Summer Running, World Cup, & Birthday Shenanigans

July has to be my favorite month of the year. Quite apart from the heat, which is well and truly underway and, which I always declare is 100% more appreciated than the freezing cold days of winter, it’s my birth month – let the celebrations begin – lol, there was World Cup (an entire month of football games), and beach trips. Additionally, I have no races planned but sunset and sunrise runs to include speed work mid-week, a mid-long run on weekends, and a lot of Cross Fit everywhere in-between.


The World Cup, a favorite of mine, wrapped up on Sunday with France, not too surprisingly and my pick upon Brazil’s exit, walking away with the coveted title. Gotta say, I’ve always been a big football fan, a byproduct of my Caribbean heritage, but this time around was pretty amazing. We enjoyed 32 days of wild and unforgettable football; some of the best moments, memories, teams, players and their talent, and surprises we won’t soon forget. I happened to be travelling back to New York on world cup Sunday from Myrtle Beach, SC where I spent my birthday weekend knee-deep in sand, sea, and sun. Of course that didn’t stop me from plugging in to get in some screen time when the playoff for third place was on and pulling up the Fox App and taking in the game where and when signal was available for the finals. While not a very impressive performance by France, Croatia was pretty outstanding on the attack, they were able to score 4 goals and secure a 4:2 win against Croatia. Suffice it to say, I was pleased with the result.

One of my favorite things about Summer is running at sunrise, sunset, and in the night. Another is going to the beach. Back when I lived in Trinidad this was a natural almost weekly occurrence; however, living in New York lends a bit of novelty to the idea because the ocean here is always freezing and is neither clean nor clear. Sure, I sound like a spoiled beach brat but it’s hard when you know what’s out there to settle for less. And so, I mostly wait until I am able to head south to enjoy the beach life. I finally got to do that this past weekend and it was amazing! The water, the beach runs, the beach house, the sunshine, the shopping, my girlfriends, and the cocktails! I promise I didn’t go too crazy with the eating..I also haven’t eaten out so much in a couple of years at least! Going to bed in the early morning and getting up to run on the beach and see the sunrise was the highlight of the trip..well the running on the beach part anyway. The consignment and outlet shopping wasn’t too bad either, and my birthday dinner hangout was super fun at the notorious Senor Frog with their signature special litre of margarita, sombrero, music, dancing and tasty Mexican food. Through it all it’s hard to say I rested but I certainly enjoyed it and got to hangout and catch up with my favorite folks so it wasn’t a hard up for me at all.

Summer comes around but once a year and it’s oftentimes really hot. So far this year it has been near-perfect. You want to take advantage of this beautiful weather to run some and fun some: to get a lot of travel, adventure, friends, beach and memories. These are the kind of moments that give meaning to life and will go on to last a lifetime. My advice y’all is to treasure these summer days; they’re pretty awesome already!

World Cup-Inspired Running

imageI confess I’m a World Cup junkie.  My background and culture has a lot to do with that. I grew up in the eighties and nineties where football aka soccer was to the rest of the world what the Super Bowl is to the United States.  Never mind that my home country of Trinidad and Tobago only ever qualified for this world class tournament one time in 2006, we were and are avid football fans and players and boast a number of home-grown international players.  I grew up either watching, playing or attending practice sessions, games and/or tournaments.


That being the case, it is neither difficult nor far-fetched for me to attempt to see what impact this has had on my desire and ability to run.  I look at the players on the field in this World Cup and I’m as amazed now as I was all the way back then (some 25 odd years ago) at their sheer physical strength, speed and stamina.  On the off chance that you’re not aware, runners share  these very same characteristics. I compare the dexterity and nimbleness among some of the world’s top players such as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Italy’s Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez from Uraguay, Yaya Toure from Ivory Coast and Netherland’s Robin Van Persie and I cannot imagine a sport more defined by pace and endurance. It is ninety full-contact minutes of constant movement; defense, attack and counter-attack while running.  Is it any wonder that their physical form is so impeccable; most, if not all, of these players own amazing bodies along with abs to die for. I won’t give all the credit to running of course, even if most of their drills consist of it, as I’m aware that their training includes major gym work to build, strengthen and tone muscles; however, I’m willing to bet that at least 70% of their training involves running. If I ever need running motivation, here it is.

imageI’ve taken my football frenzy to the streets, or better yet, the fields, where I attend soccer practice weekly throughout summer into mid-Fall. I will never be a Ronaldo or Suarez, not even close, and that’s ok because it’s enough to even mirror their moves and form while getting my run on. It is true that this World Cup has seen me up my running game, I am motivated to move, get physical, keep active; to run and race more. These are my Brazil Moments. Can I help that they’re inspired by super-yummy eye candy!

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