Results tagged ‘ Reds ’

Let’s Get Physical! – a few thoughts on Bikram Yoga

As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of exercising. Whether it’s hitting the weights, a boot camp class, going on a bike ride or hiking, you can almost always count me in to get active. Aside from the obvious health benefits, I just like to feel good- physically and mentally. One of my favorite full body and mind work outs is practicing Bikram yoga. In a word, it is amazing. Whether you enjoy working out but have never considered it or you absolutely hate exercising, I encourage everyone to give it a shot at least once or five times. Whether you’re in shape, out of shape, no matter your age or gender, the benefits of the practice know no bounds.

There are many more credible information sources out there if you’re looking to know what to expect in a Bikram yoga class, but the fact is: if you’re looking for information, you probably aren’t an expert. From one Bikram amateur to another, here is my version of what to expect, how to prepare yourself and why Bikram is awesome.

If you stumbled upon my blog without knowing the first thing about Bikram, it’s 26 postures and  2 breathing exercises that last 90 minutes and are performed in a 105 degree room. If you don’t care, you are now free to roam about the internet.

I first heard about Bikram from a friend who had always been a gymnast with a rather bulky, muscle-y build and was suddenly flaunting the most awesome slender looking body I had ever seen her with. Like most females would do, I asked her how she transformed her body so quickly.  As she described it to me, I thought to myself, “That sounds MISERABLE… I hate the heat… Yoga in a sauna? Ew, sweat? This girl is insane. However, her ass looks AWESOME. Ok, I’m in”.

My first Bikram experience was not as awesome as I had hoped it would be, yet also as terrible as I imagined. I felt light-headed, maybe a little like I couldn’t breathe, my clothes were dripping in sweat, and I sucked at it. Although I felt famished and exhausted afterward, I knew I had done my body and mind a huge service, so I went back. I kept hearing people rant and rave about how much better they felt after they had been practicing regularly for a few weeks and I wanted a piece of that. As they promised, I quickly learned how to stay hydrated properly, was able to stretch deeper into the postures and my general stress level had taken a nose dive to almost being nonexistent.

(side note: I have spent more than half of my life dealing with different sorts of anxiety ranging from social anxiety to panic attacks… I have never met a more effective doctor or medication than the hot room.)

If you’re like most people, Bikram sounds a little intimidating. Here are my non-professional, amateur tips to beginners:

1. Hydrate. There is nothing worse than being dehydrated before you get to a Bikram practice. If you know you don’t drink enough water, increase your water intake a few days before and have an electrolyte beverage a few hours before class. If you arrive to class dehydrated, you’re too late. Although Bikram experts will say not to drink water during class as it only fills your stomach and they also encourage you to develop the discipline to abstain from water until class is over, I always bring water. I am fully aware that this is nothing more than giving into a mental weakness but I will overcome it when I feel ready. Point: do what makes you feel comfortable but try your best to stay focused on your practice.

2. Dress appropriately. There is no formula for this, ideal apparel will vary based on personal preference.  My primary advice is that you are comfortable in what you are wearing and wont feel inclined to adjust your clothes between every posture. Your ultimate goal is to engage your mind and body in nothing but your practice. While most people prefer to wear the least amount of clothes possible, I prefer to wear yoga pants because I get seriously distracted by sweat dripping down my legs. I am in the minority on this topic.

3. Don’t even bother feeling self-conscious. Perhaps my favorite part about practicing Bikram is that everyone in class goes at their own pace and no one has time to make you feel like you’re being judged. If you like to try new workouts as much as I do, you’ve probably walked into a class or two and felt intimidated by “regulars” who already know what they’re doing. I have been to over 10 Bikram studios in different cities and have yet to feel that way. It’s a very welcoming environment where people are simply focusing on their own performance. I love that.

4. Arrive early. When I haven’t practiced in a while, I like to get to class at least 15 minutes early. First off, I like to have options for where I’ll lay my yoga mat in the studio (sometimes I just need the darkest corner of the room). Secondly, it’s helpful to go into the room a few minutes before class starts, meditate or stretch and let your body adjust to the temperature.

5. Know your limits. If you start feeling dizzy or light-headed, don’t feel bad about taking a knee or laying in Savasna (corpse pose). Most instructors will tell you that your only goal is to stay in the room for your first few classes- listen to them. Even if you spend the majority of your first practice learning how to breathe and survive in the heated room, you will have accomplished more than you would have if you didn’t show up. Everything takes time and the changes you will experience in your body will be worth it. Trust.

