WomenRaces.com is starting an Inspirational Fit Female Blogging Campaign just in time for Mother’s Day and as a Mile Motivator, I was asked to write a post about a woman in my life who inspires me. Truthfully, in thinking about this post, I struggled to come up with who to write about. Not because I don’t know any inspirational women, but because I know so many that I wasn’t sure who to select to write about. Really, I’m still not. So instead, I decided I’d just blurb on a few of the inspirational women in my life. So strap on your seat belts and let’s get started.
Big surprise, the first three are my mama and sibs. Numero Uno! My mama. She is an incredible woman who raised 4 children who were all a handful at one point or another and has managed to infuse love, happiness, and faith into all of our lives. I could not have asked for a better support system or a more motivating person if I tried. She has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, no matter what anyone else shalf rays.
Second up, middle sis. While I can’t say that she is the one who got me involved with fitness, she has definitely inspired me to get after it every day since then. They say that when you get involved in healthy living, inevitably other friends and family will follow suit, and that was definitely the case with us. She is a heavy hitter as far as endurance sports, tucking several half marathons and triathlons under her belt. Coming up this year, she is planning on tackling not one, but two half Iron Man races as well as the Chicago Marathon in October.
Next is baby sis. If nothing else, she is direct. Sometimes abrasively so, but if tough love is what you need, she is your girl. She is also incredibly hard working, brilliantly crafty (I mean it, if it’s on Pinterest, she’s probably made it) and a comically hilarious woman that makes me laugh as often as she drives me crazy. Life is never boring with her around.
All my awesome lady friends from Sweat Pink, Team Tough Chik, WomenRaces.com, Under Armour ‘What’ Beautiful,’ and Chicago Spartan follow closely behind. I have never met a more inspiring group of women and am always floored by the accomplishments of these women as well as their spirit and motivation. I feel so incredibly privileged to be a part of so many groups of women who are out there kicking ass and taking names every day. Not going to lie, most days I only hope that I can be such a positive influence for others as they are for me.
Truly, the list could go on and on as I know so many amazing women, but really, who has that much time? So tell me, who are some of the incredible women that you know? If you write a blog and want to join the WomenRaces.com’s Inspirational Fit Female Blogging Campaign WomenRaces.com’s, check out how here.
Maybe this is uncalled for or maybe it’s just rude, but I am calling people out on what I think of as bad online etiquette and what kind of gets under my skin.
First off, spammers to my page’s inbox…. seriously? Go away. No, I don’t care about clicking your magic link to get 20-30 new fans. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE new fans. But I’d rather do it the old fashioned way that is unlikely to give me some sort of computer virus or catch me up in a never ending cycle of email spam.
Second, other fitness pages – holy moley do I totally love you and want to share the fitness love right back. But stopping instructing me to share you all over my page. I will definitely check you out and if I think that your messages are awesome and something all my followers should see, you better believe that I will be hyping your name up all over my page. Take a look, I do that for people all the time. But it gets me a little irked when you post on my page saying, hey, check me out and tell your fans to like me too. Um, how about let me make my own call about what to share? If you’re fan-freaking-tastic, you’ll make the list, don’t worry. Just say “Hi from XXXX” or some variation instead of “Like me and share me if you want to live!” Haha
Third, body haters who love to send anonymous messages. I’m not perfect. I don’t expect to be. I’m working towards being healthy and fit and to be truthful, I don’t really care what you think about where I’m at now. I love my body AT EVERY STAGE. And even if I weren’t sure about that, my boyfriend takes every opportunity he can to tell me how beautiful I am. So, I write about what works for me, what inspires me, and what I love. If you don’t like what I have to say, feel free to respectfully disagree. But seriously, sending anonymous messages saying that I’m fat so I clearly have no right to talk about fitness and no idea what is healthy is just ignorant. So quit with your body shaming because I’m just not interested.
Alright, I’ll get down off my soapbox now. I just needed to get that out of my system.
