Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hot Buttered Rum Run

Last weekend I ran in the Hot Buttered Rum Run 10K down in Pacific Beach. Brennan and I decided to run in the race after our friend from grad school Megan Miller asked if we wanted to join her. For me personally I am in my 11th week of training for the Carlsbad Half Marathon (click here to donate to Insulindependence who I am racing for in January) and Brennan thought it would be a great test run. It would allow me to go a little bit faster than my half marathon pace, since it was a shorter distance.

Stolen from Megan- Look at the race view!
Deciding that it would be a ton of fun and involve a little rum at the end we figured why not register.  Being the normal Team Cassidy we missed the sign up online. Not to worry we headed to Road Runner sports on Saturday to register in person. After registering we spent the rest of the day doing a bit of shopping and our own winter cleaning. The winter cleaning lead to 6 bags of clothes going to good will, 2 bags of trash and finding a ton of mold growing in our apartment. Needless to say an email was sent a bit later that afternoon that we would be chatting Monday morning the minute the office opened.  No need to worry- we are moving mid January. If you need my new address please email me or face book me!
After our hectic cleaning spree we would just hangout for the evening. Sunday would not start early like most races getting up at 7- taking our time and leaving the house about 7:45. The race would take place down in Pacific beach at one of the many beautiful resorts. Arriving much to early (like usual for us) we just hung out waiting. We found our friend Megan and then just waited for the race to start.

Before the race with Megan!
As the start time got closer then started getting us into basic corrals by estimated split time.  We picked the 2nd fastest corral that would prove to be good and bad. Then the race was on. I felt really great starting out. I was trying not to go out to fast- but I was starting to pass people with Brennan right next to me. Then came a huge problem about a quarter mile into the race there was a turn at this point there was probably only 30 people in front of us- all turned left. So naturally we turned left.  Well turns out the biker leading the race did not know what way to go. All of a sudden we are making a loop and behind all the walkers of the race. At this point I was super pissed! I was running well and this was just like turning the ball over on a man up- takes the wind out of your sails.

With the entire group of racers now in front of us Brennan and I were stuck with the task of trying to weave our way through the crowd. The race ran along the bay front on paths for a beautiful view! at this point when you would see a mile marker like Mile 3 my watch was reading 3.60- just knowing that my time was going to be much slower because I ran over an extra half mile. About mile 4.5 on my watch I was starting to feel the whole not warming up thing. I was running at a fast pace for me personally and yet there was Brennan making it look effortless (make note Brennan has not done any serious running since Ironman). With about a mile to go I started to feel better again and had Brennan as my friendly reminder that all would be ok. I was able to pick up the pace and finish with a small smile on my face. Though still upset about the extra distance. I am sure people told the race organizers because very soon there plan was people in the front they were going to deduct 3 minutes.  Not sure if that fixes the situation at all but with the correction I was under the 50 minute mark and will smile about that.

Brennan made me take a picture with that Reindeer and him with his Rum!!
Then it was off to the rum. I honestly had no idea what Hot Buttered Rum was and honestly still don't. It was not a bad tasting drink though after a hard run and a cold morning.We spent some time just the three of us chatting and deciding what other races we should do in the future! Have to thank Megan for the invite!!

After the race we rushed home to shower and change. Then it was off to grandpa Vessey's house for the annual Vessey Christmas party. Always a great to spend time with the family. Eat some great Mexican food and have a ton of dessert!   
Us girls with Grandpa!

Friday, December 21, 2012

RHS Alumni Water Polo Game

In high school I always remember that Thanksgiving we played an Alumni game. It was always a ton of fun because it was our first "real" game of the season. Meaning we were not scrimmaging against ourselves. Plus I knew many of the alumni from playing club with them when I was in middle school.

After graduating high school I took on the task of arranging the game- not sure how that came about but I was happy to do it as I had connections with the older alumni and with Brooke being younger we knew alot of players. There was a span of a few years with no alumni game not for lack of trying. There were a few reasons the game did not take place mainly a new coach. The coach I played for had been there well over 10 years. Then there was the issue that my little sister KK. Well she plays at the rival high school- which in the last few years has a tendency to bet my Redlands. However this year with another new coach who I had previously know and the help of Brooke we were playing our alumni game.

Like always it was a ton of fun to get together with old friend. Some girls had never been back for a game so it was great to see them. Just a great to time to hear about there new jobs, recent marriages, see there cute little babies. I hope to keep it going as a long standing tradition and maybe even add a bar crawl or pot luck.

The game itself was fun everyone getting to play a ton. Re-living some of the glory days, realizing just how out of shape we all our. Laughing at how we wont be able to walk or move our arms come sundown. But well worth it. Plus always great to get to pass along your knowledge to the high school players. This year I even managed to score a few goals. Goal scoring was not my thing back in my high school days. Brooke still has it- though she cant throw past half tank anymore. I even played a few minutes in goal- blocked a whole two shots!

Thanks to all the alumni for coming out. It was great to see you all! Thanks to Coach Lamb for allowing us to come play the girls and thanks to the girls for playing us. 

