Wednesday, July 8, 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...


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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Summer Solstice Adventure

A few weeks ago ROAD iD reached out to me about teaming up for a Summer Solstice campaign. If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for any length of time, you've probably seen a picture of my wrist and noticed my ROAD iD.

And, in case you aren't exactly sure what a ROAD iD is, let me tell you ;) ROAD iD is a durable, rugged, athletic, fashionable line of identification gear. They have various forms of ID to allow a person to decide where they want to wear their vital info. They encourage active people who participate in outdoor activities to wear ID and not take the chance of being unidentified in the event of an accident. It's far better to wear ID and never need it than to need ID and not have it.

Source: ROAD iD's Facebook

Anywho, back to the campaign. As I'm sure you are know, the Summer Solstice is the day with the most sunlight due to the Earth's maximum tilt towards the sun. They asked a handful of people (me being one of the lucky 5) to go on an adventure, soaking up as much sunlight as possible and take folks along for the ride. Uh, YUP, sign me up!


The first thing to decide was WHERE to go... and then WHAT to do! The hubby and I were able to work it out to head up to Mammoth Lakes for a camping trip (thankfully the campgrounds had just officially opened after the COVID closures).


Let's be real, the mountains are ALWAYS calling!

If you read my post on our San Jacinto Hike that I shared last week, you saw that I rolled my ankle pretty badly at the end of that one, so we needed to take that into account for this adventure. We decided to keep the hiking mellow and hit up Convict Lake. The views around the lake are stunning (as to be expected just about EVERYWHERE in the Sierras) and the route is fairly flat. We took it nice and slow, stopping to snap photos (and let my ankle rest) whenever we wanted.

Ready to get the party started!

Don't crush the brush!

We even stopped around the back side of the lake (from where you park) and enjoyed a little lunch. (PRO TIP: Throw a couple bananas, tortillas and packs of your favorite nut butter in your bag for a delish mid-hike snack.)

Loved having my best adventure friend (and hubby) along for the day!

Almond butter is my go-to nut butter!

Instead of continuing around the rest of the lake, we actually went back the same way to came because we knew it was a little more mellow and I wouldn't have to worry about my footing as much. #BetterSafeThanSorry

The boardwalk was nice as I didn't have to worry about stepping on a rock and twisting my ankle again.

After a morning of hiking we went to the campground and hung out for a bit. We decided to jump on some bikes and cruise into town to see if we could find any stickers to add to our fridge in our AdventureMobile.

Who doesn't love some good wrist candy?!

Since California was just beginning to re-open businesses, there weren't a ton of stores open downtown to look for goodies, so we mostly just rode around for a while on the bike paths and around the different campgrounds.


Although I would have much preferred jam packing the day with activity after activity, my ankle just wouldn't allow it. That doesn't mean we didn't soak up every extra moment of sunlight that we could. In fact, we took an evening bike ride over to the golf course so we could take in the stunning sunset views (the sun wasn't actually "setting" as much as it was going down behind the mountains, but we could see it a little better than in the campground).

Once the sun goes down it gets pretty chilly so I started to bundle up.

To cap off the day, we made a fire and obviously had vegan s'mores (one of my favorite parts of camping ;)). We absolutely soaked up as much sunshine as possible and I'm super appreciative for ROAD iD for "sponsoring" the trip.


PS If you don't have a ROAD iD yet, you can use code CARLEEMCDOT to save 20% through July 29th. Oh yeah, and below is the little video they put together of the #TeamROADiD crew enjoying their Summer Solstice Shenanigans.

If you couldn't run, would you prefer to bike or hike?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 27

Sunday, June 28th – 6.28 mile run

Monday, June 29th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, June 30th – 6.44 mile run

Wednesday, July 1st – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Thursday, July 2nd – Rest Day

Friday, July 3rd   8.88 mile hike/ trail run with the hubby

Saturday, July 4th – 8.88 mile run

I am happy to report that my ankle is "allowing" me to do a bit more activity these days. It's not at 100% and I am still taking it slow, but at least I am getting out there and moving. I am thrilled that I have been able to put in a few running miles (especially since I am participating in a 1000K challenge this summer and with my lack of running in June I am estimated to just barely miss the goal, so here's to hoping my ankle cooperates and I can get back on track). Now I need to get my stretching and foam rolling routine back as a daily habit... although, we will be leaving Thursday and will be out of town until Monday afternoon on a camping adventure, so I probably won't start that again until after we return ;)

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, July 1, 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...


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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Books

I can't believe my goal of reading 17 books in 2017 (ha, I ended up with 88 in 201777 in 2018 and 67 in 2019!) has morphed into this passion for books. As you can see, my reading has slowed a bit, but my love for books has not! In the past couple years I've added longer distance races (which means more time running/ training and less time reading), we've remodeled our condo (I think it legit took us six months to finish the whole thing... DIY seems to take twice as long {and cost twice as much} as you originally think it will), and I've added another part time job (which means I'm now working 40ish hours a week, cutting down on my reading time). Even still, I love getting my read on whenever I can.

