Monday, November 30, 2020

November 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'm now working full time at our local running store (which cuts 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 November!

  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle - Every few weeks it seems I am doing another closet clean out, pairing down the items I have to the items I really need and use. Well, I came across some gear that I thought I could trade on a running page I belong to, and loandbehold someone was interested in swapping some awesome books for a few items of clothing that weren't getting the love they deserved. In exchange for a tank and jacket I got three books, one of which was this one. I had been on the waitlist at my local library for some time, so it was perfect. I have enjoyed Glennon's other books so was excited to start her latest memoir. I love her ability to not only tell a story, but also to empower you with it and through it. I appreciate her vulnerability - welcoming us into the good, the bad and the ugly in her life and relationships. If you've read her other books you will see the change and growth she has gone through. I am glad this was my personal copy because I was able to go through and jot notes, underline passages, etc. This book reminded me it is okay to feel my feelings and to be a strong woman. There was quite a bit that focused on motherhood, which obviously does not pertain to me, but I still enjoyed reading about her approach to it. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera - I'm not exactly sure why, but for the last few weeks I haven't been listening to an audiobook on my walks to work. I decided to change that up and hit my Hoopla app. I didn't have any specific book in mind, so decided to scroll through to see what struck my fancy. I landed on this book even though I didn't know much more than it was a YA love story. If you know me, you know me I love a good young adult book and this definitely was that. I really like books that switch back and forth between the different character's perspectives (and audiobooks that use different readers for the different roles) and this book did exactly that. Not only that, but the different characters were written by different authors, which helped the two seem a bit more distinct. Sure, some of the story was a bit unbelievable, but the epic is what makes it great, right?! I found myself rooting for both of the main characters even with the constant Harry Potter (which I know NOTHING about) and pop culture references. I never pick up a YA book in hopes of a big epiphany or to learn a ton, more to be entertained and distracted a bit, which this book did. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

  • Can't Nothing Bring Me Down by Ida Keeling - I had this book in my "favorites" on my Hoopla app for a while and hadn't grabbed it, so I figured it was time. Miss Ida is an amazing woman (and world record holding runner) and I was excited to hear about her life. I'll be honest, although her life was captivating, I was expecting it to be a little more about her running. Don't get me wrong, I loved learning about how she grew up, events in her life, about her family, etc, but I think I went in expecting the book to touch more on her running and it seemed to be a bit of an afterthought (in the almost seven hour audiobook it was maybe 45-60 minutes). I did love how she married her personal experiences with history (I mean, she was 104 when this memoir was written - ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR YEARS OLD!). It was inspiring to hear about everything Miss Ida not only overcame but thrived through! She was one tough cookie! I would give it an 8 out of 10.

  • The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis - The hubby and I needed an audiobook to listen to on our road trip to Utah for Thanksgiving and figured this would be great. We had both seen that Netflix had released a series based on this book (that we wanted to watch), but knowing that often the book is better than the screen portrayal, we figured we'd listen to it first. It was a long listen (almost 12 hours), but I was intrigued the entire time. I know the game of chess, so was able to picture some of the boards/ moves/ games. The hubby doesn't know much about it, but even still, he didn't feel like it was over his head or that he got lost. I may be a little partial, but I love seeing females in male dominated spaces, so obviously I was rooting for Beth from the get-go. She was definitely an underdog with flaws, but aren't we all?! We both give this book two thumbs up and are even more excited to start watching the series now {let's just hope it lives up to the novel}. (PS Ryan is actually asking if we can get a chessboard and start playing!) I would give it a 9 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? 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 48

Sunday, November 22nd – Rest Day 

Monday, November 23rd – 8 mile run, 3 mile hike (Emerald Pools)

Tuesday, November 24th – 7 mile hike (Observation Point)

Wednesday, November 25th – 5.67 mile trail run with the hubby

Thursday, November 26th – 20 mile run

Friday, November 27th – 6 mile hike (Angels Landing)

Saturday, November 28th – Rest Day

We spent a week in Zion for Thanksgiving (which I will be recapping soon). I told myself before we left that I wasn't going to stress about my mileage - if I got in runs, awesome, if not, that's totally fine too. Even still, I was able to get in over 33 miles of running (not to mention all of the hiking that we did). Now that we are back home, I'm sure my mileage will return to normal, but with no races on the calendar for the rest of the year and 2021 still questionable, I'll welcome the rest. 

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, November 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...


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

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 47

Sunday, November 15th – 10.10 mile run 

Monday, November 16th – 13.5 mile run

Tuesday, November 17th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday, November 18th – 10.10 mile run

Thursday, November 19th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Friday, November 20th – 14 mile run

Saturday, November 21st – Rest Day

Another near 50 mile week - YIPPEE! This week felt both super long and short... I worked Sunday through Thursday, which made for a long week, but the hubby, pup and I are heading out of town to go camping for Thanksgiving so I had a ton to do, which made the time fly at the same time. Waking up early (normally between 3:30-4:15am) to get in my runs or bike rides before work can be a bit rough, but you gotta fit it in whenever and wherever you can. Next week my mileage will probably be a lot lower, since we will be in Zion, but hopefully I'll still get in some gorgeous trail miles.

How were your workouts this past week?

Friday, November 20, 2020

PSA: Please Look Both Ways

If you've been around my corner of the InterWebs for a while (by the way - THANKS!), you probably know a large chunk of my posts are intended for runners. Well, that's not 100% the case with this one... It's aimed at drivers (but, let's be real, I'd say most runners also have a driver's license and operate a vehicle of some sort, so I guess it's for us too!). Even still, November is Running Safety Month, so I thought it was perfect timing for this PSA (especially with fewer sunshine hours).

