Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's gettin' hot out here!

Hello from the sauna that is the South faithful readers. I was so amped when it was mid May, almost June and the temps here in the South were still a mild 80-90 degrees. That my friends is all over. The projected highs are in the mid 100's this week here in 'bama. I got excited knowing that my vacation is right around the corner and I'd be traveling North to visit friends and family. Relief was in my future, or so I thought....

Mike and I have big plans to hit up an Orioles game when we are home. I've been wanting to take him for as long as I can remember and it's been nearly a decade since I've been there myself. We were so stoked, that is until I saw this...

via • Come on Balmer! I can't get no relief!
That is the projected weather for game day in Baltimore, MD. Thankfully we haven't purchased our tickets yet. We planned to wing it. Yes, it's a rather dumb thing to do considering how hot the O's have been this season and we'll probably be in the nose bleeds - BUT if there is a breeze up there, and some shade I'll be golden. If not, my homemade O's shirt (thank you to my husband's skills) will be covered in sweat and my sweet feather earrings I purchased will probably be drooping instead of fluttering.

I am not going to let the sweltering heat ruin my day though. I will cheer with the rest of the fans, and I will hydrate with water, and beer and try my hand at my first soft shell crab sandwich. Yes, you read that right. I'm from Maryland and I've never had a soft shell crab sandwich. I blame my old "freaked out" ways for not trying, and I blame my new bravery to try strange food, on Anthony Bourdain (love that man).

If the weather is horrible and all else fails you can find me at a local bar with AC and cold beer in Baltimore on Sunday! After that, you can find me melting in the Southern heat the rest of this summer, trying to keep my word about walking the dog (after the sun goes down) and trying to continue working on my couch to 5K - progress has been slow.

Cheers to the O's winning more games and to me sweating out all my toxins this year on vacation!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I couldn't, It made me sick.

I didn't see the last few games of the NBA Finals. I saw the first game, and it was glorious. Miami folded and the refs actually called it pretty fair. The second game, I watched almost all of it. I had to turn it off during the fourth quarter. The rest of the games . . . I didn't even try and keep up with the score on my phone. I knew where it was going.

I knew that Miami would have a parade and that Lebron would strut around like he was King. Because he believes he is the King. Although, most of us don't know what he thinks he's King of.

I knew because as great as the OKC Thunder are, they are a young team and didn't handle the pressure as well. They didn't have as much to prove as Miami did. They also hadn't dealt with the refs choosing who should win the game, and making every call against them. It takes a little more maturity for that not to affect you.

Yes, I love the NBA. I do. I enjoy watching the games and being a part of something the community loves so much. I've been a fan for too long to not love it. I also know it's corrupt . . . thanks David Stern.  And we all know that Miami is a bigger money maker, a bigger market, and was Stern's pick to win. So, the refs made sure of it. Which sucks. I'm not going to go into all the details of how corrupt it is, why it's corrupt, and what it's come to . . . I'll leave that for Hutch. But, it's dissapointing. I'm dissapointed in the sport and league that I love so much.

And I'm not faulting Miami, because they did play better. As much as it pains me to even type this . . . they deserved to win it (. . . ugh, yeah that hurt). Miami played better, they stepped up when they needed to. But, when it's all stacked against you, it's hard for the Cinderella team to step up, every now and then something has to go your way.

So, now Lebron gets to gloat, he gets to talk about how he carried the team on his back and how glorious he is. Because no one will tell him to shut it. I think back to when Dirk won the Playoff MVP (when Dallas won the Championship last year) and how he talked about it was for the fans, and how much he appreciated his team. It's hard to be happy for Miami when your own team knows what really counts. Knows that the support the fans and teammates give you is so much more than your own skill.

Right now I'm not worried about the NBA, I know the Lakers are hated and that they won multiple championships. I also know that it's even better when teams like Dallas who struggle for so long because it's not all about the superstars can finally show their worth. I know it won't always be like this. I know Miami has an expiration date. I also know that I'm looking forward to a good baseball story right about now, anything to get the spotlight off Miami.

Monday, June 25, 2012

So You're Telling Me There's A Chance?

When OKC made their run to the Finals, I thought now might be the time to give the NBA another chance.  The Thunder reminded me so much of the Kings back in the day.  They're fun to watch, play as a team, and have a whole city who support them 100%.  We used to be like that here.  I remember sitting in Arco during the Kings away playoff games watching on the jumbo tron and various big screens they set up around the sold out arena.  Then the refs, commish, selfish players and Maloofs took the fun away.

