Weekly Recap: 3/24-3/30

Hey friends! Welcome to another Sunday night. I hope you had a good weekend!

Can I just point out the tomorrow is already the end of MARCH?! Holy cow. I’m thrilled that it’s spring and warmer weather is coming, but man, that month went fast. We have less than two months of school left. That’s insane.

Anyway, on Thursday, I posted my general plan for the next few weeks of training. I want to start building mileage, but since the last two weeks were kind of mini-tapers, I decided that this week’s mileage should be the same as three weeks ago. I don’t think that sentence made any sense. Sorry. Pretend you don’t know that I’m a writing teacher.

Poor writing aside, the week went pretty well. And if soreness is an indication that my muscles are getting stronger, I will have some powerful glutes by the end of this thing. Holy DOMS,

Here’s how the week went:

Monday: 5.2 miles easy, 15 minutes core
Tuesday: AMEight sets of Greg McMillan’s 6/7s workout (one of my favorites, in a hurts-so-good kind of way) for a total of 7 miles
PM: 45ish minutes strength training
Wednesday: 6.1 miles easy, 10 minutes core
Thursday: AM: 2 x 15 minutes at an incline (I bumped the treadmill up or down every minute, staying between 5 and 11%) with 5 minutes of flat running between sets. WIth warm-up and cool-down, it was 6 miles. I decided for the first few weeks to do the long hill climbs in minutes rather than miles, because my ego gets sad seeing how slowly I have to run on inclines.
PM: 45ish minutes strength training
Friday: I knew we’d be busy Saturday, so I moved my “long run” to Friday. 9 chilly, windy miles. Next week, I’ll be back in double-digits and I’m so excited.
Saturday: 5 recovery miles, then 8-Minute Abs with my blue-tights friend and the gang.
Sunday: Rest. There was no yoga. But I took a walk, so that’s…something.

Total: 38.3 miles. Next week should be back in the 40s, and I’ll start feeling more like myself again.

Other news from the week:

  • Standardized testing is horribly boring, at least for the proctors. But the good news is that on Friday, kids didn’t have to come to school except for make-up tests. I had to administer one of those, but the rest of my day was free, which meant I got a ton done and could leave at 3:30. That was pretty stellar.
  • Yesterday, we went to the 9 News Health Fair. J got the blood tests, but I didn’t, as I generally try to avoid being stabbed with needles. While we were there, we both signed up to be on the national bone marrow donor registry. Did you know that they don’t have to actually get marrow from donors anymore? They can do it all from blood. So for minimal pain and a few hours of time, you can save someone’s life. That’s awesome.
  • Also yesterday, I spent the Runner’s Roost gift certificate that I won in the Loveland Sweetheart Classic. I was really tempted to buy a Brooks jacket that I fell in love with, but even on sale, it was $50 and my gift certificate was only $25. So I did the responsible thing and put the gift certificate toward shoes, since I actually needed shoes. Being a grown-up is lame. But I like the new colors Mizuno has this year.
    photo
  • After this week, we’ll have spring break…. which is kind of crazy, because we get out for the summer in the middle of May. But hey, it’s spring break.

That’s about enough rambling for tonight, methinks. Have a great week!

Have you ever donated an organ/fluid besides blood?

Other teachers/students: When is/was your spring break? Any fun plans?

 

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So, What’s Next?

Hi friends! Thanks for all the sweet comments on my last post! You guys are the best. Seriously.

Now that my goal 10k is over and spring has officially arrived, it’s time to think about what comes next. Actually, I’ve been thinking about what comes next for a while, so it’s time to start what comes next. And I’m excited for it!

My next race is the Run to the Shrine 10k in Colorado Springs in May. I wrote about this race in my favorite Colorado races post, and of course I’m excited to do it again! It’s incredibly challenging and incredibly fun, and the top three finishers get the most unique medal I’ve ever seen: It’s made of poop (freeze-dried and sealed in plastic). The first year I ran, it was elephant. The next year, it was rhino.

(image from the race website linked above)

I’m not sure what it is this year, but I WANT ONE. That’s weird, I know. But I don’t care.  I was fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2013; I want to be third or better in 2014 and get that medal.

