October 23, 2012

Hello again...

Well, I guess three, okay four months is long enough to keep thinking, "I should update my blog..."   The reason for the absence?  The combination of busy schedule, a tad bit of laziness, a new work schedule.  The usual suspects.

A quick update:  I am on a new squad!  (For those not in the know, I am a police officer in San Diego).  My new gig is on the Gaslamp Quarter Bike Team.  We work weekend nights in the thick of all the partying and pandemonium the Gaslamp Quarter begats, which makes for my shift being 10 hours of running comedy.  I was interested in the team months ago, and the sergeant approached about joining them, but I turned it down because swat tryouts were two months away (at the time) and I did not want to mess with my workout schedule.  

I knew joining the bike team would require new uniforms (expensive), attendance of a bike class (time), and the usual breaking in period with a new team.  This time however, I thought, I have more time to deal with a squad change.  My new squad mates are fantastic.  Specialized teams have the potential to be fraught with peril and misery due to egos and snarky attitudes, but this crew is (happily!) smooth sailing.  

I have been training BJJ about once a week, which is so lame!  I need to get back to at least twice a week.  I regret missing the Master/Senior Pans,  but during what would have been the meat of training, I was steeped in work priorities and I did not want to go in half trained.  I had designs on the Mundial No-Gi, but again, I have not trained BJJ as much as I would like (for a competition prep anyway), and I don't want to represent my school as a half-trained athlete.

Though speaking of training,  it's going well!  I started training with Karoline Koehler again (more on that later) to prepare for swat tryouts next year, and all the heavy duty anaerobic track work is translating to more freedom and more speed on the mat.  I have always had to make a conscious effort to keep my speed up to speed, and now it seems, the extra cardio work has pushed me to the next level.  

A fellow BJJ classmate once told me that when we start training, we are blind.  (I think I may have written about this before). The moves are new and unfamiliar, and the missed opportunities are frequent as we simply do not see them.  Over time, the path is revealed.  Our vision sharpens.  The missed opportunities become moments we seize with ferocity and joy.  A newly achieved submission becomes a new ray light for a fleeting moment, like a flickering florescent as we set to work polishing the move over hours and hours and hours.

Point being,  and I know this sounds like a simpleton way to describe it, but I am having so much fun in class.  Maybe it's the busy schedule and having to really to carve out training time, maybe it's the improved cardio shape, or maybe I am just having one of those great and rare "improvement" moments.    The rays of light have been knocking me upside the head and I leave class feeling invigorated and excited.  The moves are becoming smoother, dare I say easier sometimes.  

I have two female training partners that provide a consistent level of challenges.  Rachael is a fellow brown belt, and is like a hummingbird.  Fabio has said that pound for pound, she is one of the strongest people in our school.  Rachael's petite size, razor sharp technique, and Tasmanian Devil speed force me to keep my positions clean.  And then there is mega-tall, mega-limbed blue belt Jessica.  I am dreading the day she figures out and starts handing out triangles like free ice cream.  And spider guard.  And De La Riva.  Jessica is on the path to be a wrecking machine.

And regarding Karoline Koehler.  I don't think I ever wrote about her, and she deserves a mention here.   Back in....end of March or April-ish, I think, I was at the track working on my 440, which was devastatingly slow.  Up to that point, I noticed that on my track days, a young lady was being coached in sprinting technique by a tall blond woman.  I was so frustrated with my 440 time, and I thought, you know I should go over there and introduce myself to that coach and ask how much she charges for a session.  

So I did.

I waited until her training session was finished, and I marched up to her and said, "Hello, are you a track coach?"  She replied, "Yes, but I am also an athlete too."  Her session training rate was (unexpectedly!) well within my budget so I told her my whole story, that I was a police officer training for swat tryouts and in need of some help on speed for the 440m.   I told her where I was, which was 1:45 and 1:50, and that I needed to get under 85 seconds.  Much to my surprise, she casually said, "Oh yeah, I think we could do that."  Huh?  I thought, no way.  Then she delivered the biggest shocker,  "I can meet with you one time this week, and then we will have to correspond by e-mail because on Wednesday I am flying home to prepare for the Olympic Trials."  

Oh yeah, I wrote that.  The Olympic Trials.  For Team Germany.  All through the swat preparation, I felt like I was being led by these breadcrumbs...each time I had a conversation with a colleague about swat, it inevitably led to some new addition to my training that drove my progress forward.  Well, meeting Karoline was like having a loaf of bread shoved down my throat.  A world class athlete.  I had just met and established the roots of  a working relationship with a world class athlete.  

I met with Karoline once.  She ran me through an endurance workout, and a 200m time trial.  She also showed me a series of track drills that became the cornerstone of ALL of my workouts.  This woman was a surgeon, and immediately went to work on my form.   That day I learned the comfy, heel-strike, upright posture running form I used was a detriment to sprinting and it thus became a thing of the past.  I learned how to run on my toes.  I learned how to lean forward.  I learned how to swing my arms and use arm movement to translate into leg movement.  

Long story short, Karoline got me there.  We corresponded via e-mail and I did her work-outs with extremely hard line religious conviction and she got me there.  Well, I got me there too, but she gave me the seeds.  Side note: Karoline did not make the Olympic Team due to a groin injury (she competes in Long Jump, and the 200m)...;(.   She is currently preparing for the World Championships next year.

Karoline is back in town and I am working with her again.  My workouts with Karoline are nothing short of demanding.  The other day she put me through an endurance workout and half way in I thought, holy mackerel I am going to vomit!  I didn't, thank goodness.  I really had to do a little digging around in the old soul box to finish.  This was a wonderful feeling, because I knew that improvement had occurred within that thin space of misery.  I embraced it. I finished strong.

All in all, I am in a good place right now.  Work is fun.  My husband is amazing.  My family is healthy.  

Train well!
Glad to be here again, 



  1. Great to hear from you again! Great update. Stay safe in the gaslamp. And post some stories. You have to have several good ones per shift.

  2. You know it's a good workout when you want to puke!!

  3. @Rick, ha! Yes, MANY good stories. We will the Halloween revelry this weekend...Yikes!

    @SavageKitsune, I know!;)) It sounds so masochistic, but it's true...if you want to move your body from a basic level of fitness to being an athlete that can PERFORM, and perform well, you need to bathe in misery and learn to embrace the suffering.

  4. Yay, great to see you posting again!

    Also, there's a chance I might be able to head to California next year, which would mean awesome Fabio Santos training. :D