Counting Down and Training Up – the Race is ON!

be freeI signed up… I signed up… wait… I SIGNED UP!! June 23 – My.First. Half. Marathon.

I will be running my first 13.1 miles at the Chicago Women’s Half . I have been training for a half since I did the Katie Ride but haven’t picked one to run in (I know – backwards – typical). This weekend my flight was set, hotel booked and race registered! My sister and a friend will be joining me in Chicago as we make a mini vacation out of it. ūüôā

I can’t really describe the feeling I get when I run. Obviously the “runner’s high” is there but describing the feeling is tough. So let me try… this year has been a year of extreme testing, to say the least. It’s been one of the toughest years I’ve ever had but I’ve also grown more this year than I have in all the other years of my life, combined. I’ve also gotten to experience joy, peace and grace more than ever before. I’ve stretched my comfort zone and did a lot of firsts (started this blog, did a bike race, doing a half marathon and joined a book club, just to name a few). Through the grace of God I’ve found peace and joy knowing I’m exactly where I’m meant to be and on the right path. So when I run, I think about all this. I think about all these accomplishments and all the trials. All the blessings and opportunities I’ve been given. I think about how amazing the body is to be able to run for miles on end. I listen to loud music and just clear my mind. Most times, you’ll see me running with a smile on my face because of how truly happy and free I am. I don’t run to run away from something, but I run to run towards everything. To run towards my happiness, my future, my greatness. This is what the runner’s high means to me.

I know I think too much about stuff… obviously, or I wouldn’t be able to take 2 words like “runner’s high” and make a paragraph out of it, but I also like to take the time to clear everything. I’ve learned to love Yoga. Practicing yoga and deep breathing is (almost) as relaxing as a swedish massage! (Note: I said I’ve learned to love yoga – it wasn’t a natural thing. I’m a super busy body but have learned to love breathing with intention.)

Many people can attest that their biggest achievements came from the hardest times. If this year was any testimony of that, then I’m sort of a walking billboard.

So here’s to my half! I’m counting down and training up!!

~ Love ~ Cassie ~

Ran out of road before the playlist ended!

Gate CassieToday was the BIG day!!¬† The 2013 Gate River Run… 15 k of sidewalk, highway, cobblestones, grated bridges and cement.¬† I woke up at 5:15am to finish my laundry¬†(I was down to 1 good sock.¬† It lost its brother at some point and all my other running socks were dirty.¬† Well, not real¬†“running socks”¬†but the¬†ones I like to wear when I run) and get in the zone!¬† This was totally in my head, but I drank some emergen-c, took a halls defense,¬†had a¬†cutie¬†and prepared for a sore body with some Advil!

I’ve never taken any goo, protein¬†bars, etc but I wanted to try some this time to step up my run and finish without feeling sick or groggy the rest of the day.¬† I got PowerBar Energy Blasts in Strawberry Banana and Raspberry flavors.¬† I must say, these are very yummy.¬† Tastes like candy!¬†¬†The instructions say to eat 1-3 gummies (size of a quarter) every 10 minutes if working out for more than an hour.¬† I put these in a font pocket of my running skirt and had these every few songs before water stops.¬† After talking to some runners, I think I also need some salt tablets too!¬† I sweat like crazy and have this nice little salt ring on my face… not very cute but it’s true…

Gate EnergyGate Cutie

Cuties might be for kids, but this one was delicious and perfect for me!  Extra vitamin C, please!

I have to side step here to talk about the weather…¬† Another reason why I love Florida¬†– March 9, 2013 – mid-50s sun shining, not¬† a cloud in sight… perfect running anything¬†weather!¬†

Gate Weather

I was seeded in the first wave (first 5,000) for the first year and I must say, being seeded makes¬†a world of a difference!¬† I hit mile 1 around 8:30 and didn’t run into crowds (aka other sweaty people) at all.¬† The¬†spectators were pumped, the water stops were spaced out perfectly and the random signs along the route were funny.¬† One that sticks said “6 miles to go!”.¬† This was at mile 6… I actually laughed out loud thinking yeah right, there’s only 3 miles left, I so got this!¬† Thank you random stranger for the sign!!

