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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Photo of the Week--6/29/09 (special TKD edition)

So I've been in Fort Lauderdale for over 24 hours now, and I've been sprinkled on four or five times as I've been walking around the Convention Center area. As you can see from the photo of the fountain near the center, the clouds keep coming through this area, bringing occasional showers. The forecast for the rest of the week is much of the same: highs around 90 with occasional thunderstorms. So much for "sunny Florida." I actually don't mind; if there's going to be high heat and humidity, some cool raindrops and 10 mph winds make it tolerable.

The convention center is air-conditioned, of course. That should make my match or matches tomorrow tolerable. My part of the competition should be over 18 hours from now. I checked in early today and got weighed in; I was well within my weight class, as the official, calibrated scales seem to show everyone a couple pounds lighter than they thought. (It's a conspiracy between the diet companies and the scale companies, I bet.) They called me back for a re-check at 3 pm, to make sure that my division—which is one of those with fewer than 4 competitors—wasn't decimated by people failing to make weight. It turns out I do have competitors, but I don't know whether there are one or two other people besides me. One other person means one fight, winner takes gold. Two people means someone gets a bye ... I'm not going to worry about it this year, I decided I'm just going to show up, fight the first match (and win), and then worry about what might happen next. Still, I have to admit the stomach is feeling a little twitchy.

So right now I'm just chilling, watching Wimbledon and surfing, before venturing out to find someplace with a decent salad bar. I'll have another report tomorrow night, hopefully with a picture of a nice shiny medal.