Category Archives: Friday Favorites

Ballerinas and Catsby and Wine-infused Coffee

And we meet again. On a Friday. Yay! Long weekend. Woo! Party time. Yeah!

Okay, that’s out of the way. This week was significantly less eventful on my end, and darnit, I like it that way. I still feel like I’m recovering from last week’s hustle and bustle.

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My baby had her first dance recitals this weekend. I was on stage with her (it was a “You & Me” class for caregivers and children, and though my role was minimal, I was still absolutely drained by the end of the weekend.

She did well, though. She smiled. She listened to me onstage (backstage was a different story). I guess that’s what matters. She loves to dance, and I think she’s going to be very good at it.

Other than that, the week has contained minimal excitement or activity. I’m re-framing my goals right now and really taking into consideration the things I need to do to achieve them.

Web-flavored Goodness

  • Sad news coming out of the running community. Gabe Proctor, a former NCAA champion, died by suicide last week. Nobody, regardless of their successes or kind heart or circumstances, is immune to depression and mental health issues. My thoughts have been with his family and friends.
  • I think I’ve referenced Mirna before in my blog. If I haven’t, I should have. Because this article made me say, “YUS, GIRL,” out loud as I was reading it.

“Lastly, I am beautiful. The entire running community is beautiful. And we determine that. Not you.”

  • Wine is good for you. We keep hearing this. So let’s skip the chit-chat, and I’ll break out the corkscrew. (Obligatory: moderation, people. Practice moderation.) (And sidenote, that article opened my eyes to the fact that there is now wine-infused coffee. This really blurs the structure of my day.)
  • One of my favorite cities on this planet held a memorial 5k. For a cat. Named Catsby. If it wasn’t dance recital weekend, I may have considered attending.
  • Yes. That’s all.

H’okay! I hope your long weekend is relaxing and fun and productive/unproductive (depending on what you want it to be) and filled with sparkles and rainbows and love. See you next week!

SHOP

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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

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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.

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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

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2/17/17: Friday Favorites

Happy post-Valentine’s Day, chickadees! Did you get your sugar fix? Or are you still all hopped up on the stuff? It has been a cuh-ray-zee few days in our world. I feel like I haven’t stopped going places and doing things for a few days now.

In the midst of a jam-packed Valentine’s Day, I did a thing. A scary thing. A “what have I done?” thing. I wasn’t really planning on sharing it quite yet, but there’s no time like the present to commit and blab all over social media (I guess?).

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That’s right. I registered for the Big Daddy of them all. The marathon. I have just under a year to train. And I’m nervous as all get-out. You may watch me crash and burn again, but you can bet I’m going to fight like hell for this one.

I’ll switch subjects now, because I’m sure you’ll hear plenty more about this coming up. I’m still processing the fact that I actually hit that “Register” button and all that it will mean for my life these next 11 months.

In slightly related news, we ran the Valentine’s Day 5k! As usual, Twin Cities in Motion put on a great event. I really enjoy their runs: the atmosphere, the organization, and the fun. They are definitely one of my Friday Favorites.

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Of course, we had to make our traditional post-Valentine’s Run Donut Run. To Glam Doll. Because they are Glam Doll. Donuts already give me googly eyes. Glam Doll donuts? They take it to an even higher level of hearts.

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Be still, my heart.

Above are the only two pictures I was able to take of our purchases. Because I ate my Matcha White Chocolate donut before I remembered to take a picture, so you’ll see it’s an empty bag. And I caught hubby in action as he ate his classic Starlet.

Early morning runs have been unseasonably warm this week. I won’t complain. I guess I did complain about my lunch run today, because it was TOO warm. In Minnesota. In February.

It’s just so much more soul-satisfying when I get my run done in the morning. Because I get some of my favorite views of this beautiful world we live in.

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All righty. A busy weekend awaits. I hope you all have a lovely one, whether you’re running trails or running errands or just relaxing (make sure to do some relaxing).

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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12/9/16: Friday Favorites

Oy. What a week. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see this weekend (as long as nothing else “fun” springs up).

Last Friday was fun! We visited a light display, and we even caught Santa just before he was done visiting with kids for the evening.

And it’s a darn good thing, because on Saturday morning, the kiddo woke me up to say, “Mama, I don’t feel very well.” And then she proceeded to barf on my last clean pair of yoga pants. We assumed it was an icky tummy due to her long-standing cold. Mucus buildup is nothing to mess with, people. (TMI. Sorry.)

