Wild Weekend: Football, Classes and Marathon (Parking) Madness!

Let me first state that no, I did absolutely not run the Marine Corps Marathon this morning. But living along the path of the course has made today a bit … challenging. But I’ve learned throughout the years that there will be a few days a year that my neighborhood becomes a traffic nightmare to accommodate a race.

The highlight of my weekend, naturally, was something I’ve been looking forward to since … well, two years ago, to be totally honest. My Clemson Tigers made their FINAL trip up to the University of Maryland before they leave the ACC at the end of the school year, and I talked my girl Helen into joining in on the fun with me.

We got to hang out with the Tiger.

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And I made a new friend.

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Our seats weren’t great, but I figured it made more sense to get tickets through Clemson and participate in the whole alumni tailgate experience. It was so much fun – and so cool to see all the orange and prove to Helen that there are plenty of other Clemson crazies such as myself out there – and age is not a factor. There were people who could be my grandparents screaming “Go Tigers” … not to mention this SUPER CUTE little kid who was one pumped little super-fan – during his cheering, Helen looked at me and said would be my kid someday (of course I agreed). Unfortunately, near the end of the game it was so cold we couldn’t feel our hands, feet, or faces … and that’s when the game got interesting. Seriously … we left with less than 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, and we missed FOUR touchdowns! My Tigers came out victors in the end, so all is still well.

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I started both my mornings with classes, as well, this weekend, which is always a good time. I had just enough time yesterday morning to get home and get cleaned up and oranged-out after my Pilates class at Sport&Health, and then this morning, I purposely tried to plan ahead, knowing the marathon route was going to make the morning difficult – and I still ended up running into some issues. But I guess that’s why I left about 30 minutes earlier than usual … because it took me 15 minutes, three marines, a police officer, and a traffic officer to figure out how on earth I was going to get to the gym. Hey, marathon organizers … maybe when you say streets will be closed at 8:30, you don’t have them already blocked at 8:15? Just a thought. Perhaps Piloxing fuel this morning?

Anyway, it was a fun weekend – it definitely is starting to feel like fall (I’d like to know how we skipped from 80 degrees to 50, though, thanks).  Congrats to all those who ran the Marine Corps Marathon this morning! I saw quite the crowd running past my building when I got home from the gym this morning. I’ll have to get the recap on the race from my customer/direct manager tomorrow morning at work – this was marathon #3 for him. I, however, don’t really see the need to spend that much time running. The older I get, the more things start to ache, and I don’t even want to know what would bother me if I decided to run three or more times my normal run.

Have a great week!

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Weekend Workout Re-wind

So, here I am, another Monday … another day of sitting around waiting for this government shutdown to end (the week off has been nice, but I have to be honest … I’m ready to get back to work. Uncertainty and I are not friends). One thing I will say about this mess is that it has allowed me a little more flexibility in my workouts throughout the last week – not to mention getting a couple extra hours of sleep and hitting the gym at a less crowded hour.

It’s always nice when my workouts are a little less stressful (I know, the point is to REDUCE stress, but when you’re fighting for space – and the clock – sometimes that is not the case). It gives me a little time to get more in-tune with my body, and think about what I’m doing right, what I need to improve upon, and oftentimes, take in the surroundings as a result. That said, here are a few of my observations from the weekend:

  • People really don’t like the new stepmills. I wrote a post a few weeks back about the new Matrix stepmills XSport recently introduced. I decided to couple stairs with my leg workout on Saturday, and I have to say … it was kind of funny to see four old stepmills in use, and maybe two of the old ones. Personally, I like the old ones better – they have a lot more flexibility from a speed standpoint, giving you more variance in your workout.
  • PRAISE THE LORD, THEY BROUGHT BACK ESPN. Now, I know this is not something only I am college-football obsessed to care about. But maybe mid-August, XSport replaced ESPN with MASN (the Nationals baseball channel. YAWN.) Yes, they did still offer ESPN2, but let’s talk about my reaction Week 1 of college football season – the week College Game Day was at Clemson, my alma mater – when I discovered I would not be watching College Game Day during my workout. I freaked out a little. Or a lot. Oh, ESPN, how I’d missed you.
  • I seriously need to learn how to use a foam roller. My right hamstring has been unbelievably tight – to the point of almost being painful – for probably a couple months now. There was more equipment than should ever be in the studio for my Pilates class yesterday (though the Bosus, medicine balls and swiss balls did make for some interesting planks for my challengers), so I figured I’d try my hand (leg?) and trying to roll what I can only assume is a monster knot out of my leg. No such luck. I felt nothing, so clearly I’m not doing something right (on the flipside – literally – I think it did work out a little tension in my quads). Suggestions? Anyone?
  • And finally … I went golfing on Sunday. Why not, when it’s 85 degrees in October? I only played nine holes, and while it wasn’t terrible (okay, one hole I’m quite sure had it in for me, because I think I was over par before I made it off the tee) – I’d even call a few of my shots good – I could definitely still stand a little more practice. Maybe I should put that on my government shutdown how to keep myself entertained now that we’re a week in to-do list…

Hope you had a weekend of great workouts as well!

