Adventures in Running: What is Wrong with Amanda

As a human I have quirks. As an Amanda I have many, many, many quirks. One of the worst and, maybe at times, also best is my extreme commitment to completing something I’ve said I will do, no matter how strange the thing is. However, most recently my goals have increased to a level where even I don’t understand what I am doing anymore.

I have committed myself to running a half marathon in November.

Let me backtrack a bit and show you the high speed train ride that led me here.

Several months ago I signed up for a 5k (Overzealous goal #1) I did literally no training for it. I had never run a step in my life, minus the forced mile run in 7th grade, in which I walked the curves and ran the straights of the track, so basically never ran ever. I very slowly and awkwardly jogged through downtown Nashville for 3.1 miles, didn’t die and decided I was a runner. I should mention that logic is not one of my strongest qualities. Of course that sparked a weird fire in me and I then purchased the Couch to 5k (C25k for short from here on out), and decided I was going to soon be able to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. (Overzealous goal #2) Exactly one day into my C25k program I discovered a 5k inflatable obstacle course was taking place in 9 weeks, coincidently the exact length of time the C25k lasts. So naturally I signed up immediately because what’s a decision if not made spur of the moment, am I right? (Overzealous goal #4)

I stumbled my way through C25k until the day of the obstacle course. I have no idea how long it took me as it wasn’t timed but I know it was more than 30 minutes. Much more. I almost died of heat stroke and my over-competitive nature nearly made me pass out trying to keep up with a group of Marines. But I finished! And I didn’t die.

So what’s a girl to do once she’s got one 5k and an obstacle course under her belt, you may ask? Clearly she needs to create a new goal for herself. Another 5k? A 10k? Perhaps a different obstacle course? All very logical options. But I’m Amanda, so I chose none of those. Which brings us to overzealous goal #5

One lovely day I was checking my email as normal on my lunch break, reading all my junk mail, and then what to my wandering eye did appear? An email from active.com listing ‘upcoming events in my area’! “We’ll just give it a little looksie,” I thought to myself. “5k, nah. 10k, no thanks. Why, what’s this? The Nashville Marathon, 1/2 Marathon and 5k. Interesting, let me read a bit about it…..okay done. Marathon? running for over 4 hours sounds boring. 10k doesn’t seem very impressive though. Welp, half marathon it is!!” I wish I could say that more thought went into my decision than that, but that would be a lie. In a span of about 15 minutes I decided I wanted to run 13.1 miles when the longest I has ever run was 3.1. Again let me reiterate. Logic is not my greatest attribute.

I then spent a total of 5 minutes looking up a training plan on Pinterest and jumped right on in to the self-inflicted mountain of a goal I had set for myself. As a recent non-runner, I have learned a lot in the last few months. A logical person would have learned these things through countless research, coming up with the best plan of attack, but I am not such a person. I learned through failure experience. And in order to possibly save someone in the future from falling victim to what I will now call Amanda-Syndrome (aka stupidity) I have compiled my most important running tips.

1. Running in 60 degrees is much easier than running in 100 degrees
2. Just because that random girl ran up the giant hill doesn’t mean you have to. Walk up that hill! Don’t feel shame! Walk up that hill with pride! Walking up is better than running and getting to the top with your lungs about to pop out of your chest, only to discover another hill waiting for you.
3. A frozen water bottle may seem like good idea, but a 1/2 mile in, your hand will be in the beginning stages of frostbite. Switching hands doesn’t help either, then you just have two frozen hands.
4. Running and drinking water at the same time is a learned talent. One I haven’t learned yet. Luckily I only try when no one is around to see me spill half of a bottle onto myself.
5. There’s a reason marathon runners put water in their mouth only to spit it back out. No one wants 20 ounces of liquid sloshing around in their gut while running 5 miles. Nor do you want a belly full of spaghetti. Science.
6. Running 8 miles then spending 7 hours chasing a toddler may seem doable in the spur of the moment, but your knees will hate you. They will hate you a lot. You will never feel older than you do in that moment. But bright side! The manufacturers of Aleve will love you!
7. Sometimes you take off your socks after a run to find them filled with blood. It will never not be alarming and it will never not be gross.
8. Bicycles move fast and silently. I’m almost positive that my demise will be caused by being run over by a bicyclist that I didn’t hear say “On your left”
9. 7am on Saturday is when the real runners are in the greenway. They will make you feel inadequate as the entire herd passes you “on your left”
10. Eminem is the most inspirational person alive. The cusses somehow help you forget that all of your body hurts. Only listen to him if you want to succeed in everything you do.
11. If I can run, I’m pretty sure anyone can. I’m almost positive I look like a dachshund taking tiny steps, moving my awkward body and short legs down the path, but dammit, I’m doing it! And you can too!

