engaged!

WE’RE ENGAGED!

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John and I started this awesome adventure together almost three years ago. We met on the most perfect summer day in Alabama on Lake Martin with some sweet friends. The next thing I knew I was spending every day with my new favorite person. Our first year together was spent mostly apart as John traveled across the country interviewing for his residency.

I remember having to say goodbye to him on June 14, 2011 when he left Alabama for good. It was a tough day.

And here we are. Exactly two years later to the day he left, he swept me away for a surprise early birthday getaway and proposed on top of the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado.

I have never been happier in my life.

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At the Portland airport waiting on our shuttle. We were going to be late!

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Sunset on top of the Flatirons.

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Right when we got back in the car and headed to an amazing dinner at the Flagstaff House, I haven’t stopped smiling since!

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Morning run around Boulder and to the top of the Chautauqua Trail.

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Lunch time margaritas!

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Surprise concert at Red Rocks to see Tedeschi Trucks, Grace Potter and JJ Grey!

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Sally was so sweet to bring over necessities on Monday night!

We are both so excited and can’t stop grinning! I have been so enthralled with my left hand this week that I almost forgot I have a 50 mile race coming up!

Thank you all so much for many texts, phone calls, letters and gifts we have received. We feel so loved and supported and are beyond excited for this next step together.

lots of love,

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thirty (days)

30 days to go and training is going really well. My legs and feet have been more achy than ever before (so much so that I am actually dreaming about it) but I don’t feel miserable on runs, in fact I feel very strong. Don’t get met wrong, Saturday’s 4 hour was tough–to the point I needed to get my head straight a few times, but Sunday’s 5 hour run on the Wildwood Trail was where I really felt confident in my ability. My legs had no problem continuing to move, my mind was in a good place and my appetite was satisfied. My outlook does ebb and flow but when I think back on the 70 miles I took on last week strong is the only word that stands out. Turns out that I have it in me precisely when I think I don’t. I need to remember that on race day. Or maybe even everyday.

I have  logged my usual weekly miles but I will be taking it easy this weekend because John has pulled a rabbit out of his hat and surprised the heck out of me… we are hopping on a plane tomorrow afternoon (I have no clue where to) for an early Casey’s Big 30th Birthday Bash Weekend Getaway!home

All I have gotten out of him is what I need to pack and, luckily for me, my running shoes are making the cut.

Grinning from ear to ear,

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Timberline Marathon

Just when you think you can’t take another step, you are completely out of breath, gas, fuel, anything and everything has been depleted, you get the pick me up that you have been waiting for all along.

We loaded up the truck around 6am Saturday morning and hit the road for 2 laps around Timothy Lake. I had been anxious all week. About a month ago I signed up for the Timberline Marathon (just as a training run for the 50 miler) and talked my best girlfriends into signing up for the half. My runs the past couple of weeks have been less than stellar so I wasn’t sure what Saturday had in store for me.

Timberline Marathon

The marathon started at 8:30am in a swarm of mosquitos. Runners headed into the woods one at a time in order to accommodate for the narrow trail. I was nervous. I have no idea why, there were only 400 people running. My pace was sporadic the first six or seven miles until I finally got “comfortable” in my speed. I spotted John at mile 10 and was feeling great. I made the first loop and started passing the half marathoners — jumping over fallen trees and dodging puddles I already knew were coming. My legs felt good, no…. they felt strong.

At mile 17 I stopped to refill my water bottle and was still feeling good, however, miles 18-21 were, as usual, rough. I was hoping John was going to be back at the same stop and sure enough, he was! And so was Katy! It was just what I needed to push me the last 3 miles.

Timberline Marathon

For the first time all day I really noticed what my time was and how fast I had been moving. John left his bike by the water to run it in with me. I could barely talk. I wasn’t in the mood to talk or even think about anything. Just ready to be finished. I turned the corner and sprinted in the last 400 yards – embracing my friends at the finish line.

