Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My road to bronze—once again, with feeling

It’s at the end of a very long and crazy* day that I’m writing this entry (although I’m posting one day later, because I don’t have free internet here at my fancy hotel). Although my result this year was the same as last year—a loss in my only match, meaning a bronze medal—I feel differently about it this year. A lot of things were the same: I didn’t sleep well the night before, I felt nervous going in, I had trouble with my asthma during the match. But a lot of things were different, too.

Last year I didn’t start training in earnest until January; this year I trained from the beginning of the year, starting in September. Last year I didn’t spar at any other tournament except States; this year I fought at three other competitions. Last year I weighed in at 142 pounds and change; this year I weighed in at just under 126 pounds.** Last year I obsessed about the draw and how many people I might spar, and when I went from getting a bye into the gold-medal round to gaining an opponent, it freaked me out a little bit. This year I tried not to obsess, and just told myself to worry about winning the first match. It turned out I had a bad draw—I was in a group of three and didn’t get the bye, and I’m sure I could have beat the girl who did get it, since I managed at least four points on the gold-medal winner, and she got a big zero—but them’s the breaks.

It’s been hot and rainy here in Fort Lauderdale, so when I woke up feeling a bit wheezy, I knew it didn’t bode well for my match. I was sluggish and I couldn’t move out of the way of the other girl, who left me with some really nasty bruises. (I’m icing the one on my elbow as I type.) Still, I made it into the second round, and scored a really wicked crescent kick to her face, knocking her back. (“You rocked her world!” Miss Laura said.) I just didn’t have the energy to follow up, despite the last few weeks of practicing two-minute rounds on my sparring bag. Result: a repeat bronze medal.

So while last year I had trouble sleeping the night following the match, going over in my head what I could have done differently, this year I think I’ll sleep fine. (For one thing, all the hotel shenanigans have left me exhausted.) I couldn’t help the draw, and I couldn’t help the wheezing. I trained as hard as I could, and I don’t have any regrets.

Besides, I still have forms competition on Friday, and I’m still aiming for gold.

*The craziness involved switching hotels; telling myself that grown women don’t cry in hotel lobbies when the room they reserved isn’t ready, even after an hour of waiting when all you want is a shower, some ice, and a nap; and getting sent to a third and upgraded hotel for free ...

**Since January, I’ve put in the time and effort to lose over 15 pounds, mainly by exercising every day (yay for indoor exercise bikes that let you read while your work) and eating more fruits and vegetables, especially spinach. I could go on and on about the whole weight loss aspect, but it’s not the main story, I don’t think.


  1. Sounds like you head is in a good place. (Besides on the top of your shoulders, I mean.) I'm really proud of you and the effort you have made in the past year to get in shape and train for this competition.

  2. Sharon BlankenshipJuly 3, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Diane, Sounds to me like you did pretty good. I am usually a lock for the booby prize, so anything in the win column is big for me.