Run Your Own Spartan Race

Sometimes I forget that I am a runner. I run several times a week, but on a treadmill. And the gym is no substitute for the real thing. Yesterday, at around 0700, I headed up into the hills behind my house. The whole jog was around five miles and it took me about an hour to run it. Before you say slow slow slow, know that the elevation rise is 1200 ft. And what comes up, must go down.

The first mile was all uphill and then the trail rolled along. It was foggy, the sweat beaded on my hair like snow. And the (cover your eyes) phlegm ran right beside me, if you get my drift. Also, it was dusty; as I kicked up the dirt, it stuck to me. So I must have looked like a wildman as I descended the trail after tooling around in the hills. Several women recoiled at the sight of me. (Am I a bad person if I say I sort of liked the reaction?) One of their husbands gave me a hearty good morning. Kind of a get some greeting. I got some! I just couldn’t control that I looked a mess (but felt like a million bucks.)

This Easter morning, I went to the dump (called a transfer facility) to drop off some yard dirt and rocks. My friend had a pickup and we filled the whole thing up. And all during the transfer, I was sore. We put about 1000 pounds into that place. At $37.50, it seemed expensive. But I got a hell of a two hour workout. If you don’t have hills to run or dirt to haul, you can try the Reebok Spartan Race:

Reebok Spartan Race, Jamie Varner of UFC
Reebok Spartan Race, Jamie Varner of UFC

Reebok Spartan Race is scheduled to invade the Entertainment Capital of the World in just ten short days. And what’s more entertaining than a former WEC lightweight champion currently fighting in the UFC taking on the Reebok Spartan Race course? Jamie Varner will be there April 6 to take on the first ever Reebok Spartan Race in Las Vegas.  The 28-year-old is recovering from a hand injury that has kept him out of action since his UFC 155 victory over Melvin Guillard and will be facing his first, but not last Spartan Race course.

And he’s taking this race very seriously. “I’m a competitive person. I fight people for a living!” He goes on to say, “I was medically cleared  two weeks ago and this gives me motivation to train.  It’s a different kind of motivation and that’s exciting.”

The MMA fighter is no stranger to intense competition and has few worries about race day. “I don’t have to worry about someone punching me in the face,  but it is a bit more mileage than I’m used to running.  That might be the only thing in the back of my mind.”

I’ll just stick to my way of running in the hills. The above Spartan Race will cost you 145 dollars to register. No thanks!

Hire Heroes USA

When reading about Mixed Martial Artist Brian Stann (about to face Alessio Sakara), I came across a charity Brian runs. He is a Marine (ex, prior, etc) who was awarded the Silver Star in Iraq for Valor. And along with MMA, this is his new gig:

Brian Stann fights April 14 at UFC on Fuel TV 2

That’s the mindset at home. Stann also has another life outside the gym, as president of Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create job opportunities for veterans.

He’s expressed a profound drive to give back to his military brethren ever since leaving active service to pursue his MMA career.

Stann also has become a spokesperson for a few companies related to the fight business.

Hire Heroes USA

Beyond simply wearing a logo on his shorts in order to profit from his name recognition, he really digs in. He was calling me, in fact, to tout the TRX training system, which was developed by a Navy Seal.

Hire Heroes USA website can be found here. My big question for Brian: does he have a brother? I think I served with him. First name, Afghan? Middle initial, A?

Self-Promotion: Old Navy Vs. the UFC Vs. Justin Combs

Let’s discuss promotion, an important art in today’s media-mad world.

A Mellow Jihadi Tattoo- for skinny girls, skater boys, slinky women, breakdancers, lucky ladies. In short: everyone

As for myself, in order to promote my blog, I haunt the neoned tattoo parlors up and down the coast of San Diego.

And I slip crisp 20-spots into the skinny jeans of the tattoo artists. With the implied suggestion that, rather than a highly tasteful fleur-de-lis slated for the small of their customers’ back, they tattoo: Mellow Jihadi, instead. Good idea? It can’t hurt, right?