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Next thing I knew they were calling my name for 3rd female overall and 2nd in my age group! Quite possibly the first and last time I will EVER place anything in a marathon.

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We piled in our cars and drove back to Hoodview Campground where John had been cheering me on and parked it for victory beers and snacks at a picnic table by the lake- Mt. Hood towering overhead.

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I woke up Sunday morning energized and confident for 3 hours of hills. Piece of cake.

I just might be able to pull this off after all. Six weeks and counting…

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It’s raining

It’s raining in Portland. And not just the typical light drizzle or ‘looks like it’s going to storm any minute but it never does’ skyline, it’s really pouring some serious rain. My morning and evening runs have been soggy all week long. One thing is certain, it didn’t stop me. So what if the bottom is falling out of the sky, I needed to run 9 miles after work on Tuesday and my amazing running partners still met me in the downpour promptly at 5pm. I think that’s what I love about this place. No one makes excuses here.

Last weekend was tough, Sunday’s 3 hour run was by far the worst one yet. I finally made it back to the porch and as I busted through the door the tears came pouring just like the Portland rain. I was so frustrated and disappointed and convinced I will never be able to run 50 miles at once. It lasted for a good solid 10 minutes (I know, I typically wouldn’t post about this but I wanted you to really understand how frustrating it can be for me sometimes). After my sobfest I made some lunch, showered and headed out the door to meet Jen and Courtney for a hike up Dog Mountain (3.8 miles and 3,000 feet up); good quality girl time at its finest! Stunning views of the Gorge, dancing in the wildflowers, and just like that… I was ok.

Dog Mountain Casey, Jen, CourtGorge and FlowersBackwood BrewingWalking ManBreak out the bubbly because this week also reigned in some good news, I got a promotion! I am now the Communications Manager for 39 school districts in southwest Washington. It feels good to work hard for something and achieve it, even if I haven’t been quite sure what ‘it’ was over the past two years. Hoping that is how crossing the 50 mile finish line will be. Difficult but totally worth it.

I am optimistic for better back to backs this weekend. I have stockpiled new food to try. Say your prayers for a behaved belly and strong legs.

John and I have plans to resurrect the smoker for some Memorial Day festivities with good friends!

Have a lovely 3 day weekend. Hope you are staying drier than us!

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8 days in Tulum

Chitzen Itza

Hola!

We made it back from Tulum and I cannot tell you how great of a vacation we had. It’s been a while since I put my toes in the sand or even slept in. It was long overdue and heavenly. I’m not sure how I should write this post. Do you really want a breakdown of every day? Doubtful. I will do my best to hit the highlights and keep it short and sweet and to the point!

Friday night we took a red eye and finally landed in Cancun around 11am Saturday morning. It was a long trip. John was post call and those airline seats aren’t made for 6’7ers. Tulum is 110 miles south of Cancun so we hopped on a few different buses and finally arrived at The Mezzanine around 4pm–greeted with cold margaritas and stunning views of the Caribbean. Hello happy place!

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We often went into town for meals each day to keep true to our desire for learning more about the city. The pueblo is a long strip of restaurants, taquerías, and open markets. “Señorita, come and see… Señor, buy for your lady…” After 8 days, the only item I came home with was a Christmas tree ornament. Looking forward to pulling that one out in December and remembering my bartering skills that came to fruition for a total of $30 pesos ($2.60 USD).

On Monday we hired a driver, Antonio, for the day and he drove us a few hours inland to Chitzen Itza. We made sure to get there early to avoid the tourists. The city is (was) huge!

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Antonio then drove us to Ik Kil, a large cenote just few miles away, where John bellyflopped off the top ledge and I gracefully dove in the gorgeous cave lit swimming hole. After a hot day of exploring ruins, it was perfectly refreshing! (No photos here, we didn’t want to take any chance of our camera getting wet, click here for an idea)

For lunch we asked for authentic mexican food so he took us to the city of Valladolid and we dined in the cutest garden restaurant. We walked around town for a while, visited a taquilla distillery and then went to another cenote in Coba. (There are MUCHO cenotes in the Yucatan.) This one was covered and completely different from the first one but equally beautiful. We picked up some tacos in Tulum on the way back to our hotel and ended the day taking a walk on the beach. Not a bad start to our vacation.

