Keeping up with Clarky
GB, Scottish & Edinburgh Judo Club Olympian Sarah Clark has been blogging on the Judo Scotland website in the run up to the London Games, you can check out her ‘Dare to Dream‘ blogs by clicking on the links below:
Blog No.1 “The Big year is here!”
Blog No.2 “A lighter life“
Blog No.3 “Japan, It’s just how it is!“
Blog No.4 “Training in Korea“
Blog No. 5 “The time is near”
Blog No. 6 “2012 So Far...”
Blog No.7 “Next stop London“
Blog No.8 “ British and Proud“
Tuesday 5th April 2011
Hi Everyone. Sorry I have not posted for a wee while. I’m currently in Paris with the rest of the GB Team for five days training. I competed in Sarajevo, Bosnia on Sunday at the first European Cup Event of 2011. I was pleased at my performance here, winning all five of my contests to take the gold medal. Three weeks before, I was competing in Geneva, Switzerland at the B Level Tournament. Five contests and a very very long day later I won gold. These tournaments, I feel, have been good preparation for me leading in to the European Championships and have given me lots of ‘preparation and practice’ contests. Last year wasn’t such a good year for me injury wise and I had to miss a lot of competitions. I feel much more competitive this year and I hope to start off my Olympic preparation with a good performance at The European Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, which takes place towards the end of April. You can follow the competition live at http://www.eju.net for four days.
Preparation for the Europeans has been good and I have managed to remain injury free. My judo condition is back to where it should be and I’m feeling strong on the mat. I am looking forward to competing in Istanbul. I will post again soon to keep you up to date with everything.
January 28th 2011
Well, what a successful weekend (last weekend) was for the judo club. As most of you will know, it was the British Trials and many of our junior and senior players were competing. For the juniors, it was chance to test their judo skills against the best in Britain. For many, it may mark the beginning of their judo career. Some will make it through to senior success, some may choose a different path. For most, it’s a special occasion and the beginning of a journey.
The Junior Players representing The Edinburgh Judo Club travelled down with junior judo Head Coach Lee Calder on Friday afternoon after finishing school, college or uni. I travelled down on Friday evening and was lucky enough to watch some of our juniors in action on Saturday. Two of our youngsters, Ksenia and Matthew took bronze medals in their weight categories (-70kg and -90kg) and displayed guttsy performances. Other members of the team fought particularly well, and others were maybe a little disappointed that things didn’t work as they would have liked. As in all sports, things rarely work out the way you want them to. However, all the players will head back to the judo club with their heads held high, to work on, and improve their skills so that next time they are better prepared.
I arrived in Sheffield at around 7.30pm on Friday after an 1.5 hour delay on the A1 at Newcastle. I must thank my ‘Sat Nav’ Dad, who diverted myself and Billy along some minor roads and eventually back on to the A1 past the unfortunate crash that shut the A1 for a number of hours!! I went out for dinner, relaxed, watched a wee bit of tv and then slept. Before heading down to the junior event on Saturday I decided to do a short jog (around 25 minutes) as I like to loosen my legs off the day before I compete. I then had a bath, bought my food for the next day and then headed off to watch the juniors. The day before a tournament, I generally try to do 20-30 minutes of something physical, often I like to walk. If we are abroad, I will usually watch a little judo then I like to go out on my own and just try to relax my mind and think about anything other than the competition ahead. I often read or listen to music. I’m not a huge film fan so very rarely do I watch a movie or a tv show. Then I do my competition food shopping, pack my bag, re-pack my bag (to double check that I have everything I need!!!!!), check my weight and then try to sleep.
The morning of the tournament, as usual, was a nervous affair. We all jumped in the minibus at 6.50am (from the Travelodge where we were all staying) to head down to the weigh in that began at 7am. Once the weigh in was over, the tournament began at 10am. My weight category began at 1.30pm. After warming up and getting myself mentally prepared, I eventually had my first contest. I won this by ippon (armlock) and then I became much more settled in to the competition and won my following four contests (three by ippon and one by yuko).
For me, competitions are always VERY nerve wracking!!! Ever since I began competing at nine year old I’d get nervous at tournaments. That feeling never goes away. I guess its how you deal with these nerves that make the difference to your performance. Nerves affect different people in different ways. I like to think of nerves as a positive thing. I try to imagine nerves as being my body’s way of ‘getting prepared’. As my contests approach, I prefer not to really talk to anyone, but instead to warm up and get ready to compete and think things through in my head. Others like to listen to music, talk to people, mix with people, amongst other things. Win or lose (a contest), I still prefer a wee bit of time to myself to reflect on how I fought and then I’m happy to chat.