Anyway, now I’m on a poo-medal ramble when I meant to be telling you about my training plans for the next several weeks. Back on track now. I have a few main goals:

  • Build mileage. Marathon training will start the week after Run  to the Shrine. I want to have completed several weeks in the 50+ mile range before starting training, so it’s time to build back up!
  • Run hills. So many hills. The first four miles of Run to the Shrine are on an average 8.5% grade. Hill training needs to happen. I’ve been doing some hill work, but now it needs to be my focus instead of a supplement.
  • Build strength, especially core. Past years at Run to the Shrine have shown me that a strong core is really beneficial for pulling the ol’ body up the massive hill. You should’ve seen the abs on last year’s women’s winner. Whoa.
  • Shed a little body fat. I almost didn’t share this goal, because I feel like goals like this are touchy in the healthy-living blog world, especially if the blogger is already at a healthy weight (I know I am. Don’t yell at me). But remember when I wrote about trying the Paleo diet, and I mentioned that I’d gained a few pounds on it? Well, those pounds are still hanging around, and I’d like them to go away. To clarify, I don’t think a few extra pounds are big deal, but if I gain a few pounds every year, suddenly it’s not a few anymore, and then it’s a problem. And also to clarify, I’m not doing anything drastic — just keeping a closer eye on my intake and gradually upping mileage.

    (I don’t really know the relevance of that image, but I like it.)

Last weekend, I wrote up a training plan for the eight weeks between now and Run to the Shrine. It’s nothing fancy and is flexible, but it should get me better prepared for the climb and get my mileage back up safely. I won’t bore you with the week-by-week details, but here’s an overview:

Monday: Easy + core
Tuesday: Short hills + strength
Wednesday: Easy + core
Thursday: Long hill climb + strength
Friday: Easy + core
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Rest and maybe light yoga (because that’s the only kind I do.)

So that’s two hill days a week to start. In a few weeks, I’ll also start taking my long runs out to the only decent hills near me, but I’ll give my legs some time to get used to hills before I do that.

(source)

Since the aforementioned hills are neither all that long nor all that convenient, my mid-week hill runs will have to be treadmillers. I made those double days (run a.m., strength p.m.) because it’s a lot easier to commit to the treadmill when it’s early and dark than when it’s after work and sunny. Then, if it’s nice out in the evening, I can either walk or easy jog to the gym to lift and still get in some of my beloved Vitamin D.

So that’s the plan, Stan. (If I have a reader named Stan, you now get bonus points).

What do you think of my plan? Any pointers?

What unique race medals have you seen/ do you own?

 

Spring Fever 10k Recap and Review

The trouble with spring races in Colorado is that the weather is so stinking unpredictable. It can be 70 degrees and sunny one day and 20 degrees and snowing the next. That was the case last weekend for All-Out Multisport’s Spring Fever 5k, 10k, and half-marathon. Friday was sunny and in the high 40s. Sunday was sunny and in the mid-60s. Saturday, though, was snowy, windy, and in the high 20s/low 30s. Saturday was, of course, race day.

Usually when I race, I make an A, B, and C goal. For this race, though, I had three equally satisfying A goals, a B goal, and no C goals. My A goals were to PR, set a course record, and/or win the race. After studying the elevation chart, I knew the PR was unlikely (my current PR is 40:30, and that was run on an all-downhill course), but the course record (42:57) was in reach. Looking at past winning times, I thought winning was also in reach, but that would clearly depend on who else entered this year.

Since all those goals were dependent on outside factors, my B goal was simply to give all I had to the race. If I crossed the finish line completely spent, knowing I couldn’t have pushed harder, I’d be satisfied.

Since we had a work event in Denver on Friday night, J and I decided to get a hotel room and skip the extra driving. The race started at 9:30 and we were only about 30 minutes away, so we had plenty of time to eat some oatmeal, change outfits several times (that one was just me), and plan out the rest of our day. We arrived at the race around 8:45. I checked in, grabbed my bib, and hustled back to sit in the toasty car for a while (and change …again… into a warmer top). At about 9:05, I reluctantly got out of the car, did a mile warm-up with some quick strides, hit the bathrooms (heated, not porta-johns!), and lined up at the start.

"If I smile, I'll be warmer....right?"
“If I smile, I’ll be warmer….right?”