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We spent Tuesday napping on the beach and swimming in the gorgeous blue water. I read The Paris Wife  and John read Kitchen Confidential and laughed aloud no less than a hundred times.

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On Wednesday we toured the Tulum Ruins which were only about 2 km down the beach from our hotel. They were beautiful and subtlety different from Chitzen Itza. Not as grand or as precise, but they had a much better view along the beach–which is obviously why they were the better Mayans!

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We set aside one night for a very nice dinner at Hartwood. A New York couple in the restaurant industry moved to Tulum’s beach, bought a plot of land and opened the most gorgeous restaurant. All food is prepared by hand, no electrical appliances – cooking is done in a wood burning oven and open fire grill. Seafood is caught that morning and all produce and ingredients are bought at the local market. It was slap you in the face AMAZING. I cannot recommend it enough. John and I walked 3 miles home, so happily full.

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On Thursday we took a bus up to Playa Del Carmen to get tacos from Los Aguachilles. Fresh ceviche, pickled onions, cilantro, tomatoes and avocados… delicioso! Playa del Carmen was very touristy but it was nice to see another side of the Yucatan. We stopped to get our first (and only) frozen, fruity drink of the trip and John accidentally ordered a happy hour drink and got two margarita frescas for one! It was a sleepy bus ride back to the hotel 🙂

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Thursday night the Mezzanine hosted a Havanna Nights event on the patio that was super fun to watch. No photos unfortunately. Just picture belly dancers and fire and lots of salsa-ing. I basically spent the evening hiding from the dancers so they wouldn’t pull me onto the floor in utter humiliation. Disaster averted.

Friday, our last day, we went back to a french(ish) Bistro for breakfast that we came to love. Myself especially for the fresh squeezed orange juice and the handmade croissants. We spent our final afternoon back on the beach for one last day in the sun and of course ate as many tacos as possible before we left town.

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Our flight left early from Cancun so we said adios to The Mezzanine around 5am, putting us back in good ‘ole Portland mid-afternoon on Saturday. Plenty of time to grab some pho, sip on some Albarino and ‘start’ watching Lincoln… who were we kidding, 45 minutes in and we were both passed out.

We had an AMAZING time. Tulum has a very primitive feel and unfortunately gives a very honest representation of the high poverty in Mexico; however, the culture is beautiful and tasty and makes me want to move somewhere south for a year just to learn spanish and live among locals (insert foreshadowing attempt here).

On another note, I only ran once. Oh well, I needed to sleep in a little, rest my legs and enjoy all that vacation has to offer. I did get to watch the sun come up the last morning on my one and only run. The Mayans originally named the city of Tulum, Zulum meaning City of Dawn because it faces the sunrise. Not a bad view all week. Not a bad view at all…

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Missing beach life already… and those tacos!

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my apologies for the photo overload, full album can be viewed here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100706724964366.1073741826.6505261&type=1&l=43f2897af2

 

happy birthday, dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

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This man is the reason I started to run. Why I asked for a road bike for my 21st birthday and began training for triathlons. We have passed many “mile-markers” together. He is incredibly kind, fun, selfless, easy-going, generous, loving, supportive and my number one fan.

He stuck around for 4 hours with 8 of my best girlfriends and watched me finish my first marathon, drove through the night to cheer me on in the Augusta Half-Ironman. He listens to me complain when I struggle, pats me on the back when I succeed, and always pushes me to dream big–in running and in life.

Every time I cross a finish line he’s the first person I can’t wait to tell.
Happiest of birthdays, Dad! Hope this year is your best one yet.

love,

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mind over matter

Hi friends!

