Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let the Games Begin!



I am a huge fan of the Olympic games and always have been. I become obsessed with sports I normally don't take the time to watch or read about. No matter where the athletes place in their events, or what country they are from, they all inspire me.

I am not an athlete but I have always dreamed of what being an Olympic athlete would feel like. Here are a few of the athletes I'm keeping my eyes on during the 2012 Olympic games.



Kara Goucher
Kara Goucher is a middle and long distance runner from Portland, OR. She ran the 5,000m and 10,000m in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing but this year, in London, she will competing in the marathon. Her debut marathon was the 2008 New York City Marathon where she came in 3rd with a time of 2:25:35 (that's 5:33 minute/mile pace). That race won her the prestige of becoming the first American woman to be on the podium since 1994 and she set the record for the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman.  




Lolo Jones
Lolo Jones grew up very poor and was homeless for a period of time as a child. Today she's a favorite to medal in the 100m hurdles. She went to Beijing four years ago and finished in 7th place. This was a bit of surprise considering she was named the Olympic trials champion and came in first during the game's semi finals. Following the games she struggled with a string of injuries and ended up having surgery in her spinal cord in 2011, a year from the Olympic games in London. She came in 3rd place at the Olympic trials this year and will compete in the 100m hurdles on Sunday. She's been getting some heat over a tweet she wrote:
: USA Men's Archery lost the gold medal to Italy but that's ok, we are Americans... When's da Gun shooting competition?
Okay, so yes there was a horrible shooting in our country not long before she tweeted  this but... I never thought she was relating this to violence. I think some people took this the wrong way. Afterwards she responded to her critics with:

 "sorry u guys only think of violence but I think of all the hunting I do w southerners in da south. Its impressive."




Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh
These women need no introduction. If this is the first time you have heard of their awesomeness, even if you're not a volleyball fan, you've either lived a very sheltered life or under a soundproof rock. In any case, these women are truly amazing. They won the beach volleyball gold medal in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games. Misty has won more tournaments than any other woman with 107 career wins. Kerri played on USA team volleyball team in 2000 where they finished in 4th place. After the 2000 games, Kerri turned to beach volleyball and teamed up with Misty and quickly made their way to #1 ranking in the FIVB world tour. So far they have won both preliminary matches and I think they are playing in the finals today. I'm very excited!





Natalie Coughlin
Natalie is a 11-time Olympic medalist! She swam in both the 2004 and 2008 games and was the most decorated female athlete at both games. She also holds the title of the most decorated female swimmer in world championship history. To top it off, look how cute she is! In this year's games she swam in the 4x100m freestyle relay but was pulled in the final. The team finished in 3rd place to earn the bronze. I can't find her anywhere else on the Olympic schedule but I have a hard time believing that the relay is her only event. I hope I'm just reading the schedule wrong.    




Shalane Flanagan
Shalane Flanagan is my favorite Olympian this year. She currently holds the American record for the 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m and won the bronze at the 2008 Olympic games for her 10,000m event. In 2010 she competed in her first marathon and finished in 2nd place with a time of 2:28:40 (that's a 5:40 minute/mile pace). This year she will be competing in the marathon on Sunday along with her team mate and training partner, Kara Goucher. She won her spot on the American marathon team in January when she won the Olympic Trials Marathon and set the event record at 2:25:38 (a 5:34 minute/mile pace). Sunday will be a very exciting day.     


You may have noticed that these are all woman athletes. There are men competing in the 2012 Olympic games that I'm watching and routing for as well as other woman athletes. I wanted to keep this blog short so I limited myself to five athletes or teams to write about. It took me longer than expected to get this done. I started before the opening ceremonies but life got in the way of my ramblings. I hope you are enjoying the events as much as I am. Feel free to comment below and tell me who your favorite athletes are and what events you enjoy the most.








   

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aurora

Ever since I saw Sleeping Beauty as a child I have loved the name Aurora. When I was in high school there was a girl in my gym class named Aurora and every time I saw her I told her she had the prettiest name of anyone I knew. In those days, I was sure I would name my first daughter Aurora. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure how Sami got the name Samantha. 

However, today the name Aurora has a different ring to it. I will forever think of the events of last Friday first instead of the beautiful princess I pretended to be as a child when hearing the name, Aurora.  The facts make me so sad. The image in my head of everyday Americans, like me and my family, going to a movie and instead of enjoying the heroics of Batman are faced with as real life bad guy frighten me. Not just a bad guy trying to get rich or steal but a terrorist. I know the investigators have said that this man had no ties to any terrorist organization but he filled the hearts of his victims with terror so to me, he is a terrorist. 