Okay, so I know that I am a bit late, but it is finals week, so you’ll have to forgive me. Anyway, you guys are such rockstars and I never imagined when I started my page on Facebook that I would at some point be reaching thousands of people. Truly, it blows my mind and is so incredibly humbling. So to celebrate hitting 3,000 fans last week, it’s time for a giveaway!! Go to the link below to enter and please, please, please share with your friends and family for a chance to win a $25 Target gift card and some other fun swag! Winner will be announced Saturday, May 11, so get to clickin’!
Sometimes races just don’t go like you planned – sometimes for the better, sometimes frustratingly much worse. Saturday morning was definitely one of those mornings. After working until 10 pm at night on Friday, I had packed myself into the car and hit the road to head down to Shelbyville, IN, where I was going to crash for the Spartan Sprint the next day in Laurel. To say it was a long drive is an understatement. I’m sure that when I signed up for the race that I looked it up and saw just how far it was to get there, but I probably assumed that I’d take the day off Friday and drive down, instead of heading out after a long shift. Either way, that’s how it ended up and I got into Shelbyville at about 3:30 in the morning Indiana time. Yes, they have a time change even though they are in the middle of the Midwest and no one else does. How goofy.
Anyway, Melanie and I got up the next morning ready to hit the road and get to the race. On the hour drive there, we both ‘fessed up that we had considered not coming to the race, but the thought that three of us had signed up and the other 2 were probably expecting us made each of us decide just to come anyway. Haha. When we finally arrived in Laurel, it was like the weird creepy town that time forgot. On the road we passed this house with a decently wooded backyard and all of the sudden you could see this old metal child’s bedframe and a halfway rotted out carousel pony tucked into the trees. Creepy……
We finally arrived at Haspin Acres and got checked in. However, when we went to put our stuff in bags to check, they all kept busting open! Apparently it wasn’t from our trying to shove too much stuff into it, but just because the bags were low quality. One of the race volunteers said that everyone’s bags kept breaking. Hmmm, poor planning there….
So we meet up with our third runner, Gwen, who is a buddy of mine from the gym and we get set to race. At least this time it wasn’t freezing out and when the sun was shining, it was decently warm. We started at 11:30 am with the rest of the Chicago Spartan team, though after probably the first 20 minutes, we didn’t see them again for the rest of the race. We were content to be fairly slow runners, walking whenever we needed it. And we needed it a lot because this course was ALL HILLS. I mean ALL. And not gradual hills, oh no, hugely steep hills, covered in slick mud or loose dirt, so that the chances of falling were pretty high. Add to that that I have not been A+ on my running lately and pretty soon, my calves were burning and I was hating the sight of more hills. Though we pretty much stayed together, it was more that Mel and Gwen would walk/jog ahead and then would wait for me to catch up. While this was great in theory since they got a break, it kind of sucked for me because we’d move on as soon as I got there. Granted, I definitely took a few breaks of my own and at times would just stop us all and say I needed a minute. That was actually super frustrating because I KNOW that I am a better athlete than that and I kind of felt like I was sucking the entire course.
The obstacles weren’t too bad. A lot were repeats from when Mel and I did the Super in October with our team, but it was the crazy hilly terrain that really made the race a huge challenge. Gwen was hilariously perky though, keeping us laughing the whole time, whether it was proclaiming that this was the best day EVER or remembering (a little too late) that she was scheduled to have a boudoir photo shoot the next day and hmmm, permanent marker, bumps, scrapes, and bruises would just photograph wonderfully. Haha. At some point, and trust me, I couldn’t even tell you how we got there, we decided our made up team name (in keeping with the last Spartan Race tradition of Team F*** Casey) was going to be Team Spartan Giraffe. I’m sure we were pretty entertaining for the other runners on the course with our random throwing up of our hands and making weird animal noises…. because who really knows what sound a giraffe makes, so you couldn’t tell us we were wrong! We hit everything from cat purring to doves cooing to random phases like “Ow!’ Apparently, I was the well-educated, verbal giraffe….
