Tag Archives: Celebration

A Happy Place

Sometimes, I go days and weeks without blogging. Sometimes, I check out for days or weeks or months. That’s just a reality of who I am. That’s the reality of living with a mental illness. Even when you’re managing it, sometimes you’re just not “managing.”

This time, I wasn’t particularly sad. It wasn’t a dark-dark-dark time. No, it was just…nothingness. I couldn’t get a grip on my day-to-day operations, and it made blogging seem like a mountain I just didn’t have the energy or equipment to climb. Insurmountable. So I took it easy on myself, and I worked to forgive myself for this and several other things I sacrificed for a few weeks. I celebrated lots of days without pressuring myself to do more than I was capable of.

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Today, I feel a little better. There’s that little spark of warmth in my gut telling me that brighter and stronger times are coming. Which is good. Because the days are soaring past, and I’m watching the calendar get closer to my two big races (1 & 2) of fall. I have a solid training plan set before me. I will move forward.

This morning’s run was humid, but that’s not atypical for this time of year. Still, it leaves me feeling pretty sweaty and gucky afterward. Even after a shower to cool off, I still sweat. And by the time I quit sweating, it’s time to go outside so I can climb in my stuffy car and start sweating again and go to work. Vicious cycle.

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Sweaty selfie. This iPhone camera was kind to me. I swear, I was drenched. 

This past weekend was spent in Duluth, which I have officially deemed my “happy place.” It’s a city I adore on a big ol’ lake I can’t ever stop staring at. Again this year, I failed to get a shoreline run in, but relaxation and sleeping in trumped it. No regrets. (Not many, at least.)

Other than that, life has been filled with the day-to-day minutia of summer. Two weeks from now, we will be with family on a houseboating trip. And then it’s August already. I know a lot of people ask the question, “Where does the time go?” But srsly.

I don’t have much of substance to leave you with. For my bookclub, though, we did read one of my favorite books in the history of the universe. And although I love it for the big, soul-warming laughs it gives me, I also have many quotes about mental health and mental illness underlined, starred, and dog-eared in my copy. I’ll leave you with one that stands out to me every time I read or listen to it (yes, I own the digital audiobook, too).

“Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize that the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spent with my family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise.”

-Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

Wishing you light.

SHOP

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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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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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11/21/16: Manic Monday

Anyone else feeling a little edgy today? Since this week kicks off the official holiday season, I guess I’m feeling a little stressed. I just ate my feelings in the form of half a cookie, and then I stopped myself. Gotta nip that behavior in the bud and deal with my feelings in less destructive ways.

Speaking of emotions and such, lots of studies/discussion over the effect running and exercise can have on stress and depression. I’ve known for a long time that running in particular is incredibly helpful for me when it comes to keeping the demons at bay, but it’s nice to see that this idea is being put into the mainstream.

See: New York Times and Women’s Running.

First week of AMR Stride into the Holidays was pretty fun! I love the sense of community that goes with this. I did have to delay my long run from Saturday (20+ MPH winds plus really dark when I would have had to go) to Sunday (1 MPH winds plus sunlight when I was able to go). SO happy I did. Did 8 miles in the crisp near-winter air, but it was lovely. I’m so lucky I have time and support when it comes to running. And that my own two legs can carry me further than I ever believed.

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I’ve also been cruising through books recently, and I figure I should start getting some more reviews/updates on what I’m reading. I think I have that on the back burner right now and ready to move it to the forefront of my writing soon.

Alright, buckle up, party people. The holiday season is just getting in gear, and it’s gonna be a quick ride.

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Random November puddle-jumping picture for good measure.

See you in the next day or two!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/25/16: Tuesday Teaser

Okay, so I don’t have a toddler anymore. I’ve verbally acknowledged it, but my brain hasn’t accepted it yet. Nonetheless, I figure I should move along from “Toddler Tuesday,” because I write more than enough about the kiddo. Maybe it’s time for something fresh.

I’m fiddling around with a few different prompts for Tuesdays’ blog posts. And I’m not set on any one thing yet. (SUGGESTIONS ACCEPTED. And rewarded with virtual cookies and high-fives.) Here are a few ideas I’m tossing around:

  • Twitter Tuesday: a round-up of my favorite Tweets (and maybe posts from other social platforms) from cool people in the past week
  • Tuesday Tales: I’ve been trying to find a way to introduce book/media reviews in. But this presumes that I have something new to review each week. (This hearkens back to the fact that although I work in a library, I rarely have time to read.)
  • To-do Tuesday: The name of this prompt was difficult to come up with, but it would include whatever I’m up to as far as crafts/other DIY projects and tips that have helped make my home a somewhat decent place.

