Thankful > Grumpy

I made a math equation in the title there. Someone please show my boss and tell him that I’m being all cross-curricular and stuff. Or don’t.

So you know how sometimes, minor things annoy you? And then those minor things start piling up, and you find yourself in a funk because nothing seems to be going right? Yes, me too. That’s the state I’ve been in for the past couple of weeks, and what I really needed to do was take a step back and look at all the things that have been bothering me. As I suspected, not a single one of them is important.

In fact, I am blessed beyond belief with this life I’m living. So instead of dwelling on the stupid little grumpy-makers, I made a little list of things I’m thankful for (’tis the season, after all). Ironically, some of the first things that popped into my mind were the same things that had been perturbing me for the past couple of weeks. So I guess those things aren’t so bad after all, are they?

1. My health. One of the major players in Cassie’s Game of Funk has been the lack of improvement after the Whole30. My stomach is still a mess. But let’s put that in perspective: I can still run and lift. I am able to go to work, see my friends, and enjoy my life. A little bit of stomach pain and discomfort is nothing compared to what so many others go through.

2. My job.  The week of Thanksgiving is not a very fun one in a high school. The kids don’t want to be there. They don’t want to be working. And at times like that, it’s easy to forget that I do love working with them every day. Especially when they make stuff like this:
photo (22)That was an assignment. He got an A.

I needed to remind myself that I love what I do, and I love my students. Even when they’re being pills.

3. The end of my latest turn at lunch duty. What? I said I love my students, not that I want to hang out with them (i.e. yell at them for PDA and make sure they’re not hurting themselves or the building) for the only 20 minutes of adult time I get per day.

4. My husband. The man is amazing, seriously. When I get grumpy, don’t even want to be around me. And yet, Jordan has listened to me gripe about nothing for a week, and he never rolls his eyes, or ignores me, or says anything, really. He just hugs me.

5. My boyfriend.

Just kidding. But I got you for a minute there, didn’t I?

6. My family. I get to see my parents tomorrow and my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin on Thursday. My brother and his girlfriend stayed with us last night on their way to see her family. I have such a terrific family, and I don’t get to see them nearly as often as I’d like to. I’m thankful for a few days with them this week!

7. My friends. It took me a really long time to make friends here, so I feel even more fortunate to have them.

8. Super-fun challenges and new internet friends. Holiday health challenges are all over the blog world right now. I’m doing Elf for Health, and my elf for the first round is Danielle. She’s a teacher, too,  so clearly we were meant to be friends. She teaches first grade, though, which sounds like an absolute nightmare to me.
In December, I’ll also be joining Heather at Better with Veggies for the #movehappy challenge. I love the hashtag she created there, and the challenge has some wicked-cool prizes.

9. Hot tea. I know this is a little thing, but holding a warm cup of goodness in my hands in the afternoon at work and in the evenings at home (i.e. right now) makes me super happy.

10. The ability to do this:
photo (20)(Recycled picture, but not much is different right now). Sometimes, just relaxing in comfy pants is the best thing in the world.

See? Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for right now?

What are your Thanksgiving plans?

Why I’m Still Kinda Scared of Lifting Heavy Things

I lifted weights tonight. Heavy ones. (Note: “heavy” in this instance means simply “heavier than the 10-pound dumbbells in my basement.”) I even did squats (in the Smith machine! Whose name I just learned Sunday!) and leg presses. Rachel would be so proud.  I did not, however, take weight room selfies. I felt awkward enough already. Give it some time, folks.

Now, I know this is surprising, but tonight was not the first time I’ve done the leg press. It was, however, the first time I’ve done the leg press in the last six years. You see, I used to leg press all the time; it was one of the few machines in college that wasn’t too deep in Meathead Land, so I boldly used it every week. I kept up that tradition when I moved here and started working out at the Body Firm… for about a month. (Side note: There are no pictures of my own to accompany the following tale, because this was in the days before prolific smartphones. Be old-fashioned and use your imagination.)

