March madness 2015

Fellow Americans how are your brackets coming along? I’m fairly new to the whole march madness thing and well so far I’ve not been doing so well. I went with a slightly unconventional strategy of picking winners based on who had the best name or places I’d heard of or wanted to go. Needles to say this strategy has not worked well for me. I probably should have paid more attention to the rankings and looked up some info but I didn’t, my competitive side only popped up once I started paying attention to who was losing and how many bad seeds I’d picked! I did however predict a few early upsets, but these haven’t progressed into Cinderella stories, and now my picks are fairly bad, with only one team left in!
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The good bits #7

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I’m pretty sure I sound like a broken record, I say this almost everytime I post on the good things…. but how has seven months already passed?!?!? 2015 is so far hurtling past at an alarming rate! Excitingly though Spring seems to have arrived and with it a new sense of energy and adventure – although it did snow again on Monday so I’m not totally out of winter yet, but I have seen the first signs of flowers poking out of the ground so the reappearance of snow is just a temporarily blip.
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More fitness

I’m enjoying having a lot more time than I have ever had before and have been trying out more activities as well as exploring the local area and meeting new faces. I’m still trying to find an adequate replacement for my beloved field hockey so I have been trying new things.

I’m still regularly doing a hot yoga class and pilates, which is quickly becoming one of my favourite things along with swimming. Somehow a hot room is really soothing and each session I come out feeling like I could take on the world. Every Wednesday I sleep like a baby and wake up refreshed and stretched. I find signing myself up for a course, or a class means I’m far less likely to put it off. It’s also been great to go to new places and meet some like minded sports nuts.

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The good bits #6

wpid-eg_20150323125026927.jpgWhoop whoop, this series of posts came about as a way to mark the number of months I’ve been in the USA! They also serve to take a moment to look back and reflect on what I’ve been up to. Too often we are so busy living life we barely get a  chance to stop and breath, and even when we do we are often looking for the next thing and focusing on other goals. Whilst its always great to prepare, we do not always give ourselves the time to look back, to consider what we’ve already achieved and to take time to just be. Continue reading

Activities and fitness

SO working in the sports industry I’m a total believer that there is a sport or activity out there for everyone! Even the people who hated PE at school who say they aren’t ‘sporty’ there is an activity out there for you I promise! Moving and being active is not just good for you its pretty much necessary, but finding a way to move that fits with you is essential.

I’m a big believer in active travel, because you have to go to work – so if you can combine your travel with exercise then you are less likely to choose the sofa instead. I also think activates should be fun, you should finish wanting to do more.

I’ve never been a member of a gym, for me its too dull. I play field hockey and have for the last decade or so, I swim, I very occasionally run and I do pilates. As I’m not currently travelling to work and there inst any good hockey over here I’m shaking things up a little and taking time to try some new activities and let my poor hips recover after far too many years of running around an astro.

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TRX I gave this class a go as I figured why not, it wasn’t entirely for me, but it was brilliant at quick sharp exercises that really gave you a good workout. The idea is that you use some stretch ‘bands’ that hang from the ceiling. With this you can do a series of high intensity interval exercises, like squats and presses whilst being able to change your resistance and body position. Some of the moves are fun as you hang off the ropes, some are really challenging, if you like HIIT or Crossfit this class is for you!

Barre – I have mixed feelings about this class. I’ve been meaning to give it a try for some time, its a yoga/pilates/ballet infusion, I expected more ‘dance’ inspired moves and stretching, the class I tried was an ’embrace the burn’ kind in a heated room. We did a LOT of squats and plies and some movements with a ball which looked so simple but were so difficult this class is great if you like to sweat, and enjoy a more traditional class with a twist.

Kiwi and I signed up to 10 weeks of partner Latin dance this has been great fun and good brain exercise! Kiwi and I have now learnt the very basic steps to tango, cha cha, jive, and several other dances. This has been so much fun and I’m sad to hang ubymy dancing shoes for the moment, its also been great fun to take a class together.

Now its gettig  cold I’m on the hunt for a pair of ice skates and to try out some of the local rinks – there’s a few to choose from. I’ve looked for a figure skating class as this sounds fun. For next year I’m looking at some Zumba classes and Ariel hoop which sounds beyond exciting!

I’m still doing pilates – I love it, and have signed up to a hot yoga class which is awesome. You tend to do some stretchy bits and some flow/hatha yoga in a very warm room. Its strangely relaxing although at times challenging, and I always come out feeling a million times better.

Swimming -luckily there is a pool nearby so I’m still getting a morning swim in although the pool is pretty chilly, I’ve been playing around with swimming routines so any recs comment below!

In the run up to Christmas its been great to try out a few new classes and get into a new routine, no doubt there will be some new trends in the New Year.

American football – Fighting Irish

A few weeks back Kiwi and I went to our first American football match over here. Our local team, the fighting Irish, play in Notre Dame stadium – a similar capacity to Wembley! Its huge, the seats are like wooden benches that you squish along on. Our first match was one of the coldest days we’d had so far! Having had weeks of pleasantly warm, and hot days, that remind you off lazy summer days, paddle boarding and going to the beach, a scheduled 4 degrees was a bit of a shock to the system! We wrapped up warm and walked down to the stadium. We were keen to check out ‘tail gating’ and what this entailed.

Tailgating occurs before a match but must end by kick off. It appears to involve drinking lots of beer and having a bbq, often in the back of you car/trailer. Lots of people were bbqing and drinking beers, some people had driven down for the tailgating and would then watch the match in their trailer. I guess people need a beer coat, as there wasn’t any drinking once you were in the stadium. To say American football is a spectacle would be an understatement. The game is loud with music happening whenever there isn’t play. Cheerleaders line up along the side cheering and whipping up the crowd, most people dress up and wear home colours and visit ‘touchdown Jesus’. There is a full marching band – that fills up the whole pitch, and the crown generate a party spirit.

The game itself was really stop start. We don’t really know the rules but worked out the basics as the games progress. Essentially each team gets 4 go’s to move the ball – mostly by throwing and catching – more than 10 yards. They keep doing this until they get a touchdown a penalty or lose the ball. Each ‘play’ seems pretty planned with little chance or spontaneity in the game. There are loads of players in each team, and for me the highlight was the Fighting Irishs’ impressive gold helmets and shoes.

I’ve read about the experience of fandom and being in a stadium, but it really was something different. The fan culture was almost as exciting as the game, which was rather slow. Unfortunately it rained throughout most of the game, making it pretty miserable.  I think the game lasted for maybe 5 hours, I kinda switched off once I couldn’t feel my feet. We did enjoy some fresh pretzels – lovely! and some ‘dipping cheese’ this was not cheese, it was cold orange gloop, and it tasted like gloop. We have another match coming up in a  few weeks and might even try out some tailgating.

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