Look at those alumni!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brennan is an Ironman

A year in the making:

Ironman what is it you ask. It is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. All done in one day back to back. I am proud to say that my fiancĂ© Brennan is an Ironman having completed his first Ironman a few weekends ago.  

Just looking at the distance most people would say why you would want to do that. Or if you would have asked my mother race morning like I did. Mom you want to do this? “No these people are all crazy!”  Well does it inspire you? “Yes but still think they are all crazy.” Well crazy he may be but it is a world that Brennan & I have joined. 
A year ago we drove out to Phoenix Arizona to volunteer at the 2011 Ironman AZ. You can read about how much fun we had at that by reading this blog post. We volunteered because that is the simplest way to actually get a bib for next year. Also genius marketing because they get free labor. After volunteering we got a spot for Brennan. You can also sign up online- that sold out in 1 minute. Selling out that quickly is why we were there in person to sign up (the 19th individual in line).
Ironman Arizona was a year in the making- Brennan’s training started not long after we returned from our trip. It was a long year with many miles logged- not necessarily me logging the miles but many joint efforts. I did do some training with Brennan but I was not up to Ironman status. I can proudly say that I did help in the swimming area. 

November 18, 2012 was the day we had waited for. A few days earlier we had made the drive over to Phoenix. The day’s leading up the race were filled with short workouts, bike drop off, bag drops, check in and Brennan being interview by WTC.
 Brennan's Interview with World Triathlon Corporation
When the morning had arrived I am not sure who was more nervous me or Brennan. After rising nice and early. I personally did not sleep much.  Had quick breakfast- grabbed our prepacked bags and were off. Not to long after leaving the hotel we hit our first road block. The secret parking lot was blocked off. Trying not to let panic sycn in we headed to another location. Again hitting a closed road. At this point Brennan was now freaking out (as was I). It was decided he should just get out and I would meet him at transition. Normally this would be a great plan except this is Ironman not some small race. There are 2,900 competitors and way to many spectators. Brennan would hop out of the car without his phone mistake number 2. I managed to get to a nearby parking lot and walk to the transition area. This is where panic set in!! I would imagine it is much like losing your child in a crowded area. Everyone seems to look like them- you can’t scan fast enough. Everyone is pushing you the crowd is pulling you. Maybe that seems a bit out of a movie- but it was happening to me. The longest 20 minutes of my life. I was in complete panic mode. Then my phone range with a number from Georgia- good news it was Brennan!  After our panic of losing each other I found him! He was safe and sound. Turns out he was as worried as me. His next plan to fine me if he could not get a phone- he was just going to start yelling my name! Thankfully that was not needed. Major problem avoided thankfully.
Needing to get away from the massive crowd we headed to a less occupied area to start getting him into his wet suit and prepared for the race. While helping him to get ready I managed to give directions to his parents so they could meet up with us. This is where we encountered our 3rd road block of the morning. Most races I can stand by or near Brennan right up till it starts. Not at Ironman they have all these barriers set up. So I wished him luck and off he went. His parents and I headed a little ways down from the swim start. The swim takes place in Tempe Town Lake and the course runs parallel to shore. We joined the masses to wait! By this point I had managed to also find my mother who had made the 5 hour drive to Arizone to see Brennan compete. My dad was supposed to come as well but had been feeling under the weather. I was about 7 people back from the water and being short gave me a terrible view. But my mom had managed to push her way to the front along with Brennan’s mom Renee.  At this point there were just hundreds of green and pink caps floating in the water.
I have swam a few open water races in my lifetime but non with this many people all starting together.  This is a massive start meaning every athlete goes at the sound of the cannon. Having talked with Brennan his strategy was to try and start off to the right side (near shore). This way he hoped not to get totally run over and it would give him some space.  Being to the point of throwing up I was so nervous the cannon finally sounded. The mass of people was off! All I could do was hold my camera up and watch the small screen.  People were just swimming past and all of sudden taking a breath was this younger guy.  It was like he made direct eye contact with me through this small space I was looking through. It was BRENNAN!!! I could see was Brennan! In a mass of 2,900 swimmers I had found Brennan. Attempting to explain to my mom and his which person he was did not go well.  But I know knew that if I had seen him once I could find him again. The where is waldo had started.  I took off running down the shore till where there was no more people. Like everything people are like cattle they don’t venture to far- making so that Jamie would win this round! I found Brennan again and ended up walking the entire 1.1 mile to the turnaround. It was awesome! Turns out Brennan did not agree in that I made him feel like he was going so slow. But I was so excited I had found him and proud because I did not use any of my old coaching signals!
Once he got to the turnaround I headed back to catch up with Brennan’s parents and my mom who I had left in a huge hurry!  We headed to where he would start the bike course. Again you play where’s Waldo all day. I basically missed him starting the bike course (woops) so we would wait till he came back. The bike course was 3 loops of about 37 miles. Having managed to get a spot on the curb where we would see Brennan coming into the turn and out of the turn we waited.  The exciting part of the day was my boss and a few of Brennan’s co-workers were racing. Between the time we would see Brennan was spent getting food and finding a way to waste time. Every time Brennan would come by we would cheer and cheer.  Hoping that I was getting good video and pictures.
After 3 loops on the bike he was headed to his last transition of the day. I managed to see him come by on the bike- I then ran as fast as I could to get on top of this bridge in the hopes I would catch a glimpse of him starting the run. Like usual took a bit of effort but I got there just as he was running out of the tent and was able to yell loud enough for him to hear me. I later found out he did not actually see me but he heard me! From there I was headed to the Insulindependence home base. They had a tent and was located along the run course in a great spot. From this one location we would be able to see Brennan run by about every 4 miles.

