Motivation Monday

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Susan and I were out of town visiting my parents and her Nannie over the Easter weekend, so I was unable to go to the gym.  And with today being Opening Day, I didn’t have time to make it to the gym prior to the first pitch, so all I have done over the past few days is variations on the following Warrior Dash circuit:

  • Push ups/Diamond Push ups
  • Squats
  • V-Sits
  • Supermans
  • Bicycle
  • Chair Dips
  • Straight Leg Flutters
  • Side Crunches
  • Wipers
  • Reverse Crunches/Knees to Chest

I really need to get in some cardio, but I am going to wait the full week recommended before testing my foot.  I have a feeling tomorrow will be a grueling cardio day.  And with that in mind, today’s motivation is courtesy of the Warrior Dash Facebook page.

From the Warrior Dash Facebook page

From the Warrior Dash Facebook page

HOMERUN Freddie Freeman!!!!  The Braves lead 2-0 in the bottom of the first!!!!!

Play Ball!

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Today is Opening Day (yes, I know that the Astros and Rangers played last night, but that isn’t the same as today) for Major League Baseball and it should be a national holiday recognized all across the United States, since, you know, it is the National Pastime, and even Canada (or at least in Ontario).  Doing so would save many baseball fans like myself a sick or vacation day at work, and would help keep truancy down in schools, especially those in cities where games are taking place.   Everyone that knows me knows that baseball is my ultimate sports obsession, especially the Atlanta Braves, but even if that weren’t the case, today would still be special.  In my mind, Opening Day signifies the beginning of warmer weather.  It means the summer is rapidly approaching and the dreariness of the winter shall be left in the past.  I know some of these early games in Cleveland and Minneapolis don’t feel this way, but that is where I go mentally regardless.  Joe DiMaggio, aka Joltin’ Joe or the Yankee Clipper, summed up Opening Day rather well with the following quote:

You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.

Taken from the Braves Facebook page

Taken from the Braves Facebook page

Opening Day is a day of ultimate enthusiasm.  It is the only day of the year you are guaranteed to proclaim that your team is in first place!   Even Cubs fans that tirelessly cheer “Maybe next year!” for take comfort in seeing their beloved Cubbies in first before some tragedy befalls them once again.  The small market teams in Pittsburgh, Miami (maybe not them thanks to their greedy owners), Tampa, and Kansas City are optimistic today.   Growing up a Braves fan in the 1980’s, I could not proclaim that very much, so I relish it whenever I can, even if the 1990’s did it’s best to spoil, yet humble me.

Pic from MLB's Facebook page

Pic from MLB’s Facebook page

I have only had the privilege of attending one Opening Day game in person in my lifetime (but I have called in sick to watch several others), and that was back on April 5, 2010.  That day also served as my first game at Turner Field (yes, I know that is a terrible admission for a rabid Braves fan).  I live in Memphis, which is Cardinals territory and most of my friends, and even my twin brother are Cardinal fans.  That being said, this was not my first Braves game.  I had attended numerous games at Fulton County Stadium, as well as catching the Braves on the road in Cincinnati and St. Louis over the years.  But I had never seen white home uniforms at Turner Field, so it was great to finally go to the current home of my beloved Braves.  It was a warm and sunny day, and hopes were high.  Despite not making the playoffs the previous season, the Braves had showed some life in 2009 that the 2010 squad was certainly going to build upon.  Highly touted and number one overall prospect Jason Heyward had launched baseballs all spring and won the job of starting right fielder on Opening Day, creating an electricity around the team.  And Heyward did not disappoint, launching a homerun in his first major league at bat!  The Braves thumped the Cubs that day 14 to 2, and contributed to the dismantling of Carlos Zambrano’s career.  Opening Day often sets a tone for the season, and it certainly did here with the Braves and Cubs.  Heyward went on to be an all star and nearly won the NL Rookie of the Year Award.  The Braves won 91 games and the National League Wild Card.  The Cubs lost 87 games and Zambrano was demoted to the bullpen for a portion of the season.  But before the rout on this day, Cubs fans could still hold their heads high and take solace in the fact that they were a first place team.

Hammerin' Hank Aaron throwing out the first pitch 4.5.10

Hammerin’ Hank Aaron throwing out the first pitch 4.5.10

Tonight, starting at approximately 6:10 CST, I will be parked on my couch, watching the Atlanta Braves battle the Philadelphia Phillies as if it is Game 7 of the World Series.  Susan will wish that the season to already be over, and my workout routine will have to be adjusted accordingly.