I’ve still got 9 weeks and 5 more miles to add until my ultimate test. Will I be able to run 13.1 miles? Will I finish before the time limit? Will they have to bring their golf cart to pick up my limp body? Will I make it to the finish line and get my free banana and beer? Only time will tell, but one thing I do know is that I’m sure I’ll come up with a new ludicrous goal immediately afterward.

Heck, maybe I’ll run across the country Forrest Gump style. That seems like the next tier in life for me.

gANRuPl

Things To Yell At A Baseball Game

a baseball game

A baseball game. Duh.

If you’ve ever attended a baseball game you will understand what I’m about to say, if not, I’m sorry. Perhaps now you can use the time you were going to spend reading this to go do something more fun like play ping-pong. Unless you like to learn in which case, feel free to stay here and keep reading.

In baseball it is perfectly acceptable to shout things at the players. There are enough drunk people around that you can pretty much do whatever without anyone even thinking twice about it. You can taunt players about their inability to play baseball. You can say mean things about their moms, you can even tell them they have a large hindquarters. This is one of the few social settings in which you can feel free to shout whatever you want without any repercussions to your actions*. Shoot, you can even yell things at the umpires if you want. In fact I would highly recommend it if you find yourself growing bored.

Recently I attended a baseball game. This wasn’t just any baseball game, this was a Nashville Sounds Triple-A baseball game. Meaning, that there are approximately 27 people in the stand on any given night. And in this particular game there was very little action happening. And that’s when it happened. I was given the all important task of searching far and wide on the internet for things to yell at baseball games. And let me tell you, the options are scarce. When you take out all the “Jeter SUUUCKS!!!!” and “STEEEEEEEERRROOOOOIDDS!!”, you are left with very few choices. While shouting things like “I AM SATISFIED WITH YOUR PERFORMANCE THUS FAR!” and “YOU COULDN’T HIT A COW WITH A SHOVEL!!!” are enjoyable, those two phrases will not last you a whole 9 innings. And that’s why I’m here, people of the world wide web. I’m here to offer suggestions of what would be quality things to yell at a baseball game. I’ve searched far and wide for the best of the best. It’s my little gift to you. You’re welcome.

Things To Yell At Players:

  • I’ve seen better swings on a porch
  • Hey! Too bad you aren’t as good at baseball as you are at being ugly!
  • I find you to be a subpar athlete!
  • My grandma could throw better than that!
  • I find your pitching to be lackluster, perhaps you are ill!
  • You should go back to Triple-A, try a little harder, gain some maturity, and come back to the majors in a year or two!
  • Your fielding is surprisingly poor compared to your teammate, yet still incredibly above-average as you are a professional baseball player and I am not!
  • It’s okay. You’re mom still loves you!
  • You couldn’t hit water if you fell out of a boat!
  • I wish my golf score was as good as your batting average!
  • The ball is that thing the catcher has!
  • Hey they killed a cow to make that glove, at least you could try to use it!
  • Is it in your contract to throw like a girl?

Things To Yell At Umpires:

  • Hey blue, if you had another eye, you’d be a cyclops! (you know, implying that he’s terrible at making calls thus assuming he has no eyeballs and the addition of a new eyeball would equal a grand total of one eyeball…..maybe in retrospect don’t use this one)
  • Turn around blue. You’re missing a good game.
  • That was a strike! You’re the worst umpire ever!
  • I thought only horses slept standing up!
  • If you’re just going to watch the game, buy a ticket!
  • I was confused the first time I saw a game too!
  • Hey ump, diarrhea has more consistency than your strike zone !
  • WRONG!
  • You couldn’t call a cab!
  • The circus is in town and the clowns are wearing blue!

Things To Yell Solely Out of Boredom:

  • BOOORING!!
  • Gooo baseball!!
  • Loud noises!!
  • (You could pretty much yell anything for this category. Use your imagination.)

Enjoy, my fellow baseball fans. This was all for you. If you find yourself at a sad, depressing baseball game, feel free to peruse this list and find something to spice your day up. And if nothing else, maybe it will get you kicked out of the game and then you’ll have a story to tell the grandkids about. What’s better than that?

*I actually don’t think that’s true. If you shout cusses you’ll probably get sent to baseball jail. I’m pretty sure it’s a place. I watch Seinfeld. Everywhere they go there’s a jail. Shopping malls, parking garages, they all have jails. So why wouldn’t a baseball stadium have a jail?

Now What Do You Propose I Do Michael Phelps?

