Monday, June 27, 2016

Ways To Survive The Dog Days Of Summer

July and even early August are the toughest parts of summer oftentimes. They are referred to as the "dog days of summer." Many of your favorite TV shows are on summer hiatus, there aren't as many big summer blockbuster movies, and sports are simply monotonous at best. Many have already taken their summer vacations. Baseball is not nearly as interesting and NASCAR has possibly two or three exciting races before Bristol in mid August. It can often be a good and a bad time.

One good thing is the 4th of July of course. You seemingly have parties and celebrations everywhere.

Here are some ways to fight off the dog days of summer. Many of these are similar to my post from 2012 regarding top date ideas for the Spring and Summer months.

1. Go swimming and/or to a water park/lake.

This rarely gets old and is often inexpensive. You and your family are hot and want to take a dip and be around cool water. Many water activities remind you of how great summer is.

2. Don't wait for an invite, have your own cookouts!

I feel grateful to be invited to summer parties and cookouts. However I realize all do not have this luxury. Therefore, buy some meats and charcoal, invite some friends over and have your own BBQ. No grill, no worries. Walmart has cheap but effective kettle grills for around $30, and they are easy to assemble and use. Many of you know I love grilling, it's relieving and an awesome way to get folks together.

3. Do some early morning/late afternoon workouts outdoors.

This is a prime season for this. It is usually no lower than 65 degrees during the dog days in the morning, and cools down as the sun sets. Working out outside, whether be running, walking, hiking, cycling is hard to beat. Summer flies by so take advantage while you can.

4. Stream plenty of movies and TV shows from the source of your choice (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Kodi).

All of these streaming services allow you to catch up on TV and movies, and even view new ones. Season 4 of Orange is the New Black is currently available and many (myself included) are watching this.

5. Go to amusement parks, drive in theaters and even local festivals.

There is usually something happening within close driving distance. Get out and experience and enjoy what is going on, and see other people as well. It is fun and healthy.

Ok now that you've read this piece, get out and enjoy the dog days!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Why I Love Running So Much

I've been so blessed to be able to run, and run actively. It has become a lifestyle, a hobby, and many other things.

We have just had a controversial NBA Finals where the favorites (Golden State) couldn't close out Lebron and Cleveland. Many factors intervened that wouldn't happen in competitive running.

That being said, here are some of the reasons why I love to run so much: 

1. It's cheap, quick exercise that can be done almost anywhere you have a road or treadmill. You may pay extra for accessories such as nicer running shoes, Fitbit/Garmin watches, and utility belts and packs. Overall, running is very inexpensive.

2. When you're out on a run or especially in a race, it's you versus time. YOU are the ultimate one that controls your pace, training regimen, and such. There are no refs, no one picking favorites or playing bets. Either you can run or you can't, you can or cannot finish. Running is one of few sports/activities that is contingent upon the individual's true prowess.

3. It is awesome for networking. Over the years, I have connected with many folks through my gym, running club and various races I run. It's like a huge society or family. You begin to recognize folks and running groups in your area that run the same races as you. The faces and their times become familiar. It's almost expected to see them at a certain race.

4. Running really disciplines you, from your eating regimen, to getting up early for training runs and races. You haven't felt dedication until you see runners that are willing to get up on a frigid February morning at 5am because they know they have a big race in March or April. Also, those that run at 7pm in the middle of the summer to avoid the heat. Running is a huge sacrifice, and takes careful time and even money management once you start racing. It's all worth it though.

5. There are sponsors and such, but outside of the big races such as Boston and NYC, the sport doesn't receive a lot of media attention. Therefore those that do it can do so without being in the limelight or politics that have wrecked other sports.

Running has been a blessing to me. I would advise anyone with a healthy body and a decent pair of shoes to try it. Be careful, it is addictive, especially after running a race!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Jared Earley: Winning The Race Of Life

It is often said the decisions we make five years ago are the result of how we are living now. Local runner Jared Earley can certainly attest to this.

