Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Running Start: Week One

Ewww...why am I posting about running?!  I'll tell you why, because I signed up with my sister in law to run "The Other Half" marathon in Moab in October and I am a first-time, beginner, just-starting-to-run runner. 

Maybe, I shouldn't have started off this post with an 'ewww.'  That is, more or less, a negative attitude about the whole thing (which is what I'm trying to avoid), nevertheless, that sentiment is pretty indicative of how I've felt about running all my life, even though I've secretly always wanted to be one of those weird, crazy running people.

The race is in 6 weeks and I just started training for it last week.  Here is my week 1 recap:

Workout:  I ran/walked a total of 13 miles last week.  I rested on Friday and Sunday and I guess technically Thursday, but I went to ballet on Thursday and I don't really consider that resting.  Hopefully my weekly ballet workouts will lend to my half-marathon training.

Concerns:  There is a time limit of  3 hrs and 30 mins (16 min. mile).  While I do run under a 16 min. mile (I average an 11 min. mile) I still don't like the time restraint.  The most I've run thus far in my training is 4 miles, but I walked part of it.  I'm concerned about the fact that I'm not running all of it.  Is that a valid concern or is it OK that I'm horribly out of shape and can't even run for 4 miles straight because it is, after all only my first week of training?

The Positives:  Running has helped me become a little more oriented with my neighborhood and I've observed a lot of cool landscapes.  On my 3-mile route there is a fun, babbling little fountain just as I come up on mile 3.  I didn't know it was there the first time and it was a pleasant and welcomed surprise that got me through the last leg.  I look forward to it every time!  Not so much a positive, but I've sadly noticed how much trash there is.  Seriously, did the "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute" campaign do nothing for us?!

My Tricks:  In life, I've found that I do my best if someone else is relying or dependent upon me.  I find that I'm unmotivated when it comes to motivating myself.  I partnered with my company, Encana, and Team Sweat Equity, to make my race mean something.  I've set a goal to raise $1,300 for Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education).  My company will pay PAVE $16/hr for every hour that I train and anyone can donate using my personal fundraising page.  This gives me something and someone to be accountable to, other than just myself.

My Questions:  What are some favorite foods/snacks/drinks that runners like to eat or drink, respectively?  How long do you need to stretch before and after the run?  When I run all I can think about is running, I can't focus on anything else for any beneficial amount of time and that's what I think leads me to my walking spurts.  How do I re-focus my mind and block out the unnecessary negatives about running? (note:  I don't like to listen to music when I'm running in the city--I'd rather not have that distraction, plus we can't have music when we run the race).

The first week is done and all in all, I'm proud of myself thus far and I know I have a lot of improvement down the road.  Here's to a happy and healthy week 2!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sweet, Oh, Sweet is the Sound

That sweet sound happens to be the song, "There is No Place Like Nebraska," the original tunnel walk, and the sound of the roaring, abnormally genius football crowd that I hear in my head as I replay the dozens of Husker football games I've attended in Memorial Stadium.  College football season couldn't get here fast enough!  Summer is nice, but fall ball is always better.  While I will certainly miss the familiar rivalries of the Big 12, I will not miss their old tricks.  I'm looking forward to a new beginning in the Big 10, and I will try not to think about the politics that got us there.

In honor of this glorious college football season that will soon grace our presence, here are my top five favorite Huskers of all time (or at least since the Osborne era).

5.  Jay Sims (#31) I-back '94-97:  Really, it was the dreads that got him the #5 spot (sorry Damon***), but he held his own as part of the greatest Husker team to ever play (seriously, the '95 Husker team was voted the best college football team of all time).  He was part of T.O.'s first three national championships ('94, '95 and '97).  He averaged 32 yards rushing and was one of the top 5 Husker rushers in 1996 and 1997.

