Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chrissie Wellington

There are always bonuses for working at your job. My mom has pointed out that my job allows me to constantly be able to work out. Many times I have to test our PEAR Square One new work outs.  Not too bad right. Then there are other things aboutmy job like going to race expos. Yes going to expos gets you out of the office but can make for some extremely long days. If the expo is inside you at leastare not fighting with the weather but your still standing all day. Two weekends ago I did just that- was working the San Diego Rock N Roll Expo. Thankfully it was in the convention center.

If you have never done a Rock N Roll race I will say for the money you spend they roll out the red carpet literally. So as an exhibitor working for PEAR Sports I also got to experience it. At this expo they had all kinds of guest speakers every hour, hundreds of companies like us selling their product and free (yep I said it FREE) samples of food. As I worked our booth I got a laugh because the cliff bar booth was just across and people make hysterically funny faces after testing some of their newer products. I also heard a lot of gosh that was awful. Made the days go a bit faster. Plus I got a lot of samples.

What was great is all there guest speakers. Since I was working I did not get to go listen- but they had one imparticular that I really wanted to at least meet.  That individual is Chrissie Wellington a triathlete and four time World Ironman Champion held in Kona (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011). She flatted in Kona 2008- still won. She did not race Kona in 2010 due to being extremely sick.  In 2011 she won her 4th title while having crashed on her bike12 days prior. Wellington didn’t reveal much about the crash prior to the start. After the race it came out that she had torn her pectoral and intercostal muscles, had been taking antibiotics for nearly two weeks and spent six hours in Kona Community Hospital days before the race. Yet she got to the start line and through what I can imagine to be extreme pain went on to win while almost breaking her own world record. Wellington has yet to lose an Ironman.
Being interviewed after her 2011 World Championship Win

Chrissie Wellington

I grew up with water polo and swimming. Both sports the professionals and Olympians shared a warm up lane with you. So I am not overwhelmed or shocked by professional athletes. There are very few athletes that make menervous or that awe me. Yet ChrissieWellington is an athlete that I respect so much. She has been to the brink. She has raced in excruciating pain and always comes out victorious. Basically she blows my mind. 

I realize you are all wondering why I am telling you this. Well she was at the Rock N Roll.  I used my lunch break to get in line and meet her. She just published a new book and was signing copies. Like a dork I left the booth without my wallet.  So I did not get a signed book.   I did however get to meet her and get a signed poster. When I approached her I almost laughed at myself because I was so nervous. I have never felt that way around an athlete before. It was great to meet her. She is a very positive athlete and always smiles! 
Meeting Chrissie

Just one bonus about working for a company in the sports industry- get to meet a true athlete. I look forward to watching her race for years to come. As well as the difference she is making in the lives of many people based on all the social work she does!  A true athlete in which to use as a role model.
My signed poster- just have to get a frame!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Congratulations Graduate

A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of attending graduation at San Diego State. I know what you’re all thinking.  It was a pleasure to sit through a graduation? Now you’re thinking what does San Diego State do at graduation. Before you start thinking Keg stands and everyone in swim suits.  They have the same ceremony as every other college campus. A few different speakers.  A few annoying families of course sitting right in front of you in an arena for 16,000.  Then what seems like an eternity later the one person you wanted to see walks across the stage. It was a totally typical graduation.
Go Brooke!
Typical maybe but I got to see my little sister Brooke join me as an Aztec Alumni.  After a lot of long night- rough days- great memories she became an alumni.  I like to think I had a large role in Brooke choosing San Diego State.  In reality it was probably just so she could get more playing time then me and prove that she was the more athletic one.  I may have been a small part in her decision to attend San Diego State but I can tell you I hold a place in her heart and many memories from college. 
I realize we are very lucky. Not many siblings get to experience all that we have.  If you are a normal reader of my blog you have gotten a small glimpse into what we experienced together through our time in SD.  I would not change any of it.  Living with Brooke was awesome even if she can only cook one meal.  And never had the money to pay her bills- luckily her big sister is a saver.  As her boyfriend Nik always says "Break a $5 Jamie, Break a $5."  Nik if you’re reading this- good luck breaking all your $5!
I picked up Grandpa early Saturday morning and we headed the 30 miles to SDSU to enjoy graduation.  Once arriving we found Brooke. I can remember moving her into the dorm so it was exciting to be standing in front of the athletic center watching her get into the (ugly) graduation attire.  While she was putting on the gown I noticed it had the sleeves like mine did for my masters.  Since Brooke was graduating from college- I had to ask.  She replied I thought that was weird but this is what they gave me.  I of course immediately thought dang I spent another 2 years in school- all my life saving, took out student loans just to wear it and only my sister Brooke would just get it handed to her.  Luckily they did not also give her the hood (aka cape).   Needless to say it made me laugh! 
The ceremony was nice we had surprisingly good seats not too far from Brooke.  She was easy to spot with that blonde hair.  Then it would begin speaker after speaker.  I have to say she had a few good speakers.  One guy who received an honor PHD was an alumnus from a long long time ago.  Honestly I cannot remember when he graduated- but he has done a lot. Served our country and climbed the corporate ladder.  His speech was great!  He gave ten points- I wish I could remember them all.  But he told it truthfully.  That we need to be involved in our community- volunteer.  That we need to take control go out and vote. Family and friends are a great thing and appreciate them. It was refreshing to hear.
Can you find Brooke?
One of the other speakers who I enjoyed was much more graduation like.  I really only liked this speaker because he reminded the graduates that this journey was not just about them.  That many people helped them along the way.  Remember to thank these people.  At this point my mom patted me on the back and told me I had done a good job. In this moment I was really proud.  There had been some rough moments for us both through college. However Brooke was coming out on top.  She finished in 4 and half years while being a dual sport athlete.  What an accomplishment.

Finally they got to the crazy part of calling all the names.  There must have been over 2,000 students from the different major’s graduating with Brooke.  Of course Brooke was probably one of the last 200 hundred to walk.  We waited over an hour to get to Brooke.  While waiting for Brooke many people had walked across already thus their families headed out.  Since I wanted the best video and pictures Nik and I headed to get as close as we could.  It was great we got right up at the front.  Finally Brooke headed across the stage to become an official college graduate.

After graduation we headed over to the pool for pictures. I mean everyone else heads into campus- but as a dual athlete all Brooke’s time was spent at the pool.  I only wished I had thought of that when I graduated.  After getting a bunch of great photos with Brooke- mom-dad and me. Mikayla and Sean did not come for the ceremony.  Then some great photos of Brooke and Nik.  As well as pictures with grandpa. The main reason Brooke and I did not starve through college.   
Many hours spent at this pool...
I guess our family creates tradition without even knowing.  We headed into downtown San Diego to the same restaurant we eat at for my graduation.  We had a great time hanging out with everyone.  Like normal talking about a ton of fun memories.  Brooke also mentioned how walking at graduation finally made it seem real.  Since she finished in December then just started working it never felt complete.  So graduation made it feel real and complete.
Congratulations Brooke Elizabeth Vessey. I can’t explain how proud you have made me over the last few years. It is an honor to call you a fellow Aztec Alumni.  But more than that it was amazing to be your sister, roommate, teammate and coach while you got your degree.  Thank you for all the great times.  Congratulations on all you accomplished- I am so proud of you!!