I do my darnedest to be a safe runner. I wear bright colors, I throw on a ton of lights and reflective gear if I am running in the dark, I don't listen to music so I can hear my surroundings, I tell others where I will be running and when they should expect me to return, I run in highly trafficked areas, I stop at intersections and make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of vehicles, etc. Even still, I can't tell you the number of times I have almost been hit by an automobile.

In fact, I was hit by a car when I was on my bike a few years back... Thankfully I wasn't injured, but that experience, along with numerous recent close calls has me wanting to stress the importance of today's "public service announcement".

As children, we are taught to look both ways when we cross the street... but what about drivers?! I mean, I'd assume they teach you that in driver's ed, right?! {Confession: I never took driver's ed... I waited till I was 18 and went to the Secretary of State to get my license... but I'm assuming this is something they stress to anyone who may get behind the wheel.}

Runners are told they should run against traffic - that way you can see oncoming vehicles (and can jump out of the way if a crazed driver is heading in your direction). For the most part I follow this guideline, but, let me tell you, I think this is where I run into the most close calls. More often than not, when I come to an intersection or cross a driveway and a vehicle is turning right (meaning they will be heading in the direction I just came from), they look to the left to make sure there is no oncoming traffic AND THEN GO... This can be disastrous for pedestrians who are coming from their right!

I would like to URGE all drivers to look BOTH WAYS before taking their foot off the brake and pressing the gas pedal! I'd even recommend drivers stop a few feet short of a crosswalk/ sidewalk and double check to make sure there are no runners/ walkers/ bikers/ etc making their way to the intersection before looking both ways to ensure traffic is clear.

This is a step that takes an extra second or two, but can literally save a life. I realize sometimes we're in a hurry or we get into a routine and rush through an intersection without paying proper attention, but this is something we MUST prioritize.

PS While we're at it, I wanted to mention grabbing yourself a ROAD iD if you don't have one already. This snazzy (and cute) Medical ID can talk for you if you are ever unable to talk for yourself. You can put all of your pertinent information on it (name, phone number, emergency contact, medical information, etc) just in case an accident does occur. I have multiple (depending on the color of my outfit, duh!) and honestly never leave home without it on my wrist. If you don't have one and want to place an order, use code CARLEE_2020 to save 20%! [FYI: I do not make anything from recommending this to you nor am I notified if you use the link. I am an ambassador for ROAD iD, but had been using their products for YEARS prior to them asking me to be a part of the team. I'm simply passing along one of my fave pieces of safety gear to you.]

Even Walt the Wiener Dog has a ROAD iD on his harness! I also got some for my parents to wear when they're on their bikes, kayaks, etc! 

What is one PSA that you believe everyone needs to hear?

Wednesday, November 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...


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

Monday, November 16, 2020

Recreate Responsibly

Last week, on my Instagram Stories, I posted a question box asking folks to share suggestions on things to do or see that were off the beaten path in a few National Parks that we will be visiting in the coming months. I received a reply from a follower that caught me a bit off guard. She didn't mean it to come across rude (or at least that's what she said) but she felt that not only was it irresponsible for us to be traveling during the pandemic, it was also reckless for me to be sharing about it on social media especially with the number of followers I have. I have been receiving my fair share of hate messages lately and realize oftentimes what people say can be more about them than me, but I still wanted to address this. This post is NOT to say that we have it all figured out, that we won't change our stance or actions in the future or that what we're doing is what everyone should be doing, but I wanted to share a few ways we're trying to recreate responsibly. 

{Side Note (because some of you don't know me from Eve): The hubby and I are both originally from Michigan. All of our family is back there. Due to COVID, we will not be going "home" for the holidays because of the air travel required, the self-quarantine time suggested, etc. Instead, we have decided to do two camping trips [Zion for Thanksgiving and Death Valley in mid-December] for the holidays. Although this may seem frivolous to some, it's a necessity for our my mental health. Both of us use the outdoors to recharge, reconnect (with each other and God) and refocus (on what's truly important). Amid everything going on in the world, these trips are an outlet for us (and I'm not just being overly dramatic). With that being said, we try to do it as responsibly as possible. We'd never want to put anyone in a dangerous situation.}

Obey Local & Federal Mandates

Whether or not we agree with them, we follow the local and federal mandates. This means if there are fire restrictions, we don't burn anything (even if we think there is nothing in the area that could catch fire). If we are told to shelter in place, we don't go out (even if we think the government might be overstepping their bounds). If our camping reservations are cancelled due to fires or a pandemic, we stay home (even if we could find BLM land to camp on instead). If we are told to wear masks, keep social distance and not interact with people outside of our households, we do it (even if we miss feeling hugs, seeing smiles and being with our friends and framily down to our core). I know my fair share of folks, especially when it came/ comes to COVID restrictions, who took/ take the stance of "I do what I want". Although I may not always agree with (or even believe the best in) our government, for me personally, unless it goes against what God says, I will obey those in power. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean I'm not praying my little heart out, asking the Lord to change something, or doing what I can to effect change, but, in the meantime, I'm abiding by the rules and regulations.

