The Pan Ams after glow..

I've just returned from an amazingly exciting experience. The Pan Am Championships were fantastic! I am back home in Austin now. I've had to work all week with no time for training. I am starting to have withdrawals from lack of training. Every single day prior to the Pan Ams I was training and now it's been five days! I am going stir crazy. I'll be back on the mats in a few days, so it will survive.

I haven't had anytime to blog at here's a little recap from my adventures. Good times, great company and lots of lessons learned.

Pan Ams Day 1:
The Pan Am Championship started off on Thursday and I headed down to support my teammate Ian. I had flown in to LAX the night prior and never been to Irvine before. I left in plenty of time, but my iphone failed me in providing directions to the University of Irvine. I got lost and spent what felt like forever driving all over Irvine. By the time I finally showed up, Ian had already won two matches. He went on to slap an awesome triangle on his next opponent, but time ran out before the guy tapped. Oh, so close! Ian had 70 something guys in his blue belt division (the 2nd largest division in the whole championships) and this was his 1st time at a major championship tournament. I was so proud of him! Ian on the other hand was pissed. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find the beach as I tried to convince him that he was now on "vacation" for the next few days and to make the best of it.

Pan Ams Day 2:
8:00am. As I slept peacefully dreaming of my matches to come, Georgette was kicking butt in the Leve Blue Belt division. I really wished that I could have been there for her matches since she has been such a great support to me during whole preparation process. This was her first championship tournament and I know that she really wanted someone there to help coach her. If I wasn't staying an hour and a half away in LA (3-4 hours with southern California rush hour traffic) and didn't have to compete at 4:40pm the same day, I would have loved to see her in action. She had an amazingly close match with 0-0 and 1 advantage each. Whoo Hoo! Coach or no coach, she did awesome in my book!

The best part is that both Georgette and Ian are now hungry to compete in the Worlds. I am glad that I'll have more teammates with me as I make that journey back to California in June.

4:40 pm-Go time!

This year I decided not to cut down to 118 and below division. This was the 1st time in a long time that I've competed at my natural weight. I have to admit that I was slightly more nervous going into this tournament than I was last year. No matter how many tournaments I compete in, I still feel a little nervous going in. I think it's only natural.

I won my 1st match by 2 advantages and lost my second by an arm bar. The woman that bet me (Kiri Liao) went on to win the division. In the end I placed 3rd in the pena purple belt division. Although I didn't go home with the gold I dreamed of, I am still very proud of myself and I had so much fun doing it! I learned a lot. Now I've got a game plan for what I need to do before the Worlds.

Pan Ams Day 3:
I left day 2 thinking that I'd skip day 3 since (Christy was the only one that had her open). I wanted to go on day 4 to see her in her division and finals, but my sister and my friend in LA wanted to spend sometime with me (not watching me at a tournament) on Sunday. So in the end I showed up to watch Christy in the Black/Brown Open. She won her 1st match by an impressive triangle and lost her second by a choke. It's amazing watching the black and brown belt women compete. I can only hope that one day I am as good as they are...a girl can dream.

By day 3, I was getting sick of that 2-3 hour drive from LA to Irvine and was glad that I decided not to return on day 4. I love Southern California, but I hate the traffic. At least I know how to get to the University Irvine now and find the beach.

On a side note, it was awesome to see how many woman competitors came out from Texas this year. This includes Lana Hunter, Rita Sutton and Angie Gonzales. These are some of the toughest blue and purple belt women I know in Texas. Congrats to Angie on her purple! Keep on training hard and I'll see you ladies at the next tourney!

Thank you all for your support and congrats. You have no idea how much it means to me. Aloha!


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