6. Have an open mind. This theory applies for all things in life but don’t dismiss it when practicing Bikram. If your first experience isn’t awesome, or you need motivation to try again, check out this post that outlines the many benefits:

13 Extraordinary Benefits of Bikram (<–Click for link)

You might also want to cruise over to Cincinnati Bikram’s blog and see what they have to say.

With obesity being such a huge epidemic, health “professionals”, trainers and nutritionists are thriving off of publishing information from their perspective about what is the best method for optimal health- usually with some sort of self-interest in mind.  Here’s my free advice and it will probably be the best you ever hear: stick to whatever method of health maintenance that works for you and makes you feel the best. You know your own body better than anyone. Furthermore, recognize a salesman when you see one.

If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them in the comments of this post. I’m not an expert but I’ve been around the fitness block and done my share of personal research.

Namaste. (that’s what we say after we kick our own butts.)



Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will drive you mad…

As you may or may not know, last Saturday I deactivated my Twitter following Mat’s start against the Astros. I made the choice after receiving hateful tweets from “fans”.  I didn’t do it because my feelings were hurt. I didn’t do it because I can’t handle criticism. I did it knowing full well that I would be able to reactivate my account within 30 days. I just needed a break. It is one thing to constantly have to digest negative banter about myself and my husband on the internet and quite another not to respond.

The problem with Twitter is that it allows people to become unaccountable for their words and provides these same people access to individuals they may otherwise never get the opportunity to speak to. Bullies hide behind usernames that are in no way associated with their real world identity and suddenly have the courage to say things that they would never say to someone’s face if given the opportunity. On principal, this makes me hate the internet with the passion of 6,000 steamy love boats.

No, I don’t expect people to have nothing but nice things to say about Mat or I. Let’s be honest, we have become conditioned to look for people’s flaws, short-comings, weaknesses, etc. rather than focus on the positive or make the effort to find anything nice to say.  Here’s the bottom line: your opinion of me (or my husband) is none of my business. There is absolutely no need for anyone to send their hateful thoughts to me. Write them on your blog, tweet them to your followers, do what you have to do to feel better but keep your negative energy away from me.

I normally go about my business with generous use of the “block” button but it just really got to me on Saturday night that people seem to get such a kick out of being nasty. It made me even more irate that the people being nasty were provoking me to be nasty back. That’s not who I am. I don’t have a mean bone in my body or any intent to make anyone else feel poorly. Recognizing this emotion in myself was my sign to leave the room and come back when I had cleared my head. Life is too short, people.

I have conditioned myself to put up with a lot of crap from “people” whose faces I will never see but let me depersonalize this issue for a moment- STOP USING THE INTERNET TO BE HATEFUL.

Mat and I are human. Like every other human on earth, we have bad days and we make mistakes… But virtually kicking someone when they’re down is just low. I am certain that this incident isn’t the end of the nonsense that I will put up with in choosing to be a part of the Twitter community but I have a single request: The next time you consider being hateful or attacking someone on the internet, just don’t. It doesn’t make you cool. It’s not funny. It’s disgusting and says more about you than the person you’re addressing.

Freedom of speech is awesome. Twitter is awesome.  Being a hateful jerk sucks.

Smile for me.


p.s. I would share some of the really lame tweets I got on Saturday but no… they’re not worthy of further discussion.

Dallas Does Opening Day

The number one thing I heard from fans prior to Opening Day was that Opening Day in Cincinnati is “unlike anything you’ll ever experience”. I was SO excited for the day. I even woke up before my alarm went off (this only happens of Christmas and practically never)! I regret to inform you that I didn’t experience Opening Day as I probably should have but I’ll tell you how it went down anyway.

My day began at Gameworks where I joined my friend Mo Egger for a fun interview on ESPN 1530. If you have heard me on the radio before, you should know something awesome- I say “um” WAY less frequently when I’m not just calling into the station. The only thing more exciting than wearing a sweet headset for the broadcast was telling Mo that his New Balance tennis shoes were fairy-ish compared to my studded boots. The headset was pretty fun though. Almost as fun as I imagine wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume is. I still don’t know why no one wanted to say “Hi” to me that day but I’ll forgive you. Here’s a picture of Mo and I at Gameworks…

…and here’s a shot of me wearing the “um” extinguisher… Totally Buzz Lightyear-ish and super hero serious, right?