And let’s be real, it would  mostly be a list of “these cool things I found on Pinterest that I was able to half-ass on my own.” I’m not nearly as creative as I’d like to be.

I’m leaning toward either Twitter Tuesday or Tasty Tuesday. So today, you’re getting Tasty Tuesday! It’ll lean toward a round-up of recipes I want to try, have tried, and what we’re enjoying in our house. I like this idea, because I’m constantly on the search for easy, wholesome meals that Dino-Kid will actually eat. Ones that also support me and my husband as runners trying to lose weight and get healthier. And did I mention easy? Because it HAS to be easy and fairly quick.

I’m a big fan of the Crockpot. Set it and forget it? Count me in. I’m also finding the ways it can be incredibly versatile for more than just soups and stews. And with the changing season, in comes lots of yummy spaghetti squash. It is one of my favorite foods, and I’m convinced if you gave me a cooked spaghetti squash (no need to give me an extra plate or anything…just the halves) with a little EVOO, parmesan, salt, and peper, I could probably take down the whole thing solo.

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This picture is making me hungry.

Winter squashes in general are pretty amazing. So I’m glad we’re getting to the point of the year where they’re more plentiful.

Maybe I was just unaware until recently, but you can throw your spaghetti squash right in the Crockpot to cook it. Poke some holes, add some water and the whole squash to your slow cooker, and cook away!

Like I said, my goal is to keep it easy. Usually, I’ll throw some seasonings, olive oil, and parmesan on top and chow down. (See this recipe if you’re looking for something a little more formal.) It also leaves it open to adding whatever sauce/seasonings each family member wants. DK likes hers with some marinara and “chee-chee-cheese” as she calls parmesan. Hubby goes the route of butter, seasoning, and parmesan. If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over it for some tang. Basically, if I would add it to my spaghetti noodles, I’ll add it to my squash.

Any of you have recommended winter squash recipes? Because I’m totally listening (please! join my squash love-fest!).

Also, RIP “Toddler Tuesday.” You’ve given me some good fodder for posts, even when I haven’t felt like I had anything else to say. And you’ve been just one more source for me to show off my kid and pretend like others are deeply interested in her fascination with Daniel Tiger and potty training habits.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

 

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10/24/16: Manic Monday

I’m coming off a weekend of late nights and lots of getting-stuff-done and little time to take a breath. We celebrated Dino-Kid’s (it feels weird to say that, but I think she has graduated beyond toddlerhood? I’m not sure this nickname will stick.) birthday with a shindig at our home. I believe that saying, “It takes a village,” and our village is pretty damn spectacular. I  know she is so loved, but it was an overwhelming reminder of how lucky she (and we are, too) to have so many wonderful, caring people helping her grow.

It was also the first year where I really figured she’d enjoy the decorations I put together, and I wanted to make it extra special for her. I do go a little over-the-top in making stuff for her parties sometimes, but I love crafting and DIY-ing. Daniel Tiger was the theme, of course, and I had fun creating things that would make her feel like some of the Neighborhood of Make Believe was actually in her home.

When she woke up and came down the stairs in the morning, I was rewarded beyond what I could have dreamed. She ran around the dining room looking at the decor. Then, she turned around, looked at me, and said, “Mama, did you make this for me?! Thank you so very much!”

My heart melted, and the late nights and rushing around were totally worth it.

This whole week has hit me right in the feels as I remember my itty bitty baby and how she is so not itty bitty anymore. There have also been various running-related stories that have hit me hard emotionally and reminded me that the vast majority of runners are really awesome people.

Grab your tissues and head to these links if you’d like to read something that’ll hopefully make you think a little. Or maybe make people think you have allergies or just a piece of dust in your eye or something.

