Category Archives: Life Lessons
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.
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 I get that the end of winter is dragging on and on like a bad house guest who just won’t go home and that is making everyone cranky and whiny and mopey. I get it. Why? Because that is about where I am at myself. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and turn into a big blob for most of the winter, with all the short-tempered, depressed-ness to go along with it. That being said, I’m going to throw off all of that, even when all I want to do is take a nap, to talk about some of the ROCKSTAR things that have been going on in my life recently because gosh darn it, they are worth celebrating!!
#1 – I started a project of learning to love spending quality time with myself, so once a month I go on a “date” with myself to do something I’ll enjoy, without having to deal with anyone else’s schedules or issues or whatever.
#2 – I completed my first half marathon in February for my one year running anniversary at Disney World with my sister and one of my closest cousins. What better way to celebrate an awesome year of taking on new challenges than by doing it up Disney style! (And no, I still haven’t posted about it… I’m getting there! I promise!)
#3 – I knocked out a 51 page group proposal for school that I never thought I’d finish and I am damn proud of the end product. Now, let’s just hope my professor agrees.
#4 – I started seeing a really nice man, who treats me pretty darn well and makes me smile. Can’t ask for more than that.
#5 – Project Girl Get Fit hit 1,500 followers on Facebook and 500 followers on Twitter. What WHAT!!
#6 – This one is kind of shallow and superficial, but hey, whatever. I can officially wrap up in one of the towels at the gym for my shower. That sounds incredibly silly, but I have never (to my memory) been able to use less than two because between my boobs and my stomach, it always, ALWAYS gapped. But I went to take a quick shower after work Friday and lo and behold! One towel baby! Heck yes.
#7 – I was picked to be a race ambassador for not one, but TWO races in Chicago this summer! Yeah buddy! One is the Pretty Muddy mud run and the other is for Esprit de She, which is Lifetime Fitness’ new race series. They cover everything from 5k races to triathlons and since I decided to try a tri this summer, I’m going to be blogging for them about my training and my experience at the race. Can anybody say super sweet?! I’m way excited to be involved in this brand new race series!
#8 – My mom just bought a new house that I am helping her renovate while we sell the old one. Yay for fresh starts!
#9 – In three weeks, I’m flying off to Nashville with some of my best girls to celebrate my 27th birthday! And then when I come back, the family and I are going out to a swanky dinner to celebrate. Read: a new dress may be making an appear.
#10 – I am just all around happy with my life. There are still parts to adjust and things to work on, but I am all around peachy keen.
So, let’s get some love going out there. What are you celebrating today? Tell me all about it!
So I haven’t been hitting the gym regularly to get my workouts in the past couple weeks or so and was getting pretty frustrated at myself for my “lack of commitment.” Add in the fact that lately, I’ve just been tired a lot and you have one grumpy Casey. I was talking with a friend about it over the weekend and, as usual, she had some pretty good input for me that helped me get my head on straight.
- Getting active doesn’t have to equal hitting the gym for a workout. My mom just bought a new house and I’ve been spending plenty of time packing, schlepping boxes around, painting, and doing other random things to help with the renovations.
- I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder and this ongoing cold weather ridiculousness is really slowing me down, so it’s okay that I feel tired. I really am.
- I’m at the midway point in my semester which means that a lot of my energy has been focused on finding an internship for next year and getting assignments done. School’s important and sometimes it just has to be the top priority, even if I’d like to be doing other things (like going to dance class).
- I work part time at a job that is much more active than my previous job (which was a desk job), so even if I am not working out on those days (which sometimes I do!), I am still getting up and moving around, which counts for something.
- I am my own biggest critic and need to learn to give myself credit for the good steps I take, not just the bad ones. I’m getting better, but it still needs work.
Sometimes, you really just need someone to smack you upside the head and tell you you’re being an idiot.
I was really happy that I got to spend some quality time cooking this weekend though! I made lunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday and yum was it tasty! Saturday we had marinated flank steak with grilled garlic asparagus.
Then, I did food prep for some garlic swiss steak sandwiches for lunches this week, which was pretty simple. I toasted some ciabatta rolls on the griddle and then layered 4-6 oz of steak seasoned with garlic salt between two slices of Swiss cheese. Tasty!
Sunday we had steak tacos which were pretty damn tasty. I roped my brother into helping my cook Sunday and we had a glass of wine while we puttered around the kitchen. Cooper’s Hawk White Sangria = pretty damn tasty!
Supposedly it is now officially spring, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the weather here in Chicago. Today it’s a high of less than 20 degrees and they were saying that with the windchill, it feels about 2 degrees outside. Eek! No thank you! I can’t wait for it to get a bit warmer so that it is officially time to start wearing warm weather clothes. My brother and sisters laugh at me a little bit because I am at the point where I have started dressing for the weather that I want, not the weather that actually is, like I could will it into being warmer out. Sigh. If only!
I’ve been slacking on the blog front lately, other than a few quick race recaps or tossing up some workouts for everyone, but to be honest, I’m in a bit of a writing funk. Well, I’m in a little bit of an everything funk. It’s hitting about that time in the semester when it seems like everything is looming, so I have been running from one place to another trying to get everything done and spending my free time trying to catch up on some z’s. Not the best way to deal with everything, but it really is my own fault since I am such a procrastinator. I just feel like inspiration comes that much more easily when I am up against a hard deadline.
My workouts are going alright. Not spectacular, but alright. They are getting done and that is important, but a lot of it right now is just habit. If I was basing my workouts on motivation, well let’s just say there would be a lot fewer of them. Food is hit or miss, but generally on target. I need to start tightening up the rules again as I have gotten a bit lax in all this cold winter weather about eating tasty, not 100% healthy for me foods that make me full and content and warm.
