Sunday, February 27, 2011

A certified, single, well- traveled triathlon coach!

To avoid a way too long of a post, I'm going to recap the most exciting things that have happened over the past few months.

First, Megan Briese got married!! A trip to MN and a beautiful New Years Eve wedding turned Megan from Briese into a Mrs. Aaron Soper! The wedding was gorgeous and I couldn't think of a better way to ring in 2011 than with my parents and friends dancing the night away. Congrats to the Sopers!

Next there was a trip to TX to take my 3rd and final board exam to become a certified prosthetist. The make you wait a long, grueling 2 months before they give you the results so I'm still waiting. And waiting. In the meantime I'm continuing my job at Scheck and Siress and love it. My patients, the people I work with, the skills I learn, it may just be the best job ever. That will of course be made that mush sweeter if I could put that CP at the end of my name. Stay tuned for that one...

A trip to Steamboat Springs with Adaptive Adventures was a fun filled week and renewed my love of skiing. We did the Nastar course, met fellow skiers with disabilities and went on an incredible back country cat skiing trip. There is a special ski cat (the machine that grooms the ski hill) that has seating in the back of it equipped with heat and a sound system. Imagine riding one of these vehicles up the mountain to a place where no one has skied. It was my first experience in fresh powder and match the snow with the beauty of the mountains and it was an experience I won't forget. Luckily it was a nice day as I fell so much I might of well have been a living snowball but I loved it and hope to get the chance to do it again sometime.

I turned 31! Yes, I am officially in my early 30's. Two of my best friends, Andrew and Keith came into town to help celebrate and it was a birthday to remember. Lots of
dancing, eating and yes, even a few drinks, made for an awesome weekend. Top that off with the annual Chocolatefest and it couldn't have gotten much better. And I have to say, I think the idea that the early 30's are your prime years may be the case. Ive been feeling pretty dang good!

I got the chance to go out to LA for a few days and film a commercial. Such an
experience that was! As a major sponsor for the US Paralympics, the Hartford decided for the first time ever, to use actual Paralympians fr their commercials that will be shown during the march madness football and into the final four. A 10 hour photo shoot for a 30 second commercial that made me feel like a rockstar. We're talking my own trailer, a director chair, a personal assistant. Pair that with Jaunis, the director who filmed Schindler list and Saving Private Ryan, and there was smoke machines, underwater cameras, scuba divers, lights to look like the sun, and more. I did the same thing over and over again with different lenses and angles and they actually had that little device that they push down and say 'action' and 'cut'. I couldn't believe the production that it was! I've seen the rough cut of the commercial and I really like what they did with it. Look for it with the basketball but once the final version is out I'll try to find a way to post it here. The coolest part was just learning all about the process they go through to make everything happen. I can't even begin to imagine how intense a move must be to film!

In some bittersweet news, my divorce was final this week. It was an emotional day just realizing how permanent the event was. I've said before and I'll say again that I know I'll be OK and love will eventually happen again, but its difficult to realize the enormity of the event. I will forever be thankful for all that I gained in my marriage. I'm living my life in a way that would never be possible without the love and support I had from Dick over the years end I wish him nothing but happiness. Even through all the emotional times, I still feel it's better to love even knowing the heartbreak it can bring. It is afterall, what makes the world go round.

I am excited to say that I am an official certified triathlon coach. WooHoo!! Myself and a few others started a Chicago based Paratriathlon club called dare2tri that we are so so excited about. Our motto is 'One inspires Many' as it is out belief that getting these athletes out into the community will inspire all sorts of psopl to do things they never thought possible. You can read all about it on www.dare2trichicago.com but it's a club for athletes with a disability and visual impairments to get them involved with the sport of triathlon. The response has been incredible and we have 40+ athletes in the area that are hoping to compete in their very first triathlon this year. We have planned races, training and even a weekend camp to get these athletes ready. Check out the website if you'd like to help or show your support.

Allright ,I think that hits the major events. Other than that, I've continued the training for some races that are coming up quick. My first one is in Oceanside, CA. The same 1/2 Ironman I did last year but I'm doing it as a relay this year. Other than that, there are many running races in Chicago coming up this summer. My big races of the year will be the Door County 1/2 Ironman in July, triathlon nationals in NY in August and if I qualify there, Worlds will take place in Sep in Beijing. Then if all goes as planned I'll attempt my first marathon in NYC in Nov. A bunch of running races and smaller triathlons and I it's going to be an fun, active season!

The next few weeks are busy ones. A trip to Vail for the annual Vail Veterans ski trip which is always a highlight of my year. Then it's off to Arizona where I am acting as one of the team prosthetists for the first standing, all amputee, all veterans, softball team. From AZ, it's a trip to FL and then, after almost 2 weeks, I'll be back home. well, for a few weeks, until I'm off to CT and then CA and jeez, it just never ends. But I love it and as always, feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunities that I have. I've been doing a little speaking here and there too. There never seems to be a dull moment, that's for sure.

Jake is doing well. I love him more than ever. He still enjoys a good daily tail chasing.

SO there you go, my long overdue update.
Until next time,

Peace Out!

8 comments:

Stephanie said...

So fun to see a post!!! Hope you are enjoying CO! You are AMAZING!!! Love you and miss you!

Benchmark said...

You are a rock star!

I remember first seeing you on the Discovery channels Human Body Shop series and have been a fan ever since.

Great post. Thanks for keeping us updated.

Paul_G said...

Just saw your commercial and wanted to find you & say thanks for your sacrifice & everything that you do! If you lived close by, I'd take you out for some Chicago pizza and/or ribs. Keep up the good work!

Paul in Chicago
www.PaulGentry.net

Rick said...

Hello Melissa,

I'm always proud and honored when I see or hear fellow veterans having success. I saw your commercial for the first time a couple of days ago. Wow, what a positive and inspirational message. I own two Internet radio stations and would like to have you record a PSA that would inspire veterans and others who would hear your positive message.

Here's to continued success.

Rick Tillman
KLSL LIQUID SOUL
CEO/Radio Personality
http://www.klsljamz.com

Rick said...

Hello Melissa,

I'm always proud and honored when I see or hear fellow veterans having success. I saw your commercial for the first time a couple of days ago. Wow, what a positive and inspirational message. I own two Internet radio stations and would like to have you record a PSA that would inspire veterans and others who would hear your positive message.

Here's to continued success.

Rick Tillman
KLSL LIQUID SOUL
CEO/Radio Personality
http://www.klsljamz.com
rick26T9@klsljamz.com

H.S. said...

Hello... I went to EPHS back in the day, and just saw your commercial randomly and was like I think I recognize her .. long story short I think you are very inspiring and I toast my glass of wine to you! (Here's to strong women who can handle anything!) and lastly, Jake seems like a wonderful dog :) !!!

Paul_G said...

here's your commercial... uploaded it for you in case you wanna embed it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiTiwwBWTjs

Burmese Language Wing said...

good