In January I wrote about how drastically my life had changed. The posts that followed however had no updates or conclusions to offer. So here it is. A recap of the last 7 months and some big news to follow.
Through February, March and April I tried as hard as possible to recover the drive and determination I had towards gymnastics and my body last year. It never happened. Other aspects of my life began to crowd out gymnastics, working out and healthy living. Though they were never lost, my intensity and focus shifted to other parts of my life. And that’s fine. I needed to live a little after last year.
In January 2012, I embarked on a healthy living lifestyle. I dedicated my time to my career, my nutrition and gymnastics. Nothing else mattered; I was intensely focused. I did not have a social life and I didn’t care to. I kept that up for 10 months. Then, so many aspects of my life started to crumble. I got injured. Twice. One could have been very serious and require surgery (luckily it did not but I was in PT for 3 months). The other left me in a boot (AGAIN!) for 5 weeks. Both required time off from training. My relationship went to crap after ignoring it for those 10 months. I ended my 7 year relationship in December. Then of course, the healing was difficult and left me exhausted, rattled and lost. Once my partner was gone, I could not lean on him anymore and had to rely on my (small) community. I needed, really needed my friends for the first time in my life and I realized I had not built a community here. I had not cultivated many close friendships and as such, had very few people to lean on.
At the end of 2012, I was partner-less for the first time in 7 years, had few close friends and was trying to heal. It was a rough 2 months.
In early February things started looking up. I started dating in January. It was/is Awesome! My gymnastics friends and I started hanging out more, going out on weekends, daily emails and chats and getting together for dinner and drinks.
By March I was feeling a lot better. People in the gym said they noticed a new me; a person who was always smiling, who was far more social and fun. One teammate called it the ‘perma-grin’ because I was always smiling, laughing and happy at gymnastics.
I kept up my gymnastics and fitness class but I did not have the drive and focus of a year ago. My new social life, which I had lacked for years, was crowding out my workouts. Not entirely of course as I still averaged 5 workouts a week but they were not planned as minutely, they were not nearly as intense and taking an unscheduled rest day was more common. But I was far happier and had a healthier and more enjoyable alignment of the many aspects of my life.
My community has expanded to include 4 very close girlfriends. They are my new support system; it’s an incredible feeling to be held up by a community. I am so thankful for them.
As for my personal life, I am dating casually. Not nearly as fast and furious as I was in February and March, but I’m out there enjoying it.
I look back on the last 5 months and they are some of the happiest in my life. I lost so much at the end of last year which resulted in a major life shift. It has been incredible though. And worth it. So, so worth it. I’ve learned about myself and rediscovered parts I didn’t know I had lost.
The biggest change though, is soon to come. I am leaving on 03 September for a round the world trip, beginning in New Zealand. I plan to be gone for 12-18 months, but that is so open to change it is laughable. I really have no idea how long I’ll be gone, either until I’m just done or I run out of money. Either way, I anticipate a long time. I’m even open to loving a city and living there for months or years. My future is wide open. There is nothing keeping me from seeing the world seeing where it takes me.
I never gave a proper recap of nationals. And I probably won’t here as it was basically 3 months ago, but I’ll give a short summary.
We arrived on Thursday night and immediately checked in and then went to dinner. We were starving and the Indian food we had hit the spot. After that we went straight to bed.
Competition morning we got up, had breakfast then starting getting ready to compete! Luckily we were in the afternoon session so we could take our time getting ready. We had stick it playing in the background and then had a team dance party before we left.
Once at the arena we started our timed warm-up. Unfortunately, like last year, we started on beam. I went last for my team. I was a whole ball of nerves but the routine went well. I was sorely disappointed with my score, though. I was not given credit for my flight series even though it was definitely connected. That cost me 0.5. Had I gotten that 0.5, I would have qualified to beam finals and received second place in my session. Bummer.
Floor went well. I ended up not doing my front full and settled for a half. Still fulfilled all the requirements and I scored a 9.425, which was enough to WIN my session. Woot!
Vault I flipped both a tuck tsuk and a pike. The pike was a little messy and weird but I’m glad I at least went for it. The judges afterwards told me the tuck scored higher than the pike. Oh well. I placed 4th? in my session, but still qualified to finals.
Bars- do I even have to comment here? I was so behind on bars all through the season. My shoulder really hindered my training. I was happy to just be able to compete and get through a routine, even if it was ugly and scored low.
Overall, I was happy with my performances. My beam score was disappointing but my performance was still good so I couldn’t be too upset about it. Obviously floor and vault went well as I qualified to finals.
The next day was finals. I had promised my teammates that if I qualified to floor finals, I’d wear a super old school leotard and do the 1995 level 5 floor routine, complete with the music. Here I am before starting my routine (I was all smiles, I looked so happy doing that routine)
I competed my normal tumbling passes and my dance series in order to get a 10.0 start value. I scored a 9.375! I just missed placing on floor (10th place was a 9.425).