Pack Everything With You

We do our darndest to bring everything we will need with us, that way we can be as self-sufficient as possible. If you checked out my AdventureMobile post, you probably know that we could be "off-the-grid" for quite a while with no issue. {Shoot, we even have our own portable toilet and outdoor shower!} Of course there are times that something might slip through the cracks and we have to make an emergency stop at a local market/ grocery store, but that could happen at home as well. The only exception to this "rule" is firewood. You should always buy firewood where you plan to burn it (you don't want to bring little critters with you that could potentially impact the environment). The only thing we normally plan to stop for on trips is gas (and when we do, we're using wipes and hand sanitizer often to protect ourselves and others).

Leave No Trace {Leave It Better Than You Found It}

Similar to the "Pack Everything With You" section, we try our best to leave no trace. If we are staying in a campground that has trash services then we will leave our rubbish (in designated areas only - like DUMPSTERS!), but if we are staying on BLM land or if services are not offered, we pack out everything with us. For example, when we were staying at June Lake the recycle services had already ended for the season so we packed all of our recyclables with us and put them in our bins at home. We even try to do our best to leave it better than we found it. We have grocery bags in the AdventureMobile so we can do some trash clean-up if we ever see an area with garbage left out. If everyone picked up three pieces of trash that the saw on the ground (or didn't litter in the first place) imagine how much cleaner the environment could be!

Travel Off-Season

As I mentioned, we usually try to find things that are off the beaten path or we travel during the off-season. Call us spoiled or snoody, but we prefer to enjoy the great outdoors with as few people as possible (or at least as uncrowded as possible). This might mean camping in colder weather or setting an early alarm to hit the trails at 5am as opposed to 9am, but, for us, it's worth it. Don't get me wrong, the outdoors is for everyone... we just want them to enjoy it as far away from us as they can ;). But, in all seriousness, we try to schedule our trips when fewer people will be in the area to not only avoid the crowds but also to help minimize our impact on the environment. Not to mention, sometimes the off-seasons is even more magical. I mean, have you ever been to Yosemite in late November?! Sure, you may have to deal with colder temps, but (with the proper gear and planning) the beauty all around you can be evident no matter the weather!

I know that sometimes, when folks are on social media, they don't see the precautions and preparation that goes on behind the scenes, they just see the pretty pictures or end result, so I thought I'd open the curtain a bit to share some of what we do to make sure we are being as health (and environmentally) conscious as possible. Some people may think what we are doing is too stringent, some people may think what we are doing is too lax. I realize I'll never make everyone happy (nor is that my job), but we're doing the best we can with the current information we have - and hope you are too.

As always, I welcome respectful comments {but have no time or energy for hate}. My blogger doesn't allow me to reply directly to a comment, which is lame, but if you'd like to leave a thought, please do so. If you'd prefer to have a conversation, I'm also totally open to that! Feel free email me at CarleeMcDot(at)Gmail(dot)com and we can chat offline. 

What are other ways that you recreate responsibly?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 46

Sunday, November 8th – 10.46 mile run

Monday, November 9th – 10 mile run

Tuesday, November 10th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Wednesday, November 11th – 10 mile run

Thursday, November 12th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Friday, November 13th – Rest Day

Saturday, November 14th – 18 mile run

Almost 50 miles (48.46) for the week, I'll take it. This is the first week we've had some chilly morning runs in a very long time (in the 30s) and had to actually break out my gloves (especially because I carry my cold handheld water bottle in my hand). It still warms up fairly decently during the day (in the 60s-70s), but running before the sun comes out can be on the brisk side. Originally my run on Monday was going to be 16 miles (an arbitrary number), but my stomach was NOT having it (one of the many reasons I don't prefer afternoon runs) so I pulled the plug at 10 and walked the rest home... Some days you run the day and other days the day runs you, but the hard runs make the not so hard feel that much better!

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, November 11, 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, November 10, 2020

Daily Harvest Holiday Hacks

A few weeks back I got an email from Daily Harvest asking if I wanted to participate in an upcoming campaign. I think I had to ponder this for all of about point one seven seconds (just about as long as it took me to hit the reply button ;)). I don't think I have ever turned down Daily Harvest because everything I've ever tried has been scrum-didily-umptious! The idea they suggested seemed pretty fun, so I picked a few different items and waited patiently for them to be delivered.

Yes, as a matter of fact, we DO have our Christmas tree up already... It makes me happy. And the 
Daily Harvest delivery at the front door was sort of like a Christmas present under the tree anyway ;)

Their request: HACK FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Yep, they didn't want us just eating the items, but asked that we think outside of the box (or bowl/ cup in this instance) and come up with creative ideas on how to prepare and enjoy the deliciousness.


Now, I do need to give you a bit of warning, I am NOT a food blogger. Sure I blog and I eat food, but staging food, plating food, making food look pretty, it's just not something I'm good at (shoot, I'm not even that amazing at taking photos to begin with, that's why I am one lucky duck to have a hubby who is a designer and good with a camera). With that said, please don't hold the less-than-amazing food photography against me or the food itself. I promise that if you had smell-o-vision or you could come over and share the meal with me (maybe after COVID), you'd feel differently... hopefully ;)

Quinoa + Chipotle Harvest Bowl

The first item that we decided to "hack" was the Quinoa + Chipotle Harvest Bowl. Instead of eating it out of the bowl, I decided to make the hubby tacos. (We have your run of the mill taco sized tortillas, so although I would have loved to make one burrito, it would have been silly for me to go out and buy a package of larger tortillas, so we worked with what we had.) Neither of us had tried this one before and the hubby really enjoyed it (I tasted a bit of it and thought it was a little too spicy for my liking). He said it sort of reminded him of Skyline Chili, for any of your familiar with the Cincinnati staple, because the filling had a little sweeter taste due to the cacao and cinnamon. I also added fresh red onions and Valentino's hot sauce. The hubby said next time he would even consider throwing some vegan "cheddar" cheese on them too. 

