A lofty goal, I know, but after spending a week at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, I have never had more belief in my dreams.
The dream is real.
I want to wear USA on my chest. I want to be an ambassador to the rest of the world for this great country we live in. I will not put a limit on what I am capable of. Michael Phelps said, “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you’ll get.” I feel that I am blessed not only with some God-given athletic abilities, but also the mental strength and toughness it takes to work hard and be relentless in the pursuit of achieving my goals and dreams. Not to say that it comes easy; being mentally tough takes just as much practice as any physical exercise, and I believe anyone is capable of achieving more than they know if they just believe.
I arrived in Lake Placid on Monday morning after a nice 6 1/2 hour ride with myself. If you’ve never taken a road trip with yourself, I highly recommend it. It’s so freeing. You can be your weirdest, most real self. You can sing as loud as you want, you can talk to yourself, you can laugh at yourself, ok I’m not going to give it all away. Also, it helps when the drive is as beautiful as this:
I just about cried as I pulled up as I realized I was about to spend the week training in a facility where Olympians train, that I am here to do the same thing. I love the Olympic movement, I always have (I remember watching the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Games in Atlanta at my grandparents house, then going outside and hanging/flipping around on the swing set like I was a gymnast. I think we also made “Go America!” signs… I was 6) . I love the idea of people from so many different parts of the world and from different cultures and of different ages and races all coming together in pursuit of the same goal and idea. For the few weeks during the Olympics, everyone is the same, there is a sense of peace that is so often missing in the world. This famous saying encompasses the Olympic movement perfectly, “The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well,” Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics. I am so excited to be on this journey, wherever it may take me.
After lunch in the cafeteria (which served really quality, healthy foods), we got right to lifting. Special shout out right quick to Elizabeth, my lifting partner for the week, who helped me learn how to lift in kilos. The environment of training with others who were all also very excited about weightlifting was very cool to be a part of. Everyone cheered each other on, and when it was your turn to hit a lift, your teammates would watch and then feed off each others’ successes. I’m very grateful I was able to meet some really awesome (and strong) people. Also, the coaches- Leo, Jim, Greg, and Chris were great. I really learned a lot from them, and am excited to have added some quality people in my corner.
We had 2 or 3 training sessions a day, which meant recovery was very important. If we weren’t lifting, we were either eating or in the Sports Medicine clinic taking advantage of one of the many recovery tools or Mike Walters (“Club Mike”). There were also small bits of time to take naps, and a lot of coffee. The cafeteria was always open for snacks (which included ice cream) and smoothies (my smoothie game is so strong, if all else fails in my life I might open a smoothie business), so there was no shortage of eating. We were fortunate enough to have Dr. Mike Israetel from RP Strength come and give us a lecture on nutrition. I learned I should probably count my macros for a while to make sure I’m eating enough, eat more carbs, less fat, and how to cut weight for a meet if need be. Last week I learned that if I didn’t eat enough at the previous meal, the next training session felt like crap. I never experienced such a direct effect of my food intake on performance. Moral of the story: there is no magic answer for everyone about nutrition. You need to find what works for you (usually, #science), and there are a lot of smart people in the world that can help you do that. We also learned about visualization and the importance of having the perfect balance of anxiety and calmness.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were able to do touristy things- go up to the top of the ski jump (120m high!), see the 1980 ice arena, walk through the Winter Olympic Museum (which has a continuous loop of the last approximately 12 minutes of the hockey game against the Soviets playing on a TV), stroll through downtown (super cute!), and sit and chill aside Mirror Lake (gorgeous). Lake Placid is a neat, beautiful place, rich with character and history, and magnificent views.
When the last day came, and it was time for the mock meet, I knew I wanted to have fun, but also crush some big numbers by performing things I had been working on all week. Which I did. I PR’ed my competition snatch (85 kg/187 lbs) and PR’ed my squat clean & jerk (101 kg/222 lbs). My squat clean is something I’m working very hard on. I can power heavy weights, but if I can get stronger in my legs to squat clean and get the timing correct, I will lift way heavier weights (for my people out there who don’t know the difference- a power clean is when you catch the barbell standing up more- knees not bent more than 90 degrees, and a squat clean is when you catch the barbell in the bottom of a squat- you don’t have to pull it up as high, you just have to get under the barbell faster). Sylvia, my roommate for the week, also usually a 69 kg lifter, tried messing with my head by changing up her attempts, forcing me to go sooner than expected… little did she know that I’m #unfuckwithable. She’s cool though and it will be fun to compete against her again. https://www.instagram.com/p/BG3KDbTF58w/?taken-by=jillianjav153
As I drove home (again, second road trip within one week), and things got weird (e.g. belting out Whitney Houston), I thought about how lucky I am, and how taking chances can pay off. Specifically, the one Whitney song I was singing was “One Moment in Time” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96aAx0kxVSA), the lyrics really hit home for me: “Each day I live, I want to be a day to give the best of me. I’m only one, but not alone. My finest day is yet unknown…. I want one moment in time, when I’m more than I thought I could be, when all of my dreams are a heartbeat away and the answers are all up to me. Give me one moment in time, when I’m racing with destiny, then in that one moment of time, I will feel eternity.” Real tears. I cried real tears because my dreams are so real and I have so much belief in them. I don’t know that I’ll make it to the Olympics or the Crossfit Games or whatever other dreams I have; in fact the reality is I probably won’t (which I realized after seeing how many people train at the OTC and never make it to the Games). But every day I wake up and only see the dream. Dream big, my friends.
Favorite Workout of the Week:
The “competition” Thursday night at camp where we got to power all the lifts. I had a not so awesome snatch session earlier in the day (fatigue of shoulders and core, but learned that missed lifts can still be good attempts). #teamallidoiswin
Remember when I used to play kitchen basketball… That’s when I started dreaming big. I thought I was going to be like Sue Bird and go to UConn to play basketball. I kid you not, I taped up squares (like a back board, with masking tape) in my kitchen and would dribble back and forth and taught myself how to use my left hand. Thank you parents, for allowing me to do that, and always supporting my dreams.
Nerdy Athletic Training Tidbit:
Sorry, I’ll come back to this next week… I’m headed to National Athletic Trainers’ Association Convention in Baltimore tonight, so I’m sure I’ll have a bunch of new info after that
Ice Cream Flavor of the Week:
Basic chocolate is what they had at the OTC, but I love it just as much. #basicandsimple
To my baby brother, Mikie, who just got accepted into West Chester University Music Department! Things definitely don’t come easy for him, but I’m so inspired by him following his dreams and passions. I know he’ll do amazing things there.