Truth be told, I was never much of a reader when I was younger (CliffsNotes were my best friend when it came to books), but recently I fell in love. Although I may not read at the same speed as I previously did when I first caught the reading bug, I still want to keep the hobby going (and what better form of accountability than to post a list of the books I finished at the end of the month?!). I don't have any set number of books I am shooting to read this year, but hopefully a lack of goal doesn't mean a lack of books completed. So, without further ado, let's jump into everything I read in June!

  • So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo - With all that is going on in the world, I wanted to make sure I was educating myself on the struggles Blacks face on a daily basis. I had seen this book recommended on a few lists and I was able to grab it on my Hoopla audiobook app. The hubby and I started listening to it together on our drive to hike San Jacinto (he fell asleep on the way home and then I finished it while walking on my lunch breaks, but don't worry, he is still planning on listening to what he missed). Ijeoma not only gives it to you straight when it comes to the realities of racism, power and oppression, but she also offers hope and ways to overcome - including dialogue. I will be honest, this isn't an easy read. At times it is harsh and blunt, and it forces you to truly take a look in the mirror, but it is necessary. I can't recommend this book enough to those folks wanting to be an ally, wanting to make change, wanting to dive into the racist system and environment in which they have been raised. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi - I will mention this from the jump, because it can sometimes turn people away from picking up a book in the first place - this is long. I listened to the audio version and it was over 18.5 hours long. With that said, it is important, it is necessary. The author takes a deep dive into the racist ideas intricately woven into America. While I was thinking about the length of time I was spending listening to this history, I was thinking that throughout my 18 YEARS of schooling (I went to pre-school for two years before starting kindergarten and graduated from a four-year college after high school) I have to believe I spent less than 18.5 hours IN TOTAL learning about Black history. Maybe you would get a lesson a year taught about slavery or civil rights, but other than that there wasn't much... And, to be completely honest, I never thought anything about it... which is white privilege TO A T! History, as I'm sure you know, is always told by "the winners" and they spin it in whatever light shows them the best. I am grateful that this author took the time to not only dive into this excruciatingly painful history, but sets the record straight when it comes to many of the people and actions taken. If you believe everyone has gotten or does get a fair shake at life, please take the time to listen (or read) this book. It is eye opening and blatantly obvious when the facts are laid bare how racist of a society America has been, is currently and will continue to be unless we demand change. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele - If you saw any of my pictures from our San Jacinto hike or read my blog post, then you probably noticed the sign that I wore on my hydration pack read Black Lives Matter. When I saw this book, a memoir written by one of the founders of the movement, I knew I wanted to give it a listen (I know the majority of the books I have "read" recently have been audiobooks, but that's because A. our library is still closed and B. I am able to listen to them on my walks to work, on my lunch break and when I'm riding the stationary bike). Patrisse opens her heart and world to the reader, inviting us in on her childhood and the realities of not only growing up Black (as well as female and queer), but also as a social activist. From start to finish this book is filled with love (for her family, for her community) and honesty. I appreciate Patrisse's willingness to put these harsh realities down on paper so that others can learn from them and continue to enact change. This book, like others I have read this month, was an eye-opener and really forces you to confront the privileges that you may have been oblivious to in your life. I wish it was longer and included more about the BLM movement, but I did walk away with the understanding that it was founded on love, the desire for justice and demand for change. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

With that, June 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?

Monday, June 29, 2020

Mount San Jacinto Hike

A few weeks ago the hubby and I hiked Mount San Jacinto (also known at San Jacinto Peak) and I thought I'd share our adventure - that way, if you're considering doing it yourself or you're just interested in our journey, you can see what went down (and up... literally ;)). It is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California.

Hubby and I at the summit

With the weather getting warmer and the crowds hitting the trails more regularly (we waited until everything was officially open after the COVID closures), we knew we wanted to get an early start on our hike. The drive to the trailhead is approximately 75 miles away (a little over an hour and a half), so we set the alarms for EARLY and hit the hay.

At least I was in bed early ;)

We got to the trailhead in Idyllwild with no problems (we even stopped in town to use a port-o-potty and then swung by the State Park Headquarters before we started the trek to the top). Note - normally you need to stop by Headquarters for a wilderness permit {or apply for one online} but due to the pandemic this permit was not required (but they did strongly urge you to tell at least one other person where you were, what you were doing and when to expect you back).

The hubby has done this hike before when he tackled the Three Peaks Challenge back in 2017, but I hadn't been to San Jacinto before. When he did it, they tackled the climb from the Palm Springs side of the mountain and used the tram for part of it (the challenge allowed this option and since they were attempting to tackle the three highest peaks in SoCal within 24 hours this was the best way to do it). The hubby and I did hike the first few miles of this trail (Deer Springs Trail) during our Thanksgiving camping trip this past year, but only until we veered off to Suicide Rock.