Broccoli + Cheeze Harvest Bowl

The next item up was the Broccoli + Cheeze Harvest Bowl. My first thought when I saw this one was to add it to a baked potato. Confession time - I don't think I've ever actually had a broccoli and cheese baked potato, but it's a thing, right?! Or at least I think it is. Anyway, that's what we were going with for this "hack". Well, let's just say I didn't realize baking a potato took upwards of 45 minutes - SAY WHAT?! Instead of keeping the oven on 450* for over an hour (ours takes its sweet time preheating), I figured I'd dice the potato so it'd cook faster and consider it more of a deconstructed broccoli and cheese baked potato... There are no rules in 2020, right?! While my single chopped potato baked, I microwaved the harvest bowl. I know you "eat with your eyes" and the picture doesn't do it justice, but it was yummy! We sprinkled a little Everything but the Bagel Seasoning and Nutritional Yeast on top and both the hubby and I gave it two thumbs up.

Lentil + Mesquite Chili

Because the hubby and I split the Broccoli + Cheeze Potato, I also made up the Lentil + Mesquite Chili to go alongside it. Instead of just eating it on its own (boring, right?! ;)), I thought I'd do a bit of a Chili Mac and add some pasta to the base as well. Because it is technically supposed to be more of a soup (even though the name is a chili) I didn't add the full half cup of water suggested for cooking so it'd be less liquidy. I'll be honest, sweet potato is not my jam (although the hubby LOVES it) so I was a little nervous I wouldn't love this one, but surprisingly it wasn't bad. We also topped it with red onions (since we had some chopped in the fridge) but you could always throw on some avocado, vegan "cheddar" cheese, cilantro or hot sauce if you wanted an extra kick (but I'm a wimp and thought it was already a bit on the spicy side).

Vanilla + Salted, Swirled Black Sesame Scoops

And last up on the hacking menu is dessert! Initially I had requested the Strawberry + Rich, Rippled Berry Compote Scoops, but it was out of stock so they swapped it for the Vanilla + Salted, Swirled Black Sesame Scoops. Originally I wanted to make an "ice cream pie" and put the strawberry dessert in a graham cracker crust, but with the change I had to edit the idea slightly. I still made a pie, but grabbed an Oreo crust instead (since I didn't think the new flavor would pair as well with graham cracker). I wasn't sure how full the pie crust would get with the pint, but surprisingly it filled out fairly well. I left the container out of the freezer for about 20 minutes so the contents would be melty and a little malleable, then spooned it into the crust, spread it around a bit and put it into the freezer for about 4 hours. The dessert turned out great and we both enjoyed it. I had tried this flavor before and enjoyed it, but next to the extra sweet crust it did seem to taste a bit blander (or at least not as sweet) as compared to when I ate it on its own. I still think I would've prefered the berry and graham cracker option more (I almost always go for the fruity vs chocolatey flavor), but, hey, there's always next time! 

Like I said when I started this post, I'm not a food blogger (nor do I play one on TV the InterWebs), and I don't even pretend to be much of a cook or baker, so I'm sure these "hacks" may seem a little less hack-y than you would like, but I am pretty proud of myself for thinking a bit outside of the box bowl/cup. And maybe my ideas gave you some even better ideas of what you could do to jazz up your Daily Harvest order. PS If you haven't tried Daily Harvest before and want to give it a go, you can use code "CARLEEMCDOT" to save $25 on your first order {#RealTalk - I do make a few dollars if/ when someone uses my code, but I wouldn't be recommending it to you if I didn't love and fully support this brand!}.

What item would you "hack" from Daily Harvest?

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Workout Recap - Week 45

Sunday, November 1st – Rest Day

Monday, November 2nd – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Tuesday, November 3rd – Rest Day

Wednesday, November 4th – 10 mile run

Thursday, November 5th – 90 minutes on the stationary bike

Friday, November 6th – 15 mile run

Saturday, November 7th – 6.24 mile run with the hubby

After last week's 70 miles (including 48 miles in 48 hours for the 4 x 4 x 48 Challenge), it makes sense that this week would be a cut-back week. My body felt great (and, in case you didn't read the recap, my twelfth and final run of the challenge was actually my fastest!), but I still wanted to make sure to dial it back a bit, give myself some extra rest, etc. With that said, I was still able to get in 31.24 miles for the first week of November. I don't have any races on the schedule until March (and I'm not even sure if that one will happen), so right now I'm just listening to my body and enjoying the run. 

How were your workouts this past week?

Wednesday, November 4, 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?

Monday, November 2, 2020

4 x 4 x 48 Challenge Recap

Like the majority of the running community, my racing schedule has been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Don't get me wrong, I would absolutely rather be safe than sorry and totally agree with the cancellation/ postponement of all of the races, but I believe I can understand and appreciate the decisions of the race directors and, at the same time, still be disappointed and sad. My last official, in-person race was the Los Angeles Marathon on March 8th and the next race I have on my calendar is a 50K in March of 2021 (currently the date is TBD, so here's to hoping it actually happens!)... 

I miss my running friends! :(

Normally I'm not the type of runner who "needs" a race on the calendar to keep myself motivated and get my booty out the door for my daily runs, but after almost seven months of no races I'll be completely honest that the motivation is waning. 


