Sunday, April 22, 2012

Moving on from the past

What does moving on from your past really mean?
To forget what happened yesterday, a few days ago, a few weeks, months and years ago.
To remember the good times is okay, but it's not okay to dwell in old glory days, as it's not okay to dwell in the painful days.
Remember the lessons learned, and how some people made you feel. Don't go back to what slowed you down at first, and don't assume what was right for you then, will be right for you now.

Moving on from my past took on a whole new meaning these past few weeks.

Almost two years ago, I made a scary decision to pack up my bags and move south to North Carolina. I had no idea what I was in for.
I made new friends immediately, and I will be honest, I had an awesome summer, one to remember for a long time. Things in my life are not perfect, I don't have a luxurious lifestyle, but my life is mine. I learned from the bad times.
I've also learned to be thankful for the good times. I've allowed myself to be inspired by people around me. I've opened up my heart, my mind, and opportunities slowly started to come my way.
My heart is on my sleeve, and I've become an open book for the whole world to read.
As imperfect as it all is, it's perfect for me, for now. I have what I need. The good times are more then just memories, they are a path to my future. The mistakes, the hardships are also a lesson to test my strength, my will power, my commitment.

I visited New Hampshire twice in 21 months, once to be in the media center at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and the second was because my aunt passed away. I haven't had any intentions on visiting NH since, and I'm only going back this July, to attend the race at NHMS as a member of the media.

My past includes Red Sox and the Patriots, and although they are the team I've rooted for my whole life, it's time I leave them behind. I have no idea who is on their team, what is happening, who is being traded, and who is being recruited. I don't know anything about the Red Sox anymore, and to be honest, I don't care to find out either.
I don't miss anything about New England anymore, except some of the good memories, but those are held near my heart, where they will stay forever.

I've learned a lot about myself, my life, my surroundings, my passions, my interests and the path to a happier way of life, and so far, it's here in the south, as a Carolina lady. Yet, the happier, more grounded, more stable, confident and committed I'm becoming in my journey as a NASCAR journalist, and in my daily exercises, I find that the thorns in my thigh are people I haven't talked to in years that come from my past, and are suddenly popping out of nowhere, thanks to facebook. I've deleted all of my ex-boyfriends that never past test of friendship. The best feeling in the world is knowing how happy you are without the ex, and that you could never go back to him, even if his life is better for him today.

Moving on means moving on, from all things that were never too important in the first place. It also means understanding that even if it was good then, doesn't mean it would be good now. I don't relate to the northerners. I don't think I ever did, which is why I never experienced the happiness I've been feeling lately. I tried to get away from New England for years, and now that I have moved away, I plan to stay away.

I may have been born and raised in the North, but I'm a southern girl in heart and soul.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dating in a NASCAR world: do you want the fairy tale romance?

It is common that you'll run into a NASCAR driver in these parts of town. Especially if you're one to go out on a week night. I've run in to my fair share of drivers, crew chiefs, shop guys, and driver/team public relations representatives on my side of the lake.
I'm not one to gossip about what I see. I am anti-TMZ news, and I hate the paparazzi. They give media, writers and photographers a bad name.

Dating in a small town (and in your mid-thirties) isn't easy either. Especially when one is working hard on becoming a respected, professional writer in racing's top levels.  The instant I tell guys I'm a NASCAR writer, they suddenly know everything there is to know about racing. 
And they all want to take me to race, for a good old fashion southern tailgate party because that is a  NASCAR fans dream date. But it's not mine.
I (unfortunately) do not drink before, and during a race. Especially when I'm there to cover for my team, Skirts and Scuffs.  I've also crossed over the fence, the idea of sitting in the grandstands wearing driver t-shirts, drinking beer no longer appeals to me. I prefer to be in the media center, sometimes in the press box;  but I especially love to be on pit road, my goal is to be just like Krista Voda and Jamie Little.
It's funny to see how surprised people are when I tell them I don't drink/tailgate before a race; or that I don't wear driver t-shirts in public.

When it comes to racing, the last thing on my mind is dating. Especially since I don't believe in the fairy tale romance.

