Thursday night and we’re feeling good

I made it to Thursday, y’all. Okay, I know you made it, too. We all did, and we should be proud of that. Because some weeks feel like this. This week was particularly turtle-ish, though, because I decided to do something I’ve never done. I gave up refined and added sugars for 3 full days. I mostly survived (if you can call it that) on vegetables and eggs and tofu and a few other things for those three days. My sugar intake for three days combined was less than my average on a “healthy day” previously.

And although it felt like hell (the carbo-flu is real), I’m glad I did it. I’ve been reading a lot lately about nutrition and dieting and sugar and fat and carbs and all those things that get really confusing. One day, we shouldn’t eat fat or chocolate or drink coffee. The next day, we’re not eating/drinking enough of any of those! And for someone who struggles with weight, it is especially confusing to navigate what I should and shouldn’t be doing. It’s frustrating to eat healthy and exercise well and still feel like you’re getting nowhere.

After being engrossed by several books, The Case Against Sugar being one of them, I decided to make some changes. And those changes started with a self-imposed 3 day ban on just about all sugar. I roughly followed the plan in The Sugar Detox. I know myself, and I know that I am not a “just a little taste” kind of person. If I want to make changes, some of them do need to be dramatic, at least for now. I have to go cold turkey before I can work myself up to being able to enjoy “just a little taste.”

giphy

I’ve never understood this more than now. (via giphy)

So here we are. If anyone is interested, I can list out what I ate these three days, but I won’t bore you for now. Mostly, it was tough at night. I found myself daydreaming of apples and clementines and donuts by Tuesday night, and so I had a little cottage cheese. Dairy wasn’t on the plan, but it felt like the lesser of all “cheats,” since protein is critical for me as a vegetarian. Surprisingly, it did the trick, and I felt extremely satisfied afterward.

Out of curiosity, I weighed myself this morning. I was down 6 lbs. from Monday morning. I attribute this to a couple of things:
1. I have always been someone to retain a lot of water weight
2. Monday was the day after a holiday weekend with family and indulging in things I don’t normally have (I now realize I added an extra barrier for myself, because…leftover Easter candy), so the poundage was probably up from that

Still, I have to assume that sugar keeps me holding onto all of these icky things in my body. And the less I can have of it, the better off I’ll be. Health issues run in my family, and many of those issues have been researched and correlated with sugar consumption.

Am I saying I think everyone can/should do this kind of thing? No, not at all. Will it work for me? Jury is still out. But I do know I have already been surprised by the amount of sugar I was consuming and how often I was doing it, just after noticing my habits these past three days. It’s easy to lick the knife with leftover jelly when I’m making LJ’s PB&J sandwich. Grabbing a handful of chocolate covered peanuts in the breakroom doesn’t feel monumental. However, these things add up over time.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp of sugar a day for women, 9 tsp for men, and 3 tsp for children.
The average adult eats 22 tsp of sugar per day. That’s 2.5-3.5 times more than is recommended. Scary. Here’s an infographic if you’re looking for even more scary.

I’m ready to bring my average way down. These three days have proven I can do it, even when it’s not fun. Today, I already feel less hungry and “snacky,” and I want to keep that going. Even if I don’t have some sort of weight loss breakthrough, I am fairly certain I’ll still feel better, mentally and physically.

But again, the jury is still out. Expect to hear more in the days/weeks/months to come. It’s a new world I’m navigating, and I’m sure I’ll continue to have many thoughts and challenges with it. And don’t worry. I’m not giving up donuts forever. I would never punish myself like that.

SHOP

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Talking to Yourself is A-Okay

Hey, we’re already to Tuesday! I hope your Monday wasn’t super painful or aggravating. Mine was…long, if I’m being honest. It was “bring your kiddo with pinkeye to work” day! Everyone’s favorite, right? I quarantined her and managed to contain her for most of the morning. (My fantastic father rearranged his schedule and took her for the afternoon. He is actually the best, in case you didn’t know.) I don’t like putting the iPad in front of her for long periods of time, but I’m also really REALLY thankful for the iPad.

