Want to spend a weekend in Mongolia?? Sure why not?!

Want to spend a weekend in Mongolia?? Sure why not?!
July 11, 2013
5:20AM

16 hours later and I am sitting in my hotel in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. I wasn't planning on going to Mongolia to compete- but here I am. I am the only American here. It literally is just me. So I will be my own coach, my own manager, and well... I don' really have anyone to talk to – So I'll probably be spending the whole day talking to myself. Its Friday morning here, and I can't sleep. I slept way too much on the flight over here- so I've reached my max. Plus my stomach is growling out of control and I am hoping breakfast opens at 6am- or else I am going to have to settle for a cliff protein bar- and that doesn't sound too appetizing at the moment.

So I am competing in the Mongolian Grand Prix tomorrow. I was in the same exact place last September except the only difference was the tournament was a World Cup. Which means if you Gold you get only 100 points on the World Ranking List. Last year I placed fifth. I was one of the top seeded players and had a bye first round, I won my first match and lost to Japan in the semi- final and then to Korea in the bronze medal match. This year- the stakes are higher. If you win this tournament you will get 300 points on the World Ranking List as well as prize money. Sooo... If I win I will be $3000 dollars richer!!

I am literally spending the weekend here, I found out last Sunday that I was able to compete in this tournament, purchased my ticket that very night and now a few days later I am here. I think I am probably going to spend more time getting to and from Mongolia. I arrived at 1030pm last night. Today I have to register, go to the draw and weigh in. I compete tomorrow and then I get right back on a plane to go back home tomorrow at midnight. It is going to be one of those in and out tournaments. I am not even going to take any time to explore- I really just want to do work here and get back to the comfort of my own home and to continue training for the World Championships that are coming up in a month and a half.

After Mongolia- I come home for a week and then I am off to Montreal for Pre-world Training camp.

The Life of a Judoka. I am nomadic- I never stay in one place for too long.

-Hannah

 

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Two Week Summer Tour

bathingsuittimeI have the luxury of sitting in my own bed, on my own computer after a long 2 week judo tour filled with two competitions and a training camp in between. The majority of the trip was spent in Miami, Florida! So I wasn't out of the country like usual. My first stop was the Miami Grand Prix, I had a Brazilian girl first round, Mariana Silva. We went the full five minutes and I lost 2 penalties to 1 and was eliminated in the competition after that. Unfortunately after the competition I got super sick. I couldn't swallow and breathe. It is an awful feeling when its like 95% humidity and you can't breathe. The whole time I was there I felt like I was suffocating.

My goal was to spend some time by the pool when I was there- but since I was sick I couldn't really take full advantage of the awesome weather and my training camp was not so good because I was trying to rest up for the next competition.

Our next competition was in El Salvador. This was my 4th year in a row at El Salvador. I was the #1 seed at this tournament and had a first round bye into the quarterfinals. I won my first match against GBR- I actually threw her for ippon- but the refs waved it off after a 5 minute deliberation on whether it was a score or not. This was my first experience of video tape review- and if it is going to take that long and mess up the flow of the match then I rather just fight.
In my semi-final match I lost to long-time rival #2 ranked Janine Nakao from the USA and again lost by penalties. The worse way to lose/ win. Then I had to fight another American for the bronze medal match #4 ranked Leilani Akiyama- I threw her for wazari and pinned her to capture my third medal at the El Salvador event. I won this event last year- so coming back with a bronze medal is a little disappointing.

However, I am not complaining. I am still ranked #1 in the country and I maintained my World Ranking of #20.

So what is next for me? Thursday is my birthday- so I will be home celebrating my 25th Birthday with my friends and family!!! You are all are more than welcome to celebrate with me :: wink wink::

There is 9 weeks until I leave for my FIRST Senior WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (In Brazil) ---> So my main focus is training for World's- and getting in the best shape physically and mentally. I want to make a statement at World's- No more one and done's!!