Vault I simply competed 2 tuck tsuks. I don’t remember my score but it was enough to place 10th. Which means I got a medal at the banquet!
So that’s 2 years in a row I placed on vault and qualified to both vault and floor finals. My performances at nationals at ages 25 and 26 have been better than they ever were when I was in college. Who says old people can’t do (and excel at) gymnastics?
I live in Boston. Well 1 mile from Boston. The bombing yesterday at the marathon has rattled me. I cried. A lot. Thankfully, all of my friends are safe and unharmed. But any of those that were injured could have been someone I knew and loved and cared for. A few of my friends were just blocks away. A close friend was just blocks away waiting for her brother to cross the finish line. They are both okay. Many are not okay though. Many are gravely injured and 3 people lost their lives. I don’t really have words to describe what I’m feeling, just sadness. I cry whenever I think about it.
I was just 14 when September 11th happened (I grew up 30 miles from NYC- it was my 5th day of high school, many of my friends parents worked in NYC) and I don’t think I could process everything that happened. I was sad then, but not like I am now. I wasn’t rattled like I am now. I wouldn’t cry whenever I would think about it. I’m sure age, experience and wisdom has something to do with that. Along with general maturity. And living so close, with so many people I know that easily could have been harmed, well… that’s really tough to think about.
And the pictures. Everywhere. Don’t look at them. They are horrible. Absolutely horrible.
I am thankful that in this age of social media and cell phones I knew within minutes that most of my friends were okay. They posted status updates on facebook and texted. I posted as well.
I teared up a bit at work but it wasn’t until I texted my mom that I really lost it. I told her that there was a bombing at the marathon and that I was okay and that as far as I knew, all of my friends were as well. She has NO idea what had happened. Her response was Omg. And then I really started crying.
So today, now, I’m not sure what to do other than keep on keeping on. I made dinner last night. I went on a date. I have work and my fitness class today. But I am a little kinder and more understanding. A bit more somber, too. And Thankful. So very thankful that all of my love ones are safe. Because there are over 100 people who were not. And I keep them and their families in my thoughts.
Nationals is over which means our season is officially over. But before I get to post-nationals plans, I shall recap the last 2 weeks.
The lead up to nationals went fairly smoothly. My last 6 practices were relatively productive and most importantly gave me some confidence in my routines, with bars as the exception.
Vault- I flipped some tsuks on to a resi-pit at NESA trying to get out of my headcase shenanigans when I go for the pike. I can get there, but it takes me about 10 vaults. The Sunday before we left I flipped close to 10 tsuks (5 tuck, 5 pike) and at vault 7 the pike felt acceptable. Considering you only get 3 warm-up vaults in a meet, I was a little worried about the pike.
Beam- In the days leading up to nationals, I must have done 100 back handsprings on beam. Maybe more. I did my series many, many times. I was certainly more confident. I also worked on my dismount, trying to be sure that I was straight enough to get layout credit for it and going for the stick.
Floor- I did some 1.5s, but I was not comfortable throwing that as my second pass in a floor routine so I took it out and only worked on front pike front layout, front handspring front full and back full as my passes. With my fitness class preparing me endurance wise, I just needed to clean up my landings and my dance.
Bars- disastrous in the days before nationals. 1 week before we left, after I had finished my bars rotation, my teammate said to me “you look so disappointed”. Then just 5 days out, I finished a bar rotation and 2 teammates asked if I was okay. I was on the verge of tears at that practice. Not good. Eventually I just got to the point of acceptance. Acceptance that I may not make it through a bar routine and that’s okay. Between my shoulder injury in the summer, my stress reaction in my foot, my break-up, return to full training, should acting up AGAIN, I just didn’t have enough time on bars. I became okay with that and accepted that whatever happened at the meet happened. As long as I put up a routine I’d be happy.
My last practice was supposed to be the day before we left for nationals. For some reason though, I was exhausted. Mentally and physically exhausted. Work had been nuts and I hadn’t had a rest day since the previous Thursday. So I took a nap instead of going to practice. At that point, practice is all about keeping your body moving and giving yourself confidence. That final 2 hours wouldn’t make or brake my meet. So I napped. And watched West Wing. And then packed and went to bed early.
A delinquent if you will.
I’ll just try to provide a general update on gymnastics first, followed up by posts on my future goals, fitness and nutrition.
Gymnastics: Our season is winding down and we leave for nationals in 10 days. AHH! Overall, I am good to go on 3/4 events. Let’s start with the good.
I’ve been flipping pike tsuks, good ones, on to a mat in the pit. No mental issues at all. This week I’m going to flip them on to competition surfaces. Hopefully it’ll go well. I don’t think the layout tsuk is going to happen, but my pike is excellent.
Beam is going great. I think my routine is looking more polished than it ever has. My mom even said that I looked really stronger on beam than I have in years. During practice, I’ve been working on polishing up some of my choreography. There are a few problem areas in my routine, mainly my series, my switch leap and my dismount, but all of them are coming along fine.
