Sunday, November 21, 2010

big day!

My son, Ricky turned 30(!) today!  He has grown up to be a fine young man - pursuing his passion as a graphic designer in NYC.  He is a kind, hard working, honorable, and responsible young man - as a mother - I couldn't ask for more.

happy birthday to my little baby!   

Monday, November 15, 2010 is getting in the way!

Things have been busy.  

I just spent 2 weeks in Tucson, AZ visiting my sister (so no bjj).   We did do a 4 day - 300 mile bike ride all over Southern AZ.   

Then I tackled the a big climb.  Mt. Lemmon.  My ride was ~50miles round trip and it included a 20 mile climb with over 5500ft elevation gain.   Let me tell  you that climb is not for the faint-of-heart.   It was tougher than Independence Pass in Aspen.  3 SOLID hours of relentless climbing.

Then I was home for 2 days but unexpectedly had to go to Kansas with my boyfriend for 3 days. 

Life is messing with my hobbies!

I hired a coach for my next year mtn bike goals so I'm officially training for my BIG mtn bike race next year - The Breck Epic.   Luckily my coach has included bjj as part of my off-season training plan.  But between being out of town, my 3x a week at the ATC, and having to ride my bike 8 - 20 hours per week, working and living LIFE  I haven't been able to fit it in all this month.  Super bummed...hope to hit it hard in December. 

I'm really missing bjj!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

not in a hurry & taking it slow...

reading good stuff out there...this blog post has gotten me thinking about how I want to approach jiu jitsu.

Now if jiu jitsu was my 'first dance' with finding an activity that sparked my passion - my approach would be a *whole* different story.

It was a whole different story in 1996 when I started playing pool.   I became addicted.  My life revolved around pool - I ate, slept and dreamed about pool.  I constantly practiced and played in tournaments.  I scoured the internet for info, i watched DVDs, I took lessons. I lived in Texas at the time and traveled the country playing in tournaments. I would play anywhere from 15 - 40 hours a week(sometimes spending 15 hours on Saturdays in the pool hall).  I had a plan and was DETERMINED to become I professional pool player.  In December 2000 - I qualified and played in my first (and last) WPBA pro event.

Then a break-up when my then boyfriend(the love of my life), put pool in perspective and my addiction was broken.  Just like my relationship with pool was broken.  I was so hard on myself.  Even when I was winning tournaments I wasn't happy.  I always "could've played better" "not made any mistakes"...could'a would'a should'a...

hard lessons learned...

since then - when I find something that sparks my passion (and there are so many great things out there to try) I have my experience with pool to put it in perspective.

This is my approach to jiu jitsu
  •  if I can't laugh at myself - then i'm taking it too seriously
  • if I am not having fun - then i'm taking it too seriously
  • i will focus on the basics and progress at MY pace - not at the pace of others 
  • i *forgive* myself for not being perfect
  • i will be patient with myself
  • when I am training or competing I will give it my all
  • i will not beat myself up over mistakes but will learn from them
  • i will listen to my body and rest when I need rest
  • if life demands get in the way - I won't resent them (jiu jitsu will always be there)
  • i will respect all my opponents - they are here because they love what they are doing and have put time and effort into it - How can you not respect that?  (even they are acting like a$$holes - believe me - I've acted like an a$$hole before)

In 2001 I stopped competing and playing pool.  I moved to Boulder, CO in early 2001 and found other passions.   Motorcycle racing, rock climbing, and of course mountain biking.   I laid my pool cue down and never looked back.  I started dabbling in pool a couple of years ago after an 8 year hiatus.  I still love the game but can take it or leave it...playing in spurts here and there.   I still have a lot of my skill and it's fun to be out and whoop up on the boyz every now and I can't imagine giving up all my free time (and life) for pool.

lessons learned...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

new gi

my first gi arrived this week.

I think it fits fairly well.

