Friday, June 3, 2011

Giveaway: And We Have a Weiner....Errr winner

Nope, that title was not a wiener joke. Nope. Not all all. I cannot say that with all certitude though...snerk!

Back on track, I am super excited to announce the winner of my Strawberry Giveaway with gift card to, compliments of California Giant Berry Farms.

First, I want to thank all 37 comments, follows, tweets, and reviews on both blogs. I loved all the strawberry suggestions. I wanted each and every one of you to win! Alas, there can only be one...

After throwing all entries on a spreadsheet and then using to randomly generate a sequence, the winner was #4 which was this comment:

Lisa said...
I would keep it simple. Wash the strawberries and haul them upstairs so I could nibble on them while having a relaxing bath. Just gotta talk hubby into reinstalling the bathroom door so the kids will leave me alone... P.S. Had I known that serious bloggers get free stuff, I might have taken my blogging more seriously!

Whoop! Congrats Lisa!! Besides being a kickass mom that blogs at Just This Side of Crazy, Lisa is a great friend I made at our co-op pre-school. Her daughter and Li'l Man were buds when they were four...sniffle. I cannot believe it's been five years already!

Want another chance to win something? I was fortunate to have been chosen by BlogHer to interview Stephanie Hamm, mother to Olympic soccer great, Mia Hamm in conjunction with being on BlogHer's Gatorade Sport Mom Panel. Go check it out.

Did I mention a comment, tweet, etc. will enter you in a $100 Dick's Sporting Good Gift Card. That my friends is a lot of goggles, shin guards, or running shorts!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Being a Gatorade Swim Mom: Win a $100 Giveaway to Dick's Sporting Goods

My eldest son started swimming at 5
Most who know my family know, we are a swimming family. What does that entail?  It means we spend seven days a week at the pool including Thanksgiving and Fourth of July.  Honestly, I am shocked that my feet aren't webbed. It is a certainly a culture adjustment as I am sure any competitive soccer, gymnastics, or any year round Sports Mom could attest. We endure up to six hours, not including commute, on any giving day at the pool. The pay off?

My daughter ranks in the top five of 11 year-olds in the Pacific Northwest.  My son qualified for the 4A Washington State Championship as a freshman and will be captain of his high school swim team next year as a sophomore.

All three of my kids are proud to be on a swim team that has produced Olympic gold medalists and World Champions. Swimming is their passion.

My friends?  Sports these days are  our lifestyle.

With Olympic Medalist & Former Teammate Margaret Hoelzer
Part of that lifestyle for me though is always worrying if  I am fueling my kiddos the right way to do their very best at competitions.  Do I make them eat hearty meals before meets like our traditional slow cooked oatmeal with peanut butter toast or do I make it a light snack?  Which energy bar is the best?  Are they getting enough protein? All these ideas crowd my head as I chide my kiddos to multi-task and gobble up their snack and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate while they do their homework on the way to the next pool. Did you know 70% of athletes show up for athletic events dehydrated according to a survey conducted by Gatorade?
I actually did know this because I belong to the worrier/researcher category of moms otherwise known as WR condition.  Okay, I totally made that up, but you know the type.  Heh!

Scout's Honor/Heather Murphy-Raines
This Sports Mom complex was why I was so excited when BlogHer and Gatorade chose me to be in a panel of Sports Moms.  Not only was I invited to interview Stephanie Hamm, mom of Olympian soccer player extraordinaire Mia Hamm, but I was also the recipient of the latest research and science behind Gatorade's product lines.

Stephanie Hamm, Mother of Olympic Soccer Player Mia Hamm and Gatorade Sports Mom

Stephanie is a founding member of Liv in the Game, a non-profit organization aimed at empowering girls through physical activity and sports.  She also served as development director for The First Tee of Greater Austin, which positively impacts the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf.  

Now that we have the credentials out of the way, how was Stephanie, you ask?  Just awesome.  She is so down-to-earth and filled with the common sense only a seasoned mom of six could bring to the table.  She admits the sports atmosphere she raised her kids in is MUCH different than today. She marvels at the involvement and time commitment the modern Sports Mom puts into her kids. She and her husband Bill raised their very large family in a variety of sports--most of which her kids could walk to on the Air Force base on which they lived.  Wouldn't that be dreamy?  No carpools...just bikes.  I yearn for those simpler times as a former U.S. Army mom myself.