For what I hoped would be an exciting, 6 or 7 game series, I attempted to put the hurt aside.  It's hard to explain the feeling, even to former fans of big city teams.  When you only have one option, that one option becomes your everything.  You know those desperate relationships that end with so much suffering and heartbreak you can only cure your broken heart by moving on to the younger, hotter option (college basketball)? Yeah, it's like that.

By the 3rd game, I realized I was still hardened by the past.  I couldn't help but question the refs and what the NBA would find more profitable.  Would they prefer the Heat to win in Miami and all the buzz that would create, or a 7 game series with all the ad revenue a league could dream of?  Would they screw OKC the way they repeatedly screwed the Kings (Jazz in '99 and Lakers in '02 immediately come to mind)?

Clearly, I'm not ready to move on.  The Donaghy/Refs scandal is well in the past.

Yet, I still watched Game 5.  The Heat won decisively, no question as to who the better team was on that night. Scott Brooks is a class act.  I hope you've all seen the video by now of his speech in the huddle.

So maybe there's a chance?


I was only slightly surprised to see all the attention LeBron received in the news coverage.  If you didn't know anything about the sport, you might think it was played and won by an individual.  You can't blame the reporters for that though, right?  He's the story.  I'm sure LeBron would say it's all about the team.

I, I, I, I, I, me, me, me, me, me.  THIS. This, is why I can't stand the league.

There's a chance the Maloofs will leave Sacramento and the Kings will stay. Slim, but still possible.  We all know Stern can't live forever, so there's a chance the new commish could do a better job (the bar's not set that high).  However, as long as the league, coaches, reporters, officials and fans allow the sport to be driven by an individual superstar, not the team, the chance of me coming back as a fan are nil.  I'm done.

Sad, but true.  I think I'm better off with the replacement I've found anyway.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Stinks Like Horse...well...y'know...

So, I was hunkered down in quiet anticipation two weeks ago...thinking this could be the year. This could be the first time in decades that there was a triple crown winner. More than 3 decades, actually, as the last one was the year I was born...1978. Whoa, right? (that it's been that long...not how old I am...geez...)

I understand that the triple crown is not so earth-moving to people who don't follow horse racing, but it's an intense and grueling month of training for everyone involved. The Kentucky Derby always takes place the first Saturday in May (which is a heads-up to anyone inviting me to a wedding, baby shower, or other event that runs past 6 PM that I will be tuned in more to my phone than to your big day), the Preakness Stakes runs the third Saturday in May, and the Belmont Stakes races the third Saturday following the Preakness. The races span from Louisville to Baltimore to Elmont, NY and each race distance varies. To win the Triple Crown, you have to have a horse that has both endurance and speed. Even in humans, that's a rare combination as most of us have a fairly even number of fast-twitch muscle fibers (speed) and slow-twitch muscle fibers (endurance). An over-abundance of either is also where you will find your elite marathon runners (slow-twitch) and your Olympic sprinters (fast-twitch). Owning a horse that can win all three races, back-to-back-to-back would be like knowing someone who won the Boston Marathon and then two weeks later, scored a gold in the 50-yard dash. And so we are now in a 34-year drought.

It just so happens that a friend of mine who attended our Derby party last month, bet and won on I'll Have Another. Her husband was temporarily stationed in Las Vegas during the Preakness and placed and won another bet for her on the same horse. Excitement was building, the buzz was, well...buzzing...about the possibility of a triple crown winner. I'll Have Another was looking like a definite contender, even if he had been under tight 24-hour security ever since the Preakness.

And then, on late Friday afternoon, the news. Not only was the next great hope going to drop out of the Belmont, he was retiring altogether. Tendonitis, the paper said. Bullshit others claimed. The armed security that stood guard at the triple crown hopeful's stall were not there for show or for protection. According to many sources, they were there to prevent the trainer, Doug O'Neill, from doping the horse. Although I'll Have Another tested clean in all previous drug tests, O'Neill has not been quite so squeaky clean. The trainer has been sanctioned several times for suspicion of doping and a week before the Belmont, a California racing body handed down a 45-day suspension for his probable role in feeding an illegal, performance-enhancing cocktail to a horse he trained in 2010. His suspension was to begin immediately following the Belmont.

