Do It for the I-Ring

Sunday during the day we had our Annual Swimming and Diving Awards Banquet, and Monday evening I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Athletic and Academic Awards Banquet, along with the Senior I-Ring Presentation. These two events involved dresses and heels, plenty of photos, and the recognition of the many achievements Iowa student-athletes have accumulated. I was asked to stand a few times along with many others, for making the All-Big Ten Team for Academics and for qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships. The Seniors got recognized with a procession to be seated, and then individually Monday evening to receive our I-Rings and induction into the National Varsity Club.

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Sunday, at the annual team awards, my coach stood at the front of the room and talked about how the team has grown, how this was the first time he had seniors graduating in the three years he’s been at Iowa, and told the story of my broken foot. I didn’t know he had planned to say anything about it. He admitted to many behind the scenes conversations that I wasn’t aware of, where the coaches and staff didn’t know if competing was going to be possible, and shared what struck him from my Big Ten meet; telling him I needed to finish what I started and finish with the girls I started with. He shared with the group that was the kind of individuals we had on this team- those who compete for the team knowing winning was out of the question.

My coach, in the past, has said that we need to be striving to leave the program better than we found it. We even had a specific conversation at the beginning on the season about what being a senior on this team would mean- mentoring the underclassmen through the difficulties of being an NCAA D1 athlete. Not just surviving, but thriving. I know my fellow seniors and I took that to heart, aiming to be the positive role models we thought the team needed. I thought by performing well and competing with heart I was demonstrating what our coach wanted us to do, but what I missed was the bigger picture. Our coach didn’t need us to be athlete role models, but role models for the ideals and values he taught us every day in the pool. He wanted us to demonstrate the life lessons he had taught us over the years. What I didn’t realize was that he was just as proud if not more so, of the example I set when injured, than when I was not. I didn’t know anyone was paying attention when I spent hours doing therapy and icing. I do know that I could not have made it through that time without the life lessons we had been taught through the past three years:

You need to fall in love with the daily grind. 

If you don’t love what you’re doing, every second of it, it’s not worth doing. You have to fall in love with every miserable minute. Every practice you feel like crap. Every day you’re stressed and tired and hate everyone. You need to fall in love with the bad days because if anything is guaranteed it’s you WILL have bad days. Embrace them.

Good is the enemy of great.

Do not settle. Do not give in to satisfactory, do not be “okay” with decent. Strive for more. Strive for better. Hold yourself accountable to be great. Belief that you CAN be great. Good is good but good is JUST good- don’t ever be satisfied with only good when there is the potential for greatness.

Do not despair. Do not give in.

Never, ever, ever, give up. Never give in. Like the daily grind, train through the bad days. Train through the negative self-talk. Don’t let the bad day win. Don’t let the bad day mask the bigger picture or alter your perspective on the ultimate goal.

Have the heart of a champion.

Having the heart of the champion is more than training and competing for the win. It’s about competing for the team, and training with a purpose. It’s about keeping a positive attitude above all, and rising up when we smack or fall (or break bones). Having the heart of a champion is never giving in to adversity, and fighting for your greatest potential.

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I didn’t think about my I-Ring much over the past five years. The significance of it just didn’t register with me while going through the practices and the travel and the competitions. And for someone who didn’t give it much thought, I can’t describe the feeling of pride in my chest when I slipped it on.

“Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye,” has never meant so much to me. No matter where I go in life, I will always be a Hawkeye, an Iowa alum, and a member of the Iowa National Varsity Club.

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Phenoh Review- Stay Hydrated. Stay Balanced.

Through unforeseen circumstances, I had the opportunity this winter to get incredibly out of shape. With that being said, I also now have been given the task of working on getting BACK in shape! Thankfully, through my partnership with Fit Approach, I was asked to review a new kind of sports drink to help get me through those horrible getting-back-into-it workouts: Phenoh.

Phenoh

Phenoh is not like other sports drinks. The whole premise behind the brand is that their product is alkaline, unlike other sports drinks or preworkouts that can be very acidic on the body (coffee included) (guilty as charged). It has only SEVEN ingredients, is paleo friendly, and is low calorie (just 30 per 8 oz. serving).

Other benefits? No added sodium, high in potassium, fortified with Vitamin C and magnesium, and low on the GI Index.