 

After what seemed like 8,000 announcements (not really that many. I was just cold), we were off!
image (10)

 

The first two miles were on a pretty steep downhill, and the wind was at our backs. Here were my splits and my corresponding thoughts:

Mile 1: “Too fast too fast too fast. Can’t slow down. WHAT ARE MY PARENTS DOING HERE?!” (They decided to take a spontaneous trip to see my brother in Denver and cheer me on at the race!) “That girl is getting ahead of me. Don’t let her get too far.” Split: 6:13

Mile 2:  “Let her go. She’s out of your league, and you’ll blow up trying to catch her.” Split: 6:32

During these first two miles, I made  a friend named Matt. As we turned into the wind, we took turns drafting for each other and exchanging concerns about when the uphill would begin.

Yay! Downhill! (That's my new friend in the orange)
Yay! Downhill! (That’s my new friend in the orange, and the winning woman leaving me in her dust.) Photo courtesy of runningguru.com.


Mile 3:
 “Found the uphill. Holy steep. And wind in the face. Gross. Lead girl is long gone. Hang on to second.” Split: 7:42

Mile 4: “I remember the elevation chart. It’s back to downhill after this mile. But ouch, seriously.” Split: 7:47

This is where my new friend Matt pulled ahead. There was another runner ahead of us, and Matt said, “Let’s catch him!” I told him to go on; I needed to keep something in reserves for the final uphill near the finish.

Mile 5: “Wheeeeeeee! More downhill! Headwinds while running downhill aren’t nearly as bad as uphill!” Split: 6:14

Mile 5.7: “Whoa. 5k course. Walkers. Strollers. I don’t like this.”

Mile 6: “Pass that guy in tights. Pass him on this little hill.” (Same guy I’d been tailing that Matt passed at Mile 4). Got him! Split: 6:53

Check out that ridiculous face I'm making. (photo courtesy of runningguru.com)
Check out that ridiculous face I’m making. (photo courtesy of runningguru.com)

Mile 6.01: Ouch. More uphill. Almost there. Push! Push!

MIle 6.2: Oh no, tights man. You will not come from behind now! (I beat him. Just barely.) Split: I don’t know because I didn’t stop my watch until over a minute later. 

MIle 6.21: Gasp. Gag. Don’tbarfdon’tbarfdon’tbarf. Walk it out.

Official Time: 43:00.

I neither PRd nor won. I was three seconds away from the old course record, but that didn’t matter, since the top woman ran sub-40. But I definitely made my “B” goal — I gave it all I had and pushed through on a tough course and a tougher day. So I’m pretty darn satisfied with that.

Overall, I liked this race (aside from the weather, but when you sign up for a March race in Colorado, you know what you’re potentially getting into). But it had some negatives, too. Here’s a quick rundown.

Pros

  • Well-organized. The half started about 10 minutes before the 10k, which started about 10 minutes before the 5k, and all the starts went smoothly. Bib pick-up was also very speedy and easy.
  • Indoor restrooms. This was a MAJOR plus on such a frigid day.
  • Gorgeous course. It’s in Golden, which is a beautiful area, and it circles a lake. If the weather was clear, it would have been absolutely stunning.
  • Tons of prizes. In addition to overall and age-group awards (I got a restaurant gift card for the second-place prize), the race had a ton of raffle giveaways — restaurant, massage, and running store gift cards, water bottles, gym memberships. I think they said they had over $7,000 in prizes.
  • A podium. What? Not a big deal? Whatever. I thought it was fun. Not all of us get to stand on podiums regularly.

    The top three popsicles... I mean women runners.
    The top three popsicles… I mean women runners.
  • Lots of aid stations and great volunteers. Seriously, how cool do you have to be to stand out in the freezing cold for a couple of hours, handing out water and shouting encouragement?
  • Cute shirts and medals. Honestly, I think finisher medals for short races are a little silly, but who wouldn’t love this bee?
    image (1) image (2)
  • A great cause. The race raises money for the Parkinson’s Association. Can’t fault that.
  • Free photo downloads. Many races charge obscene prices for the pictures, so getting these for free was pretty cool. Especially since I don’t want to pay for pictures in which I look like I’m simultaneously pooping and dying.

Cons: 

  • Having the 10k and the 5k course share the final 1.5 miles was not fun. It meant that the fast 10k runners came up behind the slow 5kers — people who were just there to walk it with their pals or kids, pushing strollers, etc., or as we got closer to the finish line, run-walkers who would abruptly stop and walk.  Not that there’s a thing wrong with those types of racers (J and I just walked one last weekend); it’s just a pain to bob and weave, especially when your energy is running out. A ton of people also had in headphones, so they couldn’t hear runners coming up behind them, gasping out “scuse me” or “onerleft” (that’s about all the enunciating I could do just then).
  • No hot drinks at the finish. All I wanted was something warm. Of course, if they did have coffee or hot chocolate, it would’ve been an 80-degree day and no one would have wanted it, so I can’t really fault the organizers for that one.

