Who I am

I thought I would start this blog on Krista’s site so I can share what it is like to be an athlete, and specifically an athlete who is training at Kamp Krusty. (Get it? Krista? Krusty? Kamp? Simpsons reference? Ha ha! Man, you guys are the worst audience ever.)

I plan to blog occasionally about my training and competition journey. I was preparing to write my first entry, but it occurred to me that I should tell you a bit about who I am.

My name is Alaina. Site readers probably know me as “OMGBFF A”. I have a day job and stuff, but in my spare time I am a competitive submission grappler. Submission grappling (I usually just say “jiu-jitsu”) is ground fighting like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but without the uniform. Basically, I get to roll around on the floor with other people for three hours a night.

I train with Mark Stables at MECCA MMA in Toronto. I am a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Felicia Oh of Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy in Valencia, CA, who I also train with as much as possible. I am also a purple belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu under Eddie Bravo.

I’ve been off-and-on in fitness for longer than I have known Krista. I’ve always been active, but I also sort of saw myself as the fat, out of shape goofball wannabe. I took up boxing a few years ago, and even had one fight. Then I had some surgery and got lazy and unhappy. I shot up to 208 lbs. Hearing the doctor read that number off of the scale was my wake-up call, and one of the worst moments of my life. That night I started eating right again, and a few weeks later I discovered jiu-jitsu. The combination of decent nutrition and good exercise… well, I will leave it to you to decide what it has produced, but from my end she looks like one very happy girl.

I am writing this on July 31, 2008, a year and a couple of weeks after I started training jiu-jitsu. A month ago I fought at 140 lbs in my first pro jiu-jitsu division. I lost more than 60 lbs and went from being an athletic clod to a pro competitor in one year. I feel better than I have ever felt. It’s pretty awesome.

After some recent success in grappling competition, I have decided to do something totally crazy. I am going to do the Canadian Trials for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championships, which is the most prestigious invitational submission grappling tournament in the world. I will be doing this under the tutelage of Elliott and Felicia (grappling) and Krista (strength & conditioning).

The women I will be facing have been training many times longer than I have, and are among the best in the world. I have little hope of winning. But I’m going to try as hard as I can, through training, nutrition and mindset. If I lose a match, it will be because she is better than me, not because she trained harder or had better coaching.

This blog will document my training and competition preparation experience: the crappy parts as well as any success I might have. I think it’s important for people to understand that competitive athletes are just like everybody else: we have the same anxieties, the same ambivalence, and the same feeling of “HELL YEAH!” when we do something right. So I’m going to share my story with you.