In 2011, Earley was at work at The Robert Allen Group, where I met and worked with him. He had suffered a minor heart episode that kept him out a few days and could have killed him.

He decided at that time he was too young to be a statistic and needed to make some life changes. The 30 something fun loving, Gaffney Indian, South Carolina Gamecock and New York Jets fan had to get more active. He won a bet with some friends and began running. Now not only is he running, he is sprinting. Earley went from hardly exercising to winning and placing in road races across the Carolinas, including winning the 2014 Peach Festival 10K with a time of 45 minutes.

The bet was actually for $20 to see who could lose the first 20 pounds. The feeling Jared got after he began running was indescribable, and he wanted to kept getting that feeling.

Fast forward to June 2016. Jared has ran over 20 half marathons (his fastest time being 1 hour, 30 minutes), 1 full marathon and he's far from done. He would like to qualify for Boston and run an ultramarathon before the end of the year.

Jared's love for speed, health and running has definitely grown. He said he plans to continue running until he can only crawl.

Earley has got fitted to a neutral shoe. He likes all brands but specifically for 5ks, Jared goes with the lightest shoe possible with little cushion. For halfs and up he goes with more cushion. Nike peg and the Vomero really fits his foot right and compliment his running style.

Jared has gotten faster by doing intervals and a lot of hills. He likes hills better than flat surfaces because they give different muscles rest, while flat surfaces use the same muscles and it gets more tiring. Also, in Cherokee County, there isn't a lot of flat ground. Most of the time it's either you run hills, or you travel somewhere with flatter grounds.

Jared not only does intervals to stay fit, he has become involved with mixed martial arts. It's hard to balance MMA with running.  Therefore, on the days he trains MMA, he has a short running day of no more than four miles at a easy pace.

Earley's most difficult race to date was the Assault on Black Rock, it really took a lot for him to finish. The race is only a seven mile run but it hurts the body more than a full marathon as it is three and a half miles uphill and three and a half miles down, not to mention an elevation of 3500 feet. Wow, just a couple of thousand shy of a mile!

Jared runs alone most of the time, and has never been apart of a running. group. His musical playlist consist a lot of Atmosphere, Kid Cudi, Macklemore and Lil Wayne. Earley's advice to someone who is just starting out is don't get down on yourself when you can't run as far as someone else or as fast  He states that will come with time. Also, brace yourself as the pain is only temporary so start off slow and you will get better.

It's been a pleasure knowing this person and watching his journey. This is only the beginning for Jared Earley. He continues to run, and will scorch any finish line there is.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Karina Chery: Making Small Steps and Giant Leaps Towards Hollywood

Most people think of a few things when they think of Gaffney, SC. The giant Peach off of I-85, high school football, and of restaurants such as Daddy Joe's and Harold's. Acting wise, the medium size town has produced Andie Macdowell, as well as been the site for filming The Abyss and parts of House Of Cards.

Young lady Karina Chery is a proud Gaffney native who is working to become the next great acting talent out of Cherokee County.

Karina recently appeared on an episode of Snapped: Killer Couples, after years of doing theater and drama.

She started acting in 7th grade where her teacher Mrs. Ivey signed her up for WINGS drama. Ivey said she thought Chery would do great and she was right. Karina absolutely fell in love with it and wanted to do more acting.  She did theater and drama throughout junior high, high school and even some during her time at Limestone College. Karina then started doing background work two and a half years ago where she met some really amazing people such as Tyler Perry, Oprah Winfretly, and Ice Cube.  Her biggest role model is her amazing older brother, who continues to follow his own dreams and has become very successful.. This has aspired Karina to keep pushing and make her acting dream come true. To date, Chery's most notable was her role on Snapped as Terri Jackson. This was a great way to introduce herself to everyone as an actress on television. Karina has also been cast for two supporting roles in two independent horror films.

Karina may have started out with theatre but film and television is what makes her happiest and that is the route that I'm going to continue going in.

Karina Chery is a very talented, lovely, determined and driven young lady. Check her out as she continues to take the acting world by storm, one show and movie at a time!