Oh you! Stop being so adorable!

Dear Michael Phelps,

It’s been approximately 48 hours since I watched your last Olympic race. It’s probably been a few more than 48 since your actual last race happened, but I live in the US. NBC really enjoys tape delaying things here. But that’s not really important. The real issue here is that it’s been a mere 48 hours since you and your athletic prowess graced my presence and I’m already having serious withdrawals.

Because you are no longer an Olympic participant I’m currently sitting on my couch watching the men’s track cycling sprint. I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed this event but it’s incredibly stupid. You see, these two men are on bikes at the starting line. But they’re apparently weenies because they can’t even balance the bikes themselves. They have little cronies who hold the bikes up for them. Then once the race starts they go real, real slow. I mean really slow. Like slow enough that I could walk faster than they are riding their bikes. And eventually they start going fast, but that’s the last 15 seconds of the race. I hate it Mike. I hate track cycling. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but it’s no 100 meter butterfly. Do you see what you’re doing to me? By retiring from your Olympic career you are forcing me to watch stupid things.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “But Amanda, I just stopped swimming. The actual event of swimming is still very much in existence. There are plenty of fantastic swimmers for you to latch on to. People like Ryan Lochte, Nathan Adrian or Matt Grevers. They are very talented. You can still watch swimming and not force yourself to watch stupid ‘sports’ that shouldn’t exist.”

And my response to that is a big fat PPPPPPBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!! No Michael. I can’t just latch onto them. While you’ve spent years becoming the most decorated Olympic athlete ever, I’ve spent years growing emotionally attached to you. Sure some people might say you’re a freak what with your gorilla-like arm to torso ratio and your size 900 flipper-feet and maybe you do kind of have a horse face, but I can see past all that and only see those adorable puppy-dog eyes.

I’m not saying that you have to come back and participate in the 2016 games in Rio, I’m just simply stating that you have pretty much ruined the Olympics for me. No swimmer is ever going to be better than you let alone compare to you. You’ve broken all the records. They all belong to you. I really have nothing to live for anymore. Your Olympic career is over, therefore, my Olympic career is over. It’s like you just broke up with me after a 12 year relationship. It’s hurts Mike. It hurts bad.

I mean, I guess it’s cool that you want to have a life outside of swimming and stuff, but could you at least take me with you? I don’t really know what to do with myself now that you’re no longer going to be on my TV.

I guess if I can get past the bonnets, I could switch my obsession over to water polo. It won’t be the same, what with the proportional bodies and such, but I’ll make do I suppose.

Have a great retirement Michael. And don’t worry about me, you’ve only ruined my life a lot. I’ll get over my sadness in a few years….maybe.

Sincerely,

Amanda

More Sparkle Spray STAT!

 

Olympian Aly Raisman sheds tears because of the tautness of her ponytail while teammate Gabby Douglass looks on and laughs

This may surprise you guys but I love the Olympics.

When the Olympics come around I watch sports that I’ve never heard of with the focus of someone who could themselves, be an Olympian. Handball, water polo, field hockey, white water kayaking, I’ve watched it all. And one thing I’ve noticed through my rigorous studies is that all of these Olympians are happy. They have joy on their faces, as if they don’t care if they win, they’re just glad they made it to the Olympics. Well, that is all athletes except the gymnasts.

Yesterday as I watched the gymnasts flip, spin and jump around, I noticed that they all looked as if someone had murdered their dog and they were seeking it’s vengeance. I would expect anger out of a gymnast from China. I’m pretty sure if Chinese gymnasts don’t win gold, they get their legs cut off, but even the US gymnasts had anger and hatred in their eyes. Last I checked Béla Károlyi didn’t chop off legs.

Normally you think of gymnasts as happy and bubbly, but not these ones. These ones frightened me, until I discovered the source of their anger: their ponytails.

When I wear a ponytail, it’s simply to keep my hair out of my face, I just pull back the excess hair, wrap a scrunchee around it and BAM! pony tail. These gymnasts ponytails were blood seeking vessels. I’ve never seen a tighter ponytail on someone’s head then the ones I saw last night on NBC. Maybe a this hairstyle makes a better gymnast. I’m not scientist so I did a little bit of research. (The things I do for you guys. I’m just a real giver.)

Luckily, last night the US gymnastics team was mic’d up and I found the hidden footage* and dictated it all so I would have proof that their ponytails were incredibly tight and I wasn’t just crazy.

Coach John Geddert: “If your hair is wispy you will lose points! Slick it back!”

Olympic Gymnast Jordan Weiber “It’s already in a ponytail coach. What else do you want me to do?”

