Sr. Judo Nationals Day 1

I can’t seem to figure out how to put my posts on the DeFYary page of my blog. I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, here it is on my main page.

I decided to write about my experiences at the Senior National Judo tournament that’s currently taking place in Reno, Nevada. Why not document one of my first defining moments in judo? I want to share this with everyone!

Day 1 was a travel day, but it was a lot of fun. I am so proud to be representing my dojo and surrounded by the people who have become not only my teammates, but my second family.

Day 1: Friday, May 2

Let me just begin by saying that I already have pretty severe issues with sleep, but my insomnia only gets worse the night before a flight. So, the end result is absolutely no sleep before leaving for the train. I was up for a good 29 hours. At least I got a lot done. 🙂

Prior to leaving for work, my mother was awesome enough to a) make me an amazing farewell breakfast which consisted of an egg and cheese bagel, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and sliced avocado and tomatoes, b) hem my blue judogi pants, and c) help me locate my birth certificate. I love you, mom. Thank you!

I left for O’Hare Airport on the 12:10 train. My friend J gave me a ride to the train station. (Thanks J!) After an hour and a very good nap, I arrived in Jefferson Park, transferred to the CTA blue line, and took it all the way to O’Hare. Checking in was painless. Surprisingly, going through security was equally as painless. Because I had a significant amount of time before my teammates and coaches arrived, I opted to hang out in the lounge designated for travelers who wanted some privacy and quiet to themselves. The area was sectioned into 2 rooms: a lounge and a small dining area with vending machines. I decided to hang out in the vending machine room which had some comfortable seating. I ended up taking another 1.5 hour nap completely sprawled out on the comfy couch. It was awesome.

At about 4:30 PM, I made my way to the gate in search of my teammates and my coaches. Everyone was assembled and we boarded the aircraft. I touched the outside of the plane for good luck. Sounds kind of stupid, but I got the idea from a YouTuber named Shay Carl who does the same thing before flying. If you think about it, it’s kind of neat to know that you touched the outside of an aircraft that will carry you thousands of feet in the air and hundreds of miles to your destination. The flight was around 3 hours and 40 minutes long. I napped through it all. That’s the price one must pay if they don’t sleep before flying. It was nice to zonk out and awaken in Reno.

We took the shuttle to our hotel and competition site, the Grand Sierra Casino and Resort. The ride was 5 minutes.

We checked in and found our room. It is so nice! Two queen size beds. I got my own bed! Ahhh, bliss…

My bed in Reno - A place to call home for the next few days.

My bed in Reno – A place to call home for the next few days.

We had dinner at 10 PM PST which is midnight Chicago time. No big – I had a tasty pesto chicken sandwich made fresh by 2nd Street Express, a small 24 hour eatery within the hotel. Admittedly, I got strawberry cheesecake gelato for dessert. My teammate, coach, and I talked for a bit before retiring to back to our rooms.

A little later, I got a chance to hang out with my teammate (AKA my roomie) and another teammate. We talked about the upcoming competition on Sunday and our futures in judo.

I went to bed close to 1 AM PST. It was that time to say goodnight to Friday and hello to Saturday in a couple hours.

Needless to say, Day 1 was exhausting, but overall a great day. The only downside is that my guide dog W is not here. As soon as I maneuver through this weekend and figure out the swing of judo tournaments is when I’ll feel comfortable having W there without me worrying about her. She will definitely accompany me to the next one!

I am incredibly thankful for this experience. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend has in store for me!


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