This blog post is dedicated to Isabel Gibson (who should totally be in the Senate): The countdown is on. The paperwork is pretty much done. We have doctor's notes (apparently that's necessary to compete in karate; I thought surely qualifying for Worlds sort of meant you were kind of reasonably fit but hey), we have a travel letter signed by husband and witnessed by Nice City Hall Official Bureaucrat certifying that I have permission to travel alone with my daughter across international borders (was the world a better place when we didn't need those? I think so), we have passports, plane tickets, hotel reservation and car rental, we have our uniforms, our cool-looking jackets, I've got new shiny sparring gloves, a few books about Ireland, everything. Well, almost.

The only thing we don't have is more time. More time to train, more time to heal, more time to get ready. We are leaving on Oct. 28 and competition starts on the 31st. That's approaching fast...

Our strategy now is to train fairly hard for the next two weeks, then taper off a bit so we give our bodies time to rest so it can perform. We already have a few nagging ouchies that need to heal, thanks to a pretty intensive summer. Nothing major; Eldest has a few aches and pains but it's quite manageable (and it's teaching her to push through pain - within reason; obviously at her age I don't need to push her so hard that she needs new knees at age 16, but she can certainly push through muscle soreness, and does). I have sore joints, especially my right elbow, left shoulder and smallest metatarsal on the right foot.

(See now why I don't go to fancy parties anymore? All I can talk about is sore joints and defensive kicks. And I don't drink. I'm a terrible bore, unless you enjoy discussing sore metatarsals in which case wanna take me out for a nice soothing souchong latte?)

Anyway. We shall get over those ouchies - or ignore them long enough that they cease to matter. We shall also devote the next few weeks to eating well and getting enough rest. That means Eldest and I are now on a pretty solid clean-eating diet. For Catherine this means watching out for the junky treats, and mostly eating clean, well-balanced home-made food. For me it means dropping a few pounds this week and next. I feel better and perform better when I am lighter, and I'm looking to get down to 127ish lbs from my current 130 (I'm 5'6; we're not talking drastic dieting here, just slimming down a bit). I eat very small meals (about 5 a day) of nutritionally-dense, heavy-protein foods, with as much leafy greens as I can stand, and virtually no alcohol or refined sugars. Fortunately I still get to eat dark chocolate so all is well.

We are also on a sleep diet. Or maybe I should call it reverse sleep diet; we really have to get enough ZZZZs to be at our best. So we have to be in bed by 10 pm at the latest, which isn't always easy in my life as I tend to get work done when the kids are in bed (early morning and late at night), and of course we're often at the dojo until 9:30 pm, but hey.

Then in two weeks or so, it's going to be all mental game. That'll be a topic for another blog post.