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 ~

12 Dozen Cupcakes

12 cupcakes strawberry

Thanks to you, my friends, I raised $765 for the¬†Katie Caples Foundation!!!¬† This exceeded my initial¬†goal of $500.¬† Also, thanks to you, the kitchen was very busy baking yummy cupcakes!¬† Everyone who donated $25 or more to me, got sweet homemade¬†cupcake treats!¬†¬†This was by far the biggest¬†baking undertaking¬†I have ever done… 12 dozen cupcakes! (do the math- that’s 144 cupcakes!)

I wanted to share a few of my all time favorite cupcakes… Carrot, German Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Chocolate and white with strawberry buttercream!¬† (another favorite – Red Velvet, didn’t make it in this round).

So my baking began!  I prepared the batters and frosting a few days in advance.  I almost ran out of Tupperware!!

12 batter

Last Thursday the baking began!  The plan was to bake Thursday and then decorate and deliver Friday!

12 cupcakes 12 cupcakes white

These were all homemade cupcakes (no boxes were used in this baking adventure!).  I baked them in mini cupcakes tins.  I LOVE LOVE mini cupcakes because you can eat 3-4 of them to equal the same about in 1 regular cupcakes!  Portion control approved?  I think so!

12 decor tool

I discovered a new amazing tool too!¬† The Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus is the BEST thing since sliced bread!¬† It makes frosting easy and fun.¬† I have the standard decorating tips and the plastic bags but I never got them to work that great or easy.¬† With 12 dozen cupcakes to decorate, I decided this was well worth the investment.¬† I think it far exceeded expectations, but I’ll let you be the judge of the decorating…

Chocolate with Peanut Butter Frosting….

12 PBC

German Chocolate with Coconut Pecan Frosting…

12 GC

White Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting….

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting…

12 cupcakes decor

And so you have it… a yummy collection of my favorite cupcakes!¬† I personally like the carrot ones the best but everyone who tried them had a different favorite!

12 cupcake box

Thanks again to everyone who donated to my ride for the Katie Ride on April 20, 2013!¬† Your donation helped bring organ donor awareness and education to high schoolers!¬† You challenged me not only in biking, but also in baking!¬† ‚̧

Bon Appetite!

First Ride was a Raining Ride!

KR dad and cassYesterday I completed my very first bike race ever.¬† It was incredible!¬†incredibly wet!¬† It was one of the most fun, challenging events I’ve ever done.¬† I woke up at 4:30am to the sound of rain, a lot of rain.¬† We left at 5:45am to head to Fernandina Beach, FL for the Katie Ride with a light rain.¬† When we arrived, it was about 55 degrees and still a light rain.¬† There were so many people who were supporting the Katie Caples Foundation and ready to ride/walk in the rain!¬†

The ride started at 8am when the announcer said “anyone who was planning on doing the 62-mile or 100-mile should really consider only doing the 36-mile ride because the weather is going to get worse.”¬† Going to get worse?!¬† YIKES!

So off we road! We found a group of riders with a good pace and followed them to the turnaround/break point.  We  averaged about 20 mph and I thought the ride was going great.  Despite the little wind, the constant light rain, the spray from the riders in front of me and the chilly weather, I really really enjoyed the ride.  I must be weird, right?  Who would like that?  Well I did!! 

At the turn around for the 36 (I was glad my dad and I agreed to only be crazy for 36 miles…) we refueled and dried off a little… ok I just cleaned my sunglasses water glasses.

KR race picsThe last half of the ride was tough, really tough.¬† The wind was against us the whole ride and the rain got worse.¬† But we pedaled strong.¬† At 8 miles to the finish, we saw signs that said 8 miles to lunch.¬† A mile later 7 miles to go, 6 miles finish strong, 5 miles to … and you get the point.¬† These made me laugh but they were the longest miles of the ride!

We finished at 2:22 with an average speed of 15.6.  Not to shabby for the conditions!  Since I raised over $500 for the foundation, I got a cool Katie Ride jersey and water bottle!

KR jersey

By the time we ended our ride, the temperature had dropped a few degrees!¬† Luckily I had a change of clothes in the car so off went the wet, really wet and muddy¬†everything.¬† We had a great lunch from Carrabba’s, coffee to warm up and then hit the road home!

KR sigh

I’m reading “The Interestings” by Meg Wolitzer for my book club.¬† I got 2 pages read and fell asleep… The book is supposed to be really good so me falling asleep is no judgement on the book, just how tired I was from the ride!¬†

I ended the day celebrating my ride with a little treat

KR post race

Did you ride this weekend?  What do you do in not-so-great weather?

Happy weekend everyone!