Throwback ThFriday: That Time I Learned that GPS is a Necessity

I am really bad at keeping up with series that I invent. I fully intended to write this yesterday, to keep going with the Throwback Thursday bit, but I ran out of time. But today, we woke up to that glorious automated message telling us that school had been cancelled due to snow, so it’s bloggin’ time! And how better to spend that time than to tell you an embarrassing story of my stupidity.

image (5)
This bird says he doesn’t like snow days as much as I do.

When I went off to college at the ripe old age of 18, I was not exactly world-wise. Included in my naivety was a lack of any sense of direction. This was not really a problem as a freshman, as I didn’t have a car and depended on my friends and brother for rides, so I didn’t really have to know where anything was.

As a sophomore, my teaching practicums started, so I needed a car to get from home to college to practicums. By that time, I knew my way around Fort Collins just fine, but hadn’t really ventured into any of the other front range towns.

By this time, I had also made some friends who taught me to country swing dance. I liked dancing… cute cowboys and good music? Okay! (This was pre-Jordan, obviously.) The trouble was, since I was only 19, there weren’t very many places I could go to dance. But there was a country bar in nearby Greeley that had an 18-and-up night, and my friends had been there several times. Being the responsible(ish) student that I was, I hadn’t gone, as kids-at-the-bar night was a weeknight.

Finally, one week I had a lighter homework load, so I decided to head up with my friends. This would not have been a problem, except that the friends I planned to ride with had a previous engagement on the other side of Greeley, so we decided to just meet there. Which meant I had to drive. Alone. But I was a big girl, right? I could totally handle this. My friend gave me directions that sounded simple enough. They ended with “You’ll see a bright green sign that says ‘Cactus Canyon.’ You can’t miss it.” Famous last words.

Different night, same time period, same friend. Holy cow, we were young.
Different night, same time period, same friend. Holy cow, we were young. Ans yes, that’s a case of CDs on the counter. Those used to play music, kids.

I intentionally left my apartment late, to make sure that my friends would arrive before I did. I followed the giant signs that said “Greeley” and took the right exit. So far, so good. I drove. And drove. And drove. To the edge of Greeley. I had not yet seen this alleged bright green Cactus Canyon sign, and was now faced with a fork in the road and different giant green sign, this one giving me the options of “Denver” or “Cheyenne.” “But I don’t want to go to Denver OR Cheyenne!” I cried.


I took an exit and pulled into the nearest gas station. This was the days before smartphones, which would have made my life MUCH easier, but I whipped out my flip phone and desperately called my friend. No answer. I tried again. Voicemail. I went into the gas station and asked the attendant if he knew where the Cactus Canyon was. He looked at me like I had three heads, and I walked back out to my car, trying not to cry and spoil my make-up (on the chance that I actually made it to the bar and meet some cute cowboys).

Finally, I just decided to head back to Fort Collins and make up an excuse to tell my friends later. As I drove back the exact same way I came, I saw it: the giant, glowing Cactus Canyon sign. (In my defense, it was obscured by trees from the other direction). Sighing with relief, I exited, parked, and danced my little heart out.

A few hours later, as we were leaving, I thought I’d be smart and follow my friend back to Fort Collins. Wrong again. He had to take his other friend back home. On the other side of Greeley. When I realized what was happening, I thought I could subtly turn around, head back the right direction, and go home. Nope. He totally caught me, called me, and asked me what the heck I was doing. Oops.

And that’s how my nonexistent sense of direction became a college-career-long joke.  And how I learned to never go anywhere new without a GPS.

How’s your sense of direction?

Tell me an embarrassing getting lost story. 

How the Paleo Diet Didn’t Change my Life

Lately, it seems that everyone is talking about the Paleo diet. Lots of people love it, say it’s cured all that ailed them, claim they’ll never go back. And lots of people hate it, say it’s unbalanced, unrealistic, unnecessary.


