Trains, Planes and Automobiles! My summer on the road!


The last time I got a chance to breathe and sit down and blog was right before the World Masters- Since the World Masters ( which were in May) I have been to Budapest, Denmark, El Salvador, Mongolia and Canada! I might have spent a total of 10 days at home so far this summer!! I feel like I have been competing almost every weekend, and It is good to be able to come home, recharge, and to just focus on training. I have a solid five and a half weeks of training before I compete in my third World Championships. This year the World Championships are being held in Astana, Kazakhstan.

It is crazy to think that the Olympics are a year away and everyone is running around the world chasing tournaments, trying to catch as many points as possible so This year, has not been so hot for me, but I believe in my training and all the work I have put in and I will be back on the podium again!! I love what I do and eventhey can qualify and guarantee their spot on the Team.
though this sport tends to knock you down (literally) I have every intention to get back up and keep tyumenfighting. I have not given up on myself, and I believe my time will come.

Last week I had the opportunity to compete at the Pan American Games! The Pan American Games is like a mini Olympics but it is only held for the countries located in North and South America! This was my first experience of “the games”! It was an amazing opportunity and a great experience! The games is for all sports, and you live in an athlete village where everything is centered around the comfort of the Athlete. There is a game room, medical staff, a huge cafeteria with all sorts of food, free coca-cola products, and you get sweet gear! USA is sponsored by NIKE- So I have a whole bunch of new USA Nike gear to wear around- and it looks great! I also got to experience my first opening ceremonies, and I got to walk out with the United States in the huge stadium with thousands of thousands of people! I think I was even shown on ESPN! I can’t even explain the feeling, when you walk out and there is music and people yelling and cheering- everything just feels worth it! These people are here to cheer you on and support you! I almost felt like crying when I walked out there!
tyumen I fought for bronze at this competition, and ended up losing by two shidos (penalties) to the 2015 Pan American Champion Del Torro of Cuba! It was heartbreaking to be so close to the podium, I honestly can’t wait to feel a medal being placed around my neck! I might even cry when it happens. All the sweat, tears, and hard work I have put in the last months will truly be worth it.

Now that I am back to the real world, I really miss the athlete village life… waking up and having breakfast already made for you, and walking next door to the gym was so convenient. The only thing that the village needed was a Starbucks- then I would have been all set. But it’s nice to be home, and back to my training routine, and focusing on the biggest event of the year.
My life mainly consists of lifting, running/sprints, judo in the morning, tanning by the pool, iced coffee and judo in the evening. It might seem like an easy life, but by the time our evening session is over I am complete toast, even driving home from practice is a chore and I live 5 minutes away!

I am working hard, I am training smart, and I have a goal. No matter what people say about my results this year I am going to keep going. All I can control is what I do, and if I strive to improve every day – the results will come.

“Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer

Kaizen: Constant Daily Learning and Improvement

It is already the middle of MAY! The last time I had time to sit down and write a blog post was after the European tour at the end of February! These two months have just flown by and now I am back home for a minute before I head off to my next competition- which is the WORLD MASTERS in Morocco!!!!

If I had to describe the last two months, I would like to call it an emotional rollercoaster ride. Sports not only tests your physical strength and perseverance but your mental strength as well! I have learned so much more about myself in these few months. To not sugar coat anything, YES, I have not been doing very well on the World Tour. I have been eliminated almost in every first round. It has been an extremely tough road, but it hasn’t stopped me from doing what I love. I believe every athlete needs to be tested- and well this is my TEST.

I read a very cool article by Venus Williams, “ Eleven ways I Gained My Confidence back:” she stated, “Life can be especially tough when we are dealing with things that are out of our control… but the only tragedy in losing or failing is not learning from it”

My motivation to succeed is higher than ever, and all I can control is what I am doing at the dojo and at the gym every single day. I wake up with a purpose every day, and that is to try and be the best I can be. I fail a hundred times a day, but I never stop moving forward. Losing doesn’t make me want to quit it makes me want to get back up and keep fighting.

What is life is there is no fight? And if making an Olympic Team was easy everyone would do it right?? In the 2012 Olympics there was 530 athletes that qualified for the Olympic Games! FIVE HUNDRED AND 30!!!! I think the USA’s population is around 310,000,000!

There are thousands and thousands of motivational quotes that I could read a day, but reading those words don’t help me succeed. Posting words on my wall isn’t going to put me on that team. That only thing that is going to get me there is by my actions, and by my personal want and desire to make my lifelong dream come true.

Mental toughness is going to get me there, and that is what I have learned about myself through these last few months. I am committed and I am the only one responsible to push myself forward or hold myself back. People can stop believing in me, but the only thing that could stop me is if I stop fighting. I am a fighter, a competitor, a judoka.

European Tour Update 2015

This past month I spent 2.5 weeks training and competing in Europe. My first competition was in Austria, I actually competed on Valentine’s Day. The past 3 years I have been either in an airport traveling to Europe or competing on Valentine’s Day! Which confirms, Judo is officially my boyfriend. I am in a committed relationship with Judo! I lost my first round in the Women’s Open in Oberwart, Austria. I was absolutely crushed after losing my first round, but I had a long two weeks ahead of me. I had to pick myself back up from a disappointing loss and focus on having a good training camp. I had a great training camp in Austria, and the Austrian Judo Federation was very welcoming and took great care of us! 