I am still on cloud nine from this past weekend. Friday night John and I had a nice evening on our front porch. The weather has been unbelievable. I keep waiting for the clouds to roll in but they have managed to stay away for over a week; very uncharacteristic for this time of the year.

Saturday morning I left my house just after 5am to get in 2 hours of running then met the girls for 2 more hours of trails. It wasn’t too bad. My legs began to fatigue during the last hour so I was thankful to have some company. I cannot sing their praises enough, they are so supportive and accommodating to help me get my training done. I am still struggling with my nutrition, learning how much of ‘what’ to eat and drink ‘when’ is actually harder than I thought it would be to figure out.

That afternoon I picked up Tom and Nicki from the airport. They are two of my favorite people and I am so glad they made it out here to enjoy this nice spring weather in Portland.

On Sunday I knew I had to do 3 hours and I really wanted to keep it all on trails so I tried a new area of Forest Park that I hadn’t been to yet –a flat portion of the Wildwood trail. I pulled up to the trailhead around 6:30am, it was a little eerie. Not sure if it was because it was so early and deserted (other than a few parked cars) or just a new, unfamiliar area for me. Whatever, I am a big girl so I got my things together and hit the trail. It took me about 45 minutes to become comfortable with my surroundings. My legs felt OK. Not great but OK. It seemed like an entire day had passed before I hit the halfway point. I pressed on and finished 14 miles in 3 hours.

We spent the rest of the day taking Tom and Nicki wine tasting in the Willamette Valley then came home and cooked a delicious meal and sat on our porch until the sun went down. I love, love, love the company of good friends.

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Wine tasting at Four Graces with Tom and Nicki.

When I crawled in bed last night I started thinking about my run that morning. Analyzing every decision I made leading up to it, through it’s duration and my recovery process. I must have suppressed it because I started to remember how much I struggled to get between miles 9 and 13- I kept having to repeat to myself out loud: this WILL get easier, back to back long runs WILL GET EASIER. And I remembered how my stomach was growling at two and half hours and I should have brought more fuel with me, and how difficult it was to eat on the way home because I was all out of fluids to wash it down. I still have so much to learn.

One year ago yesterday I ran my 5th marathon. One month ago I ran my first 50K. Last week I ran a total of 60 miles -37 of those within 24 hours. On Sunday I realized that my body actually can do this. It will get easier. Mind over matter, I will run 50 miles.

I will probably go ahead and start packing tonight… we leave for Tulum in FIVE DAYS!!! More updates later this week before we leave the country. Love to you all.

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seven

Last week was a strange one for me. Strange in that I was super unmotivated before every single workout, run or yoga class I went to. Negative Nancy at her finest. For example, a few thoughts that ran through my head:

“Great, I didn’t pack my good socks. MAYBE if I would just get more socks I wouldn’t have this problem.”

“It’s 4:45am and it’s kind of raining and it’s still dark and I am tired of running that same road.”

“I hate this playlist. I do not want to teach this class. I am starving.”

“So over doing laundry and washing my hair twice a day.”

“Seriously, how is it already 4:45am again? Same road. Uggghhhh.”

“STILL HUNGRY….where are all the Clif Builder Bars? Am I really out of Gu? I just bought Gu…”

“Shouldn’t have had that second… errr, wait…. third glass of wine last night, Casey. These hills are going to be BRUTAL.” (as I chug water and slam a peanut butter and banana sandwich down)

Turns out every last workout was incredible. I nailed my Crane pose on Monday, I taught four great spin classes and had multiple requests for my playlists, and my run on Sunday was SEVEN MINUTES FASTER than the previous 3 weeks. SEVEN!

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It will always be too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of bed and the easy way out will always be there. Thankful for some strong-will and determination last week and hoping for another solid week of training ahead… 4 hour run on Saturday/3.5 on Sunday. Channeling my inner “Cheerful Casey.”

