Wednesday, February 3, 2016

National Girls and Women in Sports Day




In honor of this day, I wanted to write a blog to explain what this day means to me.

First of all, I have to give all praise to the Lord who has given me the ability to pursue this journey with field hockey. I am truly blessed to be living out His purpose for my life.

Next, I have to express how thankful I am to those who have paved the way before me and given me the opportunity to do what I love and live out my dreams every day! I was fortunate enough to grow up having strong, determined women to look up to on my journey through sports and life. I watched the US Women's soccer team battle their way to gold in the 1999 World Cup final. In 1996, I watched Kerri Strug land an almost perfect vault on an injured ankle to win Gold for the USA. I watched countless female college athletes in all sports (basketball, soccer, field hockey, tennis, etc.) I've watched these athletes who didn't always have visual role models on TV and in their hometowns, who lead the way for all of the women pushing the boundaries even further now! And I am especially thankful for all those who wore the red, white and blue with a field hockey stick in their hand before me. Your names may not be International or Nationally known, but I know how much hard work went into making the sport what it is today. We can continue to grow off the foundation that you all built!

I definitely have to thank my parents who not only introduced me to every sport under the sun, but allowed me to try all of them, practiced countless hours with me, have pushed me to be my best, and have been my BIGGEST cheerleaders the whole way! I definitely wouldn't be here without the endless support and sacrifice they have made! I am beyond blessed for their love and encouragement.

I also have to thank my brother, who is two years older than me. He has been my biggest competitor and my biggest fan. He has always been bigger and stronger than me... even now I lose to him in arm wrestling competitions (you're lucky I love you and am willing to share that with the world! haha). But growing up, my goal was always to beat him, even if it was just once. I was determined that one day I would win. By competing, I always had a chance. He never took it easy on me and he definitely brought out the best in me. Now that we've grown up, he is always cheering me on, near or far. I am so grateful for his support and his friendship.

I can't forget to give a shout out to all my coaches and teammates who have been a part of my journey. All of my teammates are amazing women who lead through sport. All my coaches, male and female who have enabled the growth and journey of myself and all my teammates throughout the years... I am thankful for each and every one of you who have given of yourself to grow strong women for the future!

Finally, I know that as I progress on my journey through the sport of field hockey, it is so important for me to continue to set a good example for our young women to strive for and emulate. I take it upon myself to motivate and empower them to reach even greater heights than I have! It is only the beginning for women to dominate the sports world! I want any young girl reading this to push the boundaries and don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something. Dream big and then dream bigger!! Set the bar higher and don't stop until you get there! Use all the negatives as fuel to prove them wrong! Believe in yourself and surround yourself with those who push you to be better! Use sports to learn about life and enjoy the ride!

Those are the lessons I want to give back to you! To the girls and the women who will soon be taking my place and filling them with bigger shoes! I am your biggest fan!


“God gives us these talents, and He’s given us this pedestal for a reason. You don’t have to choose between being great at your sport and following Jesus." -Lauren Cheney

“You and I were created by God to be so much more than normal…Following the crowd is not a winning approach to life. In the end it’s a loser’s game, because we never become who God created us to be by trying to be like everybody else.” – Tim Tebow


"My faith is so strong that I believe that God made me 5-11 for a reason. For all the kids that have been told, no, that they can’t do it, or all the kids that will be told no.” – Russell Wilson

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

OLYMPIC YEAR RESOLUTIONS

I am not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions because the way I see it, if there is something you want to change, you don’t wait until the New Year to do it! With that being said, this is the Olympic Year. It is 2016 and that is a huge milestone in my career. There are some things that are naturally going to be different this year than a normal year in my life.

So, taking that into consideration, there are a few “resolutions” I have promised to myself.