Back at the home base I found my mom and Brennan's parents. Again it was time to wait! The run is fun because they are not going so fast that they dont actually see you. The first time we saw Brennan he was looking great. He had a huge smile on his face. Much different then when my boss ran by and pointed at major road rash all down his left side. Turns out he was hit by another cyclists 1 mile into the bike portion of the race!

I love my Ironman
When Brennan neared to pass us for mile 8 he still had a smile. This time as he got closer he was pointing at me.This is not uncommon as Brennan ususally gives me some type of recognition when racing but this was different. He stopped (always makes me nervous) and in front of everyone pulled me in for a kiss. As a person that hates attention a small part of me was freaking out. But at the same time everything else was standing still. Then I realized that he was sweaty and all wet. Not as romantic then! Just like that it was over and he was back to running.  There are times I laugh at knowing Brennan so well- because I knew he started running again with the biggest grin. He had just left with about 50 people all of whom we know. All of which were gonna have something to say about that kiss. I knew that in his mind he was just laughing at the mess he had left me in. All the attention I was getting! Gosh was he ever right. I also know that he spent at least 2 miles before planning this kiss and situation. Just laughing about how great it was going to be. Well he was right it was everything he hope for and more that I ever imagined. I was always behind this goal but in that moment everyone else saw how it was our thing, our race and our accomplishment!

After that we would again wait. Triathlon is alot of waiting. The plan was to be able to see Brennan a total of 5 times. After the 5th time we were going to sprint toward the finish line located about a mile away. Also knowing that at the finish line there would be a ton of other people. Getting a good spot was my highest priority! I also knew that it would take time and a stratgy. I will admit by this point in the day I was freaking out. The finish was the most important part and I was not gonna miss it. By the time we arrived at the finish line it was packed with people just like us. Wanting to get a great   spot to see there friends, loved ones, co-workers become Ironman. For many people like us it would be our first Ironman finish for other they have been here before.

The finish line is designed with bleachers on both sides and the racers come up the shoot were they are welcomed in by Mike Reily (Voice of Ironman.)  Everyone is welcomed what somewhat the same "John Doe you are an Ironman".  This is what you wait to hear all day your name and the words "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN."  I managed to push our way to about the 3 row back from the wall. My goal was to get right up front. This is another game of waiting and watching. I managed to see my boss become an Ironman for the first time. Then one of Brennan's co-workers Blair- her family had been with us at the IN tent. They are great people. We were all shoved together awaiting her arrival. When Blair came down the shoot she immediately saw her sister and gave her the biggest hug- then her good friend and then a wave and smile to her parents. As she started to take a few steps she must have heard me cause we made direct eye contact. It was a special moment to share in her trium of such an amazing race. Then it was back to waiting.

Then around the corner came my fiance with a huge smile on his face. I of course was trying to get the camera on and just yelling away. At this point I was on my tip toes hanging oer the barricades in order to get it all on film. I was just yelling along with his family. I was holding in tears- my mom was crying. Then he stopped and gave me a great big hug and kiss. I was so proud of him. Words will never do it justice of how I was feeling in that moment.  Away he went and shortly after we heard "Brennan Cassidy you are an Ironman!" The video I have makes me lauigh because he runs into the bright ligh and you cant truly see him finish.  He did it with two hands raised in the air.

Check out my IRONMAN!!!

 I was now the fiance to an Ironman. Next worry was to get out of the crowd and to wear the competitors are pushed into. In this area they can get food, medical attention- finally just sit down.  I managed to lose Brennan and my mom but I didn't care- I just wanted to get to Brennan. Getting to the fence I immediately made eye contact with him. The smile on his face was priceless. That smile I have only seen on a few very special occasions. Brennan would come over the fence and give me a big kiss. Then told me he would be out in a few minutes and to meet him at the barrier. I left the fence to go back and find our people. They were all worried wondering how we were going to find them- little did they know its like Brennan and I have spider sense on race day. 
Brennan would come out and we would share a special few moments together before everyone else arrived to congratulate him on his major accomplishment.It was so great to see the excitement of his parents and the relief. As this day brings a ton of anxiety to everyone! From there we would head back to the hotel for a shower. Then eat In N Out. I have to say it tastes amazing after such a long day :)
** I asked Brennan after the race about the kissing me at mile 8. He said he couldn’t wait and thought about it for 2 miles. And that he laughed for at least 3 miles after knowing that he had just drawn so much attention to me!