IMG_7085[1]

Yesterday was Boston! In the running world, that’s a BFD. Real big. I didn’t have a chance to catch much coverage because of aforementioned infected germbucket child. However, I have been watching Candice Huffine with much admiration for a while now. I’ve heard her on several podcasts, and she always leaves me with googly eyes. Yesterday was her marathon debut, and she rocked it! She is so strong and amazing, inside and out. I know she inspires me at moments I need it most, and I believe she does that for so many others. Congrats, Candice!

Whether you’re a runner or endurance athlete or someone just trying to get fitter/stronger, do you talk to yourself while you do it? I’m not necessarily talking about “out loud” conversations with yourself (though if that’s your thing, you do you). But do you spend time trying to pump yourself up inside your head? I’ve heard a lot lately about the power of mantras, and I remember motivating myself during the Twin Cities 10 Mile with the words “I am strong; I am light.” One word for each footfall.

I. Am. Strong. I. Am. Light. I. Am. Strong. I. Am. Light. I. Am. Strong. I. Am. Light.

This phrase was borrowed from one of my favorites, Dimity. And I think it worked. Many others feel that way, too. So whenever you’re going through something tough, whether it be a marathon or jogging to the end of the block or swimming an extra lap in the pool, positive self-talk can help you persevere.

Another piece of good news for runners: one hour of running can add seven hours to your lifespan, regardless of other factors (obesity, smoking, alcohol-use, etc.). Time to lace up and go!

Admittedly, I’m struggling. I am struggling to run and eat well/consistently. I am struggling to say my mantra and get myself going. I keep finding big reminders to be gentle and flexible with myself, though.

Regardless, this is a phase. I will get through it, and I think this week is already shaping up to be better! Hope you can say the same.

SHOP

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sorta Silent Saturday

Hope you are having a lovely weekend with lovely people enjoying lovely things.

Goldy’s 10 Mile Recap

After a day to recover from Goldy’s 10 Mile run and digest the experience, I’m still feeling a little defeated and worse for the wear. Usually, no matter my time, I feel a sense of accomplishment. This time, though? I was left wondering, “Why do I do this?

This isn’t to say anything bad about the race. This is a wonderful race in a beautiful city that I adore! But boy, did this route beat me up. As a librarian, I’m kicking myself for not researching a little better. I should have taken a closer look at the elevation map beforehand. Oh! the hills. I felt grossly unprepared for the hills.

And I ended up experiencing the same issue with my toes seizing up that I had experienced during the Get Lucky race mid-March. I had assumed my toes were cold, and this is why I had trouble with the muscles doing very odd things. But yesterday was picture perfect weather. Alas, I still had moments where I couldn’t go more than a few steps without feeling like I had talons in my shoes.

e28e23216db21573490bc6bea79b46d4

Photo reenactment of the contents of my shoes during miles 6.5-10

Now that I’m aware this isn’t just an issue of “cold feet,” I’m going to have to experiment again with new shoes. I think the toebox on the ASICS Gel Kayano 23s is narrower than on the 22s (which are my favorite shoe of all time, but no longer available in my size/width). So I’m on the hunt for a good pair of stability shoes with a roomy toebox. Let me know if you think of something that fits the bill. Running is expensive, no matter what “they” say.

Back to Goldy Gopher.

Pre-race, it was much easier this year to park and get to the stadium. Last year, we faced some major traffic jams on the highway. Hubby knew better this time, and he navigated us there with ease. My wonderful aunt joined us for the ride, as she was also running the 10 mile, and we made it in plenty of time to wait in the long potty line. (What we didn’t realize is that there were plenty more Porta Pottys around the corner, so we probably would have had half the wait time.)

We were a little confused at first and almost ended up in the 5k waiting area, but we finally heard an announcement over the speakers that 10 mile runners needed to be toward the front. We hurried ahead of the cutoff rope and took our places at the back of the pack.

