Welcome to the Athlete Journal of world-class grappler Valerie Worthington. Follow Valerie as she trains and competes in various events over the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition season. Val’s journal will be posted every Thursday.
You can catch up by reading her previous journal entries!
I still have work to do. Worlds starts today, by the time this story posts, and I compete on Saturday and, if all goes well, Sunday. And yet, I’m thinking about all the post-tournament rewards I’m going to give myself. While I am usually in a state of readiness, I did have a few extra things to do this time around, like forego dessert so I could lose a couple pounds. And there’s also the inconvenience of traveling itself. Fingers crossed I don’t get travel cankles this time like I did when I went to Abu Dhabi; even so, I’ll be taking a redeye home, which is never as good an idea in practice as it is when I am booking it.
So, of course, I am rationalizing all the out-of-the-ordinary things I’m going to do when the work is done. The justifications will be backed by rigorously half-remembered science and pseudo-science. Read on for my list, and feel free to suggest additions!
I know it is possible to be girly and train BJJ, because I have female friends who do both successfully. They have cute outfits and perfect makeup when they are not training, and when they are training they only glow. I consider it a banner day when I wear clothes out of the house different from the ones I slept in, and my hair goes a million miles an hour when I train. Plus, I “glow” puddles.
Partially for this reason, I like to get pedicures. When I look down and see my tootsies all dolled up, it makes me feel more dainty than I usually do, which is to say, at all dainty. Plus, they seem to have more staying power than a manicure, even with the training.
Rationale: From the little I know about it, the foot massage that usually accompanies a pedicure is apparently like getting a full body treatment. It’s something about how all the meridians in the body meet in the feet. Plus, then my feet aren’t gnarly for my training partners.
2. See-Food Diet
As I mentioned, while I didn’t have to cut nearly as much weight for Worlds as some people, I did have to go without dessert for a couple weeks so I could lose about five pounds. So of course I’m going to use it as an excuse to eat whatever I want for a week. I’m giving myself this much leeway because just like I have trouble remembering any books I want to read when I am actually at the library, when I am put on the spot, I have difficulty thinking of junk food I want to eat. This way, I’ll have multiple opportunities. With any luck, I will remember to get something bright orange or bright teal from 7-11.
Rationale: I vaguely recall someone, maybe even someone reputable, telling me it’s actually a good idea to have a cheat meal every now and then to ensure that in a pinch, the body will be able to process and convert to energy food that is less than clean.
3. Read/Watch Game of Thrones
I’m woefully out of it when it comes to GoT, which is what I assume the cool kids are not calling it. But since I like to hop on every bandwagon, I have to check it out. Plus, I like Peter Dinklage; he seems like the kind of person you’d want to get a pedicure or eat junk food with.
Rationale: Maybe I’ll learn something about sword fighting or other badassery that will complement my grappling, should I ever find myself in a medieval type altercation with someone named something like Ravenblood or Icarus – to protect my firkin of mead, of course.
4. See a Weekday Matinee
For some reason, I find going to a movie in the middle of a weekday to be super decadent. You are still full from breakfast when the previews start, and it’s still light outside when you come out. You frequently have the place to yourself, though sometimes not: One time a friend and I went to see a weekday matinee and some creeper sat RIGHT BEHIND us, though the three of us were the only people in the theater. I didn’t stop to notice if he was wearing a trench coat; we just moved and asked the usher to handle it.
Rationale: Notwithstanding the potential for unwanted “friend-making,” seeing a weekday matinee will give me the opportunity to observe a familiar context in a different light, which could be spiritually and psychologically enlightening. Plus, I will be able to see the differences in that context while eating popcorn and Milk Duds (combined), and maybe even some bright orange cheese, to go with my nachos.
5. Have a Drink
I don’t drink much lately. I am usually driving wherever I’m going, which limits how much I can drink, as does the fact that I’m a tremendous lightweight. But every now and then it’s nice to have a little belt of something; it helps life feel a little bit more festive.
Rationale: Everyone has read the research about how a glass of wine a day has medicinal properties. I think that’s red wine, though, and I prefer white. Plus, what I really want is a mojito.
Well, there you have it; that’s how I’m going to be spending the first part of June. If you have suggestions for other things I should add to my list, I’m all ears. Just make sure you can justify the addition with sound arguments and evidence as I have done.