Is the fairy tale romance true for everyone? I guess that's up to you, do you want it to be a fairy tale?

Do you believe in the Cinderella story? Are you the damsel in distress, and is that how you want your prince to find you?

More importantly, are you a NASCAR fan day dreaming to get married to Kasey Kahne, or Denny Hamlin, or AJ Allmendinger, or even Dale Earnhardt Jr.?

I've seen hoards of pit lizards at the track, or as most non-NASCAR fans would call them, groupies or sluts. They strut around trying to look sexy in heels, short short skirts, small tank tops with their boobs hanging out; big hair and thick make-up painted on their faces. Sure they make an impression on the guys, but is it always a good impression? 

Are men who make 1.7 million dollars in seven weeks of work more impressed with cheap looking girls just aching to hook up with a driver to be rescued from the minimum wage day jobs? The truth is, you may get a chance to get drunk and hook up with a driver, but, that's all you're going to get out of him.
Are you ladies all trying to be as lucky as Vivian Ward was from Pretty Woman? Is that a fairy tale movie that can or can't come true?
So many girls want to know what men want, in this dating world, it seems men are harder and harder to impress. So what does a girl do to get a guy she obsesses over while watching TV? Nothing. She does nothing. Ladies, just drop it. There's nothing you can do to win him over. All men notice women when she's not noticing him.

The men in racing are no different than the men in your everyday world, except they have a plethora of women they can choose from. Men are easy to understand sometimes, the golden rule is this: If he is interested in you, he will make the effort to find you, and stay in touch with you no matter how busy he is.
Men will treat you the way you let them, regardless of what he does for a living. Amanda Ebersole, fellow contributor at Skirts and Scuffs has a love story column, where she writes about the drivers, or racing employee's  love story with his wife. This week she wrote about Sara and Timothy Peters. You can probably learn a dating tip or two from their love story.

If you are questioning on how to get a guy in racing, and how should you treat them, here is the  way I see it, it's how I want to be treated by men. When I modeled, I wanted a guy that saw beyond the body. I once had a boyfriend post my picture on the wall in front of his desk, but, even after a year of living with him, it didn't seem he could look beyond the picture. I was nothing more than a beautiful girl in a bikini on a stage, and he was green enough to think I was a plastic person who would always look like I did that April night I competed four years before the relationship started with him. 
Today I no longer compete, I still train and diet like I used to. I also write about the guys I interview at the race track. So I'm looking for a guy that can see beyond that as well. A guy that isn't going to get jealous, or a guy that doesn't gossip, and a guy that can handle my travel schedule, right now that schedule isn't too busy, but it has potential of getting busier. I also want a guy that can keep up with me at the gym, and in the kitchen. So where do I look? The answer, nowhere. I'm just going to keep on living my life and if a man happens to cross my path, I'll deal with it when the time comes.

In conclusion ladies, if you're looking for that man who has it all, be that girl that has it all, or at least, is working at having it all. More importantly, do not wait for a man to come along and rescue you! 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