Everyone who know me knows that I’m a health nut. I want to put the best foods into my body so I can get the best performance out of it. If you know me well (or read this blog), you also know that I’ve struggled with digestive issues for a long time. So as I watched the Paleo diet climb in popularity, and as I read all the raves from Paleo devotees, I became intrigued. I became hopeful that the Paleo diet would finally be that magic bullet that would make me run faster and feel better. 

So I tried it. I read It Starts With Food and followed the Whole30 in October and November. After the Whole30, my diet stayed Paleo, with some holiday divergences, and I kept it up until this month.


The Paleo diet didn’t change my life. Here’s why:

(Note: I am aware that this was not exactly a highly controlled scientific experiment. There was more than one variable, so not all of these can be blamed on Paleo.)

  • I didn’t have abundant energy. Now, my energy levels aren’t unusually low or anything, but a lot of Paleoites claim that the diet makes energy levels stay steady and fairly high all day. Nope. At 3:30 every day, the kids walked out of my room and I sank into my chair, exhausted, like every other day of my life. 
  • I ran slower. This is one of those “too many variable” instances. I started the Whole30 the day after my last marathon, and for the next few months, I ran easy. Now that I’ve started eating grains (i.e. more carbs) and doing speedwork, even my easy runs are speeding up. Is this all due to diet? No. Duh. Speedwork = getting faster.
  • I gained weight. I expected to gain a couple of pounds when my training level went down, but I definitely gained more than a couple. I was eating extremely clean, especially during the Whole30, but the Paleo diet is relatively high in fat, and for me, this didn’t work. Not because “fat makes you fat” (we all know that’s not true, because it’s not 1995), but because fat is high in calories, and eating too many calories adds poundage. And eat too many calories I did.


But the main reason I’ve decided that eating Paleo is not for me is…

  • It didn’t make me feel better. I didn’t feel any worse, either. I felt pretty much exactly the same as always. And if I’m not going to feel any different, why keep adhering to a stricter (and expensive) diet?

I’m not by any means claiming that the Paleo diet is evil. In fact, I think the Paleo diet can be very healthy, if you do it right (Hint: Doing it right means eating lots and lots of veggies and some meats, not basing your diet on bacon and paleo “treats.”). 

am saying that the Paleo diet is probably not the cure-all miracle diet that some make it out to be. Diet is an individual thing; what works for some doesn’t for others. And this didn’t work for me.

On to new experiments!

What are your thoughts on/experiences with the Paleo diet?

Did you know that if you Google “caveman,” you get cute, goofy images like the ones in this post, but if you Google “cavewoman,” you get nothing but scantily-clad women? Stay tuned for my next post, “Why the Internet is stupid.” (Just kidding; I’m not really writing that post. But seriously…why?)


Weekly Recap: 1/20-1/26

Hi friends! Whose weekend went too fast? Oh, everyone’s, of course. At the start of every weekend, I think, “I’m gonna write so much this weekend, and then next week, I’ll just proofread and post!” And then suddenly it’s Sunday night.

On that same note, sorry for the lack of pictures in the following post. It’s already 9:00, which means this granny needs to get this posted and start moving toward bed.

This week marked my last week of “whatever I want” running. Here’s what it looked like:

Monday: 5 easy miles and an hour of strength. The run was outside thanks to a day off work.

Tuesday: 6 miles of treadmill hills that I talked about here, plus some core work.

Wednesday: AM: 6 miles easy PM: An hour of strength

Thursday: Thursday was not exactly the best day of my professional life. When I left work, I was frustrated and, I’m sure, a real peach to be around (sorry, hubby). So I got on the treadmill and cranked out 14 400m repeats at 5k pace, with 400m recoveries. I felt much better. Totally worth 2 days of DOMS.

Friday: No run; I did 15 minutes of plyos (which I’m sure didn’t help the DOMS issue) and this upper-body workout.

Saturday: 9 miles in more shorts-worthy weather. I’m okay with this, January.

