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FriYAY

The sun is shining. The skies are blue. It’s Friday. The stars are aligned or the gods are finally happy with us or Mother Nature is just in a really damn good mood. Any way you cut it, today is beautiful in my neck of the woods, and I hope it’s great for you, too.

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Lunch breaks: deck, book, food. Win.

I found my way out on the beaten trail a couple of times this week, and I have a “race” tomorrow, if you can call it that. It’s a local event that sponsors local families dealing with serious illnesses. Always gives you the happy tingly feelings inside your heart to see so many community members getting together for a good cause. And it’s nice to have companions on my usual running paths!

This week has also provided opportunities to get outside as a family, something we never do enough of. I’m not sure if it’s easier or more difficult now that LJ is older, but she’s an active kiddo. So anything that helps tucker her out is good in my book.

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I’ve been really contemplating my relationship with food these past few weeks, as is evidenced by the great sugar fast of April 2017. (Y’know…by great, I mean 3 whole days sugar-free and a few more days mostly sugar-free.) It’s part of my unofficial “health reset” where I basically start building myself brick-by-brick again.

I’ve observed my behavior, and I am noticing a trend. If I start eating refined sugar earlier in the day, I want it all day. If I abstain for a while, I’m less likely to crave it and think about it. So whatever that’s worth…I don’t know.

This article seemed to hit at exactly the right time, though. It preaches kindness, and that’s what I need to remember.

The most important one that is helping me be kinder to myself every day? Find what works for you.

What works for you may not work for someone else—and that is okay. When it comes to food (and running and life…) it is okay to experiment. You may make a mistake. Something may not work for you. But, you’ll learn from it and move on.

This morning, I woke up, thought about the snacking I did after I got home from work last night, and my mind immediately thought, “You eat garbage. You are garbage.”

I caught myself. I was surprised, because I realized these are thoughts I have often but don’t often stop myself from having. This morning, I corrected myself: “You didn’t eat great last night. It satisfied some need or desire you had, even if it wasn’t the healthiest way to do it. Today will be better, starting…now.”

I didn’t 100% believe myself, but I believe there’s some merit to the phrase “Fake it ’til you make it.”

Well, before I pack up and head out for the weekend, I’d be remiss if I didn’t wish you a belated happy Star Wars Day.

Here’s my little Wookiee with her Wookiee hair and her Wookiee shirt. And my dog, because…Chewbarka.

SHOP

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Grumpy Snow Owl

It’s April 27th, and I saw tiny snowflakes falling from the sky as I let the dog out this morning. She frolicked with happiness. I turned grumpy.

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Re-enactment. We share a stunning resemblance, though, don’t we?

I also have a case of the grumps, though, because I haven’t run in a while. I’m rather run down instead. I’ve had a cold for two weeks now, and I just really wish I could breathe out of my nose and that my eyes weren’t itchy and that my head didn’t feel so gummed up. I also feel like sleeping for days.

I’m being hard on myself for not running, but at the same time, it’s kind of a relief to allow myself some time to recuperate. Usually, I push through my illnesses and train anyway. This time, though? I’m stepping back. Perhaps it’s something to do with the lousy nature of my last long run. Perhaps it’s something bigger. I have some decisions to make, though, and they will have an effect on the future of my running “career.” (Career? Hobby? Lifestyle? I am not sure how to address it.)

I’m considering starting at level 1, if that makes any sense. And I’ll see where that takes me. My ankle injury is reverberating longer than I had expected, and I just don’t feel ready for going too long-distance at this time. After my last run, my heart isn’t in it. I’m trying to re-vamp too many other things in my life right now: eating, self-reflection, meditation/yoga. All things that will give me more peace before I begin rigorously training again. Don’t get me wrong. I love running, and I don’t want to quit it. I still have my big goals to achieve, and I want to get there soon!

But I have to help the other “pieces” of my life fall in place first. I can’t train and lose weight at the same time. I can’t incorporate as much meditation and yoga as I want when I’m trying to keep my mileage high. Maybe other people have a propensity for these things. I just don’t right now.

I don’t know where all this rambling leaves me, and kudos to you if you’ve made it this far. I do know I want to continue blogging with a focus on running and health and mamahood. I like getting my thoughts out on virtual paper, and I hope I’ve been able to give something good to the wonderful people who read this as well.

For today, though…I’m going to focus on each day as it comes. I’m going to try to do things that bring me joy at that very moment in time. I hope find the time and effort to do the same.

SHOP

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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.”

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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

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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.

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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

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Sorta Silent Saturday

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

3/11/17: Sorta Silent Saturday

After a 14k (8.7 mile) race in reeeeeaaaallllyyyy low temps and wind, I sure am glad to have such a cute little leprechaun to warm my heart.

 

Read on. Run on.