NASCAR drivers inspire me

I know someone who likes to remind me that I didn't like NASCAR growing up. As a matter of fact, a lot of people didn't believe I could possibly like racing. They don't understand why I fell so deeply in love with this sport.
 One guy once said, "You don't look like the kind of girl that would like racing."
I'm still trying to figure out what that means.
Other's describe me as a "non-typical race fan."
I don't know what that means either.
I like the competition of racing. I love the loud engines, the speed, and the unpredictable turn of events during a race. I especially like 'restarts;' that's when the cars are all lined up close together and they pick up speed, when sitting in the grandstands, I get a rush as the cars zip by me driving 200 miles per hour.
 Racing is not a black and white kind of sport like weight lifting is. In weight lifting, you either bench press 100 pounds or you don't, whether it's raining, snowing, storming, sunny, night, or day. In racing, weather, temperatures, and time of day change the race, heck even the position of the sun on the track can change how the car handles on the track.
There's something that pulls me in when  I'm at the track, I can't explain what. Have you ever stood somewhere  and felt every part of yourself connected, and completely 'engaged?'
I was sitting on a wall on pit road watching the boys practice last Friday in Martinsville; I was writing in my notebook practice times, their speeds, and my idea's of what I observed around me, at that point, I felt complete. I was focused. I was in control of my thoughts and it wasn't hard to concentrate. Did I mention how loud it is at the track when they guys are out there? Even with all the noise around me, I felt at peace.
On April Fools day, I changed my relationship status on Facebook to engaged. The first thing everyone thought was 'yeah right.' I didn't fool anyone, but in reality, I was engaged. defines 'engaged' as: busy, occupied, involved.
I'm engaged to the sport, to writing about the competition and discovering about the teams, the drivers, the race track, the car, the history of the sport, and I look forward to be a part of the sports future.
The more I watch the sport, the  more I write about it, the more inspired I am by the guys.
If you're new to my blog, you need to know that I'm a former fitness competitor. I love to exercise: lift weights,  yoga,  swimming, and I like to run. Competing gave me a chance to model, on stage and in front of a camera, and as much as I loved it, I wasn't inspired the way I'm inspired by these guys who race.
During my competition days, I was training hard to fit in and something didn't click. As much as I loved the girls I trained with, as bad as I wanted to be a part of it, something was missing. I couldn't concentrate. When I was at work, I wanted to be at the gym. Once I got to the gym, I had to train myself to tune out the world, and zone in on my workouts. Doing that on some days was easier then other days. I loved being there, but something, or maybe someone was missing. After awhile,  I left competing behind, I even passed up the chance to become a certified trainer, and a chance to write about the sport.
Working out for me is "me time," and I don't want anyone to interrupt me, I'm a bit selfish in the gym or when it comes time to exercise. So I've continued to work out at my pace, without the pressure to prepare for  a show. Preparing for a show is not as simple as exercising every day, there's a lot involved, so much goes into preparation, I may explain the details in a blog for another day.
Recently, I've been wanting to compete again. Every time I listen to the guys interview about racing, the competition, and how they train for each race, I find myself longing to get back on stage to compete in Fitness again. Somehow, someway, these guys inspire me to train harder at the gym, and a part of me, really wants to get back on stage ...even if it's one more time.

How is that possible? How are NASCAR drivers (whose sport is not even close to fitness competition) inspiring me to want to compete in fitness again?- -As opposed to other bodybuilders? It's not like these drivers are going to suddenly become my biggest fans if I decide to compete again, and it's not like they'll sponsor me either. I'm a journalist, I doubt they care to know who I am when I'm not at the track following them around with my camera and voice recorder. None the less, all of the guys in the NASCAR community inspire me to be a better person, and competitor.

I guess it's something only athletes can understand.  Once a competitor in a sport, always a competitor. I get how competitors think  before they perform, and that you shouldn't bother them before the show, but as a journalist, I 'kinda sorta' have to talk to them. I get how you probably shouldn't bother them after a show either, but as a journalist, I 'kinda sorta' have to.
Or maybe they inspire me because they're men, and being a perfectly healthy heterosexual female, I'm just naturally inspired by men, more so than women. It might be that simple.
They compete to win a race; on a fitness stage, like at Fitness Atlantic, I compete to win.
In racing, these guys compete with 43 other drivers, in fitness, although there are other girls, I compete against myself. I train to beat my last performance, and when I'm on stage, I feel a rush of happiness.
The most liberating thing I've ever done in life was walk on stage in 6 inch heels, in a skimpy, string bikini. I felt vulnerable, but in control at the same time.
Racing is every weekend, as are fitness competitions. The show I wanted to compete in is the same weekend of an important truck race in Rockingham, North Carolina. For someone who is new, and looking to network with industry pro's, it behooves me to be in Rockingham.
When I'm in the media center, I feel the rush, the energy, and happiness I once felt on stage, but it's even better because, I feel complete now. I know the potential to making money, and earning a great living as a NASCAR journalist is much greater then my financially succeeding as a professional fitness competitor.

More importantly, I don't need to be a competitor to look, and live like a fitness model.