I was a bit worried about the sizing for an Atama F1 
  • 4'9 = 5'0" (check - I'm 4'10")
  • 85 - 100lbs (uh...I'm not in this range - i'm 110lbs which is smack dab in the middle of the next size up)
I decided the F1 would be my best bet - because even tho I'm 110lbs -mtn biking and ice speedskating have put some muscle on my legs and butt.

Actually before I started being physically active 10 years ago - my weight was between 99 - 102lbs.   Do this day I can still comfortably wear clothes from 10 years ago so my clothing size hasn't changed just my body composition has changed.

My instructor has the same gi and he says the pants won't shrink but the jacket will.  I like the way to pants fit - plenty of room to move and I don't feel constricted at all.  The jacket feels a little bit to me but hopefully that will take care of itself after a few washes.

painted my toe nails for the 1st time in like 30 years.


front view
 back view
Once I know more - I'll probably do an official gi review...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

bjj bruise impact

It's boot weather here in Colorado and I have a 'boot problem'.  I love my boots, love to wear them with skirts or with my jeans tucked in and every year I add a couple more to the collection.

I ordered a super cute pair of ankle boots by the Italian shoe maker Moma - the UPS guy arrived yesterday with my new gi (pix soon) and my ankle boots.  yay!

I was looking forward to wearing my new gi to class last night and my new boots to work today.
I injured my toe last night and it's really painful to put shoes on.   I have a pretty decent pain tolerance (or so I thought)  My toe isn't broken (I don't think so anyway) but the only shoes I can stand to wear are my Dansko clogs.  so no wearing of the new boots today.  boo!

injured toe (4th toe on right foot)

new boots - not to be worn anytime soon  :(

Class was great last night.  I feel very slow and uncoordinated but I know i've only been doing this a couple weeks and it will get better.  There were 2 guys in glass I have not seen before and so it was nice to practice on different people.  
Both of them were larger than the other guys in the class - so I liked the chance to see what it felt like working with a much larger person.  They were both super nice and respectful too.   

man - i love this sport! 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

age, rank and serial number

 How do i know i'm hooked?  It's a beautiful Fall day in Boulder, CO and after going out for a 3 hour bike ride, eating and napping - I am now spending my afternoon reading all the wonderful blogs written by women that love this sport.   

Maybe I should be doing something more productive??? nah - this seems just fine to me.  :)

A common thread amongst the blogs is these ladies talking about age and weight.  Usually subjects that women don't like talking about but these girls talk about all aspects and it's very inspiring.

In mtn biking - age and weight are often discussed.  Age because it determines which race category you are put in.  Weight because it's all about power-to-weight ratio for climbing.  In Colorado - climbing is King.  And the difference of 3 or 4 pounds (on your body or bike) can easily be the difference of getting on the podium or being 'mid-pack' fodder.

My Age
I was born in 1961.  In a few weeks I will be 49 years old.  That means next year I will be 50 years old(how in the F did that happen?!?)   

I feel very lucky to live in a place where it is easy to be fit.   Most of my mtn biking friends are in their 30s - so I work hard on my skills and fitness to be able to hang with the best of them...

Typically when doing a group ride (or like last week's race) I'm the oldest person riding/racing.    I'm used to that.   I suspect that will probably be the case for me in this sport - i'm just glad it's the norm  ;)

Rank (weight)
As  I said - weight is very important in mtn biking.  I'm 4'10" 110lbs.  To put this in perspective I am the height of an average 5th grade student.  My girlfriend's that think they are short at 5'2" have a whopping 4" on me.  

Usually during the race season May - Sept - I weigh 105lbs.   During the off-season - I'll usually gain ~5 or 6 lbs(110-111) and then as the riding ramps up - the weight comes off.  I like myself at my racing weight - I *thought* it was a good weight that let me keep my power for all those techy bits but is light enough for me to climb well. 

But with that said - this season - I was never able to get under 110.   it was very upsetting and frustrating to see that number on the scale and never reach my typical racing weight.  I knew I was burning a ton of calories on the types of rides I was doing but I never got below 110.   

