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Jessica is our 2016 Olympic Hopeful and Sarah is our 2012 Olympian in Weightlifting. We're setting out to be "Pretty Strong" and we encourage you to do the same.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pan American Games

The Pan American Games was one of the coolest competitions I have had the opportunity to compete in.  I had a great time. I made lots of friends, did some trading and got to watch great athletes compete!

The whole city of Guadalajara was involved. I spoke with one of the bus drivers and he said that many new roads, bridges, and building were built specifically for this event. Mexico wanted to make sure that the city was aesthetically pleasing to the visitors of their country.  There were giant skyscraper-esque hotels with banners hundred (s) of feet long depicting different athletes doing different events.  On one of the under passes we saw a huge stenciled sequence shot of a long jumper jumping and saw another painting of a Paralympic hand cyclist. They had lanes on the roads specifically painted as express lanes for busses and other Pan Am vehicles. It was nice to feel like we were the main focus. What I liked most about the new additions to their city were the exercise parks. Under some over passes, they had a skate park and one with treadmills and ellipticals. There were also a lot of soccer fields. It’s good that exercise and sports are being incorporated more into their community.

The village was so cool. I was told the meet would be run like a mini Olympics. That’s what it felt like. There was a big bus station outside the venue where we could get to various competition and training sites and the airport. At the gate to get in, there is a security check point. You had to go through a metal detector and have your belongings x-rayed every time you came in. It was like that at the competition sites as well.  The first area you saw on the left was the “International Zone.” This is where they had games, a bank, a salon, different types of food, a post office, the gift store, and a stage for live entertainment. The next building was a huge tent. That was the cafeteria. It opened up at like 5 am and stayed open until like 2 am the next day. Up ahead and to the right were the athlete dorms. They had a pool, a nature walk, and some other stuff I didn’t get to see. Each country had their own section of the dorms.

USA was in two buildings. We had sports medicine. Which I believe was very excellent. I went there at least twice a day.  We had an athlete’s lounge. This was a great little area because they had phones we could call home on for free, internet,  a t.v. playing Pan Am Events live, and American snacks. 

I noticed that the organizing committee seemed to be very eco conscious. Their main food sponsor, Bimbo (a bread company) makes all of their wrappers 100% biodegradable. I liked the most the furniture. In the cafeteria and our bedrooms, there were tables and chairs made of cardboard. In our athlete lounge we had little nightstands and a couch made of the cardboard. It was so cool.

Our rooms were set up like apartments because that’s what they’re going to use them for after the games. There were 3 twin beds in the living room and 2 beds in the bedroom. We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and listening to one of Hilary’s best bed time stories. Most of time, we didn’t ha hot water. We all were in shock when we heard we couldn’t flush our toilet paper. You had to put it in a little trash can then dump it in a larger can down the hall way… with everyone else’s.  The walls were also very thin. I didn’t get much sleep the night before I competed, or at all, for that matter. I wanted to yell at some guy for playing his music down stairs. I didn’t. We each had balconies which was fun because the last night I was there, they had a firework show and I watched it from there. 

The most super heavy weight friendly amenity they had was a shuttle in the village. It went  in a loop around the village from the dorms, to the cafeteria, international zone, and bus station.
Although the cafeteria was open all day and was all you can eat, I found it difficult to keep my body weight where it needed to be. I avoided the fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid having horrible gastrointestinal issues like we all had in Guatemala last year. I tried to eat two of each meal, eat snacks, and drink a lot of milk to no avail. The food was very clean and very simple. I had a ton of carne asada, rice and beans. Everyone thought the rice was so amazing. “That rice is poppin’ dude”. I really liked it but I read the ingredients “Rice, water.” I don’t know what made it so good but that’s literally all that was in there. 

The weightlifting platform was the most beautiful platform I have ever seen. It was made of this awesome material. It was not slippery at all. It was surrounded by shiny hardwood floors. The crowd was great especially when Mexico was lifting. There was lots of energy and enthusiasm. 

My warm ups in the Snatch were going very well. I was focused and even though I didn’t feel very fast, I successfully made all three of my snatch attempts. I opened with 104 which I think I power snatched, then I went to 109, then 112 for a PR. I was in 2nd place after the snatch by 1 kg. Our goal was to stay as close as possible to the Ecuadorian that beat me last year, knowing I have a big clean and jerk, I could beat her. If not, at least give her a run for her money. I usually take some pretty big jump s as I warm up in the clean and jerk. Start with 65, 85, 105,115,, 125 then take smaller 5 kgs jumps. When I got to 125, It was a little shaky overhead but, I knew I could fix it. I My last warm up was 130 and the pull was slow resulting in me having to do a double bounce to get out of the bottom, then the jerk was not very good. My legs did not feel like they had any juice in them. My confidence in even getting under 135 was shaken. I ended up doing a pull with it. 
There was a lot of positive self talk, and I went out for it again, no go. On my 3rd attempt we were doing everything, slapping my legs, ammonia, anything that could get me fired up enough to get under the weight but I was again, not successful. .. my first bomb out… In a competition I should have won. I was heartbroken. I cried my eyes out 

This training cycle had so many ups and downs so say the least. I told myself before going into the meet, “Make lifts and be happy with the results.” I got a personal record in the snatch and made all 3 of them. I’m not sure who all on our team made a significant amount of attempts or attempted PRs but for me, I had something to be proud of. I learned a lot from this experience. I have spent this week, not dwelling on my mistakes but, pondering on what I can do to make my next meet more successful.

Here is a link to see some highlight videos, stories, and pictures from Pan  Ams

This week of training has been very successful.  I’ve been mainly trying to focus on what I can control, and make lifts. I can control my eating, sleeping, supplements, and mindset. I tried to eat lots of nutrient dense foods, consume a lot of protein, take all of my supplements consistently, and try to just keep my mind and body moving. I’m feeling much more confident in my technique and strength a level going into World’s than I did going to Pan Ams, Let’s see how it goes!

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