My Personal Win.

I was talking to a friend this past weekend about my athletic career and about things that were bothering me, he came up with something very interesting. He told me that I give people an optical illusion. On the cover, I seem to be self-confident and sure of myself, but on the inside I really don't believe in myself, and almost seem scared. Of course, I wanted to argue with his statement, tell him he doesn't know what he is talking about. But for the past few days it has been bothering me. Am I really not confident in myself? I kept telling myself over and over again, No Hannah, you are confident, you are an elite athlete! Blah blah blah... yea I actually had to talk myself into being confident.. Now that isn't a good sign.

I have met many people that say they have done "X" in their life, some people try to impress me and say they were a ballet dancer, a track and field runner, or something crazy, and then they tell me that something absolutely tragic happened in their life and they were unable to continue training and continuing on to reach their potential goals. Not meaning to sound like a bitch here, but, when people tell me that there was a "tragic" event I usually stop taking them seriously.

I have been doing the same sport for 15 years, I have grown up in this sport and had to face many hardships in my life. There were times when I took a long break, or told my coach that I was quitting because I just didn't want to do it anymore. Or I have gotten severely injured and had to take a few months off. For the past 2 years I have put off knee surgery because I was shooting for the 2012 Olympic Team. I feel like some people use a certain event that has happened in their life hype it up,exaggerate a little bit, so they can feel reassured that they did the right thing, when they decided to give up. Maybe it just got to hard for them, or maybe the tragic event really did hold them back, but I feel like if you want it bad enough ABSOLUTELY nothing should hold you back! I think about quitting all the time, but you know what I don't. I could have quit after the 2008 Olympic Trials and said I was happy with the "Olympic Alternate" title, but I feel like I couldn't live with myself if I just gave up- not knowing what my true potential was, not knowing how far I actually could push myself.

I wish I could say I was still that same girl, I wish I was the same girl in 2008 at the Olympic Trials that gave it her all, that had her heart set on one thing. I remember being focused and determined to win, and you know what I almost did it. I almost won it all.

4 years is a long time, and a lot of distractions always seem to fall in your way. School, boyfriends, financial issues.... Life seems to pull you in all different directions, and even though you still have your goals, sometimes reaching your goal might be a little farther way than you like.

I feel like someone is dangling a cookie right above my head, and I keep jumping, I am jumping as high as I possibly can, but no matter how hard or high I jump I still can't reach the cookie. I am just not tall enough.

I have taken my shots and risks, I have been given opportunities to get there, but that still didn't cut it. There are going to be people out there that are better than me, there are going to be girls out there that are stronger than me. But I have to be willing to accept that, and know deep inside, that I am the Best that I can be. I am lying awake right now, I can't sleep because I feel like I let myself down. I feel like I should be better than this, I am not the best that I can be, because I never allowed myself to be. I, me, Myself, Hannah Martin is holding me back. It is all mental for me, I could dedicate my life to training, people can tell me I am strong, that I am good, that I am going to win it, but if I do not actually believe it, it will never happen.

I was driving in the car today on my way to Crossfit, thinking about that same conversation that I had over the weekend. I kept telling myself I am confident, I believe in myself, I am not scared. But I found myself thinking about the Workout that I was about to do, and talking myself out of it. I kept saying to myself, "this workout is going to be so hard", "I hate front squats.", "What if I don't beat my time from the last time I did this?" I kept second guessing myself, and on my way to crossfit I was actually talking myself out of doing the workout. And Why? Because I am not confident that I can do this. So I gave myself a personal challenge today. I told myself that no matter how tired I got during the workout, that I was going to finish it strong and beat my time no matter what, even if it was by two seconds, it still would be better than last time.

The Workout was tough today, I remember the first time I did this crossfit workout, I was absolutely shot, it killed me. I also remember this workout being a turning point for me because it was the first time I did the workout "Rxed"- a prescribed workout is doing the workout exactly as it is supposed to be, without scaling down the barbell weights or changing the movements. The workout I did today was called "Recently" basically, it is a timed workout, where you do a rep scheme of 21-18-15-12-9 of deadlifts, hang power cleans, front squats and push jerk at 65lbs. (95lbs for men) So- you go through each movement, and you are timed.... I remember at different parts of the workout where it got hard, I would start bargaining with myself, telling myself, "You could skip a few reps, nobody would notice," or "just stop now and say that you are tired and have to go judo," But instead I pushed through it. The time I wanted to beat was 20:53 and I finished at 17:33. I shaved off 3 mins and 20 seconds!!