Then…we were off! Lots of fanfare and cheering at the beginning, and the sun was just rising higher in the sky. The little breeze was welcome. I’m not used to running in sunlight after a long, dark winter!

The first couple of miles were nice. I kept a steady pace and enjoyed the scenery.

And then I hit the first hill. It wasn’t so bad, because I power-walked most of it. But I made the mistake of thinking, “Well, that must have been the bad one. Glad that’s done.”

It wasn’t done. There were several “rolling” hills that kept me huffing and puffing along. Once I hit a decent downhill in the middle, I ran far longer than my usual interval time, because I knew I was trying to make up for a lot of lost time.

I was definitely back of the pack. It gets lonely back there, though. I find the longer the distance, the more isolated I feel. There were intermittent runners on the trails, though (not participants in the race) who gave kind waves and smiles and “You got this! Way to go!”s. It helped immensely.

By the time I hit the last big hill at mile 8.5, I was just done. I threw a little pity party and allowed myself to walk most of the way. And by “allowed” myself, I mean I didn’t have a choice at times…if I ran too far, the talons reared their ugly claws.

Ending on the field in TCF Bank Stadium was a good pick-me-up, though. It is fun, and even though I was one of the final few 10 milers, I still felt energized by the crowd and atmosphere. And I was really excited to suck down a bottle of water (ended up being two!) just past the finish line.

To repeat myself, this is a fun race. I think it’s worth it if you prepare yourself. It’s well-organized and a very fun crowd! You should challenge yourself, and this is an awesome way to do it if you’re not used to hills.

Though I’m still feeling defeated, I am also motivated. To do better. To be better. I know I can. I will have to work my ass off (literally) to achieve, but I cannot let this stop me. Even though I felt like it was one of my worst runs, I still crossed that start line, and I crossed that finish line.

Onward.

Cassie

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

4/7/17: Fantastic Friday

Hello, hello!

Phew. What a whirlwind of a week. It started in a not-so-great way with a sick munchkin. She actually had a tummy bug last Saturday that tapered by Monday. And then it reared its ugly head again in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

In between, we attended the Twins home opener, which was mostly a disaster. Not for the Twins, who would go on to sweep the 2015 World Series champions. But for us with a whiny preschooler who wanted nothing to do with noise or outside. Presumably because she still wasn’t feeling well.

Even though she was whiny, she was still a pretty good sport and I told her she could get a stuffy toy. She had her pick of teddy bears and stuffed puppies and monkeys. What did she choose? Stuffed Joe Mauer. Naturally. And now he is one of her best buds.

At the (*knock on wood*) end of it, I am very tired of dealing with bodily fluids. I am taking my vitamin C and sneaking in my early morning runs and praying I do not catch the bug. Think healthy thoughts!

I have two very exciting pieces of news.

  1. I recently contacted Minneapolis Running to let them know I was interested in writing for them. They said yes, and if you follow my Facebook page, you’ll know my very first article ran this morning. I haven’t had an opportunity before now to do anything like this, so I am incredibly grateful! Head on over there, show them some love, and check out my post if you get a chance.
  2. This week, I was accepted to the Crisis Text Line volunteer training program. I’m really excited to help people in a way that utilizes my own strengths. I hope I am able to make a positive contribution to this amazing organization, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity!
    My training begins the end of May and involves 34 hours of training, education, and hands-on simulation. Then, I will serve one 4-hour shift each week for a year. I look forward to it.

Well, I’m off to rest up for Goldy’s 10 Miler on Sunday. Am I ready? Probably not. Am I hopeful it’ll go well? Definitely. Am I confident? Ehhhh…we’ll see. I love running in the cities, though. So it’ll be great. Right?…Right?

Cassie

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3/30/17: Thankful Thursday

I find my mind in a strange domain today. Everything is a little foggy, and it’s kind of gray and misty. I am grieving for the family and friends of a person I never met. I am sad for the workers and volunteers who fight endlessly to prevent suicide. I’m confused and not-so-confused at the same time about Amy Bleuel’s death. And I ache for her, for the demons she fought so long.

