Becoming a Parent (or Life on the Injured List)

It is official, I have now become a parent.  No, Lauren is not pregnant nor have we adopted a child so don’t get too excited.  Rather we have been adopted by the JU Men’s soccer team.  At our first meeting as a team my age was announced to the team during our coaches speech using me as an example of motivation.  He also used this as a time to let them know that “I am not their Daddy.”  This was somehow related to their being responsible adults.  However, all they took out of this was that I should now be called Dad or Daddy.  Daily I have request from some of the international players to adopt them so they can stay in the States after college.  There are daily arguments between two in particular, Danny and Darko, about which one looks more like me thus means they are really my child.  Danny has a beard which he constantly uses to show how much he looks like Dad while Darko claims I like him more.  So, now when I am walking through campus I will inevitably hear someone yell “Hey Dad!”.  I already felt old enough hanging out with 18-21 year old kids on a daily basis and now I have the nickname to make me feel even older.

Besides getting a new nickname on the first day with the team I also got put on the injured list.  I had been having pain in my groin, hips and abs since the Spring semester but it just felt like a muscle pull that I thought would go away.  In the summer, it started becoming more painful while I played with my NPSL team, Jacksonville United FC.  I still didn’t think it was anything more than bumps, bruises, and sore muscles.  I continued playing over the summer with my hips fully wrapped and a whole lot of ice after each game.  I was glad we did as my team won the NPSL National Championship after starting the season 0-4 which you can read here.

And while we are on the subject I also made the National Championship Best 11.

It turns out however that playing on it was not that good for my college career.  I was unable to complete the first fitness test at JU.  The dreaded Cooper test which basically requires us to run 2 miles in 12 minutes.  I did 3 1/2 laps and that was the last running I have done in two weeks.  Since then, I have had an MRI which diagnosed me with stress reactions on my pubic bone.  Basically, the wear and tear of constant soccer in Spring caused undo stress which has caused the pain.  Quote from the doctor, “This is a terrible injury because there is nothing I can really do for you.”

Rest, rest, and more rest.  4-6 weeks or until I am not symptomatic.  From what I have read online it could be even longer with some people not able to return to activity for 3-6 months.  What’s most frustrating is that I can’t participate in any activities with the team.  Since so many different muscles connect down there even doing upper body can cause me to tighten my abs and hurt myself again.  So, not exactly the start to my college career that I wanted.

A new parent on the injured list!

But at least I am still on the team!

Funny story about that link.  I was asked to provide specific information for my biography.  I was asked what high school/ high school awards, parent’s names,  and major.  So, I obliged no big deal until I look at everyone else bios with paragraphs of information.  Apparently, I could have put more about myself on there.  This argument didn’t get me very far with Lauren as she is not represented on my bio either.  Whoops.

Becoming a Parent (or Life on the Injured List)

Soccer Mom in Training

I could write an entire blog just about learning how to be a soccer mom to nearly 30 grown men…but then I’d stop posting here and eventually would stop posting there as well. (Seems to be the constant in my blogging efforts…except for Teague FC!) In an effort to keep this both fresh and fun, I’ll share with you my latest ‘team mom’ escapades.

Jacksonville University (JU) had two exhibition games last week. I missed the first, opting for a running course instead (good: attending class. bad: not running since) and deciding to save my gas rather than rush up to the JU fields for the second half of the game that Garrett wasn’t even playing in. (Catch up note: Coaches put G on mandatory rest to start the season, as we try to get a diagnosis and treatment plan for his ab strain / stress reaction that has been bothering him all summer. Insurance delayed the process, as does once-a-week doctor availability. Hope to know more tomorrow.)

Fast forward to Friday — learned that I can leave my office in Ponte Vedra at 6:28pm and arrive at the JU soccer field literally right as the 7 pm kickoff happens. (Filing that one away for later in the season…) It was freshman orientation week, so I had to grab a seat in front of about 30 freshman or sophomore university students. Spent the entire game listening to them talk about “Justin Beiber. Taylor Swift. Parties. Quidditch. Movies. Parties. Sorority. Beach.” If 90 minutes of that was my own personal hell, I have much more sympathy for Garrett sitting through classes every day with these kids. Back to soccer: JU tied the exhibition 1-1. The team didn’t look nearly as good as I had hoped, playing a D2 school, but we went through this in the summer too (lost first four, won next eight), so I’ll be more optimistic. (Also, they beat South Florida 2-1 in the first exhibition match.)

Before I left the field, I snagged a homemade “Dolphins soccer” poster that one of the froshie sorority chicks had brought. She didn’t want to hang onto it, and I told her I was having team dinner the next night, so I might as well have team artwork too.