Big thanks to my mom for making the shirts that everyone was wearing and for making the long drive over to be part of our day! Your support leading up to the race. Thanks to Brennan's parents for all your support and for being there for Brennan to witness the milestone they call Ironman.  

Congratulations Brennan on becoming an Ironman. Words cannot explain how proud I am of your accomplishment. How proud you made me in all the days leading up to the race. Your desire, determination and hard work prove that anything and everything is possible. Thanks for allowing me to be a small part of the puzzle. You were always my Ironman but now the world knows it as well. 

To read Brennan's view of race day click here!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sign on the line

KK making it official
It has always been a big deal in terms of high school sports for football players to have a big day in which they pick there school and then sign away. Many schools put on a big event for "Signing Day". Well it is exciting because it has spread at most high schools to all athletes signing there national letters of intent. I personally did not have anything like this but where Mikayla goes to school they do a great job. Sadly I had to work and was not able to make it to the actual signing at school- but I could not be more proud!!!!

I got amazing pictures sent to me and was so proud! Even my parents were representing. At the time it was not a secret where KK would be going for college but it was a great time to celebrate that the decision had been made. I was happy to hear that there was about 100 students, the entire football team, multiple teachers she has had over the years, the football coaches and her water polo coaches, and her club coaches all in attendance to watch her sign. They had all made a huge effort to be there for her in such a major moment in her life.  And to celebrate the accomplishment!

Way to go KK. I am becoming a Lion Fan!

Here is the article that ran in the local paper along with some pictures!

Redlands East Valley's Vessey taking her act to Loyola Marymount

REDLANDS - Redlands East Valley's High School's Mikayla Vessey is a throwback star.
In the vein of the all-singing, all-dancing Broadway chorus girls of the late 1920s, Vessey does a little bit of everything, and always puts on a captivating show.
Proud parents (guess they here also becoming Lion fans)
Only her stages are the pool and the track.
She's both strong and fast. She runs like lightning and is even faster when she competes for the REV swim team.
But if there's one sport the 5-foot-1 phenom excels at, it's water polo.
And now Vessey, a senior standout for the Wildcats' girls squad, can officially say she's ready to take her act to the next level - and concentrate on only one sport.
Vessey just put pen to paper at REV on Tuesday, singing her National Letter of Intent to play collegiate polo just down the road at Los Angeles' Loyola Marymount University.
According to her high school coach, Troy Delmonico, the Lions will be getting a someone who has proven to be the model teammate.
"She's the heart and soul of this team. It's always nice to have a tireless worker," Delmonico said. "The thing that stands out about her is how hard she works. Every day. She's the first one in and the last one out. She's everything you could ask for."
Appropriately, the four-year varsity player suits up at utility.
What other position would befit a girl who does everything well?
And, as is also appropriate for someone characterized by variety, she took all kinds of factors into consideration when choosing where she'd end up.
The size of the school, its location, the strength of the squad, the caliber of its coaching staff, its religious denomination - they all came into play.
"It's close to home, it's a Catholic school, it's a smaller school, it has a beautiful campus," Vessey said. "It was just the setting I wanted. It was the right fit."
In the end, her decision came down to Loyola Marymount and Indiana.
KK with her club & HS coaches
Her mother, Ann, said that Mikayla was calling the shots, but she had to admit that she was relieved her daughter would be staying in the area.
"I'm happy. It's always nice to be able to get to all her games," Ann said. "I'm glad she's going to be here." 
She will join two other new All-CIF recruits - Kiana Etrata (Villa Park) and Eleanor Lee (Foothill) - on coach Kyle Witt's Lions squad.
But first, Vessey has some unfinished business to attend to - as in a CIF-Southern Section title.
It's possible, if not probable, that REV could win a championship this season, after advancing to the Division 5 semifinals the last two seasons, and returning both Vessey and junior Alexis Hollinrake - a goalkeeper ranked as one of the best in her age group in America - along with a handful of other strong players.
Vessey isn't ready to make any predictions, however.
She's thankful for the girls she has around her, and wants to enjoy the time she has left with the program.
"I have a great team. Everybody has been supporting me," Vessey said. "I'm just hoping for the best. We'll do the best we can."
REV Football coaches
KK with the football Team

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Make it official she is a Lion

As those of you that read my blog are very aware I bleed Red and Black.  I have strong ties to San Diego State and am a very proud of Alumni.  I check multiple times a day and am very aware of how all the teams are doing.. Well moving forward I will be checking out to see what is happening at KK's school.

Well I just checked out there athletic website and this is what I found on there home screen!!