So, although the past should remain in the past and sins should be forgiven, it's nearly impossible to ignore the conspiracy theory that I'll Have Another's sudden withdrawal from the Belmont had less to do with a leg injury and more to do with the embarrassing and lackluster race he may have run because O'Neill didn't have the access he needed prior to Saturday. And if he suddenly did poorly, that would arouse just enough suspicion to call the other races into question. But as it stands, I'll Have Another has been crowned victorious in 2 of the 3 Triple Crown races. The honesty of those 2 races may be doubted by many but it will never result in an official inquiry. And he will live out the rest of his days, pouncing about in lush green grass and making his owner gloriously rich for every thrust and release that results in a winner. And no one will ever really know for sure...

There are a lot of rumors and what-if scenarios bouncing around on the horse racing forums. Please share your opinion...or your facts. It's hard to know if there is truly a situation or if I'm really just that cynical...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Should we stop being haters???

When I sat down to write this post...I was totally stuck.  This isn't my season.  There's no college basketball.  There's no football.  There's baseball, but I'm having a hard time to get excited about baseball this year.  I had nothing to talk about. I always do when I'm stuck on a post...I called SJ and asked him what I should write about.  He suggested a post about LeBron James.  Specifically, he wanted me to write about how everyone should stop being such a LeBron hater. 

The problem is...I'm one of those LeBron haters.  To be fair...I really dislike the NBA and everything related to the NBA.  But LeBron and his ego just rub me the wrong way.  How could I possibly tell everyone to stop hating LeBron when I can't stand him?  I told SJ to convince me.

First, he pointed out that LeBron is not a criminal.  While that shouldn't be a big deal, in a league filled with thugs and wanna-be thugs, not being a criminal is something to be lauded.  LeBron may have smoked pot in high school, but he wasn't a drug dealer and he wasn't out stealing cars or selling guns or doing other illegal activities.  He was playing basketball and staying out of trouble.  No one is accusing him of rape or cheating on his fiance with hookers and porn stars.  The guy stays out of trouble.

Next SJ told me that despite his move to Florida, LeBron is still involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Akron, OH.  He supports the charity and works with the kids there.  In fact, he supports several children's charities.  Really...I can't find anything wrong with a guy who takes time out of his schedule to help kids and give back.  I just can't. 

It kind of makes sense that LeBron is the way he is.  People have been stroking his ego and telling him how amazing he is since he was a high school sophomore.  He ended up in the NBA with way too much fame and way too much money way too early.  He was immature and there was no way for him to stay level headed and grounded with all of that.  It also doesn't help that he dumped his whole management team and surrounded himself with his friends...who are just as dumb and immature as he is.  It was the first in a string of stupid decisions that led him to being one of the most hated figures in sports. 

But I wonder if SJ is right.  Maybe we should all stop hating LeBron so much.  Maybe we should try to forget the idiotic stuff he's done and focus instead on the fact that he's really not that bad of a guy.  Maybe we should all just sit back and enjoy watching him play.   

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Amazing What Guilt Can Do.

It's amazing how motivating guilt can be. For weeks I've been putting off working out. I'll start, then stop, and then start again. But I haven't been consistent with any given workout. I really have enjoyed TurboFire, but at the same time it becomes so repetitive that I started to get annoyed by it. Instead of looking forward to my daily workout, I dreaded the same old routine. Fast forward to this past weekend. Mike and I took our 5 year old mutt, June to the vet for her check-up, blood work and shots. Sadly when the vet told us that June is overweight. I knew this was coming. I could she had gained a bit of weight but I didn't realize it was 12 lbs. To say I felt horrible is a huge understatement. 

Before leaving the office we were given a new diet regiment for June and a discussion about eating properly. Instead of her two scoops of food a day, (probably about 2 cups each scoop) she gets 2.5 cups of food. This equals 1.25 cups, twice a day. It doesn't sound like much, because to us, it isn't. From what the vet tells me a dogs stomach is much smaller than ours, and that makes sense. I was instructed to feed her this either in 2 parts as we have planned to, or when she is the most active. June really isn't that active. She runs around the backyard when she goes to the bathroom and chases people in the back alley behind our fence and barks at them. This is probably the smallest back yard we've ever had in a rental. Our last home was perfect for running laps, but the home was too small. You win some, you lose some, and then your dog gains some. Feeding her when she was most active is going to be difficult. She lays around the house all day, and waits for us to come home at lunch and then home from work. She's most active probably when we are home, and even then she's usually just following us around our home. I wish we had steps in our house, it will help us all out a bit.

