Part 1: The “Gals”

I am a HUGE US Women’s National Soccer Team fan.  Like fangirl level.  Like little 8 year old girl in the stands who looks like she might die right then and there, fan.  I watch nearly every game, try to go to as many games in person as I can, and own who knows how many shirts and jerseys.

This obsession has been ongoing since I can remember.  Watching my idol(and still idol to this day) Mia Hamm run rampant on the field, the chills I got(and still get every. single. time.) as I watched the ’99 World Cup, and the tears of joy and heartache after each big win and loss, are some of the most vivid memories and moments I have had in my 26 years of life.

If the US is playing a friendly match, you can bet my DVR is set if I can’t watch it live.  If the US is playing in an international tournament, you can bet my DVR is set, and I have also stopped whatever I am doing, wherever I am, to seek out a TV and watch.

Why though?  Why am I and many other people, both male and female of all ages, so obsessed and invested in this team??  What makes them so irresistible to even people who have little interest in soccer?  It may just be my rose colored glasses, but it seems as if no other USA team captures the hearts of our country like the USWNT does.

Here’s my list of why I believe many of us have such a love affair with the group currently known as “The Gals”.

  1.  They are GOOD…                                                                                                                                             I love the men’s team as well, but they just don’t match up when it comes to          international success.  3 World Cup Titles 4 Olympic Gold Medals, and many more international tournament titles.  We have dominated international women’s soccer since it started.
  2. They are good and do it with STYLE…                                                                                                      The way the USWNT plays is unlike any other team in the world.  Fast pace, pressure, high scoring, passionate, skillful, and always dramatic in big moments.  Whether it is winning by PK’s, winning on last second goals (see Abby Wambach in the 2011 WC against Brazil *chills*), or scoring midfield goals in the WC final against Japan (See Carli Lloyd’s amazing performance to lead the team to their 3rd World Cup Title in 2015).  They get you to watch because they win, but the way they do it keeps you watching game after game and year after year.
  3. They are attractive…                                                                                                                                   We all know it.  And we all know this is why they initially get attention from many viewers.  This often times leads to an appreciation for their badassness, so I am okay with it.  For those of you who only watch because you think they are hot and do not appreciate the skill and heart shown on that field…shame on you.
  4. They are INSPIRING…                                                                                                                                 Name a team who has captured the hearts and minds of so many little girls (and boys) in recent memory like the USWNT has.  You can’t.
  5. They represent GIRL POWER…                                                                                                                  Obama said it himself when the team visited the White House after winning the 2015 WC, “This team taught all America’s children that “playing like a girl” means you’re a badass.”  They give girls the courage to go out there and play with the boys.  To beat the boys.  And to hold their own and stand up for themselves.  To see more about their visit to the White House, and what Obama had to say about how they represent girl power, check this out http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2015/10/27/9621552/president-obama-uswnt-us-womens-soccer-team-white-house-playing-like-a-girl-means-youre-a-badass

More to come. Did you really think I could fit everything into one post?? 
-Kayla

 

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Routine: The Key to Production

I am a reader. I will read anything you put in front me, no matter the topic or format. I have recently read a few articles and pieces about how having a daily routine is something that many successful people do. Research says that of the work we do, 80% of it is unproductive, and 20% of it is what ends up being used. How do we make the most of our time? Routine. The more things we do the same each and every day, the more time we have to focus our attention to the things that are not routine. The less energy we waste on things that could potentially be routine, the more energy we can spend on productive work.

I have always been a little bit of a creature of habit, and now I can almost take stock in the fact that my daily routine and habits have allowed me to be productive in a short amount of time.

A typical day for me looks like this:

Wake up early and head to the gym and get my heart and muscles pumping. I will occasionally listen to music while working out, but I tend to prefer podcasts. This gets my brain working along with my muscles, and on long runs takes my mind off my legs more so than music that I end up tuning out anyways.

Shower and cook and eat breakfast. Cooking and eating breakfast with my morning coffee could quite possibly my favorite time of the day. During my workouts and breakfast is usually the time that I do the best thinking and brainstorming about life and the day ahead of me. I always eat an omelet with veggies and typically turkey, along with some fruit, and occasionally oatmeal, toast, or protein pancakes depending on how intense my workout was.

By 8:00 AM I have already accomplished quite a bit and can now start my day of work.

Get to the office around 8:30 AM.

Work until about 12:00 when I break for lunch.

