Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weight Management

I've always enjoyed the fact that I can eat whatever I like going into competition while everyone else is dieting/cutting down. The night before weighing in at a tournament, I'm eating pasta, ice-cream, whatever, and drinking as much water as I want to stay hydrated. And I love that I don't even have to step on a scale to wonder if I will make weight.


The flip side is that I'm always smaller than everyone else. And since having my surgeries I haven't lost any actual weight, but instead of being a relatively strong 110lbs, I am now a soft 110lbs and I feel every bit of my lack of strength daily in training at this time. My strength coach (we started on a strength and conditioning regimen about 4 weeks ago) just informed me earlier this week that I need to gain 10-15lbs. I'm on the opposite diet of everyone around me, now they will hate me even more, lol! Is it possible to gain at least 5lbs between now and the beginning of June? I'm not sure, but I aim to find out. Just in case I happen to get cleared by my strength coach and BJJ coach to go compete at the Mundial. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pan Ams Female Divisions Recap

Every year the ladies make a bigger and bigger splash at the IBJJF tournaments. The matches become more even and exciting as the years go by and the ladies become more and more technical at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

It definitely shows the growth in the sport worldwide when a company like Budovideos is streaming all the matches live on the internet. It is rumored that 60,000 people logged in on Saturday to watch. They only show one or two matches at a time, but the commentators try to let you know what’s happening on the other mats. My only complaint is their lack of knowledge of the female fighters. It’s appalling to me that they didn’t really know who Hannette Staack was. SHE’S A THREE TIME ADCC GOLD MEDALIST… They have obviously not done their homework when it comes to the ladies. But, I am excited to report on the divisions that I was able to witness. To read more at the Grappling Girls Guild click here

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Moving on up

Since my last post, things have improved slightly. I have noticed a huge plus up in my strength and stability at this stage. I can actually see definition and toning coming back into my arms and legs...which is nice as it's just in time for the warmer weather when I'll be wearing tank tops and shorts/skirts. So really I can't complain. Ah, the things we ladies think about. :)

On Monday, I moved up in weight significantly on the leg press and leg curl machines. The last time they were in our circuit I could still feel the instability a lot and it limited the amount of weight we could put on. But Monday, I was able to really tax my legs. We did another leg workout on Wednesday, then I went to Yoga on Thursday. But it might have been too much this week because both my knees started to bother me and I have a little pain and sensitivity when kneeling. I heard my right knee pop a bunch of times earlier in the week, and thought maybe that was what caused it but then last night I noticed my left knee had a similar pain, so who knows...I only trained one round last night, I was teaching class anyway and figured I should go light and give my legs a rest (we worked our arms Friday morning, I'm going up in weight but still feeling a fair amount of weakness on the left side).

This week I lifted 3 times, went to Yoga once, and had a massage but only got in decent BJJ training one night. I did some light BJJ 2 other times but it's not enough, I need to be able to train more.

In very good news, we had a new boy come try the kids class, he has been training at another academy in the area for at least 6 months and he would be the oldest in our program which, if he signs up, will be good for the other kids. With some kind of luck, another student brought in his younger cousin to watch the kids class the same day and the boys knew each other so perhaps we will succeed in getting them both signed up. The class could use a few more older kids and their additions would probably allow us to begin splitting into 2 groups, older and younger.

Also, this week, we had another lady come in and sign up for the women's classes. We've lost a couple women here and there for various reasons but it looks like the class may be picking up in steam again. An additional woman (to the one who signed up) also visited this week from another local academy, she has over a year experience and will likely be signing up with us in about a month after her other membership expires. It's always nice to get additions to the program who already have experience. Speaking of which, we have another blue belt female who may begin training with us next week and I spoke to another lady on the phone who is planning to come in for her free trial in the next week or so. We still have yet to reach a total number of 20 though. I guess the plus to this is that most of the ladies who have been adding recently are more consistent in training than the ones we are losing, so the attendance numbers of women in class are going up even if the total number is still bouncing up and down towards 20.

p.s. I can't help but mention, good luck to Ryan and Seph at the IBJJF Pan Ams tomorrow morning!! We're going to put it on the computer during the women's class and one of the ladies' husband agreed to sit there and monitor it and let us know if/when they show their matches on the live feed. Budovidoes

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I was finally cleared to train a few weeks ago. The first week I only trained 3 days and I couldn't get through the drilling portion of class before my shoulder and hip started to hurt. By the completion of 2-3 sparring rounds I couldn't wait any longer and would need to ice immediately. That was 3 weeks ago and even though I had literally no strength and was in pain most of the time, I was just happy to be back on the mat.

Then 2 weeks ago, Ryan and Seph went out of town and I ended up teaching every class, 4-5 classes per day. I was so exhausted from teaching that I only attempted to train 3 days. I felt better physically, but was getting at least a day between each session and was only rolling 3 rounds with carefully selected partners.

Last week Michelle Nicolini and her student Priscila Prandini were in town for Michelle's seminar. We trained hard the first 2 days despite also beginning my first weight training workout in years. Needless to say, my body gave out after day 3 of hard training and lifting. I took the next 2 days off, only rolling one round with Priscila on Saturday and only drilling the techniques Sunday at the seminar. Monday we lifted and I rolled hard with the guys that night then Tuesday I got in 3 hard rounds with Michelle and one with Seph. I was sore as hell but didn't want to rest one more minute of time while Michelle was here.

Michelle and Priscila left Tuesday afternoon so I took a much needed break Tuesday night. We lifted again on Wednesday and I took Wed night off. I thought I would be good to go by last night and was looking forward to hard training after the time off. I went 2x7 minute rounds with Ostap and one round with Seph in the middle. I should feel good because Ryan actually watched all my rounds for the first time in a while and he complimented me on the improvement in my movement and techniques (a rarity from him). But by the end of the last round, my whole left arm was throbbing and visibly shaking, and my whole right leg was throbbing, from my low back to my ankle. My body was betraying me despite all my hard work and there was nothing I could do about it.

I was so excited at first to simply be back on the mats that I didn't care when someone passed my guard because I couldn't fight back with my right leg or that I couldn't secure anything with my left arm because it wasn't strong enough to grip tightly. But, I am ready to train again for real. I want to trust that my right hook is going to work when I attempt to use it. I want to believe in the stability of my left shoulder (and by extension, arm). I want to roll hard without stopping to avoid a certain direction because I know my body can't go there.

I know that part of my frustration lies in the fact that Ryan and my strength coach were discussing my future competitions the other day. Our strength coach had actually laughed at me a few weeks ago when I told him I wanted to compete at the NY Open. After a couple days back on the mats I realized he was right and Ryan and I decided that I shouldn't try to compete that early. So I set my sights on the Mundial. Then on Wednesday night Ryan told me that they don't think I will be physically ready to compete by June. I was so upset, I cried. Those goddamned tears.

Why did I cry? Because I have spent the last 4 months working my ass off in PT. I've recovered faster than any doctor believed I would - from BOTH surgeries. AND I still might not make it to my goal. I cried because there are only 4 tournaments a year in the U.S. where I am guaranteed to have girls my size and level to fight. The gi and nogi Pan and Mundials. It's not easy to be 110lbs (I'm almost back up to that weight consistently now) and do jiu-jitsu. Take away the strength from one arm and one leg and it becomes near impossible to fight people heavier than you every day in training and competition against larger opponents isn't even thinkable at this stage.

I can understand now why some people never fully recover after a long stint off for an injury. It's hard to be so very far for so long from what you used to be able to do without even thinking about it. Many times over the last few months I've wondered whether or not it is worth it to me to continue being a competitor.