Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day 4, Thursday July 31st. REST DAY... 12 days left until I step on to the mat in Beijing.

Today is rest day, we have had 3 days of working out hard and trying to get used to the time change, so today we have a little rest from Judo. We still however decided to play some Soccer against the Swiss team, who is also training here before heading over to china. The Game was about 1 hour long, and Canada won 5 -2. It was tied with 25sec left in the first half when I got a break away pass and scored to put my team up by one at the half, we never looked back and went on to score two more times. :P. Can anyone let me know if this qualifies us for the world cup?? Hahaha. Oh yeah and it was 6 on 6 soccer.

After soccer, we were pretty drained from all the sun so we watched the rest of Carlitos way, and decided to just hang out around the dorms for the afternoon. We didn’t get up to much, some of the guys took a nap and the rest did the regular - ping pong, and sun tanning outside. Other than that, not much exciting happened. Mike found his can opener which he thought someone stole, turns out he put it in the fridge, but at least he found it. Well it is a short one today, not too much went on. Talk to everyone later

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 3, Japan – Wednesday July 30th... Olympics on my mind! 13 days!

Last night’s sleep was a little restless to say the least, a little too much thinking going on, to make matters worse I woke up at 3am this morning, but at least I managed to fall back asleep by 4am for another 3 & ½ hours... 7:30 not too bad! Day by day it will only get better and better. This morning I had a small breakfast because I am now starting to cut back on how much I eat, my weight was 77kg this morning, so not too bad, only 4kgs to go before the morning of the 11th!! You might think that is a lot, 8.8lbs!! But really it is not very much at all.

After breakfast it’s back to a little bit of friendly ping pong, after a couple games Sasha comes up with this great idea to change things up. “How about we play polka dot ping pong” he says. Now if you’re asking yourself what is polka dot ping pong, don’t worry we didn’t know either. The game is not much different it’s just normal ping pong, with a little twist. You play without your shirt and after each point scored the person on the losing end of the point has to turn around with their back facing the other player, the other player in turn gets a free shot – meaning he tries to hit the ball with his paddle as hard as he can and hopefully the shot lands somewhere on his bare back. Don’t worry we won’t get injured before we fight it just leaves a small welt, which stings a little but is a lot of fun to watch and even more fun to play. Even though Sasha thought up the idea of playing this game, he defiantly got the worst of it and we named him “polka dot” king – you can use your imagination as to why. As you can see once again by our choice of pastimes there is not a lot of things to keep us busy threw out the day, but it’s a lot of fun and we are using it as a team bonding method! :P

12:00pm PRACTICE time. We have been training everyday at 12 noon because that is what time the tournament at the Olympics will start. We are trying to get our bodies used to fighting at that time so that we are that much more ready for our competition days. Today’s practice was the best one yet, still only about 60% of what I know I can be in terms of my strength, power, speed and endurance, but better then the last two days! During practice today we had our first little bit of media exposure, as everyone knows Judo is HUGE in Japan so when one of the local TV stations heard that the Canadian Olympic team was training here before heading over to China, they jumped at the chance to get some coverage. The media was fairly basic stuff - taking pictures and videos for night’s news. They also had the chance to interview Keith and Mike in Japanese. Both Keith and Mike have studied for a Year in Japan, Keith when he was in high school and Mike just a couple years ago here at Budo University, so they know enough Japanese to do these interviews. After practice they followed us around a bit to see what we actually do in our spare time, basically just to get a few extra shots. After we were done with the reporters it was off to lunch, and then back to rest a bit before nights practice.

Tonight’s practice was a circuit in the weight room. 6mins of work, 3 sets! Doesn’t sound like much does it? Well this circuit is defiantly a test of man hood, so if anyone wants a good work out here it is, and if you don’t feel like puking afterwards – you didn’t work hard enough. The same goes with any work out, it’s only hard when you push yourself to your limit, and I’ll tell you, if you push yourself on this one, it’s gonna hurt!!

30sec intervals – As fast as you can possibly go with a 10sec rest to get to the next station (exercise)
Bench 40kg
Clean 40kg
Squat 50kg
Shoulder press 25lbs dumbbell

You go through the set 2 times in a row, making it about 6min long... Rest 5min and repeat. Remember as fast as you can, to build up the lactic acid!!..

