Have you ever had one of those moments, where you shake someone's hand and you say to yourself, "Ohhhhmyyygawd I'm never washing my hand now that so-and-so shook it!" Yea that's probably not something to own up to BUT the rush and sensation of having been in the presence of someone you look up to and idolize is a thrill unlike any other. I had the opportunity to experience this last Tuesday when Craig Alexander, informally known as 'Crowie' came to Core Power in the West Loop. Which, for anyone who doesn't know, in the triathlete world, Crowie is an unbelievably talented athlete and champion several times over. He recently put out a book, entitled, "As the Crow Flies" and it is a collection of pictures and stories about his last year of training/racing.
So Tuesday afternoon, after work, I drove down to Core Power to stake out a parking spot. But when I say I got there "early" that really is an understatement. I had an hour and forty-five minutes to kill. So I meandered my way over to this little corner coffee shop, pulled out my tablet and started reading one of the books on my kindle. I was quite literally kitty-corner from the building, and I found myself just gazing over now and again, thinking that Crowie was there and I would finally get to meet him! At one point a stranger next to me caught me gawking and asked if I was going to the event. I came to find that his name was Nick and he had come all the way in from Michigan for this. We shared small talk about the sport of triathlon, races we've done, goals we've set and before you knew it, were packing ourselves up to join the line that began to form across the street to enter into Core Power.
While I was standing outside in the line I could see Crowie through the window. The inner school-girl in me instantly lost all control and I grew more and more giddy. They must have gotten tired of seeing me drool because they let us in early. Let me just say Core Power is set up so nicely and the staff were very inviting. Take food, water, try our product and make yourselves at home, they said. While everyone dashed over toward that set up I made a B-line over to Crowie with Nick. As I went to shake his hand I almost forgot my name. He was beyond breath-taking and he shook my hand....but I did end up washing it.
The rest of the evening I mingled with fellow triathletes, networked a tad and listened to Crowie discuss his year in review. There was also a raffle, and yours truly ended up winning a pair of Oakley's! To be honest I still haven't really "worn them"....I took them out of the box once and decided that I didn't want to break them, so back in the case they went. Then Crowie came out.....I have to say, for being such an outstanding athlete he is also an extremely respectable father and male figure. He had a lot of passion for the sport but also for his family. Despite the fact that the man had been in a different city every day that week he was still happy, genuinely friendly and seemed like he really wanted to be there, which I don't think you could say for many people running on that little sleep.
After his Q&A the employees placed Crowie over at a table for book signing and pictures, and you bet I raced over there....might even have set a PR ;) When I got up to the table I felt like I had rehearsed 56 different things I could have said to him but ended up complimenting him on his book, his achievements and mentioned my goal of IM Wisconsin in 2013. He smiled, wished me the best of luck and asked for a picture. Those were the happiest 3 minutes, I can't even begin to explain...
I left Core Power so bubbly and upbeat. In my possession I had Crowie's book, with a personalized message and a new pair of Oakleys. Tri life is good :)