Main screen on LMULIONS!!
Here is the article:

LOS ANGELES - Head Coach Kyle announced on Wednesday (Nov. 21) the signing of a trio of All-CIF performers to join the LMU women's water polo program in the Fall of 2013. Kiana Etrata (Villa Park HS), Elanor Lee (Foothill HS) and Mikayla Vessey (Redlands East Valley HS) all earned All-CIF honors as they prepare for their senior seasons.
"Our goal for this recruiting class was to bring in players that would have an immediate impact in our program," said Witt. "All three have the potential to do that. They continue our success in the classroom as they all come in with very high GPAs and all three are also on highly competitive high school and club water polo teams that play in big tournaments. They are expected to perform in those championship environments and that will really help them as they move into college water polo."
Etrata is a 5-4 driver and two-meter defender and will join the Lions from Villa Park High School while also playing for the SET Water Polo Club. Lee is a 5-6 driver and two-meter defender that plays for Foothill High School and the SoCal Water Polo Club. Vessey is a 5-2 driver from Redlands East Valley HS and the Xtreme Water Polo Club.

"We only graduate two student-athletes at the completion of the 2013 season; but they are big losses for us. Jessica Morelos and Morgan Bonk are both two-year starters and four-year letterwinners for our program and have a wealth of championship experience," said Witt. "Thus, we will ask a lot of this incoming trio of players to help fill those losses."
Etrata is a two-time first-team All-League selection that was named All-CIF this past season.

"Kiana has a ton of big game and championship experience. She played in two age divisions last summer and both of her teams thrived with Kiana playing several different roles," said Witt. "Kiana's strengths are her high water polo IQ, her competitive drive and her work ethic. Kiana will have a great career at LMU and we are excited to have her in our program."

While playing for Foothill, Lee was named third-team All-CIF as a sophomore and also brings a wealth of championship experience in the pool.

"Eleanor plays for one of the best high school programs in the country and will be a three year starter for head coach Jeff Colton," said Witt. "She also plays with SoCal WPC under Andrew Rowe that is constantly in the semi-finals and finals of all the major USAWP tournaments. Eleanor is an incredibly smart defender that has been able to limit some of the top offensive players at their positions due to her fundamental skill level and her desire to outwork people in the pool. Eleanor is used to being a productive member of highly competitive teams and we feel as though she could make a big impact during her first year as a Lion."
Vessey has been familiar to All-CIF honors, earning them all three of her previous seasons at Redlands East. She also has been a three-time first-team All-League selection, earning MVP honors a year ago as a junior.
"Mikayla is quietly one of the better players in the region," said Witt. "She has scored over 350 goals through 3 years of competition but scoring isn't even her strength. Her strength is her relentless attacking style that produces countless steals and kick outs for her teams. We have a rich tradition with talented attackers and Mikayla has all the qualities that make for a successful college attacker."
The Lions will begin their season in mid-January with the LMU Opening Weekend Tournament on Jan. 19.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Proud of you Nik!!

I have seen many of Nik's games.. Actually do not think I have missed really any home games over the past four years. I am proud to call him one of my best friends! As well as a fellow Aztec and soon to be Aztec Alumni.  Saturday his team also has the chance to call themselves Mountain West Champions.  You better believe I will be cheering away!!  Plus I cant wait to do a comparison on what his MWC ring looks like compared to the ones Brooke and I have! Go get those Cowboys Nik!!!

Here is a great article that ran in the San Diego Union Tribune this week about Nik having started 45 games!!

Aztecs' runner Walter Kazee follows his blockers. #68 is Nik Embernate — Charlie Neuman / San Diego Union-Tribune/Zuma Pre
Offensive linemen rarely get credit or make headlines, and unfortunately, no one keeps stats for how many blocks a guy makes over the course of a season.
But aside from highlight tape of pancake moves against opposing defenders, Aztecs’ senior offensive guard Nik Embernate will leave SDSU with the distinction of being the most hardy starter in this year’s senior class.
The big 6-foot-4, 300-pound right guard has amassed 44 career starts in his four years at SDSU.
The only missed start in his career came against Colorado State last year, when Embernate was held out of action after suffering a concussion the week before.
Sitting out that game ended Embernate’s string of 29 consecutive starts – a number that dated back to his freshman year.
Player/PositionYearCareer StartsConsecutive Starts
Nik Embernate, OGSR4415
Leon McFadden, CBSR4337
Alec Johnson, CSR4037
Nat Berhe, SJR2625
Jake Fely, LBSO2424
A look at some of the most durable Aztecs currently active
The lineman clearly remembers his surprise at being pressed into action during his rookie season in 2009.
It’s pretty unusual for linemen to start as freshmen because of how big and physical the guys in the trenches are. For instance, SDSU coach Rocky Long noted earlier this season that defensive lineman Dan Kottman (6-foot-1, 245-pounds) was getting some playing time because of his quickness, but that it was difficult for him to get by the bigger offensive linemen because he has yet to develop the strength and power it takes to succeed on the line of scrimmage at the college level.
Thus, Embernate never expected to start in his first year.
“I thought I was going to come in and redshirt like everybody else, and just go from there,” he said.
But four games into the season, the coaches called his number.
“It was against New Mexico State. I was not playing before that. They had a guy ahead of me, and they decided to throw me in,” Embernate said. “It was kind of surreal. I was still a little nervous and stuff.
Strength and power differential aside, he held his own well enough to earn the start for the rest of the season and earn the team’s Outstanding Freshman Award.
“I was the same height and about the same weight as I am now,” Embernate said. “Probably almost 290 pounds. But it was a little bit more sloppy weight. I wasn’t as strong as I am now.
“Now, I’ve cut down most of the fat.”
That’s what four offseasons-worth of strength and conditioning (he enrolled early at SDSU, in time for the 2009 spring semester) and fall camps will do for you.
He locked down that starting right guard spot in his first game against New Mexico in 2009, and hasn’t look back since.
This season, he and starting center Alec Johnson – who’s third on the team with 40 career starts – have been the anchors on a retooled offensive line that Rocky Long said has developed faster than he expected.
It helps to have mainstays such as Johnson and Embernate in the trenches to build consistency from year to year.
“But even when the young guys came in (this year) we all just kind of jelled off the bat,” Embernate said. “We fed off the energy from last year and built on the success.”
It’s been a long four years for Embernate, who has seen the team go from a 4-8 team that finished seventh in the Mountain West his freshman year, to a team that’s 8-3 and contending for the league championship.
“This is where I’ve imagined us every year since I’ve been here,” Embernate said. “But we’ve got to finish it out.”
Wyoming awaits in Laramie this weekend – start No. 45 for the Aztecs’ durable right guard who’s dying to go out with a championship trophy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Football