A few weeks ago, while I was at work, I was reminded of the 4 x 4 x 48 Challenge by David Goggins, an ex-Navy Seal and ultrarunner, and thought it might just be the thing I needed to revitalize my running and an awesome goal to tackle. The challenge is to run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours. Although four miles may not seem tough for someone who runs ~50 miles a week, the distance adds up quickly (not to mention the difficulty due to the lack of time between runs).

If you remember, I did something similar at the beginning of quarantine - the Yeti 24 Hour Challenge. During that challenge I ran 5 miles within every 4 hour chunk for 24 hours. Since there weren't actual stipulations on the challenge, I made it work for me and ran within each 4 hour block of time. That meant, instead of running the 5 miles at the 4 hour mark, I ran them at the end of the first block and the beginning of the second, the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth, the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth - so it was somewhat like running three 10 mile runs. This time around I was sticking to the "letter of the law" and planning to start each run every four hours (to the minute!). 

Pictures from my six Yeti Challenge runs

The first step after deciding I wanted to tackle this challenge was to find a weekend that we were free (since I knew I wouldn't be able to logistically make it happen if I had to work). With all of our prior plans (we went camping in Tahoe and Mammoth, then the hubby went on a climbing trip, I will be working the first three weekends in November to help cover a co-worker's shifts and then we will be gone the last two weekends in November for Friendsgiving), I didn't have many weekends to choose from. In fact, the only one available in October or November was this past weekend.


After the dates were set (and the "official announcement" was made on social media so that I'd have a little extra accountability), the next thing to do was to pick the exact time(s) of my runs. On Thursday I had to work until 7pm, so I decided I'd start the challenge at 8pm (hopefully giving myself enough time to get home from work, put my stuff away, change into my running clothes, grab my reflective gear, etc). With the first run set, obviously the other start times were also set (every 4 hours - 8pm, 12am, 4am, 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm, 12am, 4am, 8am, 12pm and 4pm).

I tried to do my best to "rest" my legs at work, but it's not totally possible while working retail at a running store ;) I did do my fair share of foam rolling and using the massage guns we have to at least loosen the legs so they'd be ready to go. By the time I got home from work on Thursday evening, I had time to feed the pup, take him out for a quick doggy walk, grab my reflective gear and running shoes before I jumped in the car to head down to the beach for my first run. 

Run #1 went a-okay. I hadn't run down on The Strand in Oceanside in MONTHS due to COVID (normally I run on the street above it to avoid the pedestrians, bikers, etc), but I thought it'd be "safe" since the sun had set an hour and a half before. Surprisingly there were still quite a few folks out, but I was able to dodge them easily so everyone was able to keep their social distance bubble. My left shin felt a little tight for the first mile or so (not sure what was up with that) and the humidity was making everything pretty soggy (63* and 68% humidity at 8pm when I started), but overall it was a nice run. I wasn't planning on breaking any speed records during the challenge, I just wanted to finish, so I wasn't looking at my watch, but figured I'd take a picture of it after each leg in case Strava shorted me on distance like it sometimes does ;)

Once I got home the hubby was back from his work golf outing so I figured I'd stay up between run 1 and 2 to hang out with him... Well, about 15 minutes into a show we were watching he was already snoring (he said that being out in the sun and golfing all day "really took it out of him"...). Had I known he was going to fall asleep I might have tried to get some rest between runs, but instead I ended up getting all of our holiday cards ready to be dropped in the mail.

For run #2, my midnight run, I drove down to Carlsbad. Although we live in a safe area, the hubby doesn't love me running around our neighborhood when it's dark without him (and, if you remember, he was snoozin'). He prefers if I run near the beach because it is well lit with tons of folks always out and about, which is totally fine with me. The weather still felt fine when I got out. It was a little chillier (61*) and more humid (87%), but overall I was a-okay for the four miles. I did bring my handheld with me on this run (I hadn't on the first), mostly to hold my phone and keys, but ended up drinking most of the water. PS I don't know if there is a much better soundtrack than the crashing waves on a calm evening morning. 

One bummer part about driving somewhere to run is that you have to drive home. I know this might seem like a little (and somewhat obvious) detail, but when you have limited down time in between runs, every minute counts. After I snapped my "finisher" pictures, I jumped in the car, drove home (obeying all of the speed limits of course ;)) and got ready for a little rest. {Side note - I was not planning on showering between every run, but I also didn't want to get into my bed all sweaty, so I made up a little "bed" on the floor in our office [a beach towel to lay on, two pillows from the futon on our balcony and a blanket we keep in the trunk for sporting events or chilly evenings at the beach]. I also didn't want to wake the hubby up every couple hours, so I did him a solid by crashing in the other room so he could get a decent night's sleep.}

I decided for run #3 I would leave from the house. There were a couple reasons for this. First, if I was starting from the house I could "sleep" a little longer because I didn't have any drive time to factor in. Second, I usually wake up between 3 and 4am on workdays when I am running or biking so this felt somewhat normal to get up at 3:30am and run from the house (although I was able to turn around after two miles instead of the standard four to seven). As I'm sure you could have guessed, it was a little cooler still (48*) but the humidity seemed to be holding steady at 72% (FYI - when it's cool and soggy I tend to feel even colder, but maybe that's just me). I did grab a long sleeve for this run and am glad I did because my hands were a bit chilled. This route had a few traffic lights I had to wait for because there were already folks out on their way to work, but it is a stretch I run at least three times a week so I knew what to expect.

When I got back from the 4am run originally I thought I'd try and catch a couple Zzz's (oh yeah, in case you were wondering, I maybe got 30 minutes total of "sleep" between runs 2 and 3), but my body was used to being up and going at that time so I wasn't very tired. I ended up snuggling with the pup on the couch and watching The Great British Bake-Off.  