Unfortunately, at about mile 3.5, after completing the sandbag carry up and down a hill, I had to concede that my hip problems were flaring up (probably because of some major spills I took early on in the race) and that I needed to be smart enough to not finish the race rather than pushing through. I was extremely frustrated because I HATE quitting, but my hip was already grinding in its socket and I was having problems walking on flat ground, let alone traverse another mile or two of hills and obstacles. Thankfully, we were close enough to the finish that I could cut across the parking lot and wait for my team mates to finish there. So that’s what I did.
I walked over to the festival area, got our gear, and after taking a look at the 30 minute wait for the garden hose showers, I elected to go jump in the lake to wash off. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, was it cold! Myself and about 10 other men had decided to use the lake instead of the showers and all of us were hopping around, trying to wash off as quickly as we could. I ended up wading out to about waist level and just dunking. I rinsed out my hair and my clothes, before returning to shore and grabbing my towel. I may have forgotten that my change of clothes were in the car, so I ended up in my sports bra and capris, with a towel wrapped around me. Thank goodness the sun was fully out now, so that it was pretty warm.
Melanie and Gwen finished with huge smiles and Mel finally succeeded in her goal to hug the gladiators at the end, so everyone was happy. Mel even went and grabbed a medal for me, even though I didn’t officially finish. The girls went to wash up in the lake and then we went to the changing tents so Gwen could get dressed and Mel could rinse out her race shoes. By that time, I was tired of wet clothes, so I stripped and like the Spartan chick I am, proceeded to walk around in just my towel til we got back to the car.
Then it was time for warm clothes and food! Yum food! We ended up stopping at Cracker Barrel for lunch before beginning the long trek home. I ended the day sunburned, bruised and scraped up, cut from barbed wire, and with a throbbing hip, but in a great mood from fun with two of my good friends. Even though I was frustrated about not being able to finish, it was a great race and I’m so glad that we inducted Gwen into our little group of obstacle course race lovers!
Shock and grief rippled across the nation again yesterday as explosions went off at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding over 100. The closest explosion was less than 150 yards from the finish line, a place where thousands of runners and their families congregate to reunite and celebrate the accomplishment of finishing such a well-known race. For some, that finish was never to come.
The ensuing hours were full of confusion and chaos as first responders and police worked to care for the injured and investigate the situation. Though two IEDs went off, police were fortunately able to locate another 2 before they were detonated and save that many more people from peril.
I personally knew a handful of people that were running in the marathon yesterday, as well as having several contacts through my various fitness groups that had planned to run. One of these incredible ladies talked about how she was just down the street when the first of the explosions went off. She had previously had to slow down a bit and reflected on the fact that if she had kept up her pace, she would have been right there when it occurred. Scary thought, huh?
However, runners are a different breed. We band together, we rally, and most importantly, we persevere. So it is unsurprising that rather than breaking down into a panic induced riot, many runners either came to the aid of victims or finished the race and kept going right on to the hospital to donate blood for the injured parties. What a statement of strength.
I was at work when I heard about the tragedy in Boston, in the middle of an 8 hour shift at the health club, where it immediately became the main topic of conversation. I was talking to one of my co-workers about the evolution of terror that has occurred over the past several decades. Initially, if someone wanted to strike out, there was usually some sort of assassination attempt, whether it be at the President or some other well known figure. However, that is only one person and while we as a nation always mourn those losses, there is inevitably someone else who can step up and take the reins. Well, that isn’t the long lasting kind of effect that the people, the ones that like to inflict damage and hurt others, are looking for. So what have they done? They have realized that it is more painful, more effective, and more unlikely to be able to be prevented when they strike out at random events, hurting and killing innocent people. And so that is what has become the reality of underhanded scare tactics.
