ASICS Challenge Team Recap

ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball

ASICS challenge team

Now that I got the more “editorial” piece about being an ASICS challenge team member out of the way, I can just give you a straight up recap of the event.

As I think back about it, had I not received the call last minute to replace a challenge team member who couldn’t make it, I would have never known what I was missing, but now that I went through it, I would have been very sad to have missed the experience. Just the people I met that I can further build relationships with is priceless.

Thursday Evening

I drove to the Queen Mary in Long Beach and met the ASICS crew, and some of the other challenge team members (from Volleyball Magazine, Volleywood, POPSUGARFitness, and ESPN, to name a few). The first thing they did was hand me a gigantic swag bag, along with an awesome ASICS backpack stuffed with gear, shoes, and a volleyball. Since we were headed out to dinner, I couldn’t look through everything right then, but I knew later it was going to be like Christmas morning…actually better, since I don’t open any gifts on Christmas anymore (cue the sad violin). :)

We went to dinner at a nice seafood restaurant, and the best part was our sweet ride that would serve as our shuttle the rest of the weekend. It was a HUGE stretch, pimped-out limo. I don’t even think the ASICS team was prepared to see that thing, and everyone got a great laugh about our ride every time it pulled up (since half the time we were a sweaty, sandy mess).

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Dinner was fun, but I couldn’t help feeling a little intimidated by the credentials of some of the people there. Not only were some from pretty big media, but so many had some great fitness and career accomplishments! Intimidating…but inspiring as well. Another fun thing I noticed was how much all of these hardcore fitness people loved to eat as much as I did. I joked with them later that I thought people were only going to be ordering salad and fruit, but I was happy to see that the food and wine was flowing nicely. :)

We got back around 10:30 and tired as I was, I HAD to open all the bags and take pictures of the stuff they gave us, plus I’d be wearing it soon enough and would get it very dirty and sandy. All I can say is, “holy crap!!!” Seriously, I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Click for a larger view

Click for a larger view


We headed over to the tournament in our pimp-mobile wearing our ASICS gear. I had on their workout shorts, tank top, and bikini. Of all the gear they gave me, the bikini was the only thing I could not get to fit me right. It looked great on the younger girls, but even the most modest bottoms left me feeling a bit exposed. But I think bikinis are the toughest things to try and fit individuals.

Our first task upon arrival was meeting the PEAR team to go over our devices (I’ll have a full review later), then go through a warmup with strength and conditioning specialist Michelle Lovitt (read my article on people who love what they do to learn more about Michelle).

Following that, we met with Kerri Pottharst (two-time Olympic medalist in beach volleyball for Australia), and retired US beach volleyball pro, Angie Akers. They ran us through some drills, then later after watching some volleyball matches, split us into two teams and jumped in with us to play some six on six volleyball.

group 4

The rest of the day we spent watching more volleyball, trying out the Kerri Cannon, which was pretty scary, doing a little more shopping at the ASICS apparel store, and watching some of the live music that was on a huge stage at one end of the main volleyball court.

group with kerri

With Kerri Pottharst

Klean Los Angeles provided all our lunches, which were amazing, Ritual Wellness gave us some refreshing fresh juices, Core supplied us with water, and Kind gave us plenty of delicious snacks.

At dinner that night we were joined by ASICS President and CEO Kevin Wulff, who is very down to earth, and passionate about the sport of beach volleyball.


The first thing we did that morning, was challenge a group of girls from Long Beach (one of which I’d known from my days competing in CBVA tournaments) in a six on six match. It’s pretty tough to beat a solid team of six, even though we had a couple ringers in our group (and I’m not even including myself), so we lost our match. But it was still really fun to play, and especially see the newbies on our team start to develop a love for the sport!

group 1

Between watching some more matches, we took a SUP lesson from Noelle Kozek (read my article on people who love what they do to learn more about Noelle). Although we didn’t get to spend as much time on the water as we would have liked, it was still so much fun, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Note to self: you look terrible in hats. :)

Note to self: I look terrible in hats. :)

After watching the semi-final matches, ASICS set up a cocktail /appetizer and pampering hour on the beach for us. While sipping some Deep Eddie vodka mixes, we got our (disgusting and dirty) feet rubbed and chair massages. Awe yeahhhh!


Later that evening we cleaned ourselves up and headed over to an upscale steakhouse, where we feasted on some seriously decadent chow. As many of you know who read my blogs, I rarely go out to eat because my budget is tight, so it was a fantastic treat.

We went around the room and everyone spoke about their experience, and it was clear that we had all formed a pretty tight bond from our weekend. I’m not kidding when I say it was like going to beach volleyball camp (except we didn’t have to sleep in smelly cabins)!

big dinner

After I got back I was wired, so I went up the the promenade deck of the Queen Mary and played my ukulele. At one point a couple came by and threw money in my uke case. I thought I was pretty bad-ass that someone was giving me a tip, but then they told me they were paying me to stop playing. :) I’m kidding, but I did practice on the deck.


