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Pawsitively Pam Posts

I’m back!

Wow it has been wayyyyy too long since I’ve posted!  I really meant to write a post about the Olympia weekend and how it totally changed my life 🙂  Yep that’s a pretty big topic.  I will post that soon I promise.

I’m getting myself together to post more often because I really do enjoy writing.  Today I just wanted to write some random sports thoughts that have struck me and stuck with me recently.
First thing:  NEVER EVER give up on your dreams.  NO MATTER WHAT.  No matter if people around you think you’re crazy.  I have to bring up Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas, who won the game for my team this past weekend over the Patriots.  Days before he intercepted Tom Brady in the end zone to save the game, he was on the 49ers PRACTICE SQUAD.  DAYS before he saved an NFL game for my team.  Practice squad to game saver – in a matter of days.  Because he never gave up on his dream of playing in the NFL and being an impact player….  You always have to be ready because you never know when your moment will come.
That applies to all of us.  I read something the other day that said starting over sucks, so just don’t quit in the first place.  DUH!  Why do we always give up on things that matter most to us, only to come back to that ‘thing’ over an over – and find that we have to start AGAIN????  It truly is exhausting.  I am as guilty of it as anyone.  This grand ideal that I have about my physique, how I want to look, how strong I want to be.  It is HARD WORK, and I always stray off the path, time and time again then beat myself up because I have to start again.  WHY???  Wouldn’t it just be FAR easier to stay on the path?  Seems pretty simple.
I have so much to write about my Olympia experience and I just can’t wait to share that with anyone who takes the time to read this.  I just have one more thing I want to talk about with regard to never giving up on dreams.
Charlotte Bobcats – to be known as Charlotte Hornets at the start of next season.  This is my team.  I love this team, and I am a very proud season ticketholder.  These fellas have bought into the system the new coach has brought – they are professionals, yes, and they do get paid a pretty sum to play the game.  But… they could easily buckle when facing the powerhouse teams in the league.  But no – we came oh so close to beating the league-leading Pacers at home recently (something no one has done this year).  My team never gave up – NOONE picked them to win, no one picked them to keep it close. But they did.  They went all out – left everything on the court.  They continue to do this every game I see (in person or on tv).  They go hard.  They aren’t picked to be the next champs, or even playoff contenders.  Yet they hussle, dive for balls, drive the lane relentlessly no matter who’s posted in there.  They believe they can win every time they take the court.  They have a never say die attitude that I just love to watch.  My team is scrappy – just like me 🙂  
Ok, that’s enough for tonight.  The next post will be a retro post about my Olympia experience and how I will use that to keep me plowing forward, instead of having to start over.
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Stage of Champions

I know I haven’t been writing much lately but I’ve been plenty busy watching sports, and trying to be an athlete myself.  Let’s see, where to start?  Oh ok – I’ll just dive in.  First of all, just so you don’t think I’ve been completely lazy, I’ll tell you about the Max Muscle MaxFormation Challenge I’m doing through June 30.  Basically it’s a “before and after” physique transformation contest – and yep, if this sounds familiar, it’s the very same contest I’ve tried to do before and just couldn’t buckle down enough to finish it. Seven months is A LONG TIME to stay focused and disciplined.  But guess what?  This time I am doing it.  SLOWLY…. but surely progress is being made. 🙂  My trainer is doing amazing things with my training program – and he reminds me that it would be even more amazing if I could find it somewhere deep within to, umm …. eat properly!!! 

Today I want to write about my favorite passion, bodybuilding.  This is what defines me more than anything else – the art of crafting the perfect physique.  Nope, I don’t have it – but I know what it will look like “after,” when I finally finally realize my dream.  I think the passion I have lies in doing the unusual, defying that stereotype and being a strong woman who LIFTS, heavy and hard, and still is happy to look like a woman!  I love the feel of the weights as they present that day’s challenge.  Put the music on, head down, some internal words of motivation – then GO!

I’ve been floundering a bit the past month in this challenge I’ve undertaken (seven months is a longggg time to stay focused), so I decided to go to a local bodybuilding show last night.  I wanted to get some motivation from those stepping on stage, putting their best bodies and selves forward for hundreds to see.  It was amazing to look at their dedication – lean, some even gaunt faces – dieted down, carb and water depleted – and SMILING. 

