Saturday, 29 December 2012

2012 / 2013

Just a warning, this post might be a little unorganized, disjointed, and generally not very well thought out. That's because my brain is STILL not working quite how it should be, and I have a lot on my mind when it comes to jiu jitsu and such.

So, 2012 was a pretty good year as a whole, I Joined Pura BJJ very late 2011 and really started training hard in Jan 2012. I have absolutely loved every minute of training with my the team and am so thankful that they have all welcomed me with open arms and have made me feel like a part of the team. It feels like I've been there a lot longer than only 1 year. That could be because in that one year we had five road trips to Montreal, a road trip to Ottawa, two trips to New York, and ten or so tournaments in the GTA that we competed at together. That's a lot of time in a car, gymnasium, and Pizza Hut to get to know each other, support each other and become good friends.

Over the year, I attended over 25 events, including competing at 17 tournaments, fighting in one super fight, attending the IBJJF ref course, attending Sub-X, training in California, and attending a couple tournaments I did not compete at. That's over half the weekends of the year spent doing something jiu jitsu related! Great times. Of course, because of that, I have seriously neglected my non-jiu jitsu friends and family and I feel pretty bad about that. In 2013 I am going to work harder to find a balance so I can pursue my jiu jitsu career and support my teammates while not neglecting my friends and family who have supported me so much over the years.

I had plans for 2013 to start with a pretty big bang. Ascension, Montreal Grappling, Toronto Grappling, and the Montreal Pro Trials, all in the first six or seven weeks of the year. I was also planning on re-starting working with my kettle bells, doing some serious cardio, and lifting heavy things with my mega strong power lifting teammate Ken all in December to be better prepared for the competitions in Jan/Feb. Instead I've sat on my ass, played XCOM, watched a couple classes and tried really hard not to get depressed and fat.

I credit eating mostly paleo to helping me with that last bit. Normally, when I'm injured, I eat garbage, feel like crap, so I eat more garbage, then get depressed because I get fat, so I eat garbage. It's a pretty vicious cycle that I've been working on not getting into. Jon's been pretty helpful with that because there have been a few times where it's like Jon: "What do you want for supper". Me: "Pizza and Ice cream". Jon: "No, what do you actually want for supper". So that's good at least.

Oh, that reminds me, one of my other goals for the new year was to fight in the -132 or whatever division at the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials in Montreal. I know that is mega light, but it's day before weigh ins, and with clean eating, and lots of cardio and lifting and whatnot I could have done it, IF I had been able to get an early start in Dec and kept to it. Not any more. Now competing there at all is a grey area. This whole paleo thing has been going pretty good. I haven't really lost any weight in December, but, all things considering, the fact that I haven't gained 20 lbs is a win for me. I've maybe gained 2 or 3, depending on the day, and how thirsty I am when I weigh myself.

I've been sleeping a whole lot better, and feeling generally more energized, except when I over do it, and the stupid concussion symptoms come back. It's really hard to say exactly how things are from my diet when I am dealing with this head stuff. The other good thing is I haven't caught any of the crazy flu/colds that have been going around and I am usually the first person to catch them, and then the last as well. I'll catch the same flu twice haha. I read the other day on Facebook that last year at this time there was 10 lab confirmed cases of the flu in Ontario, and this year there is over 1000. I think this is partially because the flu season peaked a bit early, but it's still insanely way higher than it normal. So it doesn't just seem like there is a lot more sickness around this year, there IS a lot more.

The other, probably most noticeable side effect of eating this way has been my ability to sleep well. I used to sleep terribly. I had to take melatonin to get to sleep pretty much every night and I would wake up a bunch of times throughout the night. Not anymore. I fall asleep much easier, and wake up a LOT less. Even Jon noticed that HE is sleeping better, because I'm not waking up and tossing and turning and waking him up with it.

The one good thing about not being able to train, and being on vacation from work, is my disaster area of a house is getting a good cleaning... the main floor anyway. It's been in a state that is to embarrassing to have people over for over a year. I just haven't had time to clean, and was a a point that it was overwhelming to start somewhere. I was planning on cleaning over Christmas either way, but not being able to train/exercise gives me even more time to do it. I still have to take it easy, and not do to much though, or i get a headache and nausea all over again.