Saturday night was the first JU team dinner that I’ve let Garrett rope me into…and by “rope”, I mean I totally offered because who doesn’t love to cook for 12 hungry grown men in a 1,100 sq ft condo? The menu was fairly basic but the Costco shopping trip was anything but (Garrett sent me all alone, this was his mistake.)

  • Herb-crusted Sirloin tip roast (two x 3.5 pounds each)
  • Summer vegetable ratatouille (two pans)
  • Sweet potato fries (cheated and bought the big bag at Costco!)
  • Fusilloni pasta, lightly sauced, with fresh tomato & basil (big pot)
  • Costco rolls (one bag)
  • Apple pie and vanilla ice cream (Costco sized!)

The dinner was surprisingly easy to pull together, though our oven proved (again) that it doesn’t cook as quick as recipes suggest. I need to start remembering this! (Any tips on oven cleaning or optimizing for power/cook time?) Once the guys showed up, it wasn’t long before the chips and salsa were devoured and dinner was ready (buffet style). Helpful tip: The pack of 30 aluminum buffet pans for $3.50 are worth every penny. From cooking to serving to clean up, they were so easy!

JU Mens Soccer - Defense Team Dinner

After dinner, Garrett pulled out the cribbage boards and started to teach some of the guys how to play. Go figure, the married couple throws a college party and the craziest we can get is playing cards (and Playstation3). Team Europe (Toby from Germany & Henrik from Norway) took the first game (beginners luck!), but I was part of Team America that had two dramatic comeback wins to steal the honors of the night. Pretty sure that there is at least one cribbage board in the team locker room now…

Team dinner part one was a success, including one review “the best meal I’ve had since coming to the States.” (nice!) Part two, with the midfielders and forwards is tentatively planned for Labor Day weekend. 15 new guys…no sweat, right? If you have any menu suggestions that don’t include using an oven, please leave them in comments. I’m likely going to be doing this a few more times!

Soccer Mom in Training

Soccer Tailgate at the JUFC “Save our Sports” game Saturday

Garrett’s summer soccer team is a NPSL team, or basically a regional semi-pro team made up of current & former collegiate and professional soccer players. Jacksonville United plays in a SouthEast league against teams from Tennessee, Georgia & Alabama throughout, though locally it’s tied in with one of the junior soccer clubs, JUFC.

Tomorrow’s home game is a big one, because it’s a charity game for the “Save Our Sports” campaign in Duval County schools. JV high school soccer is on the chopping block, but there’s a groundswell effort in the soccer community to fund raise private dollars to pay for the upcoming season. (Isn’t it funny that the GOP’s push for keeping tax breaks and no new taxes is actually forcing people like you and me to fund what we deem important to society out of our own pocket, under the guise of charity?? But that’s a post for another time…)

JUFC takes on Knoxville Force at Mandarin HS in Jacksonville at 7pm Saturday, the 25th. I’ve been told if the game sells out the 10,000 seat stadium, it would raise enough $$ to fund the JV soccer season for boys and girls next year. I’m not sure if we’ll get 10K people out, but even to get 1,000 would be awesome. I’ve been tweeting about this all week and sent game invites to all of our local friends in Jacksonville. I also decided I needed to practice my tailgating, since the Jacksonville University soccer season is a couple months away, and so too will hopefully be Jaguars NFL games. I’ve never actually thrown a tailgate party (and drive a Camry, sans an actual tailgate), so I’m researching recipes and penciling together a menu I think I can pull together.

If I hit up Costco when it opens and get to cooking not long after, I’ll have about 5-6 hours for the slow cooker, and a couple hours to pull the rest together around my other plans for the day. Here’s what I’m thinking so far.

Did I miss anything? Not sure if I’m trying too hard for my first attempt. Even if it’s just a few of us out tailgating, I think it will be fun to try out a menu that I can pack up and serve in a parking lot with friends. If you want to come out, here’s the link for tickets (or to make a donation to the cause):

Soccer Tailgate at the JUFC “Save our Sports” game Saturday

My Race Shirt Needs Your Help

I’m counting down for the Marine Corps Half Marathon in Jacksonville next Saturday (October 3rd). Now that I’m in the single digits, the pressure is definitely on. I’ve had a good past few weeks of training, including getting in my long runs of 7, 8, 9 and 10.5 miles on the weekends. I finally found road markings that are spot on (thanks Jacksonville Running Co!) and re-calibrated my Nike+ so I know for sure each mile I’m pounding out really counts as such. This weekend I’m planning on tapering the miles down to a 7 or 8 mile long run, then getting in three shorter (think 4 miles or less) runs early next week before running THIRTEEN-POINT-ONE in one go. (yikes)

There’s a way for you to be at the race with me, cheering me every step of the way. As part of my fundraising for the N. Florida Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I’m putting the names of everyone who gives (or pledges) on my race shirt to wear in the Marine Corps half and the other races I’ll do this year. The cut off to add your name to the shirt is tomorrow, though I’ll be raising money through November. If you can’t donate, leave a comment or send me an email telling me you’re pledging to do so. To make your donation, visit my page at

Here are the shirt layouts I’ve narrowed it down to. Please vote for your favorite font/color/layout look via the poll at the bottom:

First one
Best for last

Thanks again for all your support, both in the fundraising and cheering me on during my training for the half marathon. I’ll keep updating to let you know how I do with both!