Having run the gamut of a multitude of sports with a multitude of kids, Stephanie says one of her and Mia's largest concerns is the early specialization path she sees most athletes these days take.  She advocates for trying out a little of everything and trying to achieve balance early.  She said she was her kids' biggest cheerleader until they decided they had enough.

8th Grade Graduation
One of my questions for Stephanie was how to find balance when a certain stubborn child of mine has decided swimming-- and not our family objective of academics first-- is his only priority?

Along with year round swimming, we also swim our summer rec team simultaneously.  On top of that, my eldest son started high school swim team this winter which had an attendance requirement.

 As you can imagine, it is a struggle to keep on top of time management and grades, especially since he made swimming a priority over school.  I asked her how to deal with this short-sightedness. It sounds like such a downer, but I try to remain realistic about my kids' sports careers.  While college scholarships sound nice, in the end it's his education which will take him furthest in life.   I cannot tell you how many times I’ve told my son, "Unless you are Michael Phelps, swimming is not a career."

Competition As a Life Skill
Stephanie agreed with that statement especially since, besides Mia, only one other child of hers had stuck with competitive sports through college.  The Michael Phelps and Mia's of the worlds are one in the million.
This doesn't mean your or my child won't be the next super star, but it is very unlikely.  More likely is that they will gain success having received a solid education and learned life strategies in sports that will help them win (and not in the Charlie Sheen way) in life.

Fortunate for my family, we have agreement with that belief by our fabulous coach that academics are key.  Stephanie did have some sage advice to try to inspire the competitive side of my son that comes out in his swimming and funnel it into academics. Stephanie Hamm suggests,  "Make school a competition," if you must.  She did say it was a struggle to get Mia, exhausted from tournaments to come home and focus on her school work.  She said she and her husband spent many late nights, sitting there with Mia, hour after hour, helping edit and focusing her in her work.  Often time, it was finding the energy that was the challenge. 

Is it bad during the interview  I was secretly relieved that I am not the only one with a teenager athlete whose attention span is that of a flea?

Rec Swim Team on a Rare Sunny Day
Stephanie also reiterated my beliefs feels that while the struggle to stay in a competitive sport is worthwhile,  she infuses the same realism that most commonly,  sports ARE "not wage earners."  However, the lessons of competition and fair play  can prove to be invaluable when applied to life. This discussion lead us to the second part of the call--the science of Gatorade which can help create a more focused, energized athlete.  Slide after slide, I was amazed at the level of research that has gone into the formulations over the years.

Gatorade and Hydration Science

One of the themes from Stephanie that came through in the interview was that with simpler times came more difficulty keeping their kids hydrated in the hot Texas sun-- until Gatorade products came along. I can relate since we too started our sports in one of the hotter parts of California where temperatures often soared in the triple digits for weeks on end.

Meet my Daughter...and Future Olympian?
That was our first introduction to sports. Yes, we've come a long way from when my kids first put their first tippy toe in a pool.   My baby girl started to swim on a bonafide team when she was two and a half. Yes, way too young, but before you think I am a Tiger Mom, there's a story to it. Her five year old big brother wouldn't get in the pool for tryouts even though he wanted to be on the team. So they coaxed her in to show him it was OK. You know the old trick-- no self-respecting brother is going to let a little sister show him up. It worked because she always was fearless and quite the water baby.

At the end of the try out? I was stunned when they took them both. 
She wasn't even trying out.

Six And Under Finalist at Age Four
Now 9 years later, she's a veteran swimmer. She loves it. My kids actually cry when I tell them we aren't going to practice. I even use it as leverage for grades and getting rooms clean. Too stinkin' cute. Her 50 free short course time today as an 11 year old is a blistering 28 seconds. And then? A rip-roaring 2 minutes 23 seconds. Hey, for a three year old, that's faaast. Heh!

Fast forward to today, living in Seattle, our concern is not so much the hot sun, but the lost electrolytes the kids don't even realize they've melted off during a 3 hour work out in an indoor pool.   This is where finding a product to keep them at their best performance is important and here in the Pacific Northwest, Gatorade seems to be king for the younger set.

I must admit, I and my other swim moms were leery of the high fructose corn syrups (HFCS) and dyes of the original Gatorade formulations.  My question to the Gatorade researchers and dietitians on the call involved both of these concerns:

I Love it When a Brand Listens
To What Moms Want
"Funny enough, when we go to Canada meets, my kids always want to stock up on Canadian-formulated Gatorade because they feel the formulation with cane sugar over HFCS is much, much tastier.  In reference to the dyes and high fructose corn syrup, do you think there would ever be a market or plan for something akin to clear or nude Gatorade line?"