Lunch is usually some type of salad with protein and lots of veggies.

Work again after lunch until around 5:00 when I run errands before heading home.

I try to go on a walk at some point during the evening, but not always.

I cook dinner and relax for the evening. I absolutely love to cook, so the beginning and ends of my days are almost therapeutic to me. It is even better when I have the chance to cook a nutritious meal for friends and family.

Before bed I try to get a little reading done before turning out the lights.

 

Now, just because this is my typical daily routine doesn’t mean that if something happens and it doesn’t go as planned, my day is ruined. I am still flexible because on a normal basis my energy is put into things that require focused thinking. When things go off plan, I have reserved energy and strength of mind to continue on and jump over the hurdles while still staying on track.

Pretty mundane, but in my opinion, effective. I don’t waste time and energy trying to decide what to cook for breakfast, or eat for lunch. I don’t have to worry about when I will fit in a workout after work, or be too tired to do so after a day in the office. I get it done first thing in the morning, and it energizes me throughout the rest of the day. By the time I am ready to relax I can do just that because there is no need to hit the gym.

ROUTINE BUILDS CONSISTENCY AND CONSISTENCY BUILDS SUCCESS

2015: A Year of Growth

I know I am a few days late, but I have finally gotten around to writing a post about the past year.  This won’t be in chronological order, rather in going through Kayla’s mind at the moment order, so bare with me.

2015 was one for the books, no doubt about it.  So many unforgettable experiences, first times, and bucket list checks.  A lot of disappointment and confusion led to a lot of growth, wisdom, and ultimately positive times.

To start:

I had an amazing season coaching at Cameron University.  We broke school records and set standards for future teams to come.  We reached the NCAA National Tournament as well, and the entire season was an experience I will be forever grateful for.

In June, I was able to return to the place I spent the first year or so of my life, Seattle, and had the opportunity to run my first half marathon there.  I was also able to venture to Canada during this time and see the USA Women play in the World Cup that they would eventually go on to win for the first time in 16 years.

In May, I had the chance to see our Nation’s capital with my dad.

I traveled to Haiti in July for my very first international mission trip and saw and felt things that I never could have prepared myself for.

I took a huge leap of faith and decided to take the year off from coaching and move to Germany all by myself for two months.  I won’t go into detail in this post (check out my previous posts), but I will simply say it was absolutely life changing, and possibly a total turning point in my life.

I grew apart from some friends, and grew even closer to others.

I made new friends as well, and am finally in the same general area as my childhood friends again (something that has been so much fun so far).

I had my first experience of subbing at many different levels in the Azle ISD, and have been teetering with the idea of entering the high school coaching ranks after two years spent at the college level.

I read the entire Bible in a year for the first time in my life.

I got rejected for jobs that I thought were meant to be.  Over and over again…

But most importantly, I learned to trust God in all of it.

I am currently training for another half marathon in March, doing some individual skills training in basketball, subbing, and helping out with the AHS basketball teams.  My mom and I are currently on day 3 of the Whole30.  It was has been semi-easy so far, but worse days are ahead of us I just know it.

I am also always planning that next adventure, of course.  I’ve learned that I can’t stay put in one place for very long.  There is too much out there to see.  My hear and mind longs to venture out to places I’ve never been, whether it’s over oceans and continents, or in the beautiful State of Texas.

Travel and the experiences and growth that come with it are 110% worth the price.  Every.  Time.

I pray that as 2016 runs its course through my life that I continue to trust in God in both the good times and the bad times, for He is the one who holds my fate and sets my feet on the path HE has chosen for me to go down.

I pray for continued growth and that God gives me the words and wisdom to share more through my blog, and ultimately my life to those who need and those who want to hear it.

I hope you all have a blessed, prosperous, and joyful 2016!!

Repost: Thoughts Runners Have

You are not alone if…Sometimes it is easy to think we are a bit crazy when it comes to different running issues.  I came up with a list of things that I think at least a few of us experience when it comes to running and if any of these ring true to you—>  know you are not alone…

You are not alone if…

The Road

I love the road, and when I say “the road” I mean it in more ways than just simply that black paved surface that our cars travel on each day.

1.  “The Road” and running.

I have a love affair with the feeling of my shoes hitting the pavement.  To me,  there is little that is sweeter than getting out of bed* early in the morning and getting your legs moving.  It makes it even better when midway through the run you get to witness the sunrise.  How many of us truly “witness” the sun rise anymore?  Yes we may be awake at that time, but we are usually running around the house getting ready for work and never even peak out the front door or window to see it.  To witness is to see something happen and be able to attest to it.  Every sunrise is different and unique in its own way.  I try to experience and see as many as I can.  Also, the runner’s high. Enough said. 

