Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sponsors help make the dream work! :)

I couldn't head to World Cup without first thanking my sponsors!!! They help make the dream work! These companies and all the people involved have really invested in me as a person and as an athlete, and I can't tell you how much they have helped me be at my best!

First and foremost, I must thank DITA! They have been with me from the beginning. What great honor that I get to play with this amazing Dutch brand, in the Netherlands!! From Dita America to Dita Netherlands, thank you for all of the support over the years. Thank you for believing in me and providing me the equipment I need to succeed and excel!
To find out more about Dita America, visit their website: www.fieldhockey.net
To find out more about Dita International, visit: www.dita-hockey.com
And to check out my very own MK18 stick, go here: http://www.fieldhockey.net/examkmika.html
Follow on Twitter: @DITAfieldhockey and @DitahockeyNL











Next, I have to give a huge thanks to SO Field Hockey! Although they are based in the UK, they have given me nothing but the best support! They have amazing chamois grips, in every color you can think of! I love them! They are soft to the touch and work wonders in the rain. Thanks for your continued support! Wonder what bright color I will be sporting at the World Cup?? You'll just have to tune in to see!
For awesome, colorful chamois grips, check out: http://www.sofieldhockey.co.uk/
Follow on Twitter: @SOfieldHockey












Another one of my great sponsors is Project Hydrate! With the amount of hard training we've been putting in leading up to this World Cup, PH has been one of the most important parts of my preparation and recovery. Their drinks definitely make a huge difference in my hydration and keeping me ready to go for each and every session. They have been so generous to not only me, but to my teammates. Thank you so much for all of your support! I love working with you all!
To stay hydrated like Team USA, check out PH here: http://www.projecthydrate.com/
Follow on Twitter: @Project_Hydrate













Finally, I can't forget my newest sponsor, NuGo Nutrition! They have come on board and given me great support in the last couple weeks. Their nutritional bars are high in protein, low in fat and sugar, gluten free, organic, vegan, high in fiber, and more! They really have everything I would need in regards to a high level athlete. Plus, they are delicious! Don't believe me? Go try some for yourself!!
Check out all of NuGo's nutritional bars: http://www.nugonutrition.com/
Follow on Twitter: @NuGoNutrition
 









Although they aren't a sponsor, I must also give a shout out to EnergyBits. I have been working with them as an ambassador for quite some time now, and they never cease to surprise and amaze me with just how supportive they are! EnergyBits are little bits of algae, a natural source of energy. I love putting things at are all natural and unprocessed in my body. EnergyBits give you that little extra, natural boost you can't find anywhere else! I recommend trying some today! They make you feel good on even the hardest workouts!
Check them out here: http://www.energybits.com/
And use my code, MKASOLD, to get 15% off!
Also, follow them on Twitter: @ENERGYbits










THANKS AGAIN to all of my SPONSORS!!! You help make me a better athlete, every day! Now, time to go take care of some business at the World Cup! :)

GO USA!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

THE WORLD CUP!!!!

Everyone knows the WORLD CUP is this summer! It is all over the news, all of the sports channels, in the papers..... but although I am super excited to watch the Soccer World Cup with the rest of the world.... the World Cup I am most excited about is not for soccer... it is Field Hockey!! And one that I will be competing in!! It is pretty unreal to write those words... I will be playing in the World Cup. Words can't describe all the emotions I feel. As hard as I have worked over my career and all the games I've played in add up to this. Yet, the biggest thing I constantly am reminded of every day is how truly blessed I am. Nothing is guaranteed in sport or in life and I know how very lucky I am to be in this position. God is good. [Jeremiah 17:7]

With that being said, I am not just satisfied with being a participate. No, I want to compete and win. With the first games of the World Cup just over a week away, I want to grab hold of this opportunity with my teammates and take the world by storm! I know just how hard every single person on Team USA has worked. From the players that will step on the field wearing red, white, and blue in the Netherlands, to those who just missed out on the final roster cheering us on at home. Every single person has played a vital role in putting us in the best possible position to succeed. I am confident in my teammates beside me and I am excited to see just how great we can be! As with any game, any sport, there will be ups and downs. The tournament won't go as planned. It is the World Cup and every team will be putting it all on the line. But for me, that's why I love it so much! That is why I play this sport. To compete against the best competition possible, for the thrill of victory, for overcoming obstacles, for pushing yourself further and harder than you ever thought you could go, and for all the bits and pieces in between. The journey to get here has been tough, and indeed, I have made some great sacrifices. But this is why they are all worth it.

So, with that being said, I don't know what the final outcome will be. No one does. But I know we will give it everything we have, and leave it all on the field. I know by doing that, we have a pretty good shot at doing some amazing things, even standing on the podium when it is all over. Thus, I hope you will follow us on our quest and cheer extra loud as we embark on a grand journey to greatness!

