I just returned home last night from my short trip to Nagano, Japan for the NHK Trophy Figure Skating competition. I was lucky enough to be upgraded to first class on the way to Japan, and on my way home! (Big shout out and thank you to Air Canada!!), and that always makes the long flight seem more tolerable and relaxing.
Preforming in Japan is always a great experience. There are so many amazing fans in Japan that are so generous, polite and dedicated, and we always look forward to being greeted in the hotel lobby by their smiling faces when we arrive. Everything is also organized so efficiently, we don’t need to worry about anything and there is so many volunteers working at the hotel and the arena, that it’s almost impossible to not find someone to help you! No detail goes unnoticed in the Japanese culture and I feel so grateful to have experienced their hospitality and warmth on so many occasions.
Sadly, we didn’t skate our best for the amazing fans this time around. We really wanted to preform 2 strong programs in Japan, but both ended up being a little bit messy. In the short, we had an uncharacteristic slip going into our Triple Twist, and it created a tension for the rest of the program, resulting in being completely off the music as we couldn’t find a comfortable rhythm.
I thought we did a good job at the beginning of the long program to find a rhythm, but after I fell on the throw quad sal, I started overthinking and that never works! Although we won the competition, Eric and I are true athletes, and a win isn’t fun unless you do your best. I personally felt very frustrated with myself after our long program. We train better then that, and I wanted to give my best performance. I always expect 110% from myself, and when I felt like I didn’t give that much, I felt regret and anger. I do understand that we are not machines, and we will make mistakes sometimes, but I just wish we could have shown a smoother program because we have worked so hard on perfecting this “Hometown Glory” free skate.
There is no rest for the wicked though, as Eric and I were on the ice this morning working with our choreographer making some last minute adjustments and changes to both our short and free program for the Grand Prix Final next week in Barcelona. We haven’t been able to preform our short program as smoothly and musically as we know that we can this season, so we hope the small changes we made will help us take a step forward in our PCS (presentation) score and the quality of our elements. It’s always a learning process, and if we didn’t skate the way we did in Japan, we would have never thought about making the changes that we did!
But, onto another important subject! What did I eat while I was in Japan?! Well, sadly, I couldn’t find a vegetarian or vegan restaurant anywhere near Nagano. I had packed quite a lot of snacks to get me through, but the lack of quality vegetables that was available to me was unfortunate. At each figure skating competition, we have catered meals. The quality of food varies, depending on where the competition is being held. Usually when we go to competitions in Japan, the food is quite good and there is plenty of tofu and vegetables available. Sadly, this events catering wasn’t as good as I had hoped and planned for. The vegetables were generally mixed with meat or fish sauce and the fruits were limited. There was however, bowls of cold tofu so I stuck with that, adding some blueberry puree syrup or maple syrup for flavor. I had brought a few sweet potato-tempeh burritos but after 3 days they were gone and I was hungry! I came home last night craving some good quality organic food and nutrients from spinach, kale, quinoa and brown rice!
It’s also my dog’s birthday today! Happy Birthday shout out to Theo, my 2-year-old beagle! Bruno and I rescued Theo last summer from the SPCA near Ottawa. Many people don’t know, but beagles are the dog used most often in animal testing because of their docile, friendly, trusting, and people pleasing personalities. We are always careful never to buy products from companies that use animal testing because we want to support cruelty-free products. We feel like in 2015 it is not necessary to do animal testing and I also donate monthly to the Beagle Freedom Project, to help rescue beagles from laboratories.
December 1st also marks my anniversary of becoming a vegan! December 1st 2008 was when my journey with plant-based foods began. December 1st is a big day, which starts a big month! Grand Prix Final, my birthday and Christmas holidays!