Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Final Blog

It's been a long time since I last posted a blog. Since moving back to Minnesota, hopefully for the final time, I have been busy and life has taken me in a different direction than I had anticipated. Last year at this time I had just moved from the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA to Colorado Springs, CO to pursue different opportunities. 2010 was a whirlwind of a year for me.

The past few years I have been searching for some balance in my life. Now, I am starting to find that balance. Since October I have been working as a strength coach at a private training facility in Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. The facility is called 1st Athlete. It has been marketed as a hockey training facility but is not limited to just hockey. I have worked with 6 year old kids all the way to pro level hockey players. It is a challenge, and hard work, but at the same time it doesn't feel like work, if that makes sense. Just a few weeks ago I was promoted to general manager of 1st Athlete. I did not picture myself in such a position a year ago.

With my new job my training has taking a back seat. I am still continuing to find balance with work and training and just having a normal life in general. Hopefully, everything continues to fall into place.

Also, with my new career it is now an appropriate time to retire myself from the In the Arena roster. ITA provided opportunities for me the past 3 years that would have been impossible without my involvement in the organization and ITA's interest in my goals. I feel indebted to Amory Rowe and ITA together for the much needed help they gave to me as a struggling athlete. ITA kept me afloat while I chased a dream with hyper focused enthusiasm. I feel fortunate to have been a part of and witnessed the beginning of ITA and to have met and followed the incredibly talented and driven athletes and founder of In The Arena. I want to thank many times over everyone involved with ITA for helping all the athletes including myself. ITA has groomed me to be a better public servant for today's youth. I have seen the effect a positive role model can have on young people. ITA is facilitating a positive experience for athletes involved with the organization and for kids across the US.

Thank you again Amory and everyone at In the Arena!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Driving Underwater

This past Thursday, Thursday night and most of Friday, it rained...a lot. I think it rained on the entire state of Minnesota. Most of the rain came down hard in the southeastern part of the state where my parents live and hometown is. It rained so much that there was widespread flooding around the area. Every little river in the southeastern corner of the state overflowed their banks to incredible proportions and caused serious problems in a wide spread area.

One of the most devastated areas from this rain storm was a little town called Zumbro Falls, only several miles from my home. The town is made up of only several hundred people but there are many businesses and homes that make up several blocks of the downtown area. All of it was underwater flooding homes all the way up to the second story windows. It was so high that there was a random canoe found on top of a roof. The only gas station in town was completely underwater.
It is a terrible disaster for the people of Zumbro Falls and surrounding communities to deal with. Homes will be impossible to clean up and salvage with the incredible amount of mud in the flood waters.

Here are some pictures after the waters receded for a few days.
















Another town near my home that was effected by the flooding was Oronoco. The flood waters were so strong that they caused a bridge to collapse from being washed away.


Some waters were so high in areas that bridges were even under water. Thankfully there were no casualties from the flooding. Hopefully the families affected by the floods will receive all the help they can get and more.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The NFL

The NFL season is finally back! And I am more excited than ever to watch it. Last year ended in heartbreak for my Minnesota Vikings. It was a tough loss to deal with, but without a doubt the most exciting season for the Vikes in a long time. With the addition of Brett Favre the Vikings found new life and an increased competitive edge. I think everyone in who was a Minnesota fan believed the Purple People Eaters would make it to the Super Bowl and ultimately win it. As a native Minnesotan, I can attest to the fact that we don't like to be overly optimistic about things, which is why it went against our nature to believe so heavily in what seemed like a guaranteed thing. Lesson learned.

Well, on top of the NFC Championship loss, Minnesota fans had to deal with not knowing if #4 would come back for another season. I think everyone put it in the back of their minds; no sense in stressing for months, why not just save it for the start of training camp. I'm sure you're well aware of the drama that Minnesota fans dealt with during the first few weeks of practice this year. Not too fun, and all too familiar. Anyways, the Silver Fox came back and hopes are up again, sort of. I'll have plenty to write about the Vikings this year I'm sure.