We had planned on a day of holiday fun, and I had a 9 mile long run planned. The run didn’t happen. And the holiday fun…well, it ended up being the “stay at home on the couch and watch Christmas movies” variety. I’m not opposed to that. A good reminder that slowing down can be beneficial this time of year.

Sunday, I woke up feeling my cold had progressed to give me a terrible case of dry throat/pounding head. And I knew my long run just wasn’t happening. I felt guilty for it, but I’m also trying to give myself a break.

Got a good run in Tuesday morning, and was finally starting to feel better. I should have known…

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A nice post-run foam roll.

Tuesday night, I ended up lying on the bathroom floor with an intense version of whatever bug the kiddo had over the weekend.

Summary: Gross. Gross. Exhausting. Gross. I felt less gross on Wednesday, but I was SO tired. I slept all day and all night. And I was still tired Thursday! Goodness.

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At least I always have someone to make me smile.

Today, I woke up feeling a bit more pep in my step. Even got my butt on the treadmill and felt pretty good…and now it seems my cold has progressed to my eyes. Yep, that’s right. Conjunctivitis in both eyes. My car was dead this morning, too. (Thanks, Dad, for the ride/assist!)

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Post-treadmill, pre-pinkeye realization, pre-dead car dilemma selfie.

We have the kiddo’s Christmas concert tonight, and then I hope to re-group. Clean. Detox. (Okay, maybe not detox completely, because Mama needs a glass of wine or two.) Re-organize.

If there’s anything I’m trying to practice this week, it’s being gentle to myself. Be kind. Do my best and don’t expect more. I hope you’re able to do the same this time of year.

We will get there.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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11/4/16: Friday Favorites

Sometimes, you’re on top of the world (or at least at a good vantage point to see far across the land). You are pumped and proud and happy and things are better than okay.

Sometimes, you are stuck in bed with the covers pulled up over you head (or at least the metaphorical version: in a bleak and desolate corner of your mind where you can’t even see two feet in front of the haze that has formed around you). You are a mixture of numb and sad and blah that leaves you confused and feeling not-so-okay.

Sometimes, you experience these things within days or hours of each other, and it leaves you drained and wondering what is wrong with you. How can someone who has things going well for them possibly feel this way? Then guilt settles right in, too. It’s a vicious cycle.

I feel like I apologize often for lapses in blogging. And I can pile on the excuses, but those make me feel guilty, too. From now on, I’m just going to assume any blips in my writing are part of life. I’ll be here when I’m here. I’ll make myself accountable to this writing/running thing when I’m able. And all the other times, well…I’ll try to sneak in an Instagram post or two to feel a little more connected.

So on a day when I just don’t feel like I have any updates or anything good to say about my current running regimen (which has been, y’know, nonexistent this week), I’ll tell you something you already know.

My girl is my ultimate Friday Favorite. And making holidays, like Halloween, special for her is one of my ultimate joys in life. She is growing up so fast, and I want her to remember that her mom tried really hard for her. I want her to know it wasn’t always perfect, and Mom worked full-time and couldn’t spend time with her nearly as often as they both wanted. And Mom sometimes needed a half hour of playing Yahtzee on her phone after work.

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Halloween night at dance class

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BB-8 and R2-D2

But I want her to be able to say, “My mom loved me and did what she could to make things special in her own way.”

So I’ll ultimately focus on that goal each and every day.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/28/16: Friday Favorites

Alternative title: “Running Shoes: A Love Story.” (This is a play on a book I enjoyed, Running: A Love Story by Jen A. Miller. Pick it up if you get a chance.)

For a long time, I bought the least expensive pair of running shoes I could get away with. I wanted them to look okay but still be cheap enough that I could afford a pair. All running shoes were one and the same to me.

I’ve changed my tune since then. Oh, how young and naïve I was! I wonder now if I would have saved myself a lot of pain and trouble if I had taken the right shoe route, but what’s done is done.

Now, I truly love running shoes. I love going into specialty running stores and seeing the wall-o’-shoes with their bright colors and sleek appearances. I want them all, but I have learned to be selective and really pay attention to certain features. Particularly those that aid my often-painful plantar fasciitis flare-ups in my heels.