Smiling even if they didn’t win their divisions.  Why smile, I mean they didn’t win, right? Actually – they sure did.  Because they ACHIEVED their goals – they committed to the mission, and didn’t stop until show day.  They sacrificed whatever they had to in order to achieve their goal of stepping up on that stage.

The guest poser (Darren “Hollywood” Glenn) gave a little speech after he posed – he said “this is a stage of champions.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t place in your class, YOU TOOK THE CHALLENGE AND YOU STEPPED UP HERE.  That makes you a champion.  It doesn’t matter if you came in 15th out of 15 – you came in WAY ahead of the people who dared not even to enter.  You are all champions.” 

Now, that might sound silly or untrue – but stop and think – it is completely true.  Those people who finished last in their classes still finished WAY AHEAD of those people who didn’t even try.  Those people who wanted to eat hamburgers, pizzas, french fries rather than one more piece of chicken and even more broccoli. 

I came home renewed and re-energized.  This is what we have to realize, all of us who undertake challenges that push us WAY outside of our comfort zones – we are ALL champions when we finish our challenge.  It’s only the beginning for all of us – the start of our journey – finish this and we’re on to bigger things.

Thanks Darron Glenn for saying the words I really needed to hear – it’s ON through June 30, and then who knows what’s next?

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DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

I have absolutely the BEST friends (I know, everyone should say that)- but really, I do.  They keep me motivated and focused on my road to being a better ME.  Now, I struggled with these awesome friends for quite a long time, because I KNEW I did not measure up.  I was overwhelmed by how they all set phenomenal goals and then beat the daylights out of them.  I know, that’s NOT how you’re supposed to view your friends, but I confess that I did.  And I’ve told them this.  I felt “inadequate” because I was not an Ironman triathlete, a marathon runner, and ultra marathon runner – I wasn’t ANYTHING (in my own head).  I didn’t have a label, so I felt that I was without purpose.  These amazing folks that I surrounded myself with were RELENTLESS in the pursuit of their dreams, and setbacks couldn’t stop them (surgeries, stress, nothing sidetracked them from the overall goals).

WOW – and I was floundering around wanting to just BE…. something.  I wanted that label “triathlete, runner, marathon runner, endurance athlete” whatever it was.  Except I’m not any of those things (I HATE anything that has to do with endurance training :-)).  I was SO focused on what I was not that I really lost sight of what I AM.

I am ME – a strong, powerful, working my ass off to be fit woman!  I’m a gym rat – and I LOVE that.  I give so much credit to this circle of friends (and my trainer Michael especially) for sticking with me through this identity crisis that lasted way too long.

I was so focused on NOT being as good or as dedicated as these athletes – that I had to really dig deep and realize that while indeed I am NOT what they are, I am something else that’s also pretty awesome.  I AM dedicated to my own “thing”, and Michael now uses that word to describe me – RELENTLESS.  I feel like I’ve arrived, I’ve come into my own so to speak, and as a result of “being what I am”, the results are coming.  I’m excited each time I step into the gym, feel that iron and hear my music.  THIS IS ME.

Also have to thank some folks at my gym who think it’s COOL for women to want to be strong, who want to lift heavy stuff.  The encouragement is awesome (what a great feeling when people NOTICE that I’m working hard), and it keeps me going, without feeling for a second that what I like to do is strange!  I had a hard time making myself go to the gym earlier on in this process as I was fighting those inner dragons, but I’ve met some great folks who help and encourage me every step of the way, and now it feels like my gym family. 

SO DO WHAT YOU LOVE – do what you are!  It really works 🙂 Realize that there will be good days and guaranteed there will be bad days – it’s what you do with those bad days that sets athletes apart from everyone else.  Refocus, rededicate and MOVE AHEAD with unconditional strength.  Thank you my awesome friends for being with me through my far too many downs and I’m so glad you stuck with me now that we’re on the way up!

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What does it take? And where is the line? Hypothetical questions…

I’ve been putting off talking about the “Lance” thing.  I really still don’t want to talk about it, except to say that I don’t hate him, I’m not mad at him like so many cycling fans are.  I hate the lies.  I really just want to move on.  Much like politics, I’m very tired of reading about it (even if I don’t PLAN on reading about it, it’s so prevalent it’s in my face regardless).  I still love what LiveStrong has done and continues to do for cancer patients and cancer survivors.  I can say this because this is my blog.  🙂

So thinking about what Lance and so many other cyclists have done over the years to excel at their sport of choice (of course not all excelled but that was the initial plan), I started thinking about what it really does take.  People seem to be so angry that Lance didn’t “play by the rules” – but I was pondering if he “played by the SAME rules” – leveled the playing field so to speak.  This doesn’t warrant anyone arguing with me, it’s just a thought.  Now we ALL know that it is possible to compete on the absolute highest levels and play by the strictest rules.