Today was a personal win for me, I felt like I proved to myself that I can do it. I am better, stronger, and faster than I think I am, and I don't give myself enough credit. and I AM the only one that is stopping myself from not just being good, but being Great. I am getting in the way of myself.

I am stopping myself from being the Best!

My new focus is not the 2012 or 2016 Olympics but it is on conquering my inner demons. Mainly, my self-confidence. It has been a rough few months- especially in the competing/judo world. Yes, I have been able to compete at the highest level possible, but I also was not able to pull through it, and come out on top at this level. Why? Because I, Myself, did not believe that I was good enough to do it. But I am. I am good enough, or better. Next year, I am going to look back at this post, and probably laugh at myself. Probably be embarrassed that I even posted this on my website blog for everyone to see- but you know what I am going to "Kill" these competitions next year, the same way I killed this WOD today.

And that is because I KNOW I CAN!

Cutting Weight

"Cutting Weight" what does this term mean? For those of you who do not wrestle or do judo. Cutting Weight is a great term we like to use when we are pretty much depleting our bodies of all its nutrients and especially Water to make a certain weight category to compete at.

I remember my first experience of cutting weight, I was 12, and on the way to a tournament my coach and parents told me I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything on our five hour car ride to Buffalo, New York. I was confused at first because I never even heard of the concept. But it wasn't until I arrived in Buffalo and they made me run on the treadmill and spit while doing it to lose the last half a pound to make a certain weight category. Little did I know- that was just the beginning of my Athlete Eating Disorder.

Blogging Therapy

I almost find it therapeutic to take the time to "blog." I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my thoughts, or even cares what I put down here. But I personally find that it helps when you write down what is going on, so you can sit back and reflect.

When I was younger I used to go on irrational emotional rampages and just write down whatever I was feeling, then be extremely embarrassed when a friend would find my notebook with all my angry thoughts and ask me why I wrote what I wrote. I feel like when I am blogging- other people might be reading- so It teaches me to have control of my thoughts and word them in ways that could be helpful and useful to others.

So let me give you a brief update on my life since I have been back home from my adventure overseas, I competed in Montreal over the weekend, came home with a bronze medal. I am very indifferent about the medal, of course I would have liked to take home a Gold. But I also know it is not the end of the world to not win every event I go to. I like to always use these tournaments as ways to practice and work on things that I need to improve on. Funny thing is, I still feel like I need to work on a lot of things. It is never-ending, and I rather have it be that way. If I was perfect at this sport than I what fun would it be? I wouldn't have to train anymore, and I think training and practicing is what builds character. LOTS of it.

This week has been fun, I lost my voice Sunday night driving home from Montreal. I guess it was all that singing, I am a sucker for Celine Dion. I can't help myself. I think I have laryngitis, my voice has been gone for 3.5 days. So I feel like an adolescent boy going through puberty, and I have found myself kind of liking the fact that I can't really talk, I feel like it is helping me focus more for some reason?!

I feel pretty accomplished this week- Crossfit wise I have achieved Muscle-ups. A goal I have had since Day 1 of starting it. I have crushed every single WOD this week, and beat some goals of mine. Today I was surprised to find that I am stronger than I think I am. I beat all of my goals for Overhead squats, front Squats, and Back Squats. I know I have the physical part down when it comes to these workouts-the hard part is believing in yourself and gaining the confidence to achieve these workouts.

My next goal is to fix up my diet a little bit, I haven't been as strict with my diet since I have been home, I guess I missed our food too much? But diet is a big part of training - and I feel once I do my diet perfectly, then things are really going to start to click.

Can't Wait.


Fear of Failure

In all of my psych classes I have taken, I have learned that Fear, is a vital response to physical and emotional danger- BUT we often fear situations that are in no way a life or death situation,and this causes us to hang back for no reason. Traumas or bad experiences trigger fear, and I think that is one of the hardest things to overcome. yet, exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.

As an athlete my greatest fear is failure. I sometimes feel like I put myself into a panic because I think of all the time, money, effort, blood, sweat, tears, etc that I have put into this sport and if I come out unsuccessful I feel like I will not be able to live with myself. On top of that, I would feel like I let everyone around me down, my coach, friends and family. My whole life I felt like I had to prove something, just like at my first day of judo- I had to prove to my dad that I was tough enough to do this. And to THIS very day I feel like I have to prove something to my parents just because it has been an on-going battle with them. I have finally gained their support, and now my only fear is not being able to show for it.