  • I’m pretty much in love with most everything Jenny Lawson does and says, and this blog post is no exception.
  • Another Mother Runner featured this beautifully written piece about running across generations. I got both chills and warm fuzzies while reading it.
  • I try not to get vocally political too often. But you should vote. I’ll tie it in with this piece by Run Selfie Repeat on Runner’s World. You go, girl. You have a runner’s body, and I have a runner’s body, too.
  • On a similar note, Reebok is facing some pushback on a recent photo they posted in relation to their #PerfectNever campaign, featuring renowned international supermodel Gigi Hadid. I like that social media gives people a chance to vocalize to organizations what is right/wrong and have their voices be heard. Run Far Girl writes eloquently on the issue. Just for good measure, I’ll include a counterpoint.
  • A heartwarming and heartbreaking story all at the same time. These twins are both amazing in their own unique ways.

Okay. That’s what I’ve got for today! Hope your Monday isn’t too manic. If it is, there’s a nice glass of wine or mug of hot tea calling your name right now. You better listen.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/20/16: Thankful Thursday

It seems rather appropriate this week that I choose three things I’m thankful for each week. Because…as of this week, I have a three-year-old. My darling daughter turned three, and I am caught between wishing time would slow down and wondering how there was ever a time she wasn’t by my side.

So I guess I’m gonna harp on this, and I’m going to list three things related to Dino-Toddler that make me deeply gracious for her coming into my life.

  1. She made me stronger.

    I’ve struggled with my mental health for a long time. However, after DT was born, it was like my brain and heart exploded and melted. I barely crawled through some of the darkest days I’ve ever experienced.
    I lost some of the joy that I felt I should have experienced. I was an incredibly sad human, and I’d cry whenever hubby left to go to work. I couldn’t imagine spending another 8+ hours alone with this small creature who cried and cried while I cried and cried.
    Although I wish I could have that time back, I know I am stronger because of it. I got the help I so desperately needed, and I learned how to take care of myself and my brain so much better.
    I am stronger because of her. I am stronger, because I want her to see what strength looks like. It doesn’t mean every day is great. It means you keep going and you take care of yourself so you can be there to take care of others.

  2. She is a bright ball of fiery sunshine.

    This girl makes me laugh every day. And she makes me want to scream every day. That’s part of her job being a toddler…err…preschooler now. She is so very bright and caring and strong-willed. She never stops talking and observing. The wheels of her brain are constantly in motion, and she astounds me with the things she says. She remembers events from a year ago, and she can vividly tell stories about them. She can hear a song just a few times and memorize many of the words and tunes. All of this can be overwhelming for her, and it can make her emotional. I can’t imagine having that much of a fire in my mind and heart all the time. She feels things so very deeply, and she knows what she wants.
    She is so different from me, and that is beautiful.

  3. She makes me want to be a better person.
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    Even though I was at the beginning achy, stuffy stages of a head cold on her birthday morning, I ran three miles. I did it because I want to be a better person for her. I run for many reasons, but one of the top reasons is her. I want to keep up with her as she grows, and I want her to see what healthy looks like.

There are a million reasons I’m thankful for her and I know others are, too. She inspires this journey often, and that’s why I talk about her so darn much here. I just hope I can provide some inspiration to her, too.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/17/16: Manic Monday

Hey, look! I’m actually updating my blog within a day of running a race! Can you believe it?

So Mankato, like the TC 10-mile, was fabulous. It was fabulous in a way entirely its own, though. To me, there’s something so charming about Mankato. Maybe it’s because I went to school there. Maybe it’s because it’s where I developed my relationship with my hubby or where we got engaged or where we lived when we got married. Maybe it’s because I made friends there and worked jobs I loved there and made so many memories. And maybe it’s just because it’s such a good mix of small-town with larger city amenities.

Expo was fun! Obviously it wasn’t as big as TC, but it still had many neat booths. And I wanted all the things. I was thrilled to talk to Alisha Perkins for a bit and hear her speak. I love how amazing and real she is, and she speaks with such raw honesty. She is so sweet, and I just admire what she does for the running community and Minnesota!

Thanks to my parents, we were able to go as a duo rather than trying to coordinate having Dino-Toddler with us. We were both running, so she wouldn’t have had a lot of fun waiting. I ran the 10K, and hubby ran the half-marathon. It was his first half (!!!), so we wanted to get there and settled on time.

IT WAS COLD when we arrived at the event. We both immediately regretted not having more layers as we tried to warm up next to the starting line.

It quickly got brighter out, and obviously we both warmed up after we crossed our respective start lines.

All I can say is…A+. Beautiful course. Great volunteers and support. I had a blast on this run. I felt SO good the whole time, and I maintained a 13:09/mile pace. If you have seen any of my previous paces, you’ll know this is tops for me. I felt strong, and I finished strong! And I had fun along the way. There was a pretty superb downhill stretch that just felt like a bonus.