The entire time the vet was talking to us about June's diet, exercise and care all I could do is reflect it to my own personal health. I too am overweight. I eat too much and don't move enough. When he started to discuss how most dog food is full of additives and not enough fiber I started to think about my own diet and how it too is full of additives and probably not enough fiber. TMI time, I'm regular. There is no issue with my BMs, so fiber isn't an issue but additives, I'm sure I inhale my share of them. Probably enough for 4 people at times.

In leaving the vet I got home and sat down with June. We made a pact to move more, and eat better. Yes, we talk to each other. She totally gets me and I totally get her. We vowed to walk at least three times a week, maybe work our way up to a jog when I thought she could handle it. I also feel myself not wanting to snack as much, or as mindlessly. I keep reminding myself that while a human make-up is completely different than a dog's, it's wrong for me to preach to June that she' can't have a treat, or a sliver of cheese when I'm cooking because she's on a "diet", it's just not right for me to turn around and shove junk food in my  mouth. I know it's all in my head but I do feel as if she's judging me when she sees me snacking. Those big brown eyes kill me.

Originally I wasn't going to say anything about my plans. I always fear that I will bring up a brilliant idea, for an action and if I don't follow through I will be embarrassed. Then I thought on the other hand it will hold me accountable. So here goes... While planning walking time for June and I on a regular basis, I have decided to go ahead and start doing the Couch to 5K program. I don't have any set date to complete this, or any set race to join in. I have always been curious about running and on my tight budget it seemed like a great way to workout and try something I always wanted to do. 

I am beginning slow. June and I have been walking/jogging twice this week. I jogged for two straight minutes and it didn't kill me, or her for that matter. I did notice her slowing down throughout so I will not push her just because it works for me. I might have to do my own walk/jogs until she feels ready. Wednesday wasn't supposed to be a rest day but we doubled up two days in a row this week to get her used to walking each day. I plan to start my walks in the morning and workout in the evening. So far we've done afternoon walks but the heat here in Alabama is insane already, even as mild as the heat has been you still feel like you're breathing in mayo when you're winded. I know I will be OK, I just don't want to hurt her.

I'm happy that I have a buddy to do this with. My husband has informed me he will only run if something is chasing him. I feel like June will help me, and I will help her. It's odd to say my dog is holding me accountable but the guilt I felt as a fur parent was enough to let me know I needed to make a change, if not for myself, but for her. 

It will be a long road to get us both back in shape, but I gave myself a goal on my Summer Bucket List to lose 10 lbs. by summer's end. I'm down 2 lbs. already which makes me really happy. And I'm hoping by the end of the summer I will be jogging, if not running at least 2 miles. And I hope that June will be getting on her way to being fit and trim. It took us both more than a day to gain all this weight, it will take work and dedication to lose the weight as well. We have started with 1 mile, and this weeks plan was 5 mins. walking, 2 minutes jogging, 5 minutes running. She is spent by the time we are back to the house. I look forward to monitoring our progress with this.

Fingers crossed that June's weight is simply her diet and inactivity. She has dropped weight before so I'm hopeful it's simply that and not an underlying problem.

Wish us luck! We'll be walking our butts off, literally this summer.

** Next time maybe I'll recap on what other workout I'm doing for weight training in the mean time... I need to work on my jogging!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Same story, different team

Once again the world is cheering for the Miami Heat to lose. Okay, maybe not the world, but definitely the USA. Last year everywhere (except Florida maybe) people were cheering for the Dallas Mavericks. No one except the Heat fans wanted the Heat to win. Well, a year later? Same story, different team. Everyone is screaming "Thunder Up!" and keeping their fingers crossed the Oklahoma City Thunder win the Championship.

The team that brought together the three players that were going to bring titles, that had a ridiculous reveal show for their "new" team, and the "star" of which had an hour long decision show of will he stay or go . . . everyone hates Miami. And it shows.