It's a good feeling to know that I am staying put for awhile. I have been traveling so much in the best 5 months- so it will be good to stay put and focus on what I need to work on- So I don't make the same mistakes in the next spurt of competition.]
In the meantime- it's time to put my bikini on and soak up in the sun!!

xox

Hannah

6 countries in 5 months!

tyumenFlying back from the World Masters in Russia, very disappointed in my performance. However, I am trying to look on the positive side. This was my World Master's Debut. I was invited to compete with "the best of the best." That alone is very awesome, not many people- especially in the USA get to go to this event. But- on the other hand I expect so much more from myself. I know I can put a dent in these kind of competitions and I was not able to this time. It kills me inside. I had the chance to do something here, and I didn't.

In the world of sports- that is what happens. Yes, you win some and you lose some. I know I prepared correctly and the right way for this tournament, and coming home empty handed is very frustrating.

I have 4 more hours left of my 9hour flight from Moscow to New York, and I can't wait to get off the plane. Go home and put my gi on. Having a good work out after a tournament always makes me feel a little better- but I know I won't feel satisfied until I compete in Miami to redeem myself. I hate losing, which every normal person should. And I am not the type of person that will make excuses for myself.

I can't believe it is the end of May already. This year seems to be flying by! I have been very busy. This is my 6th country that I have been to, 7 if I include Canada. Just this year, I've been to France, Austria, Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, and now I can put Russia down in the books. Time goes by so fast when you are away for weeks at a time, and even when I am home time goes by and I find myself packing for the next trip.

In two and a half weeks- I will be competing in the Miami Grand Prix then a week later I will be competing in El Salvador. This will be my 4th consecutive year in El Salvador. Last year I won the World Cup which sky rocketing my world ranking. A bunch of my Jason Morris Judo teammates are coming with me on this trip, so this will make it even more exciting.

In July, I am planning on going to Spain for a training camp and then I am probably going back to Russia to compete at the Moscow Grand Slam. That will be my last tournament until the World Championships at the end of August in Brazil.

I am very excited, this has been a year of first for me. This was my first year that I qualified for the Pan American Championships, World Masters and the World Championships!!

It's back to the daily grind. Jet lag and all- I am so ready to do this!

Can’t Catch A Break

My new obsession, Starbucks Iced Coffee in the glass bottles that they are now selling in like every gas station! I love iced coffee, especially when the sun is shining and I am driving with my windows down listening to country tunes. For some reason the warm weather brings out the country in me, and I find myself singing along to country songs that I didn't even know I knew the words to.I blame Crackerbarrel for that, the store and restaurant is always playing country music in the background- so it must be coded into my subconscious or something. But anyways...

The new few months are going to be extremely busy for me. This weekend I am heading up to Ontario with the Team, to compete. My coach wants me to get some competition time in before all the big tournaments. I compete Sunday and the day after I am flying out to Tyumen,Russia. ! Yes, I made the cut and I am competing in the WORLD MASTERS CHAMPIONSHIPS! I can't believe I am even allowed to go to this tournament. Exactly a year ago, I was competing at the Miami World Cup and I believe I was ranked #107 or something like that- In the WORLD!

And now I am here, #16 in the World, and I am still not satisfied with that. I have so much more that I want to do and accomplish.

After Russia, I am home for a few weeks and then I fly down south to compete in Miami, Florida again. This time for the first ever Grand Prix event in the states. After Miami, I then fly to El Salvador to compete at another continental open.

I am also turning 25 at the end of June! The big two-five. I feel like I should feel more mature or something since I am that old. Life is not what I pictured it to be, but I am not complaining. I love my life and all the opportunities that it has brought me. Maybe I'll have a chance to celebrate it this year, but I can see myself probably saying I am going to go all out and then I'll end up at practice-- because I will feel guilty for skipping or something.

Yeah, I am busy but I am pretty predictable. Gym. Work. Judo. Travel Travel and Travel.

Maybe one day I'll catch a break, and I'll probably find myself staring at the wall, trying to figure out what I want to do with myself because I will have so much free time.

