Archivo de la etiqueta: experience

From a Joke to Formula 1

I am trying really hard to put into words what this week meant to me. In my short career I have worked at Cowboy’s games, UFC events, NBA Playoffs. At the end of the day none of them come close to the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.

This week was a dream within a dream which will be impossible to forget. Working at a Formula 1 Race is by far the best job in the world. I came back to the United States thanks to F1. The way it all began was kind of a joke. I was looking for tickets to come to the United States Grand Prix in Austin as a fan but without a job it was hard to afford. I tried looking for freelancing jobs that could send me there but that also did not work. I had been wanting to go to this race for the past two years but it just wasn’t happening. I then had the idea of asking a friend, that had worked there the year before if she was going back, unfortunately for her, she wasn’t. Then as a joke I asked if I could take her spot. Before I knew it I was being contacted by a german tv station to help out at the USGP. I did not think twice, and said yes to the offer no matter the conditions.

I knew I was heading to a big event but many times the expectation I have of something does not live up to its hype. Formula 1 definitely lived up to it and even surpassed it. Here is why.

The first day was pretty simple with the exception of buying groceries for about 40 people, it took forever but we got it done and then headed to the circuit where I saw where the media outlets from around the world were setting up. Then went up to the tower that overlooks the where you can see the whole circuit. It is an iconic part of the Circuit of the Americas I got to experience without making a long line. The next day the highlight was going for a run around the circuit. I’ve ran around the “Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez” a few times but this is a much more complex race track. More curves and more hills where turn one is by far the hardest one even for the cars but once you get up there the view is great. It was a short run but I loved every step of it.

On thursday I started to meet some of the drivers as I realized I had access to the paddock. That when I was starting to really realize when I was getting into and it would just get better. Just that night, since I was working for a german tv station we got to do an exclusive interview with 4-time world champion Sebastian Vettel. Even though I did not understand what was going on during the interview (all in german) I was just happy to be there.

On friday I spent most of my day in the van driving the crew around the circuit and barely had a chance to see the F1 cars in action but I did get to meet even more pilots that day and walk around the pits while the teams were getting ready for the second round of practice sessions. At that moment I knew this was already better than what I expected to do this week and I still had the two most important days ahead of me. I had heard a lot about the low sound that the cars make this year since they have downgraded to a V6 engine and have a 100 kg limit on fuel for every race. I remembered well how in the French GP of 2006 I was barely able to hear a thing after the race but this time my ears never popped no matter how close I could get.

Saturday was a bit more hectic as it was the first time the station would broadcast live so everything had to be done quick and in time. Traffic started to become an issue as more people were coming to COTA. That day the highlight was meeting Pamela Anderson, one of the VIP guests at the race and someone who was really easy to talk to and approach. At the end of the day out of nowhere I met Nico Hulkenberg who was riding his bike while his mechanics ran around the track in a small race for media and F1 entourage I was not aware off. This was done at the same time as the paddock girls rehearsed the routine for the national anthem ceremony. Now the countdown was on for the big day.

Having to buy groceries at 8 am was the start of probably the most exciting day in my post-college life or probably my life. I headed out to the track a few minutes before 10 and made it there around 10:30 thanks to me avoiding a close to one mile line to get to the circuit, if not I probably would have been in line for about another hour. I unloaded the car and then headed to the paddock to help out the production crew and later on we went into the track for the driver’s parade. It was an awesome experience to have all the drivers walk right in front of me. Then walked along the pit lane while mechanics were making the final touches on the cars. Continued with going to turn one to watch the beginning of the race and then to the hospitality suite of Mercedes. For the next hour I walked around the track to see the race from different points and just before the race was over I had the chance of seeing the finish from the Mercedes garage. It was just the icing on cake that was needed to make it an almost perfect week which was slightly damaged when Sergio Perez was out after the first lap.

Things slowly unwinded from that point on, but it was just the right moment to think about everything that went on in the past six days. I was and still am at a loss of words to say how I really feel about it. I knew it really happened since it is now a thing of the past but something I will remember for a lifetime. I went to heaven and came back, I lived in a fantasy world for six days that I will never forget for as long as I live. All I know is that I am beyond lucky to have this on my resume from this point on. It was a job that definitely took me further than I could ever imagine.

Standing next to a legend. Niki Lauda.
Standing next to a legend. Niki Lauda.
Running on the track was definitely a highlight.
Running on the track was definitely a highlight.
A picture with Nico Rosberg was probably one of the highlights.
A picture with Nico Rosberg was probably one of the highlights.

6 Years Later…Thank You U.S.A.

Running a marathon in a city (Chicago) that means a lot made it that much more special.
Running a marathon in a city (Chicago) that means a lot made it that much more special.

It was August 5, 2008 when I left behind what I knew, who I knew and anything that seemed familiar to me. I had made the decision I never thought I would make when I was a little kid. Even a year before that day I was dreaming of moving in a different direction.  That day I crossed the border, heading into Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Out of all 50 states in the United States I seemed to have chosen the least popular one, everyone around me wished me luck in Ohio, or Idaho while I was headed somewhere else. I do like to step away from my comfort zone. This time I had no idea if I would turn back.