I started with my living room, rearranged the furniture completely, so I could move some dining room furniture to make room for more storage space. That is one of the big reasons my house was always a mess, there just wasn't anywhere to put a lot of stuff. Also, I have too many small appliances: microwave, dishwasher, 2 single serve blenders, coffee maker, Keurig coffee maker, food processor, hand mixer, and a George Foreman grill. and if they all sat on my counters I would have one square foot of empty space. Now, things like a hand mixer, and one of the blenders could easily go in cupboards or cabinets, but they are all full of dishes because there is so few of them.

Ikea solves everything. We picked up 3 24" cabinets to put in the dining room for more storage AND counter space. WIN WIN! also, they look nice. We don't have a top for them yet though, Jon is hopefully going to get one tomorrow when he borrows my parents truck. we couldn't quite fit a 72" counter top in my accent. The cabinets pretty much fit entirely in the trunk though, which i was impressed with. Except for the bag of hardware, which would have fit, but i felt it was probably best to go in the backseat. I didn't even have to put the seats down!

Did you know that if you buy certain things at Ikea, like cabinets, you have to get an order printed, pay at the checkout, and then drive to the furniture warehouse around the block to get the stuff? They don't have everything in the self serve area! It's a bit of a pain, but also kind of nice, because they find all the boxes for you, which is good, because each cabinet had 7 different boxes/packages, not including the handles, which were found and bought in the store. Complicated. I know.

Tomorrow I'm going to fill my new cabinets will all the stuff for baking/cooking... Big utensils, pots, pans, glass things for baking, measuring cups, bowls, spoons, that kind of stuff. Well, I might leave the pots and frying pans in the kitchen area, we shall see how it all fits and works out. I also have to unpack all my new containers, and put them away on the new lazy susan in the other corner cupboard. It was to a point that we were just tossing in the containers in the cupboard, with the lids sometimes, but not usually, it was impossible to find anything. I threw out an entire recycling bag full of containers with no lids and lids with no containers. Most were those disposable Glad and Ziploc ones, but not all. We are switching to mostly glass ones, I don't like plastic containers, especially for using in the microwave. Jon's always like "it says microwave safe" so it'll be fine. But when you see the plastic all kind of melty and weird looking on the inside, especially when there is tomato in it, you have to think twice about using that for food right? So I don't microwave in plastic anymore, even if it says microwave safe, glass only. So for lunches, it's a lot easier to have glass containers than plastic ones.

I've noticed, the last week especially, that I've been having trouble thinking of words and when I'm writing things down, I'll skip like 5 letters in a word. I've always done that, but it seems like I've been doing it a lot more lately. Or maybe I'm just noticing because i'm trying to be aware of my head and other concussion related symptoms. Thinking a lot still gives me headaches to, I thought I would be past that by now, but maybe because I didn't take any time off work when it happened I think I've delayed my recover a bit, which sucks, but you gotta pay the bills right?

So, 2013... I'll be reffing at ascension probably, not fighting for sure and maybe heading to Montreal for Montreal Grappling- not fighting there either, but supporting Jon and my other team mates, and maybe reffing there too. I don't see myself fighting till probably March at this point, fingers crossed.

Gui Mendes is coming to Pura for a week in January. starting Jan 12th till Ascension. I'm really hoping my head holds up for the technique portions of the classes at least. I will be so disappointed if I can't train with Gui! On Jan 12th there is a 3 hour seminar, 100 bucks before Jan 1st, 125 after that. Then Mon-Fri, there are 1.5 h classes for $70 for non-Pura members. It's going to be an amazing week of training and if you can get to any of it, you should. Gui is an amazing instructor, and not to mention a 3x world champion at black belt.

I just made a batch of cocoa roasted almonds, and they are delish! Just take a cup of raw almonds, coat them in a tbsp or two of maple syrup, then toss them in a tbsp or two of cocoa. Put them in the oven at 275 for 20 min, stirring them up every 5 minutes. Then let them cool down, and eat them.

I totally forgot to mention, in my blog post about Grappler's Quest, that I went from having zero sponsors to TWO in one day. I earned a sponsorship from Pecker'd Promotions by wining the no-gi women's advanced absolute.

The other sponsorship that came to fruition at Grappler's Quest was Redstar BJJ. Now, if you've seen my posting and stuff on Facebook and my blog, you probably thought I was already sponsored by them because I go on about them a lot, but that is because I LOVE their gis and Egor is a cool guy and is working hard to progress the sport and support local athletes and tournaments and stuff. Well, now it's offical and I couldn't be happier to be part of the team. Speaking of Redstar, they are having an INSANE sale right now in their website. $100 for a stamp gi is ridiculous, it's outrageous, it's amazing. They are pre-orders so you won't get your gi till Feb or so, but that's still pretty quick turn around for a pre-order. 