Sunday: 4 recovery miles, followed by some core work and some stretching and foam rolling. For once.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned (many times) that over the holidays, I won a week of Better With Veggies‘ MoveHappy challenge. Part of the prize pack was a custom training plan for a 5k or 10k, designed by Heather. I chose a 10k in March as my goal race, and my training plan starts tomorrow.

I’m excited for this training cycle for several reasons. First, I’ve never actually trained for a 10k; I’ve always run them as part of or between other training cycles. Second, I’ve never had a plan designed just for me by someone who knows what she’s doing. Third, I’ve never trained for a PR in a distance shorter than a half, so I’m excited to see what this does for my speed.

I’m also nervous about a few things. For one, I’m only running five days a week. Mondays are rest, and Fridays are strength-training only. That seems so weird to this run-at-least-six-days gal, but I will trust the person with the coaching certification. (That would be Heather, not me). This is also comparatively low-mileage: I’ll be running around 35 miles a week. That’s about what I’ve been running all winter, but seems short compared to the 70-mile weeks I was pulling in the fall. But obviously, 10ks are shorter than marathons. Dur.

The lower mileage and days off running will probably be necessary, because the hard days are hard. On Tuesday, my pace for 400m repeats is supposed to start with a 4. Yeah. If you don’t hear from me again, it’s safe to assume that workout killed me.

In all seriousness, though, I’m really looking forward to this training plan and learning to be faster!

What’s your bedtime?

What’s your favorite race distance to train for?

Ever worked with a coach or have one design a plan for you?

Throwback Thursday: That Time I Won a Marathon

After I wrote this post and this post, I started to wonder if my readers (both of you) would think that I’m a bit of an idiot. And while that may be true, that’s not the impression that I generally try  to give off, so I decided to change it up and write about something I did that wasn’t stupid. (And, full disclosure here, I wrote this story as an example of a personal narrative for my freshmen last year. It required minimal work to go from “freshman example” to “blog post,” and I’m tired tonight). Don’t worry, I plan to tell you another stupid story next week.

All the photos in this post are from the Estes Park Marathon’s website

Marathon training takes at least eighteen weeks — eighteen weeks of hard workouts, conscientious nutrition, and careful scheduling.The spring of 2012 was the fourth time I had gone through this training cycle, but this time was different. This time, I wasn’t gunning for a personal best or even an age group placement. This time, though I didn’t admit it to anyone but myself, I wanted to win. I had checked the results of 2011’s Estes Park Marathon, and the winning woman had run a 3:30 –seventeen minutes slower than my personal best. I knew that Estes ran ten to twenty minutes longer than the average marathon, so  I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could win.

Training for the June marathon started in February. I despise training in the early spring. I hate the wind, I hate the cold, and I really hate the short days that force me onto the treadmill for long training runs. All that treadmill time had an advantage, though: If I didn’t have access to a treadmill in flat Fort Morgan, preparing for the six-mile climb that starts the Estes Park Marathon, as well as all the smaller-but-steeper hills later in the race, would be close to impossible.

It looks friendlier than it is.

So I trained on the treadmill, and I trained through the bad weather. When I lined up on race day, butterflies fluttered in my stomach, but I hoped I was prepared for victory.

The starting line crowd at Estes was tiny, compared to most other marathons. Not wanting to be too cocky, I eased up near the front of the crowd but avoided toeing the line. As we anxiously waited for race to start, I made small talk with some of the runners around me, bounced up and down, and easily stretched a few times to stay loose.

I am not in this picture, but this is how the starting line looked.

Finally, the gun went off. Every race, no matter how small, starts in a bit of a cluster, but by the time I made it down the first tiny incline and started that six-mile climb, I had managed to find my groove and stick with it. A long string of runners stretched ahead of me, but I didn’t worry yet. I still had 26 miles to make my move. As I climbed that first big hill, I noticed a young woman on a bike ahead of me.  I thought little of it until right around mile three, when a spectator shouted, “You’re the first woman! First woman!”