Overall, I enjoyed this race and recommend it. I’d do it or another All-Out Multisport event again … hopefully on a little nicer day.

Once again, I want to give a shout-out to Heather for designing my training plan. The hard, fast workouts definitely gave me the confidence to push through some of the tough spots in the race.

Tell me about a recent race of yours!

What are your tips for racing on tough days/courses?

 

10k Training Weekly Recap: Race Week!

Hello, lovely readers!

We’ve made it to the end of another week, and with that week’s end came the the end of my 10k training plan. Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 x 800m repeats with 400m recoveries. 6 miles total, followed by some core work and stretching.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy, then some core work.

Thursday: Rest. This was my least favorite day.

Friday: An easy 20 minutes (2.5 miles) with some strides, then some stretching and foam rolling.

Saturday: 
RACE DAY! I did a mile warm-up and some strides, then the race (6.2 miles, obviously). I’ll have a full recap up later this week, so for now I’ll just tell you that it was miserably cold and windy, that hill in the middle of the race that I worried about was, indeed, massive,  and I finished second female in 43:00 exactly. Here’s a photo of me freezing my buns off at the start line:

imageSunday: Rest. My training plan said to do a recovery run today, but I’m uber sore, and I also want to get back to Monday-Saturday running (no more of this 5-days-a-week business) and Sunday rest. So I settled for an easy little walk out in the beautiful sunshine. You’re a day late, sunshine.

Overall thoughts on this training cycle:  This was definitely a learning experience for me. I’d never had a training plan that I hadn’t designed myself or pulled out of a book/website, so that was interesting. And I’d never focused on short-distance speed. I think it was definitely good for me to mix it up and to add some paces I’d never considered (I never dreamed I’d be running intervals at 5:00 pace). Overall, I enjoyed it, and if you’re looking for a coach or someone to design a plan for you, go talk to Heather!

This week, I’ll start building mileage back up again (more on that Thursday), and I’ll head back to the gym for a couple strength training sessions. And, of course, I’ll get lots of extra mileage walking circles in my classroom and staring at standardized-test-taking kiddos.

(I got sidetracked for a really long time after searching “standardized test memes).

Have a great week!

Anybody else race this weekend?

What was the highlight of your weekend?

 

Thinking Out Loud: Pre-Race Jitters

I had planned to write a Throwback Thursday post about one of my favorite-ever hikes, but I cannot find the pictures from it. And it’s one that definitely needs the pictures. So instead, I’m linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons for a little bit of Thursday randomness. Enjoy this glimpse into the crazy that is my brain.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. The 10k I’ve been training for is Saturday. Turns out, I get pre-race jitters no matter the race distance. Part of the jitters this time are, I’m sure, because this training plan was so different from anything I’ve ever done. And today’s rest day is definitely not helping with the antsy-ness. Especially since it was 64 degrees this afternoon.

2. Yep, 64 today. Saturday (race day) will be 41 with a 70% chance of showers. Gotta love springtime in Colorado.

3. I wanted to take a screenshot of the forecast, but my phone is still dead. Awesome. And since I live in the boonies, I have to wait until Saturday after the race to get it replaced. Makes me very glad we bought insurance, though.

4. I’m making baked potatoes for dinner. They’ve been in the oven for an hour and are still rock hard. Reminds me of this:

5. Today was one of those ideal teaching days with my freshmen. Everyone was engaged and focused. It was awesome. I wish every day could be like that!

6. Tomorrow is the 30th birthday of one of my best friends in the entire universe. We met shortly before she moved in to my college apartment. She was good friends with our other roommate, but I hardly knew her. That summer, it was just Sam and I in our apartment. I was nervous at first. I didn’t need to be.
walrusTurns out, we got along fine.
Happy 30th, Sam! (Please don’t punch me for finding this picture and putting it on the internet).

6. Next week is standardized test week. Sarcastic yay. It is the most boring week imaginable. Teachers have to be “active proctors,” and the state of Colorado doesn’t believe that we can possible pay attention to what the kids are doing if we’re grading, or reading, or doing anything besides walking around and staring at the kids. For hours. Because if they go beyond the massive stop sign, THE WORLD WILL END! On the bright side, I won’t have much grading to do at night.

