July 31, 2011
The last two years were so crazy with travelling, training, meeting new people and having tons of new experiences. I have been so busy and I am finally getting the chance to look back at all my pictures and videos that were taken throughout the past 2 years. Whenever I look at them, I can’t help but smile and get a warm feeling inside my heart. Those were the greatest two years of my life and I’m positive there are many more to come. After all, it’s all about the experience This week and next week, I will be busy posting my videos of me training, competing and and a slide show of pictures from my experience in New Zealand. I’m really excited to share with you guys my behind the scenes life when it came to making my dream come true. I hope you enjoy them too. Here is the first sample of one of many cardio drills for sparring done with my coach, Mr. LeGrow. It may not be long, but trust me, by the end… it’s exhausting.
July 25, 2011
My team went off to Toronto just for the day. We were thankful to have the team bus. Most of the parents came too since they liked the fact that they didn’t have to do all the driving in one day.
We arrived in Brampton early so we had a chance for a rest, go for a team walk, stretch and have a picnic under a tree since it was sooooo hot!
It’s tough to write about the game since it was like a roller coaster. The first half was awesome! We were playing really well as a team. Our communication on the field was good, our passing was good, and we were all hungry for the ball. We have played this team before and lost 5-0 so we were determined to win today. I didn’t see that game since I was away with my knee injury so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was ready today. Before every game our team has a ritual of telling each other our goals for that particular game. So far we were right on track.
It was extremely hot and humid so we were allowed two water breaks and that also means a bit more coaching on the side line which is always good. At half time Kwame was happy and we were all pleased that the game was at least a tie with 0-0.
About 10 minutes into the second half it was as if a switch went off on our team and we completely lost control of the game. I’m not sure if it was just an exhausted mental break down, confusion of positions on the field or what but before I knew it we had 4 goals scored on us in under 10 minutes! It was awful. We had worked so hard the first 55 minutes and then to be scored on like this was so frustrating. We had to dig deep to get our composure back but by then we unfortunately ran out of time and lost 4-0
It’s always nice to think about the really good things we did in the game but if we want to keep our OYSL standing for next summer we really need to concentrate on what went wrong so we can correct it for the next game. I’m so used to individual sports where I know what to do to get my desired results but with team events there are so many other factors to consider. Although we didn’t get the result we wanted, we have to stay focused, positive and learn from it so we can work on the things that will help us for the next game in two weeks.
July 23, 2011
I can’t express how much fun I had in Montreal this week. Not only was it amazing training but it was also a great experience trying new things.
I stayed with Stephanie Boivin and we never stopped from morning till night. In the first three days, we drove to her chalet, kayaked, saw fireworks, and went biking and to La Ronde.
Whenever we get together we always challenge each other in sports. Stephanie is also a national level cyclist so when she told me we were going for a bike ride I knew I was in for a scary experience. She and her friends suited me up in spandex, sunglasses, helmet and made me ride a bike with my feet clipped in. Crazy! After a few quick instructions we were off. All I had to remember was to take me feet out of the clips before I hit the brakes. Sounds simple right? NOT!
We went to the gym the next morning for a spinning class and weight lifting. Not sure I’ll ever be able sit down properly again I can honestly say I don’t know anyone in better shape. We ate so much all week but it was all healthy food. With all the energy we were putting out we needed to constantly eat
While she had her ‘real’ cycling training I had a blast hanging out with Alexandre Matta and some of their other friends. Swimming, and just being together was perfect. After a great TKD training 15 of the people training surprised me with a fun dinner out too. It was the first time that I had met most of them but they were all so nice and made me feel apart of the group
Sorry but I don’t have any pictures of the training. My mom always takes pictures and she wasn’t there
I was asked to help lead the TKD classes and I have to admit it was a real honour. Everyone worked so hard even though it was extremely hot and humid! Stephanie lead the fitness training part and I helped out with the TKD training. One of the nights was their competition training and the students take it very seriously. We did some ‘mock tournaments’ since some of the students have never competed before and it was good for them to practice what it’s like to compete beside someone and all the different protocols that are expected in competition. It was great to see how receptive everyone was. There is nothing more satisfying helping someone learn who actually wants to. It’s always a bit awkward the first time in front of a group of strangers since you never know how hard to push them or what they are used to not to mention they all spoke French. At first I was a little nervous but everyone made me feel really comfortable so I started to speak French with more confidence. The coolest part was at the end of the week, I couldn’t remember if I was being spoken to in French or English. Both nights, I had a great time! I felt that I was able to help with some corrections in their patterns and it was great to see them understand. It may sound weird but when Stephanie introduced me at the beginning of the class as world champion and 2 time silver medalist I had two people ask me for my autograph. I was touched and it felt surreal.