When we first moved here, Jordan lived just up the alley from the gym. It was super convenient: I’d go work out right after work, then walk to his house, run through the shower there, and eat dinner with him. It was a nice system that worked well until that fateful September night.

It started as any other night at the gym: I ran on the treadmill, then went into the weight room for some quick strength work. As usual, I grabbed a 45-pound plate weight and placed it on one side of the leg press, then started lifting another weight to the other side. I missed. I don’t know how I missed, because this hole:

 and this bar:

are the same size. This should not be hard.

But still, I missed. And that 45-pound weight landed directly on my big toe.

I stood and stared at the weight for a minute, and some nice man picked it up and loaded it on the machine for me. Well, now I couldn’t just not do the exercise after he was so nice. So I lay down on the sled, squared up my feet, and did a set.

And watched blood start seeping through my shoe.

“Huh,” I thought. “Maybe this is bad.” So I stood up. And made this face:

I gimped slowly away from the leg press and thought about what I should do. (I promise that’s the only time ever that I did not rerack my weights). I didn’t have my phone with me, because I never brought it to the gym (less than a block from Jordan’s, remember?). I could have borrowed the gym’s phone, but I honestly did not think I was that badly hurt. I could walk that 100 yards or so, surely.

So I got my jacket and keys and hobbled out the door and into the alley. I made it about 100 feet, got incredibly lightheaded, and sat down. I waited for my vision to clear and thought about what to do, kicking myself for not bringing my phone. Jordan wasn’t expecting me for another 45 minutes; by the time I was late enough for him to worry and come looking, it would be dark and cold. An alley behind 7-11 is not a place that I want to be when it is dark and cold. So I got up and started walking again.

I don’t remember much of what happened next. I do remember suddenly regaining consciousness, still walking, as I ran into a shed. No idea how that happened. I remember falling over the treacherous line of stumps that separated Jordan’s yard from the empty house next door. And I distinctly remember stumbling into Jordan’s kitchen, sinking to the floor, and shouting, “Please come here. I need you NOW!”

Now, put yourself in Jordan’s shoes for a minute. You’re just sitting the living room, grading papers, when you hear your fiance come home and shout those words. So you hustle into the kitchen, where you see her collapsing to the floor, completely filthy, with blood dripping down her face. (I didn’t even know about that face-blood part yet.) Yeah. File that under “How to scare your loved one to death.”

Jordan took one look at me and said, “We’re going to the ER.” Because I am both stupid and stubborn, I argued. I said that I was fine, and if he could just help me get my shoe off, I’d be okay. I did not win that argument, but I did realize that my jacket, keys, and water bottle were missing. I clearly had dropped them in the alley, and I insisted that Jordan find them. That is probably the fastest my dearly beloved has run before or since; he was back with my missing items in a flash. He scooped me up (again, as I protested), plopped me in the car, and took me to the hospital.

In the ER, the nurses cleaned my up and put band-aids on the little wounds on my hands and knees (souvenirs from a few blacked-out tumbles on the way home). Then, the doctor came in and told me he was going to put in a few stitches above my eye. Bewildered, I said, “My eye? But my foot is hurt.”

Now it was the doctor’s turn to look confused. “I know,” he said, “but your eye is cut pretty deep. It’s bleeding everywhere.” Huh. I must have cut it on the chain link fence in the alley when I fell. I sure didn’t remember it, though.

Five stitches, a boot for my broken big toe and smashed foot ligaments, and a prescription for Vicodin later, I was back at Jordan’s house, where I spent the night so he could take care of me. I insisted on showering, because I was still sweaty from the gym and filthy from the quality time with the alley. Then, I took some Vicodin and went to bed. 

That was the first (and only) time I’d taken Vicodin. That stuff is c-r-a-z-y. It left me loopy and tired, even into the next morning. Jordan tried to convince me to stay home from work, but it was September of my first year of teaching. I couldn’t let myself take a sick day. So I went to work. And tried to teach Langston Hughes while still a little high on Vicodin. It went about as well as you’re picturing it. I’m sure my students learned a lot that day…but not about poetry.