Cassie

1/1/17: New

Tonight, I spent the evening playing board games with Mini-Me and hubby. And then after the Mini went to bed, hubby and I had a much needed Nerf gun fight. Although this may not sound like the most riveting New Year’s evening to some, I am content. As hubby and I watched some live broadcast of Time’s Square, I described it as a “living nightmare” in my world. (Bright lights. TOO MANY people. Stuck. Terrible.)

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RIP Chewbacca. Sorry you got caught in the middle.

I’m fine being in my own house, and I’m even impressed we made it past midnight. In fact, it’s 1:18 AM as I type this.  We are party animals.

As promised, I have some of my New Year focuses (foci?) ready to blog. I’m not committing to super-specific goals. Just things I want to keep in mind this year to make my life and the lives of those around me better.

There are seventeen, because 2017. So brace yourselves. This is going to be a long ride (and I totally won’t judge you if you skip all of this).

  1. Hydrate/Track – Keep on top of my water intake, and keep an honest food journal.
  2. Yoga/Meditation – This is something that has benefitted me in the past year, and I really need to enhance it.
  3. Read 50 pages per day – When I read, it means I’m not spending time on mindless activities, like scrolling through my cousin’s dentist’s mother-in-law’s photo album from 2008. And I also really like to read, and I want to read more. Duh.
  4. Blog more – I like this thing! I like documenting my journey. For me and maybe for anyone I might inspire even a little?
  5. Sleep 7+ hours per night – I mean…pretty self explanatory.
  6. Eat with intention – Because it’s too easy and dangerous to eat mindlessly or emotionally
  7. Run – 750+ miles. And complete my first half-marathon. I’m not letting this darn ankle get me down.
  8. Pay bills when they come in – Heard this tip from my step-mother-in-law (Hi, Polly, if you’re reading!). I love this idea, and I’ve already paid off both my credit cards BEFORE Christmas. So much less stress than waiting until the due date.
  9. Be on top of cleaning the damn house – Because it’s much easier to spend 10 minutes a day on this than hours during the weekend
  10. Stop eating by 8:00 P.M. – I’ve done this in the past, and it WORKS.
  11. Devices down when mini-me is awake – Another fairly self-explanatory one
  12. #RelationshipGoals – Monthly date night with the hubby? I think yes. It’s easy to forget about this when you have a screaming demon toddler highly enthusiastic and spunky child in the house.
  13. Stay in tune with friends/family – This should always be a priority, but I have a hard time getting outside of my own head some days.
  14. Make people feel special – Each Christmas, I’m reminded of how wonderful it feels to give gifts and let people know I think of them/value them/love them dearly. I want to find ways to do this all year long.
  15. Be a strong example – Because Mini-Me deserves it.
  16. Work hard and work well – I am SO blessed to have the job I have. And I want to be good at it and give back.
  17. Spend wisely – Again, something I should do all the time, but it’s easy to get carried away. I’d rather give more than I get.

So there you have it. No particular order. Unedited. Unfiltered. But that’s what I aim for on this lil’ blog. Honesty and openness.

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What are YOU going to focus on this year?

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

P.S. The following picture is Mini-Me yesterday. And probably me tomorrow.

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12/30/16: Friday Favorites

Mojo, oh, mojo!
Where did you go-jo? I don’t
know how to find you.

This lame-sauce haiku came to me in my brief attempt to express my current feelings and motivation level. I’m definitely down in the dumps, and the post-holiday blues are piled right on top.

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I mean, this really sums up post-Christmas feels, doesn’t it?

January will be here next week, though, all fresh and shiny! I definitely have some goals that I’m working out right now, and I look forward to sharing them here.

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One of my intentions for the new year is to have more conscious time with my girl. Today was my day off, so we went for a lunch/games date.

We are getting ready for our mid-January vacation, and I am still in slight denial about not running the Star Wars Half. The passing of Carrie Fisher has made this a particularly crushing blow for me, as I was privy to the information that she will be on the finisher medals. Life is funny, and not always in a good way.

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Beauty in and out. She was my princess growing up, and she is my daughter’s princess. And badass General as well.

Holidays were good. We are so blessed with love and family and friends. I can’t remind myself of that enough.

I’m looking forward to 2017 being THE year. I don’t know why it feels different. Maybe I think that every year. But 2016 kind of felt like a gear-up, get-shit-in-line, lets-get-ready-to-go kind of year (if you forget about that pesky train-went-off-the-tracks injury a couple weeks ago). I achieved things I didn’t think I could. I feel happier, even when my brain is trying to make me not happy. I feel more at peace than I have in a long time.

Are you making goals? Resolutions? I would love to hear them.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/6/16: Thankful Thursday

Today is a day that makes me think I have finally crossed the bridge from “I am losing it” to “I have lost it.” My mind is so consumed with the 10-miler this weekend and a million other things I have to get done, and it is no longer just an internal battle between the voices in my head.

First, I received an email from the organizers of the Mankato Marathon weekend with information for participants and spectators. I was confused, because why would I receive this? My husband is running the half-marathon, but how did they know I’d be spectating?

