Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Meeting Seven Years in the Making

As far as I know, everyone has that one person they look up to, that one idol that makes them strive to be better and go that extra mile in their lives. Well, this past weekend, I got to meet my idol, someone who've I've been a fan of for years. I planned the very first fitness festival at my university, and I wanted to pick someone special to be the guest speaker; someone I felt would be a great inspiration to her audience as she was to me. Without hesitation, I contacted Christine Pomponio-Pate, and she gladly accepted my invitation.

Seven years....well worth the wait. Thank you Christine!!!

For those that are unfamiliar with her, let me give you a background history on Christine. She's a IFBB Athlete (formerly competed in figure) from Denver, Colorado. She's competed in various Arnolds and Olympia in figure, placing in the top 6 each time, being as high at 4th place in both. At one time, she was the top-ranked figure competitor in the world. In 2007, she semi-retired from competition to have a baby boy named Riley. The baby weight came off of Christine like nothing, and many people say that she could return to stage if she wanted to. There might come a day where she will step on stage once again, but time will tell.

Her journey to getting to the festival was, to put it mildly, nuts. Her and her family (husband Jim and son Riley) left early in the morning as her husband needed to get some work done somewhere close to the festival anyways. Everything was hunky-dory for a bit. It was looking like they were going to come to town and spend the night, then wake up and head to the festival and kick it off. Didn't work out the way any of us intended. I checked the morning of the festival to see if they had checked in, but they never came. There was a reason; car trouble. To make a long story short, they were one state away from the festival and had to wait a bit until they could get a rental car. This was going to call to change the festival plans a bit. So we changed the festival a bit and it worked itself out. Oh, did I mentioned that it was storming as well? Exactly, as if things couldn't get any more crazy.

We decided to contact the Pate family to see about their whereabouts. Personally, I suck at directions, but from what they told me when I called them, they were close. In fact, they were better than close; they had arrived. They were in the same town as the festival. As we were trying to get directions straightened phone died on me. To quote the Miz "REALLY?!?!" Of all the times my phone could have died, it chose that one. -____- Good thing I saved the number and gave it to our organization's president. She took care of the rest, and from that point on, it was making sure everything was set inside.

Christine's husband came in first, and we introduced ourselves. He's a great guy to be around and just a very cool person. We talked a bit, got stuff situated, and went to get Christine and Riley while our group finished setting up. Set-up was just about done, then they they all walked in. I saw it for my own eyes, but couldn't believe it. The woman who's career I've followed and supported for seven years was at my university. But more importantly than that, this was the first time we've seen each other face to face. I couldn't believe it. I was composed on the outside; but inside...inside was an entirely different story. Couldn't believe how composed on the outside I was, to be honest with you. Obviously, I thanked her for being at the festival and whatnot. We got the final touches together and Presto! It was time for Christine to speak at the festival.

I won't go over all the details, but I'll cover a few things of interests: She mentioned a new exercise technique I never heard of before called Tabata exercises, which is periods of 20 seconds of high intensity training and 10 seconds of rest. It goes 20-10-20-10-20-10-20-10, etc. Three guys tried it and did better then expected. Another activity took place by having three volunteers attempt to throw a small ball in a small trashcan...blindfolded. She also spoke on her career as an IFBB athlete, her journey to living healthier and being closer to God, how her son has been part of her workout routines, and how life starts today rather then putting it off. That and how at one point she devoured 18 creme-filled donuts from Krispy Kreme in ONE SETTING after a contest. Sure enough, that shocked the heck out of everyone. 18 donuts...filled with creme even?! That shook the football players in attendance, and those boys can EAT! Overall, it was a great speech, and I think everyone took something away from it. Whenever I can get the camcorder working, I'll be posting the video for people to see. It's a bit lengthy (almost an hour), but well worth the time to watch it.

All in all, despite everything I typed here, words can't express how much her appearance meant to those that attended the festival and how it meant to me. Christine, I can't thank you enough for not just being a part of the festival, but for supporting me and FitGems. You have my undying support for whatever happens next in your life.THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, CHRISTINE!!!

For those wanting to view more pics of the festival itself, click here.

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