I was looking at my last blog post and was thinking... really? A whole month really flew by again? Honestly, 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?