It isn’t just cycling.  Baseball and many other sports have wrestled with their own PED demons.  Still wrestling with them…

I’m a huge fan of the sport of bodybuilding.  Now we also know that this is NOT an all natural, unenhanced sport.  But I still love it.  Is it “fair” because there are drug-tested circuits and then, well the more popular ones?  You never hear fans of this sport talking about so and so cheated.  Because it isn’t against the rules, I guess that’s why.  I realize this sport isn’t for everyone – not even most people.  Just interesting to me how different the culture is.

Where am I going with this?  I’m not sure.  Except to say this – I don’t judge.  Break the rules, lie about it – pay the price.  Otherwise, play by the rules, whatever they might be.

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Goals and Dreams

Been seeing a lot of quotes lately about goals and dreams and they are having a big impact on me.  The main theme is “if you can’t sacrifice for your dream, then it isn’t really your dream” – hmm.

Made me start thinking that I’ve been doing a whole lot of dreaming and not much sacrificing.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been putting in a LOT of hard work at the gym.  But lately that isn’t actually sacrifice because I’m LOVING what I’m doing.  No longer worried about labeling what I do or what kind of athlete I am, I’m just being me, doing what I love.  Thanks to my amazing trainer and friend for that.

But all these thoughts on sacrificing for dreams … very good points.  If you want it badly enough you’ll put in the work – and not just when you WANT to work, or when you feel like doing it, or when you feel like eating right…

So now that I’ve got the workout part pretty much down pat, I think it’s time to really focus on the other 23 hours 🙂  

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The best thing about a blog…

To me, one of the greatest thing about blogs is you can write whenever you want, you can be away for a while, and come right back.  It’s still here… I think I’m ready again. 

I’ve missed writing, but at the same time, I wasn’t sure where to start again, so I didn’t.  Until now.  I’ll start again today because, well I want to.

My favorite sport’s season has started – fantasy football trash talking has begun, and my beloved Dolphins won their first home game this year.  The Braves swept the Nationals in their 3 game series.  My sports week ended on a high note yesterday so what better time to start back?

Also, I’m in a positive mood because my workouts are going great. This past one was my first week of 5 strength training workouts, and I LOVED it.  I’m not nearly at my goal yet, but things are going my way.  I’m LOVING the gym, the powerful feelings and emotions that come with getting stronger…

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This is pride and teamwork! US National Champion

Wow, I can’t believe the US Pro Cycling Championships has finished its run in Greenville, SC.  I’m so happy to have been there for the final race (and most of the others along the way).  This time I was a spectator, not a volunteer, and I got to spend time with some fantastic folks I’ve met through Twitter.  What a great time, and a pretty great race to watch too.  I should write a post just about watching all the vehicles at a pro race – let alone the hundred plus cyclists who compete, because I don’t think most people have any idea – I know, I used to think it’s just a bunch of men (or women) riding bikes for ridiculous miles too.  Boring?  Hardly.

Timmy Duggan from Team Liquigas Cannondale is your new US Champion (yep, the same team of sprinter Peter Sagan, and fan favorite Ted King), and he rode his heart out to win.  This is an Italian based team, that happens to ride US made bikes, so how cool that one of their two Americans won the title.  Even more impressive is how he and Ted pulled it off – literally a two man team! Couldn’t believe it when I saw the post race tweets – there weren’t ANY lime green and blue cars or support crew to be seen!  Yet somehow…

Other teams had multiple support cars, mechanics, coaches – but not these two.  They just got after it, enlisted a little help from some friends, and well…. why not win!  I saw so many great pictures from the race (you guys know I didn’t even bother to try to capture the event with my camera!) – but the one on this link of Ted watching his teammate get the Stars and Stripes jersey is probably one of my favorite cycling photos ever.  It’s pure pride and joy, nevermind that he didn’t win it himself.  I was in the crowd at the finish line, and watched Ted ride his bike back after his finish, and walk with it into the crowd in front of the podium.  It was quite a long ceremony (lots of people to thank for the great years in Greenville) but all the while Ted stood by to celebrate this victory as if it were his own. 

http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/05/news/duggan-and-king-enlist-greenville-militia-for-emotional-championship-ride_221757

So if you want to learn more about a true team sport, where “domestiques” grind themselves into the ground for their designated rider day in and day out, where strategy probably matters more than in any other sport – I highly recommend pro cycling.  These guys are on TWO WHEELS, riding inches or less from each other at speeds that your CAR goes.  Oh yeah, and with only a helmet and not much in the way of protective clothing.  All guts, not always much glory.