My Race Shirt Needs Your Help

My first Gate River Run

9 days after the Gate River Run 15K, I actually get around to updating my blog about the race. However, moments after I finished I was posting on Facebook  and Twitter…which goes to show I need to find a way to import more of that stuff onto my blog! 

GRR finish Tweet

My time for the race was 1:33:52. I beat my overall goal of finishing under 1 hour 35 minutes. I would have liked to be closer to a flat 10 min mile pace (was 10:19), but I was pretty happy with that. It’s weird to say now, but the first six miles (hour) flew by for me. I remember most of the steps, but it didn’t feel like it took long to cross that 10K line. 


My race strategy was to run 10-12 minutes at a time, the walk for 1-2 minutes throughout the race. I wasn’t planning on running in packs of curb-to-curb people for the entire time, which made it harder to execute my plan. For example, I took my first walk break on the Main Street bridge, at about 1.6 miles in and feared I would be trampled by the crowd around me. Along the ways I realized it sucked to be walking, even if just for a couple minutes, while people were passing me left and right. I knew, though, that sticking to my strategy would leave me with enough power to get up the Hart Bridge in the 9th mile. I made up for lost time (and earned a ton of roadkill points!) by running the entire way up the bridge. My final mile was actually my fastest (probably thanks to a large downhill portion). Crossing the finish line was awesome, as were the beers we hoisted in celebration afterwards. 


Congrats (belated) to my friends and everyone else who finished the River Run, including Stacey, Katherine, Jason, Cate and Holly. And thanks to all the people who stood along the race route with signs and noisemakers, shouting your encouragement. That really kept me moving (even if I did have to pretend that every cheer was really for me).  

Next up for me (now that my legs don’t feel like cement bags anymore) are the final weeks of training for the Nashville Country Music Half Marathon on April 25th. I did about an hour run (5.5 miles?) this past Saturday and will pick up my running to 4-5 times a week in preparation. I also may run the Navy 10k in a couple weeks. It’d be nice to get one more race in before going to Nashville and I have the Navy to thank (kinda) for getting me running in the first place.

My first Gate River Run

9.3 Miles – Every Step of the Way

It’s the night before the Gate River Run 15k, and I should be turning off the computer and trying to fall asleep. I can feel adrenaline flowing through my body though, so I hope by writing it wil relax me enough to knock me out for 7 good hours of sleep. 

I’ve had tomorrow’s race circled on my calendar since I first thought about taking up running, back in August. It’s the biggest race in Jacksonville every year (15,000 runners in the 15k) and I’ve come to realize if you’re a runner in Jax, people don’t ask if you’ve run the River Run – they ask how many you’ve finished. 

My friend (and roommate) Stacey wrote this really cool note about why she’s running the Gate, and it inspired me to make one of my own.  So here’s 9 or so reasons I’ll be thinking of every step of the way.

Mile 1 – I’m taking this one for me. For setting a new challenge in front of me, something I had never thought about seriously doing (or enjoying), sticking to the training (mostly) and accomplishing a big part of my goal. I intend to continue finding challenges and working towards accomplishing throughout my lifetime. Running is really good practice. 

Mile 2 – This one’s for Raechel, my best friend, confidant and my favorite runner! Last year, we were supposed to run the Shamrock Run 5k together and I bailed on her, having just flown back from a job interview in Jax, feeling under the weather and frightened of running in a real race with lots of people. Rae was the first one I’d text or call when I finished a step in training (2 miles today! 5K! 6 miles!) and she always encouraged me. I can’t thank her enough for her support and all-around incredibleness. I can’t wait until we run a race TOGETHER! (PS: She’s running a half marathon next month with Team in Training. You can read about it and cheer her on here.)

Mile 3 – For my Mom, who told me the other day that me running was “so cool because its so unlike you.” LOL, I can’t argue with that because she’s kinda right. To think that I’m going to do a 15K and a half marathon before my Mom does is a little unreal, since she’s a workout machine. Tomorrow I’ll definitely be thinking about that one time we worked out together, where she kicked my ass and I was too intimidated to go with her again for 2 years. Love you Momma!! 