2. “The Road” and my job.

As a college basketball coach, I am always on the road.  Whether it be traveling to an away game, or driving 2.5 hours to a middle of nowhere town in West Texas or the Plains of Oklahoma to see a single girl play a 2A high school game in a gym that seats 50.  The road is possibly my favorite part of my job.  As a basketball junkie and lover of higher education, I love traveling to different colleges and universities across the nation and seeing their campuses.  I always tried to make it a point to take a pregame walk around whatever school we were visiting.  I love the uniqueness of each gym and arena.  The landscaping and architecture of the buildings around the campus.  As a player, home games were fun of course, but there was nothing like playing in a packed gym on the road and keeping the fans of the opposing team quiet with your play.

Being crammed on a bus with your teammates/best friends while driving halfway across the country to play a single game…there is nothing like it.  I am so blessed to be able to spend the majority of the months of October-March on the road with people who share the same love and passion for basketball that I do.  If you are a current athlete, savor every moment you get, especially the times you have on that bus, in the hotel, and on the court.  Those are the memories you will keep forever, and the stories you will tell for ages.

3.  “The Road” and travel.

Wanderlust gets the best of me on a daily basis.  I can’t sit still.  I want to go and see and experience different cultures and places constantly.  There is something about being in a foreign place that brings me peace.  I don’t really know how else to explain it other than with that word, peace.  Navigating through a new city using the metro, subway, and your good old feet.  There is nothing more freeing.

 If you can’t get a hold of me, I’m probably either daydreaming about the next adventure and ignoring my phone, or I am on the road and have no service.

Planes, trains, and automobiles.  Oh, and feet.  90% of my time is spent on the good ol’ road and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. 

One more thing…

GO USA!!!! ⚽️🇺🇸🙌🏻💪🏻

Seattle Trip 2015

As you probably know, my sister and I have been on our first “sister trip” since Tuesday.  We spent Tuesday-Saturday in Seattle and it was amazing!! 

The evening we arrived we decided to kick off our experience with dinner on the water to watch the sunset on Redondo Beach.  Never knew that Washington state had a Redondo too!  Not quite as beautiful as Cali’s, but beautiful in its own right.  

 

The next day (Wednesday) we decided to hit up Pike Place Market and Bainbridge Island.  I have come to the conclusion that Pike Place just may be one of my favorite places I have ever been.  You could literally spends hours perusing the offerings the vendors have.  You could also literally spend tons of money on all the wonderful food options they offer as well. We of course had Starbucks, and then bought some local apple chips (amazingness), and ate lunch at the famous Pirohsky Pirohsky. 

   
          We also had to make a stop at the infamous “Gum Wall” and add our own addition to the collection. 
   
After having our yearly fill of Hubba Bubba we set off for the ferry to Bainbridge Island. If anything the view from the ferry ride is worth the trip. 
 On Thursday we took a walking food tour of the historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. We ate at local restaurants, coffee shops, and cafes, while also learning some history about Seattle.  

 

 Friday our friend Heidi, whom I worked with at Western Texas College and lives in Central Washington, met up with us and we headed to Snoqualmie Falls. Let me tell you, it is GEORGEOUS!!! Also, the usage of selfie sticks is an art form that I may never master. 
   
  

  We then headed back into the city for lunch at a place I have been wanting to visit since I planned the trip here. Oddfellows Cafe in the Capitol Hill area.  Neat place. Great food. Amazing ice cream shop and park around the corner. Not to mention an awesome record store too.    

       

After lunch and ice cream we went to the Space Needle and Marathon Expo to pick up our packets and materials for race day!!  

      And for the grand finale to our Seattle trip…Saturday morning I competed in my very first Half Marathon!!  It exceeded all my expectations in a good way! Not only was the process smooth and organized, but the weather was perfect, the course was challenging but beautiful, and my pace was a good 30 seconds faster than I had ever run! I ended up placing 32 out of 650 in my age division.  Something I didn’t expect to do.  
      

And of course, before we headed out of town to go to Vancouver we had to stop at our favorite little hipster cafe Oddfellows for some post run brunch.  

  
Stay tuned for our Canada/World Cup adventures!!!