Holy crap, I thought. That’s the escort cyclist! Not wanting to get over-confident, I smiled at the spectator and said, “There’s still a lot of race to run!”  — as much to remind myself of that as her. But I determined then that no woman would pass me over the next 23 miles.

As we topped that first hill, a hard, hot wind blasted me. I didn’t know it yet, but that wind – sometimes gusting up to 30 miles per hour – would be my constant companion for the rest of the race. I thanked my lucky stars that it was a headwind now, when six miles of downhill stretched ahead of me, so I wasn’t fighting wind and running uphill. The next few miles passed uneventfully. I held my pace steady, enjoyed the stunning scenery, and occasionally chatted with the escort cyclist, smiling to myself every mile when I heard her report on her radio: “Lead female, mile 8.”

Just after the halfway point, as I ran around blissfully flat Lake Estes, I spotted my parents and husband. Jordan brings a cowbell and a poster to every race, but my parents had never spectated before, so their signs surprised me. My dad’s, a bright-colored iteration of an old inside joke (“Use your head!”), made me smile. My mom’s  sign, a joke about porta-potties, made me roll my eyes, as my miniature bladder has long been the butt of family jokes.

As it turned  away from the lake, the course started another substantial climb. By this time, the sun was bearing down, and that hot wind still gusted. At every water stop, I gulped water and dumped a cup or two on my head. Unfortunately, my listening skills started failing around mile 15, and though the volunteer clearly shouted, “Gatorade!,” I grabbed her cup and dumped in on my head. Now exhausted, thirsty, and sticky– but at least slightly cooler– I chugged up the hill.

Oh, I've used this picture before? Right. Credit still goes to the Estes Park Trail Gazette.
Oh, I’ve used this picture before? Right. Credit still goes to the Estes Park Trail Gazette.

By the time I topped that last big hill, my legs constantly screamed at me, and the heat started making me lightheaded. I learned early in the race that I couldn’t stomach gels in the heat, and I’m sure the lack of fuel wasn’t helping anything. I glanced over my shoulder several times to see if another woman was bearing down on me, but the winding mountain roads made seeing far impossible.

I kept plugging away. I feared leading  for 20 miles and then ending up second – or lower.  Despite my determination, though, my pace continued to slow. The hills and heat were taking their toll, and the wind only blew harder. I continued drinking at every aid station, filling my bottle so I could drink between, and dumping water (definitely water) on my head. I started setting little goals for myself – just run to that tree, just back down to the lake.

Finally, I spotted Estes Park High School in the distance, and I knew that the finish line was near. As I approached the school, I wondered how the small incline I ran down at the start of the race had grown into a substantial mountain. As my aching legs stumbled up the incline, I glimpsed the lights of the football field, where the finish line waited.

“How….much….farther?” I gasped to a volunteer, my legs stumbling and begging to walk.

“Just around this corner, then half a lap!” she shouted.

As we turned onto the track, the escort cyclist pulled over. “You’re there! Just finish this lap! Great job!” she screamed. I spotted my family, screaming, jumping, cheering, and I dug deep for a kick, albeit a paltry one on wasted legs.  As I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer shout, “Women’s marathon winner!” (I also heard him shout, “You gotta run across the mat so I know your name!”)

Entirely spent but grinning, I stumbled over to the grass and collapsed. My husband brought me some Gatorade (I drank it this time), and my family surrounded me, repeatedly congratulating me. I sat there in shock: I had just won a marathon.

In the weeks and months following the race, my husband loved to brag about my win, and I always blushed and blew it off. “It was a really, really small race,” I said, over and over. And it’s true – Estes Park is the smallest marathon I’ve ever run. But then, I decided to stop blowing it off. I trained hard. I fought hard. And I won.  Although Estes was small, and although I’ll never win a major marathon, I did win this one. And there’s nothing wrong with being proud of it.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?