1.   LIVE IN THE MOMENT
The Olympics are in August, a little under 8 months away. This seems like a long time... but I know it will fly by. In order to get the most out of my training, I need to be able to stay in the moment and push myself every single day. It’s crazy how each day matters and how much impact every single day has from here until that first day we step on the pitch in August.
2.   ENJOY THE RIDE
The Olympics will come and go and they will be magical in their own way. In the end, I will remember what it took to get there and all the memories of the journey. The end result is really so small in the grand scheme of things! So I need to enjoy every moment. Even the other day when we were doing sprints (it’s always hard and no one wants to do fitness), but I told myself, you know what? Enjoy this because you will never be this fit again in your life! Enjoy feeling fast and fit!
3.   LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FIELD
This is kind of a no brainer. But I will say it because when you write things down and have a place to reference, it keeps you a bit more accountable... even on the hard days! So yeah... leave it on the field even when I’m exhausted and ready to break. And, constantly have the mindset that no matter how things are going, to always be the hardest working player on the field. The harder you work, the luckier you seem to get. There is always more in the tank! How you train is how you play in the big moments.
4.   GO FOR IT
Take risks. Learn. Grow. Have fun. Make mistakes. Move forward. And remember, if you want to get where you’ve been, you’ve got to do what you’ve never done.



To be completely honest. I try my best to live by these resolutions all the time. These are more of life goals that I try to apply to all aspects of my life. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of what’s most important and the goals we set out for ourselves. I am excited for the many adventures and obstacles that this year is bound to bring!! It will be busy, but I imagine when I look back, it will be one of the best... so bring it on 2016!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I tell myself I can quit

It's less than a year until the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. A lot has happened in the last year since I last blogged. I will get to that later... but I was drawn back to blogging after I was asked a question by one of my former teammates. Laura Suchoski, who I grew up playing hockey with at some of the highest levels, posed a question that stated:

You're working out. Doing sprints. Hardest you've pushed yourself all month. You're ready to quit. But know you could keep going. What would you say to yourself to keep going and push yourself? "I got this", "Can't stop, won't stop." 

I love this question! Especially since I am doing a lot of running and training on my own as we have a little down time after our crazy summer. (Don't worry, I'll recap the summer for you in a later post!) Anyways, my response to Laura was:

I think about why I am doing it. I tell myself I have to push myself harder if I want to be the best. I try to focus on winning each rep, just one more, just one more. You'd be surprised how many more your body can actually do!!!


Obviously, I am training at the highest level. I am training for the Olympics, and not only that, but I am training to win a Gold Medal. That is my ultimately goal. Whenever I am running, by myself or with the team, I have to remember why I put myself through the pain. There is a bigger end goal. That is just my initial thought that gets me off the line. Once I am off and running, I must then be in the moment. I have to get through one rep at a time. And of course, as competitive as I am, I want to win each rep. "Winning" can often be a game for myself though. Some days are harder than others, you just feel better or you feel worse. I tell myself that if I did the best I absolutely could on that day, then I did all I could and I will be better for it. So, I have to beat my time from last time, or the previous sprint. I make it a competition with myself. This is especially important when I am running on my own, without a teammate next to me, challenging me, pushing me, and also motivating me through it.

There is also something else I tell myself which may surprise you. When the workout is really hard one day (it happens a lot honestly! haha) I tell myself that if I push as hard as I can to make the next rep, I can quit and be done for the day. Yup, I tell myself I can "quit" and "cheat". In reality, I never actually quit. It is my way of pushing as hard through one rep and not having to think (or know) that there is anything else afterwards. I continue to use this strategy of thinking for the rest of the workout. And even though I pushed myself to the limit on the first one (that I wanted to quit on), my body and mind find a way to finish all of the reps.

It is truly amazing what your body can endure. It is probably more amazing how much your mind plays a factor in the outcome, as well.

The other biggest factor for me, which is the same for a lot of people, is getting the motivation to go do my workouts. Yes, even an Olympic athlete struggles with that. I know my workout is going to be hard and I have to mentally prepare to hit it hard and get everything I can out of each session. I find that forcing myself to go to the gym or to the field... just driving myself there and stepping out of the car is the best solution. Once you are there, you aren't going to back out... so just get up and GO! Don't put it off! Also, it is much easier to do your workouts in the morning and get them done for the day. Not only will you feel more accomplished, your body will get a rush of natural endorphin which will actually give you more energy and motivation to be productive the rest of your day!
Does anyone else have any good ways they motivate themselves when they are on the brink of quitting? Leave me comments and let me know!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Monday Motivation

Mondays can be hard to get motivated. The weekend of freedom is over and it is the start to a new work week. In other words, it is back to the daily grind!