I think that’s a sufficient amount of randomness, don’t you?

Tell me something random, too!

My Top Six Health and Fitness iPhone Apps (Oh, the Irony)

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, then held off on posting it because not long after I wrote it, I read a few other very similar posts, plus a similar article on Active.com. I didn’t want to look copycatish (I like to invent words), so I kept it in the draft folder. And now that my iPhone has died and won’t be replaced until the weekend (the joys of living in the boonies), I’m posting about my favorite apps.

I’m also teaching about irony this week, so that makes it even more fitting, right?

These are six of my favorite apps, and they will be among the first (after the all-important Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, of course) that I download again when my poor little phone is replaced:

  1. Rock My Run

    I discovered this app just a few weeks ago via #Runchat on Twitter, and I really like it. It’s got DJ-mixed playlists for basically any mood and any pace.  It’s like a party on the treadmill. (I don’t listen to music outside). The shorter mixes are usually available for free; longer mixes are available with a premium account, which I don’t have, because I’m too cheap to cough up the (reasonable) $2.99 a month.
  2. Lose It!

    This one’s pretty obvious, since it’s one of the most popular health apps out there, but it’s a great one and still worth mentioning. Obviously, Lose It!’s primary job is to count calories, so if that’s not your thing, maybe this isn’t your app, either. I like to count calories every so often just to see where I’m at, especially when I’m increasing mileage (to make sure I’m fueling adequately). This app helped me realize that I tend to eat fewer than half my daily calories before dinner. Whoops. That needs worked on, for sure. Lose It! also calculates your percentages of calories from carbs, fat, and protein. I used it a lot after I read The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training, because it was a lot easier to have it calculate carbs (I was trying to eat more of them, not fewer) than to do it myself.
  3. Yoga Studio

    This terrific little app has 30 pre-designed “classes,” ranging from 15 minutes to an hour and from beginner to advanced. If you get sick of those, you can also design your own class. I have yet to make it past the beginner levels (maybe because I do yoga once in a blue moon), but they’re easy to follow, and the “instructor” has a pleasant voice. For those of us who either can’t afford or can’t seem to make it to a real yoga class, this app is a great option and well worth the $2.99
  4. Abs Trainer

    Core work is really important for runners, and I try to incorporate it after most of my runs. This app makes it super easy to do a complete core workout in whatever time and with whatever equipment I have handy. The app has a library of exercises, with step-by-step instructions and pictures so you can be sure to do them right, so you can put together your own workout. It also has pre-designed workouts, divided by difficulty and equipment needed (I usually just do bodyweight), so you can grab one of those and crank out some ab work without a ton of planning.
  5. TrainingPeaks, free

    I started using this one a couple of months ago, as Heather uses TrainingPeaks for her coaching plans. I really like it and will keep using it after this training plan is finished. It syncs with the TrainingPeaks website, so with just a tap or two, you can view or record your workouts. I like the layout and the ease of use.
  6. MilePost, free

    A daily inspirational running quote? Yes please. I scheduled mine to come right before the school day starts, which means on weekends, it comes right around when I’m starting my long run. It’s a nice little moment of happiness and motivation.

I like all these apps a lot, but I’m constantly on the lookout for more. What are your favorite health and fitness apps? 

Weekly Recap and iPhones Can’t Swim

Hi friends! How was your weekend? Mine was not too shabby except for one part… we went to a party last night, and I put my phone in my back pocket. I forgot it was there. Until I heard it splash in the toilet. Not cool. So it’s in a bag of rice (courtesy of the party hostess) until tomorrow night, and my fingers are tightly crossed that it’s not deadzo mcdeadskis.

Runners take ice baths. iPhones take rice baths.
Runners take ice baths. iPhones take rice baths.

Aside from the phone incident, the weekend was good. We had parent-teacher conferences Tuesday and Thursday nights, so we got Friday off, which was stellar. I went to Sprouts in Greeley and stocked up on tasty goodness that I can’t buy here.