However, the funny thing was - I had my BEST racing season ever.  Beating girls that had always beaten me in the past.   

I joked with all my friends telling them - "I got older, fatter and faster"

It's also has me looking at that number in a different light.  Yeah - I don't have ripped 6 pack abs but maybe 105 was too small for me.   I have a short stocky build.  My legs respond very well to exercise and I easily gain muscle in my butt and legs.   my upper body - not so much.   So maybe 110 is a good racing weight of me?

Maybe in the past - I've been "forcing" myself into my ideal weight and in the process - diminishing my physical ability.    

Based on what I've been reading on the net - I wonder if that happens to women in jiu jitsu.  Cutting weight but losing - strength and power??   

Serial Number
Other stuff  - I'm a software engineer for a company that specializes in hospital software. ( my job is awesome)

I have a 29 year old son that lives in NYC - he has grown up into a fine, young man.  I'm very proud of him.

ricky - somewhere in the East Village, NYC

I'm not married but have a wonderful boyfriend.   We have been together 8 years.  I'm hoping he'll eventually start jiu jitsu. (right now he's recovering from a broken ankle - he was playing ice hockey when that happened)

dave and i - after a couple margs ;)
celebrating my 48th birthday last year

I feel very fortunate I found this sport and am looking forward to learning it and having it teach me more about myself.

Friday, October 1, 2010

a different kind of "workout"

I had my 3rd session this week - i want to record my thoughts so I can see/remember my initial impressions as i continue onward.

(this may sound silly ) so far jiu jitsu seems have some similarities to motorcycle road racing. Let me tell you - I sure loved racing my moto but it didn't give me everything I needed so i gave it up and switched to mtn biking.

I'm thinking the accessibility to jiu jitsu and the fact the sessions are never more than 2 hours (2 hours is short workout in my book) and i'm not totally fried after a session it will be a nice addition to my mtn biking. I do think my cardio endurance(aerobic & anaerobic) will help me with jiu jitsu. I'm keeping my fingers crossed my body can take both sports at the same time.

both moto road racing and jiu jitsu require

  • a calm mind in the face of danger
  • quick reaction times
  • split second timing
  • the ability to quell the panic
  • the ability to instantly relax parts of your body while tensing other parts
  • trusting muscle memory
  • anticipating what is coming up next
  • quick mental ability to analyze a situation and ACT appropriately
  • lots of isometric strength
  • the ability to not panic when things get up-close and personal ("trading paint" as they say in the moto world)

why i gave up motos

The thing I wasn't getting from motos was the anaerobic and aerobic cardio that I so love.

Whenever I mtn bike race - I'll know I get a HEAVY dose of suffering and if at some point I'm not a drooling, snarling, have my eyes wanting to roll back into my head - then I'm not racing hard enough. If my throat isn't raw and sore(due to gasping for air) after racing for 3 hours - then I wasn't racing hard enough.

Besides the beautiful, sweet, singletrack available in Colorado - I love the suffering. The pain of a climb, the exhilaration to a fast, scary downhill.

I hope there's some kind of suffering involved in jiu jitsu...i guess i'll find out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

thoughts from round two

First of all - i almost didn't go to class tonight. I *really* wanted to go but I am pretty beat up from a mountain bike crash on Saturday.

I raced an 8 hour race on a duo (female) team. (we won!) I crashed pretty hard on my last lap. Huge bruises on my hip, swollen/banged up knee and a skinned up elbow. My knee hurts pretty bad - I can't bend it very far.
:( I was hesitant to go to class - but thought of missing a training session didn't set well with me so I went. (suck it up buttercup - i told myself)

skinned up elbow :(

bruises healing nicely after 5 days.

I wonder if you get this beat up in jui jitsu? ;)

Hairdo status:
The modified "princess leia" hairdo held up pretty well. I was surprised but it didn't get in the way during the warmup rolling exercises and during the training session it stayed put. I'm stoked it's gonna work out. I do look pretty goofy - but what can you do??