Many of my Saturday's in the fall are spent consumed with football.. I have to say this comes from my families love (some would say obsession) with the game. As a kid if we weren't at the pool we were watching anyone who was on TV. We also watched a lot of University of Utah since my Uncle Sean (Dad's good friend) coached there for 23 years. However when I left for college I would say my family found a new team to route for every Saturday. The San Diego State Aztec's!! 

Three season's ago my parents became season ticket holders. Prior to that they would come to a few games. I would say it also helped when Brooke started dating Nik (starting right guard for the last 4 years). By having him on the team it has given us all a vested interest in the team. It has been a lot of fun over the last few years.  We have even managed to go to some away games.  Mom and I went to Missouri Nik's Sophomore year. That same year the entire family attended the Poinsettia Bowl that Aztec's played in.  Last season Dad, Brooke and our dear friend Chuck (RIP) went to Michigan- Brooke also traveled to New Orleans for the bowl game.  This season Dad, Mom, Brooke and me all went to Seattle for the season opener.

But home games are always a treat.  I mean for starters you cant beat beautiful San Diego! It's always fun when my parents come down to San Diego and spend some time. Especially now since Brooke, Sean and me all live within 25 miles of each other in San Diego. My parents have had different family friends come along with them. It is always a good time at the Aztec games.

A few weekends ago the entire family was down for a tailgate! We even managed to get a picture.  From the looks of it I bet you have no idea which team we were supporting!

The entire family representing the Aztecs!
This Saturday I will be glued to my TV just like all the other away game Saturday. I will be dressed in my Aztec gear and cheering away as if I am in the stands. Two weeks ago in a tight game against Reno I started yelling at the TV (we were about to tie it up).  Poor Brennan had to remind me that it was 11pm.  So my goal for this weekend's night game no yelling!  Sorry Brennan :) In case you were wondering the Aztec's tied the game and pushed it in to OT.  Where they then went on to win by deciding to go for two!! Was an awesome game!

Don't worry the Vessey's & Brennan have a few more home games left for Nik's Senior season and a bowl game.  The Vessey's are planning to go bowling as well.. Only time will tell where we are headed!!

Go Aztecs!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Starting Week 4 of Half Marathon Training

Brennan like always has a way to convince me that I can do anything. I guess it is a good thing he believes in me. Well I did it signed up for the Carlsbad Half Marathon taking place in January. I will be raising funds again for Insulindependence prior to race day. However this year I convinced Brooke to also sign up. So the Vessey's are running and raising money.

Brooke and I are both using PEAR Sports Pro to train for the race. It is a 16 week training plan with 4 workouts per week designed by Matt Fitzgerald. It is an awesome tool the PEAR Pro because it is like having a real coach out running with me. Plus at the end you get a workout score so fun comparing with Brooke to see who had the better workout in terms of following the coaching. 

Well we are starting our 4th week. So far I have found the training to be kinda fun getting back into the groove. Nice thing is its not overwhelming yet.  The distance is not to much and the time based workouts are short. However it is hard to head out for a run early in the morning in the dark cold air. But so far so good- I have not missed a scheduled workout.

Other fun thing about training it you get to explore. I have lived in Solana Beach for over a year now and there is so much still to be discovered.  My run always starts on the main drag which crests at the top of this hill and right in front it the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  The view is always beautiful in the morning. Then I have started to venture down some of the streets- while doing this I get to see some incredible house and all very different. Fun to just check them all out.

A few weeks ago when I was finishing up a training run in the morning. We had some rain overnight and cooler weather.  I then saw a beautiful rainbow. The rainbow was so vibrant with all the colors.  California does not get these kind of rainbows. It made me think of all my loved ones who have passed away. I wish I would have had my phone it was beautiful and sitting right over the ocean. Thanks Grandma Vessey, Aunt Mary, Uncle Don, Grandma Wixom and Chuck for making my workout more manageable and put a smile on my face. You guys were just showing me a little piece of heaven. 