Saturday J and I walked a 5k (his first!), had lunch with a friend and her sister, and then went to a Beers of the U.S. party. They had a table for six regions of the U.S., each with two beers to taste. Guests were each assigned a region and brought an appetizer from that region. It was so fun, and the food was amazing. Not healthy, but amazing. I’d love to show you some pictures, but the phone incident kept me from taking any (that’s right. Dropped the phone at the beginning of the party). I also met several new people, many of whom asked some version of, “Aren’t you that girl I see running all the time?” Yep, that;s me.

This was also my second-to-last week of 10k training. This little cycle has gone fast! Here’s how it went:

Monday: AM Speedwork: 4 x 800m stupid-fast (to me) repeats with 400m recoveries. 6 miles total.
PM: 45 minutes strength

Tuesday: Rest (I switched what was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday because of PT conferences. There was no way to get in a double on Tuesday, and I wanted to make sure I got a complete rest day this week.)

Wednesday: 6 miles easy, plus core

Thursday: 3 x 2 miles at goal 10k pace. 9 miles total. 10 minutes stretching ( was supposed to be 15 minutes, but I was short on time)

Friday: 45 minutes strength. It was gorgeous out and I wanted to run, but I contented myself with walking to and from the gym.

Saturday: 6 miles. I was tempted to run the 5k that we walked, but after a Twitter conversation with Heather and Holly (both coaches, i.e. smarter than Cassie), I decided against it. Both ladies said that racing wouldn’t be conducive to a solid 10k effort next weekend. Theoretically, I could have just done it easy, as part of the 6-miler, but I like to win these local races, and I know my competitive self well enough to know that as soon as I got passed, the whole “training run” mindset would go out the window, and instead, I’d be like this guy:

and then I’d crank out some speed. I had decided just to cheer on Jordan, but Friday night, he asked me to walk it with him. And I couldn’t say no to my favorite human.

I got up early(ish) to do my 6-miler. I had to start in the dark, so I chose the treadmill, which was actually nice, because I could model the run after the elevation chart for next week’s 10k (i.e. throw in a giant hill mid-run, and a little hill at the end). Then I rinsed off, changed clothes (but not into warm enough ones… holy cow, that was a cold and windy walk), and walked the 5k with the husband. We were being all cute and holding hands at the finish… and then he dropped my hand and hustled in front of me to “win.”

Sunday: 4-mile recovery run. It’s easy to run slowly when it’s so nice out that you never want to go inside. But eventually I did, and then did some core.

This week is a little taper week for Saturday’s race. I have only one hard workout (Tuesday; the same intervals as last week), an extra rest day (Thursday), and a short little shakeout Friday morning. I know it will be hard mentally,  as race weeks always are, but I’m actually looking forward to it. I don’t have any evening commitments on training days, so that means no 4:20 wake-ups.

I’m hoping the extra sleep and easy training will come together for a solid race Saturday. I don’t know about a PR… I looked at the race website again last night and saw that the course record is slower than my PR (thanks, I’m sure, to the giant hill). But if I run a PR effort, I’ll be happy. And I’ll be really grateful that I’ve been hitting hills now and then in training.

I hope your week and weekend were nice, too, and I hope the upcoming week is super!

How was your weekend?

Do people know you as “that person who runs”?

Ever dropped an electronic in water and had it survive? Please tell me that there is hope…

That 39+1 Survey That All the Cool Kids Did

Fact: It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m trying to get a couple of posts schedules so I can keep up my Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday posting schedule.

Fact: I am short on time, and don’t have the time to write anything thought-provoking (as though I ever do that) or humorous.

Fact: I loved this silly surveys when I was in middle school and e-mail was new and cool, and I still get a kick out of them, so I’m doing this one that’s been around the blogosphere approximately 7 billion times. Originality is not my strong suit.

1. Were you named after anyone? Nope. My parents just liked the name “Cassie.” I’m not even Cassandra, because that’s stuffy. (Sorry if that’s your name. No offense meant).

2. When was the last time you cried? Sad cried? I don’t know. But last week, my students were playing a vocab review game, and they got so hilarious that I laughed so hard I cried. And that’s always better than sad crying, anyway.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Not really. Especially when I’m grading essays at lightning speed, and then my students can’t decipher my comments. Oops.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Leftovers from dinner. Wait, did you mean sandwich meat? I don’t eat that. I always eat leftovers for lunch, because I’m poor and lazy.

5. Do you have kids? Just one…
j croppedThat’s a joke. I adore and respect my husband. Calm down.

6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Obviously. I am the coolest. 

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? If by “a lot” you mean “Every other sentence,” then yes.