The worst part about the whole incident was that I couldn’t run for eight weeks. Apparently running on broken big toes and smashed ligaments is bad. As most of you know, eight weeks in Runnerland is a very long time. The recumbent bike and I got to know each other well, and eventually, I was back to health and my usual routine.

And I did not take another Vicodin. Ever.

So that’s why, for the last six years, I’ve been terrified of the leg press machine. But tonight, I conquered it. And used 25-pound weights.


Have you ever hurt yourself in a dumb way at the gym?

Are you super-stubborn about admitting when you’re actually sick/hurt?

Bye-Bye, Weekend; Hello, Target Practice

Man, weekends just go faster every week, don’t they? This one seemed especially short because the National Honor Society (which I sponsor) had a fundraiser Friday and Saturday nights, so I didn’t get to spend my weekend nights partying like usual. And by partying, I mean doing this:

photo (20)

I’m so cool, with my adventurous weekends and polar bear pajamas.

Sundays are also really exciting days around here, as they include such adventures as cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and meal prep for the week. Part of preparing for the upcoming week is setting some mini-goals, which I do by joining in with Fit.Fun.Femme.’s Target Practice series.

Target Practice

Last week’s goals were:

Life: Support my students through a tough week. This week was emotional, to make a huge understatement, especially for my freshmen. I did my best to support, listen, and be flexible with them.

Health: I accidentally lied last week and said it was the last week of the Whole30. This coming Tuesday is actually day 30. But my goal was to stay on track, and I did. This week was actually the hardest so far; I think the emotional-ness of the week made me crave comfort foods more than I expected.

Fitness: My goal was to make an appointment with a personal trainer. I did, and met with her this afternoon. It was well worth it; I learned a lot. Here’s how the rest of the week fitness-wise went:
Monday: Off from running since I ran seven days in a row last week. I did go to Muscle Works class. (Side note for locals: The Body Firm is doing a holiday contest for attending classes. The prizes are cool — gift cards and such — and some of them are drawings. So you might win even if you’re like me and only do one class a week. Just FYI).
Tuesday: 7.3 miles easy
Wednesday: 5 miles with 4 at tempo, really quick bodyweight strength workout
Thursday: 5 miles easy
Friday: Off. I fully intended to get up and run, but when that alarm went off, my body said “NO. FREAKING. WAY.” I can’t even remember the last time I skipped a planned workout, but I felt like I really needed the sleep this time. I don’t regret it.
Saturday: 7 miles of treadmill hills.
Sunday: 4 miles easy. 60 minutes strength with the trainer.

Have you noticed the lack of double-digit runs lately? I just haven’t been feeling them since the marathon a month ago, and I’m okay with it. I don’t have any races on the calendar right now, and when I do pick some, they’ll be 10k or so, so I’m not worried about it. I’ll run longer when I feel like it again.

And now, for this week’s goals:

Life: Get through this pile of grading:
photo (21)I’m fun.

Health: So, back to the Whole30: Although my skin is clearing up somewhat, my guts are still giving me troubles. I’ve read all around the Whole30 website, and I think I need to keep eliminating until I find the problem, then reintroduce things. So this week, I’m saying goodbye to nuts. I’m not pleased about it, but if it makes me feel better, it’ll be worth it.

Fitness: Run 6 times, lift three times. Keepin’ it simple this week.

Have a great weekend, friends!

What did you do this weekend?

Ever worked with a personal trainer? 

Thursday Thoughts

I realize that it will probably be Friday before most people read this, but that’s okay. It’s Thursday right now. It’s been a while since I’ve done a random list post (a.k.a. a cop-out), so I think it’s about time, don’t you? As I mentioned on Sunday, this has been an emotional week at work, and my brain is not feeling a serious or profound post.

What’s that? You’ve never read a serious or profound post on this blog? Oh, that’s right.