Project Semicolon has held a special little place in my heart since I first heard of it. I’m a grammar/writing nerd, and I am an advocate for mental health. So when I heard there was a project based on the idea of a semicolon, you can imagine it captivated me.

“A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.”

I’ve never written out a detailed history of my mental health. Some people who are very close to me don’t even know the nitty gritty. They know I have depression. They know I have panic disorder and anxiety disorder. But the details are something I don’t talk about. For a long time, I felt it was shameful and that I was a weak person. My brain still feels that way sometimes, and it’s hard to convince myself otherwise.

Let me put this out there, though: I have experienced suicidal thoughts. I have thought those around me would be better off without me. In my teenage years, the peak of my hormones and mental health issues co-mingling, I had fantasies of nothingness. It wasn’t that I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to exist. I didn’t want to feel pain and cause pain anymore.

There’s a stigma surrounding suicide, but I can tell you the following: my thoughts were not selfish. I was not being dramatic. I was thinking about those around me. But my mind still had me convinced I didn’t deserve to exist anymore.

Some of these thoughts came back shortly after the birth of my daughter. In the throes of postpartum depression, I often thought I could never be the mother or wife or friend or family member that people deserved. I felt completely broken, and I wished I didn’t exist.

I am so glad I exist today. My semicolon means my life has gone on. I’ve had intentions for a couple of years to get a semicolon tattoo, and I finally found one I hope to base mine off of, if I get the courage to ask permission, of course. But I also suffer from a pretty severe needle phobia. I’ll get there someday.

So when I said above, “I’m confused and not-so-confused,” it meant that I know depression and anxiety and mental health disorders can strike anyone anytime. You can be okay one day and then have to fight like hell the next. Even when you know, you just know there are people out there who love you and that better days are coming and this, too, shall pass…there are times when you just can’t see the sun through the dark gray fog that has settled into each and every part of you. And you don’t know if/when you will see the sun again.

I am sure there are many, particularly from Project Semicolon and the suicide prevention community, who are taking this hard. To know that nobody is immune, even those who have come out as an inspiration to the community, those who have shared their stories…well, it stops you in your tracks.

We need to keep going, though. It gives me renewed perspective on fighting for something I’m passionate about. I want to do more, and I just need to find my platform or my project. Just like my tattoo: I’ll get there someday.

So today, I am thankful for one person: Amy. Thank you, Amy, for putting your story out there. This is not your ending, though. You will live on through thousands of tattoos and people who will continue fighting and holding each other up.

17457828_1442708522453208_3389750242609839442_n

Move forward. Keep writing your story. We owe it to Amy and to ourselves and to the survivors and to those who are gone too soon. We owe it to the families and friends, because suicide touches many lives.

If you, or anyone you know is dealing with feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of self-harm, I want you to know there IS help. Call 911.  Text “START” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Call the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. Get in contact with someone.

I came across these recommendations for reporting on suicide, but I also think they are good things for all people to review. Here are warning signs and risk factors. Here is information on treatment. Need to help someone else?

Please take care of yourself. And let’s take care of each other, too, especially when we need it most.

You matter. You are loved. You are valuable. 

Cassie

Tagged , , , , , ,

3/28/17: Tasty Tuesday

I did it! I came back like I said I would! Aren’t you proud? (Cue the crickets.)

Well, meal planning wasn’t exactly my strong suit this week. I know I have much smoother weeks when I do plan out everything on Sunday afternoon/evening, but I am realistic. It’s not always gonna happen. Life happens.

Luckily, hubby ran to the store late Sunday night to get at least one recipe’s worth of ingredients. I’ve wanted to try stuffed peppers for quite some time, and they jumped to the top of the recipe pile as I was shuffling through my food folder. What better time than a Monday?

