew changes like this were on the horizon, we just weren't sure when they'd roll out and how much impact they'd have.

Just in case you didn't know, I have LOVED working at my local running store!

Thursday was the first day with my new hours. Things in the store hadn't been as slow as one might assume with everything going on. We landed on the reasoning being that since gyms and studios were closed, people were really only "left with" walking and running as forms of exercise so everyone was stocking up on their running shoes and attire.

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Before I went to bed on Thursday, I received an email notification saying my administrative rights for the store's Facebook page had been revoked (I help with their social media as well as working as a sales associate in the store). I took a screenshot and texted it to the hubby (who had gone to watch a movie at a friend's house before the "shelter in place" order was released) with a "Hmmmm...". I hoped it was an accident, but knew deep down something was coming.

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As I briefly mentioned, Thursday evening the governor of California issued a statewide order for all residents to ‘stay at home’ amid the coronavirus outbreak. The order is in place until further notice. Essential services (such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks) will stay open. {California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks. “We believe the virus will impact about 56% of California’s population... We believe with a 20% hospitalization rate, that’s about 19,543 people that would need to be hospitalized – above the existing capacity of our system.” California is the third hardest hit state in the US, behind Washington and New York.} I knew that meant the store would close temporarily, but assumed that when I woke up on Friday we'd probably have an email from our manager (or maybe the owners) letting us know that once the order was lifted that life (and business) would go back to normal... Good thing I'm not a betting girl, because boy, was I wrong.

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Friday morning came and I saw my phone light up with a call from the store. I figured it would be the store manager (who was supposed to be working from open until close), letting us know that they would be abiding by the governor's mandate. I was a bit shocked when she said that she was at the store to hang a sign saying the store was CLOSED... like closed, closed. She said that she hated that it came down to this (don't we all?!) and after the dust settles and IF they are able to re-open they'd love to have me back, but for now she'd recommend I file for unemployment as soon as possible.

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Now let me mention that I had talked to her a few days earlier and told her I was well aware of the saying "last hired, first fired" so if they needed to lay folks off, I absolutely understood the nature of the business and would harbor no ill-will or hard feelings. She thanked me for the offer but said that I was too important to her and the store to let that happen. I wrapped up the conversation by saying I was selfishly super happy to hear that, but if it came down to it, which I prayed it didn't, I would absolutely understand and she should not worry about having to address it if push came to shove...

Well, push came to shove...

As of Friday morning I became officially laid-off (along with the rest of my coworkers). I jumped on the unemployment site and filed for benefits (in my 35 years I have never once had to do this - I have always left a job on my own terms). I realize I've paid into the program for the past 20+ years, but it still felt a little strange having to submit a claim to take advantage of the benefits. I won't know for a couple weeks if my claim is approved (and I'm sure with everything going on right now it may be delayed even longer than normal), but for now I will hold my head high without feeling shame or guilt for having to submit a claim - even though those seemed to be the first emotions I felt when I hit the submit button (I'm obviously not alone, I saw an article that said unemployment claims hit 80,000 IN ONE DAY earlier this week in California alone!).

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Again, I am hoping that once we can get a handle on the coronavirus that the economy will be able to bounce back, but how long that will take (and if some of the family-owned and operated businesses will still be around at that point) is anyone's guess. I will say that I am staying positive and hopeful, knowing we will come out okay on the other side.

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With that saying, I did want to urge each of us to do our best to not only stay healthy, happy, safe and sane during these uncertain and somewhat scary times, but also to continue to support our local mom-and-pop shops whenever and however possible! We're in this together so let's do what we can to help one another get through this as best as we can!

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Are you currently under "house arrest"?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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...

WALT WEDNESDAY!


When life gets overwhelming, how do you de-stress?