I really wasn’t ready to come home. I was having so much fun and I loved the training so much. It’s always fun training with new people and challenging yourself with new experiences. Steph and I have a motto for this summer. “It’s all about the experience.” It explains exactly what I am trying to do, and these weeks are what make my summer that much more special and exciting. Life is simply too short not to enjoy every moment and try everything.
My mom picked me up at the bus terminal tonight and we drove directly to my regular dojang since I already had my dobok with me. She wasn’t surprised that I wanted to train more since she knew I had a renewed excitement for training. There were 4 new white belt children when I walked in and it was awesome that I got to instruct them. I love training white belts since they are eager, excited and don’t have a lot of bad habits to undo. They worked so hard. I’m not sure if it was my excitement and enthusiasm that rubbed off on to them but it really doesn’t matter what it was. They had a blast and learned a lot.
Now it’s time to switch hats and get ready for my soccer game in Toronto in two days. Off one bus from Montreal for TKD and on to another one to Toronto for soccer. What a great summer!
July 17, 2011
This is the first week in a few years that I actually felt like a ‘normal’ teenager since I had free time to be with friends. Last summer I spent every minute training. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved it at the time and it was necessary for me to achieve my goals so I have no regrets, but I have to say I really had fun this week
Soccer practices went very well and my knee feels stronger each day. Today’s game was so exciting!!! We tied 0-0 but there was a lot of action and suspense. One of our team objectives was to play a strong defensive game and we achieved that since no goals were let in. We all pulled together especially in the second half. The weather was so hot and sunny that the ref called two water breaks. We were all getting tired but we never gave up. We actually got stronger as the game went on. We had some close shots on their goal but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. One thing that our team should be really proud of is that we never lost our cool or our drive. I got a bad kick to the jaw with a cleat and it really hurt. I have a lovely bunp and bruise on my chin now. At least with TKD there are foot pads and bare feet – not spikes!
To finish off the perfect day, one of my team mates had a pool party for everyone including parents and siblings and it was an awesome time. Thanks to the Mack family for throwing such a great party!!!!!!!! It was very special having our previous coach and assistant coach come to watch the game and then they also came to the party. Parties like this really help us get to know each other and it’s a chance to just be ourselves in a relaxed environment. The pool and hot tub felt incredible after the game. By the end of the party we were all playing soccer again in their yard. lol
Tomorrow morning I’m taking the Greyhound bus by myself to Montreal for 5 days so I can train and spend some fun time with my Montreal TKD buddies. It’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait. I will be helping Stephanie Boivin instruct the evening classes every night. I love going to train at other dojangs to meet new people and see how other dojangs operate. It’s amazing how each dojang has a completely different atmosphere and how we can all learn from each other. I am also looking forward to spending time with some of the other people who went to New Zealand with me as well. It’s such a special bond that we have.
I’ll be missing a couple of soccer practices but my coach (Kwame) knows I won’t be sitting around getting out of shape When Stephanie and I get together you know there will always be TKD and as many sports involved possible. I’ll be back for Thursday’s practice. My next soccer game is on Sunday in Toronto.
Have a great week everyone!