I need a new outfit:
The instructor brought a A0 and an A1 gi for me to try on. Sadly - neither one worked for me. The A0 sleeves were too short (that's a first) and the A1 was ginormous on me. :( I guess I'll be on the hunt for a gi that fits me. At 4'10" and 110lbs - that's the story of my life - not being able to fit in normal people clothes...and the reason I have 3 custom mountain bikes. being petite has it's bennies but also has it's drawbacks...

jeesh - i sound like a girlie-girl talking about my hair and new of a new outfit. hee-hee...I crack myself up!

grappling with the men
This is my 2nd session and i trained with the instructor (Mike)and one other guy(Richard). Both super nice guys. I've read other blogs and websites where a lot of women feel very uncomfortable grappling with the men.

so far that's not a problem for me. Maybe because Mike and Richard seem very respectful and not all macho (though I'm sure there a ton of macho guys in this sport). And maybe because I've participated in so many male dominated sports - I don't mind it being so physical.

I will admit a couple of times while doing the moves I realized my boobs were pretty much *right in* the face of the person I was grappling with. A flitting thought of "oops" would cross my mind but then I would shake it off and get back at the task at hand.

Even tho some of the positions are very intimate - it doesn't feel sexual to me. will that change or will i suddenly become uncomfortable? I dunno...i'm guessing it will depend a lot on the people I train with.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on this later...

but so far - i'm still hooked (line and sinker!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

jiu jitsu hairdo

(originally posted on my mtn bike blog)

I've always thought the "fighting" sports and martial arts were very interesting. The fitness required, the aglility, the reading of the other person, the mental focus/toughness required under pressure all seemed facinating to me.

It seemed like something i'd like to try except (and this is a BIG except and a total deal-breaker) the 'getting hit in the head' part. I don't mind getting bruises and beat up - I just don't want my brain sloshed around continuously. But I guess that's the whole point of fighting - is to take the other person down, eh? So I thought it would be something I would admire from afar.

Then last weekend, Dave and I watched a show about Royce Gracie and how he used jiu-jitsu to defeat much larger opponents with finesse, intellence, patience, technique and skill and NOT brute force and NOT by hitting them in the head. Damn - don't you know that sucked me in you know where this going.

I started reading about jiu-jitsu and in training and competitions of straight jiu-jitsu you don't focus on hitting people in the head. You focus on getting their bodies in position in order for them to 'submit'.

Yes - I signed up. My first class was last night and i LOVED it. It is *very* technical. It was described as a 'isometric chess match' and after experiencing some of the moves that is an apt description.

so...move over speedskating...this off-season i'll be doing jiu-jitsu as cross training.

A big annoyance to me was my hair. I did the typical one long braid down my back but that didn't work out so well - with all the tumbling, grappling and tussling - my hair was constantly getting matted up and coming loose.

After a little experimenting - I think I have a good jiu-jitsu hair do. I know it looks goofy but hopefully it's functional. We'll see - my next class is Tuesday. :)

step 1 - regular hair do
(not that it's that much of a "do" ;)

step 2 - 2 pony tails high up on my head
(so when I'm rolling around on my back i won't roll on these)

step 3 - braid into pig tails

step 4 - wrap braids into a bun and secure w/bobby pins
(modified "princess leia" do)

life's an adventure, eh?

it all began when I saw the show "Ultimate Gracie" on Spike TV. It peaked my interest, i investigated, i signed up for a "free" class and i'm hooked.

and of course (and i don't why) i've fallen in love with *another* male dominated sport. so in typical "cynthia fashion" I'm 100% in and will embrace it with everything I have.

in case you're wondering previous/current sports/activities: motorcycle road racing, ice speedskating, semi-pro pool player, mountain biking and now jiu-jitsu.

And as with learning anything new - you have to be prepared to swallow your pride, feel like a spaz, and look like a idiot. I'm ready - so let's go!