Facebook is blowing up about how great it is to see the Heat lose. How happy it makes everyone that once again, Lebron James is only worth $0.75 (no 4th quarter, get it?). We're just waiting to see him cry again. We will laugh and cheer. Which, we shouldn't do. We shouldn't be mean to players, we shouldn't make fun of them . . . it's what we teach our kids, treat everyone how you want to be treated. Well, Lebron treated all his fans and the media like he was a god, so I guess he got what was coming.

If it had been the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, I may not have been able to watch the Finals series. But, I'm cheering so loudly for OKC that my neighbors probably hate me. And I'm okay with that. I'm betting they hate Miami more.
Via Google Images

So bring it OKC, cause this Mavs fan . . . . is currently your biggest supporter!!

PS. As a Dallas Mavericks fan, I understand what it means to love a team that never won a title, and the absolute joy it is when they do. Congrats to the LA Kings!! Couldn't be happier for your fans, they stood by you and even though I have no clue about anything hockey, I'm proud of you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I dropped the ball. Doesn't mean I can't pick it back up.

Wow. I really need to apologize to my fellow chicks for dropping the ball on my last few posts. Moving really messed with my schedule. Not just my blogging schedule, but also my gym and running schedule. I looked at my RunKeeper log and saw that my last run was May 1st.


That also tells you, if you reach way back into your brain, that I didn't run the half on May 5th. After taking time off for my injury there was no way my legs were going to be ready. I wanted to run. It was a perfect morning in Door County, the park was gorgeous and my husband would have ran/walked it with me. But, as usual, logic prevailed and I knew I wasn't ready and didn't want to risk further injury.

JT high-fiving our nieces at mile 10

Then came the big move. And lots of evenings spent unpacking, cleaning, hanging out with family and eating. Oh, so much eating. But no working out. No running. Days morphed into weeks and suddenly I was getting winded walking up a flight of stairs. That's when we high-tailed it down the road to Anytime Fitness and signed up for a membership.

It makes sense that I busted my ass all winter, got in decent shape and then stopped all physical activity in the spring...just in time to be out of shape for summer. I'm so smart like that. In addition to joining the gym I'm playing in a beach volleyball league. Between the gym, running and volleyball maybe I'll be tan and fit in time for sweater season. A girl can hope.

The beach where I'll be attempting to play volleyball

If you know me, you know that I rarely leave things undone. As of right now "running a half marathon" is still on my to do list. So I signed up for the inaugural Brewers Mini-Marathon. There's a post-race tailgate party, how could I say no?! My husband has decided he's never running long distances again, so I'll be running with my sister-in-law and BBF (best boy friend). Time to bust out the training plan and get to work.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tought Mudder Training: Part 1

In 15 weeks I'll be doing my best not to die at Tough Mudder in Tahoe. 15 weeks to get my body in shape enough so, at the very least, I'm not the one holding the team up from finishing. For this to be possible, I need to focus on three weaknesses: elevation/hills, running in the heat (Tahoe in September, you just never know) and upper body strength.

Starting Wednesday, I'll be taking on the first two.  Sacramento offers little in the way of elevation, but we sit in a valley where the foothills and mountains are within driving distance.  As with the half marathon, I'll be participating in a Fleet Feet training group, this time for trail running.

The shirt plays right in to my love of the "That's What She Said."
Clearly, we're meant to be.

The training takes place over three months focusing on two races, Blood, Sweat and Beers (had me at beer) and Run on the Sly.  Some of my former hiking trails will now be where I spend my weekends running.  Summer Saturday nights may be more low key than years past, but in the end, fingers crossed, I'll have the confidence to take on the hills of the Death course.

P.S. I never thought I'd be wearing North Face on my feet.  Hoping these shoes do the trick and I don't have to go through three pairs to find the right one like I did for the road!

First pair of trail shoes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Where's Waldo?

I loved the Where's Waldo books as a kid.  It was like finding a new Highlights magazine at the Dr's office, only entire books of hidden images!  Until last Wednesday, I hadn't thought about Waldo in years.  The US Men's game against Brazil changed everything.  I turned on ESPN and saw 10 Waldo's running around the field. No, seriously.


Apparently the new jerseys were unveiled in April.  I'm all for US team gear inspired by the American Flag, but, um, how did they not see the connection?  Maybe if the shorts weren't blue it would seem less Waldo-y?  A definite rare miss from Nike. 

I'm not the only one seeing this, right?