The colors. The weather. Everything was just gorgeous. I got to the finish, changed in the car (free parking in a parking ramp, yo!), and meandered a bit before settling in at the finish line to wait for the husband.

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Dino-Toddler may have been at home, but she was cheering us on in spirit. Got this text from my dad and step-mom mid-race, and it brightened my heart. Sent it onto husband who received it at about mile 6.

I was so excited to see him coming down the finisher’s chute! I am so damn proud of this guy. Mostly because he didn’t train a lot for this round, but he still made it. He said miles 10-13.1 were the hardest thing he has ever done. He earned that medal and the beers and snacks that came afterward.

I think this is our last big race until MY half in January. Eeek. Hopefully I’ll add a few fun 5Ks in there, but we’re on the downhill stretch now for training. Time to re-group, buckle down, and get to business. This sport is so hard for me, but that is also what makes it incredibly rewarding.

Onward!

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/15/16: Sorta Not-Silent Saturday

Whew. Every time I say, I’m not going to take any more breaks from blogging, then I take a big break. I don’t know what it is. I apparently am very rebellious against my own good intentions.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking this week since my 10-miler. I’m caught between being proud of what I accomplished and wishing I had done so much better. Hoping I can do better. Making plans to do better.

That, and Dino-Toddler got a cold. And there has been some chaos at the library. (More chaos than the usual chaos.) And I’ve felt a cold coming on the last few days.

Excuses aside, I promised a recap of the TC 10-Mile. I can honestly say it was a fabulous experience, beginning to end. I already wrote a bit about the expo, and packet pick-up at the expo was a dream. Very smooth process. Very short lines. In, out, done. I had so much fun looking at all the booths and yearning for ALL THE THINGS. I bought more than I should have, but there were so many neat things to be excited about if you’re into running stuff.

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Sunday morning, we took off from home bright and early. (5:15 AM? I think? I don’t know, I didn’t have my eyes open.) Smooth ride up, and we parked at Ramp B at Target Field. It was chilly, so I felt pretty guilty dragging my husband, mother-in-law, and almost-3-year-old outside so early in the morning. We walked to the light rail and rode the train to Government Plaza.

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We danced around for a few minutes trying to stay warm, but it was a well-organized crowd, and there were plenty of open porta-potties when we got there. Perfect.

Then, I  said my goodbyes, tried to focus on not throwing up, got in my corral (the last of all corrals, because I’m a turtle), and enjoyed the beginnings of the sunrise. It did take awhile to get to the start line, because there were a few waves of runners before me. But when I got going, I was immediately greeted by a gorgeous sunrise and lovely views. I felt so motivated, and I accidentally ran a 12:30 mile. That is way too fast for me, but I had so much adrenaline. Rookie mistake. Luckily, I don’t think it cost me too much later.

I cannot say enough about the on-course support for this run. The volunteers were amazing and motivating and ready with so many kind words. The traffic control and police were cheering us on, and many of them had high-fives waiting for us. The spectators had funny signs that made me smile when I needed it and so many encouraging words. I teared up several times, because I seemed to come across motivation at the exact times I needed it most. People are beautiful, and this sport proves that all the time.

When I got to the finish line, it was lined with so many people. I’m sure they were waiting there for the first marathon finishers (because I’m fairly far back in the pack, the first marathon finishers weren’t too far behind me), but they cheered for me and for other 10-milers coming in just the same. The medal is epic. My arms were filled with snacks and treats as I left the line. I met up with my supportive and amazing family soon after, and I celebrated/moved through the rest of the day in a bit of a haze.

If anyone is considering a 10-mile race, I would most certainly recommend this one. Phenomenal organization, views, and support. You won’t regret it.

And now, I go to bed so I can get some rest for the Mankato 10K tomorrow morning. My hubby is running his first half-marathon, and I’m excited to cheer for him as he crosses the finish line! I guess my next post will probably be a recap from this weekend, and I’m hoping it comes a little sooner than this one did.

I’ll be spending some time reflecting this next week on my goals, where I want to go, and how I will get there. It’s time to buckle down, and I want to be the best possible me I can.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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10/9/16: Say it LOUD Sunday!

I started.

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I finished.

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I celebrated. (DT slept.)

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Full recap tomorrow.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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