And three more great Opening Day quote for your enjoyment:

There is no sports event like Opening Day of baseball, the sense of beating back the forces of darkness and the National Football League. – George Vecsey, New York Times sports columnist

There’s nothing like Opening Day.  There’s nothing like the start of a new season.  I started playing baseball when I was seven years old and quite when I was forty, so it’s kind of in my blood. – George Brett, HOF 3B

It’s like Christmas except it’s warmer. – Pete Rose, MLB all-time hit king

 

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We really did witness quite a bit of greatness in the 90’s.

Nowhere To Go But Pop

By Ian Goldstein

Think of the greatest television sitcom of the 1990s. Would it be fair to guess that one name comes to mind, personified by a guy who inflects his voice and constantly asks: “what is the deal with this”? and “did you ever notice that”?

When you think of the greatest NBA franchise of the 1990s do you see a red-faced, white-horned, angry adult male of the Bos Taurus species?

Yes.

So we realize that Seinfeld and the Chicago Bulls were the best of their respective fields in the 1990s, possibly of all-time. But why is this relevant?

Because they’re actually identical twins, separated at birth, both growing up to be the unstoppable force and the immovable object.

Here are the Top 10 reasons why Seinfeld and the 1990’s Bulls are uncannily similar:

10. Big Shoes to Fill

Television in the 1980s was dominated by Cheers. It averaged 15 million…

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Sunday Funday

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It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to go for a long run so today was very important for my training even though I’m firmly in my taper phase.  And of course, being sick all week was not ideal leading into my ten mile run today.  At least our run of thirty degree days has subsided and I was able to start my run with sunny skies and a temperature around forty-five degrees.  My first couple of miles went well, and were in the range of 9:45 per mile, but then I hit a wall and the last eight miles were a struggle.  My fastest mile was my first and the slowest was the ninth mile.  I did at least cut twenty-four seconds off of my pace for the last mile, so I was able to finish strong.  I could tell that I hadn’t run a long distance in awhile and I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt me in two weeks during the Germantown Half Marathon.  I finished today’s run of 10.02 at a slightly disappointing 10:17 pace.  This pace is a little slower than my last month plus of training, but would be a personal record by a few seconds if I could maintain it for an entire half marathon.  Of course, being sick and somewhat static for the week, my time should be somewhat encouraging.  Also, my right calf was tight and sore by the end, but I think it should be nothing major.

In other news, our trivia team was not able to finish in the money last night.  We were within striking distance for awhile but our lack of knowledge of short lived 1970’s sitcoms, Fleetwood Mac, European bodies of water, the Amazing Randy, and Roman catapults cost us last night.  The final question was put the following four items in order, from largest to smallest:

  • Fleetwood Mac Top 40 Hits
  • Number of States That Signed the Original Warsaw Pact in 1955
  • Mike Schmidt’s Number With the Phillies
  • Number of Neck Vertebrae in a Giraffe

So, I knew that Schmidt’s number was 20, but we were uncertain on the other three.  I fought hard to put the Giraffe vertebrae as the smallest simply because it seemed kind of like a trick answer.  We estimated that Fleetwood Mac had ten top forty hits and sixteen states signed the original Warsaw Pact because there was lots of possible states to sign it.  We got these two wrong.  The final answer was as follows:

  • #20 for Mike Schmidt
  • 18 Top 40 Hits by Fleetwood Mac (Seriously?)
  • 8 States Signed the Original Warsaw Pact
  • 7 Neck Vertebrae in a Giraffe

Oh well, we now have some more useless trivia committed to memory for the future I suppose.

Today, after my run, Susan and I decided to take Beau back to the dog park.  Beau had a great time, even though there were several aggressive dogs there today.  Sadly, the wolf dog was not there again today, but there were a couple of other doodle mixes there that Beau immediately ran to.  I’m glad that he steered clear of most of the aggressive dogs today, especially the two dogs that got into three fights within the first fifteen minutes we were there.

For any people out there that is not a hockey fan, the Chicago Blackhawks versus the Detroit Red Wings game this afternoon would have been the best chance for the sport to convert you.  Coming into the game, the Blackhawks had scored at least one point in twenty-one straight games to open the season and have yet to lose during regulation.  The game was scoreless into late in the third period when the Red Wings scored a goal and the streak looked to be in jeopardy.  Of course, the Blackhawks tied up the game with about two minutes to go and the game went to overtime.  The game ended up in a shootout and the Blackhawks scored the only goal during the shootout and their point streak is now at twenty-two games.  The NHL might as well given them the Stanley Cup now, sadly.