Do you ever have trouble owning your successes?

Would you run this race? You should. It’s amazing.

Tuesday Treadmillin’

The days are getting longer, slowly but surely. And the weather has been beautiful here, so I keep hoping that I’ll get done at work and home early enough to get in at least part of my run before dark. But it hasn’t happened yet. Today, it was the fault of the constantly jamming copy machine. Grrr.

So it was another treadmill night, but that’s okay because I kicked my own tush with this little workout:

hilltervalsAfter the first round, I thought, “This is way too much recovery time!” After the second-to-last round, I thought, “This isn’t nearly enough recovery time!” Ha.

The best part of this workout was wearing new shoes. We went to Bell’s Running in Greeley (it’s the best; if you live here, go there) yesterday, and they only had one pair of Mizuno Wave Inspires in stock. And they were my size! Clearly we were meant to be.

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Yes, my legs are super pasty. Thanks for noticing. It’s January. Also, they stay that color all year long. I’m not ashamed of my gingerness.

And one last chunk of good news: tomorrow is hump day! In fact, for a lot of readers, it will already be hump day by the time you read this.

Have a great rest of your week!

Have any treadmill workouts I should try?

Do office machines hate you, too?

What’s your go-to shoe?




Weekly Workouts and Scenes from the Weekend

Did you know there’s a football game on? If you didn’t, just hop over to Facebook. It will tell you. Look! I’m even watching!

photo 1Just kidding. I just turned it on to get an idea of how soon Jordan will be home. I will never be one of those cool chicks who actually cares about football. Sorry. (No, I’m not sorry. I am who I am.)

Know what I do care about? Running. So let’s talk about that. Specifically, my running and such this week. Here’s what went down:

Monday: I fully intended to go to the gym to lift and run. But then I drove past the gym on my way home from work, and I saw that the parking lot was overflowing. (What? On a Monday in January? Shocking.) I didn’t want to deal with people, frankly, so I did this bodyweight strength workout at home. I added 10 minutes of HIIT intervals on the treadmill between sets, for a total of 6 miles. It kicked my butt and I highly recommend this workout (with or without the treadmill stuff).

Tuesday: 5 miles easy plus core work.

Wednesday: AM: I was on a “steal other people’s workouts” kick this week, so I did this speed workout from The Lyons Share. But I ran an extra .5 miles because stopping with decimals on the treadmill bothers me. I know. I have issues. PM: 60 minutes of lifting. The gym is much quieter on Wednesdays than Mondays.

Thursday: 7.2 easy miles and core work. Obviously I did NOT want to run that last .2, but I wanted to see who Juan Pablo kicked off The Bachelor. And then I didn’t want to run another .8. Speaking of The Bachelor, I’m watching it on Hulu, which is posting episodes a week after they air, so I will perpetually be a week behind. Please don’t tell me anything that will spoil my trashy-television-watching pleasure.

Friday: An hour of lifting and 30 minutes on the spin bike. I’ve decided I like lifting on Friday nights, because there are about five people at the gym. It’s sweet. Except for when one of those five people creates himself a little circuit and for an hour hogs THE ONE LAST MACHINE that you need to finish your workout.

Saturday: 5.5 miles easy for Meg’s Miles, plus core work. Gotta love 8-minute abs.

Sunday: 8.2 miles. Yesterday and today were outside runs (because the weather is flipping gorgeous…I think Colorado feels bad about that sub-zero streak a few weeks ago), so the decimal points didn’t bother me. I’m weird.
photo 2Yeah, that says 61. I ran in shorts and short sleeves and was HOT. So weird.

Believe it or not, I actually took a couple of pictures this weekend of things that are not my sweatiness, feet, or watch.  First off, here’s why I needed it to be the weekend:

photo (28) photo (26) photo (27)Oh, students. I love them, but sometimes they make me crazy. 