After tonight’s practice we again watched a couple of movies and went to bed.!

Day 2 Japan – Tuesday July 29th, 14 days until my debut at the games

5:17am... CRAP!! Up yet again really early, this time I think it was because I was hungry, or at least that’s why I think I woke up. So I pulled myself up and out of bed to make some breakfast, a little Cereal and bread with PB. No toaster here, although it’s a really nice campus where we are staying, the kitchen is in need of a little help. After breakfast we relaxed a bit and played some ping pong in the lounge area, which consists of a PING PONG table, and some couches. The Olympic team actually has a lot of practice over the years in Ping Pong, mostly due to all the travelling to Japan. Every lounge at the different university dorms we have travelled to have had a Ping Pong table. After our intense games of ping pong we went to our rooms to rest a bit before the practice.

PRACTICE TIME... WOW I was not feeling this one today either! We did some drills and some randori(fighting) which I faired fine in, but I had no energy or will to go at 100%, the jet leg is still getting the best of me, as it should! After practice we had a team meeting which consisted of the coaching staff reminding everyone that it is normal to feel like crap, but to keep pushing ourselves and everything will be back to normal in the next couple of days.

Judo is definably one of the hardest sports to get ready for a big competition; we always have to travel overseas for all the major events like, World cups, and well any major tournament. The main reason I say it is so hard for athletes in Judo is because not only do we have to do what everyone else does from other sports, like get used to the time change, Mentally prepare etc. We also have to worry a lot more about what we eat, meaning sometimes, well most of the time we have to cut down to make the weight, which means we don’t normally eat very much 2-3days before the competition, which is draining both mentally and physically. Also we go to bed hungry and thirsty most nights before competitions. I always laugh when people from other sports said they had a bad night’s sleep the day before there event because the bed was too hard or to soft!! Well try going to bed with a dry mouth and no food in your stomach, which is normally due to the fact that you have lost 10 or more pounds. We also have to pay attention to how hard we train coming up to an event due to injuries, if you don’t get enough rest your body tends to break down, and that’s when injuries occur. Anyways back to my day.

After practice we went for our team lunch, and then rested for the afternoon, movie and internet. Around 5pm I had my 2nd work out of the day which consisted of - 6 x 400m Runs at 70%, and 4 x 100m Sprints. Afterwards we made dinner, some grilled cheese sandwiches for me. Oh yeah and today we also met our first friend!! Although we still haven’t figured out his name. Or gave him one I should say, our friend is some kind of weird looking Bug, who hangs out in the kitchen/lounge area – this bug is rather large with huge antennas. We have some videos footage of the bug hissing at us, which was rather entertaining but now, I think he was threatened by us, but no worries because we have settled our differences, and now he walks around the lounge area like he owns the place. As you can see we are finding ways to pass the time during our stay here in Japan. Other then meeting our new friend tonight was pretty basic, a little laundry, a movie and bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day one Japan – Monday, July 28th 15 days left until the big show

5:12 am and my eyes shot open. I tried to fall back to sleep but it was too late I was already awake, as I looked around the room I notice I wasn’t alone and within 10min everyone was up, well except Frazer(60kg) he tried to fight waking up, as he rolled around on the floor I started to laugh a bit, but I had to respect the fact that he wanted to sleep a little bit more so I tried to be as quiet as possible. You might be wondering why I said Frazer was sleeping on the floor, well as a matter of fact everyone is sleeping on the floor – we are in what is called a Tatami room, which is basically a traditional Japanese room. The room is one big open space, there are five of us in the room. Keith Morgan our 100kg Player, Sasha Mehmedovic our 66kg player, next is Frazer Will our 60kg player, myself and our training partner Mike Popiel who is also 66kg. You might think that it would be uncomfortable but we do have air mattresses which we brought from Canada so its basically like camping out with your buddies.