Geddert: “Slick it back more. Tighter. NO TIGHTER. UNTIL YOU LOOK SURPRISED.”

Weiber: “But coach, I can’t feel my face anymore. If I move my eyebrow 100 hairs rip out of my scalp.”

Geddert: “That just means you need more hair spray. And not that boring stuff. The stuff with sparkles. YOU NEED TO SHINE! More sparkles spray STAT!”

Weiber: “Well, okay, you’re the coach…..”

Obviously if your face feels like it may rip off because your hair is pulled back so tight, it’s going to be difficult to show any emotion. Gold medals before full heads of hair and comfort, that’s what I always say. Plus who wants to see someone happy when they succeed anyway.

If having no fly-aways wins you a medal, then I say, go ahead ladies, just grease those suckers back. Plus if your hair is pulled back super tight maybe you can jump higher and spin faster….like a windup toy.

*Nope.

 

 

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Amanda, The Olympian

No big deal, just me and Michael Phelps hanging out in Beijing.

Every 4 years the entire world comes together as one unit. The best athletes from all over the world converge on one city for one purpose: to beat the crap out of every other country and prove your country is number one at everything.

And every 4 years, I decide that I’m fully capable of being an Olympic athlete.

I’ve been doing a little soul-searching today, mostly because I grounded myself from the internet so I wouldn’t get any spoilers about how Michael Phelps wasn’t even going to place in his first event. I love Michael Phelps. I’m still weeping about this. But back to my soul-searching. I’ve been doing some soul-searching to see what event I should focus on to reach my Olympic dreams. I have several options obviously, because I’m incredibly versatile:

Gymnastics: I’m older than 16 and I’ve passed puberty. No go-on the gymnastics.

Swimming: I can tread water for a whole minute. This is a possibility. But most likely I would get halfway across the pool and get a cramp thus causing me to drown. But then Michael Phelps could dive in a save me with mouth-to-mouth. No gold medal, but Michael Phelps. Lose-win situation there.

Handball: I have no clue how this game works. But I can throw balls into nets.

Rowing: Zero upper body strength. I would not win. Unless I got to be the person at the from yelling at the other rowers. I’m a great yeller.

Cycling: This would probably lead me to have another leg cramp, then I would fall of my bike and get run over. But I have big calve muscles, so I could go pretty fast.

Fencing: I’m GREAT at poking people with long sticks. But I’m not very formal. That seems like a sport for formal people. I can lift my pinky while I poke.

Volleyball: I was never allowed to play volleyball as a teen. MOstly because of my lack of hand/eye coordination, but I don’t really see this as a problem.

The options are endless you guys. I’m a really talented athlete. I don’t know how I’ll decide. I’m 23, so my prime Olympic years are behind me. By my best estimation I’ve got one shot at being an Olympian, so I’m going to have to do them all at once. This is obviously the most logical choice, because not being an Olympian is NOT an option.

So I’ll see you guys in 4 years. Until then I’ll be busy training to become the first septuple sport athlete in Rio 2016!

To Whoever Stole My Mike Sweeney Card: Give It Back!

 

In second grade, I had a crush on Mike Sweeney.

I was 7, he was not. He was also probably married and had children at that point as well, but that didn’t stop me. Because first of all, I was…7, 7 year olds do not have a concept of what is socially acceptable.

At this time in my life Mike Sweeney was the catcher for the Kansas City Royals. Also, at this time in my life, the Kansas City Royals were terrible. You could pretty much get tickets to a game as long as you promised to not boo the home team. (or for like 5 bucks, either way) Because of this, a large portion of my summer was spent at Royals games.

In an effort to ‘woo’ their fans the Royals had autograph days where for an hour before the game certain players would sign autographs for adorable little children and uncomfortably obsessed adults. And on one particular game day, the player of choice was none other than that hunky catcher, Mike Sweeney.

My little 7-year-old heart could barely take it. Standing in line behind the 12 other people who chose to attend the game that evening, waiting in anxious anticipation for the man himself to show up. And finally, after what seemed like an eternity later, there he was. In his uniform and everything ready to sign a stack of team printed cards.

Finally, finally it was my turn. Hands shaking, I made my way up to the table. I said nothing. I probably just looked at him with a goofy grin. I was a shy 7-year-old. (Let’s get real, that’s how I would react if the same scenario was happening right now, 16 year later) Then the unthinkable happened. He asked me my name. I didn’t know how to react, but then my brain finally stepped into play and I quietly mumbled, “…Amanda…” Then he handed it to me with brilliant pearly whites shining. He handed me my newest prized possession. I took it in my still shaking hand. On this card THE Mike Sweeney had written:

“To: Amanda
Jer. 29:11
♡ Mike Sweeney”

I nearly passed out. As a 7-year-old I was pretty convinced that this “♡” meant Mike Sweeney was my new boyfriend. But you know what guys, I don’t think it did mean that. I’m pretty sure it just meant he was being nice to the shy, pathetic 2nd grader who didn’t know how to speak, but whatever.