Another thing I want to mention about the NFL happened in a game today. The Lions and Da Bears were playing and there was a play that has caused a lot of controversy. Check the play out. What was an obvious touchdown was called incomplete. It is shocking, and ridiculous. I could care less about the Detroit Lions, but they were robbed of a win today. At least Calvin Johnson will get a lot of air time as football analyst talk about the play he was the victim of for at least the next week. I still do not understand how the touchdown did not stand. The commentators during the game said there is a "process" for making a legal catch. The player must have complete control of the ball before they hit the ground, but obviously this catch was in complete control. I think there needs to be an immediate review of this rule. I'm a little concerned touchdowns will become more subjective than objective.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Days

Summer is coming to an end again, crazy. This year is going by incredibly fast. It’s weird how the older you get, the faster time goes. Even though summer is coming to an end, there is still a lot to do before the leaves fall and the cold Canadian air comes blowing in. I still have to go to The Great Minnesota Get Together (the Minnesota State Fair.) It is said to the largest state fair in the country in terms of daily attendance. It’s definitely big and worth checking out, plus it’s only a mile from my apartment. Hopefully next weekend I'll get to check it out.

Also, since it’s wedding season, people are jamming weddings in all over the place. My good friend and room mate from college, Adam Schnaible, is getting married in a few weeks. I have best man duties for this wedding, so I am in the midst of planning a bachelor party. I've never done this before, but I'm looking forward to making it a good one for him.

I have also been busy helping set up a brand new athletic training facility in one of the nearby suburbs. It’s pretty exciting and is going to be top notch once it’s completed. I’ll have more about that later.

I haven’t had any time to get to a local YMCA or Boys and Girls Club to pursue a volunteering position. Between training, family reunions, building weight rooms, and wedding stuff I haven’t had too many free minutes to do anything else.

Speaking of training, I get asked a lot if I’m still training. Since I took the year of from competitions I guess I kind of fell off the radar. This could be a good thing...maybe? My training has been going well though. I am missing competing though. I have been keeping track of my former training partners from the training center in Chula Vista, Ca. A few of them are in Europe right now competing and closing out their seasons. It makes me wish I was there.

Whelp, that's all for now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Enter Title Here

Well, I'm pretty much moved in to my new apartment...still settling, but everything important that I need is now in the apartment, minus a t.v. Feels great to know that I'll be here for awhile and not have to wonder where I'm going to be next. I should say it feels great but weird at the same time. I'm so used to moving the past few years from place to place and never really being settled, that I don't know how to feel or act now. Anyways, I'll get used to it, because feels like I never left Minneapolis, which is strange yet comforting at the same time.

I started training on the University of Minnesota campus again this past week. It felt familiar and good to walk into the weight rooms and see my old buddies lifting and making fun each other and me...like I said, it's like I never left. I've been able to get outside on the track and throw a little too. Nothing too crazy yet, I have a long training year ahead of me, so I'm trying to pace myself. I have really missed training here and seeing all the familiar, Minnesota friendly faces.

So, now that I'm reestablishing in Minneapolis/St. Paul (I actually live in St. Paul now) it is time for me to get out and visit some possible locations to volunteer in the name of In The Arena. I don't think any of the Boys and Girls Clubs I volunteered at a few years ago are still running, possibly one, but now that I'm in a different city I most likely will be pursuing a different location and maybe even a different organization. I had great success this past spring in Colorado Springs volunteering with the Mesa Ridge High School track team, and it showed me different ways to be a more effective volunteer for In The Arena. Either way, I will be volunteering somewhere where I am needed.

I made a short video back around mid June that I've been meaning to share, but obviously never got around to doing it. Back in June I spent a morning with my mom's 2nd grade class at Jefferson Elementary. I put on a little mini track and field day for the class. The events were standing long jump, 2kg two handed medicine ball toss, and a 30 meter sprint. I chose those three events because it was every discipline within track and field, only simplified, plus it made it much easier for me to organize! Anyways, the kids had a great time and I may be holding a track and field day for the entire 2nd grade at Jefferson next year.