Today we had a morning “training” which was a soccer game, but it wasnt your normal soccer game as it is 37degrees here in Japan, without the humidity. So I would say its about 40plus degrees... which I can tell you is not very comfortable to train in. After the 40min soccer game we had lost about 2.5 kg of water weight, even with drinking. Todays goal was to stay awake all day or until 9:30 at least so that we could all get used to the time change faster, because if I fall a sleep when ever I want to it will defiantly take more then a couple days to get used to the time.

They say that for every hour that the time changes it takes one full day to get used to it. Japan is 13 hours ahead of Canada so it is suppose to take 13 days to be fully used to the time change.

After our morning training the boys went on a little aventure to find a grocery store, which took about 30min (one way)to find, by the time I got there, finished my shopping and got back to the dorms I was soaked with sweat and in need of another shower. At 5:00pm today we had our first judo training in Japan. The Budo university Judo team is on vaction or at home because it is summer time now, so we are just training with our sleves which is more then enough with 10 people in total who make our team. 5 Athletes, 2 Coches, 2 training partners and 1 manager.

Todays practice was of course hot and tiring because of the time change and well it did not go as well as I wanted the first one to go, but I thought about it afterwards and I shouldn’t expect to be 100% right away, im hoping to be back to my 100% by Thursday. Tonight I made some spaghetti with meat sauce, nothing special but I was tired and hungary so I didn’t really care. We have dont have very many pots or pans here so I had to actually cook the spaghetti in an "old school" metal tea pot... it actually worked great.. After dinner I just relaxed and watched a movie, and by 9:15 I was out.

And the Story Begins, Travel day – July 26th, 16 days until I fight!

Hi, Everyone..

Its 4:15am and the alarm has just gone off, I’m not tired but more anxious to get on the road. As I finish packing up my bags and get ready to go, I already notice that my mind set has changed, I no longer am thinking about paying my bills or making sure that the house is clean, all I have on my mind is performing at the Olympic games, and even as I write this my mind is going at million miles per hour, thinking about my opponents and how it would feel to stand on top of that podium in 16 days.

My Girlfriend asked me if I was mad at her this morning because I was being so quiet, of course I was not I just had a lot on my mind, if you have ever had a huge exam, an important business meeting or anything that was super stressful in your life you would only begin to understand how I am feeling. To Understand....... Triple how you feel before a big test or meeting and make it a do or die situation that only comes around every 4 years and that pretty much sums up how much pressure and Olympic athlete has on herself/himself. One day every 4 years to make sure your 100%, one day every 4 years to prove to the world who is the best, one day every 4 years to represent your country in the biggest sporting event in the world, ONE DAY!.

I am heading to Japan this morning, the Canadian Judo team will be training for 8 days at Budo University. The reason we head over so early is to get used to the time change and to get accustom to the climate. The trip over is rather long, but ive had worse! One 3 hour flight to Chicago, one 13 hour flight to Japan, and one 2 and ½ hour bus ride to Budo university, not to mention the layovers we had, but finally we are here. Mind you we are a little tired, and in need of a nice hot shower! After unpacking and settling in the team heads out for a quick dinner, a little chickenkatsudan(spelling) which is rice with onions, with a fried type chicken over it, oh and of course you can’t forget the raw egg which is cracked on top of it. MMMMMM haha actually it’s really good, the raw egg cooks because the food is really hot!
After that we headed back to the dorms to get some rest, but as tired as we are we know we will be up early because of the time change. SLEEP.

Golf Tournament

So where do I begin, I guess ill begin by saying THANK YOU to everyone who donated their time and energy to making the golf tournament a huge success, and of course a big thank you goes out to everyone who came and played in the tournament. Also I would like to thank all the hole sponsors and also the individuals who made a donation to my travel and tournament expenses! It really means a lot to me that the community has come together and have shown interest in my sport and myself. The support of a community really does go a long way.

When I get back from the Olympics I will be uploading pictures from the Golf tournament as well as from the Olympics onto my website, but for now to be totally honest I have no clue how to upload them :P it’s a new website so still a lot to learn about it!

Although the golf tournament day was a little wet at times I think everyone had a good time out on the course. The BBQ was also a lot of fun for me, I’m still getting used to signing all these autographs, It is defiantly a big change from not being really noticed to being in the spot light. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. Well I will be trying to post a blog every couple of days throughout the Olympics so make sure to check it out.