All of our games will be streamed on YouTube (@FIHockey) and on ESPN3!!!! Be sure to check on  usafieldhockey.com for the game schedule, and follow my adventures on here, facebook, twitter @mkasold18 and instagram @mkasold18 !!


With all this excitement building, I am constantly reminded every day how thankful I am. I am thankful for this opportunity to represent my country, playing a sport that I love. I am thankful to be healthy, fit, and having fun. But most of all, I am thankful for all the support I receive which allows me to strive for my dreams. I've had to sacrifice being away from my loved ones (family, boyfriend, and friends) for much of my career. No matter where field hockey has taken me, these special people have been my biggest fans, through the ups and downs. Most importantly, they have helped to push me day in and day out when I forget to look at the big picture. I truly would never have made it this far without them! So thank you, each and every one of you know who you are! You are all a part of my World Cup dream!

~give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus~ [1 Thessalonians 5:18]

LET'S GO USA!!!!!!!!!! :)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Champions!

WE WON CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE!!!!

What a great accomplishment for our team! We have put in a lot of hard work, dedication, and grit to put ourselves in a good position to stand on top of that podium. After falling short in the last two Champions Challenge Finals, we weren't going to let that happen again. We fought through a lot of obstacles thrown in our way to come away with a gold.

The quarterfinal against India was a tough match. We have always had close matches with India in the past, and I think that is partially the way we match up with each other tactically and technically. We had a lot of the possession throughout the game, but it took til late in the second half to final find the back of the goal. In a must win game, that can be nerve-wracking. We stuck to our game plan and trusted our skill, resulting in a 1-0 win. After all the teams from our pool won the quarterfinal match ups, we knew exactly what to expect from there on out. We faced Spain in our semi-final game, and knew they had grown tremendously throughout the tournament and could not be taken lightly despite our 3-1 win in pool play. We came out with really high pressure and put Spain on their heels a bit in the first half. With a 3-0 lead at halftime, Spain had nothing to lose and definitely threw everything they had at us in the second half. We defended a fair bit, but weathered the storm, only conceding one goal to end the game with another 3-1 win over the Spanish. This set us up with an unexpected opponent of Ireland in the final. Although, we knew it was a possibility we could play them, they upset Korea (in the quarterfinal) and South Africa (in the semis) after finishing last in our pool. They definitely played with the Irish Spirit and left everything on the field. We knew if we didn't bring our A-game, we too were susceptible to being upset. We also knew exactly what to expect and we knew how badly we wanted that gold. After a fire alarm disrupted the playing of the anthems and delayed the start of the game, we knew it was going to be one of those days where you just had to be mentally strong, stay on task, and fight through all the bumps along the way. It was just that. Ireland came out hard and scored within minutes of the opening whistle. That was a hard way to start a final. But we stuck to what had made us successful the whole tournament: hard work, sticking to the game plan, and backing each other. And it worked. In the end, we got 3 goals back and won the game 3-1. I must give credit to the Irish though who didn't make it easy for us and who fought until the very last whistle. Amazing stuff from an underdog team who has grown tremendously since the last time we played them in international competition.

Anyways, we definitely enjoyed our moment in the spotlight celebrating a great team victory. By winning Champions Challenge, we automatically gain a spot into the 2016 Champions Trophy, which is absolutely massive for us. We haven't attended Champions Trophy in a long time (if ever?) and for me, this was the sweetest part about winning! Not to mention, it is good momentum going into the World Cup in just a few weeks!

But yes... we are back in America now, and already back to work. We have a lot we still need to improve on and adjust if we want to be successful at the World Cup. Just to give you an idea.... we won Champions Challenge on Sunday, flew back to America on Monday, then had lifting and conditioning on Tuesday. We hit the ground running! As our men's team says: No Days Off!

It has been quite a tough process physically and mentally preparing for the World Cup, but we are willing to put it all out there. We don't want to have any regrets. We want to put ourselves in the best position to win. Not just compete and say we participated, but we want to get results, or least know we did everything we could to be successful with the opportunities that are given to us. No matter where we finish, we know it is sports, where anything can happen. We can't predict outcomes based on how hard we work. Everyone knows you can dominate a game statistically (possession, shots, corners, etc.), but at the end of the day, you could still lose on the scoreboard. It is just a matter of being as prepared as possible for battle, then leaving everything you have on the field!

I hope you are as excited as I am about the World Cup! I hope you will be following me and my teammates as we try to make history and bring home some hardware to the USA!!!

Thanks again for everyone who supported us in Scotland, and who have supported us all along. We appreciate all the love and kind words, and hope that our efforts can inspire you to be great, as well!