But on Memorial Day, Timmy Duggan and Ted King showed a whole lot of guts and somehow, just the two of them, managed to get some well deserved glory.  So proud of both of you boys – you taught us quite a lot about the true meaning of teamwork.

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Ignorance of youth, or insane will to win?

Today I witnessed something pretty cool in stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. 22 year old Peter Sagan of Team Liquigas Cannondale had two flat tires, and one big crash that knocked him to the back of the peloton and guess what? He won the stage. Yesterday he punctured, and won the stage. Completely calm, cool and collected when riders at least a decade his senior might have panicked a bit or gotten upset with the team mechanic. But not Sagan. Did I mention that he is 22? Why do I write this when most folks I know have no clue who Sagan is? Simple. I’m pondering whether his calmness under extreme pressure is the pure innocence of youth (I’m out here riding my bike!), or is it an intense desire to win, no matter what comes his way? And I’m wondering if those of us well, umm, many years past 22, can learn something from this phenomenal young rider. Fate threw her best tricks at him, and unphased, he calmly closed the gap to the field and then won easily. Hmmm.. Can I take something away from this? One second he’s on the ground holding an injured arm, then later he’s standing on the road waiting for a tire change. Some of us who are older and wiser might have said ‘man, I’m just gonna finish this inside the time cutoff and live to ride another day’ but not this young man. So, just maybe I can channel a little of this Sagan determination and see what I might be able to do. Funny thing, I was so inspired I hopped on the bike trainer (now, that might seem like no big deal, but two things 1) I haven’t touched my bike in forever and 2) I have a recently torn tendon in my left calf). Well, let’s just say my ride didn’t really get started because my injury reminded me that I am not 22, I have a bad calf, and I am not a pro tour rider. But darn it, I am inspired! 🙂

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My other sports passion…

Now back to my sports ramblings…  My man (and World Champion) Mark Cavendish won a fantastic sprint in stage 5 at the Giro today 🙂  So that makes me really really happy.  There was a bad, completely uncalled for crash on Monday that caused Cav to have to WALK with his bike over his shoulder across the finish line, and American phenom Taylor Phinney went to hospital for a foot injury (but did NOT withdraw!).  They were taken out by a sprinter (Ferrari) who, in blatant disregard for the rules, did not hold his line in the final sprint and literally swerved across the road and crashed those behind him.  His only punishment was to be relegated that day…  If that had been Cav with that move, he’d be at home! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kV0t-qcxmw
  We can safely say that this crash took the pink jersey off the back of Phinney. 

But these boys are TOUGH – if you’re a sports fan and don’t watch any cycling, give it a look.  They crash into barbed wire fences, get hit by cars, get taken out by other riders, and get back up to finish the race. 

Except when they don’t.  This week cycling fans have heavy hearts as we think about one of the young riders who did not get back up.  Wouter Weylandt died one year ago, in stage 3 of this same race.  WW#108 forever in our hearts.  Proudly wearing my 108 shirt in remembrance this week. 

Three weeks until the US National Championship (time trial and road race) in Greenville, SC (that city’s last year to host).  I cannot wait to watch these guys at work.  If you’re interested and have no plans Memorial Day weekend come join me! 

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Had to take a couple of days…

I so badly wanted to write Tuesday night when I was so disappointed in my state, but I thought I should cool off  a bit.  I’m still disappointed, embarrassed, all those same emotions I felt Tuesday night when Amendment One passed by such a large margin too.  But I’ve had time to think about it and a few good things:  I saw postings and comments from my friends who felt the same way as me, and it’s awesome to see that there are so many of us who believe in equal rights.  It was wonderful to read and see the passion of my friends.  Also, I am from the great county of MECKLENBURG, where we voted AGAINST!

Now it’s time to do what we passionate people do – we plan, we energize, we organize and we ACT.  We’re some really smart people so let’s figure out next steps for action…
 

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