Monday, March 28, 2011

Catalina Weekend

So yes I have lived in California my whole life and never been to Catalina Island.  Brennan beat me out to the island by about 6 months.  He visited Catalina when working the Eco-marathon for Spectrum Sports Management.  Since he worked most of the weekend he was not the biggest fan of the little island.  But when the opportunity presented itself for Brennan to race in Catalina we decided why not take a little trip.  So after 23 years I finally made the trip over to Catalina Island.

Catalina Island is located about 23 miles off the California Coast

Of course the night before we are set to leave the terribly devastating earthquake hit Japan, causing Tsunami warnings here in California.  So needless to say my family who was all in Las Vegas at the Mountain West Conference Basketball Championships with Brooke who was receiving the Conference Community Service award on behalf of San Diego State were freaking out!!! 
 Brooke with the Community Service Award- so proud of her!!

They did not want me to head out to some random little island.  After having Brennan call me from work laughing and then saying "do you think I would ever put you in danger."  I know that he wouldn't ever let anything happen to me, just to make sure I called the ferry company.  They had cancelled the first ferry of the day but were back on schedule with no problems.  So we would forge ahead on our adventure. We were on the 7pm ferry out of Long Beach and would start the hour long ride to the island.  Well the captain said it would be a smooth ride with about 2-3ft swells. I think most of the passengers would disagree with him.  I thought the woman behind us was going to die.  I managed to get all the way to Avalon Harbor without throwing up, but Brennan was sweet enough about half way there to get me a bag just in case. With Brennan's steel stomach he could have read and eaten the whole way, while I spent the hour long trip trying to convince myself that its mind over matter. I was successful!!! 

Avalon harbour during the day

After getting off the boat- thankfully with dinner still in my stomach we were on the move to find our hotel check in and then head to race registration.  After a bit of wondering we found the hotel and dropped our stuff off.  They nicely gave us a ride to race registration, where Brennan changed from the marathon to the 10K.  He planned to use the race as a training run. After registration and saying hi to a few of our classmates working the event we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday morning started out early.  We headed down to the race.  Since Brennan was only using this for training, he was not as crazy about all his pre-race schedule and things.  I was actually joking with him that he was so calm.  He had a great 10K.  Turns out the course was extremely hilly. I wouldn't know I just walked a few blocks and took some pictures. One of our classmates was leading the race and gave me some insight in that he was on his way back toward the finish.  That he was also toward the front.  I laughed and said about exactly where he was in the course, the kid was wondering how I knew that. I said this is not our first race together, and it sure wont be our last.  I knew about what pacing he wanted to hold, so I keep track of the mileage.  Needless to say our classmate was impressed with how good Brennan did (remember this was a training run) and with my ability to know about where he was on the course. Brennan finished the race with a time of 47:48 about a 7:43 pace with a minor detour on the final  stretch to give me a high-five.  
 Go Brennan!!!

After the race we showered up and headed out to explore Catalina Island.  Turns out the Island has some very weird history in that Mr. Wrigley (yes, the chewing gum company, former owners of the Cubs) used to own the Island.  He is the reason that it is not extremely developed. The middle of the island is protected as well as some beach areas under the Catalina Island Conservancy.  Well when Mr. Wrigley owned the island the Cubs used to have spring training on the island.  That end in the early 50's.  So the people of the Island have since built a monument to Mr. Wrigley.  Brennan's race went by it but we decided to hike back up to it.  

We have reached the monument. Only took us about an hour and 3 miles later. It was farther then we thought.

The front of the monument

 The view from the monument. Past the mountains is the ocean. It was absolutely beautiful.

After our great hike we headed back into town where we found a random restaurant/ bar and were able to catch the SDSU basketball game against BYU for the Conference Title and automatic seed into the NCAA Tournament. The Aztec's won and then we headed back for a nap. After our lovely nap we headed out to dinner.  We found this little Chinese restaurant and it was so good.  We had so much food and spent hardly anything for it.  We would seriously eat at this place every weekend if it wasn't on an island. After dinner we walked the board walk, looked into some stores and then headed out to the old casino.  It was a beautiful walk along the water.  Then we stopped at the local ice cream shop for me, they made amazing waffle cones!!!

The boardwalk during the day

The round thing is the old casino.

Sunday morning we slept in and packed up all our stuff. We had booked to leave on the 12:30 ferry back to Long Beach. Since we had liked our dinner so much we decided to have lunch there before we left.  After a great lunch we did a bit more shopping where I picked up some Dramamine (Brennan's suggestion) just in case the ride back to Long Beach was a bit rough.  However this time we were able to sit outside, we got a great seat on the top of the ferry. 
<3 Him
On the way out of the harbour we saw Sea Lions and a pod of Dolphins. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend spent together. 
 Sea Lions
Pod of Dolphins

Brennan thank you for a great weekend!! And I can official say that I have been to Catalina Island. We may not rush back, but it was a great trip.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships

This is how my week ended!!! Can't get much better

So if you did not know I am in my second season as a volunteer assistant coach for San Diego State University Swimming and Diving Team. I also swam at state in my under grad and Brooke is a senior on the team.   This year the team went 19-0 and won our first in-season Mountain West title as well as the Mountain West Conference Championship Title. 