Enjoy some pictures from our last few games/days in Scotland:


Back in the gym in the States:

And of course, I was so happy to be reunited with these two back in the States!!! :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Scotland

Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland! Of all my travels over the years, this is the first time I've ever been to Scotland! Although it has been a bit dreary and rainy, I've quite enjoyed my stay so far. We arrived as a team just over a week ago, and it has been a bit of an adjustment.... for quite a few reasons. First, you would think it would be easy to get around and communicate, everyone speaks English... until you hear some of these Scottish accents!! Scottish is like a different language than American! Most of the time I just smile and nod my head in agreement, even though I have no idea what was said! :) At least I'm friendly, right?! haha. Another big adjustment is that we are 5 hours ahead of EST. We've traveled halfway around the world and been much further from home, but for some reason, the jet lag hit us pretty hard on this trip! Maybe it's because we haven't really traveled overseas in a while? Or maybe it's because we are so far North that it doesn't get dark until 9pm? haha but we've been having some weird sleeping patterns! Fortunately, I think most of the team was on a somewhat regular schedule once we started games on Sunday! The last adjustment we have had to make is just dealing with the weather. It seems to always start raining right we get on the pitch. It could be sunny all day, but as soon as we step on the field to practice, the rain comes pouring down! But it's only a little rain, so we can handle it! ;)

The tournament has been going pretty well so far. We finished pool play in first place in Pool B. We started off with a 3-1 win over Spain, then fell 2-2-1 to South Africa in the second game, before finishing our pool with a 3-0 win over Ireland. The 6 points was still enough to land us atop the pool. We've played some good hockey and still have some things to improve on.... and now that we are in crossover play, every game is do or die! So tonight we play India in the quarterfinals! I hope you'll be following online! All games are streamed on the fihockey YouTube page!! GO USA!!!!!!


Here are a few pictures from around town and Scotland tournament fun!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Eating like a pro

Food is one of the most important ingredients to a successful professional athlete. Eating the right foods will fuel your body to give you enough energy, as well as allow you to push your limits.

There are lots of "diets" out there which talk about different ways to lose weight, or all these rules about what to eat. Healthy eating needs to not be considered a "diet" but a lifestyle. It isn't something you do for a short period of time, it has to be an all the time thing. As an elite athlete, where physical activity is my daily work, what I eat directly effects how I feel and how I perform day in and day out! With that being said, I use a 90/10 rule. This means staying true to healthy eating 90% of the time and allowing yourself "cheats" 10% of the time.

So... what do I eat? What do I consider healthy foods?! Well, of course there is a long list, but I will give you a general definition. To me, I want to put unprocessed natural foods into my body as much as possible. This means a lot of meat, fish, fruits, veggies, eggs, etc. It is similar to the Paleo diet for those that are familiar with that. But I do try to limit my carbs. Most athletes are told they need carbs as energy, but I find I get enough carbs from fruits and vegetables, and all my extra energy stores come from protein. I feel fit, lean, fast, and strong. Since changing my eating habits last year, I feel the best physically I have my whole career!

It is not easy changing your eating habits though. The first two weeks, cutting out some typical foods (for me it was pasta, rice, and potatoes) is the hardest part!! Once you get through that first block, it gets so much easier. Your body doesn't crave it anymore and you start to enjoy other foods. You even find new foods you never even knew you liked!

Trying new foods and recipes to mix up my meals has probably been my favorite part! Not only have I learned how to cook a lot better (I know my boyfriend is happy about this!!), I find real joy in eating (which is already one of my favorite activities!) Hehe. And I am so confident that I am fueling my body well with each delicious bite!!

I'm sure you're wondering what some of my typical meals look like? Well, here are some pictures of some meals I've made at home over the last few weeks!! Enjoy!

Feel free to comment, ask questions, or send your favorite recipe or one you'd love to try! I'm always looking for new ideas!

Steak and sugar snap peas:

Turkey burgers (from local market) and bacon wrapped green beans:
Tomato, mozzarella,  basil frittata:
Cauliflower crust pizza:
Cauliflower crist pizza #2:
Steak and asparagus with mushrooms:
Blueberry Protein pancakes:
Scrabbled egg mix (spinach, tomato, ham, and cheese) with sausage and raspberries:
Bacon wrapped chicken roll ups (with ham and cheese inside):
Stuffed peppers (steak and veggies):
Salad- loaded up with chicken and veggies:

Happy eating!!! ♡

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wait, it's almost April?!

WOW! This year has just been flying by! I guess I am continuing the tradition of getting caught up in life and not blogging very much... oops! I apologize for that! With the World Cup just a little over 2 months away, you can imagine how much we have been training and preparing!!!

We started off the year with a trip to California! Although we moved our home training facility to Spooky Nook in Lancaster, PA... the amazing domed field they built us, was not quite complete in time to start the year. (The crazy weather played a big part!) For me, it was a return to sunny San Diego, where I previously spent so many years! Also, once we left last year, I had no idea when I would actually be able to return again to see my family and all the friends I made along the way. So as hard as it was to leave my new home in PA, and EVEN HARDER to leave my puppy (for 2 whole months!), I was happy to be reunited with some amazing people in California!