After stopping by Mo’s Opening Day party, I wanted to see the parade so I headed downtown. First stop: O’Malley’s in the alley. The place was crowded (and oh-so-charming), and I couldn’t think of something more awesome than an Irish pub in an alley, so I had to spend a few minutes there and I may or may not have consumed some adult libations and talked to strangers. Have I mentioned how nice and outgoing most Reds fans are?

Moving right along… I found a spot near Fountain Square to catch the parade. And by “I found a spot”, I mean someone ran over my toes with a bicycle and someone else slammed into me with a stroller. Because of this, I tried to find a tree to stand next to in case I was unknowingly wearing my invisible cloak or something. If you know me, you know that my patience for masses of people crowding into a confined space needs work.  Another thing I don’t love is having people constantly run into me when I’m standing still. I made myself stand there for as long as I could possibly bear (not very long). After seeing Mat smiling with a little kiddo, riding in a car with Nick Masset, I decided that I needed to get the h out of there. I’m not complaining, I’m just admitting that I picked my sanity over actually watching the parade. I’m going to need directions to a balcony or state of the art binoculars or something next year (now taking suggestions).

If you’ve ever been to Opening Day and you have AT&T as your cellular provider, you may already know that your cellphone is going to say “No Service” all day. That’s really not fancy when trying to coordinate with family and tickets and life in general. To try and make things easy, I asked my mom to stay in one place so that I could leave some of the tickets I had in my possession at Will Call. When I returned to that spot, I couldn’t find her anywhere. This was ridiculously irritating because the woman had so many rhinestones on her Reds shirt, I was essentially looking for a disco ball. Disco ball, not found. Frustrated, confused, flustered, cell phone-less, I decided I ought to go back to my apartment. Surely she would go there after realizing we had lost each other, right?

I typically don’t take “no” for an answer be it cell phone service or otherwise, so once I got home, I began desperately doing strange yoga poses in hopes to get my phone in a position where it wanted to work. One out of 602 times, a text message actually seemed to go through but, after about 30 minutes, I gave up. It was at that point that I decided I wasn’t even going to go to the game. This was just CRAZY stressful and I hadn’t prepared myself properly. At some point after making that decision, I sent Mat a text message that miraculously made it through letting him know his parents were taken care of but I was staying home because I was feeling overwhelmed. When my mom finally made it back to the apartment, however, Mat called her phone (apparently AT&T plays favorites because she was getting a little service). After concluding that nothing serious was wrong, he asked me to pull it together and get my butt to the ballpark. “It’s Opening Day on our new team!”, he scolded me. It’s baseball season and that means that what Mat wants, he gets…I gathered my brain, had a glass of wine, put some lipstick on and charged on through the masses.

Sometimes in life, you need someone to tell you not to give up. As absolutely lame as this sounds, this was one of those times for me and I am SO glad Mat was able to reach me. In my defense, I have been ridiculously overwhelmed with this move (from San Diego, CA to Goodyear, AZ to Cincinnati, OH) on about 47 levels. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never lived outside of California and things are going to take some getting used to. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m going to LOVE this place once I figure it out.

In summary, Opening Day was A BLAST but I didn’t do it right. Next year, I will concoct serious plans to conquer the experience.

What I can say is that the atmosphere in that ballpark was something I had never experienced before. It wasn’t Great American Ballpark itself, and it wasn’t the energy of the players on the field or the excitement every time we scored. It wasn’t the win, the hotdogs or the pretty weather; it was the fans. Reds fans are what make this place so special and I couldn’t ask for a better community to be sharing baseball with.

With that being said, thank you all for being awesome and I can not wait to see what this season will bring us.



The Exorcism of Dallas Latos (not really)

I’ve told you before: It takes a strong, independent woman to be happily married to a baseball player, and this spring training provided me with a really disgusting story to further prove my case.

Part of being a professional baseball player means that you can’t just call your boss to let him know that you’ll be out for the day because your spouse is sick and needs your help. No matter how compelled Mat ever feels to do so, unless I am dying, he will be in the clubhouse when he needs to be there, period. Another issue a baseball wife faces too often is being in a city far away from her friends and family. You can’t simply go looking on Craigslist in the personals section when you need someone to hold your hair back as you’re puking, you know. This brings me to a lovely day in Goodyear about a week and a half ago.