In keeping with that theme, then, here are some non-profound things:

  1. I love this album:

    My students are always shocked if they find out I like Eminem. I tell them that I liked Eminem before they were born. I thought I was exaggerating, but then I googled it…turns out his first mainstream album came out in 1999. That’s when my freshmen were born. Ouch. So much oldness.
  2. Know what else is old? This laptop. Good gravy, just load the Internet, you junk monster.
  3. I just read this book:

    I liked it. It kind of made me want to run an ultra.
  4. Now I’m reading this:

    It’s weird. Please tell me I’m not the only one who likes an ultrarunning book more than a Pulitzer winner.
  5. I had to go to the elementary school the other day, and I saw this on the wall:
    photo (18)
    I nearly died. Get out of the gutter, you pervs. Those are OBVIOUSLY lungs.
  6. I need to eat this ASAP.
  7. I thought I hated both sauerkraut and olives. Then, I started the Whole30 and decided to give them another shot. Turns out, I like them both. Moral of the story: When you’re a grown-up, try the foods you hated as a kid. Maybe they are good now.

I think that’s all the randomness I have for you tonight. I had two more things, but they need their accompanying pictures, and this &@$* computer won’t load them. Another time, then.


Tell me something random about you. If you already did that list thing on Facebook and you’re my Facebook friend, you have to tell me something else.

A Few of My Favorite Posts: Good Reading from Around the Web

I have been intending to write this post for a long time. I don’t really even have an excuse for not writing it, since there’s not much writing involved. Anyway, lately I’ve read some really great articles and blog posts, so I thought I’d pass them along. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite Internet things as of late. All the titles should be hyperlinked, but WordPress is being a turd tonight. If a link doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll get it fixed!

    • 7 Stepping Stones to Body Love from Workout Nirvana. Great perspective, solid advice.
    • Close the (Thigh) Gap  by Jen Sinkler. The thigh gap is stupid and dangerous for most women to try to achieve. Jen proves it.
      (image source)
    • Habits of Happy People from Peanut Butter Fingers. More good advice on how to not suck…or think you suck.
    • It’s the Gains by Alex at The Run Within. Alex discussed her mental shift from thinking the word “gain” was negative to seeing it as positive. I am saving this post to share with students with eating disorders. It’s fantastic.
    • Any Friday post from rUnladylike, but especially this one. Jesica has a Friday FITspiration series, and every story is incredibly inspiring. The one that is linked tells the story of a woman who does IRONMAN triathlons. While fighting cancer. Yeah. Wow.
    • A Message to Anyone Worried About Looking “Unglam” in Race Photos from Run With Holly. Holly discusses why we look bad in race photos and why we shouldn’t worry about it. And she even includes some of her own race pictures for us to relate to.

I hope you get a chance to read some (or all) of these posts, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Any great posts that you’ve read — or written– lately that I should read?

Weekly Workouts and Target Practice

I’m running out of creative titles for target practice posts. True story. And while I’m being honest, I might as well tell you that I’m not really feeling the blogging thing tonight. I got some sad news today (I may or may not blog about it later), and I’m just not in the mood. But if I want to get better at blogging, I have to do it when I have the time, even if I don’t feel like it, right?

Last week, I posted monthly goals for November instead of weekly, so I won’t check in on those goals yet. Instead, I’ll give you a workout recap for this week. I don’t think I’ve posted one since the marathon, so this will look a lot different than the last recap you saw!