Floor is also coming along. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to add in my 1.5, but all my other passes are fine. I really need to work on my dance, but my hip is still messed up from that scary fall I took on bars about 6 weeks ago. It’s really unfortunate, but there’s not much more I can do about that. I’ve been massaging, stretching and resting, but it’s not quite back to normal yet. For the next 2 weeks I’m going to work on landings and dance.
Bars: oh bars. It’s been about a month since I started doing bars again. My shoulder was acting up, again. Routines… not even close. I’m just getting back all the skill I need in order to even think about doing a routine. I’m rapidly running out of time. A routine will be put together by nationals, but who knows what it’ll look like.
Overall, I haven’t been training at nearly the intensity or focus that I had last year. But my fitness level and skill level started far higher than they did last year. We’ll see what happens. I think my routines are still better, more clean, more confident than last year, but the numbers aren’t quite there yet so my consistency is… unknown.
My workout last night wasn’t as productive as I had hoped but it was still acceptable.
I started off on floor. My plan was to work on tumbling for a bit and then work on my dance.
Tumbling. Finally, I did my first pass. And three times in a row! The last one was wonky and low and I’m surprised I made it to my feet, but whatever, I went for it and I made it. I then did 2x my other 2 passes.
On to dance. My hips are still not totally recovered from my fall. Most leaps are okay, but I do turning straddle leaps/ jumps in my routine and those are the worst. I’m hoping that with rest and foam rolling they’ll be okay for the meet.
Beam. I warmed up each skill 2x before doing 3 routines. I think I made all three but I can’t be sure. I know I didn’t do my flight series, as my shoulder starts bothering me after about 2 back handsprings. I also only did front pike dismount. Regardless though, I got through 3 full routines.
And that was all I did. I wanted to do vault timers but my achilles/ calf is really acting up. I had a mild calf strain back in August and since then anytime I increase my intensity on leg stuff it comes back. This time though, my achilles is also involved. Feels like classic achilles tendonitis. Probably also doesn’t help that my hamstrings are really tight right now, plus the hip problem, the old calf strain and well, I guess it’s not surprising that I’ve developed another injury in that leg. Lame. Luckily, I’m going to my massage therapist on Tuesday next week. Hopefully he can help me out.
Today is the final workout before the meet!
Meet in 5 days! First meet of the season is in 5 days. Holy Crap.
What keeps me grounded and hopeful is that last year at this time I had been cleared to do gymnastics only a week ago. I could barely vault and tumble. I couldn’t do a back tuck on beam. I couldn’t do my leap series on floor. And by the end of that season, I was a rockstar (or at least felt like one).
Right now, I will be competing all the skills that I competed at nationals last year. And as the season continues, I’ll add a few new skills to my routines.
2 weeks ago I wrote how I hadn’t started full routines. Soon after that I did start training them. Let’s go event by event.
Vault- I’ve flipped both tuck and pike tsuks on to competition surfaces and I’ve flipped layout tsuks into a pit. My tucks are great, but I get mental when I try for the pike. I change my run and my entry, for the worse. I still make it around but it doesn’t have the block or the power of my tuck.
Bars- My shoulder has been acting up recently. Badly. Last Monday I could barely do gymnastics and ended up taking the rest of the week off. That helped. Yesterday at practice I didn’t do any bars and I will continue to skip bars this week, which means no competing bars this weekend. I’m okay with that. If it means a painless shoulder, then I am fine with not competing bars for a few more weeks.
Beam- Back handsprings on beam really bother my shoulder as well so I’ve been doing routines without them. Not a huge deal, but it means that I haven’t actually done a flight series since nationals last year. The rest of my routine is fine, though. I rarely fall during full routines. Some times I have substantial wobbles, but it’s rare that I actually come off the beam. I haven’t done dismounts either, so I need to work on that. Overall though, the interior of the routine is fine and I am completely comfortable competing.
Floor- I’m probably best prepared for floor right now. I can fairly easily get through a full routine. My tumbling is at about 80%. My first pass is giving me trouble. Again, mental trouble. I am 100% capable of performing front handspring front layout front tuck, but I get all crazy in the head when I think about going for it. My other two passes are completely fine. I didn’t mention this, but 2 weeks ago I took a bad fall on pit bar and messed up my hips. Leaps on floor really bother it so I’ve been doing my routines marking my leaps. It’s not a big deal endurance wise, I’m just a little nervous that my hips are going to continue to bother me for a few more weeks. Leaping with bad hips is pretty painful.
Plan for this week- I have only 2 practices before the meet, today and Wednesday. Today I am going to work on tumbling, floor dance, vault timers, full routines on beam combined with skills on beam. Wednesday I plan on an easy practice. 2-3 beam routines, 1 full floor routine and 2-3 competition vaults, then problem parts if I feel I need it. That should hopefully go pretty fast.
So that is basically all from me! Just plugging away at gymnastics, getting ready for the season.