WARNING: This story is not for the squeamish and I frankly can not advise you to continue reading.

I woke up around 4 in the morning feeling incredibly thirsty and oddly sick to my stomach, but I figured that feeling would pass. I drank 2 bottles of water and tried to go back to sleep. Uh oh. I was getting more and more nauseous. Just as I started to doze off, I woke up, walked across the hallway to the bathroom and suddenly found myself projectile vomiting into the porcelain God (I told you this story was disgusting). You know when you get so sick that you imagine there’s no possible way you can throw up any more? That was me after a while. Still feeling ridiculously dehydrated, I drank another half glass of water (all the while, Mat’s telling me not to). 15 minutes go by before the vomiting starts up again. At this point, my lower back is throbbing from convulsing and I’m still SO thirsty. Mat told me to just take small sips again; I listened that time. I kept it down for about 30 more minutes before I was back at it, now just throwing up water. EW.

Luckily for me, my best friend Lauren was in town visiting at the time. Unluckily for her, she was woken up by the disgustingness that was my existence that morning. Convinced that I might just be able to keep Sprite down, I asked her to run to the store. It was maybe around 6am at that point. I had given up on getting back to sleep and retreated to the couch, so as to stop waking Mat up. When she returned, I tried drinking the Sprite. I may not have been taking sips at this point because I was literally so thirsty that I could have drank the contents of the Pacific Ocean (minus the salt and barnacles and what not).

If you have never thrown up cold Sprite, you should know that it is an indescribable experience. I’m not even sure that it was all that gross and that right there is gross on its own. Anyway, I threw up a few more times to what amounted to 6 separate prayers to the porcelain God in a matter of 3 hours. Lauren is studying to be a physician’s assistant, so I trusted her when she suggested we take my case to Urgent Care… mainly because I felt like I was going to throw up my spine from the inside out, but also because I didn’t see this sickness going anywhere good on its own. To my horror, urgent care wasn’t open yet. Since my brain already decided that this would be my last day on Earth if I didn’t get some fluids via IV, to the Emergency Room we went.

Thanks to what was either a virus or food poisoning, I will forever be haunted by a vision of myself sprawled all over that emergency room floor, clenching a trash can right by the nurses station all weak and topless while the friendly staff observed in disgruntled horror. That is just what happens when you give me a tiny, shallow bucket to throw up in and it takes you 17 seconds to answer which direction the bathroom was. Was the question really that difficult of a question!? In retrospect, the bucket I had been given was the sanitary option. I just knew I’d really end up puking all over the floor if I tried to aim in a basin fit for a newborn’s vomit. If you’ve ever seen an exorcism movie, cast me as the main character and you’ll get the picture. I’m not sure if the nurses thought I was just being a whiner or didn’t believe me when I came in, but that’s neither here nor there because I puked my little heart out in front of perfect strangers who knew my husband was a baseball player for the Cincinnati Reds and I’ll just have to live with that.

Now that I have thoroughly grossed you out, I’ll get to my point. What exactly would I have done if Lauren wasn’t in town? Call 911? There aren’t exactly last minute taxis riding around Goodyear, Arizona and I probably would have to throw up a motorcycle before bringing myself to ask Mat to miss work to take care of me. Not only did Lauren take me to the hospital, she went to the store to get me Pedialyte popsicles (if you’re ever sick and you don’t eat these, you’re a masochist), picked up my prescription, and a got a whole boat load of Lysol and bleach so she could disinfect every last inch of our apartment while I finally got some sleep. I’m usually pretty good at taking care of myself when I’m sick, but there is no way in the world I would have been able to pull this one off without her.

You may be asking yourself WHY I wouldn’t just ask Mat to take care of me if Lauren hadn’t been around but I can not give you an answer you’ll easily understand. Half of the problem is that he would have. I think I speak on behalf of most baseball wives when I say that the LAST thing we want to do is add more stress to baseball season or interfere with our husband’s work. Perhaps we are professional burden carriers… Actually, that sounds good and fitting so I’ll be adding that one to my resume.

The last thing I’ll say here is don’t ever judge me if I hire a nanny for myself.