The best part of my race was definitely my playlist… All these songs pumped me up EVERY step of the way!¬† PS- don’t judge me… I have a very strange mixture of girly girl, rock, old stuff, new stuff and everything that’s loud.

  1. Gonna Make You Sweat
  2. The Distance – Cake (how appropriate, right!?!)
  3. Party Rock Anthem
  4. Here I Come
  5. I Love It
  6. Stronger
  7. Firework
  8. Turn Me On
  9. Call Me Maybe
  10. Run Like Hell
  11. Just the Way You Are
  12. T.H.E.
  13. Teenage Dream
  14. Give Me Everything
  15. Tonight
  16. Domino
  17. What Makes You Beautiful
  18. Scream & Shout
  19. Raise Your Glass
  20. We Are Never Getting Back Together
  21. Clumsy
  22. Immigrant Song
  23. One Way or Another

Best part about this playlist is that I DIDN”T GET TO FINISH IT… Why you wonder?¬† Because I ran out of road before the playlist ended!!¬† And I set a PR for the Gate!¬† 1:14:30, 8 minute pace!¬† This was my stretch goal and I did it!!¬† I finished 34 in my age group and 1543 overall.¬† This put me in the top 10% of women finishers and I got a cool hat! ūüôā

Gate Finish

Definitely successful race!  Do I see a half in my near future???  Before I get to ambitious, I need to start training for the Katie Ride!

Celebrate Life: 5k, nails and cookies

celebrate lifeSaturday was the 8th annual Celebrate Life 5k at the Johnson Family YMCA.¬† I thought I could celebrate the fact that I live in Florida and we would have beautiful March weather…. well the weather was beautiful but a little on the chilly side!¬† 38 degrees at 7:00 in the morning!¬† For some, this is perfect weather… for me… this is COLD.¬†

According to Jeff Galloway, 40-49 degree weather means long sleeve T, shorts or tights or wind pants, sock or mittens and gloves.  Click here for more info.  So I wore gloves, long sleeve top, capri pants and a headband that covers my ears.  The bonus was my not-so-athletic sunglasses because they kept the wind out of my eyes!

My stretch goal was to run a 7:30 mile pace.¬† This would definitely be a record if I could do it.¬† Besides feeling cold the whole run, I really did feel great and was staying on pace.¬† I ended the run in 3rd place!¬† Time was 24:30…. 7:26 pace.¬† I ACTUALLY DID IT!¬†

So what do you do after you break another PR??¬† Well, I reward myself, of course.¬† The day’s agenda included a mani-pedi with my best friend.¬† I choose the color¬†“hot n spicy” by OPI because this matches my running shirt I’m wearing next week for the River Run…. correction… in 6 DAYS!!!!

toes

When I think of March I think of a few things…. day light savings, spring weather, the beach, spring break and GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!¬† I have huge weaknesses for¬†#1 cookies, #2 chocolate and #3 good causes.¬† When these 3 are combined you get girl scout¬†cookies… and my money!

celebrate life2

When did cookies¬†go from $3¬†to $3.50 to $4?¬† When did the¬†box get smaller and the calories get larger?¬† These¬†questions might always be a mystery but what’s not a mystery is that I love LOVE them!¬† My¬†top 2 favorite (because who says you can only have¬†1 favorite) are thin mints and samoas.¬† I¬†only bought 1 box of thin mints <so¬†far>.¬†¬†Of the two packs¬†of cookies in this¬†box, I can honestly say, one¬†is¬†gone!¬†

Do you have What is your favorite Girl Scout Cookie? What do you do to treat yourself?

Hope you had a great weekend!¬† Here’s to the first week of March!