Today's motivation is the Monday Life!
This organization raises money for Children's hospitals. Their mission is to bring the best healing environments to every hospitalized child on the planet.
Some common ways they get involved are pet therapy, music therapy, massage therapy, art therapy, technology, art, light, and color! They really strive to enhance the hospital atmosphere for these children, making every day, even the hard ones, a bit more enjoyable.

We can totally take lessons from their cause. Not only to make the most of what we have, finding the good things in every hard day, but enjoying the ride we call life. More importantly, we can feel great by giving back to a good cause, and knowing that we have helped a child's life be that much better!


The Monday Life recently quoted this on their twitter:
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

I find this statement very powerful and motivating. No matter what today brings, you have a gift that you can share with others. Find your purpose in each day! I find the more you give to others, the more you actually receive in the end. Embrace your gift, then give it away!


To learn more about the Monday Life and how to get involved:
Check them out online: http://www.themondaylife.org/
And on twitter: @themondaylife
Something as small as $1 every Monday can make a huge difference!

The Monday Life

FOOD FRIDAY- Baked Oatmeal

Here is the first of many food posts! I love trying new things in the kitchen and fueling my body right! I have posted a few of my creations in the past, so I wanted to share my newest one, along with the recipe!

A lot of the times, I get into a routine in the morning for breakfast, and I constantly make the same thing. I must say that I tend to find what works, and stick with that. I tried making baked oatmeal a few weeks ago, and I am a big fan! So now I just make a batch for the week and eat it along with my Ezekiel bread and eggs for breakfast!

What is your favorite breakfast fuel? How much do you mix it up? Or do you just keep it the same?

Baked Oatmeal
Prep time: 10 min.    Cook time: 40 min.     Total time: 50 min.
Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of milk (I use unsweetened Almond Milk)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (optional)
1 whole green apple chopped into small pieces
1/2 banana chopped into small pieces
(you can choose to add whatever fruit you want!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 8x8 baking dish.
2. Mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Beat in milk, butter, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract, and honey. Then add in fruit.
3. Bake in over for 40 minutes.
4. Eat and enjoy!




Let me know if you try this, or add any variations!! Send pictures and reviews, as well!

The dream lives on....

My last post was before the World Cup, and a lot has happened since then!!

A huge thank you to everyone who followed and supported us during one of the most exciting tournaments I have played in to date!! USA Field Hockey definitely made some waves in the field hockey community and it is only just the beginning. We are very proud of our overall performance, but we know it is just the start of something greater to come!! (We won our pool of 6 undefeated, putting us into the Semifinals vs. Australia, but fell in penalty shoot-out, and lost 2-1 to Argentina in the 3/4 game). It took a little time away before understanding just how great a 4th place finish really was in the grand scheme of things. We went into the World Cup ranked 10th, and after a disappointing finish at our last major tournament (the Olympics), this is was a huge step for our program. It was difficult to make the semifinals and not come home with a medal of any color, but I know it is just going to give our team more motivation going forward. It really is only the beginning for us! I hope you keep following us and supporting us; it should be a fun ride!

We are back training in Lancaster, PA after a bit of time off to recover from a very strenuous build up to the World Cup. It was nice to have a break and finally get some quality time with my family, friends, and my dog! :)

Now that we are back in training, we are focusing on continuing to push the tempo of the game and our consistency at the top level. Our next competition is in New Zealand in October, and we are excited to get back into games, with a few new players and a few others in new positions. Also, it will be interesting to see how the game changes with the replacement of two 35 minute halves to four 15 minute quarters. I think the tempo will be much higher with the added breaks, as well as the reduction of total time in the game. It should be fun and exciting! Our sport is one of the few where rules are in constant change. Field hockey is constantly adapting and evolving, and it is fun to be a part of a team who looks to define the game going forward.


I also wanted to give everyone a heads up that I have new blog topics coming! Blogs will be much more frequent and should be a lot of fun! Not just updates on what we are doing, but some on my favorite foods/recipes, as well as some skill videos and motivational topics!!! Follow, comment, and give suggestions!

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!