Sunday was all about the medal matches. First up was Germany against the Unites States team of Todd Rogers and Theo Brunner, with team USA taking the Bronze. Our group got to watch that match from court-side seats in the sand, which I loved. It’s more of a visceral experience! But we couldn’t stay there for the mens and women’s Gold medal matches, so Michelle hooked us up with VIP passes (in a shaded area above the rest of the stands), where I watched Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross of the US defeat a Brazilian team to win the Gold. Oh, and I got to eat the most delicious shrimp tacos for free since they feed you generously in VIP. Dope!

tonya at court

I left after the women’s match so I could get some stuff done at home before my busy week started, but the US’s Phil Dalhausser and Sean “Rosie” Rosenthal defeated Poland to take home the Gold as well.

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All in all a fantastic weekend! I want to thank ASICS and all of the other sponsors for such an amazing opportunity. See you next year (wink). :)

Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone…


…and into the foam.

#UPDATE! They cancelled this event last minute. :(

One of my 2014 goals that I posted back in January was to do an obstacle course/mud run. I wasn’t super interested in doing ones that were 10k or longer, or ones where they seemed a bit too much…just something challenging, but fun.

What was and is my biggest challenge is finding someone to do it with me. These kinds of races tend to be outside of metro areas (because of the space needed to build the obstacles) so there is usually a drive and/or overnight stay involved, and everyone of my friends seems to have their summers packed to the gills in activities.

The one race I had my eye on the most is the 5k Foam Fest in Temecula (a wine country town about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles) on July 19th. It seemed like the perfect mix of challenging yet fun.

The organizers of the race were kind enough to give me two free entries to the race, which should entice my friends right? Well, sadly, no one seems to want to go.

It’s not like I’ve never done anything alone before. I’ve dined alone, gone to the movies alone, traveled alone, and have run several 5k races alone. But for some reason an obstacle course race just seems more fun to do with a group of people.

Anyway, I had two choices: one is to have a relaxing Saturday, especially since I’m going to the Dizzy Feet Dance gala in downtown LA later that night, but regret not doing it, or two, step outside of my comfort zone and do the race alone. I chose the latter. Because opportunities like this don’t always happen.

Since my race cost was covered, and Temecula is just over and hour drive from where I live (without major traffic), I decided it would be easiest to stay overnight so I don’t have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn the next morning.

I found a nice Air BnB private room for $84 (about six miles from the race), and I asked the owner if I could come back after the race to clean up, and he said it wasn’t a problem!

I’m also borrowing a GoPro camera so I hope to have an exciting video to share with you soon.

But, if anyone in the LA or San Diego area is interested in doing the race with me for free, I still have one promo code to give away.

I also have a promo code for $5 off if by chance you still wanted to sign up, but I gave the free ticket away. That code is FF6552.

If not, enjoy the video, and see what I’m up against next weekend!

When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

Workin’ on Stress-Free Living, & Giveaway!

photo-7As I mentioned in Friday’s post on Budget and the Beach, I said I would talk a little more about the book I just read called The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living (not an affiliate link).

In a nutshell, the book is fantastic! It was the first book I’ve read on the subject in a long time that made complete sense to me, and I have implemented so many things already that have made a dramatic difference in my goal to become more Type B. So much so that I plan on reading it again.

The book first talks about why we feel stress, then goes on to talk about the five principles to follow to relieve stress: Gratitude, Compassion, Acceptance, Higher Meaning, and Forgiveness. There are chapters on each of course, which go into a lot of detail.

There is no doubt about it that you just can’t read a book on stress-free living, and expect to be “cured.” The main thing I’ve gotten out of the first round of reading the book is being aware of what my stress triggers are, and trying to stop myself before I get upset, using the principles in the book.

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the Sorry Not Sorry campaign going around the internet right now. If not, take some time out to watch it.

It made me aware of how much we, especially women, use the words, “I’m sorry,” when there were other less passive words to say instead, like “excuse me.”

I walked around that week and couldn’t help but notice how many times we say, “I’m sorry.” It seemed everyone was saying it. I even brought it up during my volleyball game with friends, and once I did we couldn’t concentrate, because we found ourselves saying “I’m sorry” all the time.

The same awareness is true about utilizing this book. So many of my stress triggers involve me not getting what I want. Maybe it was the car in front of me driving too slow (don’t they know I left the house late and might miss my appointment?!, or the fact that someone canceled plans on me (but I really wanted to see that movie tonight!).

So whenever I felt those familiar feelings, I started practicing one or more of the five principles: the driver in front of me might have mechanical problems, or maybe they are bringing their newborn home from the hospital for the first time, or the person canceling movie plans might have had the worst day at work ever, and just needed alone time. I mean I’ve certainly canceled plans before. The main principles I used were compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness.

So when I’m annoyed for whatever reason, I first have to be aware, then I practice. And practice some more…and perhaps it might always feel like hard work. But maybe someday it won’t…and the calmness will happen without even having to be aware anymore.

Anyway, it’s a good book, and I highly recommend picking it up at the library.

Here is the author talking more about the book:

Do you know what your stress triggers are, and have you ever thought about trying to move past them?

And since we are here talking about our minds, let’s talk about how we can take care of our bodies! I’m giving away this awesome diet and fitness journal. It includes:

  • Daily page spreads to record food and beverages consumed, exercise, vitamins and supplements, and mood.
  • Weekly pages to keep track of progress and refine goals, with motivational tips.
  • Personal training pointers and charts for creating nutritional, metabolic, and fitness targets.
  • Nutrition index with detailed data on hundreds of the most common foods.

Contest is open to US & Canadian residents only.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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