Homework at the OTC

Athlete Dining HallOkay, I want to be honest.. blogging feels a little like homework to me. Good guess as to why I haven’t made an entry yet. I know it’s the new and cool thing to do especially as an athlete, so I will try my best to not look at it like homework and write it like I’m having a conversation with you all. Here we go..

At the moment, I am at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’m trying to decide what will be best for my athletic career in terms of location. I’m growing to like it here even though, I find myself bored more often than not. On a Saturday afternoon in Seattle, I would probably be at the bouldering gym climbing walls and then finishing off with a nice session of power yoga. I will have to look into something similar if I were to make the move here. I am really liking the atmosphere and being surrounded by other athletes that have the same goals as me. I think one of the best parts is recognizing famous Olympians. For example, I was in the Sports medicine clinic yesterday and this morning and both times, I was fortunate enough to run into John Orozco (gymnastics). I wanted to yell out, “I follow you on twitter and instagram!”, but the awkwardness in me took over and I pretended like I didn’t recognize him and tried playing cool. Probably did not work. Same thing happened in the past with Ryan Lochte and Apollo Ohno. To put my body and injuries in the hands of these specialists (physical therapists, doctors, athletic trainers) that also take care of these top athletes, really gives me confidence that I will heal up fine and possibly go injury-free for the next four years. If I were in Seattle, I would have had to make an appointment for the following week to get my injuries checked out and then pay a shitload to have some mediocre physical therapist who specializes in geriatric therapy to tell me what I already know about my injuries. Here, I walk in, see a therapist who works with athletes on a daily basis, and be treated like I am one of their famous Olympians. All for free. I was also told that a nutritionist, sport psychologist, and personal trainer are all included.

Another positive factor for moving to Colorado is the high altitude. As soon as I landed in Denver, I could feel a difference. I had to run across the entire airport to make it to my connection flight and by the time I arrived to my gate, I was drenched in sweat and breathing hard. I am in better shape than that! Since being here for a few days, I have gotten better acclimated to the altitude and haven’t had an embarrassing display of sedentarism. However, I still feel extremely out-of-shape when on the mat, when back at sea-level, I feel like I can go forever.

Last but not least, I have a great relationship with the head judo coach. I have never had a good relationship with my past coaches, so I am excited to see how having a positive moral coach in my chair is going to effect my performance. The coach here genuinely believes in my judo and my potential, which is really important to me. Who wants a coach that feels like they HAVE to coach you and doesn’t believe in you? I have learned over my many years of training and competing to not rely on anyone else, including coaches, for your success. But there comes a time when you want to look over to the side and see someone that WANTS to be there and believes that you can win and make it all the way to Rio.

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