Mile 4 – Here’s to you Dad, who told me one of the last times I was home, that I couldn’t run that far. (Garrett is my witness) You were kidding a little, but I know you’ll be proud when I call and tell you I finished 9 miles. 

Mile 5 – For Stacey, who has been a great friend, roommate and teammate since I met you last summer. Good luck in the race, even though I really want to beat you! 🙂 

Mile 6 – Running this one for Laura, who I met right after she finished her first half marathon. Remember that conversation I had with you Labor Day weekend (you were getting ready for Anna’s wedding so probably not) and I told you, I’m going to run a half marathon? That got you really excited and you gave me all sorts of good advice about workouts, training and nutrition. We need to re-do that conversation now that I’m 5 weeks from a real half marathon. 

Mile 7 – This one is for my brother Adam. Because after you start running 7 miles at a time, you can’t be called “fatty” anymore…even by your little brother (who could probably benefit from more soccer or running himself). Come down here and we’ll compare beach bods. 

Mile 8 – A big thanks in this mile to all my Brass peeps and Corvallis friends. Laura E., Sarah, Bryan, Tom, Zack, Steve, Eric – who all were training for some marathon, half marathon, triatholon while I knew and worked with you. I used to think you were crazy. Actually, I still do but more in an admiring way. To Ethan, who told me running more than 2 miles ever was stupid (you’re right). And to Brady, who founded Corn Dog Day many years ago – I’m celebrating my running achievements with a few corndogs at next week’s party. 

Mile 9 – I started running as a way of distraction when Garrett left for 2 months on his ship, so its no surprise that I chose this mile specifically for him. This is the mile with the really big bridge that you have to run up and over before you see the finish line. Your words “just keep swimming” will get me up that hill and down the other side. It’s kinda like the hill we’re climbing right now…no matter how steep or long it might seem now, soon we’ll only have the downhill part left. And when we get to that finish line, I’ll be there waiting for you (with Starbucks in hand). 

Last .3 miles – This little part is for my virtual running buddy, Kait, who I’ll actually get to meet at the Country Music (Half) Marathon next month. Nashville, here we come!!! 

You can follow along on tomorrow for race results and information. I expect to finish right around 10AM, so check it out when you west coasters wake up tomorrow. I’ll also post something on Twitter, Facebook and eventually here to let you know I survived!

9.3 Miles – Every Step of the Way

Let the Madness Begin

It’s March — one of my favorite months, for a few reasons. Best holiday (St. Paddy’s day); Spring begins; I’m usually traveling (this year is no exception); and March Madness!

I wanted to post some of my picks, but won’t go through the whole bracket for sake of time.

My final four picks are: North Carolina, Georgetown, Pitt and UCLA
In the final game, I want to see Georgetown & UCLA duke it out, with Hibbert & co. prevailing. I love the thought of matching up Hibbert and Love in the post and letting those two go to battle with a title on the line. (So does this guy) I read a USA Today story about Georgetown, and its leaders Hibbert and Wallace, last week en route to Florida, and thought it captured the spirit of those two men, and their teammates well. I think they’re poised and ready to go deep into the tournament, and surprise a few people on the way.

As a former sports reporter, I like to find the potential story-line matchups, and that’s evident in my picks. In the West bracket, I have UCLA and Duke matching up in the Elite Eight. It’s the Oregon connection — Kevin Love and Kyle Singler. Just doesn’t seem like a basketball season without that match up, whether it was in the Oregon HS state championships or now in the NCAA Tourney. Might be the last season us Oregon basketball fans get to see it, if K-Love does go pro after the season.

Pitt v. UCLA in the Final Four. I know that picking Pitt might be a long shot, having to get out of a bracket ahead of Texas, Memphis and Stanford. UCLA, as long as they stay healthy, should be fine to win the West. When these two teams go head-to-head, the story line will shift to the coaches — the master, Ben Howland, vs. the protege, Jamie Dixon. This story previewed their first coaching matchup, last year in the Sweet 16 (UCLA won, 64-55). The coaches started together at Northern Arizona (my alma mater, go Jacks!), and coached at Pittsburgh together before Howland went west to UCL. How can I not hope for another rematch?
Even though I like Georgetown in the tourney, I’m not exactly sure what I’m cheering for when I say “Go Hoyas!” That is, until I found this guide to NCAA team nicknames. I’ll keep posting links to good stories and thoughts during the tournament. Make sure to do the same in the comments as we go.

Check out my bracket on Facebook and let me know if you agree, or disagree, with any of my picks.

Let the Madness Begin