Oh, turns out I’m actually a participant. I have no recollection of this, but I apparently registered for the 10k that Sunday. So I guess I’ll be going for a trifecta: a 10k last weekend, a 10-miler this weekend, and a 10k next weekend.

After that revelation, I made myself some lunch before work (I have the late shift today). Leftover chili and a spinach salad. Only when I started adding the dressing to my salad, I realized it wasn’t my salad. I was in the process of adding creamy poppyseed dressing to my chili. I screamed, “What the truck are you doing?!” at myself, except truck may not have been the word I used, but you weren’t there so you don’t know. And then I scooped out what I could and ate it anyway. Maybe I need to start hitting it a little harder in the “mindfulness” practice.

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It’s really hard to take a picture of yourself doing bridges on the wall. And it probably defeats the purpose.

Because of this, I’m going to keep my thankfuls short and sweet.

  1. YOU, you magnificent sparkly humans: I’m thankful for all the new likes on my FB page and new blog followers! And of course for the followers who have been here for a while. You all are amazing, and I’d make you some super yummy donuts if I knew how to make donuts and ship them cost-effectively. They’d have heart-shaped sprinkles on them and everything. Unless you don’t like sprinkles. I dig a good glaze, too.
  2. Toddler art: Okay, two-year-olds aren’t master artists or painters. I get that. But I think each parent melts a little when their kiddo brings home a scribbly picture or finger painting they’re really damn proud of. It’s just another thing that reminds me of how much she is growing.
  3. ChocolateI don’t think this even needs a description.

All right, off I go! Tomorrow is packet pick-up, and I’m hoping to have some good pictures/reports of my adventures at the Health & Fitness Expo. Dino-toddler will be accompanying me. I’m charging the iPad and packing her brand new Elsa headphones as we speak.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

P.S. My new Momentum Jewelry arrived yesterday! Super fast shipping. I LURVE it. And I want more. They’re running a #spreadtheSPARK promo this month. Check it out.

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And a cameo from my RoadID.

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10/3/16: Manic Monday, the Chocolate Edition

Wait, it’s October? When the hell did that happen?

Seriously, though. I was just maybe kind of adjusting to the fact that it was September. And here comes October shooting in all HEY, THE PARTY IS HERE.

With the end of September came the MLA conference. I love being a librarian, and I learned even more about librarianing. Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and remember why I chose to be a part of this career. I have so many ideas of things I’d love to do, if I can just embrace the passion and move forward. It was also in Duluth, my favorite city in the history of forever. I didn’t get to embrace the Duluth life as much as I would have liked. (C’mon, I had to wake up at 3:00 AM on Thursday morning to get to the conference in time!) But it inspired me in many ways while I was there. Hoping we can plan a mini-vacay there in the next few months.

With the beginning of October came the Chocoholic Frolic 10(-ish) k run. Although I thoroughly enjoy any run that has chocolate as the main perk, there were a few things I hope they can work to improve in the future.

  1. DISTANCE: Most importantly, I finished and noticed my GPS only recorded 5.5 miles. This was billed as a 10k, which is supposed to be 6.2. May seem like a petty thing to some, but this served as a training/taper session for me, and I count on those miles. Hopefully next year, they can offer this again but be a little more careful with measuring their distance. I know I am not the only one who had an issue with this.
  2. Time: So not only did the 10k start after the 5k (I like it when the longer distance goes first, because it takes…y’know, longer.), the 10k didn’t even start until 10:00. By this point, the sun was up and blaring. I ended up feeling slow and trudging along (even more so than usual), and I was a sweaty, stinky mess by the end. I know this is more of a fun run, but even just switching the times for the 10k and 5k would have helped. Maybe there were some course considerations regarding this, but it makes me feel very divided on signing up for this again.
  3. Where am I going?!: I’m not talking about the course here. In fact, the course guides and police officers were helpful, encouraging, and just generally awesome. I’m talking about actually getting to the start line. Despite the fact that we paid $10 to park in one of the recommended event day parking lots, there was no signage indicating where we should actually go. We had to follow a few people who looked like they knew where they were going, and we also listened for the music. When we actually arrived at the course, I couldn’t tell if the inflatable arches I was looking at were the start or the finish. I had to walk around for a while to find another set of arches labeled “FINISH” and then figure out where the start line was by process of elimination.

Despite all of this, the day was gorgeous. The views were beautiful. The hills were terrible, but maybe that’s preparing me for next week’s 10-miler? I don’t know. At the very least, I had the sound of my biggest little fan in my head. As I left her and the hubby to line up, I could hear her repeating, “GO, MAMA, GO!” over and over again. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t add some extra pep to my step.

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So now I’m just sitting here…uber nervous for Sunday. I am hoping that the conditions in and of themselves lead to a better run/finish. I have so many things on my mind lately, and nighttime isn’t even a respite. I get little rest with the vivid dreams and nightmares, and I wake up feeling drained and wondering whether a IV of caffeine might be worth it.

I guess I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully on a bit more positive of a note. Step-by-step and day-by-day.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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