embrace the burn

Training recap time! Long story short, distance running is back in my routine and my last two training sessions made me wonder if the gym staff would be offended when I unapologetically puked on their nice wooden floor. I added magnesium into my daily supplement regimen to convince my muscles I don’t really want them to die.

February 23:

  • Lunge walks with a 25lb plate, starting with the weight center and dropping it to the side and curling back up with each lunge. My arms are w-e-a-k
  • Broad jumps hugging a 16lb slam ball, then alternating broad jumps and actual slams
  • FIFTEEN minutes on the upside down Bosu Ball with a 25lb plate, alternating plate placement at chest level, stomach level, out in front, right side, left side

March 1:

  • Plank seal walk with slide plates; sumo squat jumps with 16lb slam ball 10x; slam ball 10x; plank seal walk back
  • Bosu ball: balance on one leg with 25lb plate, step off to opposite leg and balance on floor
  • Jump rope 30 seconds (no misses), paired with
  • Speed stripper squat jumps (TRX assisted) for 60 seconds
  • Weighted raised split leg ab crunches

And my trainer wants me to score two goals in one game this week. Wish me luck!

Penalty Kick

Early Summer 2015 … a group of women I’d never met invited me to play full-field soccer with them and I ended the season as their center forward.

Yesterday… the new season started with me playing right mid…. and right defense and center mid and eventually left forward. Basically anywhere and everywhere because we only had 9 players and no one (NOT ONE SOUL) would hold position or come to ball. We must’ve looked like a U-5 team.

I’m not saying I played better than anyone or even well. Near the end of the first half, a member of the opposing team (not their keeper) actually picked up the ball during play. I immediately called for a handball and watched as everyone lapsed into confusion. Why did play stop? What happens now? Why do we have to stand outside the box? Can we move?

No one on my team wanted to take the penalty kick – no wonder I was the only one to call handball! I called it, so I took the PK; it was our only scoring chance of the first half but alas, I sent the ball straight into the keeper’s arms.

I’m no Ibrahimovic. *shrug*

I did channel my inner Ibra in the second half, yelling at my teammates and running my freakin’ heart out. We managed to organize a bit and I was really proud of the way we rallied, even though we lost.

It stung, but if we can actually get players to commit, we may win at least one game before the season ends.

A New Experience

A few weeks ago, I joined an all-women’s outdoor soccer team. Its lineup was depleted due to scheduling conflicts and injury; the team graciously agreed to bring me on despite my woeful lack of full-field league experience.

I’ve generally shied away from women’s teams because they tend to feature two types of players: super-aggressive-prove-everyone-wrong warriors that mow you down every chance they get and cry foul faster than the ref can blink, or super-nice-complete-pansies who need constant reinforcement and stop playing to apologize for bumping into you.

But life’s too short and I’m too old to turn down an opportunity to play. Stepping out of my co-ed comfort zone and onto the field with these ladies, I decided to do my best and learn everything I could from the experience.

Something strange happened – – – after spending two years in co-ed leagues watching the ball get passed to highly skilled players, providing drop support or long crosses because I was too afraid to carry, this team made me center forward after two games. Suddenly, the opposing team sent players to challenge me. The ref hurried out of my way because I actually had possession of the ball and he was keeping an eye on it. Our keeper pointed to me, I actually received her throws, cutting and carrying down the field. Our defenders sent long balls to me, wingers crossed and passed upline to me. All I heard was my name followed by shouts of GO! GO! GO!

For the first time in my life, I was the Rockstar player.

Now before I let my ego swell, I should mention (again) that the team’s numbers were depleted and experience levels vary widely from long-time-soccer mom-first-time-player to experienced league players. I happened to be the player that still had enough energy and passion to run; I’m not harboring any illusions here. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a minute and reflect on how this made me feel:

Helpful. Valuable. Integral. Amazing. Confident. Pressured. Responsible. Humble. Nervous. Happy. Awed. Accomplished. Like my practice and passion was starting to pay off. Like stepping outside of my comfort zone was a good idea, because maybe the ref wasn’t thinking to himself, “They should bench this one.” Gratified to meet a group of people who supported each other. Motivated to keep learning and developing my skills over the summer so I can return in August to play for a women’s team. A team of soccer players: warriors, pansies, and temporary Rockstars.

Cross It Off the List

Play soccer in the rain – check!

First outdoor [womens!] league game tonight, 47 degrees and raining. Brr.

Dragged Loni along with me, haha, and sharply abandoned her in goal. The team put me midfield left but moved me center forward, I think because I was willing to run, and I quickly learned they call offside in outdoor league!  Once I figured that out, it was even more challenging to play up …

Super fun (and exhausting). They invited me back so I must’ve done ok!