I know that if you read this blog, you know I was off this past week in the Bay area at my very first (hopefully not only) invitational games. To say that the festival in Pleasanton is big is quite an understatement.
I think of Buddy the Elf...this festival is GINORMOUS.
My intention was to write as I went along, keep a running journal so to speak, I figured I might forget too many things to be able to post it all after the games. As things happen, I didn't have web access early in the trip and so I sort of unplugged~then once I did have access, I was having too much fun being really connected to folks that I just let it go. Turns out I was right though...I have too many thoughts in my head...and I know this will probably ramble and jump and not say what I really mean to say.
I got to see Jane and Kerry... two dancers I worked with 8 or 9 years ago...they were both so generous with their time and attention...It was interesting to chat these nearly 10 years on about how much our bodies have changed, what we all do now to try to care for these bodies...theirs worn from the hard work of being dancers, mine nearly lost to neglect and self hatred.
I got to spend lots of time alone...it was nice to feel good about being alone. Time spent remembering to look up...look out....I saw so many people on the street and on the docks and in restaurants looking down at their phones....I am guilty of that more and more these days....I put it away and looked. At the sky, at water, fog, sea lions, in peoples eyes. I spent time just silent...hours...I honestly don't know when the last time is that I did that, but I need more of it. I spent an insane about of money having lunch alone at a window looking out at Alcatraz. I sat there for almost two hours....not feeling lonely, just lucky.
At the end of my little walking adventure in San Fran, I met up with Sara, Michelle, and Michelle's daughter....It was a great cap off to the day...sadly I ended up with a blister...um...really smart Mona, really smart. I got my butt back on the BART to Oakland...It was funny, so many people texted me to "be careful." Now I get it, I see the news...I hear the stories...Oakland has a reputation..but I got off the train and decided to wait for Kerry to pick me up. I sat back and just to to see people, to watch people. The first thing I see are fruit vendors...um, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, all sorts of greens too. I see people living their lives. I watch people coming off the train after work...people doing the things we all do...I think about all the weird things that are said about "real" Americans and wonder if some of these people who are so isolated being afraid of "the Other" could have just sat next to me watching these folks in the "scary" city of Oakland...just living life...just as they do...tired after work, nodding hello to familiar faces, smiling at the dog that ambles past them.....
I get out to Pleasanton on Friday night....prep the bag, blah blah blah....
This is a two day event for me...I have never done that before. I am a little nervous about how I am gonna handle the physical side of things. Hit the field, it is really lovely, overcast, cool....I cannot even work my mind around all the people I met...great people, I felt very welcomed by the women. Lots of gift giving and sharing of food and stories. The day is different...fewer events with a lot of down time. I feel challenged to stay warmed up...on the up side...I didn't feel so blown out by the end of the day.
I did start strong, a nice PR on light Hammer...75"5.75' whoot!
HWD...not so much...scratched my first throw, only one spin on the second throw, third throw...under what I have been throwing in practice by 5-8 feet.... Looking at photos, my head is in the wrong place....ew...sounds gross.
Braemer...who knows? Stones are new every place you go, right? This one was heavy 16 + and was shaped like a giant hamburger..made me hungry. Threw it ok...again, looking at the photos...I am no where near as low to start as I image in my head!
Afternoon? Started with a turkey leg, so...that's good. Also...got to see Kerry...she and a friend came out to the games...in the afternoon...it was so great to see someone I know out in the crowd. Did I happen to mention that the afternoon events were on a horse track? Crazy! I also took a photo with the Men's Polish team...I'll post it at some point...but um...yeah...I look tiny!
Caber was first....I have never in a games turned a 12 more than one lucky time...I turned a 12 twice! I actually took second in this event behind the Master of cabers...Michelle.
WOB was fun. I started low...it was a knock off bar..It made me nervous. I did NOT reach my goal of 16 feet...but a couple of the women said that with my last throw...it did make it over...it just...um....knocked off the bar....yeah..but I did hold in there with some of the A class women for a while...and let me tell you...I LOVED watching some of these women throw...such speed, power, beauty. I needed to remind myself a couple of times to just enjoy, not compare....it was really a gift for me.
At the end of the day I had 3 firsts, 2 seconds, and one PR..the PR being the most important. I also saw my friend Matt from OSU..it has been over 20 years. I met his wife and little girls. I was so thrilled they came out and if I get invited again? We will plan some dinner!
Day two....didn't sleep well...I was tired....thank god we didn't start with heavy hammer...ugh....started on Open stone...I felt good here too....had 2 good throws (for me) it was heavy..almost 12 pounds. Again..I am not low enough, but perhaps I can fix that.
LWD....cannot find form...Heather MacDonald came up to me and told me that I was bent over...that I need to have my head and chest high and she thinks I'll throw better. I felt really grateful she took the time to watch me...the A class are super focused. I couldn't find the right position these games..but I'll work on it. Again, I threw short for me...but I ended up in first. It was at this point, having taken the first 2 events of the day...that I actually walked away from the field, away form the other women, because I started to cry...yeah I know...big dummy. I just was struck by the hard work of all these women and men who have let me in, who keep helping coach me....and struck by the work that I have done to prove my former doctor wrong...to stay out of a wheelchair...to say F%&*ck off to the life I was headed for....
Heavy hammer....not great, but again...Heather was spying my form and gave me a tip about the timing of my hip....
The challenge events? Crazy tired by this point...our WOB broke...so we used this other weird feeling one that I almost could not get my hand in. This time...I had three even closer 16 foot throws, but alas....none cleared it. I need more power...because this time I could walk away from those three misses knowing my form was good....clean....I was outta gas and the throws just grazed the bar each time...so no 16, but I am pretty proud of it.
Caber challenge...yikes...after my second attempt...I started to walk away form the caber and it happened...my chest started to tighten. I couldn't catch my breath...my inhaler? Across the field...silly girl. Sarah went after it, but I started to panic...one of the women told me to bend at the waist....then, I heard this voice, that at first I thought was Pierre...very calm, quiet....reminding me to breathe..how to breathe....I started to get better breaths when I realized, oh right Pierre isn't here....I look at this guy...Joe Wilson, one of the A throwers husband's...just talking me down from my asthma...he scolds me gently to stop laughing when Sarah hands me what I should have had with me the whole time. I have to admit, I was super embarrassed...oh well...no one else seemed to think anything of it. I did gather myself enough to take my final turn at that caber..but I didn't get it...close, but...not quite.
Again...leaving the field, I started to cry...I don't quite know why. Tired, hot, grateful, missed my kids, wanted Pierre there~~ overwhelmed. I tried to find all of the women and thank them, but I know I missed a few...I spoke briefly with Adriane and she was so kind, supportive of this short journey I have been on that I teared up again...geezzz....but getting a compliment from her is pretty inspiring. Like being told by Michael Jordan that you can shoot well.
And now? I have to get back to work...back to the gym....back to working on form.....