BONUS! Spinning Playlist(s) – August 31, 2013

HAPPY GAME DAY, EVERYONE!! It feels like Christmas! I’m counting down the hours to kickoff (and hoping Kirk, Lee, Chris, Des, Samantha and the rest of the Game Day crew are enjoying Tiger Town … I wonder if I can find Game Day OnDemand??), and starting my day off right, with not one, but TWO Spinning classes this morning.

So, here they are:

8:30 a.m. class
Warm-up (Flat Road, Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Out of My League – Fitz and the Tantrums

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 9)
Untouched – The Veronicas
Still Into You – Paramore
Feel So Close – Calvin Harris
E.T. – Katy Perry

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 9+)
Scream – Usher
Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon
Glowing – Nikki Williams
So What – Pink
Stronger – Kanye West

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4-5, Build to 7+)
Sweet Nothing – Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch
Toxic – Britney Spears
Forever – Chris Brown
Desert Rose – Sting

Cooldown
Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

9:45 a.m. class
Warm-up (Flat Road, Resistance 3-4 on a Scale of 10)
Wake Me Up – Avicii

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8)
Hot ‘n Cold – Katy Perry
Closer – Tegan and Sara
Forever Now – Ne-Yo
Funhouse – Pink

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 5, Build to 8-9)
Endorphins – Sub Focus
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Ray
Domino – Jessie J
Dirrty – Christina Aguilera ft. Redman
Uprising – Muse

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance , Build to )
Turn Me On – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
Clarity – Zedd ft. Foxes
Telephone – Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce
Rosa Parks – Outkast

Cooldown
Never Let Me Go – Florence + The Machine
Heartbeat Slowing Down – All-American Rejects

Thanks for a fun time this morning – now enjoy some football. I’m counting down the seconds until “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football”:

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GO TIGERS!!

Nuk Hopkins: From Tragedy to Tremendous

As many of you know, I am a big Clemson football fan. Okay, huge Clemson football fan. Okay … is there something bigger than those two? Because that is what I am.

You’ll also know that I’m a sucker for an inspirational story. I was in awe when I read a story on Dabo Swinney’s journey from a poverty-stricken home life to one of the youngest head football coaches in the nation. I was moved to tears when ESPN did a feature on Clemson’s resident war hero, Daniel Rodriguez (you can see my post about the story here).

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photo from independentmail.com

Once again, I found myself touched by a story about a Clemson football player overcoming some incredible odds to be, as many analysts predict, nine short days from being a First Round NFL Draft pick. I’m referring to one of the stars of the 2012 season – DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins. I had no idea that he had experienced such great tragedy in his life. It would be easy to just give up and assume that life will deal you the same cards as those around you, but instead, relying on sheer determination and a will to succeed, as well as a great sense of faith (you’ll note that, surrounded by his teammates and coaches, Nuk was baptized after a practice last fall). You can read the entire inspiring, incredible, touching, and yes, horrifying, story here.

My point? Not that Clemson football is incredible (well, it is, but that is not what I’m getting at here). But that if you want something bad enough, you have the power to make it happen. All of these men have overcome incredible odds stacked against them, not only surviving – but thriving.

Never let a bad day or a disappointment get you down. You are in control of your destiny – and your attitude, coupled with your will to succeed, can bring you victory in whatever it is you seek.

College Football and Healthy(??) Tailgate Eating

I love college football. Okay, I’ll admit … that is a bit of an understatement. Saturdays from September through December are pretty shot for me, because my days are typically dedicated to sitting in front of the television watching college football (Fact: I purposely scheduled a hair appointment last weekend – a good two weeks later than my dark roots would have liked – strictly because it was Clemson’s off weekend). I plan my workouts so that I can watch the beginning of College Game Day on the treadmill, get home from the gym in time for the week’s picks, and get a quick shower in before I settle in front of a few games for the day.

That said, I’m a die-hard Clemson fan. Have been ever since my freshman year of college, all the way back in (gulp!) 1999. There is something about the atmosphere, something in “those hills,” and yes, something about the feeling you get when you see the team rub the rock and run down the hill (they don’t call it the most exciting 25 seconds in college football for nothing!) – it is an incredible feeling of community. And though many schools have an incredible college football environment, I’m proud to share that earlier this week, Clemson was even named Southern Living Magazine’s Best Tailgate in the South (check out why here).

Which brings me to the real point of today’s post … tailgating. Specifically, what we eat in the time leading up to our games – and how it can make or break our nutrition goals. The same rules apply during football season as they do during holiday season, or any other time of the year, for that matter. It’s all about being smart, and remembering that while one or two splurges won’t kill a week’s worth of hard work, we do still have to be aware of the foods that we put into our bodies. Read on to see who eats what around the conferences … and how they see these tailgate foods fitting into their everyday eating patterns.

So, enjoy your games today – and be smart about your game-time food choices! And, as always … GO TIGERS!