However, my writing is taking the biggest hit. Lately, I feel drained and having a difficult time finding things to write about that keep everything fresh and entertaining and real, so my posts have been dropping off to once a week at best. Not how I want to be running this site and not inspirational or motivational to anyone, including myself. One of the big tips that they give you as a blogger is to be very consistent. Post consistently, give readers (in part) what they expect and want so that they keep coming back. Now, if I were wise, I would line up some guests bloggers to help fill the gaps, but as of yet, I have not done so. However, I am think that some changes and revamps are in order at this point, so don’t give up on me just yet! And keep your eyes peeled for what comes next!
Today marks the one year anniversary since I quit smoking. And most hours of most days, I am 100% pleased with that decision. Not only am I happier and healthier than I was a year ago, but not having to buy multiple packs of cigarettes every week definitely saved me a fair bit of money. Granted, I turned around and dumped it right back into the gym, so it’s not like I really kept any of it, but still.
There are times where part of me has that “Ugh, I wish I hadn’t quit smoking!” reaction, but it is usually when I’m either supremely stressed out or so frustrated with a person or situation that the other alternative is to just pop them in the nose. However, usually within a few minutes of wishing that, I am right back to being glad that I quit smoking and even when I am not, I refuse to give in and start up again. It just seems pointless at this point in my life and really, I’m convinced that it probably wouldn’t even be that satisfying if I did. How do I know that? Because I’ve given into other cravings in the past, such as the “Oh my god, I really want that blah blah item from fast food restaurant blah and I want it NOW!” Guess what, whatever it was, it never really tasted as great as I wanted it to or was as satisfying as I thought it would be. Hence, cigarettes = not as satisfying as they seem into those rare moments = waste of time, money, and all the hard work I’ve put in.
Now that I am no longer smoking, I also recognize all the little things that come along with it that I knew, but maybe didn’t experience or register as a smoker. Like that it smells ALL THE TIME and even hours after hanging out with my friends who are still smokers, I can get a big whiff of it. Truth be told, most of the time, I shower as soon as I can after leaving because I can’t stand my hair smelling like smoke and then hanging around my face all day. Ick. I don’t miss the yellowy fingers from smoke stain, the hacking coughs I would get from random phlegm (ew, this was the big ew), how I seemed to need cigarettes to get through stressful situations (I was a big chain smoker when I was really stressed. During the exact situation, not before or after), or how I even tasted like old cigarettes. I never really thought about that one, but since I quit, I kissed a smoker and it really is like licking an ashtray — gross and dirty tasting. Really, I couldn’t even enjoy it.
Anyway, so I was lucky when I quit. For the most part, for me it was a habit and a social vice, but not something that I was addicted to. I have always been fortunate in that when I decide to quit something, I’ve never had the physical addiction part to battle whether that was alcohol, cigarettes, weed, or crappy food. It’s also why I refuse to think poorly about people who struggle with quitting. It can be difficult to battle all of those things and if you are fighting the physical compulsion to do it as well? Well you are strong and brave person, something other people may not be able to see. Most of my struggle was completing the same tasks or being in situations where I used to smoke and choosing not to just because I was used to the pattern. So in my mind, I had it easy when I tried to quit. But I did it. Whether it’s easy or hard, anyone who quits deserve a boatload of credit because it is a big lifestyle change.
So here is to all the people struggling to quit something negative in your life. Here’s to the people who have already done it and hold strong. Here’s to the midnight cravings, the urge to just have a little, and the battle in your mind between giving in and staying strong. Take it a day at a time. Hell, take it an hour at a time if you have to. You CAN do this. And you’ll be happy you did in the end.
One of the things that I have truly learned in the past year is how to really love and appreciate my body for what it is and where it is at. If I hadn’t known that already, it would have become glaringly clear this weekend. Wanna know why? Because I, in all my “still getting in shape, but not quite there” glory, ran around Chicago in my underwear. And yes, I mean that quite literally.
As I was prepping for this over the past week or so, one of the things that I heard the most often was, “You’re running in your underwear?! I could never do that!” And I get it. It’s pretty much instant vulnerability if you aren’t a smoking hot Victoria Secret model or a beast athlete. Heck, even then you might have some hang ups about taking off all your clothes and running down the street (not to mention adding in 30 ish degree weather!) and really, who could blame you?
I certainly don’t. To be honest, for the most part, I didn’t dwell too much on the almost naked part. It was a run for charity that I was running with a big group of people, albeit ones I had never met, as well as my sister, so I decided that I was going to knuckle down and do it… Regardless of how cold it was, how outside my comfort zone it might be, or who might be out on the streets to see our mad dash.
The day of the race, my sister got sick. No good! Then, when I got to the bar we were starting out from, one of the first things that I noticed was that 95% of people were skinny, pretty, in shape little things. My first thought was that clearly this race idea belonged to a man. My second was to starting humming “One of these things is not like the others” in my head. I was definitely feeling a little out of place and had some insecurities surfacing.
But then I made myself stop and think about it. I was raising money for a good cause, right? RIGHT! I was in shape enough to complete the run, being a little over a mile, right? RIGHT!! So why the heck should I care what anyone else thinks of my body? I have worked hard to get were I am and I am damn proud of my body, even if no one else is. And to be quite frank, I decided that if anyone didn’t like that I was a big girl running around in my bra, boxers, and knee socks, that they didn’t have to watch and that I just didn’t really care. YEAH!
I ended up having a great time. I met some incredible people, raised money for a great cause, froze my booty off, and most importantly, came away from the experience with new perspective on my own body image. It was strangely empowering by putting me in a significantly uncomfortable situation.
And now for some random fun pictures from the race!