The first time I put on a pair of ASICS Gel Kayano 22, I literally felt like my feet were getting hugs. Heaven. Paradise for my feet that had been begging for support and cushioning for quite some time. These shoes provided the stability I really needed.

You may have seen them featured in most of my race pictures. They have been steady sidekicks for some time.

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However, even the best running shoes must be retired eventually. Usually sooner than when you’re ready to part with them. My ASICS have lost their cushioning and huggy feeling. The heel fabric inside the shoe is split on both shoes. It is time to retire them and induct them into their respective Hall of Fame.

Of course, I could have bought a new pair of the same, but I had some curiosity. I decided maybe I needed to try a few new things before I truly knew these shoes were “the ones.” There’s also the fact that companies continually put out new models of their shoes, so I won’t be able to purchase these ASICS forever.

I didn’t intend to try two new pairs at the same time. But I bought the Brooks Ghost 9s and the Saucony Guide 9s just a couple weeks apart, due to some darn good running shoe sales. So far, the Brooks and I are at friendship-level. The Sauconys, though? I have googly eyes for those babies. I’ve only run a couple of times with them.

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And no, I didn’t have that same immediate romantic feeling as I did with the ASICS. I’m going to chalk this up to the fact that I was running in totally-awfully-wrong shoes prior to putting my ASICS on. I may never have that same magical feeling again, even if I buy the same pair of ASICS brand new again.

Nonetheless, my Saucony’s are pretty. They’re comfy. I’m hoping they will have a brief break-them-in period, and then we’ll live in running bliss together for another 300-500 miles.

Happy weekend, friends.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/7/16: Friday So-Many-Favorites

GAH. I’ve had a big day when it comes to the running portion of my life. Today was the Twin Cities in Motion Health & Fitness Expo.

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SOOOOOO many things to do/see/buy. I told my bank account it would hurt, but I don’t think it could have imagined the pain I’d inflict on it.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. But still a little painful.

Most importantly, I was able to see Dimity and Sarah from Another Mother Runner speak. And they uplifted my spirit so very much in a time when I really need it. They topic was “Enjoy and Excel: How to Race Like a Mother.” They had so many good suggestions and tips I hadn’t really thought of.

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Two really amazing people. I owe so much to them, and I wish I knew how to thank them. I think they’ve changed a lot of lives.

I have a lot of doubts about myself and my abilities. I spend a lot of time telling myself, “You suck. You can’t run. You should quit.” And Dimity reminded me of something. You should never say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your friends. I would NEVER tell my friends they suck or they can’t run or they should quit. I would tell them, “Keep going! You got this! You are only racing against yourself. You are amazing!”

So why don’t I tell myself these things? Mentally, I think I need to work harder at making positive statements toward myself during my long runs in particular. I’ll be starting that ASAP (on Sunday, of course).

Obviously, I had to get some swag, and I’m super in love with it. The sweatshirt is so soft and I’m already wearing it and I may never take it off. And what’s better than a #BAMNR shirt?

So now…I prepare. I plan on getting some good rest tomorrow, laying out my “Flat Cassie,” (see: “Laying out your Clothes“), and maybe fitting in an easy yoga/meditation sesh.

I’m going to run Sunday in a beautiful race. I’m going to do it for me and my daughter and my husband and my health and my future. I’m going to be okay.

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Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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9/23/16: Friday Favorites

Hey-o! It’s the weekend. Everyone ready to party?

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In several ways, I think Leslie Knope is my spirit animal.

Well, I don’t know that there’ll be much partying going on in my neck of the woods. I’m off work today, because I have the #saturdaylibrarian shift tomorrow. And I’m debating whether or not to do my long run in the morning. (It’s 9 miles scheduled, but I’d REALLY like to get a 10 miler in so I can taper for the TC 10 Mile in a few weeks.) That would require getting up and being out the door by 4:30 A.M. On a Saturday.

Or I could wait until Sunday. But that would kinda suck the fun out of my Saturday night, too. I guess we’ll see how I’m feeling a little later. Dino-toddler came down with a cold over the past few days, and she hacked most of the night last night. She also woke up at 1:00 convinced that it was time to get up and get going for the day. Took 4 hours and sleeping on the couch downstairs watching Daniel Tiger before she fell back asleep. I am SO glad we were able to sleep in.