I rearranged my blog layout, and added these two logos/links to the side bar, so check them out and support them, because they support me. I also made a new cover photo for my fan page to add Redstar BJJ's logo to it as well.

I think that is enough rambling for now. I'll see you on the mats, from the sidelines.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Help a friend out!

Hey Everyone,

My Friend and Australia team mate Cristiano recently had a bad eye injury that requires 2 surgeries and since Australia is only ALMOST as amazing as Canada,  the surgeries aren't covered by their health care. 

Full Metal Jiu Jitsu in Australia is hosting a fundraising night on Friday December 14th at 6pm.  So if you're in Australia you should be there to help a jiu jitsu brother out.    Checkout this Facebook Picture for details.  They have some sweet raffle prizes to be given out like RVDDW shorts and t-shirts, spots at the upcoming mendes bros seminar and more!

Pura BJJ will also be hosting a special workshop/class on Wednesday December 19th at 6pm to raise money for Cristiano..   Not a lot of details have been finalized. But keep an eye on PJ's Facebook for details.   Here's what we know so far:

"Next Wednesday December 19th at 6pm we will be having a special workshop with a few raffle prizes - gis, rash guards etc with all proceeds going to help out our aussie brother from another mother Cristiano!! Details to follow! Donate what you can!"

 Hit me up on facebook, or twitter, or comment here or more info on either event. Or, donate straight to his paypal account:

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Grapplers Quest - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Saturday December 1st brought Grapplers Quest to Ontario for the second time in 2012. The first was June 23 in Toronto. This time around it was in the booming metropolis of London, Ontario, also known as really far away from the major population hubs in Ontario. Probably not the best choice of city, but far from the worst. It did bring some people up from the States, who probably wouldn't have made the drive up to Toronto. I don't think anyone flew in, because London's airport is very small, and very expensive to fly to. Toronto probably could have gotten some more wide spread attendance because of it's airport.

I will break up this review/report into 3 sections, like the title implies... The good: things that were good about the tournament, things that I liked, things that other people liked, and things that didn't make me curse the sport. The bad: things that weren't so good that I, or my friends noticed. The ugly: things that were really bad.

The Good
  1. The mats: They were high quality tatami mats, and the fight areas were large enough. They didn't come apart, and they weren't crappy wrestling mats. I absolutely HATE fighting on wrestling mats. I can't stand the way you sink into them a bit. I feel like my knees are going to get blown out anytime someone tries a foot sweep or even a sweep from guard. Any tournament that uses Tatami gets a bonus * in my books. 
  2. The whole computer system: They used Splitdraw and used all parts of it. The weigh ins recorded everything and put you in the right division. In addition to that, each mat area had a laptop that worked as a score board, and kept track of who won what matches. They also had a monitor on the table listing the orders of the matches so people would know when they were up. Finally, each mat had 2 monitors attached to the laptop for scoreboards, facing opposite directions. These showed the score, and which fighter was which colour. All very cool and very helpful for the competitors.
  3. Sponsorship Prizes for the advanced absolute divisions, including the ladies. It's really nice to see tournaments giving equal prizes to the ladies, even though there is so few of us. It's strange to me, how few people (men and women) signed up for the absolutes at GQ though. Some of them were packed, but the ladies divisions were very small. There was a lot of beginer women out though, which gives me some hope for the future of the sport.
  4. They collected food for the London Food Bank. I love events that try to help out with the community. Women competed for free if they brought a bag of non-perishable food! I think that's a great initiative, and I think it did help bring out more ladies. I think there was more female competitors out than at any tournament in Ontario in 2012.
  5. Round Robin for small divisions. Divisions of 2 did a best of 3, divisions of 3 did a round robin, and I believe divisions of 4 also did. I'm not sure about divisions of 5, but bigger than that got into the single elimination. There was always a fight for 3rd as well, instead of 2 bronze medals. It's nice to see them realizing that people don't want to pay 85 or 100 dollars for 1 fight if they have a small division.
  6. The podium area. They had a nice stage setup, and the hardware is high quality. They had a guy working the camera and had bright lights so everyone's pictures should turn out well.
  7. The venue was nice, spacious, and pretty easy to find. There was enough sitting room, and plenty of room for all the vendors that were there. Also, there was food available from the venue's food places all day which is very important.
  8. The Medics. They were very qualified, quick to respond, and took great care of the injured athletes. Trust me, I was in their capable hands twice. and saw them take care of a few other people while I was there. Thanks Jon the Medic! 
  9. Lots of sponsors and vendors around the venue offering a wide variety of goods for sale. Was great to see so many brands out supporting the event.