Monday: AM: 5.5 miles of treadmill intervals PM: Muscle Works class
Tuesday: 6.5 miles easy
Wednesday: 5 miles easy, quick dumbbell-and-bodyweight strength workout
Thursday: 5.5 miles easy, core work
Friday: I fully intended to leave work shortly after school got out and come home to run in the daylight. My to-do list had other ideas, though, and I got home at sunset. Cool. So I did this workout and added a half-mile run between sets for a total of 5 miles:
Saturday: 7 miles easy, part of them back at my favorite park. It’s only partially open, but it’s nice to have at least a little of it back!
Sunday: 4.75 miles. Sundays are usually rest days, but I couldn’t resist
this weather. I’ll gladly cut tomorrow’s treadmill run to soak up 62 degrees and sunshine today.
Totals: 39.3 miles, 1:45ish strength

And now, the main event:

Target Practice

Target Practice is a weekly goal-setting post. I stole the idea from Fit.Fun.Femme. And by the bye, you should hop on over to Fit.Fun.Femme. and read Sara’s post about getting faster. She was sweet enough to include me in the post. I felt famous. 🙂 And I found two other blogs to follow!

Anyway, goals for this week:

Life: In connection  with the aforementioned sad news, this is going to be a rough week for my students. My goal is simply to be there for my kiddos.

Health: This is the last week of the Whole30, at least officially. I might continue with it a little longer before I start reintroducing foods. So my goal is to stick with the plan!

Fitness: Remember last week, when I said I wanted to start lifting like a grown-up? You’ll notice from my recap that I did not do that this week. I think I need a session with a trainer to show me how to do the lifts and use the machines so that I don’t hurt myself. My main fitness goal this week is to talk to my pals at the Body Firm and see what we can get set up.


Tell me something to make me smile. 


A Few of My Favorite Things: Treadmill Workouts Edition

I am a lot of things. Hardcore is not one of them…especially if “hardcore” means running in the dark. I know I could get a headlamp, wear reflective gear, blah blah blah. I’m not doing it. Combining my uber-clumsiness with darkness and ice is not a good idea.

Garfield_11-4-13 (source)

Once that nasty time change hit on Sunday, I knew that the majority of my weekday runs had to move to the treadmill.

treadmill meme

Since I spend a lot of time on the treadmill from November until March, I have several tricks to make it bearable. Here are a few:

  • Watch a movie/T.V. I use my treadmill time to watch all the tacky television that I would never watch otherwise. Spend two hours on the couch watching The Bachelor? No way. Spend two hours on the treadmill watching The Bachelor? Okay.
  • Listen to fun music. Yes, I listen to music while I watch my shows. Closed captioning + Songza’s “90’s Jock Jams” station = workout bliss.
  • Listen to podcasts. This doesn’t work for me. I have to also have something to look at or I just don’t pay attention. But it might work for you.
  • Annoy your significant other by singing/fist-pumping to your sweet 90’s jams. Probably only reasonable if you have your own treadmill and are doing an easy run, but always a good time.
  • Vary the pace and incline. Especially for easy runs, little adjustments make the time pass much quicker. Even switching between 1% and 2% every minute or two breaks up the monotony.

In addition to those general tips, I’ve collected an arsenal of treadmill workouts that are fast-moving and fun. Here are some of my favorites.

  • Greg McMillan’s treadmill workouts. (linkI love all these workouts, but the six-sevens is my favorite, in a this-is-awful kind of way. I’ll be doing it often this winter in preparation for the Run to the Shrine 10k in May.
  • Minute-by-Minute Intervals. (link) Quick. Hard. Good for mornings that you wake up later than you planned.
  • As much as I would love to claim that I made this next one up, I did not. I found it on the internet somewhere about a year ago and scribbled it on a notepad. Now I can’t figure out where it came from. So if this is your workout, let me know, and I will credit you.
    photo (17)
  • These two workouts from Tone It Up are also blends of running and strength. I run instead of walking for the “booty shorts” one and double each run portion of the “frisky fall” one.
  • frisky-fall-cardio-routine-toneitup
  • Here’s a simple but effective one that I love. Use your own paces, obviously, not mine. Go faster or slower as needed.
    treadmill workout

The treadmill can be fun, I promise. Or at least better than a slip on the ice and subsequent injury. I hope some of these workouts work for you!


Do you run in the dark?

What’s your favorite treadmill workout? Link to it!