I didn’t take any pictures of the best part of my weekend, which was lunch with one of my best friends. We were doing way too much talking to stop for a picture, so here’s an e-card that represents part of our conversation:

True story. Here are some more highlights of the weekend:

photo 4

“Just because” flowers from the husband are the best kind.

Again, no pictures, but I got to grocery shop at Target, since I met my friend near one. Score for no Wal-Mart this weekend.

photo 3

I’m making chicken stock from scratch right now. Here’s hoping it tastes a lot better than it looks…because it looks like green vomit with floating bones. You’re welcome for the picture.

And the very best part of the weekend? It’s not over! We’re off work tomorrow. I still have a lot of work things to do, but working from my couch is always nice.

How was your weekend? Do you have Monday off? 

Refuse to Accept Mediocrity

Last semester, my freshmen spent a couple of weeks writing essays. It was their first major writing assignment for me, and I wasn’t sure precisely what to expect. When I collected the finals, though, I knew that I could — and should — expect better. The vast majority of the students simply hadn’t tried to do well.

My kiddos and I had a little heart-to-heart. I told them that their papers were sub-par. I also told them that I knew they could do better. And I told them that I had one piece of advice for them that would help more than anything else as they revised these essays.


“Refuse to accept mediocrity.” 

Settling for “good enough,” I explained, was not, in fact, good enough. I reminded them that sometimes we all fall short of the mark we’re trying to reach, and if that mark is just “good enough,” then we don’t have much room to fall, do we?

I told my students that this was a lesson they needed to take beyond this essay, beyond my classroom, beyond the school walls. “If you settle for mediocre in everything,” I said, “you’ll never achieve excellence in anything.”

Chastened, my students went to work on revising their essays. (FYI: The “chastened freshman effect” lasts, at most, one class period.) As they worked, I started thinking about the lecture I’d just given…and my own need to take that advice. Because I, too, settle for mediocrity.

Too often, I teach the same tired, boring lesson that I taught last year…because it’s “good enough.”

Too often, I settle for a text message when I need to call a friend…because it’s “good enough.”

Too often, I switch a tempo run to an easy run… because my body is tired and running at all is “good enough.”

Too often, I half-listen to my husband instead of being fully attentive… because kind-of listening is “good enough.”

Just like I told my students, none of those things are “good enough.”  Those instances of settling make me a worse teacher, friend, runner, and wife. And I don’t want to be mediocre at any of those.

So I’m challenging myself (and you!) not to settle for mediocrity. To push for excellence and strive for our best in every important aspect of our lives. To rise to the challenge, even when rising is more difficult than we anticipate.

Even if we fall short of excellence, we’ll still be far beyond mediocre.


No questions today, but share your thoughts!

Weekly Recap: January 6-12, and My 2014 Race Plans

Hey friends! Did you notice the new layout? What do you think? I’m not completely in love with the header, but after spending waaaay too long yesterday fighting with my ancient computer, I gave up and called it good enough. Anybody want to donate to the “Cassie Wants a New Laptop” Fund?

This was our first week back at work after the holidays, which is always kind of a weird one. The teachers and students are all about half-rejuvenated from break, everyone is busy right off the bat, and the mood is just a little…off. For all that, though, it was a pretty decent week, and I was satisfied with both the work aspect and the workout aspect.

Here’s how my training went down:

Monday: 5 easy miles and some core work

Tuesday: AM: 10 x 400m; 6 miles total with warm-up and cool down. It was my first non-fartlek speedwork since the marathon in October, and it felt good, even if what was supposed to be 5k pace was a little slower. PM: 60 minutes lifting. The gym was surprisingly (and delightfully) quiet for a Tuesday in January.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy plus core

Thursday: 7 miles of treadmill hills. After a 10-minute warm-up, I did one minute at 5% incline and marathon pace, then two minutes to recover, and just repeated that sequence until I hit seven miles. It was easy at first, but it got brutal by the end.