Without further ado, I’ll jump right into the Friday Favorite for today. I’ve maybe written about Vionics before? But I’mma go really in depth now. Because I can’t get enough of them.

This question applies to runners and non-runners alike: have you ever dealt with plantar fasciitis? It’s a beast. I’ll spare you a long explanation (you can read up on it here if you want) and just say that some days I have terrible, stabbing pain in my heels, especially my left heel. There are times I can barely walk when I get out of bed. I expressed this to a few different friends, and several of them recommended Vionic shoes to me.

I’m so glad they did. For my birthday this past July, my parents so kindly bought me Vionic slippers, sandals, and orthotic inserts. Ho’jeez, have my feet been so much happier since. When I get my slippers on in the morning, I can walk so much more comfortably right away. And I keep trying to make myself wear other shoes to work, but I come back to the sandals every time. It’s good they’re black and go with everything. However, I’ll be in the market for a new pair soon that will be suitable for winter wear in the library.

I wear the slippers much of the time at home, even in the dead heat of summer. A recommendation for plantar fasciitis is that you wear supportive shoes pretty much all of your waking hours. Jumping right into the slippers is quite a bit easier than trying to lace up your super-expensive supportive Asics or whatever you have to wear to not feel like your heels are on fire. (By the way, I really do love my Asics. For running. Not enough to buy an extra pair to wear all the time at home.)

If you ever have any heel pain or foot pain, I encourage you to try a pair. They are available at select stores, and you can order them direct from their website. I’d also encourage you to keep an eye out on QVC and Zulily, as I’ve seen them featured at both.

So that’s about what I’ve got for you today. Nothing terribly exciting (unless you are looking for some relief for PF, then maybe you’re kinda excited?), but I’m sending good wishes to you for a happy weekend. And please pray for me if I venture out early early early tomorrow.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

P.S. Disclaimer: I was in no way paid or endorsed in any way for this post. I just happen to be a girl who genuinely appreciates a good orthotic. I’ve always been told I’m an old soul like that.

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8/5/16: Friday Favorites

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Photo from fromfattofinishlinefilm.com

“12 STRANGERS, 1200 LBS LOST AND A 200 MILE RACE
THAT MAKES TESTING THEIR LIMITS A TEAM SPORT.”

Just looking at the tagline of the documentary From Fat to Finish Line, you can probably tell why I was instantly drawn to it. I couldn’t wait for this movie to be released to DVD, so I was extremely excited when it showed up in my box this week. On Wednesday night, I settled in with my hubby, pup, and kitties (and let’s be honest, a Skinny Cow ice cream pop because chocolate) and pressed ‘Play.’ For runners and non-runners alike who enjoy a down-to-earth motivational story, this film won’t disappoint.

This documentary tells the story of 12 people who have lost an average of 100 lbs. They have gone from being unable to climb a few stairs without being winded…to athletes. From being unable to tie their shoes without sucking in their stomachs…to participating in a grueling, overnight 200-mile relay run.

If you haven’t heard about the Ragnar relay races before, here’s a little primer. Summary: 12 people, 2 days/1 night, 200-ish miles, 2 vans, 11-24 miles run per person. It takes a lot of teamwork, support, motivation, and pure grit to get this done. Especially if you run it in Miami-to-Key West heat/humidity like these runners did.

The cinematography sometimes felt more like a reality show than a documentary film, but I don’t think that underscored the major themes of the documentary. Learning each person’s story as they ran their first leg was a nice touch; by their last leg of running, I felt like each one of them was a friend. They all have special stories to tell, and that culminates into this one awesome event.

I don’t know if a *SPOILER ALERT* is needed here or not…but the ending of the documentary was a little abrupt for my tastes. I enjoyed following this group through their Ragnar journey, and it was over very quickly as they crossed the finish line. I was hoping to see a little bit of post-race reflection and know if any of them had plans for future events/races. I suppose good movies leave you wanting more though, right?

Regardless, I really enjoyed watching this journey! I hope one day to have my own success story to tell, so it is always reassuring to see others who have been through it or are going through their journey now. Thumbs up recommendation to those looking for a nice boost and reminder of the power of the human body/spirit. Stream it on iTunes, or stream/purchase a DVD from Amazon today!

They also have an amazing community on Facebook and lots of good information on their website. Looks like an app and training plans are coming soon, too? Exciting! I think that is the marker of a truly successful film/movement: it is changing lives.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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