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Athlete Spotlight: Cassandra Burke


Athlete Spotlight: Cassandra Burke

athlete spotlight

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I can’t think of a better time to send a shout out to the women who have battled or are currently battling this disease. Today, I’m sharing this athlete spotlight who uses her story to inspire others.

After battling breast cancer in 2010, Cassandra Burke became a triathlete, runner, fitness instructor, and blogger. She started her blog, Powered By BLING, as a way to inspire others. She knows that whether you’re a beginner or an advanced endurance athlete, you have a goal. Her goal is to inspire you to find that inner athlete and Challenge Yourself to Cross Your Own Personal Finish Lines.

What is BLING?

BLING is what endurance athletes call the medals we earn as we cross all those finish lines.

What is your favorite part about running/triathlon?

Training for an endurance event like a half marathon or triathlon allows someone to reach deep inside and find themselves. When I first started out in running, I took me an hour to run a 5K. Now, I can run a 10K in less than 1.5 hours. I started out in triathlon only doing sprints, but now I’m focusing on International/Olympic distance with a goal of my first Ironman 70.3 in 2018. I love that with each passing season, I get a little better in each discipline which makes me excited to set new goals. I also love the social aspect of training. My husband and I belong to a running club and I also have a Tri Coach who coaches a small group of athletes. Combining the social aspect with the fitness aspect creates a level of excitement that keeps you accountable to your goals.

How did you get started?

I started my blog after surviving breast cancer as a way to inspire others to live by my philosophy to “Challenge Yourself to Cross Your Own Personal Finish Lines”. #CrossYourFinishLines. In October 2016, I celebrated my 6 Year “Cancerversary”. Running and Triathlons became part of my recovery process. They allowed me to find myself after having spent a year and a half fighting. I realized that each of us goes through something in our life and my journey was leading me toward a path to help inspire and empower others to take those difficult experiences and use them to fuel their personal growth – whatever that may be.

How long have you been running and doing triathlons?

I’ve been an athlete my whole life. I was a gymnast and cheerleader and also played tennis and softball. I didn’t start running or competing in triathlons until after my cancer treatment ended. I actually quit track in middle school because I didn’t like it.  Even though I’d never done a triathlon, I celebrated my breast cancer victory by doing two sprint triathlons two weeks apart. I started running with a running club at the beginning of the following summer. At first, I wasn’t that committed to it, but having that social connection with the group made me want to show up more. So, my running got better as a result. Running used to be the sport in triathlon that I dreaded the most. Now, it’s my second favorite – I’m a swimmer at heart!

What is your favorite distance to compete in and why?

For running, I really like 10Ks. I’m a middle-to-back of the pack runner, so it takes me a couple hours to run a half marathon. 10Ks allow me to work on improving my pacing and I can run them hard without feeling drained the rest of the day.

For triathlons, I do love sprints. Although I’m elevating my game to Olympics, sprints are great for being able to do multiple events in a short window. I can do three or four sprints over a summer where with the longer distance, I can only manage one at the moment.

I also love 10Ks, half marathons and sprint tris for racecations! My family and I travel quite a bit and we love “racecations” – combining a race with a vacation. We generally plan most of our yearly vacation schedule around races. We enjoy racing and vacationing so much that I started my own travel agency. Powered By BLING Travel was born out of my desire to help other athletes cross some of those finish lines competing in their bucket list races while making memories with their families.

What is your best training tip?

Find activities that you enjoy because if you don’t enjoy them, you won’t stay committed to them. Maybe you don’t like to workout at the gym, but you love to kayak or play indoor soccer. Fitness doesn’t have to take place on a cardio machine or in a gym.

Fitting in fitness can also be a challenge in our overscheduled world. I am a big advocate of using the pockets of time we all have in our schedule to fit in a little fitness. Do your kids play sports? Go for a walk/run during their practice. Bring some dumbbells and a jump rope with you and find a place to create your own HIIT workout. You can even just do exercises that use your own bodyweight.

Is your evening schedule after work packed? Use your lunch hour for your workout. Walk, run, or find a place to do some bodyweight exercises. If you belong to a gym near your office or if your office has a gym, go there. You could even start your own Lunchtime Fitness Club with a few coworkers. Use that time to step away from work, get in a workout, and enjoy each other’s company. Figure out what will work with your life and then you’re more likely to actually make it a priority.

What keeps you motivated?

There’s something about registering for a race and knowing I have to be ready for that specific date that keeps me focused on my training. Crossing a finish line at a race is exhilarating! Earning that BLING doesn’t hurt either. There are times during a race where you say to yourself, ”Why did I do this? I’m never doing this again.” By the end of the race when you cross that finish line, you’re ready to sign up for the next one. That feeling of being able to push myself past my previous personal best keeps me focused on achieving my goals.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting on his or her fitness journey?

Set a realistic goal. It might be getting to the gym twice a week or it might be running your first 5K. Then, focus on being committed to that goal. Don’t compare yourself to your best friend or the woman in the BodyPump class beside you with three extra plates on her bar. Your fitness journey is all about you pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Once you’ve reached that original goal, set a new one that pushes you a little more to Cross Your Own Personal Finish Lines!

You can learn more about Cassandra on her website, Powered by BLING, or by connecting with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.


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A note from our CEO about COVID-19x
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The coronavirus has changed life, as we knew it, forever. Most people will be touched in some way by the pandemic either physically, emotionally or financially. We’ve all heard heart-breaking stories from around the world about lives that have been lost and severe financial hardships caused by the sudden shutdown of so many businesses.

On behalf of all our team members around the globe, we extend our deepest sympathies to all that are struggling through personal challenges, whatever they may be, and we offer our sincerest gratitude to all the heroes who are helping those in need.

We’d also like to add how important it is for everyone to continue to do their part to slow the spread. Physical distancing is critical, and we must all take this seriously. We use the word “physical” because staying away from people in a physical way does not mean we should be neglecting the importance of social interactions, compassion and patience.

We are one of the largest providers of shelf-stable seafood and it is our honor and our responsibility to do our part, in every way we can, to help to keep people fed with affordable, nutritious protein. To that end, we’re continuing to run our factories in the US and Canada while our partners around the world continue to provide supply.

We take great pride in being a “people-first” company, so our decision to continue operations is done with utmost concern for the people making it possible. We’ve enhanced our safety measures to meet or exceed CDC guidelines and we have increased wages in our factories to assist employees dealing with the incremental costs of working and new, unexpected demands on their households.

We also take great pride in producing healthy, nutritious and safe products for our customers. Please know the manufacturing practices we follow year-round protect our both employees and the products they produce. Our facilities have very few people-to-product interactions, all products are sterilized in a high temperature oven and then packaged in highly automated production lines.

Beyond Bumble Bee, we’re continually looking for ways to extend our “people first” approach to make a meaningful impact. With so many people in need, we know this effort is more important than ever. We’re starting by donating more than $1 million in product to food banks in both the US and in Canada. And we will be looking for more opportunities to make a positive difference in the days to come.

Finally, I want to thank you, our loyal and new customers, for your support. We hope you find the recipes on our website helpful and easy to prepare. I also want to send a sincere thank you to our Bumble Bee Team and our valued supply partners around the world for their tireless efforts, particularly those working in sales, manufacturing, distribution and all our support roles, ensuring we can keep store and pantry shelves stocked.

Please continue to do your part to keep yourselves and your families safe during this truly unprecedented time.

With Gratitude,
CEO, Bumble Bee Seafoods