Athlete Life: Recap of the 2013 Pan American Championships

I was looking at my last blog post and was thinking... really? A whole month really flew by again? 899255 10151375779436128 119937518 oHonestly, where is the time going? I am totally okay with the fact that April is over and we are going to finally have some nice weather and sun! My favorite time of year is just around the corner and I can't wait!! I don't know about you but I am partial to the sun shining in my face and being able to relax, read a book by the pool and enjoy the outdoors. This morning I woke up and did not even want to get out of bed because it is so grey and gloomy outside. However, I do see the promise of spring, all the trees are starting to bud and I am sure in a few weeks we will start to see flowers sprouting everywhere! They have been holding out on us this season.

It has been a week since I have gotten back from tropical Costa Rica, and two weeks since Senior Nationals. I won Senior Nationals, for my second year in a row. Came home and a few days later flew out to Costa Rica for my first Pan American Championships. Being selected to compete in the Pan American Championships is HUGE because you not only get to represent your country but if you medal here you gain a TON of World Ranking points. My goal was to medal in this competition, and I ended up getting a bronze medal- not my best performance but I got the job done. It was really nice to also have my coach, Jason Morris come to the Pan Ams. I would not have gotten this far without him so I owe him a huge Thank You!

The exciting part about taking a medal in this event- is that I might have qualified to go to the World Masters tournament in Russia at the end of May! I am patiently waiting for the IJF to update their world ranking list because if I did the math correctly I should within the top 16- which means I will be invited to compete with the best of the best! As an athlete it would be such an honor to be invited here. I swear I am so excited about this that I am having dreams about it. Talk about being a huge judo nerd!

As a Team- Team USA did very well. I believe we picked up 7 Bronze Medals, 2 Silver Medals and a Gold! I also got to compete in the Team Championships. It was my very first time competing in a Team competition. To be honest I woke up the morning of the competition feeling awful. I honestly just wanted to spend the day by the pool, being lazy and relaxing. I never even imagined that the Women's U.S. team would be fighting in the Team Finals that day- but we did! And we ended up taking the first GOLD medal in a Team Event EVER! Our team did great- we were superstars out there and I am so happy that I was a part of making history. The team tournament consists of 5 athletes. -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg and +78kg. We had Angelica Delgado, Marti Malloy (2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist), Me, Katie Sell and Bianca Lockette. A referee came up to me after the tournament and told me that everyone was calling us the "Magnificent five" because I am sure nobody had their money on Team USA winning either. Our team had a BYE first round then fought Canada in the Quarters and beat the Brazilian Team in the semi-final which was HUGE for us- we were the underdog team but I swear Marti's pep talks really helped us, and being able to beat Mexico 5-0 really solidified that the Women's Team is no joke. Competing in the Team Championships was really fun and probably one of the highlights of the trip.

It is always strange coming back home. I like being home, going through the daily training grind. But it is sometimes depressing to come back from such a high- and then being thrown into the real world. My real world consists of dealing with hungry guests that complain that their food is too cold and they don't have enough butter on their pancakes. I always ask myself why I go back to work after I come back from these amazing trips. But I have to remind myself that I need to work right now-school loans, credit card bills and judo expenses don't just disappear, and I learned at a young age that money doesn't grow on trees so that is why I must work. Even though I rather be teaching judo, working out, or laying out by the beach.

So my judo forecast looks like I am going to be staying put for awhile, I am probably going to be home for a solid 5-6 weeks UNLESS I qualify for the World Master's event. Being home is going to be good for me. It is going to allow me to take the time to work on specific techniques. There is nothing stopping me from improving, and I am not going to stop trying until...well... until I retire from this sport. I have so much that I can work on, and there is so much to look forward to. I believe that it is healthy to take breaks from competition because when you are always in competition mode your life is somewhat limited. You physically and mentally get burned out. So on that note- today I decided to bake brownies for my FIRST TIME EVER! Let me just tell you- the first time I ever tried to bake cookies, they came out horrible. I cooked them way too long and I forgot to put baking powder in the mix. This time I opted for a pre-made brownie mix- so I mean I can't mess them up that bad... right?

-Hannah

 

 

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