Before heading out for run #4, I woke up the hubby, got his and the pup's breakfasts ready for them and then started locating satellites. I was stoked that the sun was out. Don't get me wrong, I normally do the majority of my runs in the dark, but after doing the first three legs wearing all my reflective gear and using my KnuckleLights it was nice not having to have the extra gear. It was a little warmer with the sun out (54*) and thankfully the humidity was starting to simmer down (64%). I got stuck at a fairly long light around mile .5 and 3.5, which skewed my pace a bit, but I wasn't worried about numbers so it ain't no thang. My legs definitely didn't feel 100% fresh, but everything was still a-okay.

Once I had finished my morning run the balcony was calling my name. The sun was shining and the pup was snoozin' so after changing out of my running clothes (just because I was running what felt like constantly, I didn't need to be in sweaty clothes all the time... as soon as I finished a run I tried to either change into the clothes for my next run or take a shower, that way I felt as fresh and clean as I could while waiting for my next leg to start) I grabbed a book and got comfy. 

I figured run #5, at noon, would be the warmest of the day, so I decided to run a route with a little extra shade to stay cool (it was 70* with 58% humidity - a gorgeous day, just a little on the warm side for my preferred running temps). I ran up to a nearby park and did a couple laps on the tree-covered path to get in the four miles. My legs did feel a bit heavy, but that is to be expected as this run put me at 20 miles and the routes around our place are hilly so they're getting in some decent elevation too. [FYI - Normally I wouldn't wear over-the-calf compression socks for a four mile run {unless they went with the outfit, hehe}, but they're great for recovery so I was putting a new pair on once I finished the previous run.]

The run went fine, but what I was extra excited about was the fact that I turned on the oven to preheat before I left so when I got back I could make homemade pizza - yum! I was trying to eat as soon as I finished with the previous run so my food/ fuel had time to digest before I went out for my next leg. I also decided it was time to shower after the fifth run ;)

WHOOO HOOO! Finishing run #6 meant I was halfway done! I've gotta say, maybe I was expecting to feel worse at this point, but I was pleasantly surprised that everything was clicking right along. I think it helped that it was still light outside so my energy hadn't started to crash yet. I ran to the library because I used to go all the time and I hadn't been in months so I figured I'd cruise by my old stomping grounds ;) It was a little warm out (73* with 52% humidity, although I could see the marine layer rolling in so I'm assuming the humidity was a bit higher). I'll be honest, when I was going uphill I felt like I was running through mud, but other than that things felt totally fine. I would say I was more physically tired (like wanting sleep) than my body was giving out on me, so I was hoping once the sun went down I'd be able to grab some shut-eye.

When I got back from my 4pm run I decided to do some cleaning (Friday has become my chore/ errand day since our hours got cut at the running store), but I doubt you want to see pictures of that ;) So instead I thought that now is as good of a time as any to discuss organization for this challenge. I very much have a Type A personality and lists are my jam! Not only does having lists and laying out your clothes before each run come in handy when you are sleep deprived and not thinking straight, but setting alarms throughout the day was also super helpful. I set an alarm for 30 minutes before the start of each run, that way if I was napping I'd have time to wake up and have enough time to get ready, and another 5 minutes before as my last warning to lace up my shoes, grab my water and locate satellites. I have found the less thinking I have to do the better, so I tried to do as much prep work as possible so everything else just became automatic. 

Surprise! The hubby offered to join me on my seventh leg and I was happy for the company. Originally I was planning to do a different route for each run but I said that the hubby could pick where we went if he was willing to run with me and he picked The Strand (where I did Run #1). The humidity was pretty gross (91%) but thankfully the temps hadn't started dropping at that point (still 64* out). I wasn't sure how busy the beach would be on a Friday but surprisingly it was less busy than 24 hour before. I had to reign the hubby in a bit, seeing as he had fresh legs and wanted to go, go go (while, I, on the other hand, had already run 24 miles), but in the end we held a decent pace (under 9:30/mile, his normal speed).

When we got home we watched Nightmare Before Christmas. Neither of us know whether it is actually a Halloween or Christmas movie, but I figured with Halloween on Saturday and us putting up our tree on Sunday it was the perfect timing. I was worried I would nod off during it, but I used the time to get in some good stretching on the floor while enjoying a great movie. We also did our doggy mile (which marked Day 771 of Walt walking at least one continuous mile daily). 

The hubby offered to run my midnight leg with me as well (even though his runs were only four hours apart, technically the 8pm one counted for Friday and the 12am one counted for Saturday on his Strava so he was knocking out two days in the matter of a few hours). I obviously welcomed the company - not only because he's my favorite running partner, but also because the dark miles can get a bit rough so having a running partner can make a huge difference! He picked the path again, which meant we returned to the route I had done for Run #5. He definitely was struggling a bit on this run (he was tired from working all day and having already done a run four hours before plus he mentioned he had too much water sloshing in his tummy), so I pulled back a bit and ran whatever he was comfortable with - appreciative that he would consider joining me on another leg. (PS He had walked the pup before we went for Run #8 and said it was chilly out so I threw a jacket on over my t-shirt... but I was definitely overdressed for the 57*, 89% humidity weather.)

Apparently I was too concerned about getting "my" picture that I forgot to get one of the pair of us on either of our runs together - OOPS! Once we got back from this run the hubby jumped in the shower, I grabbed a quick snack (PROBAR bite bars definitely come in handy at a time like that), changed my clothes and laid down to see if I could get some rest. 