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 11

Sunday, March 8th – Los Angeles Marathon


Monday, March 9th – Rest Day

Tuesday, March 10th – 4.08 mile run


Wednesday, March 11th – 3.13 mile run with the hubby


Thursday, March 12th – 4 mile run


Friday, March 13th  90 minutes on the stationary bike


Saturday, March 14th – 13.14 mile trail run with the hubby


Well, well, well... Saturday I was supposed to have my next official ultra... but then the coronavirus struck and all of my foreseeable races started dropping like flies (one of the reasons why I added in 90 minutes on the bike on Friday, which was originally scheduled as a rest day)... So even though races are cancelled, running isn't, which meant the hubby and I went to the trails and got in an unofficial half marathon (while I was running the 50K, he was supposed to be running his 20th half marathon). Now to decide if I still want to go out and run a 50K solo or not this upcoming week... #Decisions

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday Favorites

I know today is Friday the 13th, but I don't think things could get much worse, could they?! I mean, it literally seems as though the world is going to hell in a handbag (or at least that's how the media is portraying it). With all the bad news and negativity circulating these last few days, I knew I needed to get a Friday Favorites post up this week, come hell or high water... (Golly gee, for someone who doesn't cuss, I have already used "h-e-double-hockey-stick" twice in the first few sentences - please forgive me!) Anywho, we better get on with it before I drop another curse word ;)



As many of you know, I haven't eaten meat in many moons (I actually had my final "meat" meal on New Year's Eve 2005), but may not know that I am now trying to also cut dairy out of my daily consumption. Finding good dairy alternatives is definitely getting easier as more people are moving towards a plant-based diet, but that doesn't mean everything you see tastes yummy. I had been hearing great things about Kite Hill, so when I saw the cream cheese alternative on sale at our local market I decided to grab a container. Now, I'll be honest and say I normally don't put cream cheese on my bagels, but I still wanted to try it to see if it was a decent alternative. (I normally prefer nut butter on a whole wheat bagel, but if I there is an everything bagel I might dabble in a cream cheese option.) I am happy to report that this was scrum-didily-umptious! I would say had I not known it was vegan I probably wouldn't have been able to tell a difference. I also appreciate the simple and recognizable ingredients (it only contains Almond Milk {Water, Almonds}, Salt, Enzyme, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Lactic Acid, Cultures). Now obviously I wasn't doing a side-by-side comparison, but even still I thought it stood up to the real thing very well. And the hubby liked it too! We will definitely eat this in the future.


Pre-Fab A-Frame Cabins


Let's be real, with all of the health issues going around, who wouldn't want to self quarantine in a gorgeous cabin in the woods?! And one that you can put together like a piece of IKEA furniture for a relatively inexpensive price sounds right up my alley... Now to find the magical plot of land to put said get-away on and we would be all set! For $29,500 CAD the A-Frame kit comes with a step-by-step building guide and can be assembled in under a week. #DearSanta #OrEasterBunny

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Michigan Sticker Pack


If you know me, you probably know I love Michigan and I love stickers, so when I was fed this "Big Moods" Instagram ad the other day I had to screenshot it and go back to look at the brand. I don't know anything about the brand, but I've gotta say, I am loving the designs of their Michigan stickers. And the fact that you can buy them ALL in a Mega Pack so you don't have to decide on your favorites is pretty awesome too! (Although the Michigan State Flower Construction Cone and the Superman Ice Cream might be my top two picks as of this moment, but it might change any second...)

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50 States of Beauty


Another Instagram ad I was fed this week was from a company called 50 States of Beauty. Like the previous favorite, I can't vouch for the brand since I don't actually own anything from them (yet), but from what I've seen on their website I am digging what they are doing. They have a native botanicals line (where the map is covered with the native flowers of that state) and a landscape line (inspired by vintage travel posters and atlases). I don't know that it goes with our current ascetics in the updated condo, but the flower prints are definitely something I am digging.

Left: California / Center: Botanical Colonies of the US / Right: Michigan

@SubParParks Instagram


I found this Instagram account this week and have been LOVING it. An amazing artist takes REAL 1-star reviews of National Parks left on Yelp and turns them into art. Not only are some of the reviews funny, but the art is fan-freakin'-tastic. If you love the National Parks and aren't following the account already, I'd definitely recommend you do so!

Left: Glacier Park / Center: Grand Canyon / Right: Joshua Tree

What are you lovingly lately?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

REVIEW: ProBar LIVE Bars

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while, you've probably heard me talk about ProBar before. They're my go-to for race fuel, protein bars, etc. I've actually been lucky enough to be a part of their ambassador team for the past few years now (but even if I wasn't, I'd still be chowing down on their products and singing their praises from the rooftops).


