For the past few years, everything in my life revolved around the 2016 Olympic Team. I went to the gym to get stronger than my opponents did; I trained judo twice a day to improve my technique. I worked to make money for competitions to help me qualify for the Olympic Games. I was training for a big goal; I felt that I trained for a big purpose. Every competition was important; every single win on the world circuit would get me closer and closer to my goal. Now that I have different goals, it is a little difficult for me to keep that same motivation. I have wrote down my goals, they are all mini goals, I have not thought past the 2017 World Championships. It has been a challenge for me to not think about the big picture and to focus on the little things. I am not struggling physically but mentally.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about the next Olympics. Even though I have not set my goals past one year, I have the thoughts of Tokyo running through my mind, and this is where I begin to question myself and have thoughts. Will I be able to put my mind and body through this cycle all over again? It is not just about the physical, but the mental. Am I mentally ready to put myself through this again? Competing and training is a rollercoaster of emotions, some days you wake up and feel like superwoman and then other days you feel like you got ran over by a bus and then some. I went to my first training camp since my knee surgery in Austria about a week ago , and as I went through each training session, pushing myself to my limit, feeling the sweat dripping off my face, feeling the soreness of my muscles. I felt that the easiest part for me was doing randori at the end of the session and just letting my judo instincts kick in and not worry about how sore or tired I was.
It is a challenge, shifting gears and focusing on other aspects of my judo career. There is more to the sport than just the Olympics. I had a competition in Estonia this weekend, my main goal for this competition was to go in with no expectations but just to have fun and enjoy the sport of judo again. I had some good fights, I lost in the quarterfinal, won my repechage match, and then we had a very long break in between the prelims and the finals. 63kg is the last weight category to go at these World Cup events. During the break I started thinking about how this could possibly be my first European Medal on the IJF circuit. (International Judo Federation), I have a bunch of 5th and 7th places at the Grand Prix events in Europe. I started putting extra pressure on myself and not focusing on what my objective was- and that was to have fun!
Unfortunately, I put too much pressure on myself in that last match and ended up losing. I had 2 wins and 2 losses at this event. I have to analyze what I have done this past weekend and figure out what I need to change before I compete again in Croatia.
I have been in Europe for about three weeks, time is going by fairly fast. It is a different kind of lifestyle in Europe. I am based in Copenhagen, Denmark in between competitions. This is where my boyfriend lives and works. You have to learn to adapt to different food when you are constantly traveling to different parts of the world and the one thing that I always miss when I am in Europe is having access to MY CAR! Having a car is so convenient and almost a necessity in the states. I have to walk everywhere, and take the metro and bus. I am not complaining just saying that I miss my little blue Honda Civic. Usually when I am away for a long period of time I miss my car and of course my pug, ROCKO!