Much colder and with more snow a few months ago ;)

The parking area (which is technically just along the side of the street near the trailhead) was fairly full when we arrived around 6am, but thankfully the trail seemed pretty empty for the majority of time we were hiking it. We met a friend and his son there (but we drove in separate cars, made sure to stay at least 6 feet apart the entire time, etc to adhere to the social distancing orders) - but other than those two, we only seemed to come across a handful of folks on the hike up.

When we started the hike it was pretty foggy and soggy. I had made and attached a sign to my hydration vest so I could have it at the summit and was slightly nervous it'd get ruined by the mist we were walking through (thankfully it held up). Once we started climbing in elevation we got ABOVE THE CLOUDS and didn't have to deal with the "weather" any longer.

Making it above the clouds!

When the guys stopped to catch their breath or grab a snack,
I took the time to snap selifes, HA!

I have a thing for trail signs...

Isn't nature awesome?!

Got a little artsy with this one ;) but the pine cones were EVERYWHERE!

The trees were so tall!

If you remember, the hubby and I hiked Mt. Whitney last year, which was gnarly, but I've gotta say, although the challenge and burliness of the hike for Whitney (you are peaking out at over 14,500 feet above sea level) is greater, the views and enjoyment of Jacinto are much preferred. (Surprisingly the hikes aren't that crazy different - Whitney was 21 miles round trip with close to 7,000 feet of elevation gain and Jacinto was close to 19 miles round trip with 5,500 feet of elevation.)

Another sign shot because I love them so!

We try to take fuel every hour or so. Our go-to is PROBAR BOLT chews.


Even dead trees are amazing!

I'd say the weather was almost perfect for hiking. Like I mentioned, it started off pretty misty and foggy, but once we broke through the clouds it was sunny and gorgeous. When we got closer to the summit it got chillier and windier, but we packed jackets in preparation for that. We stopped at the stone cabin shelter to add our layers before venturing to the peak.

The emergency cabin near the summit

Had service near the top, but not sure how accurate the temps were.

Again, the guys were adding their layers, so I was snapping selfies... 

The summit sign has been destroyed, but thankfully a new one (no longer attached to a pole) has been left in its place. The hubby and I waited our turn, snagged the sign and took a couple shots. The wind was really howling at the top, so we took our photos and found shelter amongst some of the boulders so we could eat a few snacks.

I wore my #BlackLivesMatter sign on my hydration vest because although I wasn't
able to attend the protests I still wanted to have my voice (and stance) heard.

Summit selfie!

Apparently you can see San Gorgonio Mountain, the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea and much of the Inland Empire on a clear day.

Although the 360* views from the peak may not be as epic as John Muir once observed (due to the urban sprawl and worsening air quality {aka SMOG!}), I would still venture to say his quote about the area and the sights still stands - "The most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth." #JohnMuirWasTheMan

The views on the way down were just as stunning as on the way up. Normally if it were just the hubby and I, we probably would have ran some of the downhill, but since we were with friends we kept it mellow and chill. Well, that is until about 3 miles from the end, when my left foot was on a rock that started to move so I jumped off it... and landed with all of my weight on the side of my left foot. OUCH! I heard and felt something pop/crack and immediately felt the pain. As any stubborn runner would do, I tried to "walk it off", but quickly the hubby told me to stop and take a second. The tears welled in my eyes and I sent up a quick prayer that A. I could make it back to the car and B. that I didn't break it. After a few minutes I knew I needed to keep moving or else it'd tighten up and getting back to the car might require a piggy-back ride.

I used paperclips and safety pins to attach my sign to my hydration pack.

The flowers were pretty spectacular as well.

Some of the pine cones were HUGE (and sappy... as I found out when I picked these up!)

The last three miles were painful and slow-going, but I kept chugging along. I knew the adrenaline was helping to get me back to the car. The guys kept the pace slow enough so I wasn't too far back and kept asking to make sure I was okay.

This is a shot of my ankle after I got home, took off my shoe (and showered)... It swelled to about twice its normal size.

By the time we got to the car we were at about 19 miles with 5,4595 feet of climbing. It took us 8 hours and 35 minutes total (I don't stop my watch when we are hanging out at the summit, snapping pictures or having to take a breather for sprained ankles). The route we took was San Jacinto Peak via Deer Springs Trail (there are other trails, including ones from the Palm Spring side, but with COVID the tram is currently closed so all paths to the top require your own two feet).

It took about 4.5 hours to get up and then 4 hours to get down.

Trying not to grimace in the picture...

If you haven't hiked San Jacinto, I would highly recommend it. It isn't an easy walk in the park (AllTrails considers it "hard"), but if you have the physical fitness and ability to make it happen, you should absolutely do it. (And, if you are looking for a hiking buddy, you can always let me know and I'll meet you at the trail ;)) Don't forget your water though!


What is your favorite hike you've tackled thus far?