So, fortunately for me, the Trials went well and I did what I had set out to do which was to win. I needed to confirm to myself that my training had been going well, that my injuries are mostly in the past (and being managed well by myself and my physio) and that I can still perform well. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be an exciting 18 months in the build up to London 2012. I am now looking forward to heading over to Paris next week to take part in the training camp and then a couple of weeks later, to compete in my first World Cup of 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.
So, training is my biggest priority now and making sure that I am in the best shape, mentally and physically leading in to each competition and each training block. Consistency will be the key and I hope that I can return to the competition form that I have demonstrated in the past.
Chat soon and keep up the good work.
12th January 2011
Happy New Year!!!!! It’s been a VERY long time since I have blogged here. I promise to write more often!!!! I hope everyone had a good break over Christmas and the New Year and I hope the snow didn’t cause too many problems. It was great for the first couple of weeks. We had a few sledging sessions down Corstorphine hill which were fun. However, as the snow was starting to disappear (a few days ago), Patrick Dawson turned up with two ’super’ sledges from Norway but we didn’t get a chance to try them out – so we are wishing for more snow – jut one more time!!!!!
As the British Trials approach, training volume is decreasing and we are just sharpening up on our contest judo. Over Christmas and New Year, training was especially tough, but really good and there was a fantastic spirit demonstarted by everyone. Even through all the snow and centre closures, we didn’t miss training. We found a gym or a judo mat somewhere and continued with our preparation. Where there’s a will there’s a way!!!
I didn’t go down to my parents this Christmas so I haven’t missed any training. I had a lovely Christmas dinner, a piece of pavlova (mmmm – thanks Lorraine), a couple of beers and that was it (well, a few sneaky chocolates here and there and some cheese and crackers!!!). I was pretty good over Christmas. With competitions quickly approaching - I didn’t want to go overboard! I had Saturday and Sunday off at Christmas and New Year and that was it – just like a normal weekend. My parent’s and my sister, her husband and the three kids came up for New Year and it was great to see everyone. We went to the zoo on 2nd Jan which was good – but cold!!
So, I have managed to remain injury free. I am still seeing the physio and keeping on top of my injuries and keeping myself fit and strong. I am looking forward to competing again. (last year wasn’t so good for me – I had a lot of injuries). After the trials, I will look to compete in some World Cup events in Europe along with some camps and I hope to be selected for the European Championships in April. I aim to get back to my past form.
Finally, I would just like to wish everyone the best of luck in everything they do this year. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you give it 100% and you will have no regrets!!!
11th November 2010
As this training week draws to a close, on a very cold, wet and windy night in Dartford, Sarah Adlington, Matthew Purssey and I are all sitting on our laptops in my bedroom at the Camponile Hotel!!!! Matthew is looking at AutoTrader (he needs a new car) and Sarah is looking at Facebook. Connie is also here and she is filling in her profile to put up on the website!! There’s no randori practice at Dartford tonight so the plan was to head over to Bluewater (shopping centre and cinema). No such luck. The Dartford Bridge was closed and traffic has been backed up for five hours!! Looks like it’s TV, internet and hot chocolate all round.
Training this week has been based at the BJPI in Dartford, helping the the GB players prepare for the U23 European Championships in a couple of weeks. There’s been a few different players to practice this week so for me it’s been good. As well as the judo sessions, the Scottish players have all managed to fit in their strength and conditioning sessions that they would normally do back at Ratho. Finding the balance between training is really difficult when you’re away on camps and out of your ‘normal’ environment. Also, you have to be really careful with the amount of food you eat. Here at The Camponile Hotel we are lucky enough to get our breakfast, lunch and dinner provided – buffet style!!! All you can eat!!!! Then after randori practice at night, we get supper too. This is all ok if you’re not watching your weight, but in our sport, that’s generally not the case. Most people need to be careful!!!!!
Training has been good (I’ve had a few different people to practice with) but I’m looking forward to getting back up the road and having a weekend to sort of relax before training starts again on Monday. Sally Conway and I are already getting a wee bit nervous. On Tuesday, we have our 2km max row test. Oh – we are not looking forward to it!!!!!! This test is then used as a guidline to set our conditioning sessions for the next couple of months which will run right through Christmas and New Year, leading up to the trials and the International events. Things are going well for me and I’m managing to stay injury free.