What scares me the most about this man is he is one of "us". He has grown in up here in the good o' USA and has grown up living with the rights and freedoms that this country has to offer. He's educated and intelligent. Why did he feel that this act was a good idea? What was going through his head? What happened to turn his mother's son into the mass murder he is today? Can that happen to one of my kids? I have tears in my eyes as I write this because that idea is a nightmare. What can I do as a parent to give my kids the morals, ethics and tools to become good, hard working and life loving citizens. I'm sure this man's parent's gave them all the love they had to offer so what happened? 

I pray that the victims of Friday's shooting find peace. I know four women where there with their boyfriends and those men gave the ultimate sacrifice and covered those women with their own bodies and died. I Pray that those four women learn to live everyday to the fullest and seek help for the survivor's guilt they may be going through. In fact, I hope all of the survivor's seek help. They all may be feeling that guilt. 

I pray for the the family and friends of the fallen, Alex Sullivan, Micayla Medek, Jessica Ghawi, Petty Officer John Larimer, Rebecca Wingo, Matthew McQuinn, Veronica Moser-Sullivan (6 years old), Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress, Alexander Boik, Alexander Teves, Jonathan Blunk, Gordon Cowden and for the victims who survived. I also pray for Arlene and Robert Holmes, the mother and father of the "accused" gunman. 


To save my faith in humanity, I'm choosing to associate the name of Aurora with strength and bravery in honor of the survives and the fallen heroes instead of sadness.  

     

Monday, July 23, 2012

grease lightening, mermaids, pirates and socks

It's been way too long since my last post... There's no good excuse (other than my keyboard being broken but I fixed that problem last week...) There's a lot you have missed such as more skin issues, an eye patch, my best 5K of the year and my kids who have turned out to be swimming studs. Oh, and Sami has decided that she's going to go to Julliard for college (she's going in to 7th grade next year)

Samantha turned 12 at the end of June. For her birthday we got her tickets to see Grease (on her birthday) and The Little Mermaid (The Little Mermaid might just be the best stage production I've ever seen. It was amazing!). She also got the dvd, cd and book of Phantom of the Opera as well as a Joffrey ballet dvd. The last dvd I mention is especially cool because one of the ballet teachers from Sami's studio is in it. Maia Wilkins was the prima for the Joffrey ballet for many years and now she teaches at The Sacramento Academy of Dance, where Sami has been going since she was four.
Sami and I at The Little Mermaid

Both the kids were on the Arden Manor Pirates Swim Team this year and both had a great time! Nevyn is especially gifted in the water and continued to get faster every week. One of his coaches didn't realize till very late in the season that this was his first year on a swim team. He was shocked and said he should look into swimming on the year-round league. I'm so happy we have found another sport that he really likes. The team went to championships this past weekend and both Sami and Nevyn did a great job. I'm very proud of both of them.

Sami at champs
My hubby, Coach Jeremy at champs
Nevyn at champs
Around the time of  my last post one of my sweet daycare babies came towards me with with his finger pointed at me and before I knew it, it was jammed in my eye. He meant to poke my nose, a game we play a lot, but he missed miserably and I ended up with a pothole in my eye. It took a week to heal and it was very painful. I had never experienced pain quite like that before. Hence the eye patch (wait, who's the pirate?).



Two weekends ago I ran in the Fab 40's 5K. Formally, this was the Alzheimer's Memorial Run. I ran it a couple of years ago and even though the last mile was tough I really enjoyed it. This year's race was another good experience. I started out training for this one but after a week and a half my training fell through the cracks in my busy life. There wasn't much time for training between my medical issues and schedule conflicts. I didn't run during the last two weeks before race day so I wasn't too optimistic about finishing in under 40 minutes. I got tired half way through and the final mile seemed to last forever but when I saw my time I knew I pushed myself just enough. I finished in 39:01! I know a 12:33 pace is pretty slow but my running year has been a mess. I've had slow times all year long and haven't been able to get through any of my training plans because of constant medical issues. This was my first sub 40 minute 5K all year long. I'm wondering if the new pair of of my favorite running socks had anything to do with my improved time???


Next on my racing schedule: 
The Color Run
August 4th

August 11th

September 16h

October 7th

November 10th


November 22nd

Relay Team
December 2nd