This baseball card has been a priceless piece of my life since that day. And now, now it has gone AWOL. Somewhere between moving from Kansas to Tennessee, Mike Sweeney vanished. I don’t want to overreact, but I’m 110% sure that someone stole it to make my life sad and meaningless. Without that card how will I ever prove that Mike Sweeney once, for 5 seconds of his life, knew my name? I need it back and I need it back bad.

Without this card, my childhood is lost. So what I need is for whoever wanted to ruin my life, to return it to me ASAP. I won’t even be mad at you. But without Mike Sweeney, my childhood never happened. Do you want that on your conscience? No, you do not. Plus I’m going to just keep whining about it if I never find this card. No one wants to deal with my whining for the rest of their lives. I’m a really annoying whiner and that’s probably why I don’t have a husband, but I digress.

So in conclusion, if you find a Mike Sweeney card addressed to Amanda and you are not Amanda, it’s mine and I want, no I NEED, it back.

Also if you happen to be Mike Sweeney, could you maybe just send me a new one so this whole messy thing can be behind me? Thanks!

 

 

Where In The World Is Patrik Elias?

Those of you who aren’t as enamored with hockey as I am may not be aware, but for the past few weeks the world of hockey has been the scene of an unsolved crime.

On June 11, 2012 the Los Angeles Kings overcame a 44 year drought to become first time Stanley Cup Champions. I don’t know if you’ve ever attempted to win a Stanley Cup, but I think it’s pretty difficult. I’ve been trying on my Wii, but they’re not even real people and I still can’t do it. So It’s pretty big deal when your team wins the Stanley Cup. There are parades, champagne showers, lots of cheering, and sometimes an occasional f-bomb in a victory speech. And one thing that’s a tradition, really in any sport, is to keep the game winning puck (or ball in all those other sports) and display it somewhere, where everyone can see it and say, “Hey look! There’s the puck that the Los Angeles Kings used to beat the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup Final. Super neat-o!!” But something terrible happened with this puck. The game winning puck disappeared.

The last anyone knew of the puck was that New Jersey Devil’s left winger Patrik Elias flipped it up into his glove after the final horn of the game. Then Elias proceed to exit the ice and give his stick to a random fellow in the crowd. He disappeared into the locker room for a few unaccounted for minutes then returned to the ice to shake hands with his opponents, at this point in the evening Elias was puck-less.

Now why would Patrik Elias want this puck? Did he want it to display the puck that was used to beat his team? Did he want to hurt the Kings by not allowing them to have it? Was he going to sell it on ebay for millions of czech koruna? No one really knows. All we really know is that the puck disappeared for 2 weeks and 4 days. And then it was found hidden, deep inside Elias duffel bag. Patrik is trying to take the pressure off of himself saying he didn’t know he had it and what not, and he tried to make it better by sending it to the Kings. But no, he is full of lies. He knew exactly where that puck was for those unaccounted days. Why would the puck be in his duffel bag if he hadn’t been traveling the world with Pucky, as I call him? So I did a little digging and you’ll never believe what I found.

As it turns out Patrik Elias fled the country after their loss with puck in hand. He took ol’ Pucky here on a bit of a world-wide excursion.

First they headed to Italy and did a classic “holding up the leaning tower” pose.

Next they jetted over to Paris to visit the Eiffel Tower.

The last leg of the European tour was a trip to Patrik’s home country of Czechoslovakia.

Oh, now this is just cruel. A comically large Stanley Cup champion puck on the Hollywood sign. C’mon Elias, rub it in a little more that you have their puck why don’t you.

Apparently in his world travels he even made a trip with the puck to my own city of Nashville and was hanging out on Broadway. What the heck? How did I not know?

And finally, Patrick and Pucky took a trip to the shore with, well, you know, the Jersey Shore crew. Look how precious Pucky is nestled gingerly in Snooki’s poof like that.

Sure it’s a little weird that he did all these things and then sent the puck back to the Kings, but who am I to judge? Maybe he just wanted a little taste of the victory as well. And when you’re Patrik Elias that means you spend a few special days with a champion hockey puck. I hope you had fun Elias, I hope you did! I’m just glad that Pucky is finally back with his rightful owners.