 

Back To Normal…Almost

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I finally returned to work today.  I wasn’t at 100%, but I couldn’t justify staying home another day so I sucked it up and went to work.  I’m sure my coworkers were questioning my dedication after I had a coughing fit at the morning status meeting.  I didn’t have quite as much work piled up on my desk when I came in today as I was expecting, but I had enough to keep me busy all day long with plenty left to tackle on Monday.

After work, I decided to try to get in a quick workout.  I was still coughing a bit and was tired from actually working all day, but I knew that I needed to log some miles.  The temperature has been dropping for a couple of days here in Memphis, so I decided to head to the gym.  Today was the first day of March, in Memphis, and our high was thirty-eight degrees.  Plus, if I wasn’t feeling well, I could stop my workout much easier than running up and down the road.  Fridays at the gym are usually great since it is most people’s skip day from the gym, and you have free reign over the entire place.  Today that was taken to another level since the desk worker didn’t have any towels ready when I got there.  I guess it was his skip day as well.  I did an easy 2% grade on the treadmill, hoping to run four and a half miles followed up with some TRX or a Warrior Dash circuit.  But, during my run, I started to get dizzy and thought it was prudent to cut the workout short.  I ended up running 3.51 miles at a 9:30 pace, so I wasn’t terrible today.  Hopefully, I’ll feel a little better tomorrow so I can get in a quick non-running workout and be in good shape to tackle a ten miler on Sunday.  I haven’t had a long run in two weeks, and with the Germantown Half Marathon coming up in just over two weeks, I really would love to return to my schedule to help stay prepared for race day.

Currently, the Grizzlies are in a very entertaining game with the Miami Heat, with the Grizz trailing by only one after the third quarter.  And as a Memphian, I must say, I am sick and tired of Mario Chalmers hitting threes against our teams.  I’m cutting this post short to be able to catch the entire fourth quarter unabated.

Back In The Saddle

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After my impromptu rest day yesterday, I made sure to get in a run today.  The temperature never rose above thirty-seven here in Memphis today, so I decided to utilize the gym and the readily available treadmills for my run.  I ran four miles at a 9:34 pace.  I felt great after the run, and definitely could have pushed it a little harder, but I was pleased with the outcome regardless.  I followed the run with a couple of sets of diamond pushups and crunches.  This was all after logging 1,464 stairs while at work today.  I was going to do some TRX or  Warrior Dash circuit, but I was pressed for time and I wanted to make sure that I got my miles in first.  I may try to use the stairs for the rest of the week and see how that goes.

The Four Bridges Half Marathon I’m running in October posts lots of useful information and motivational items on their Facebook page.   They shared the following quote yesterday and I meant to include it in my previous post, but I forgot:

There are plenty of obstacles in your path.  Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. – Ralph Marston

That sums up marathon training fairly well, I do believe.  And I think it applies to my last two days very appropriately as well.  My gym has quotes posted all over the facility and I may have to suggest that they include this one.

After getting back on my workout track earlier, I’m now catching up on my DVR.  First up was the second best show currently on TV, Justified, and I’m now watching The Americans.  Tonight’s episode is tackling the attempted assignation of Ronald Reagan, which made for a very intriguing episode.  Each week, the show gets a little stronger, which gives me high hopes for The Americans comparing favorably to the other highly lauded FX shows.

And one last note, tonight was a goodnight for Memphis basketball.  The Grizzlies beat Rudy Gay and his new team, the Toronto Raptors 88-82, in large part because Gay played his usual selfish and turnover prone fourth quarter.  Toronto is not a good team, but when you part ways with a player, it is always good for morale of a fanbase to perceive that the right move was made.  The Memphis Tigers won for the seventeenth straight time this evening after dispatching the Houston Cougars 81-74.  Chris Crawford finished just one assist short of joining Penny Hardaway and Antonio Anderson as the only Tigers with a triple-double.  Of course Penny had two and is regarded by many as the greatest Tiger of all time and Anderson was in the senior class with the most wins in NCAA history and a Final Four appearance (both vacated because of Derick Rose’s bogus SAT), so including Crawford with that duo may have been a little dubious.