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Verdict? Not going to lie here…it tasted GREAT! To be fair, it does contain organic aloe vera juice, which I am a fan of. I have heard from friends however, that aloe vera juice is an acquired taste. Phenoh is definitely sweet enough, and like all sports drinks and juices I tend to enjoy them quite watered down! Outside of the taste? I did feel like I was making it through the workouts better than expected! We’ve been doing a lot of eccentric squatting recently (squats that take 5 to 6 seconds going down) which have been miserable, but I definitely have not been getting the same cramping feeling in my legs that occurs when I squat heavy at times. While I am not endurance athlete, I feel like Phenoh helped my recover quicker between workouts (sometimes I have three a day with 1 to 3 hours in between!) This was partially due to the fact that I was chugging water + Phenoh because I honestly loooove the taste.

If you are interested in learning more about Phenoh, or trying some yourself, check out their website! I would not recommend a product I didn’t honestly enjoy, and am looking forward to seeing how Phenoh helps me back into great shape for this summer!

Through being a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I received a case of pHenOH to put the test as well as a small compensation. As always all honest opinions are my own. 

Friday Favorites/Five/Fifteen/Whatever

I’M WRITING TWO DAYS IN ROW!! *insert all sorts of champagne emojis here*

I’ve never been the biggest fan of posting on Friday’s due to the VOLUME of blog posts that go live at the end of the week, typically discussing favorite things or top five of something (I want to see a blogger do 50 of something) (actually that’s a great idea maybe I’ll be that blogger). BUT I’m in a great mood and felt like sitting down to write so here I am, discussing my favorite five things from the past forty eight hours (did I include enough alliterations to justify a Friday post?)

Um hi I’m obsessed with this song. “Fight Song” from Rachel Platten popped up on my social media feed early Thursday morning, and just because the world works in strange ways I saw or heard it EVERYWHERE for the rest of the day! Not that I’m complaining, I’m mildly addicted. Judging by the number of times I heard it in one day means I’m not the only one though too, right? Dare you NOT to belt it out once you’ve learned the words.

I’ve discovered the Holy Grail of protein powders- PEScience Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. Using a BLEND of whey and casein protein, PEScience proteins offer the best formula for muscle repair and recovery. Also, the new Peanut Butter Cup flavor is. Ah. Mazing. I scooped up the trial 7-serving tub and IMMEDIATELY made a protein mug cake. Needless to say, I’m never buying another protein powder if this one (with 23g of protein and 3g of sugar per scoop) can taste like a freaking cupcake.

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Where are we? Oh yeah #3…I GOT A JOB INTERVIEW! Like a real girl office job! I know I mentioned here that I had scored three(!!) jobs, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still looking. One of them is just an internship and the other is just retail, so I’m still keeping an eye out! Even tonight I sent off two more resumes for companies I’d love to be a part of…have I mentioned I’m excited to graduate and join the real world?

Okay okay it’s a country song but come on, with the weather warming up and summer plans falling in to place you can’t NOT love a little country! Last summer I was pretty obsessed with “Keep Them Kisses Comin'” by Craig Campbell, and Michael Ray’s “Kiss You In The Morning” is an easy 2015 replacement.

And my small victory of the week? Back squatting and dead lifting my body weight or more for the first time since my injury. Even if that’s only 65% of my max- two months ago I could hardly walk and three weeks ago I was squatting with a single 25lb dumbbell. It’s amazing to me the way my body has remembered how to be an athlete; I’m embracing the soreness and loving the early morning alarm (okay, at least it’s light out and not 30 below freezing anymore). I’m even adding in baby jumps and low impact cardio, no running or serious plyos for another week or two. I don’t even care about the running or the fact I’m not setting any personal records in the weight room right now- I am just so happy and thankful to be lifting at all. I am no where close to where I was before February 6th, but I KNOW I am going to get there and I am recognizing that it is going to happen sooner than I think.

A Flashback Friday for everyone…five days post break on the right and 24 hours post break on the left.

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Here’s hoping everyone has a great weekend! If you need me I’ll be sleeping in, making waffles, and enjoying a (mostly) low-key weekend at home :)

The First Time I Said…

I’ve been emotional, and reminiscent, and very much on the fence when it comes to my looming college graduation. Several times A hundred times I’ve mentioned how these last five years have been the greatest of my entire life, and that remains true. That will never NOT be true.

College Graduation

With that being said, a sentence I never expected slipped out of my brain and off the tip of my tongue yesterday. The sentiment I never truly felt until now snuck it’s way in there and I stumbled over the words, but out it came:

“I’m actually excited for graduating college.”

WHO KNEW?!? I didn’t. I half expected to be reminiscent and emotional for the rest of my life.

