Follow This Mother!

Cassie at mile 10 (waving hi to her family!) of the Marine Corp Marathon.
Cassie at mile 10 (waving hi to her family!) of the Marine Corp Marathon.

Cassie Jackson, 40 and BAMR of three, started a family-friendly running group earlier this year so that more mother runners could lace up and hit the pavement with their daughters. Cassie, who lives with husband Dan and their daughter, 8, and sons, 10 and 5, in Vienna, Va., is looking forward to running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. later this month.

Best Recent Run: Sunrise 5-miler last week. I was dragging and cold when getting up to get two of my kids to their early morning swim practice, but I knew if I didn’t do it during their practice I wouldn’t get it in. I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise and reminded that the step out of bed is the hardest. If I just get out there, I will be rewarded. It also made me in a better mood to deal with the kids and the race to get them to school.

The Mother-Daughter Run Club.
The Mother-Daughter Run Club.

Why I started a running club: I started this mother-daughter running club at the beginning of 2014 with the support of a local girls athletic wear showroom, ivivva. We have a strong Moms Run this Town (MRTT) chapter here in Vienna of over 600 members, but there are few regular organized opportunities to run with our children. With the encouragement of our MRTT chapter leader, who is also one of my BRFs, I asked if the store would be interested in giving us the platform of support for a run club for mothers and daughters. My own daughter loves to run and has difficulty participating in any after-school run program without me or my husband because she has Type 1 Diabetes which can make balancing her blood glucose with insulin and activity extremely difficult and possibly life-threatening. We meet on the second and fourth Sundays of the month and have up to 50 ladies participating regularly. We also have a few brothers that tag along. We stretch in the parking lot of the showroom, then run about a half a mile up to the high school track. The girls keep track of their mileage using bright color bands or bracelets they pick up for each lap. After running, we stretch and the store keeps a log for the girls’ mileage and rewards them with athletic wear when they reach milestone markers like a half-marathon.

Why this group is so awesome: What I love about it in addition to quality time with my own runner girl is seeing the girls and moms both making and achieving weekly goals. There are girls and moms who had never run before, but because of this opportunity are running close to a 5K or more each run club. Today, a girl who just started running with the group three sessions ago, explained to me her goal of being able to run one more lap than she had the last time, and I spent another lap chatting with one of our youngest runners (3 years old!) who was telling me how “strong” her big sisters were who were also running. I love these strong ladies of all ages!

"Running with my runner girl in a local 5K."
"Running with my runner girl in a local 5K."

Go-to post-run fuel: Large whole milk mocha from our favorite local coffee place, Caffe Amouri, in the winter, or an Elevation Burger (double patties) with a chocolate shake in summer. During one really hot run last summer, I did stop at a McDonald’s off the trail and go for the chocolate shake mid-run. Maybe not the smartest idea but was SO good, made me happy and my tummy was fine.

Running quote I love: “Comparison is the thief of joy”—from a Fellow Flowers post because I have watched people go from over the moon with their race results to disappointed when they start talking to other runners. I find it a good reminder for myself in many aspects of life.

Half-marathon or marathon: Half-marathons give me the ability to finish strong and rock on, but nothing beats the emotional roller-coaster of a full. I have teared-up multiple times during both the marathons I have run.

My most embarrassing running moment: Here it goes for all to read…after the Army 10 Miler which is a huge race out here—and at that point 10 miles was my longest distance—I pushed it so hard finishing that once I crossed the finish line I started coughing. Three kids coughing so hard can lead to what we call in my house a “pee-pee problem.” Luckily I was so soaked with sweat that, what’s the difference, right? Now I realize I look like I pee my pants after most summer long runs anyway. Makes it much easier to mentally let it go.

Plank or crunches: Definitely a plank. My new favorite is plank variations with the TRX.

Oatmeal and fruit or eggs and bacon: Greek yogurt with fruit every morning before a run…I will even go for the kids’ tube versions in a pinch.

"With my family after my first marathon, MCM in 2012 (obviously running around DC watching mommy run also took its toll on my oldest son;-)."
"With my family after my first marathon, MCM in 2012 (obviously running around DC watching mommy run also took its toll on my oldest son;-)."

I learned _____ about myself once I became a runner:  I am stronger than I thought I was…guess that is another favorite running quote! I never felt strong until I became a runner. It has taught me that my limits are mostly mental.

A recent running injury and how I dealt with it: Ankle sprain five weeks before the Chicago Marathon last year. I was in denial for a week or so, then went straight to research for the best physical therapist I could find. Using Graston and Active release techniques, along with becoming friends with Rocktape and a lacrosse ball to massage and loosen my foot muscles, I made it through 26.2 a little over a month later with a PR.

My running, in three words: Mine. Strong. Goals.

Follow This Mother on Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog (mostly written by her daughter!).





5 responses to “Follow This Mother!

  1. This makes me smile! Cassie is one of the most AWESOME mother runners I know–a true inspiration! And I am blessed to call her one of my dear friends!

  2. I am honored to be able to run with Cassie, both at Mother-Daughter run club (my absolute favorite date with my 5 year old) and sometimes just out on the trail with other BAMRs. Cassie is such an inspiration and we are so lucky to have her in Vienna as part of our running community!

  3. Yeah Cassie! I run with Cassie here in Virginia. She is an inspiring runner for so many reasons including her dedication to her daughter and their fight to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, and for Cassie’s positive interaction with everyone she meets on the trail and in her life. My daughter and I attend her run club, and despite my daughter initially not wanting to run, she LOVES Cassie’s run club. What a great mother to follow!

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