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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.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

been too long!! by jess

hey y'all it's jess,

i know it's been awhile since i've been on here so i'm really sorry i wanted sarah to get all the attention because shes amazing and was getting ready for the olympics. but sarah, move over its my turn i'm back ladies!!
so, let me start off by catching y'all up on the worst and best year of my life. (this isnt all weightlifting related because we're all human) warning this shiz gets deep and personal. SO, some of you may already know i left Boise, Idaho and coach Mike Conroy to train at the Olympic Training Center under Zygmunt Smalcerz. The OTC was my dream place to be. I'd always wanted to train there ever since i started lifting when i like 4 ok 14 (details,details..) I was so excited to train under an Olympic Champion and extremely decorated coach. I walked in the door and sneezed PR's. It happened so fast it was like everything in my life was coming together. I had a long time boyfriend who proposed to me, my training was beginning to look up, i had a really fun job working with kids at 24 hour fitness (an olympic sponsor) and was making amazing friends. Then all the sudden life catches up to you like it usually does God's like wait you're life is too good right now let me throw some obsticles to test you and help you grow.

My obsticles were so extreme i hardly came out alive. My fiance's mom passed away from a sudden brain aneurysm that ruptured. It was the saddest thing i've ever witnessed to watch a family i loved so much suffer from something like that. It hurt me to watch my fiance try to be strong for his brothers and sister. He'll always be my hero for her strength even now. I didn't know things could get worse after something so heartbreaking when Jake (my fiance and national team greco-roman wrestler) lost at nationals when he was a raining champion. I felt like i couldnt do anything but pray for things to get better for him. i felt helpless and weak. Through all the traveling to funerals, and wrestling nationals i had barely touched a bar and when i did i'd fall apart. I was crying in the gym and missing weights i should never even have to think about to make. Zygmunt was so disappointed i could see it in his face and i had know idea what to do. i was a mess. Jake my role model and inspiration then went on to his world team trials and won making his second world team! OK i thought things might start getting better for us. oh, was i wrong. Jake went to Worlds in some random country in europe i forget now and broke his foot. he was sent home for surgery and guess what.. his replacement failed to qualify his weightclass for the Olympic Games. Being at our age in the game in our sports something like that is a career ender. There comes a time in your career where you have to think is it time? is it still my destiny? well, at 28 and 4 olympic cycles he definitly was questioning himself. I did my best to be supportive putting my lifting on the back burner being the younger athlete of the two of us. We worked hard on his recovery process for his Olympic Qualifier tournament in my hometown in Orlando, Florida. Jake is a fighter and i believed with my entire soul he'd make it. i wanted it more than anything for him to have his dreams come true. He deserved happiness, and to make his mom proud. side note yall memeber our "mom's post" back in the day? Families of Olympic hopefuls sacrifice just as much as the athletes do. its a hard life choice but they dream as big as we do. It helps fuel our fire ;)wink. Anyways, through all of this i was still training trying to impress zygmunt and prove to him i still cared about weightlifting and that i still want to reach my goals (he was losing faith). I felt like i was stretching myself too far in every direction and i knew i had to give something up but i couldnt decide what. i had to work to live. i needed jake to live (or so i thought). i needed weightliftng to live. i had to make a choice. Life shouldnt be this hard. i shouldnt feel this sad. I turned to God as cliche as that sounds. Again, i felt it couldnt get much worse than this. I was depressed, Jake was depressed, Zygmunt was disappointed (as an athlete if you're coach is disappointed in you its like a shot in the gut with a poison bullet) I went to American Open in December trying to hold things together when nothing was and lifted terrible in comparission to my PRs i got third place though, so i guess there was that. Life is supposed to be a battle field, right? Maybe life is just supposed to be hard. i knew relationships were hard, i knew lifting was hard, i knew two athletes together would be double the stress maybe this is normal. That's when it happened. My bestfriend's dad had cancer and the doctors told him he only had a few months. well, my wedding was among those months. He was a big part of my life and always had been. The Campbell family to me was always an extention of my own. Like, Her mom was also mine and her dad was also mine and my parents were also hers... i lost myself. i didn't care about lifting, i didnt care about jake, i didn't care about work. i shut everyone out including my girl Sarah Robles. Olympic Trials were right around the corner and when i hurt my back i was neither suprised or concerned about missing the trials. Shoking and terrible as that sounds it was true. I guess weightlifting was what was meant to be sacrificed after all. Maybe it wasn't my calling? I went home to say goodbye to Papa Campbell instead. That seemed like the most important thing in the world at the time. HOME. FAMILY. I ofcourse wanted Jake there but he had Olympic Trials coming up himself and he didn't want to be distracted. I let it slide because i understood he wanted to put wrestling above me for his mom. Going home (not lifting at all) was the hardest thing i've even done in my entire life. Seeing him that sick. Seeing my family so sad. Feeling so helpless to help. Is life a battlefield? Am i just bad luck? Did i just cause all this pain for the people i love? I started picking fights with everyone to push them away. I couldnt hurt anyone anymore. I didn't want to be around Jake i resented him for being so close to his dreams. i resented him for being so strong. He made me question everything again and again in every angle there was. I even turned away from God. I was upset with him that he could put me through so much hurt. When i got back to the OTC i decided to lift for papa C i wanted to lift for him like Jake wrestled for him mom. I wanted to make him proud. i worked so hard i did three practices a day i faught for every lift i put my hands on and i wouldn't stop till zygmunt was beaming at me. He saw my change of heart and that made me feel. (i wasnt feeling much those days) When her dad passed a few weeks before Jake's Olympic Trials i was even more resentful of Jake. He wasnt there for me when i needed his strength (how could he when he put wrestling first and he could taste his dream who was i to ask him not to bite it) i went home alone to the funeral and decided i wasnt happy or ready to get married in a month. It wasnt the right time and i didn't want my family to fake smiles for me. After that we went to wrestling Olympic Trials and when Jake lost things got worse with us and i and we decided maybe fate had other plans for us. I thought my world was over. I was alone in the world. I sacrified so much of my family and my love life for this sport that i had no idea if i was even born for. I thought about moving home to be with the Campbells and never miss a day with the people i cared about most in the world because life was too short. I was going crazy. So, i decided i'd just lift for fun. Hey, i'm still a resident at the Olympic Training Center. My teammates believe in me and tried over and over again to reach out to me and my coach still believed in my goals. Zygmunt still thought i was good enough. I knew it deep down somewhere too i just didn't know how to accept good things anymore. i let go of everything and my PRs went out the roof! i even was impressing myself.