Six years later I do look back at that day. Even though I am back in Mexico I learned a lot about others but mainly about myself from August 5, 2008 to August 5, 2014. I made the decision based on athletics, but it changed my life. I went in blindfolded, I came out with a different perspective about pretty much everything. Except, mexican food remains as the best one to exist.

People ask me, what was it like to live in another country? I divide my six years into several parts. The first part was great because I was excited to discover a new place, a new culture. I believe there were about 5 mexicans at the college I attended my first two years. Thanks to Iowa Western Community College I got the opportunity to live abroad (once again).

I was excited to be away from home, but it didn’t take long for the excitement to vanish as I was being tested like never before. Running for a college in the U.S. is no joke no matter how good you are, in my case, how good you think you are. From day one I knew I was in for a huge challenge. The days went by and the results on the track were not pleasing my coach, at races I was not even close to delivering what was expected from me. Nerves and pressure were getting the best out of me.

I was pushing my body to an unknown limit, but my mind was not willing to go down the same path, too bad it had to. About two months into this adventure I finally had a good race. It took away lots of pressure, and then came Chicago, where with a better race I proved to myself and others that I had made it over the hump. Not to say things were easy from that point on but I regained confidence and never looked back.

That is why Chicago is such an important city for me, it really marked a before and after on my whole adventure. I kept working hard and my times continued to drop. On my second year I made it to the Half-Marathon Nationals. I didn’t win or wasn’t even close but I enjoyed it so much because of everything it meant and how hard it had been to make it there.

Running got me into the United States, but education kept me there. After two years at Iowa, where I made a lot of friends in a place where mexicans are a rare species, and winters can hardly get any colder I moved down to the Republic of Texas. Now Denton, Texas was my home. I kept running but on my own time, and I really started to study.

It took me a while to get used to everything, Texas has a mind of its own. Remember that I said that in Iowa there were around 5 mexicans in the whole college, here that number was probably the same but  per classroom. After a whole year of adaptation I finally got things rolling and focused on journalism like never before. I always knew that if I didn’t make it in life as a runner, I would love to travel the world to talk about sports.

In Iowa I had also studied the same thing but things got really serious at the Mayborn School of Journalism. There was no way I could have combined varsity track and journalism. I had a hard time digesting things at the beginning but with practice came great things. I started doing stories about pretty much anything I could think of. The best one yet is when I had the chance to fly on a WW2 airplane for free while recording the whole experience.

As I was studying to become a great reporter, I was also preparing myself to run marathons, (ran 4 while I was in Texas) and missed Boston by 75 seconds one time, I was the leader of the Running Club, I usually had one or two jobs to pay for my own expenses and tried to have some kind of social life. It wasn’t easy but it was possible. By this point I was barely going back home to see the family.

Coming into my final semester I had been looking for internships all over the place. I applied to almost every place possible. I went home for Christmas without a thing but the day I came back Telemundo called me for an interview, I obviously went and got the internship.

So on the final stretch of my college life I had even one more responsibility which meant that twice a day I had to drive an hour to and from Telemundo plus working on the local newscasts plus a sports show. It was a non-stop race to the finish. I survived and before May 10 (graduation day) I already had two real-world jobs waiting for me.

I did celebrate the accomplishment of graduating taking into consideration how hard it had been to get there. But there was not that much time to celebrate as the monday after graduation I was already working on my first assignment for “Al Día”, a local hispanic newspaper.

Just when I thought I had seen it and experienced it all I was in for yet another wake up call. I had never worked in a newspaper before, but I was hired for my writing skills. I had never edited a whole tv show before (at Telemundo), but I was hired because they liked how I did things during my internship. I was again under a lot of stress and pressure, I was again close to quitting and packing, but that did not happen. I do not do that, I wasn’t going to that time.

It took me close to two months to get things turned around. I had hit rock-bottom, there was only going up from there. I was now being sent out to cover the Cowboys, the Rangers, NASCAR and many other sporting events around the area. I started receiving less criticism and more compliments towards my work. I had pretty much started all over again.

The year went by, running was put on hold for a while due to work but I was doing what I liked. I was now ok with dealing with pressure, and was able to deliver 99% of the time. I started looking for a Work Visa Sponsorship but that never came, so I prepared my trip back home for good.

May 20, 2014 was the day I took off, but hopefully I get a chance to go back. Not necessarily to Dallas or Iowa, where I made great memories but anywhere to a country that pushed me to my limits over and over again. A place where I discovered how hard life can be when you’re on your own but also how good it feels to get back up.

Like Rocky says; “It’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.”

That is so true. I had great moments but I also fought huge battles against myself to make things work.

I learned a lot about myself and what I am capable of, something I’m quite sure wouldn’t have happened if I stayed at home and watched life go by. I lived some of the best experiences a guy at 25 could have wanted. My job as a reporter was just getting started in the DFW area, but I had the experiences of a veteran.

I hope I made an impact on the life of others just like many others did on mine. Thanks to running I got in, thanks to journalism I stayed, but thanks to perseverance I was able to hold on. Today I am collaborating on a project that gives more athletes the chance to experience what I experienced. (CMASAthletes.com)

Right now I am fighting another one to find a job. It’s taking me time but if I was able to overcome I did in just the past six years, I know I will find one. In the end, all I can say is…. “Thank You USA.”

This is just the start of a really big dream.
This is just the start of a really big dream.