The Bad
  1. Started around 2 hours late. Now, this was due to a few things.
      1. Allowing same day registration
      2. People showing up really really late
      3. Not enough pens at the registration area
      4. Having too many divisions so they had a lot of lonely people that had to be sorted out.
  2.  A shortage of table workers and referees. They had to use some referees who did not have a lot of jiu jitsu experience. This caused quite a stir in some of the matches as they were unfamiliar with many of the positions and scoring opportunities. This was caused by refs not showing up due to sickness and unforeseen circumstances, as well as me getting a concussion in my match, leaving them short a referee. This is a really common problem at events and one that needs to be addressed. I think the first step would be to encourage competitors to volunteer by allowing them to compete for free if they volunteer for a set amount of time. This opens up a huge pool of volunteers.
  3. A lack of intermediate and advanced women competitors. Now, this is clearly not the events fault. They even let us fight for free. This is on you ladies. What more can you ask them to do? Get your butts out to these events.

The Ugly
  1. The cut on my head and the concussion that went with it. Jiu Jitsu is supposed to be "The Gentle Art". But there was nothing gentle about my last no gi match where I sustained the cut and head injury, or the Gi match after that which I should never have gone into. I have no recollection of the Gi match I competed in that day. I lost... on points I think. I don't even know if the score was close, I have no idea. I think I have video of it...I'll have to check my camera.

So, that's that. Hopefully Grapplers Quest, and all the tournaments can learn from all the great things, and the less than great things that happened in London and together we can all make competition in Ontario better and better.

A little bit more about my experiences in particular:
As I suspected, there wasn't originally anyone in my advanced absolute, or purple and up absolute. I was a bit surprised, because I saw some pretty intense looking ladies walking around, but I guess they were all in the beginner and intermediate divisions. I talked my friend Tee into the advanced absolute so I would have a match, and then Chealsey's coach moved her up from intermediate absolute to advanced.

I had a lot of fun in the match with Tee. She's like 115lbs soaking wet so I tried to keep it a technical match. She snuck in a pretty tight toe hold which had me quite concerned and i finally managed to get a tight arm bar with about 10 seconds left.

The match with Chealsey was not fun. I started out fighting very calm and trying new things like knee bars and wrist locks. Chealsey came for business though and was very intense and tenacious, and rough. she took my back a time or two, and the score ended up very close 7-5 or something like that with 30 seconds left, when the ref finally noticed I was bleeding profusely from my forehead (from one of several knees/elbows/heels to the head). Once I was finally cleaned up and taped up, we tried to restart, but there was some confusion about our position, she thought we were in 1/2 guard, I thought we were in guard. Well, the reff listened to her and her coach, instead of me and the rest of the crowd. But I digress, I managed to keep a hold of her leg for the last 30 seconds and get the win.

I headed over to the medic after wards because He wanted to assess the cut and my brain. After about 25 minutes of questions and forms he concluded that I MIGHT have a concussion and that I should get stitches in my head. I, like the idiot competitor that I am, disregarded his advice and competed in Gi anyway. like I mentioned before I have no recollection of the fight, other than feeling very week, disoriented and unwell. I lost and was unable to pick myself up off the mats when it was over. I was so weak, and dizzy. I was eventually brought over to the medic area and re-assessed. I did much more poorly this time around and was told much more firmly not to compete and not to referee or work a table the rest of the day.

I will be off the mats for at least a week, probably 2, and then will have to be very careful working my way back up to proper training levels. Light cardio only first(after at least a week of no exercise), slowly increasing the intensity, then maybe light drilling, no resistance, and light weight lifting. Won't be rolling for probably a month. If I try to get back to it too fast, I'll just make it worse. This is probably going to be one of the most difficult injury recoveries I have had to deal with because once the cut is healed, I will have no real physical indicators of the injury and It'll be hard mentally to pace myself and not get to depressed when I cannot train.

I'll see you from the side lines.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Paleo Food Adventures!

So I've been doing the Paleo thing for just under 3 weeks now. I think it's going pretty well, I am DEFINITELY sleeping better than I used to. That, I think, has been the biggest difference so far. Some days I am waking up feeling almost rested, which hasn't really happened since I was a kid.