Friday: An hour of lifting followed by 5 easy miles.

Saturday: 10 glorious outdoor miles. There was still a lot of ice, which slowed my overall pace, but I was so happy to be outside running that I didn’t even kind of care.

photo 1 (1)Days like yesterday make me wish I was running a spring marathon after all. And then days like today, with its 40-mph wind gusts, remind me that no, I do not wish that.

Sunday: 60 minutes of yoga. Full disclosure: I haven’t actually done this yoga yet, but if I post it now, I’ll have to do it. It has been months since I’ve done yoga, and my increased strength training is making my muscles even more tight than before (if that’s even possible), so I need to get back on the yoga train.

So that’s the past. Now let’s talk about the future.

Over Christmas break, I started to plan out what my 2014 races. I knew I wasn’t going to run a spring marathon, but I wasn’t sure which shorter races (or even distances) to target. Then, I found out that I won the Better With Veggies Move Happy Challenge, which included a 5k or 10k training plan. So, since I needed to get back to Heather with my choice, J and I sat down and cranked out a plan. Here’s what’s coming up:

  • February 8: Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4-mile
  • March 15: Brush St. Patrick’s Day 5k (a local race that I may race or I may walk with Jordan and our friend Sarah)
  • March 22: Spring Fever 10k in Golden. This is the race that Heather’s making my training plan for. I’ve never done it before, but I’ve heard good things, so I’m excited. (There’s also a 5k and a half marathon, if you’re interested).
  • May 17: Run to the Shrine 10k in Colorado Springs. At least that’s what I’m planning; there’s no 2014 info up yet for this race yet, so I’m hoping that it’s still happening and that’s the right date.

I’m also thinking about a race in April, either the Horsetooth Half or the Cherry Creek Sneak 10-mile, but April’s a pretty crazy month between school stuff and family stuff. I’m not sure if either will work out schedule-wise.

Summer races are up in the air right now. We need to get our vacation on the books first. Priorities, people.

I definitely want to run a fall marathon, and I recently found out about the Monument Marathon in Scottsbluff, NE in September. It sounds like a great race, and they have cash prizes for the top three competitors. Last year’s winner ran a 3:21. Hmmm.  But I also have a soft spot for Rock n Roll Denver. I still have time to make that decision, at least.

Those are my plans for now, anyway. I’ll keep you posted as they change and develop.

Anybody running any of the same races I am?

What races am I missing that I should definitely do?

Throwback Thursday: That Time I Passed Out in Aspen

After I wrote the post about dropping a weight on my foot, I thought, “Hmm. I have a lot of ridiculous stories about how I’m dumb. I should blog more of them.” And then the holidays came, and I got even more sporadic about posting, and I kind of forgot about that idea. But tonight, I remembered. So I’m starting  a series. I’m calling it “Throwback Thursday” because I’m not creative and the cool kids on Instagram have Throwback Thursday.

This week, I’m keeping with another theme that we saw in the weight-dropping story: blacking out. Oh yes, this is a trend of mine.

The summer after my sophomore year of college, I stayed in Fort Collins and worked, and one of my good friends got a job on a ranch in Aspen. It was a pretty sweet gig: he had a fully furnished apartment-type cabin and an easy-going boss. And it was in Aspen.

Things to do when taking a Colorado summer vacation in Aspen at the Ritz Carlton Residence Club in Aspen Highlands, Colorado.
Yep, that Aspen.  (photo source, because I only take photos this good in imaginationland.)

The only trouble with my friend’s sweet gig was the three-hour drive between him and the rest of us. To make up for the lack of hanging out we were doing, he invited me and a couple of other friends up for the Fourth of July. Naturally, this mountain-loving girl jumped at the chance to spend a couple of days in Aspen.

I drove up after work on July 3 and met my friend and the other two people at his apartment. He lived out in the boondocks, so we took it easy that night — he made us dinner, and we watched the original Saw movie. (Side note: Why were those movies ever made? They are horrible. Horrible.)