I miss you, Alma.


p.s. A baseball marriage isn’t a normal marriage, so don’t go expecting your wife to try and make your life really easy away from your workplace, guys. One of these days, Mat will retire, I will go back to being a badass, he will totally be my housewife and it will all make sense then (This is what I tell myself so I don’t feel so lousy for abandoning my career to support Mat’s… it works 92% of the time).

On Not Being Very Cool…

When we first got here, I had high hopes of composing a really awesome “Things to do at spring training” post for you all. I knew it was going to be a challenge for a temporary resident of Goodyear, Arizona, but I didn’t rule it out as a possibility. I even sacrificed myself to a borderline lousy sports bar that I wont name in hopes of being able to tell you that they serve wicked good french fries. Unfortunately, I cannot report anything fun and this post right here is my white flag- I surrender.

Although I haven’t spent considerable time around any AZ ballpark aside from Peoria, we do have quite a bit of free time to kill during spring training. Until attempting to gather my thoughts on the matter, I hadn’t realized that Mat and I are really lame. When Mat’s at the ballpark, I can most likely be found working out, sweating a small lake at Bikram yoga, grocery shopping, running errands, being the secretary, housekeeper, or something else you wouldn’t want to do while visiting spring training. Once he’s off work, we usually grab a quick lunch and return home to either play Call of Duty, watch a movie, the History channel, Animal Planet, or the Discovery channel. I cook dinner, we go to bed, and then we do it all over again. What I’m trying to say here is that you can’t write a blog about cool things to do when you aren’t cool.

This brings me to a somewhat unrelated point; It amuses me that Mat has always been portrayed to be some out of control wild child. Not just because we’re boring and nerdy, but mostly because it’s the lamest case of judging a book by its cover. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he has tattoos. Yes, he will let you know if he feels disrespected and, yes, he goofs around a lot. All things considered, we may have quirky interests compared to your average baseball family and more tattoos than your local bike gang but, dude, we really are low-key, boring people. I mean HELLLLO, we’re MARRIED. Married people aren’t cool or wild. It’s just a scientific fact.

Let’s get back on track… When fans come to spring training, they want to know the fun places to go out, good places to eat, etc. etc. Let me just summarize an answer to this inquiry- if your team isn’t in or close to Scottsdale, may the force be with you. If you want to know the best place to go out, I can’t help you. If you want to know where to grab lunch, you have a line-up of chain restaurants and fast food to choose from. If you came here to watch baseball and see some of your favorite players up close and personal, you came to the right spot.

Goodyear ballpark (GYBP) is fancy. It might be one of my favorite ballparks in the cactus league. It’s not too big, not to small. The staff is always smiling and the stadium just feels good because fans are having fun. If you’re a Reds fan and you haven’t been to a game at GYBP, you should probably make it a point to check it out. I can’t speak from personal experience, but spring training seems to generally be a really fun experience for fans. Before games, you can catch batting practice at the complex down the road. Again, I don’t know what this may mean to you but I have heard someone exclaim, “DUDE… Votto was RIGHT there in front of me!!!” like a child who caught Santa with a new puppy in the living room… Probably similar to how I would feel if I ran into a giraffe that wanted to be my best friend.

This brings me to my final point. There’s a zoo nearby called Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. If you have some free time while you’re here, check it out. Sure, it’s not paved and you are going to want to wear close-toed shoes to keep your feet kind of clean. It’s not huge and immaculate like the San Diego Zoo. It’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere. BUT… the reason I love it so much is because it’s not super crowded and you’re able to get really close to the animals. They even have a giraffe feeding station where YOU can feed their giraffes! HOW COOL IS THAT?!  Not as cool as touching a sleeping leopard.

I’m not sure you’re supposed to touch the animals but there were no signs so I’ll take that as a, “Stick your fingers in here at your own risk, buddy”. Here’s this:
Sidenote: I couldn’t reach so Big Bird is the only one who got to touch the leopard. For this reason, you may want to just suck it up and wear some heels to the zoo. It may be your lucky day if you’re into touching large cats.

Also, Wildlife World Zoo attracts all sorts of famous people. I snagged a shot of Natalie Portman! (I fed her too, God knows she needs to eat).

If you really want to know how you should spend your free time at spring training, this tortoise has it all figured out. Be lazy and sit by a sprinkler.


So now you know.