Imagine my surprise when I learned from GSSI scientist Lisa Esposito that all Gatorade product lines had been HFCS-free for over a year.

Even better, they have a new Gatorade G Series Natural line at Whole Foods in select markets which  uses vegetables to color their electrolyte beverages and uses all natural flavors and ingredients. Sweet.  I can't wait for it to hit the Seattle market.

Easily my two biggest concerns wiped away 
with a little research and a few quick questions.

My friends, it costs us as much to swim each month as some people's mortgages:  Wouldn't it be silly to spend the time, energy, and money on practices only to fail hydration and on the refuel that spares muscle and allows quicker recovery?

Quick Sports Nutrition Tips

  • Most athletes need 10-20 grams of protein within 30-60 minutes post workout to help muscles recover.  It will actually make them less sore the next day.  I always tell my kids they better drink the chocolate milk, protein drink, PB&J, or whatever protein source we brought that day, quickly in the car on the way home or else that practices was useless. 
  • Monitor urine of your children, especially in the warmer months.  If their pee is lemonade color?  Great.  Apple juice?  Not so great.  Soda or Guinness ale color?  Rush them to the hospital.  Funny enough, according to Gatorade's team, clear urine isn't great either.  It indicates over-hydration in a short time whereas the body expels the hydration/electrolytes rather than being able to store it.  This is where I found out I was doing it wrong as a swim mom.  Instead of telling my kids to chug a sports drink, they should have been slowly sipping a couple hours before practice, every 15-20 minutes during practice, and a little more after practice. Another method is to weigh the athlete before and after practice being sure to take off sweat-soaked clothes.  For every pound lost, 16-20 ounces of electrolyte beverage is recommended to replenish the body's stores.
  • Kids that are not hydrated are less likely to be able to focus during a game or swim meet. Strikingly, the scientist from Gatorade mentioned a study in which basketball shot accuracy gets better with plain water, but the best accuracy was found drinking Gatorade. It was also found athletes playing dehydrated were a full degree warmer in body temperature after a short time of play which could quickly snow ball into the dangerous category. 

    My Little Sea Urchin
    With sports, we learn more and more as the years go by,  with more and more with which to worry.  Gone are the days of Mia Hamm's childhood where a child with club feet plays 3-4 sports with ease.

    I wonder some part of that specialization that she and her mother worry about is simply finding the time to do more than one sport now days.  I know my three kids swim because it's easier for them all to do the same sport.

    We've tried a variety of sports too when they young: karate, dance, basketball, soccer, ballet and in middle school my kids have been also been able to enjoy volleyball, track, and basketball.  However, to be a single sport athlete is challenging enough with children today's busy schedule.  However, my third guy's interest is starting to wane from swim and seems to be headed toward football.  We tried out flag football in 3rd grade, but we finally bit the bullet and are trying TACKLE football. Yikes!  This will be a whole new world to us come fall. Help!!  

    Summer 2010
    I have to wonder sometimes if all the effort we put into sports is truly worth it? The time.  The sacrifice. The missed or non-existent vacations.  The money. Then my kids drop some amazing time or win an incredible race and I just can't say no to them.

    These thoughts lead me to the GIVEAWAY I am so happy to offer.  Since I, more than any mom, realizes how costly it is to raise athletes today, I am so excited to be offering a $100 Dick's Sporting Goods certificate for one lucky reader who leaves a comment, tweet or writes a post to the following question.

    So tell me your families sports experience:  How do you balance sports and support the athletes in your family academically and nutritionally with all the other demands our busy kids have today? Leave a comment and be entered in my Gatorade Giveway for $100 to Dick's Sporting Goods.

    Contest runs June 1st through June 30th.

    Do You Dream Big For your Kids? My kids with their former teammate,
    Olympian, & World Record Holder Ariana Kukors and Olympian Katie Hoff
    This Contest is officially closed.  The good news?  Trophy Mom (chosen by BlogHer via is the BIG Winner.  Congrats!


    No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

    a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.  Please either leave your email address in the comment so you can be contacted in the case win OR you can also fill out the special Google doc form to leave your email contact with me more privately after you have first commented on this main page.

    b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

    c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

    d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

    This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. Visit the Official Rules here. </s>

    For more chances to win, check out BlogHer's Prizes & Promotions section at the round up page.

    I wrote this post while participating in the Gatorade/BlogHer program on behalf of Gatorade. I received product information to facilitate my post and monetary compensation for the time to write my post.