This edition of our Member Spotlight features Charity Miles member Carlee McDot! The San Diego resident took up running several years ago and hasn’t looked back since, completing her first ultra-marathon this year! Check it out!
“I am originally from Michigan (and the Mitten State will always have a piece of my heart), but I have lived in Southern California for the last 12+ years. I moved to San Diego four days after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2006. I work part time helping a running brand with their social media.”
Carlee began running after a friend challenged her to train for the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon in 2012. “She knew I loved Disney and was looking for a hobby to call my own, and I figured even if I hated it at least I would be running in the Happiest Place on Earth. I guess you could say the running bug bit HARD and I haven't stopped since.”
When asked what she loves about running Carlee responded, “There is so much I love about running. Running is something I truly enjoy and am beyond blessed to have found a hobby that allows me to meet so many amazing people and see so many amazing places. Running has given me a platform, running has given me a passion, running has given me peace of mind, running has given me pleasure, running has given me a push to pursue dreams that I never knew I had or thought I would be strong enough to tackle.”
Although she has recently began attempting longer distances, the journey is more important than the time on the clock for Carlee. “I don't know that I would say I am “serious” about running. I am not out there winning races or breaking tape, but I love every step (or just about every step – let's be real, some training runs just plain suck). I ran my first half marathon in 2012, my first full marathon in 2014 and my first official ultra marathon in 2019. I would say I started getting “serious” about running goals in 2016 – running some races for a specific goal time – but the majority of races I run are all about seeing the sights, enjoying miles with friends, seeing what my body is capable of, and enjoying God's creation.”
“I am not sure when I specifically heard about Charity Miles. I originally signed up as part of my #Carlees34 project. For the 34 days leading up to my 34th birthday I did at least one intentional act of kindness per day and signing up for Charity Miles was Day 17.”
“I use Charity Miles because I truly believe charity is something each and every one of us should do, whether that is donating our time, money or resources. Charity Miles allows me to give to an organization and it costs me NOTHING! Every penny counts and every mile matters!”
In regard to charity, there are 3 organizations that Carlee supports. “The charity I normally support is the National Parks Foundation, but I will also swap around and do Habitat for Humanity (my dad is on the board of his local chapter), Feeding America (I have volunteered at their local warehouse a few times as well), and She's the First.”
While some athletes like to switch it up, Carlee opts to stick with what she knows best, running. “A typical workout is normally run, run and run some more. Recently, I have added in ultra marathons to my “to-do” list, so getting in many miles is part of the plan. Living in Southern California is a runner's paradise, so most of my miles come along the Pacific Ocean or on awesome coastal trails. The hubby and I are also doing a “walk streak” with our wiener dog – where we are walking at least one mile per day with him. Currently we are on Day 156.”
Carlee is active on social media, keeping her more than 40,000 Instagram followers up to date on all things running in her life. “Technically I didn't start an Instagram account focused on my running… it just so happens that I run a lot so my real life has a lot of running (and hence running related photos) included in it. I am lucky enough to have found a platform that I am able to inspire and encourage others on, but others inspire and encourage me just as much as I do them.”
Wondering what keeps Carlee inspired? “What inspires me to keep active is the feeling I get when I'm done. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 9th grade and live with a constant pain. There are days when it gets so bad that it hurts to breath, but I decided a few years back that I can either be in pain laying in bed or I can be in pain doing something I love. And no matter how my body feels, my mind feels so much better after I've gotten active (whether it's going for a run, riding a stationary bike or walking the dog around the block). Running releases so much more than sweat – it is my me time, my release, my time to chat with God, my opportunity to think through problems or get the creative wheels churning. I may not be able to run for the rest of my life, but I plan to run for as long as I possibly can.”
Good luck in all your future endeavors Carlee. We at Charity Miles wish you nothing but good health going forward! Keep up the great work!
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