But I think that they forgot to take one thing into account, something that I have seen over and over in the past 24 hours. That instead of cowering in fear, we are banding together, standing strongly united against any comers who would think to try to bully or scare us. In the years since 9/11, America has refused to go quietly, but fights back. We take on a mentality of ‘Just try to stop us. We are stronger than you’ll ever know and we will never let you run us off. I’m right here. If you want me, come and get me.’ It would be easier to just lay down and take it. It would be more comfortable to bunker down in our houses and protect our children and say, “I want you safe, so stay right here.” It’s natural. I can’t tell you how many phone calls and messages I got last night from people thinking of me because I’m a runner. Because I participate in those big race events (not marathons, but still events with thousands of participants). Because that easily could have been in Chicago in a race I was in.
But I refuse to give in. I refuse to live in a culture of fear or to let this tragedy stop me from getting out there and living my life. Because that is when they really win. So today I, like thousands of runners across the US, will put on a race shirt and lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement in support of Boston. To show them we love them. To show them that we care and are thinking of them. And to show the cowardly bastards that attacked them that we are not ever going to go quietly. So please, just try to stop us.
So, there are a lot of blog/website people who have this great routine of posts that they do every week, whether it is the weekly chase on Monday to post goals, What I Ate Wednesday, or Thankful Thursday/Throwback Thursday (whichever you prefer). Clearly, I am usually not one of them. I eat a lot of the same food over and over, so I’m guessing you probably don’t want to see my steak and asparagus dinners every week. Lol. Plus, since I started this blog for me, I tend to write when I am inspired by something and worry less about how consistently I am posting for people. If you want consistent, go check me out on FB, I guarantee, you’ll get more posts daily than you thought possible. But as for here, well, I’m only concerned about writing when I really have something to say.
That being said, I decided that today, since it was such a nasty, gray, rainy day here, that I would practice an attitude of gratitude instead of bitching about the weather, so here are a few things that I am thankful for today.
And just to follow the crowd a bit, here’s a throwback for this rainy Thursday since it was on the radio this week.
I broke my vagina…. aka I decided to try a cycling class and holy mother of god are those bikes uncomfortable. Especially if you are a big girl like yours truly.
I mean, overall, I liked the class. The instructor, Traci, was awesome – super nice and energetic, but not overly perky while the rest of us were dying, the music was great, the energy was high, and she put on Lord of the Rings for part of it, so hey, she’s already got my vote. We started off nice and slow with a warm-up over a couple of songs before getting down to business. And after about a half hour, I was ready for the class to be over. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, I definitely was, but because my butt was starting to get really sore from sitting in the saddle so long. I mean, really?! Is it too much to ask for a little padding?? And someone tell me, what is with these goofy pedals with the clips on them?
But, since I am not a quitter, I just kept on pushing. Granted, I took multiple breaks throughout the class, whether that was just pausing for a couple seconds or sitting out an entire song because I simply couldn’t handle sitting anymore. That was actually the funny part. My legs were totally fine. I mean, burning from pushing hard, but not painful and not giving out. It was my butt that was preventing me from really taking advantage of the last 20 or so minutes of class. I participated, but not at the same level as before and definitely not as quickly. Which was insanely frustrating because in my head, if I was taking a break or slowing down or anything, it should have been because my legs were worn out, not because I couldn’t stand to sit on that darned bike seat anymore!
We wrapped up class with some stretching and I felt exhausted, but accomplished, despite my breaks and sore bottom and all. I stopped and talked with Traci after class to check in about what I thought. I told her that I loved it, didn’t expect to be quite so sore. She laughingly told me that was perfectly normal and to just wait until the next morning.
As I headed to bed that night, I could DEFINITELY feel the soreness really starting to set in and wondered how this would affect my training with Dan the next day. Maybe I should just call him and cancel? But what do I say? “Hey Dan, it’s Casey. I can’t come in tomorrow….. Why? Oh, because I broke my vagina. Sorry. See you Friday.” Haha, that would have been quite a call. Instead, I decided to just toughen up and push through it, but here I am, sitting at practicum two days later and I’ll let you in on a secret…. My butt is still sore.
Lesson learned? Find some padded shorts or buy a bike seat cover before hitting cycling class again.
QOTD: Have you ever had to learn a fitness lesson the hard way? What was it?