My next stop was Dusseldorf, Germany- to compete in the first Grand Prix of the year! It was a very tough competition. I had 37 judoka in my weight category! I had a bye first round, because I was the 8th seeded player in the tournament, however I lost my first match. I made a huge mistake in the first 20 seconds of the match, and got thrown for wa-zari (half-point.) Judo is a very unforgiving sport, so any mistake big or small could be very costly. 

After the competition, the USA team and I stayed for a very high quality training camp. We had two practices a day and we did about 7 -8 randori rounds a session. I learned a lot at this camp, physically and mentally! Now if I could only turn back time and do both these competitions over again. Ahhhh wishful thinking! 

I have learned a lot about myself in these past few weeks in Europe. As a sport (wo)man you have to learn from every single loss and every single win! You have to keep striving to improve. You can’t settle. I am not going to dwell on my disappointments but I’ll use them as fuel. Fuel for me to work harder, fuel for me to work smarter! 

I returned to the states on Thursday, then I travelled to Ontario Clinic to teach judo to the Niagara Falls Judo Center! I am so happy that they invited me back there a second time! They are a great group of people and I am happy to share my passion of judo to them!! 

At the moment I am finishing up packing for my next trip, Chile! I am going to be competing in two Pan American Opens! I am looking forward to taking what I learned at the camp and applying it to competition.

Oh and did I mention it is going to be 80 degrees out?!?!!


Snow Day!

Snow Day

So here we are in the middle of winter in the great North East! In all of my winter’s I do not remember a winter that has been this cold and this SNOWY! I started off the 2015 year, training in Montreal, Canada. It was literally an ice rink up there in Canada Land!! I got lost walking outside to my first training session, and I thought I was going to tear my ACLS walking around!! It’s like having a workout before your workout when you are walking out there, and in my personal opinion I think walking on the ice is more dangerous than doing judo!

So I had a good “Welcome Back” training camp in Montreal! That was like the real test to see if I was ready to come back to competing – after being out of judo since the end of October! I was so relieved to have survived my first training camp back post-surgery! The following week I traveled to Tunis, Tunisia to take a swing at a competition! I ended up taking 7th place- and this competition was probably one of my worst competitions to date. My timing was off, I felt like I was out of shape, and my confidence level wasn’t there!

But at the end of the day- I have to walk away from Tunisia with a positive mind!! Even though I had a poor performance, I have A LOT to look forward to in these next months! Every single day I am working on trying to improve, not only my judo conditioning but I have also been focusing on the little details and techniques. It is easy to dwell on losses and to take them to heart but I’ve learned that the most important part of this journey is to keep moving forward. I’m not perfect- and neither is my opponent, and the only thing that I can control is my preparation before each and every event. My coach always tells me, “You jump to the results thing too fast… you need to improve. You need to improve every day and hang your hat by banging out one training after another trying to get better.”

Judo has so many layers and there is so much you can work on- which is one reason why I love this sport so much.

It feels good to be back to my regular training program, two- a-days, running/conditioning, and strength training- Ahh yesss I feel like I am Hannah again! From October- December I thought I was going to lose my mind! I dove into my physical therapy, read a lot, and even started studying a new language! Privet!! Kak Dela?!” Staying busy is always the best option, and keeping your mind busy is the most important!

At the moment upstate New York is literally getting smothered in snow- we even had to cancel judo tonight- and in 9 days I am leaving the States for the Austrian European Open and then I will be competing in Dusseldorf the following week! I will be out of the country for 2 ½ weeks!! Two competitions and two training camps!! #GameOn

Persistence is the Vehicle You Arrive in

RIO 2016In the past few years I really focused on my own personal confidence. Self-confidence and getting your mind in a positive state is one of the toughest hurdles that all of us athletes have to face. There are many keys and elements to success. Having confidence is most definitely one of those things that help aid in being successful.

Well- I can rant and post a million different quotes about “being better than yesterday” and “Confidence is Beautiful”… I am sure I have posted 10 of those quotes in the past week. But my question is, how do we become confident? What makes you truly believe in yourself?

Success isn’t really a black and white thing. Everyone defines success differently. This year I feel that I personally have lacked in the success area- based on my judo results. But then I have to step back for a few minutes and put everything in perspective and think outside of myself. Just to be able to do judo as my job is its own success. I love what I do. It is my passion and I get to spread that passion to others while representing the USA all around the world. Yeah, I might not have a medal around my neck after every single event. But I keep striving to do so, which makes this journey so special.

Progressing towards something great. That is really what this journey is about. We are all trying to do something that is greater than ourselves. Every day I work towards that goal, with a positive mind. Staying positive has helped me through the tough times, especially through injuries and tough losses. Things always will turn out better, especially if you work for it. Judo has taught me Patience. I might not understand a certain technique, or I become frustrated with one of my training partners. But I have learned to be patient, but persistent enough to make sure that I get the job done! They say ambition is the path to success, and persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. (Bill Bradley)! I love that quote!

Being a sports (wo)man has really taught me a lot! This past year has also helped me grow to become a stronger competitor. I’ve had many defeats and disappointments. But I never stopped working hard and working to be better. That is because I love what I do, and I am not going to let some of these upsets let me lose confidence in my judo. I know what I am capable of.

So what is success? “Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence” – Colin Powel

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