 Socially being around Jake at the OTC everyday was heartbreaking. Everytime i walked in the caf i would cry and have anxiety attacks. it was hard to focus on all my success when i couldnt ever breathe. My good friend Aimee Anaya Everett called me she knew i was hurting and being the loving caring amazing person she is she invited me to visit her in California. I came for a week and fell in love. Greg Everett (her husband and owner of their gym Catalyst Athletics) reminded me of my very first coach ever from home. i felt so comfortable there the gym was a family in every way. ok, wrapping up i ended up thinking to move on and feel happy and make my dreams come true i thought i needed to minimize the distractions and start fresh. Catalyst welcomed me with open arms. My PRs have continued to increase and i havent been more genuinely ear to ear sore cheeks happy in a really long time. I believe in myself and my team and i plan on growing more and more as a person everyday. Also, i'm back people. Rio for Papa C is tangible and realistic and i will make it happen for me, for him and for my family. oh last thing God and i are friends again i went to this service in Colorado before i moved after my visit and it changed my life. Sometimes God shadders picture frames because he wanted a different picture for you.

even though i'm feeling a lot stronger and happier i still cant read my email with all my wedding crap i still get and i use a good handful of Taylor Swift songs to cheer me up on occasion. I'm a work in progress but i know what's important now. i'm back now to vent to y'all about our lives our idea and our journey as athletes. :)



Cibatarian said...

Those are some incredible challenges. I'm glad things are looking up for you and that you've found your groove.

JIlly said...

Blessings to you.

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