The alarm for Run #9 came too early... but it was time to get up and at 'em (surprisingly I actually slept until my alarm went off, which hadn't happened until this point in the challenge - normally I toss and turn, checking my watch or phone every 10-15 minutes to see what time it is). After the two previous easier paced runs with the hubby, I thought I would try and push it a bit on this leg. The cooler temps (48*, even if there was 81% humidity) and lack of people on the roads helped me chug along without much distraction. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at my watch after I had finished and saw that it was actually my fastest run of the bunch (even with 36 miles on my legs at that point). 

After snapping the couple photos, I went upstairs, changed my clothes and figured I'd scroll through social media before hitting the sack for a little bit. While I was going through my IG inbox I came across some "not too kind" messages. I wish I was someone who could let the negative comments just roll off my back, but I'm never really able to. Maybe it was the lack of real rest (although I doubt I can blame it entirely on that), but I spiraled into a little blackhole and couldn't really get my mind off of it. Eventually I was able to shake the negativity and get a few minutes of sleep before the next run.


Once I got up for Run #10 I decided I would not let someone's opinion of me (especially one made via the Internet and not actually knowing me) impact my day, so I threw a smile on my face and laced up my shoes. I wasn't 100% sure where to run, so I opened my Google Maps, clicked a spot, saw it was a little under 2 miles away and decided to run a little past that point. The route wasn't super flat, but I was excited that I had gotten back into my daylight runs so apparently I was knocking off miles fairly quickly (the cooler temps, 46* with 83% humidity, probably didn't hurt either). Once I got home I checked my watch and saw it was slightly slower than the previous run, but still my second fastest leg of the challenge!

I got home with just enough time to be able to jump in the shower (the second of the challenge, for all of you counting, hehe) before the Michigan vs. Michigan State game started. I spent the majority of the time between runs #10 and #11 watching the football game. We got in our mile doggy walk during halftime, so it wasn't just sitting the entire time ;)

Run #11 was my noon leg and I wasn't feeling super excited to run more hills so I decided to do loops around our complex. One lap is approximately .33 miles, so I had to do 12 to get in the 4 miles. This leg ended up being the most difficult of the challenge. It was a combination of that fact that I was hungry, it was warm (75* with 32% humidity), I was doing small loops, my legs were starting to feel the fatigue, I went by our condo every lap and had a longing to just stop and go upstairs for lunch, etc. I kept telling myself that the faster I went the faster I'd be done... and it worked! Even though it was the most mentally demanding run of the challenge, it ended up being my speediest - BOOMSHAKALAKA!

I finished up just in time to see the end of the game... which did not go our way, but hey, we are somewhat used to losing big games, so we shrugged it off and went on with the day. I ended up doing some of my leftover chores (meal prep, laundry, etc) while the hubby went surfing for a bit. All-in-all it felt like a productive break between runs.

Running 12 times in two days creates A LOT of laundry... Even though I only showered twice during the challenge (between run #5 and #6,
then between #10 and #11), I made sure to change out of my sweaty clothes as soon as I got home (usually into the clothes for my next run).

My final run of the challenge started at 4pm. Originally I was thinking it would be fun to run to our favorite Mexican restaurant so we could grab dinner after I finished, but it's about 5 miles from the house (so I would have had a pretty long "cool down" walk) and I also wasn't sure if I wanted to inflict anyone around me with the stink that might be emanating from my body ;) I decided I would run to the nearby park and do a couple laps around the grounds while the hubby went and picked up the food. Before I started doing longer runs during the week, I would run this route fairly frequently. It is pretty perfect for a progressive run because you have some decent uphill on the way out (which forces your pace to slow), which turns into some decent downhill on the way back (so you can make up a bit of time). There were a good number of folks enjoying the park (quite a few kids dressed up in their Halloween costumes while playing on the playground, since trick-or-treating was a no-go) but no one was really on the path I was running on. It was still pretty toasty out (68* with 69% humidity, although you could see the fog rolling in so the humidity was climbing by the minute), but there was enough shade from the trees to keep me cool. After I saw my watch ding for my second mile (and seeing the pace I was keeping), I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be awesome if I could make my last run of the challenge my fastest?!" I mean, I didn't set out to do it that way... In fact, when I ran my 11th leg the fastest of the runs I thought "awesome, now I can take it easy on the last one since I got a little speed out of the way". But I mean, why not go for it, right?! I'm stoked to report my legs still had a little life in them and I was actually able to clock my fastest leg of the challenge during my 12th and final run!

When I got back home, I thought I'd grab my letterboard, snap a couple photos and start re-hydrating before the hubby returned with the food. Well, when I walked upstairs I was greeted with a LOCKED door and no keys to unlock it with... Thankfully he was on his way home, but still it was a little frustrating (and funny) that the hubby forgot I was out running... It's not like I hadn't been doing it just about constantly for the previous 48 HOURS!

Eventually he got home, I took my photos and we dove into my favorite food - chips and salsa! Now, before some of you light up my comments saying that I'm insinuating you need to "earn" your food, I wanted to be very clear - that is NOT what I believe (or preach to others). I know my body and myself and know I tend to use chips more as spoons to get copious amounts of salsa into my mouth. I also know that running after eating large quantities of (delicious) salsa does not do my tummy any favors. With that said, I've found what works for me is to wait till AFTER a long run/ race to "celebrate" with my favorite meal so I don't have to worry about the ramifications the following day (if you know what I mean).

My go-to is a vegetarian quesadilla with marinated portobello mushrooms and black beans! YUM!