Ready. Set. Go.

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the road ahead

It has taken me a few days to muster up a post after the tragedy in Boston.

I’ve been running for years. I have gotten up at 4:30am to be on a dark track for speedwork, negative split 800 repeats until the sun came up–and one time until my breakfast came up (sorry). I’ve logged every mile for months. What I had to eat, if I was fast or slow, if I had company or ran alone, which route I took, and how I felt. The closest I have come to qualifying for the Boston Marathon is 7 minutes and 42 seconds, and now I can add on an additional five minutes since they have increased the difficulty to qualify.

It takes a lot of work to make it to Beantown, to run up Heartbreak Hill and down Boylston Street. I had many friends run this year. Several of my girlfriend’s husbands finished over an hour prior to the first bomb but the fact that they were already back in their hotel rooms didn’t make any of us feel better. We just wanted them home.

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Aoife, Kelly, me and Katy carbo loading before the Eugene Marathon (April 2012).

The camaraderie you find in the sport of running is what keeps me coming back. The solidarity. The commitment. No BS allowed. I love that I don’t know what half of them look like in regular, everyday wear or with their hair down, not dripping with sweat and covered in mud from the trails. We could talk nonstop for hours or be completely silent– it’s simply our presence that matters. We are better friends, wives, girlfriends, and mothers because of the company we keep.

Here’s an excerpt from something I read on Monday. I can’t help but think about it any other way now…

“We cannot undo the evil that was done. But we can inhibit the goal of division. Let’s do that. Let’s not give them the pleasure of our division, the foothold of our futility.

Let’s instead do what runners do best. Let’s be strong. Let’s be patient as information comes in. Let’s pace ourselves. Let’s endure. Let’s close the gap and tighten up the pack. Let’s recover together.

The road ahead is long. But little do they know, we’re good with that.”

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race recap

HAPPY FRIDAY Y’ALL!

I bet you have been losing sleep, checking your email and the blog daily just to get a race recap, right? First I want to thank all of you for the texts, phone calls, gifts in the mail, and good thoughts on Saturday. Whatever you did, however big those prayers were, they worked.

Gorge 50K

I woke up early and drove out to Benson State Park just as the sun was coming up over Mt. Hood.  The race started promptly at 8:05 at a chilly 45* – shorts, tank, gloves, my trusty water bottle (what my dad likes to call, Wilson), and a few Gu’s tucked away here and there was all I took with me. If I have learned anything about running, it’s to keep it simple. Of course other people were layered up–Nathan running packs strapped on, compression socks, sunglasses, layers… I was breaking a sweat just looking at them. Partially due to intimidation, partially because I knew it was going to reach 70* by noon.

I started too fast but was having too much fun to notice. I made friends with a guy from Tennessee who was on number 40 of 50 ultras in 50 states. I spent miles 10-15 with another novice like myself who had more energy than me on a good day (which is a lot). The last half was mostly just me passing a few people and getting passed a few times. I fought off some pain on the downhills and walked the ups.

It was tough. My GPS clocked me at a 6,500 foot elevation gain, a little short of 31 miles, in a total of 6 hours and 5 minutes. So yes, it was tough, but it was also the most fun I have ever had in a race. I am officially hooked on trail running.

adamsIt was a gorgeous Easter Sunday so we couldn’t resist not being outside. I took some ibuprofen and we hiked up Hamilton Mountain for some scenic views of the Gorge (like I hadn’t already gotten my fill the day before). It took me forever to get down 🙂

On Wednesday I learned that I made it off the wait list for the Mt. Hood 50 (miler). I grabbed my credit card, took one deep breath in and clicked register. July 13 is going to be a much bigger deal. HOW IN THE WORLD AM I SUPPOSED TO RUN 50 MILES??? Guess I have 14 weeks to figure it out!

If you need me between now and then you will most likely find me somewhere on the Oregon trails. Big ‘ole smile on my face.

Have a lovely weekend!
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