World Cup!

As many who know me will attest, I am a big soccer fan. I mainly watch Chelsea matches, but I also enjoy seeing other clubs play as well as the national sides.  The World Cup in Brazil starts tomorrow, with Brazil as the host side playing Croatia. I’m really happy that the WC is being played in a similar time zone, as I am more able to watch/pay attention to the matches as I might not have been in the South African WC in 2010.

I’m not incredibly familiar with the US team as most of the players do not play in the Premier League in England. They’re spread out all over Europe, as well as Mexico.  I’m hoping that they can do well enough to get out of the group stage, but I really don’t see that happening.  The United States is in one of the infamous “groups of death” wherein all four teams in the group are fairly strong, with a couple definitely standing out.  We’re grouped with Germany, Portugal and Ghana.

Of those sides, Germany is definitely the strongest with Portugal a few pegs down, but still a great team. Portugal has one of the best players in the world in Christiano Ronaldo, even though he is recovering from nagging injuries from the last few weeks of Real Madrid’s campaign in Spain and in the Champions League.  Germany’s team has some of the best players in the world and is also a deep squad, meaning that even the players on the bench can have just as much of an impact as their starting players.  They’re really one of the teams I can see going at least to the semi-final round.  Ghana I don’t know much about. They’re on of the USA’s bogey teams, as they always seem to have good luck against us. The Ghanians will play the US on Monday the 16th in their first games in the group stage, so we’ll see what happens.  As it stands now, I can see the group shaking out like this: Germany wins, Portugal runner up. Ghana and the United States are knocked out.  It’s not because I don’t believe in the American side, I just don’t think that we’re quite good enough to compete with the stronger sides. I hope I’m proven wrong and pleasantly surprised.

I see the following teams in the semi-final: Spain, Germany, Argentina and Brazil.  Is that even possible given the breakdown of the groups?…I’m not 100% sure.  It should be fun to watch regardless. Hopefully there are some exciting moments.

 

In other “me” news; Tough Mudder this Saturday!! I’m stupid excited. I love obstacle course races as I’ve pointed out previously and I’ve never done the TM, so it will be a learning experience. I’m also doing the race with a team for the first time, so I’m hoping that my propensity to be a loner doesn’t work against the team. It’s supposed to be sunny and warm, but we’re also in one of the first waves of the day at 8:30am, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Lucked out there. There also won’t be a metric fuck ton of accumulated mud from previous waves on the obstacles either, so that also is a blessing in disguise.  The team is getting a pro photographer to try and get photos of us as we navigate the course, so hopefully we’ll get some good shots from him as well as the race-provided photographers.

And vacation next week! It’s the first time this year I’m having a week off, so that will be nice. I’m not going anywhere as I can’t afford it, but maybe I can do some house work and get other things done. It will definitely be a nice change.

Long time, no typies

Ohisashiburi!

I’ve not written in a while, not because I didn’t have anything to write about, but mostly because I can get lazy and unmotivated and just plain neglect it. Apologies. I probably also get distracted far too easily by the proverbial shiny objects that exist around me. Like just now.

I last left off I think in September. Yeah. Vacation stories and such. Much has happened. Races were run, holidays passed, houses bought. What’s that, yes…I bought my first house! woo!

It is a nice-sized townhouse on the Western side of Woodbridge that seems so far from the Eastern/Central portions I used to live in. I have my own back and front yards, grass, plants and windows. No garage or basement, though.  There are a few wonky things about it that annoy me, such as poorly-hung doors, but in general, I like the place.  I don’t have a lot of furniture to fill it, but with time and some cash, it’ll be fine.

The neighborhood is pretty quiet, despite being right off a main road, which can get noisy at times. I have plans to plant a tree in the front yard, since there’s this piddly little flower bed with nothing but weeds in it that was left by the previous owners. That’s where I’ll put it.

I have now been there since mid-November, so more than 6 months! How about that!

And now for something completely different, RACES.

Last September and October, I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon 10k, the Clarendon Day 10k and was a marshal for the RidgeRunner’s Turkey Trot 5k/10k. I also back in October signed up for my first Tough Mudder, (which incidentally, is now NEXT WEEKEND). Signing up for this race kind of put me in an obstacle race tizzy, and I signed up for 4 Spartan races and a Warrior Dash in addition to the TM in 2014. So I’ll be going for my Spartan Trifecta medal with two Sprint-distance races, a Super (The Virginia one at Wintergreen again) and a Beast race in South Carolina. Thus far in 2014 I’ve run the Four Courts Four Miler in March, one of the Spartan Sprint races – The CitiField Stadium Sprint – in April, the MayDay 5k and the Maryland Warrior Dash last month.

Ever since signing up for the TM and the other races last fall/winter, I’ve joined the Snap Fitness gym in the shopping center near my house. I know that I have/had some issues with some of the obstacles at the Spartan race both last August and this past April as well, so I had some strength training to do.  Mostly upper body things so I could do pullups and/or haul myself over a wall and also trying my damndest to conquer the rope climb.  I had trained and worked on my arms and back since December and I simply wasn’t able to hack it at the rope climb at the CitiField race.  Pissed me off. Everything else was (relatively) a breeze.  I was easily navigating endless amounts of stairs and leg-based obstacles but my arm and upper body strength was failing me.  I managed the Herculean Hoist much easier and also the traverse wall, though I slipped and had to crank out the dreaded burpees. I was three steps away from the bell! So frustrating.

So in the gym, in addition to occasional leg days, I’ve been working on my abs, arms and back. I would say that I have been successful in improving, but I’m not 100% sure and the results damned-sure come slowly because I know for a fact that I’m being undisciplined about it. Which is my own fault. I don’t make up WODs or follow a particular plan, I don’t go at a regimented time and stay for a certain period of time, but I *have* made progress regardless. I can now do 4 pullups, whereas before, I could maybe do one.  I’ve got the lat pull machine set to 130 pounds which I use it, so I’m slowly working my way up.  I want to be able to conquer those 8′ walls at the Spartan races without help. (Help is always welcome, of course, but I want to be self-sufficient.)

I have however, started running longer distances on what seems like the regular now. Last night for instance I did the 7-mile route with the Ridgerunners just because I wanted to get my endurance up a bit since the Tough Mudder next week is 12-13 miles long. I also knocked out 8 miles a couple Saturdays ago and a 10k distance this past weekend. I know running those lengths will not only bring my endurance and cardio strength up, but also burn a few more of those pesky calories of oh-so-delicious foodz.

 

Hrm. That’s all I can think of right now. More later.