My friend’s apartment was little, but the bed was a massive California king-size. The couch, on the other hand, was tiny and lumpy, and floor space was essentially nonexistent. So we did what any group of four college kids would do: all four of us crammed into that giant bed, promised not to fart, and went to sleep. (I’m pretty sure that present-day, old-lady Cassie would not be nearly as satisfied with this arrangement.)

The next morning, after consuming several gallons of coffee (mistake #1), we decided to see the sights, beginning with the famous Maroon Bells (pictured above). We weren’t doing any hiking,  just photo-opping, so I didn’t bring any water (mistake #2). We goofed around at the base of the mountains for a bit, then headed into town, arriving just in time to stand in the hot mountain sun (mistake #3) and watch the Fourth of July parade.

By the time the parade was over, I was both desperately thirsty and desperately in need of a bathroom. The other girl in our little group and I found a small, crowded restaurant and used the bathroom, then stood in the long line and waited to buy a few bottles of water.

The next thing I remember is staring up at a circle of concerned faces and realizing that I was flat on my back on the floor. Well, this is awkward, I thought. After chugging several glasses of water and assuring the numerous onlookers that I was okay, my friend and I left the restaurant and went to find the boys (and, I hoped, never see any of those restaurant patrons ever again). But the instant we stepped out of the restaurant, I was accosted by an over-eager EMT who refused to let me return to my activities until he took my pulse and asked me a billion questions…all while that same crowd looked on. Finally, we got away, found our friends, and continued on our merry way.

The rest of the day went by without incident (aside from a prodigious amount of teasing from my friends), but I certainly learned my lesson: Drink water. Especially at high elevations. Or, simplified, don’t be stupid.


Tell me a story about when something embarrassing happened to you. Bonus points if it was entirely your own fault, like my incident. 

(Non)Training Week in Review: 12/30/13-1/5/14

That’s the first time I’ve written “’14.” I didn’t even mess it up. Now wait until tomorrow…we’ll see if I get the right date written on my classroom whiteboard.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m not training for any goal races right now. I do have a couple of short races on the calendar, though, beginning with the Loveland Sweetheart Classic 4-mile race on February 8. I’ve done this race before, and it’s a fun, well-organized little race. There’s also a couples division, which J and I will not be entering. 🙂
 This is how J runs.

I’m not expecting mind-blowing results at this race, but of course it would be nice to win an age group award. So, I’d probably better start doing some semblance of speedwork. More than happened this week, for sure. I did get in a lot of outdoor runs this week, though, since we were still on break. That was nice.

Here’s what I ran and lifted this week:

Monday: 7 miles easy and some core work.

Tuesday: An hourish of lifting and 5.3 easy miles. I keep running this distance somehow, even though I change up routes. Weird.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy.

Thursday: An hour of lifting and five easy (very careful because of ice) miles. I thought it would be a good idea to layer up, run four miles, delayer, lift, relayer, and run the mile home from the gym. This was not a good idea. I was SO HOT at the gym and thus drenched with sweat (which got cold) on the way home. And I didn’t have a sweat towel because I ran there, so I awkwardly used paper towels. Bad choice.

Friday: 6 miles of treadmill hills (Greg McMillan’s Six-Sevens workout). Hills are speedwork in disguise, right? Also did some core work.

Saturday: Rest. I hadn’t taken a rest day since mid-November, so it was time. Also, we were deep-cleaning the house and I was very tired when we were done.

Sunday: 10-mile treadmill run. The temperature was 9-feels-like-minus-15, and there was snow and ice everywhere. No thanks. I chose the treadmill and watching Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Have you seen this show? I didn’t even know it existed until Hulu started playing it one day after my other show was over. And now I’m hooked.

Totals: 39.3 miles running, 2 hours lifting.

So, there’s my training(ish) week in a nutshell.

How was your weekend?

Any good shows I should watch while treadmilling?