Training before the competition:
I was training 3X a day with some great results until I had some really bad tendonitis. I had to back off of training for a little bit, rehab, and get back into training. It felt both like a slow and a fast recovery. During this time, I had to change my Jerk technique to save on the pounding my tendonitis-ridden left knee. Finally at some point in training, things turned around for the better and I was beginning to push some decent weights again. I got a couple of personal records in training in my strength lifts and I beat my Olympic total in training doing a 118 snatch and a 150 clean and jerk. I did that on my last heavy day of training leading into the competition. Also in training I snatched without foot movement 105, front squatted 180 for 2 doubles, snatched 105-110/clean and jerked 140-145 pretty consistently, and snatch push pressed 125 kgs.
The travel was unnecessarily long and complicated getting to and from La Isla Margarita, Venezuela. We flew from Phoenix and Stayed the night in Miami. I tried to make Jessica jealous that I was there but, I didn't really do anything eventful there. I did share a room with Jenny Arthur. She is a very sweet and talented girl. After the night in Miami, we flew to Panama, then Caracas, then Isla Margarita. On the way back: Isla Margarita, Caracas, Panama, and Miami. When we got to the airport in Isla Margarita, all of our luggage we piled on and into two vans as we were whisked away to the hotel-resort. In the dark we couldn't tell much where we were going but we did kind of see that the areas we traveled through weren't the nicest. All of the sudden, we saw our hotel which turned out to be a resort. Yay! On our plane to Miami from Panama, I cried. I was so hot and sweaty, tired from being awake since 3 in the morning, and frustrated I couldn't move my arms in the window seat. When we came back to Miami, I, my coach Joe and Coach Smalcerz, were in Miami until at least 4 pm so we got a chance to go to the beach for about an hour which was Amazing before getting heading home. When I got back to Phoenix, my friend greeted me with soda, candy, and hugs. More Yays!
|Jenny was my roommate in Miami. Needless to say, she was surprised I played "Paparazzi!"She was really excited to eat pizza.|
|As was I. MMM|
|This was the room Allie Henry and I shared in Venezuela. It's hard to tell but, our beds were mattresses placed on cement slabs.|
|Allie stacked her beds and all we could think of doing was having karaoke night in the empty space. (obviously, we didn't move the mattress yet.)|
|We were within walking distance of the beautiful beach|
|We had a couple of Iguanas just chillin' out at the hotel. I named this one, "Ian."|
Training in Venezuela:
Our training facility was within an easy walking distance from our hotel. It was outside in the parking lot unter an open tent. Our platforms were made of puzzle-piece shaped gym flooring. The plates and bars were good with the exception of the knurling (which is the grippy stuff that helps you hold onto the bar) was too smooth for my liking but, I was ok with that. The chalk was very fine (some people were being divas about it.) The only major issue we had besides the humidity was the fact that we were training on a decline. No matter which direction you were facing, it wasn't good. (I was a diva about this.) I decided to face the decline so I can focus on using my lats and pull the bar close to the body.
Warm up and competition:
The warm up area was incredibly hot. I was overheating like a cheetah. Ok maybe it wasn't that hot but the humidity and the stagnant air was pretty bad, but I really did feel like I was over heating like a cheetah. I had a rage that I was dipping in ice water and rubbing all over my body too keep as cool as possible then fanning myself off with it. My session was changed to early in the morning. I was fairly sleepy but, I did what I could do to be as alert and ready to go as possible. I was too sluggish in my Snatch warm ups and my first two attempts were missed because of it. I will do my best to not allow that to happen again. By the time the clean and jerks rolled around, I was warmed up and ready to go. I was two kgs behind the Ecuadorian girl plus one kgs on body weight (in the event of a tie, the win goes to the lighter lifter. I was heavier than her so I was forced to lift one more kgs in addition to the two she already had on me). Our goal was to stay 3 kgs ahead of her the whole time. I made all three of my lifts, and won the competition. This is my first international gold!
|I won my first international gold here. I don't think the second place woman was too happy. :/|
|Me with Fernando Reis. The strongest man and woman in the Western Hemisphere.|
|In the warm up area|
|All athletes, from beginners to Olympians should take the bar as part of their warm up routine.|
|Warming up for the snatch|
|I'm now a few lifts out from getting on the competition platform. This is 100 kgs|
|Me, Shelbie, an Donovan Ford at the hotel beach|
|My coach Joe and I after the awards ceremony.|
|Gotta get in that ocean!|
|Now I know what all the hype is about regarding the beaches in Florida.|