Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Double Feature: I

Well I've got some catching up to do. I've been to two tournaments in the last two weekends, but I had a vacation in the middle so I wasn't around computers too much. It was quite nice, but if you've been holding your breath for my next titillating blog post...well you can exhale my friend.

Now, get ready for two...TWO tournament reviews in one.

Last Saturday, which seems like last year to my travel-addled brain, was the NC Div II/III Qualifiers. In 2007, I finished third place and back when I was writing out my goals for this season they included finishing first this year. I was still pretty comfortable and confident in this decision at the start of fencing on Saturday. I was lucky enough to get a lesson from our club's new international man of fencing-genius which made me relaxed and eager to get to the actual bouting. I did pretty well in my pool, but was frustrated by the bladework of one of my opponents which gave me my only loss: 4-3 in "overtime". I believe I was seeded fourth after pools and still felt good mentally, though the facility was so hot I was feeling physically a little ill. Luckily, I was able to mostly ignore that and I made it through my first two DEs without too much trouble, including a much more graceful handling of the girl that beat me in the pools. In the round of 4, I was up against the one girl that really worried me in the whole competition, who I have seen at some competitions but never actually gotten to fence. Turns out my worries were well-founded because I wasn't able to get around her strong counterattacks. During the first period I tried several things but managed very few points. In the second period, I was better at keeping the score down, but still couldn't get very many touches of my own. So the third period opened with a wide gap in the score and I was feeling a little desperate and losing my temper (at myself). I started doing crazy things, trying to get any points I could, and you can guess how well that worked. So, I tied for third, again, but that's okay, because I lost to a good opponent, who did take first. I qualified for Nationals (which I won't attend this year) and renewed my cute little E.

Overall, it was a good, satisfying tournament, in no small part because I received a lot of great coaching and encouragement from my teammates. I was able to perform much more closely to my best than usual because I was reminded that I could. My clubmates too had some great results and I was glad for the little bits I got to watch on Saturday. You guys are the best.

Double Feature: II

So that's that (see previous post). Then this past weekend there was a smallish tournament at the club which I was a little iffy on, but I woke up feeling good on Sunday so I decided to do it. Turns out it was bigger than I expected, about 17 people. It was a strange sort of day, everyone seemed real low-key, including myself. I warmed up well, but in true neurotic-style I blew my first pool bout which I should have won. Though I won two others (including a very tense and exciting bout against one my clubmates) I had a crappy place in the bracket and had to fight the same clubmate again in the round of 16.

This was an awesome bout and spanned most of the nine minutes though I almost blew it in the first period, facing a score of 9-3 at the break. Somehow, miraculously, I was able to get my head around what I was doing (or rather, not doing) and closed the gap in the second period. At this point, I was just so proud of myself for figuring out what needed to be done and then doing it, that it was a little victory just for me. In the third period we were neck and neck all the way till it came to 14-14. It was a really emotional bout and I think I lost my cool a little too much once or twice, which I felt guilty about immediately. I don't like showing that side around people I respect, so...it was a learning experience. And it was a victory, for my teammate, 15-14. But that's okay, it was such a good bout and I think we both did great. Not a great finish, objectively, but I'm still mostly happy with what I accomplished.

Unfortunately, at the last minute, I had to skip practice last night, which I was really looking forward to. But moving forward, I'm all about practicing the parry-riposte...especially the riposte. I just hope my week and a half off does not kill me on Wednesday.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Comfort Zone, or Lack Thereof

I honestly am looking forward to Divisionals this weekend. Women's Epee is actually a relatively strong event compared to the other women's events this weekend, though it doesn't look like it'll be as strong as last year's. Still, as per usual, I am fretting a little bit about how I will do.

funny picturesI haven't felt like my fencing was all-together in quite a while. While struggling to improve my form and tactics, I seem to lost a lot of "comfort" with my body on the strip. It's like I have to instruct each limb separately which, as you might imagine, can seriously impede one's threat level. Practice has left me with a low-level of frustration lately. It's not a serious, mood-altering frustration that makes me want to throw my mask; it's a low-level pulsing sort of frustration that hovers just under the surface of my brain and just makes me want to sigh. Why is this so hard? I do understand that it will just take time and eventually things will begin to feel in harmony again.

But I am left wondering what to do in the meantime. Faced with an important tournament, should I fall back on my "comfortable" fencing style where I am confident, but essentially reliant upon counterattacks? Should I try to be the new fleet fencer that I want to be: dancing in and out of the bubble, but losing mental acuity in the meantime? I thought I was trying to be the latter at SitS but was informed afterwards that I still looked like my old stiff self most of the time. I guess we'll just have to see. T minus 1 day and counting.

Friday, April 04, 2008

After Practice Nutrition

So two nights a week I go straight from work to practice and work my butt off. I then arrive home around 9 pm, starving. I usually feel guilty about whatever it is I eat, no matter how healthy said food would have been around at an earlier hour because Everyone says you shouldn't eat late at night. So for help and reassurance, I turned to the nutritionist behind one of the blogs I read, Limes and Lycopene. Kathryn was nice enough to answer my question on her blog. The short of it: it's okay to eat late! Phew!

What to eat when you get home late

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The results are in

SitS Results

Well despite my best efforts (<-- sarcasm), my 30th place finish still garnered me the honor of top-placing female in the Open Epee event last weekend. There were 12 women out of 45 competitors and we're all in the bottom 30% of the results? That's more than a little disappointing, not just as a competitor, but as an conscious member of the fairer sex. Where are the bloodthirsty battle-maidens of yesteryear? The cagey and conniving iron ladies? The sinewy and nubile minxes on a mission? Where??