While we were enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather, Great Britain and New Zealand ventured out to play 4 games each against us. I hope you were following us online and at USA Field Hockey because it was a great series of games for us! Basically, everyone on the squad got a chance to play, improve, and prove they deserve a spot on the team for this summer. We grew so much as a team, and put out good performances each and every game against quality opponents!! We not only had a first-capper (shout out to Ali McEvoy), but a couple of us (Caroline Nichols and myself!!) earned our 150th cap, as well! So all and all, an exciting and fun set of games for Team USA!

[For those of you that don't know: New Zealand is ranked #4 in the world and Great Britain is ranked #3. We finished against GB with 3 wins and a tie. We finished against NZ with a win, 2 ties, and a loss. Considering we are currently ranked #10, those are pretty good outcomes! We don't plan on being ranked there for much longer ;)]

Once again, I had to say my goodbyes to California.... who knows when I will see you again... hopefully, sooner rather than later!

Moving forward, after a few more weeks of training in the books, we FINALLY got to open the dome at the Nook to the public!! We played 4 games against Canada, much the same set up as we did in California! Once again we had a couple milestone games,  with local Laura Gebhart getting her first cap, Katie O'Donnell reaching 150, and Katie Reinprecht amassing 100 games for her country! Personally, those games are so fun for me because we get to celebrate how much each player has worked and given to get where they are. Also, we got there together, as a team. I have been so fortunate to represent my country so many times, and play all of those games besides my teammates (current and past). That is really what has made the journey so worthwhile and one I'll never forget!

...But back to the Canada series! I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who came out to all of the games and supported us! It was so great to be playing on our new home turf and have so much support! I hope everyone enjoyed it and was as inspired as I was! And... it is always good to win on home turf! We won all 4 games and are currently undefeated at the Nook! :) hehe!

With the World Cup quickly approaching, we actually have to put our attention on the Champions Challenge first. In less than a month, the team will head to Scotland to face some tough competition between the teams ranked 9-16 in the world. The winner of this tournament gets an automatic berth into the next Champions Trophy (which is the teams ranked 1-8 in the world). Of course, our goal is to win this and be in good form heading into the World Cup in Holland.

So that is a little recap of what this year has been like and what we are looking forward to! As for me off the field, I stay busy looking after my little pup Kora! She is growing up so fast, but she is so smart (she knows so many tricks! :) haha) and she is so sweet! I love coming home to her happy little face every day after practice!

I've been so busy that I haven't had all that much free time to myself, but I have been trying to plan a few clinics and things around the country this summer once our training schedule eases off a bit. I really want to get out, coach, and help inspire the youth! If you are interested in setting something up in your area, please contact me!!! Leave a message on my blog and I will get in touch with you ASAP! :)

Thanks again for all the support for myself and my team! We have a lot of games coming up in the next couple months, and we need all your cheers and good lucks to push us to the top!! We want to bring home some medals! GO USA!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Welcome to 2014

I debated a lot about how to start this blog, or even what to write in it. Yes, it has obviously been a while since I've written and I haven't done a great job of keeping up with frequent blogging. (And for those of you who do keep up, I know that was one of my New Years Resolutions last year!) So, this year, I will try to do better, again, but I can't make any promises!

2013 was a crazy year which involved a lot of traveling, a lot of field hockey (as always), lots of love, and a new addition to my family (yes, little Kora!). After finally settling in to the Nook in Lancaster, PA and raising my little puppy to do lots of fun tricks, we are unexpectedly on the road again! Due to some harsh winter weather, our domed field is not quite ready yet, so we are packing our bags to head back to San Diego to train for the next couple months. As hard as it will be to have to leave my baby, Kora with my parents during this time, I am excited to see some old friends, neighbors, and family that I wasn't sure I would see again any time soon. Plus, we have New Zealand and Great Britain coming out to play a few games against us... finally!!! It feels like forever since we last played an international game! I won't be complaining about some warm weather and sunshine, either!

So as we embark into the adventures 2014 is already presenting, I guess my New Years Resolution is just to embrace every situation and make the best of it. As my boyfriend puts it, "It's your life." In other words, he means: That is all you have and you have to make the most of it. Don't waste time complaining or stressing about the future. It will all work out somehow, so enjoy the moment and the journey.

And that is probably the best advice I have received in a while. I'm constantly planning and trying to 'get organized' and do so many things. The times where I have just let go and make the most of right now, have been worth it every time.

So, live in the moment. Take chances. Enjoy the time you have. Always work hard to better yourself. Be thankful. Be blessed.

Until next time... here's a few pictures from over the past few months... ENJOY! And yes, there are lots of pictures of KORA! I love her!