Hello Beautiful Solana Beach
My boss also mentioned the other day this street that loops up above Solana Beach, Dog Beach and Del Mar. So on my long run Sunday- I decided to check it out. What a view.. No matter how long the run is cant complain when all I see is the Pacific Ocean.

I then spent Sunday just hanging out around with nothing super important to do.  So I decided end of October and it was 82 degree's at the beach that I would head down to the beach for some sun. I spent about 4 hours just laying out at the beach enjoying a relaxing day to myself! 

I love California!! I love where I live even more.

My view on Sunday!!!
If you would like to make a donation to help Brennan, Brooke or myself raise money for Insulindepdence and see why we are raising money for this great cause please please click on our names below.

Brooke: 1st ever Half Marathon
Jamie: 3rd Half Marathon- looking to PR
Brennan: 1st ever Ironman (Arizona November 18th)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Under a YEAR!!!

As of today we are officially 350 days away.. Then I will get to marry my best friend. I know that the year will fly but.. I am freaked out about all the planning that has to be done in those 350 days.

We are less than a year away and the planning has slowly begun.  Brennan and I have completed our workbooks for the church.  These books we thought were designed to make you talk about different things.  However based on everything we answered we were not surprised with each others answers.  In reality we probably could have done it for each other.  Many times if I said the question- Brennan guessed my answer and vice versa.  Guess the good news is we really do know each other...

The wedding list is slowly getting a few things marked off.  Not many- but a few! The church is officially booked!! This last week with my parents help the reception venue was officially booked!  They will be contacting me in the next few weeks to speak with there wedding planner. I am extremely excited about this meeting.  During this meeting I will get to see different examples of previous weddings.  Basically design and set up how I want the reception and the flow.  They will also have examples of lighting and I will get to decide how I want ours. Very very exciting! Plus they will have a list of vendors and then it will be off to the races to decide!!

The church
Our reception venue "Alumni House at the University of Redlands"
Is it October 12, 2013 yet???

Completed Tasks:
Purchase Wedding Dress       (Check)
Book the church                    (Check)
Book the reception venue      (Check)
Homework for church           (Check)
Wedding Color's                    (Check)

Almost complete:
Our wedding Website- should have that finished in the next week or so!!

Tasks Left:
Fitting of dress, shoes
Decide on food
Bride's Maid Dresses
and the list goes on and on.............

Thanks mom for all your help so far!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Seattle as an Aztec

I think every family has something that they all bond over. I would have to say growing up that was football. Long before I can remember my mom would be taking us to Friday night football to watch my dad coach. Then growing up we kept going-went to University of Utah bowl games (my Uncle Sean coached there for over 20 years) and spent the weekends watching football. One of my favorite memories is Boise State winning there bowl game over Oklahoma in OT. Having no connection to Boise besides loving college football. The entire family was in the living room yelling at the TV. When they scored my mom was standing up on the couch, my brother was yelling at the TV with his hands over his face, Brooke was yelling, Mikayla was yelling, dad was talking shop. Dad then made a note that he ruined a great game by asking the cheerleader to marry him. It is just another day in the Vessey house and I wonder why people think we are intense? 

Well my love for the game has continued I am an avid Aztec fan (San Diego State). I am sure you all realized that. Throughout college I attended all most all the home games. Once Brooke arrived we continued going and her dating #68 Right Guard Nik Embernate made us even more into it. My parents became Aztec season ticket holders about 4 seasons ago. Now we are all Aztec fans! After graduation I decided I wanted to try to go to an away game every year. Pick a game on the schedule that is against a University with a pretty good record and in a place I am interested in going. I went to Missouri with my mom two years ago (she is an alumni- you can read that post here). I missed out in 2011 when my dad, his bestfriend Chuck (Rest in PEACE) and Brooke went to watch the Aztec’s take on Michigan at the “Big House”. Brooke also went to New Orleans when they played in the bowl game there. In 2012 I would not miss out on a big away game- especially since it is Nik’s senior season. Seattle I went!

Going to an away game is a lot of fun. You get to experience how another college parties and views football. Brooke, mom, dad and I would board a plane leaving Ontario at 6:30am Saturday morning  to Seattle. With a little bit of nerves and almost missing the plane we got through security and walked right on the plane. Once in Seattle we headed forthe hotel to shower and have some breakfast.