This is a feat that not many can imagine, my junior year when I joined the team because of the hiring of a new coaching staff, we got 2nd to last in the conference. We had one girl swim in a final over the course of the four day meet. It was hard to stomach we were so terrible.  My senior year we moved up a few places but were still not very good.  Over the course of those two years the coaches and team had worked hard in recruiting and training.  Once I graduated I decided that I wanted to coach and had the ability to stay with the team.  I knew based on all the hard work that the coaches and swimmers were putting in that we were headed in the right direction.  That direction was to the top of the conference that had so long looked at San Diego State as the bottom of the barrel. 

Its hard to explain to people what I have been doing with my life and how I can work so many hours a week for free, while then finding more time in my life to work for money.  I mean you have to pay the bills somehow. But over the course of this last season it was all worth it. I cant explain what it feels like to always be working for over two years, to have no spending money which makes you pass up many events with friends.  All in the hopes that working for free will get me a job down the road when I have finished my master's degree. But I will tell anyone who asks it was totally worth it.  I got to make an impact in these girls lives, while they made an impact on my life that will be everlasting.  I got to watch all my hard work and there's come to fruition when they raced.  I watched them all become CHAMPIONS last month.. And I did it with my best friend who just happens to be my sister Brooke.  Brooke had an amazing championship, she made it to the finals in all three of her individual events. You can find those videos at my YouTube page Allwater12 or at San Diego State Swimming- Brooke's Races

At the end of the meet it was a combination of many feelings. It may be my last time coaching as an Aztec. But more then that how many people get to experience something of this magnitude with a sibling and so early in there coaching career.

Check out some of my pictures and video's from the Mountain West Conference Championships

 Our biggest fan's. Thanks for all the support

 My "Middle Distance" group. So proud of these ladies

With 2 of my swimmers!!
 Melanie on the left got 4th in the 400 IM, 2nd in the 500 Free, 2nd in the Mile.
Kelly on the right won the 200 free, 500 Free, and the Mile- She was then awarded the Mountain West Conference Swimmer of the Year!!

With my swimmer Kelly the Mountain West Conference Swimmer of the Year- competing at NCAA's this week!!

My sisters!!!

Celebrating in the pool as CHAMPIONS!!!

Our celebration!!

Mountain West Conference CHAMPIONS

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shortest Month-Most Stuff

February is the shortest months and yet I some how managed to pack in the most stuff this last month. I literally worked every day of the month. I worked my first running event for Spectrum Sports, coached the SDSU Water Polo club team at the UCLA tournament, attended the San Diego Hall of Champions Dinner, possibly my only none working two day's were at the Northern Trust Open (yet even then I was stressed) and then a week in Oklahoma at the Mountain West Conference Championships as a coach and a correspondent with

I worked my first running event the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 10k. I had heard from Brennan who has also worked for Spectrum that running events have so much that go into the race that the normal person does not realize.  I have also been told that if I was tired after working this 2-day event then I should never work a triathlon.  So I finished coaching in San Diego at 6 pm Friday night and I got in the car and drove straight to Redondo.  Surprisingly traffic was my friend.  Spectrum put me up in a hotel right across from the venue, so that was really nice.  I started work early early Saturday morning.  I was in charge of all the volunteers.  The volunteers were working the check-in area, the tee-shirt disbursement and then other different areas.  I was also in charge of building all the trash cans for the area (that did not go so well).  I spent the entire day on my feet working any way I could.  We finally ended the day around 7 and then headed to dinner.  I was able to meet some great people that work for Spectrum and had a ton of fun at dinner.  Sunday would start at 2:30 am. I was outside ready to work at 2:45 am.  My day would again consist of being in charge of all the volunteers and the number would double because of volunteers working the water stations, the end of the race snacks, tee- shirts and check in. I was able to sneak away and watch Brennan start and end his 10K, so people cant say I don't multi-task well.  The day would end with clean up and every time I thought we were near done I would come across something else that had to get done.  I did have a great time with the Spectrum Crew, two of the main employee's are alumni of the USF Sport Management Program.  I enjoyed Meaghan the most even if she is a terrible drive of the Gator and crashed into a wall.  But it was fun to hangout with another alumni and I think she enjoyed having another girl on the event crew.