Ben Affleck’s Dolphin Tattoo

After all, Ben Affleck has a tramp stamp of a dolphin. (Or is it a porpoise?) And don’t forget this guy, a tattoo’ist, who tattoo’d a tattoo of something unpleasant on his cheating girlfriend’s back (NSFW. Errr, literarily NSF for most Ws if read aloud.)

Why not this blog’s name? Tattoo’d across the small or big of an unknowing back?

Victoria’s Secret Heidi Klum in the Mellow Jihadi Navy

What do you think of Victoria’s Secret mistaking Michigan State’s motto? Do you think it was a real mistake or intentional, a couple of pop-rocks in the Coca-Cola? Some Mentos (the Freshmaker) in the Pepsi?

Let’s explore three cases of promotion in the national news today.

For our first case study, we are going to stick with the t-shirt world. So close was this train-wreck to the Victoria’s Secret boo-boo, that I am tempted to think that Old Navy is managed by the same geniuses. The facts:

Old Navy is joining the party with a series of women’s collegiate T’s that have the wrong founding years for three institutions.

T-shirts representing Iowa, Colorado and Arizona show that the founding years for each of those universities is 1820, 1878 and 1881 respectively. However, the real founding years for those schools are 1847, 1876 and 1885.

Old Navy University of Iowa, Colorado and Arizona T-shirts

Very clearly, just like Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy did not fact-check their products. Yes, they generated a lot of buzz from the slip-up, but it was not intentional.

Next stop, an old fashioned insult fight at the UFC:

Arianny Celeste, UFC Ring Girl

Chael Sonnen knows how to start a fight. Though his sharp words are usually aimed at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, he turned towards UFC Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste when asked about her in an interview to promote the World MMA Awards.

He was asked who he is supporting for Ring Girl of the Year in the awards ceremony that will take place in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“We only had one and that was Chandella Powell. The other was the IQ card girl. Arianny Celeste kind of walks around and holds up her latest test score. One time when there was a title fight, she got all the way up to five and we were very proud of her.”

And he later added:

Chael Sonnen, UFC

Seems easy to wear a bikini and seems easy to walk in a circle, but try walking in a circle while wearing a bikini. Talented girl.

I am going to throw the bs flag out over this one. A UFC fighter getting into it with a Ring Girl? No, this is staged promotion. Nothing more than some professional wrestling-esque publicity before the real wrestling-esque fighting. Shonnen does have some shadiness in his recent past, I imagine he is not above bringing it to work.

Our last promotion is the old, dyed-in-the-wool self-promotion of an athlete. Sean Combs’ son, Justin Combs, is a 2-star football player, a cornerback out of New Rochelle, N.Y. And he just committed to UCLA. So he released a press release, of course:

Diddy’s son, Justin Combs sends press release about UCLA

“Today I am truly blessed and thankful to accept my scholarship and give my full commitment to UCLA. Playing Division I football was a lifelong dream of mine, and through hard work I was able to achieve it. I am a living testament that with a strong relationship with God, family, and hard work dreams do come true.”

Hmm, okay. Seems hardworking and earnest, no? But then again, Diddy’s son also said this during the Sweet 16 show on MTV:

“My dad is Diddy, and I’m going to take my throne as the prince of New York.”

And then this on Puffy:

2011 Maybach

At one point, Diddy comes over to his son, who is trying on ridiculously expensive clothes, and stuffs a big wad of cash in his pocket. Combs’ birthday bash is at a New York club called M2, where he’s accompanied by his date, Nicky Minaj, and the affair culminates with Combs receiving a $360,000 Maybach with a personal driver. I didn’t actually know what a Maybach was, but apparently it’s a really, really, really nice car.

Promotion is a fine art. Whether through accident or overt, it can be effective or snort-worthy. Should you see someone with a Mellow Jihadi tattoo, congratulate them on their fine taste. Just don’t tell them about me. . .