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!