It's the end of a long day, and mama is feeling about as tired as she looks...

Today was tournament day in Quebec City. We did well. Eldest got a second place in kata out of 15 kids, which had me jumping up and down with excitement. It's one thing to medal in a field of four of five competitors. Getting second out of 15 is awesome. I was so proud of her I thought I might burst. Sparring for her didn't go quite as well and she didn't place there, but still, overall we're both happy with her performance today.

Me? Ah well. Now.

As you know, I'm an older kind of gal, by which I mean I'm 46. And us ladies, as you also know, have issues at times with that wretched menopause thing. And this weekend mama got hit pretty hard by it.

Remember during the last Olympics the world fell in love with that Chinese swimmer who was so darned cute talking about how she didn't think she'd done well because she was having her period?

Yeah, well. About that.

Female athletes have to deal with their cycle and that's just one of those things, right? Right. No stranger to that myself, thanks very much. But peri- and full-on menopause are something else - sort of like the cycle on nuclear steroids. (And not in a good way.)

You get the violent mood swings, the violent hot flashes, the violent and unpredictable periods, and the crippling cervix pain that feels like it would be a relief if you could cut your body in half.

I had that today. Well, not the hot flashes, really, but the rest, yes. And cramps, too. Wearing my crisp white (ga!) gi to boot, eating pain killers for breakfast and hoping the, er, equipment wouldn't malfunction.

And then I had to perform. And make it look strong.

Nothing to it, right?

Wrong. I started my kata feeling quite wobbly. I had the shakes and was dizzy as all get out. And I had to make a decision: either I was going to let all this perimenopausal nonsense kick my ass or I wouldn't. I decided I wouldn't. I steeled myself - hard - squeezed every bit of energy I had and threw it all out there on the mat. I finished my kata and took my spot, waiting for the results.

Would you know it: Out of five ladies I came out first! It had worked! Now I'd have to compete in grands, against all the other forms winners!

Crickey. Could I crank this out again?

I did my best, and I think my kata was stronger that second time around but it wasn't enough to get me near first place. Still, I felt I'd done about as well as I could have, especially given the circumstances.

I had a quick break before it was time to spar, so I ate something energetic hoping it would make the dizziness go away. It didn't, really, but it helped a bit.

It would have to do.

I was up fighting against a lady I'd fought once, over a year ago. That time she beat me pretty easily. Today, not so much. I won 10-3. After that I had to fight the 2016 world champion (35 years and older) and that wasn't an easy fight. But! Thanks to excellent coaching I managed to win a very close fight and get gold. YAY!

Which meant, of course, fighting in grands against the gold-medal winners in the 18+ divisions. I was up first against a spectacularly good young fighter who disposed of yours truly pretty quickly but still, I was happy with that fight because I managed to score once, woot.

When I got up this morning I didn't really know what I could do. Usually I'm lucky with the timing and don't have to deal with very powerful peri-menopausal symptoms and I confess I was tempted to throw in the towel before I even got started. But I didn't. Instead I chose to push through the unpleasantness and it worked.

There are all kinds of excuses and reasons not to push ourselves as hard as we can. We shouldn't use those excuses and reasons. Instead we should just grit our teeth and keep pushing anyway.