I’m actually looking forward to the end of academic career (for now- no one ever really rules out grad school). Why? What compelled me to believe that I’m actually ready for that whole real world thing?? Well, I’m bored. I’m annoyed with writing papers that require three different types of citations because it’s whatever the professor preferences. I’m bored of notecards, even if the content in interesting. I have my systems of note taking and studying and procrastinating, and nothing is going to change in the last six weeks of school after 17 years of education. I might actually be READY to take on the real world, not just dream about it (whether those dreams were ambitious, romanticized viewpoints or nightmares). I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m starting to feel proud of earning two undergraduate degrees. I can quite literally make a list of the papers and tests I have left! Graduation might be looming, but I’m shying away from it anymore.

I’m excited to get a big girl job. I’m excited to have hobbies (and expand on current ones- like this blog, and cooking!). I’m excited to not have to plan my year around semesters and I’m excited for everything I don’t know yet. I can physically feel my anxiety lessening as the reality sinks in that we actually made it- we’re graduating and getting on with our lives.

And I’m not going to lie, this post was inspired by a strange weekend. My Easter weekend involved a game night with friends, work, studying, and a long walk Easter Sunday to take advantage of the beautiful day. Meanwhile, my three best friends: 1. Got nominated to teach abroad, 2. Got a major scholarship offer to grad school, and 3. Got engaged. Their successes made me unbelievable happy, and proud, and gave me hope that even though these five years have been amazing there is still so much to look forward to. There is still so much to do and so much to see and so many goals to set still.

I said it last night and I’ll say it again: I’m actually looking forward to graduating. I am as ready as I’m going to be for whatever comes next, and I am allowing myself to feel excitement over that.

What was the best, scariest, most unexpected thing that happened to you post grad?

What Now…?

The season is wrapped, Spring Break (and the two weeks after it) are over and I’ve got every weekend mapped out from now until my college graduation. The reality is it’s not even that many weekends left to plan (insert that total-shock emoji x100).

Despite all the reminiscing I’ve been going through I can’t help but look forward to the next six months! It’s going to be a whirlwind, no doubt about that, and I’m approaching the next six months with excitement, a whole lot of nerves, and one heck of an open mind. Withoutfurtherado

The Injury Update: I’ve been 100% boot-free as of Monday. My follow up X-rays Tuesday showed some bone growth but not completely healed, but I’ve been diving again part time training for a National competition in six weeks! I’m still not allowed to jump until next week and I can’t run until the week after that, but partial cleared is better than not cleared!

The Internship: Starting June 1st I’ll be starting a my first “real job” post graduation! This ten week internship is going to be a STEEP learning curve, with long hours and a lot of work and a whole new professional experience to help advance my career. While I never pictured myself working in baseball, I could not be more excited about this opportunity to expand my skill set and experiences!

The Obstacle Course/Mud Run: A 2015 Tough Mudder is STILL on the schedule, despite the fact I haven’t run for months and I don’t have a date/race picked out in the slightest. I’m open to doing a Warrior Dash or a Spartan Race, and I’ll pick a race once I determine my fitness level post-Nationals and am 100% cleared to do everything again.

The Job Search: Despite having the internship, a part time job, and my virtual job, I’m still hunting down positions and sending off resumes. Ideally I’d like to get something lined up ASAP for post-internship, so I can feel better about scaling back on other things. I’m too afraid to let something slip off my plate in case I need it as back-up come Fall, so here I am trucking away still.

Side Note: As of May I’ll have two undergraduate degrees, my High School State Coaching Authorization, and my CPR certification. I’m debating getting my Personal Training Certification at some point this summer, and I’d love feedback! Worth it as a side job? Not worth it? Is there something I haven’t considered? I figured a fitness side job without the restrictions of a typical shift worker would be great but I’m worried I have a romanticized view of the industry! Comment below or email me :)

A New Roommate: Same apartment, different team mate. It’s going to be a bit of transition but I”m still so excited to live with someone on the team and I’m SO happy I don’t have to leave my place! It’s like all the benefits and excitement of moving without actually having to move- I get to reorganize and redecorate and it’s like a brand new start minus the heavy lifting.

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As always, when life picks up this blog is the first thing to slip. I don’t stress over it as this blog is not a source of income or endorsements, but a release for me and great way to expand and report on my interests. A midterm after Spring Break kept me pretty busy and I had to pay catch up after that, but I’m looking forward to a chill but productive Easter Weekend! I’m looking forward to sleeping in (till like 8:30am) and then FINALLY catching up on the running, endless, To-Do list.

What’s coming up that you’re looking forward to?