I've got a confession to make. I am a creature of habit. Once I find something I like, I normally stick with it and have a hard time venturing outside of my favorites. I found this be the case with my ProBar orders as well. I normally stock up on BOLT Chews (for my training runs, races, long hikes, etc), PROTEIN Bars (for my breakfasts or post-run snack), Nut Butters (for my lunches {on a tortilla with a banana}) and every so often the bite Bars (for a mid-afternoon snack). Within those categories I still have favorite flavors and normally don't venture too far outside of the lines {my go-to BOLT flavor is Pink Lemonade, PROTEIN flavor is Frosted Coconut, Nut Butter is Superfood Almond and bite flavor is Coconut Almond}.

Far Left: PROTEIN Bar for the drive home after RnRSD / Left: MEAL Bar while we explored Yosemite / Middle: Nut Butter lunch
break / Right: PROTEIN (previously "BASE") Bar for breakfast in Alabama Hills / Far Right: BOLT Chews while hiking Mt. Whitney

Recently I was introduced to one of their "newer" products (they technically released these bars back in the late summer of 2018, but, like I said, I am a creature of habit and haven't actually tried them until now), the LIVE Bars. This is a line of fresh, whole-food bars infused with the power of live probiotics. These probiotic nutrition bar have 10 grams plant-based protein, zero added sugar and 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units) of live Bacillus coagulans.

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The LIVE probiotic bars are made with minimally processed ingredients, without any preservatives or emulsifiers. In order to maintain optimal flavor and texture, refrigeration is recommended. The proprietary binding system provides a unique texture and flavor at cold temperatures. However, these bars are still completely delicious outside of refrigeration for a few days, so pack them in your lunchbox, backpack, gym bag and more! The probiotic strain in the bars is shelf-stable.


And, I'm sure what you are all interested in is the FLAVOR, right?! Well, let me start off by saying they are scrum-didily-umptious. As you can see from the picture above, I have tried three of the four flavors - Coconut Cashew, Almond Butter and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. (There is also a Peanut Butter flavor, but I have yet to get my hands on that flavor yet.)

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As I mentioned, because they are made with minimally processed ingredients, without any preservatives or emulsifiers, they don't have your typical bar texture. It is more like all of this delicious goodness is pressed into a mold and magic binds it together. With that said, they are a bit more dense than a typical bar. (The hubby mentioned he would find it a little tough to eat if he didn't have some water to wash it down.) In their pursuit to deliver the cleanest nutrition panel possible, they’ve focused on real food, like nuts, nut butters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and date paste to let the true flavors of the ingredients shine through without adding unnecessary sugars. The result is indulgent and extremely satisfying.
I'm not sure these pictures really show how much goodness is inside of the bars. If you break
off a piece, you will often have a full pumpkin seed, chunk of nut, sunflower seed, etc fall out. 

And here is where I need to make confession number two of the post (number one was that I'm boring AF and once I find something I love I don't deviate from it often). I grew up in the age of SnackWell Cookies and Low-Fat everything. The diet culture has ingrained in me that "fat is bad". When I originally looked at the nutrition facts of these bars I was a bit taken back... Although there are 10 grams of plant-based protein and zero added sugar, there are 25 grams of fat. I might have cringed because the fat hater in me still resides deep down, but I realize there are "good fats" and "bad fats" and these are chocked full of nuts, seeds, oil, aka the good stuff. And, I've gotta say, at least for me, when I eat healthy, whole foods higher in fat, I stay fuller longer! With that said, these have been a great option for breakfast, to grab for lunch with some fruits (like a bowl of berries or a few clementines) or as an afternoon snack when I've got a long shift at the running store.
I was trying to decide which flavor was my favorite and I had (and still am having) a hard time deciding. I like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bar because the chips add an extra crunch and break up the texture of the bar, but the Almond Butter bar is super decadent and rich tasting while the Coconut Cashew bar has a tropical flavor to it that I love. All of them are USDA Organic, Certified Gluten-Free and Non-GMO Project Verified. I guess you can't lose with any of them ;)


If you want to try these bars for yourself (which I would highly recommend), I would suggest checking out the refrigerated section in your local grocery/ health food store. If they don't carry them, ASK THEM TO! Did you know you can request stores to carry specific products? It doesn't meant they will, but it definitely doesn't hurt to ask, right?! The more people who request something, the more likely they are to stock it. But, if you can't find them, you can order them online HERE.

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FYI: They're NOT paying me to say this. In fact, I don't get paid by them at all. They did send me the bars to try, but did not ask for anything in return. I just figured I'd share my thoughts on them since they were YUMMY and new to me.

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What are your thoughts on probiotics?