November (?!) Target Practice

Can you even believe that it’s already November? That means we have two months of 2013 left. I’m pretty sure I just stopped writing 2012 like…a month ago.

October was good to me, though, so I hope November is, too!

Target Practice

I do Target Practice a la Fit.Fun.Femme. every Sunday, but at the start of the month, I like to set monthly goals instead of weekly. Although October went fast, it seems like a long time ago that I set goals for it. Here’s what they were and how close I came to meeting them. I’m grading myself again, because I ought to grade something this weekend, and it’s not gonna be the Animal Farm questions in my bag.

Life: Make and keep dates with friends. Why is this so hard for me? Friends are important. I had a few get-togethers with friends, but I still have not made friendship upkeep as high a priority as I need to. It’s just tough when everyone is so busy.

Or…maybe it’s because I am the socially awkward penguin. Grade: C-.

Blog: Take better and more relevant photos, and post twice a week. There was one week in October in which I posted only once. The others I made the twice-weekly goal. And I’m slowly but surely getting better at taking pictures.
photo (16)

See? Yesterday I even took the quintessential blogger photo of my running-shoed feet. And I posted it on instagramGrade: C.

Health: Don’t get sick, and find some new, healthy recipes. Done and done. Thank goodness, I avoided the nasty stomach bug that was circulating the school a couple of weeks ago (knock on wood), and the Whole30 has provided me with a bunch of healthy recipes. Grade: A.

Fitness: This goal was dominated by the marathon: train well, taper well, race well, recover well. I give myself an A for this one.

And now, goals for November:

Life: Third month’s a charm? Hang out with some friends. Call the ones who live too far away to hang out with.

Blog: Post a minimum of three times a week, and regularly update Twitter and Instagram. I want to get better at this blogging thing.

Health: Finish the Whole30. Figure out what’s been bothering my guts for so long.

Fitness: I don’t have any major races on the calendar, but I’d like to get some shorter ones (10k to half marathon) scheduled for early 2014. While my mileage is decreased, I want to gain some more strength. That probably means actually going to the weight room instead of to the dumbbells in my basement. I haven’t used the big kid machines (like the squat rack) since high school weights class. Too bad this girl and this girl don’t live closer to me, because they are weight room monsters.


What’s something you want to accomplish in November?

Locals: Want to be my gym buddy (and maybe teach me what to do with things that aren’t dumbbells)?

A Few of My Favorite October Things

I intended to write this post on Thursday since it was the last day of October and all, but then I didn’t. I’d love to tell you that I was out having crazy Halloween fun, but I wasn’t. I was very busy with trick-or-treaters (we had a ton! We were out of candy by 7:30…and I was stingy) and then with grading, because I’m awesome.

Anyway, October was good to me, and I’m a little sad to see it go. Here are some highlights (in no particular order):

  • Fantastic weather. Yes, we had some cold and a little snow, but not much. Most days were like this:
    Not a cloud in the sky.
    Not a cloud in the sky.

    This weather has been ideal for the last few days of consistent outdoor running. Once the time changes tomorrow, I’ll be logging a lot of treadmill time. Dark and I are not friends.

  • My PR Marathon. You can read about Rock ‘n Roll Denver here.
  • Funny Halloween decorations all over town. 

    I run by this every day, and I laugh out loud every time.
    I run by this every day, and I laugh out loud every time.
  • A weekend getaway to the mountains. I posted about it on Wednesday; it was much-needed and wonderful.
    trail 3
  • Some quality time with the husband.
    October was busy at work, and the weekends were full, too, but we had a few evenings of just chillin’ on the couch together, and they were wonderful.
  • Working on my artistic skills by making my boss a Bosses’ Day card.
    photo (14)
    I’m a very talented artist. If you want to custom-order some cards, you let me know.

October, I will miss you. November, let’s make you rock!

What were the best parts of your October?

Related to none of that: I follow blogs with Feedly, and I’m not loving some of its new updates. Is bloglovin’ better?