Chat Soon. Sarah
31st October 2010
Wasn’t it good last night having an extra hour in bed last night with the clocks going back? Only downside is now it’s getting darker much earlier!!!!! Things have been going well for myself and for the judo club. We’ve had lots of people representing the club, Scotland and Great Britain at various competitions lately and we’ve had some excellent performances and results. The development of the club is going from strength to strength from our youngest members up to our elite competitors. Excellent coaching and positive relationships between all players, members, coaches and staff. It was great to see such a busy Saturday in the judo club and many new members too.
I’ve been training really well. This week was a good week, but quite tough. Many of our players competed in The Scottish Open which was followed by a training camp at Ratho. I think everyone else would agree that this week has been quite tiring!!! Many of our players are away competing this weekend so I had a few of the girls over to my flat for some food and a chat (and, I guess, a wee watch of X-Factor). Sarah Adlington, Sally Conway, Jodie Mullen, Danae Harris and Lisa Kearney all came over and we ate my version of a spagetti bolognaise and brushetta (which I must say was better than last weeks chilli con carne) and for desert we had Sally’s white chocolate homemade cheesecake!!!!! Mmmmm – it was lush (White chocolate is Jodie’s favourite!!!!). Sally told us what went in to making a white chocolate cheesecake and I can safely say that most of us will not be eating anything sweet for at least two weeks now as we consumed around 10,000kcal in one slice of cheesecake!!!!!!!!!! Sally tried to leave the left over piece at my house but I made her take it away!!!!! Ha Ha.
We have decided that I will not be competing again until January 2011. This will give me enought time to get strong, healthy and injury free – ready to fight again!! Then I’ll start with the A Tournaments. I am looking forward to competing again. Most of my team mates will be off to Korea and Japan to train and compete. I’ll miss out on this and it makes me a little bit sad that I’m not going too, but I think not competing until January is the right decision. My training is very structured at the moment and I am doing more yoga and stretching than I have ever done and I feel good for it. Infact, alot of our guys have taken to yoga and within our sessions at Ratho everyone is doing a lot more stretching – proper stretching!!! Those foam rollers we have at Ratho are tough – and seem to cause most people alot of pain!!!!! That’s it for now.
Chat Soon, Sarah.
Well, I’m currently back in to training after The World Championship (and not such a good world’s for me). I sat down with Billy, David and Allan (S & C Coach) and made a plan of my training for the next few weeks which included specific judo sessions, strength, yoga, physio, recovery and good nutrition. We have put things in place to try and ensure that I make a full recovery from the pretty severe neck injury that I received prior to competing at The Worlds. We want to train progressively over the next couple of months. The plan was going well. I was feeling good and then I caught what everyone else in Ratho seems to have caught – a cough, tight chest and a runny nose!!!! I slowed up on the training and have only done a couple of light strength sessions. We have also sat down with British Judo and chatted through my outline programme for the next few months. By the end of the week it will my overall programme will be much clearer regarding camps and competitions.
So, I have had time to do a little bit more cooking than I have been doing recently. I made sweet potato and peanut butter soup – it was lush!!!! (A slight variation on the recepie that Sally gave me – thanks Sal!!). I also made chilli con carne. It looked fab………smelled fab………had enough chilli powder in it………….but tasted average!!!!! I was slightly disappointed with it – even if I say so myself. It was missing something….I added cumin and seasoning, but maybe not enough!!! Even the rice was pretty good (and the nachos were even better – jalapenos, cheese, re-fried beans). Then today I made chorizo and my version of an aribiata (??) tomato sauce (tinned tomatoes, garlic, basil, red wine) with pasta and parmesan cheese. Nice!!!! It’s the dishes that I don’t like the most. I don’t mind making the mess but I don’t particularly like clearing it away!! Anyway, tonight or tomorrow I’m making parsnip and ginger soup. My parsnips that are sitting in the fridge are getting a bit old now so I need to do something with them!!! I hate wasted food. Anyway, tomorrow I’m going to do a big food shop and get loads of fresh veg, spices and some good protein, chicken, steak and prawns (and less of the chorizo!!!) and make some real healthy, wholesome food (and maybe some ice-cream!!).
So, over the next few days, I’ll be having lots of honey, lemon and ginger tea, saunas and some stretching sessions and in the next few days I’ll return to the mat at Ratho. It’s the Scottish Open this weekend in Paisley (Juniors Saturday and Seniors Sunday). I’ll be going along to support everyone and Judo Scotland have asked me along as a VIP where I will get a lovely free lunch (like I need more food!!!!!). I’ll keep you posted.