Brooke & Me at Pike's Public Market
Since we were in Seattle we headed down to Pike’s market. We had a great day just walking around, eating seafood & doing a bit of exploring. It turned out my parents had not been there in over 15 years. Brooke had never been. I oddly enough have had some weird trips up to the great Northwest. After spending all afternoon we headed over to a brewery by the stadium. Since the University of Washington is remodeling there stadium the game was to be played at Seattle Seahawks Stadium (NFL Team). At the brewery we meet up w/ my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Karen (my mom’s brother). Then Nik’s dad and his wife joined us. After hanging out & eating we headed to the stadium. Brooke wanted to be there for warm ups.
With dad
Mom with her brother
Walking to the stadium was a lot of fun as there were so many people out. Of course being in all Aztec gear you get some boo’s a few good lucks with a laugh.  Then a lot of high fives from the other 3 Aztec fans you come across. In front of the stadium they close one of the main streets by the stadium and there is just a bunch of venders and food carts. Had we known we might have decided just to eat like that. Once getting our ticketsat the player’s entrance we headed inside. Since we are the visiting school you usually get seats up in the corner near an end zone. Like usual we were in the end zone but we were seated surprisingly in the second tier of the stadium. After playing a good amount of musical chairs with people due to confusion of what seats everyone had. We buckled down for the game. It is fun to be at an away game our section was all Aztec fans. Alumni, parents, siblings, random people. Everyone cheering for the Aztecs. 
Can you find Nik??
Like usual the Aztec’s took the field and Brooke and I were yelling away. As the game went on we yelled and yelled. I enjoy watching football and cheering for kids I went to school with and my alma mater. I will bleed Red and Black forever. There is a saying "Aztec4Life". And if you ask Brennan he will confirm I am a die-hard Aztec. He has a saying “Go Aztecs”- I know he says it with love and a little laugh thinking she is just a bit crazy. The huskies jumped out to an early lead and looked like it could get ugly. But with a trick play the Aztec’s were back in the game. 

The gang (missing KK and Sean)
The trick play was funny because as it was unfolding Brooke realized our receiver was on the side lines unguarded.  As she is yelling there is no one covering him I started yelling at her to shut up. I didn’t want her to give away the play. Looking back sounds stupid I know. But in the heat of the game from the second tier of an 80,000 seat stadium she was about to give away our chance at an easy touchdown. The play went off and the huskies left our man unguarded. It was great! The Aztec’s would struggle here and there and ultimately we would lose the game by 9 points. We had a chance in the last 3 minutes of the game to get a touch down & were not successful. It was a heart breaker- a winnable game. On the upside Nik had played a great game!

** Event happened later but relevant to the above paragraph.  The next week at practice the QB for Nik's team Ryan Katz was like hey man my parents were sitting behind your girlfriend and her sister at the game.  (Hearing this story is when I start thinking: did I say something bad about him? I don't think I did!) His parents explained to him that they we were really intense!  They were yelling almost every play!  My parents couldn't decide who was more intense your girlfriend or her sister. I like to think Brooke is more intense since Nik is her boyfriend.  But yea I am intense (Again we are intense- even random strangers see it!!).  I hope Nik at least explained that we are both alumni and from a football family.  I am unsure if this came up in the conversation- so the QB and his parents might just think we are crazy and intense.  

After the game we would wait at the player’s gate to chat with Nik. This was one of the fastest showers and changes ever for Nik. Surprisingly Nik was not as upset as I thought he might be. He was happy with his performance but disappointed because they could have won. The other team was just not that good!  After chatting with Nik we were exhausted.  After our mile or so walk to the car we headed to the hotel where we all planned to just pass out. Getting up at 4:00a m and then going going all day our Saturday in Seattle was coming to a close around midnight. 

With Mom!! 
Entrance to University of Washington
We slept in well till about 8:30 which is late for the Vessey’s. The plan was to see a little more of Seattle.  We drove over to the University of Washington to see the campus. I had been on the campus about 4 years earlier but no one else had seen it. We drove through and admired how beautiful it was.  The campus has a very back east feel to it with brick buildings. We of course checked out the athletic facilities (were Vessey’s). Then headed out to Tacoma where we were going to have lunch at my Uncle’s.  On the way mom took us by a beautiful golf course and park along the water. Some big golf tournament is going to be held there next year (US Open Maybe?). Then headed to my Uncle’s. 

We spent the afternoon just being with family. My cousin Ruthie and her husband Cliff were there with their super cute daughter Ava. Ava was not so sure about us at first. Of course by the end of the day she was in love with my dad. There is something about my dad teenager’s fear him, babies love him!  My Aunt and Uncle would cook up an amazing spread including you guessed it fresh Salmon. It was a great afternoon. From there we headed back to the airport to fly home.
The center of campus
The only thing that would have made the trip better was an Aztec win. But no matter it was awesome getting to see them play. So I plan to go to all the home game’s but will probably not make another away game. Thank heavens for TV and radio- cause you better believe I will be watching or listening. All while yelling like I am standing on the sidelines and not 1,000 miles away! Sorry in advance to Brennan!

The only thing that would have made the trip better was an Aztec win. But no matter it was awesome getting to see them play. So I plan to go to all the home game’s but will probably not make another away game. Thank heavens for TV and radio- cause you better believe I will be watching or listening. All while yelling like I am standing on the sidelines and not 1,000 miles away! Sorry in advance to Brennan!

Beautiful Park & Golf course right on the water
A great trip to the Great Northwest!

Go Aztecs! 

See all the pictures I took in Seattle!