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes. Because I’m not a sally.

9. Would you bungee jump? Absolutely. And I wouldn’t have a melodramatic breakdown first like every girl who has ever been on The Bachelor.

10 What is your favorite cereal? I love all the cereal. I cannot choose a favorite.

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? My running shoes, because they’re tied too tightly to get off otherwise. Otherwise, I don’t really wear shoes with laces.

12. Do you think you are strong? Duh. Have you seen these guns?

13. What is your favorite ice cream? True story: I don’t really eat ice cream. I’ll have a couple of bites of J’s, but more than that hurts my stomach. Sad story, huh?

14. What is the first thing you notice about other people? Depends on who it is, I guess. I mean, if it’s this guy:
 (source)
Well…. you know.

15. Red or pink? Pink. I’m not super girly, but I do love me some pink.

16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? I don’t like this question. “Let’s think about all the things I don’t like and pick the one I like least!” Terrible idea, survey-maker.

17. Any tattoos? Just the ones from the bubble gum packages. (Do they still sell those? If so, I’m going shopping).

18. Do you have any hobbies?
 Aside from the obvious (writing/blogging, running, reading, bothering my husband)? Hm…I used to play the piano. I miss it, but my piano is still at my parents’ house, and there are these mountains between us that put a damper on getting it. Also, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have time to play much.

19. What color shoes are you wearing? Shoes are not for inside.

20. What was the last thing you ate? Blackberries. Remarkably delicious ones.

21. What are you listening to right now? A bird outside making noises and my dryer making horrible squeaky sounds that we can’t figure out how to fix.

22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Remember when you were a kid, and you drew a Caucasian person but didn’t have the skin-tone crayon, so you just left his skin uncolored? That’s my natural skin tone, so I don’t think I’d be a crayon.

23. Favorite smells? Freshly cut hay, flowers, vanilla, chocolate

Mmm. Best smell in the world. (source)

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My parents are the only non-work people I ever talk to on the phone.

25. Mountain hideaway or beach house? All of the above.

26. Favorite sport to watch? In person? Hockey. I haven’t actually watched hockey since college, but I’ll assume I still like it because it’s the only live sport I’ve ever enjoyed watching. On TV? Whatever J is watching while I screw around on my computer and don’t watch at all. 

27. Hair color? Red, baby.

28. Eye colors? Blue.

29. Do you wear contacts? Only when I want to see.

30. Scary movies or happy endings? I cannot do scary. Happy only, please.

31. Last movie you watched?  I actually have no idea. I’m really bad at watching movies at home… if one is on, I get distracted and do something else. And I don’t remember the last one I saw in the theater… Saving Mr. Banks, maybe?

32. What color shirt are you wearing? I blog naked.

That is a joke. Don’t make it weird.

33. Summer or winter? Summer. So much summer.

34. Hugs or kisses? I can’t even believe that Cori chose hugs. I’m not sure we can be friends any longer. Kisses are SO much better.

I don’t even know why I think that’s funny.

35. Computer or television? Computer. Because then I can do 87 things at once, and that’s healthy. (See #7)

36. What book are you reading right now? A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It’s supposed to be this classic coming-of-age story, but thus far, it’s pretty boring.

37. What’s on your mouse pad? I don’t know. The only one I have is at work, and though I use it every day, I cannot tell you what it looks like. That’s pathetic.

38. What color is your house? House colored.

39. What color is your car? White

Additional question from Cori at OlivetoRun:

Why isn’t there a number 40? I hate odd numbers so I’m going to make one up.

40. What you go back to school for if money wasn’t an issue? Something health related — nutrition, maybe.

Fact: I’m not going back to proofread this post. Sorry for the inevitable typos.

Did you like these surveys when you were a kid? Do you still?

Answer any of those survey questions for yourself!

Four Tasty Recipes my Internet Friends Invented

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am absolutely not a food blogger. I love to cook (and eat!) delicious, nutritious foods, but I tend to follow recipes, not invent them. And even if I did invent unique and delectable recipes, I am certainly not a food photographer. Staging it, making sure the lighting is right, taking its picture…. all before eating it? Not this girl. 

Luckily, the Internet is a huge place filled with bloggers with much more talent than I. So without further ado, I bring you some of the tastiest things I’ve made lately from recipes created by those talented bloggers. All the images are borrowed from and link back to the original post.

