Tag Archives: Training

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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Just because.

Well. I’ve been absent again. It has been a long week, and I honestly haven’t even known what to write about. So I didn’t.

Except that I kinda did. Thank you so very much to the Minneapolis Running folks again for publishing another article of mine. I was able to tackle a tough subject that comes up frequently on my blog: mental health. I hope you enjoy it and find some use from it, even if you don’t have issues with your mental health.

ALSO! The next day, they hosted a live video with none other than Sarah Bowen Shea, who is honestly one of my very favorite people ever. I constantly rave over Another Mother Runner, so if you haven’t checked them out by now…honestly, what are you waiting for?

So now: let’s have a conversation and catch up a little. How have you been? How’s the fam?

Fine, thanks. Whatcha been eating lately?

I’ve really been continuing the effort to meal plan and prepare ahead of time. It makes my life sooooo much less stressful. We’ve tried several new recipes these past few weeks, and there have been hits and misses.

Quinoa goes over well with my kiddo and husband. Especially in more Mexican-centric dishes. Or cheesy. Stuffed pepper soup was my favorite. The creamy avocado pesto pasta above? Big fail. And not even good for leftovers, because I am not a fan of  the color/flavor of avocado when it’s more than a few minutes old.

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I also jumped into the world of Shakeology. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it or have at least heard about it/read about it in your Facebook newsfeed. I’d been on the fence for quite sometime, because I try not to get too caught up in anything that is associated with MLM. But after forgetting to make breakfast for myself several days in a row, it seemed like something to at least try.

So far, I’m not disappointed one bit. It’s quick. I have a billion recipes to try, and I’ve loved the ones I’ve tried so far (including birthday cake, Kit Kat, sunshine creamsicle, and peanut butter cup). And it keeps me FULL. Fuller than I thought possible with a shake. I’ll continue to try this month and see how it goes, but it is a luxury that makes my mornings easier so far. Some days, I need all the help I can get.

Great. What have you been up to?

Not running. Oops, am I supposed to admit that? I ran a couple times last week. This week? Nada. Hubby is out of town for the whole week on a work trip, and I’ve been hopping. It is our last week of dance before summer, and it includes dance rehearsals and two recitals this weekend. Throw in an out-of-town work conference, two cats & one dog, and a kid with mood swings worse than a Sourpatch Kid? I’m fried. My house is a war-zone. I’m basically throwing kibble on the floor for all the critters to consume. I may have even bathed LJ with a few baby wipes at one point this week. (Don’t worry. She got a bath the next night.)

I literally found a plate of LJ’s dinner turned over on the living room floor last night. It had dried and crusted to the plate by the time it was flipped over, though, so the carpet was completely unscathed. An embarrassing sort of victory.

As for last weekend, Mother’s Day was…good. I am blessed to be a mom. I am blessed to have so many lovely women in my life and my daughter’s life. But it also is a day filled with inner-turmoil for me and for others, I know. For me, I have a fractured relationship with the person I most want to celebrate. I love her so very much, and I miss her. I hope things can be better some day, but that doesn’t make Mother’s Day less painful now.

The other person I want to celebrate with is my grandmother, whom I’ve written about in the past. She meant and still means so much to me, so LJ and I made a trip to visit her and Grandpa’s burial site. We talked with them, and LJ gave them many hugs and kisses. We brought flowers and thanked Grandma for being wonderful. We had conversations about life and death, and I was honest with LJ, even when it was painful for me and confusing for her. I won’t hide my grief, because I want her to know how amazing her great-grandma was.

Because hubby left the day before Mother’s Day, he and LJ both found ways to make me feel loved that weekend. They sent flowers to me at work on Saturday, and LJ slept in until 9:00 Sunday morning. What a darling.

What are you reading?

Oh, boy. I’ve got a gigantic TBR list, and I realized how far behind I am on my reading goal for the year. So I’ve been cruising through the chapters these last few days. I just finished a wonderful/tragic graphic novel called Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss. Highly recommended, but it will pull at your heart. This is a bleak one, but it captures the reality some people face when their loved one is faced with terminal illness.

I’m in the process of tackling Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a short read but I’m taking a little extra time to digest each “chapter.”

Also in line to finish up Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig soon.

Okay, great. Anything else?

I’m running the TC 10 Mile, thanks to the Mother Runner crew! I’m soooooo excited, because this was one of my favorite races ever. So I’m back in training-planning mode with a renewed energy. I’ll reach my goals someday, and this was a big boost.

Also, this is my workplace, and I love it. Especially when the sky is shiny happy:

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This post ended up being much longer than anticipated. Hopefully I learn to break it up a little bit in the future, but you know how I operate…silence and then surprise.

SHOP

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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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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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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.

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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

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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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3/27/17: 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.

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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

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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.

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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

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3/12/17: Sunday Runday

Technically, Saturday was my “Runday,” but I’ve still got some stuff I want to get out of my brain.

I ran a 14k yesterday. (That’s just about 8.7 miles.) It was just kinda okay. It was really cold and windy. The muscles from my feet up through my calves started spasming. At one point after the race, my toes literally curled under on my right foot, and I couldn’t figure out how to uncurl them. I’m not sure if it was from the cold, but I do know I had to walk most of the last 1.5 miles (bringing my pace wayyyy down).

 

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Sent this pic to hubby along with a four letter word in all caps. You can take your own bets on what word it was.

 

I was last place in my age group. I was nearly last for the whole damn 14k. Most days, I have the energy to tell myself, “But hey, you’re out there doing it! YOU are your only competition! You’ve got a lot to be proud of.”

Yesterday, my brain wasn’t having it. I was so angry and spent a good chunk of the afternoon and evening in our hotel room: sore, tired, and wondering why I do this. Why do I pay money to travel to races, run until I want to barf or lie down, injure myself occasionally, and generally feel sort of miserable? Why do I do this if I’m not even “good” at it?

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The truth is…I still can’t exactly explain it. I still don’t exactly know why. This thing, running, this thing I used to HATE in school (I was petrified of running the dreaded “mile” in school.) has become a savior for me. I can’t explain it, but most days I can feel it.

It’s going to get better. I’m going to get better. I have to believe that. I have to believe this isn’t “all” for me.” And I have to remember that even if it is, I still have a lot to be proud of. Back of the pack is okay. It’s more than okay. It means I still tried, and I did it, and I’m setting a good example for others, most importantly LJ.

 

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There’s my reason.

 

I am okay.

Read on. Run on.
Cassie

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