4.  Ndamukongzdjakdkaf SUH! (#93) Defensive Tackle '06-'09:  OK, first, how cool is it that he is in those new Chrysler commercials?  Actually, I don't really know if it's Chrysler, I just know that it's SUH and Eminem and that equals TOTAL DOMINATION [slash] AWESOMENESS.   But for real, who can argue with his 2009 stats of  85 tackles, 12 sacks, 28 QB hurries and one interception.  Suh had a record-shattering 12 tackles and 4 and a half sacks during the Big 12 Championship game, but wouldn't ya know it we still lost--remember what I said about old tricks?  Yeah, let's not talk about that.  He ended his college career with a total of 214 tackles, 24 sacks, 4 interceptions and 2 touchdowns.  He is one LION of a defensive tackle...haha...ha.......ha.......

3.  Correll Buckhalter (#36) I-back '97-'00:  Correll comes in at #8 on Nebraska's all-time leading rushers list, for a career total of 2,522 yds.  If anyone wants to know, that's almost a mile and a half worth of running while giant defensive men are trying to tackle you.  Plus, he plays for the Broncos which is the only reason why I watch the Broncos--they have no other redeeming qualities (as of late), sorry Correll.

2.  Ahman Green (#30) Running Back '95-'98:  This guy rushed for 1,086 yards his freshman year, had 141 carries and scored 13 touchdowns.  Did I mention he was only a freshman?  He still holds the record for single-season rushing yards.  In his sophomore year he racked up 214 yards in one game against Iowa.  Some running backs don't even get that in a full season, like...say.... maybe the Iowa running backs.  In the 1998 Orange Bowl, he and QB, Scott Frost, beat out Peyton Manning and his unworthy volunteers, 42-17.  I wonder if the P-Man remembers that game...

And my #1 Husker Favorite is....

1.  TOMMIE FRAZIER (#15) Best Husker QB of all time now and forever: (please turn down the volume of this video until the last 3 mins.  the song needs a few bleeps in it). I just get goosebumps when I think about this Husker legend.  In 1994 He led the Huskers to their first national championship in 23 years.  In 1993 he kept up with the best of 'em, including Heisman Trophy winner, Charlie Ward.  We would lose the championship that year to FSU by a missed field goal.  I vividly remember Frazier running through a herd of FSU linemen.  With two defensive players pulling on him trying to drag him down, and several lying in the debris of his wake (a scene that would be familiar to Miami in the following season), Frazier kept running for the first down and eventually passed a beautiful, 29-yard spiral to put his beloved Huskers in field goal, game winning position.  Despite the 18-16 loss, Frazier was still named that game's MVP!  He was up for the Heisman in 1995, but came in second, though, after the season concluded, many thought he should have won.   He also goes down in college football history as being named part of Sports Illustrated's All Century Team and as one of the 10 greatest college football players of the century.

Tommie ended his college career with staggering statistics.  Passing for 3,521 yds, 43 touchdown passes, 1,955 total rushing yards, 36 rushing touchdowns for a grand total of 79 touchdowns.  It may also be worth mentioning that he accomplished all of this while battling the painful Crohn's disease.  Notwithstanding, he became one of the greatest, most inspiring leaders.  He had an infectious smile, a work ethic second to none and a certain humility that put him in the realm of the rarest, most talented of all athletes. 

Looking back, Tommie's performance during the '93 FSU game is what made me, at age 8, fall in love with Husker football and what makes him #1.  He taught everyone an important lesson that night.  He taught us that the glory is not in winning the Heisman trophy, it is not in winning the national championship, but rather in the deed, we find the glory.

Sweet, oh, sweet is the sound of crushing helmets, a cheering crowd and a college fight song.  This is the sound of college football glory, my friends.  Let the season begin.

"If we should win, let it be by the code, with our faith and our honor held high.  If we should lose, let us stand by the road and cheer as the winners go by."

***Other noteworthy players: Damon Benning, Brook Berringer (I think every girl in Nebraska had a giant crush on him, RIP Brook), Scott Frost, Grant Winstrom, the Ruud brothers, and our buddy Stew Bradley (who unfortunately (well, thankfully) had to cut his hair even though we never won the national championship).