Can you believe it?! I tackled the 4 x 4 x 48 Challenge (and you have read through QUITE the recap - so you deserve a prize just as much as I do ;)) and survived to tell about it! Now that you've heard how the individual runs went, I thought I'd give my overall thoughts on the challenge - in case any of you were pondering giving it a go.

The happy face of a FINISHER!!

First, let me start by saying that I normally run an average of 50ish miles a week. With that said, I wasn't expecting the miles to be the hardest part of the challenge (don't get be wrong, they add up, and add up quickly, but I think what I was most worried about before starting it was the lack of legit rest/ sleep I'd be getting over the 48 hour period). As I expected, the runs weren't terrible. Two of the legs I ran with the hubby and my pace matched his, but the others were anywhere from an average pace of 8:11/mile to 8:53/mile for the four miles. The four mile distance, in my head, was extremely "doable". I felt like by the time I was starting to warm-up (or if the run wasn't going awesome and I started thinking about how difficult it might be), I was already halfway done, turning around and heading back. I mean, I guess you can see how well my body managed the miles with the fact that my last run was actually my fastest of the 12 legs in the challenge! Please hear me though, that is not to say the challenge was easy-peasy or that everyone and anyone can tackle it. I am saying that with my current fitness level, this was within the realm of things I could conquer. #DoableButNotEasy


Second, the sleep. This was what I was the most intimidated by, but, surprisingly, I think my Fibromyalgia and major sleep issues actually trained me well for something like this. I'd say over the course of the challenge I maybe got a total of four or so hours of sleep - 20 minutes here, an hour there. I think the fact that I was constantly busy and consistently running helped me not focus on how exhausted I might have been. I didn't have time to sit and think about how tired I was or how little rest I was getting because it was onto the next thing or preparing for the next run. Also, when I am going through a bad episode with my Fibro, I end up sleeping on the floor probably 3 or 4 times a week (the hard floor feels better on my body, not to mention I don't have to worry about waking up the hubby when I am tossing and turning or when I am having to move my legs constantly when my restless legs are acting up), so making a little bed on the floor in the office wasn't much of an inconvenience for me either. Now, if you are someone who needs their sleep, and large quantities of it, you may need to really consider this when thinking about taking on this challenge. Sure, it's "only 48 hours", but make sure you are really thinking through all of the aspects of the challenge (not just the distance) when deciding if it's right for you.


Another thing to consider is safety. You will be running at all times of the day and night (I decided to start at 8pm Thursday night since I got off work at 7pm, but you can technically start whenever it works for you). Make sure you consider where you will be running. I made sure to select locations that were well lit, well traveled, that I was familiar and comfortable with and that the hubby was okay with me running (I'll be honest, I want to believe the best in everyone and may sometimes be a little naive, but the hubby is more of a realist and if he isn't comfortable with me running somewhere, then I want to do my best to alleviate his concerns by running somewhere else). 50% of my runs were in the dark, so having safety gear (a reflective vest, handheld lights {I find them more convenient than a headlamp because I can move them around easier to get the attention of oncoming traffic}, a charged cell phone, a tracking app, etc) is extremely important. I also made sure to let the hubby know where exactly I would be running (even if he would be asleep at that time). I was lucky enough to have him join me on two of my six night legs which was super awesome (for company and safety). If you have a treadmill, safety might not be something you need to think about, but for everyone else it needs to be considered. #SafetyFirst


Finally (or the last major topic I could think of to touch on), fueling. Again, this might not be applicable to everyone (you've gotta find what works for you and your body), but I normally don't take fuel with me unless the run is over 15 miles. With that said, I never brought any fuel with me on the runs during this challenge (although, if you want to know, PROBAR BOLT chews, pink lemonade flavor, are my go-to), but did have my handheld for all but one run. On the night runs I probably only had a few sips (it was more to hold my phone, keys, etc), but during the midday runs I was definitely drinking more water. As far as food throughout the day, I would try to eat almost immediately when I got home (breakfast after the 8am run, lunch after the 12pm run, dinner after the 4pm run and then a small snack after the 8pm, 12am and 4am runs if I wasn't going directly to sleep) - that way the food would have a good three hours to start to digest before I would be asking my body to run again. I stuck with my normal foods that I eat all the time (pasta, tortilla with nut butter and banana, PROBAR PROTEIN bars, homemade pizza, etc) for meals and if I was extra hungry between runs I'd grab a handful of nuts, an apple or a PROBAR bite bar. I tried to sip water throughout my downtime, that way I wasn't having a belly of sloshing water but was still staying hydrated (I did have a couple nuun tablets after my midday runs when I was sweating more than the other ones). I've gotta say, this aspect is more guess and check. I know from Ragnars in the past, my tummy can get upset and turn on me quite quickly during relay type events, so I did my best to eat smaller meals (that I am used to eating on a regular basis) and not over doing it with anything. I knew I probably wouldn't be "hitting the wall", so if I was going to err on the side of caution, I would prefer to be a bit hungry than a bit too full or uncomfortable for any of my runs (especially since I knew I'd be home to eat again in less than 40 minutes if I was really that hungry). 


I'll be honest, I was expecting this to be a lot harder (both mentally and physically). That does NOT mean it was a walk in the park or not demanding, but I guess I had built it up like it was going to take a ton of grit {which I think I often lack}, so I'm extremely proud of the way I was able to tackle the miles (and the additional aspects required). Now I don't think I'll be doing this once a year like David Goggins, but it is a great way to remind yourself that YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS!

Do you think you'd ever tackle this challenge? What do you think the hardest part would be for you?