July 10, 2011
This week was really busy! It was the start of Blackburn’s TKD summer camp. I took a 90 minute bus ride every morning to get there for 8:30 am. I was one of the instructors for the training portion of the camp. I had a lot of fun with the kids. It can be hard for them to concentrate for a long time so we broke the camp into three sections: patterns, fitness and then sparring. Then in the afternoons everyone went swimming, went to the park and watched movies. Sometimes when you work with younger kids you aren’t sure if anything is sinking in or if they are liking what you are teaching them and then all of a sudden someone who you least expect will come up and give you a big hug. Wow, what a way to melt my heart It’s amazing how a little hug makes it all worthwhile. On Friday, I gave them each a medal for their hard work and all their faces were priceless. For most of them, it was their first medal ever. Working at camps makes me realize just how tough being a parent is going to be. It’s such a challenge to try figure out how to motivate each person.
I left at lunch every day day since I had soccer in the evenings and I really needed to be ready and rested for the practices and games. With my knee injury since the beginning of June I feel like I’ve let my team down not being able to play.
I was so happy to play in an exhibition game on Tuesday. It was against another team in our club so it was a good way for me to ease back into playing. I had the struggle of getting over my fear of actually kicking the ball again without over-extending it. I’ve never been afraid to play before but I have to admit I was this week. After getting the doctor’s go-ahead I knew the only way to get over my fear was to get right back in the game.
Today was a huge success! We played against one of the strongest teams in the league. Last time we played against them we lost 5-0. I didn’t get to play in that game because of my knee. Today was a much better day…we tied 1-1. I was really nervous to play at game speed, so I really had my game face on. The game went well and when push came to shove, we all worked our butts off for each other and were a real team. When they got their first goal, we really needed to make sure we kept our heads in the game and not give up. I was so happy that my knee didn’t give me any trouble especially since I played the whole game. We had a really short bench with injured players. All the extra leg strengthening and stabilizing exercises paid off.
July 3, 2011
I had a strong deja vu this week. It was this time last year that Grand Master Lan was visiting from Germany and we went to the Scotia Bank Place to train. I had just been pre-selected for the National Team and he wanted me to practice visualizing what it would be like to compete in such a large venue with all the pressure of a World Championship. This stadium holds about 18,000 people. I will never forget what it felt like standing at the bottom of the ‘bowl’ in my bare feet on the cold pavement. The lights were really dim and you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. He made me go through my patterns as if it was competition day. We talked a lot about how important it is to bring the comfortable feeling of being ‘home’ where ever you compete so you don’t get overwhelmed or nervous. I don’t think he realized how much of an impact he had on me that day and how much I’ve practiced his visualization techniques ever since. Thank you again and again Grand Master Lan.
Mr. LeGrow brought in three of the USA female team members and their instructor Mr. Morris to train this week. Three of them were from California and one of them was from Texas. We went to the Scotia Bank Place again for some kick box training. We didn’t get to train in the bowl this time but I couldn’t help but see the irony of training with one of the girls that was in my sparring division in New Zealand at the very place where all my preparation for the Worlds began. I kept looking over my shoulder hoping to see Grand Master Lan. Wow, what a year it’s been!
My good friend and fellow team mate Stephanie Boivin also came from Montreal to train with us which is always a great time
It’s important to train with new people since you get too comfortable sparring the same people all the time. You need to know how to mix it up with different sparring styles and techniques. I normally train with men so it was a real treat to train with a group of women.
At our dojang we did a lot of sparring and pattern training. Mr Primo came from Montreal and taught us more self defense using weapons like knives and baseball bats.
I also had two hour soccer practices every day so needless to say when the doctor told me last week to SLOWLY get back into my physical activities I don’t think he realizes just how much I do in a day
I can’t wait to get back to playing my first soccer game next week since my injury. I’ve hated to sit on the bench. I have to admit I’m still really not 100% and I’m working hard on getting my leg muscles back and I have to really stretch after my work outs.
It was really special to celebrate Canada Day with Steph.