 Brennan finishing the race!!! With a new PR!!

My water polo coaching has been going well, it is a little different to be in complete charge of the team.  Drawing up practices has probably been my biggest challenge.  I know what I want to teach but sometimes with such different level of players and only me, my plan does not work as well as I hope.  But so far I can see that the girls are learning and getting better.  And for some who have never played the game, I can see them falling in love with the sport.  I have missed the game of water polo so getting involved through coaching has been great for me.  

We had our first tournament of this semester at UCLA.  The tournament ended up going great, the girls played so well.  We won all 4 of our games and the closest game we won was by 5 goals.  So as a coach I think I did a good job changing our strategy on the fly, subbing was difficult but I got better at that.  And I did not get in trouble at all with the Ref's.  So it was a great weekend. And the girls got to play which is the best part.  Since UCLA the girls have played in one other tournament and went 2-2. So the team is on the right track and we are learning and getting better everyday.

During the UCLA tournament Brennan was super busy with work being only 3 days out from the star of the Northern Trust Open PGA Golf Tournament. Even being super busy Brennan managed to meet us for dinner on Saturday with a beautiful set of flowers for Valentine's day (a few day's early, but way better in person). I did not tell the girls that he was coming to meet us, so when I walked up to In-N-Out he was standing outside, and of course I made a b-line for him. Where he gave me my beautiful flower (a surprise).  Inside the girls all still seemed confused, when we finally got to the van they all lost it and was like how weird was that guy just following you with flowers.  I could not stop laughing, and was like sorry guys that was my boyfriend Brennan.  They were all like oh it makes sense. Probably the funniest thing, I guess water polo, sun and a lot of sun block really messes with there minds.  I would also receive another set of flowers Monday. So thank-you Brennan for being amazing!! 

My BEAUTIFUL Valentine's day flowers

I had the honor of attending one of my first big banquet's with an athlete. My freshman swimmer Kelly Marquiene and Stephanie Koch was invited to the San Diego Hall of Champions 65th Annual Salute to the Champions Dinner. The event was held at the San Diego Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley.  There were so many famous athletes it was amazing.  The big honor is to be inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame.  Mr. Breitbard passed away this past year and has been a huge factor in having such great athletes and teams in San Diego.  Past inductee's are people like Marshal Faulk, Bill Walton who were both present.  The inductee's this year were La'Roi Glover, Lincoln Kennedy, Paul Lowe, and John Lynch.  The event was great and I look forward to being able to attend it in the future and I cant wait to schedule a time to go walk through the museum in Balboa Park. 

My girls in the corner (with Bill Walton behind them)

The girls up on the stage

Our two swimmers and me

So I would spent my 2nd weekend in a row in LA, this time for Brennan's golf tournament.  The Northern Trust Open played at the Rivieria Country Club in Pacific Palisades. The weather was much better this year, even though it still rained.  I rush from Saturday morning practice so not to miss his military appreciation event.  No worries I made it with ten minutes to spare.  The military event that Brennan organized was great!! Brennan's dad would also be at the event, he flew out from Wisconsin and had been a volunteer all week for the event. My parents would also come out to the golf course Saturday to support Brennan.  So if you didn't guess I would get to introduce my parents to Mr. Cassidy.  The four of us had a great day watching golf and avoiding the rain.  We would later all go out to dinner and wait for Brennan to finish work and he would join us.  I had an amazing day with my parents, as a oldest of four children, days alone with your parents are few and far between. So I loved being with them and having that special time doing something that we had never done.  Plus they were able to share in what Brennan does for a living. 

 The 1st hole
 Looking over some of the course
View from the Club House

 I would come back to the event Sunday for the final day of the tournament after running some errands for Brennan (Dry Cleaning anyone.. haha).  Brennan's dad and I would walk some of the course and actually run into my cousin Donnie who had come out to the event with his fiance and some of his friends. I would walk a few holes with them before heading up to meet with Brennan for a bit. I would then grab a seat on the 18th hole and wait for the final pairings.  As the last group was coming up the way, I could see the trophy and low and behold the person holding that trophy was Brennan.  It was so cool, well until he ended up holding the trophy for over an hour. He said later his arms were so tired by the time he finally got to set it down.  Once the winner was crowned he walked out to the 18th hole and would set up all the award stuff. 
At the 18th hole

Brennan walking out with the trophy

Brennan holding the trophy

A the end of the tournament I know that Brennan was so glad it was over and he deserved a much needed break from work. The tournament overall went great, they had a 50% increase in attendance, he helped drive military and his Tickets Fore Charity Program did great!! So good job Brennan, so proud of you!! I would leave LA and head straight back to SD to leave Monday morning for Oklahoma City for the Mountain West Conference Championships.  But that event deserves its own blog!! So stay tuned!!