One of my biggest weaknesses as a athlete is my Mind. I over think everything, and I let the mental part of the game get into my head. I want to live up to not only other peoples' expectations but my very own expectations. I know I am able to do anything that I set my mind to, I have already proven that.

Just the whole idea of sacrificing everything for something you love can be a scary thing. I made that decision 6 years ago when I decided to stay in New York to train instead of going away for school. It was a rush because I did not exactly know what I signed up for when I decided to make this my priority. It is not easy but it is something that I want to do. No regrets.

Think about what you are scared of... HaHa, I am scared of diving into a pool. No Joke, out of all the crazy shit I do on a day to day basis. I am scared to go head first into water. I've tried to face it and learn how to dive, but there is something that is holding me back. ( I think I should put that on my list to do) Is anyone out there a diving instructor?!? Maybe if I meet Michael Phelps at the next Olympics, he will give me some personal lessons. ( Just kidding) So, as I was saying, Fear is something that is made up, it is mental. If you tell yourself you are not scared of spiders and you look that spider in the eye and then whack it with your flip flop- You've just accomplished something! HEY! You gotta start out small. Maybe I can learn how to go head first into water in a kiddie pool?

I work on my little fears everyday, and there is nothing greater than the feeling of accomplishment. Even if you just did kill a spider :)

What is my priority?

At 23 Years Old, I think it is pretty awesome to say my number one priority in life is to make an Olympic Team. I was trying to be a super star and work two jobs ( Gold's Gym and Crackerbarrel), work out twice a day, and go to School Full time, and then I realized that I wasn't able to put my 100% into any of it. I felt like I gave up on myself when I decided that school would have to wait. ( If I got paid to train then I would be in a whole better state of mind) I feel like school is so important to have especially when you are doing a Sport. It is always good to have something to fall back on. But I made judo my number one priority- my friends like to say that Judo has become my boyfriend.

Everyday I wake up, I always try to set a small goals for myself. They aren't super serious, like do my laundry, drink less coffee with creamer*, stretch more after practice, blah blah. You get my point. I believe in setting small goals for yourself and working to accomplish them makes you an all around more successful person.

There is nothing more annoying when you meet someone that likes to talk about the things they want to do in their life, and they never make an iniative to get there. I always find myself standing their puzzled, wondering how they think they are going to get from A to B without ever putting in any work. Let me tell you it takes a lot of work to get something you want. From my own experiences, I know what it means to earn something.

I remember when I was 15 years old, my parents and I weren't exactly on the same page with Judo. They had other plans for me of course, and they told me that they were going to stop funding my trips. First thing I did was walk down the street to a old Apple Orchard and ask them if they needed any help. I got my first job! My mom would give me $20.00 Lunch Money every week, and I would skip Lunch and use that money towards my Judo funds. Nothing feels better than paying for your own junior nationals trip on your own, and coming back with a medal :)

Anyways, as I was saying before I got off topic. Priorities and Goals. Not everyone has the goal to be an Olympian, I understand that. But, I feel like every single person should have something that they can work for. Someone told me that their goal in life was to get married and have children... ( I am making a face as I am typing this right now) Personally, I don't think that is a goal, I think that is something that happens in the cycle of life at the right moment. Now let me make it clear, I am TOTALLY not against getting married and having a family.I think that's great. I would LOVE to have that one day, but I don't see myself waking up in the morning going, "Okay, my goal today is to find a tall, muscular, rich, hot guy and make babies with him." Nooo- that is just not a goal. I believe it's really important to figure out who you are.

here we go: Goal (gohl): the result or achievement toward which effort is directed;aim; end.

EFFORT!!! haha there we go. That was the word I was looking for. I have learned through a lot of trial and error how to get what I ultimately am working for. I wish I could say it was easy, I have fallen way more times than I'd care to admit to, cried, failed, embarrassed myself, you name it, and I am sure I have been there. But, the thing that keeps me going through it all is what I am trying to reach. I am still climbing my mountain, and I hope I don't reach the top yet, because even after I achieve this, I hope there is another mountain to climb with even more opportunities for me.

I know I rambled a lot- post judo workout blabbering..

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