So here is my little montage video. Enjoy!

video

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Life

This blog marks about the half way point of summer. It's been a hot one and a busy one here in Minnesota. I first got home around the 1st of June after moving my girlfriend, Mia to Missouri. I was able to spend a few weeks hanging out with my folks, before they had to leave on short notice for Colorado, the state I had just moved from, to be with my dying uncle. My uncle had been sick for awhile but he was always hanging in there. He had developed what was essentially a staph infection in his lungs, which was very uncomfortable and scary at times for him and everyone around him. My dad got the call from my aunt telling him his brother was not doing very well and that he was fading quickly. Without hesitation my parents drove 1000 miles to Colorado and were fortunately able to spend a few days with Uncle Sparky before he passed away in his home. It was a difficult time for my family, and Spark will be missed.

Before all this happened I was trying to prepare myself to compete at the USA Track and Field Championships, which I ultimately did not end up competing in. It was weird to not compete since I have competed at the championships every year since 2003. I honestly wasn't prepared enough physically and mentally to compete, which is ok with me now. I was moving around too much all spring to really focus my energy into my training. I think it will help refresh me for next year. I really do love competing, but this was just an off year for me with so much things going on personally.

Another huge, juicy piece of news is that I will be staying put in Minnesota for awhile. If you regularly indulge yourself in my fascinating blogs, which I have recently been irregular with, you would recall I have been bouncing around all over the country. That has finally been remedied. My girlfriend was offered a job, just last week, as a strength coach at the University of Minnesota, my alma mater. You have no idea how excited I am about this. I have always wanted to find a way to come back to Minnesota and stay. Miraculously my dreams came true. I'm not just excited about being able to stay in my home state and train at the University of Minnesota, I'm equally excited about the fact that Mia has been given the opportunity to do what she has a real passion for and that is being a strength coach. I'm pretty happy though, because I'm now back in my element!

I have been enjoying my year off from competing, but I am still training. I have been using my off time this summer to get my body back in shape. Not that I ever really got out of shape, it's more of just taking care of nagging injuries that have built up and never have been taken care of. I'm actually taking the time now, since I have some extra time, to rebuild my conditioning base. It feels great to jog a little...slowly, which I haven't done a whole lot since high school football and basketball. I am definitely less impressive cardiovascularly than I used to be, but that is why I chose to be a thrower.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th of July to everyone! Today is a big day for the United States of America. Without a doubt the biggest celebration of our country's history. Today marks our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain back in 1776. I did the math on those numbers (with a calculator of course) and we are officially 234 years old today as a United Nation! I can definitely say I am a proud American and grateful to live in the best country in the entire world! We all owe our freedom and great lives we live everyday to the men and women who have served, are serving and will serve this great nation.

This has been one of the biggest celebrations ever since I can remember, and one of my favorite. Getting together with family on hot summer 4th of July's and going to watch fireworks together. This year I am happy to be able to be home with my family and enjoy the day with them. I am especially looking forward to my hometown fireworks show tonight. It's not the biggest display in the nation but it's still pretty special to me. This year Rochester, MN will be sending 1 ton of fireworks into the sky. Being the country bumpkin I am this seems like a lot of fireworks and I can't wait to be there. The show is usually 45 minutes long and by the end I get my fill of loud and bright explosions. I'm just hoping the rain holds of tonight, the only possible damper on celebrations that consist of fire.

So, get the gas/charcoal grills out and put some chicken, steaks and brats on it. Sit back with a cold beverage and light some sparklers. It doesn't get much more American than that, and today is the day to celebrate being a United States citizen. Hopefully everyone enjoys their 4th of July celebration and stays safe! God Bless the USA!!!