I used a recipe I found a few weeks ago on the Poundfit blog, and…yum! They took a little more preparation time than anticipated, and I also neglected to see the part where they bake for 30-40 minutes. Still, we had a delicious and healthy meal hot from the oven around 7:00 PM.

Verdicts:
-Hubby: thumbs way up! By the end of the meal, he was talking about tweaks we could make, and he was excited to take the leftover filling to work with him. It’s a good standalone mix, too.

-LJ: meh, okay, if I must. We have a bit of a sassy attitude and picky eating thing going on these past few days. (Yay for spirited 3-year-olds!) It has been challenging. I did get her to take some reluctant bites, which she said tasted good. But then she’d say the next bite I offered was going to be yucky. We continue to push foods that she has decided she doesn’t like, though, because it usually takes several tries with kiddos before they realize, “Hey, maybe this isn’t so bad.” The more exposure, the better in our household.

-Me: yes, pretty great, thanks. I used a combination of red peppers and green peppers, and I have to say the red peppers complement the recipe much better. In the future, I’ll plan on using red. I also wanted a little more pow to it, so I may tweak it with  chili powder or cumin in the future. I also would like to incorporate some other veggies in there. This seems like a very versatile recipe.

On the schedule for my evening: Ironstrength DVD workout. I like that it’s made with runners in mind, and I love the short segments. 99% of the time, I try not to fall for the ad emails I receive. This one really caught me, though, and I am glad it did. I love Runner’s World and trust their products, so it seemed pretty-low risk. I also heard Dr. Metzl (creator of Ironstrength) on a podcast, and he was fantastic.
The first time I did the workout, I just about vomited. But in a good way. Is there a good way? If there were, this would be it. It worked my muscles and body in a new, effective way. And it scares me a little bit before I start it each time. Sometimes, it’s good to do things that scare you a little bit.

Enjoy your evening! Go do something a little scary.

Cassie

Tagged , , , , , ,

3/27/17: Manic Monday (MIA Edition)

I fail to have a great reason why I took a week off from this ol’ blog. Last week was busy at work, and I have been keeping a cold at bay. But those things are par for the course in my life. Let’s blow the dust off the pages here and get started with a brand new week!
How was your weekend? Mine was average. I worked Saturday, so that often makes it feel disjointed and not so much like a weekend. I was successful at getting some cleaning/organizing done around the house. After my long, bleak, can’t-get-off-the-couch weeks, my house is finally starting to look like a place where people could survive. And maybe even thrive?

As I mentioned, I started feeling an inkling of a cold last Thursday. Friday morning, I hit the Vitamin C/power food train hard starting off with a delicious smoothie. I’m still stuffy and have a scratchy throat, but I’m pushing it off as long as I can.

img_6747

This morning’s run was a relief after my brain was on overdrive this weekend. I am getting more and more excited for the days when I won’t have to pull on gloves and a hat and long leggings and multiple layers. I can’t wait to just hop out of bed, lace up, and go.


Without further ado, here are a few short-ish reads for a manic Monday:

  • This article gives a perspective I hadn’t read before. And I can certainly relate. Sometimes, I have longer stretches of time where I don’t run, and I feel myself slipping. For me, it’s not the people around me telling me to go for a run. It’s my own conscience making me feel guilty and lazy and like I can’t even help myself. This is a reminder of what can happen if I slip too far and how hard it is to get back up again. I am so glad this author chose to write about this.
  • Podcasts are awesome. Need some running ones? Look here. Want some non-running recommendations? AMR has you covered. Do you have podcasts you like that aren’t on these lists? Because I’m always open for recommendations.
  • I could watch this video for hours. Also, I’m pretty sure these ducks run faster than me.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you libraries are important, and I’m glad mainstream media sources (if you can consider Cosmo one of those?) know it, too. The American Library Association can send out a million emails and articles with calls to action, but who usually reads those articles? Librarians and library support staff. Getting the word out to more people is critical at this point.

Well, that was more reading material than I had initially planned. I hope you have a lovely evening, and I plan on “chatting” with you again soon.

