MS150 & The Power of Pickles

MS pre race cassie

I completed my first 150 mile, 2 day Bike Ride!!!  September 28-29 marked the 2013 ms150: Cycle to the Shore Ride!  I hopped on my bike at 7:15am from St. Augustine and started the trek to Daytona! Almost 5 hours of bike time later…. hello DAYTONA!  Yes, FIVE HOURS ON A BIKE! But wait, that was just day 1…

Let’s recap my awesome ride/weekend with a few highlights and pictures I took along the way….

  • WHO:  Me, 2 friends, 3 bikes and a lot of pickles
  • WHAT: 150 Miles – 2 Day Route – Start / Finish at the St. Johns County Airport in St. Augustine
  • WHEN:  September 28-29. 2013
  • WHERE: The Sunshine State
  • WHY:  To raise awareness and funds to help create a world free of MS. Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic, often disabling disease that affects the central nervous system. Donations raised through this event benefits the North Florida Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and its mission to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenge of everyone affected by MS.

The ride started out damp.  It had rained earlier in the morning so the roads were wet.  When you’re on a bike, this means you get wet.  It’s inevitable.  We started out the ride with the sun rising and it was absolutely beautiful.  Every 12-18 miles or so there is a rest stop.  This is where you can get off the bike, go to the bathroom and the most important – eat snacks!  All sorts of snacks – peanut butter, cookies, bananas, oranges and PICKLES.

MS scene

When we stopped for lunch, we had fresh PB and banana sandwiches.  Can I just tell you how amazing PB&B is?  Especially freshly made!  YUM!  I also learned a new way to prepare PB&B…slice the bananas lengthwise.  The slices don’t fall out… GENIUS!  And of course, more pickles!

The last stop of the ride on day 1 could possibly be my favorite stop of the day… snow cones!  I can’t tell you the last time I had a snow cone.  After biking 60+ miles, this take-me-back-to-kid-days treat was absolutely perfect.  Coupled with pickles, I was one happy girl. 🙂

MS team picHere’s a picture of the fearless-and-slightly-crazy trio!  Daytona Beach was beautiful but I think I was in a daze to much to take it all in.  Partly from knowing the fact I rode a bike 85 miles.  Partly from my aching butt.  OH MY ACHING BUTT!  Partly from my burning (yes, burning!) and bloodshot eyes.  Lastly from my pickled out self.  I must have had at least 5 pickles…..

MS day 1 time

Day 1 was such a success!  We took a quick dip in the pool to cool/rinse off then ate a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner.  I think I went to bed around 8pm but it felt like it was 11.  Great Day.  Repeat tomorrow.

MS sunriseDay 2.  When I woke up, I initially thought, “oh crap, I have to do THAT again?!?”  But when we got to the beach, it was all worth it.  The sunrise was absolutely amazing.  Breathtaking.

Then I sat on my bike.  Breathtaking.  Literally.  And not in a good way.

Day 2 was only around 60 miles so I thought, easy peasy.  I can do it!  As long as the rest stops have pickles I’m in good shape!

And so the ride began!  Starting in Daytona and backtracking our way to St. Augustine with a few route changes and we were off!

MS cassie seth

The ride was tough.  I felt like the wind completely cancelled out any drafting that a cyclist should take advantage of.  At about 20 miles to the finish, I lost my balance when my bike wasn’t moving and did a little fall.  (Note: Yes, I am admitting that my bike wasn’t moving when I fell – amateur move) It was on dirt and you know the saying, God made dirt so dirt don’t hurt…. well so not true!  I was still clipped in and my knee twisted a little or something.  The next 20 miles were even tougher, but I pedaled through with the help of my teammates.  Oh, and the pickles!  They were at every stop!

MS finish cover

Finally, after another 4 hours on the bike and 66 miles later, the ride was done.  DONE!  This was awesome!  Even though I felt like I just road 150 miles, my butt felt like I just rode 150 miles and my sweaty jersey smelled like I just rode 150 miles, it was so worth it!  This is was farthest I’ve ever rode, for the longest and I felt the best I’ve ever felt.  What’s the secret?  Let me introduce you to, the power of the pickles….

The Power of Pickles:  So I have had (now that it’s proven) a theory.  In the past, whenever I would run over 9 miles or cycle over 3 hours (ok, honestly I’ve only done this a few times), I would feel horrible the rest of the day.  Horrible as in a migraine and exhausted.  I would eat gels and drink a ton of water during exercise but that still wouldn’t help.  After some research and consulting with a few trusty friends, I tested a salt theory during my ride.  So my theory is that pickles are the key to the sodium balance in my body.  At each rest stop, I had a few pickle slices, a few pickle pieces, a few pickle wholes… yummmm

And guess what…. NO HEADACHES…. NO EXHAUSTION… AWE-SOME!

PSA- next time you see me exercising for a long period, I will be carrying pickles! Call me weird, say I smell like pickle juice, but I’ll recover faster!

MS day 2 time

What’s your pickle story?  What do you train with that’s strange?

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. 🙂

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 ~

Pass the Spinach, Hold the Dressing

cycle“I get up in the mornin’ bout 6 am, have a little jelly have a little ham, take a piece of bread put it in the slot, push down the lever and the wires get hot, I get toast.”

Ok so I didn’t have toast and I didn’t get up at 6, but every time I wake up early (5am!) to workout, I think back to middle/high school when this was the coolest song ever of the week!

Every Friday, ok let’s get real – most Fridays, I go to an early morning cycle class.  I love cycle classes for a couple of really good reasons:

  1. 1) No one sees how sweaty I get because the lights are turned off
  2. 2) For one hour I don’t have any plansI just follow along with the instructor
  3. 3) I ALWAYS get a great workout in
  4. 4) No one can see how truly uncoordinated and awkward I am

This past Friday I was really excited about cycle class. I have been running so much to train for the Gate River Run, I’ve put my cycle shoes aside.  I was very happy to see them!

I also got compliments on my free shoe bag (aka- shopping bag from buying something at Lululemon!)

When I got home from my ride, I was feeling slightly healthy and thought, “hey I should try to make a drink with spinach.”  So my adventure began…

 spinach

2 handfuls of spinach, 1 apple, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1 cup strawberries, 1 tsp truvia, a splash of lime, mix all together and…

you get a not-so-great spinach drink.  First attempt at a healthy spinach drink = major failure.  I tried to like this… I really did try.  I drank about half of the big glass of it.  It got a little better but not good enough to finish.  All these ingredients are great, but not blended together.  I’m thinking I should have used a flavored yogurt, not plain and a banana might have added something. 

So bloggers, do you have any suggestions?  Do you have a favorite spinach smoothie?