I didn't check my body fat or anything right before starting, but a few weeks before, it was regularly around the high 25 and low 26 range, when sitting at about the same weight as I am now. This morning, on a whim, I weighed myself with my profile, and it was low 24. Now, this could just be a fluke, because bathroom scales are notorious for giving not so accurate measurements, but it has been pretty consistent in its accuracy or lack there of, so I'm going to go with this being an actual drop. A small one, but I'll take it.

Ideally I want to get to around 20%. My non-athlete friends will be all "that's way to low to be healthy for a girl". My guy friends will be all "20%, you fatty" and hopefully a few, educated, friends will appreciate that 20% is a pretty good spot to be as an athlete and a women.

I think, in the last 3 weeks, I have cooked and baked more than I have in the last 3 years combined. My kitchen has never seen so much use, other than to put a frozen pizza in the oven hahah. So many dishes!

My staples for lunches have been vegetables cooked in a pan with some olive oil and random spices, and either chicken or steak. I cook up a whack on Sunday afternoons and put it in my lemon grass take out containers and into the freezer. This system is working out pretty well, an hour or two in the kitchen and I've got 6 or 7 lunches/dinners ready for the week.

Breakfasts have tended to be eggs of some sort, scrambled, fried, or in a quiche. I made a spinach quiche on sunday, cut it up and put it in the freezer for the week. It freezes, thaws surprisingly well. I've also been drinking coffee with coconut oil pretty much every morning. I know, that sounds gross, and the flavoured coffees probably aren't the strictest paleo, but whatever. It gives me a tonne of quick access energy and I like it. You can read more about this at the bullet proof coffee website. Since I'm also not eating dairy, I skip the butter, but I know lots of people who love it that way to.

Sweet potatoes are my new favourite thing. They are so delish. I don't know why I didn't eat them all the time before. Jon made a batch of roasted sweet potatoes the first week I started this diet and I was hooked, just chopped up, with some olive oil, rosemary, shallots and garlic. Stick them in the oven for an hour or so and bingo, amazing.

He also made this casserole thing, which was delish, but the texture got a bit ... stewish after being frozen and microwaved.

Everyone says they could never do paleo because they love bread and carbs to much. I'm not a big bread eater, but I do love sweets, and cakes and ice cream. There are a LOT of really good paleo alternatives. Like the cup cakes I made for my birthday on Wednesday. They were really good, and full of nutrients and not processed junk. I also just made a chocolate zucchini loaf, which is also very tasty, it sounds weird, but it's super moist and has a great texture. But, I think, the greatest thing I have discovered since starting this is new lifestyle is Paleo Chocolate Frosting shots. OH MY GOODNESS. The most amazing thing in the world.

Last weekend was the provincials, I wasn't fighting, so I wasn't too concerned about what I would eat. I brought along a couple clementines, some dark chocolate, and some almonds and walnuts. I didn't even think that there could be kids will allergies there when I was packing my lunch, so I didn't open the bags of nuts, which left me with very little food for the day. They gave us some coupons for Tim Hortons, and Subway, but nothing there was really edible for me, so I didn't use mine. Now, 4 weeks ago, eating as little as I did would have destroyed me, I'd be getting light headed, insanely grumpy and would have had a killer headache. I'll be honest, I got a bit tired, and wasn't feeling amazing by the end of the day, but I didn't have nearly as bad a time as I would have eating the old way.

Tomorrow is Grapplers Quest, I'm fighting in 2 absolute divisions and refereeing the rest of the day. I am going to have to pack a bit smarter this time. I'm going to bring my zucchini loaf/muffins, the trail mix I have for snacks all the time (yes, it has nuts, but unless the facility says it's nut free, I'm going to eat them. It was probably silly of me to not eat them last weekend). I'm also going to bring a bunch of berries, apples, and coconut water. That should be able to fuel me for the day. It's going to be strange not getting a giant bowl of pasta the night before a tournament, but hopefully my body has had enough time to adjust to eating like this that it will perform well on this alternate fuel.

I'll let you guys know how it goes.

I've gotten a bunch of recipes and ideas from PaleOMG. Juli has some great ideas, and is hilarious so I've been spending a lot of time reading on her site. A lot of her recipes use dark chocolate chips, which I'm trying to avoid (they have added plain sugar, at least the ones I've found). But that is where I got the cupcake recipe and some other ones I've saved for Christmas!