Cassie

Tagged , , , , , , ,

3/17/17: Friday Favorites

A festive happy Friday to you all! Are you Irish folk wearing your green today? I now realize the only green I really have belongs to race shirts. So I’m sporting my 2017 “Get Lucky” top today. No pinching, please.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at our house, because a leprechaun snuck in while we weren’t looking. It put rainbows on our pizza and dessert when we weren’t looking!

Silly leprechaun.

Today, I’m featuring a “favorite” that’s fairly new in my life. I’m always on the lookout for workouts that fit my style: fun, fresh, and distracting. (I’m not saying I personally am fun, fresh, or distracting. I just like those kinds of things. I’m actually more meh, stale, and inconspicuous most days.)

When POUND showed up in my Facebook newsfeed, I was immediately smitten. I thought it was such a neat idea, and I was disappointed there were no classes near me. At the time, I don’t think they had yet released any DVDs for at-home use, but I could be wrong. I just remember thinking, “I want to do that!”

Then a couple months ago, it popped up again! And I realized they do have DVDs for at-home use. And I wanted them. So I saved up, and my brand spankin’ new POUND DVDs and Ripstix arrived in the mail about a week later.

File_000

The first night I did a workout, I was mainly planning on viewing it and maybe doing a few moves as a tester. The workout I picked was “Jam Session,” which was 40 minutes total. No way was I going to do all that on a Tuesday at 9:30 PM.

Well, fast forward 40 minutes, and I realized I was finishing up the entire workout. I did the whole damn thing. And I was sweating a lot. It hadn’t felt like a ton of work though, so I cleaned up and went to bed.

The next morning, oh goodness, could I ever feel it. Cursed DOMS! It got me. But I also knew that meant this was a good workout.

I’m currently following their 60-day routine, so I’ll likely have an update for you in a couple months. So far, though? Great stuff.

If you’re interested, read a little more here and here. Even if you’re not necessarily interested, they have good information and recipes on their blog.

What’s on your weekend docket, chickadees? I have a 7-mile long run in the plans, a couple POUND workouts, work on Sunday, and not much else. Here’s to hoping you find some time to relax, green beer (or ginger ale) in hand!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

3/16/17: Thankful Thursday

This week, post-8.7 mile race, I’ve been a whole lot better at horizontal running than actual running. I think that’s bound to happen now and again. I’ve been keeping up on my strength and cardio except for a bummer-kind-of-day yesterday. Back at it tonight.

yzophfgsavld2

Nevertheless, I am ready to be thankful today. This semi-weekly ritual has helped me keep a good perspective on life when I need it most. I have a good life, and some days I just have to fight the brain ninjas who are trying to tell me otherwise.

  1. Mother Runners: especially those ones who just get it. Adrienne Martini sums it up so well this week when she says, “I tell you this not to show off — although sometimes the knowledge of how bad one’s ass must be to run in this awfulness gets me through the worst of it — but to assure you that every single mother runner you know gets what it is like to push through and get it done. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns out there all of the time. There are months when it is grindingly bleh to be a BAMR. Still, we keep going.
    These months are difficult for me. My energy level is lower-than-low, and all I want to do is snuggle in a blankie and hide from the world. The BAMR community, in particular, reminds me of why I need to get out and run, especially on the snuggly blankie days.
  2. Awesome people doing awesome things: especially those who dress up as stormtroopers while they run. Have you seen this guy? Fantastic. (Although I am glad to not be the one cleaning that uniform.) Dream big, folks.
  3. Positivity: especially positivity from those who understand what it’s like to be back-of-the-pack or a bigger runner. If you are either of those things, I encourage you to read those and any other articles you come across that make you feel good. Encourage yourself every day. If you are not either of those things, I still think they’re good reads. New perspective. Understanding. All good stuff.

Guess what? Tomorrow is Friday! And St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget your green, and celebrate safely.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

Tagged , , , , , ,