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole from Fit Foodie Finds.Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato CasseroleThis is really delicious and incredibly easy to make. One-pot dishes are the best for busy days, and this really fit the bill. And it makes quite a bit, so we had plenty of leftovers for lunches all week.

Healing Vegetable Soup from The Lyon’s Share
Healing Vegetable Soup from The Lyons' ShareThis soup is amazing. Seriously, cancel whatever you had planned for dinner and go make this. I just keep making it and packing it for lunches every week. Delicious and chock-full of vegetables? Winning!

Sweet Potato Stir Fry from Fuel Your Future with Tina

I just recently discovered Tina’s blog, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Tina is a wicked-fast elite marathoner, and she posts wicked-tasty recipes that are also excellent running/recovery fuel. This stir fry is fast enough for a weeknight and way tastier than my usual stir-fry recipe (which is really not a recipe so much as “throw some meat and veggies in a wok with soy sauce”).

PB2 Granola Bars from Delicious as it Looks

PB2 Quinoa Granola Bars {Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Low-FODMAP}  /  Delicious as it LooksThese are terrific for breakfast alongside my usual smoothie. And they came together really quickly, too. I didn’t even have chocolate chips, and they were still yummy.

Definitely try out these recipes and check out the four blogs they link to. All are wonderful (and have way better pictures than I ever do).

 

Do you invent recipes?

Find or make any good ones lately? Feel free to link up in the comments!

 

Two More Weeks: 10k Training Week 6 Recap

Happy Daylight Savings, friends! Anybody else excited for an extra hour of evening daylight? The first few mornings of daylight savings are rough, but the evenings are glorious! I’m so excited to get more outdoor workouts in again. Of course, Wednesday will be my only outside evening this week, thanks to parent-teacher conferences, but the next weeks will be fantastic.

Anyway, let’s look back at this week’s training. I can’t believe I’ve been following this plan for six weeks already!

Monday: Ok, the schedule said “rest.” BUT I’d just taken Thursday and Friday as rest, thanks to the stomach flu, and then this happened:
photo 1
And I had time to run a little before dark. So I did. I ran four miles, and ran them super slowly, so really, it was just Sunday’s scheduled recovery run a day late. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Either way, I enjoyed the run in the sun, so it was worth it. I followed the run with some 8-minute abs to get my 1990’s fitness on.

Tuesday:
AM: 4x800m intervals with 800m recoveries. The intervals were supposed to be at 5:00 pace, but I didn’t have it in me. Probably because I ran 10 Saturday, 8 of intervals Sunday, and then ran Monday. I never claimed to be smart. I averaged 5:15ish for the repeats. 7 miles total with warm-up and cool-down.
PM: 45 minutes strength.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy, plus core work

Thursday: Eight 0.5-mile repeats with 0.5-mile recoveries. I ran the repeats at 6:25ish pace, which is right about what the training plan said to do, so I felt better about Thursday’s workout than Tuesdays. 9 miles total, plus stretching.

Friday: 45 minutes strength. I’m not going to lie, folks: the first thing I’m doing after this 10k is bringing back the six-day running week. I miss it like nobody’s business. (Yes,  I realize that this was a six-day week, but that’s because I’m weak and couldn’t resist the weather on Monday.)

Saturday: 8-mile progression run. I went out to the only decent hills around here, which definitely helped my mile splits to progress appropriately. The first four miles were mostly uphill and into the wind. The last four were downhill with the wind at my back. I’m a dirty cheater, maybe, but I’m okay with it.
photo 2 (3) I finished my run and took this picture because my hair was doing crazy things in the wind. It was super fun to brush out later.

Sunday: 4-mile recovery run. The weather was stunning today — 65 degrees and no wind. I wanted to run for-ev-er, but I was NOT a rebel today. Feel free to praise me profusely. I also did some core work post-run. I can’t wait until we get our backyard done and I have grass in which to do my post-run stuff on nice days. It will be glorious.

Totals: 38 miles running, 15 minutes stretching (because I forgot to stretch on Saturday), 1.5 hours strength. Zero rest days, which is probably not great, but I’ll take a rest day this Tuesday. It’s scheduled for tomorrow, but with PT conferences, it works better for me to work out tomorrow and rest Tuesday.

How did your training week go? Anybody race?

Daylight Savings: Love it or hate it? 

WordPress just told me this is my 100th blog post. Just thought I’d throw that in here, because why not.