I never realized how much stress you put you body under when you compete until I finished competing at USA’s this year. Although we simulated a two-day meet in practice to prepare for competition, competing and simulating is a completely different story. How did I realized this?…my knee was pretty shot for a couple of days after the meet.
However, after taking several days off, my knee feels a lot better, if not stronger than before. Regardless of the result, I’m glad that I took this opportunity to compete and get my feet wet again. Through the entire process, it helped me gain a better understanding of my body and realize how much I can actually push myself. Competing again also allowed me to see where I’m at and observe the other competitors as well.
Now that I have several months to train until the next competition, it’s back to the gym, hitting basics, new skills, and conditioning. I’m finally feeling like I’m at the point where I am capable of improving and getting stronger (physically). Whereas over the last year, I was playing catch up because I was rehabbing the entire time.
Switching subjects but I had a bit of an eventful weekend. I was asked to be a featured presenter for the Region 1 Gymnastics Congress. I was a bit nervous leading up to it because I was called up last minute and didn’t have much time to prepare, however, all in all I think it went pretty well. Now it’s back to the daily grind as always!
It’s been several days since USA’s ended and I apologize once again for the delay in putting up a new post. The very next day after the meet ended, I went up to New York to visit some old friends of mine, and currently, I’m in Washington DC, visiting my sister who works here.
Anyway, I’d like to back-track several days to the competition to fill you all in. As many of you probably already know, this year’s USAs was my first meet back in over a year because of the knee surgery I had at the end of summer last year. Naturally I was excited about being back on the floor again, but I’ll have to admit that there were definitely some pre-meet jitters because it had been so long since I saluted a judge last. However, it wasn’t long before I felt right at home competing again and performing in front of the crowds. Between the two days, aside from making one big and clear mistake when I came off of the pommel horse, everything else was pretty much the same as I’ve been doing in practice during the preparation process. Unfortunately, I will not deny the fact that my final results wasn’t a great reflection of this. When the meet ended and the dust settled, I was unable to get myself back onto the US National Team.
My coach and I had actually talked about this long before this meet even started. Our main goal for this meet was simply to get back in there and compete, and not worry about the outcome. Since I only got fully cleared by the doctor about four months ago, we decided that it would be best to keep our difficulties low. We figured that this would help us avoid the risk of reinjury, something that’s especially important at this point in the game. Naturally, this helped me improve my chances of hitting my routines, nonetheless, with the lack of difficulty, it made it tough for me to receive a high score even when I did hit. Despite having known this all this time, not seeing my name as part of the national team was definitely a difficult thing to swallow. I was clearly disappointed…
This has a lot to do with my competitive side. It constantly yearns to be at the top of the game despite any circumstances. However, after some talks with my coach and doing some reflecting on all that’s happened to me over this entire year, I realized that the fact that I was able to get through these two days of competition rather consistently was an accomplishment in itself.
I’ll admit that there were definitely still some pain in my leg, especially during the second day of competition, but the fact that I was able to get through them safely definitely boosted my confidence. Just the fact of competing again allowed me to create a starting point – a place where I can begin to build on as my knee continues to recover to full health.
My coach made it mandatory to take a break for a bit. After several days of taking some time off to heal some of the aches and pains, and to refresh my mind, I’ll be more than ready to get back in the gym again to begin building again. The next domestic competition will be in February and I’m definitely very excited to get stronger and prepare again. On to the next step!
I’m getting ready to compete for the first time in over a year so I’ve been taking this time to reflect on all that’s happened to me since getting my knee repaired. Honestly, after having my surgery after last year’s Japan Cup, it was difficult for me to look too far into the future as, initially, everything was a day by day process. After all, the first couple of months consisted of only doing quad tighteners and straight leg raises in rehab. Boy, those were painfully boring! Simple daily tasks as walking to the bathroom was painful. Not to mention I was locked in at a 45 degree knee bend for those first few months.
Mornings were the worst as I’d wake up feeling stiff as a board. It took a substantial amount of warming up to gain the mobility for my knee to bend. I did get pretty skilled on those crutches though. However, there were several close calls when I tripped on them and felt like I might’ve reinjured it. Took some mobility tests by the therapists and docs to reassure that it was alright!
The most exciting news though was getting that green light to start training again. Obviously it was a gradual increase in numbers and intensity but it was a great feeling to know that the days of intensive rehab had paid off.
However, with the support of the people around me, I’ve managed to build myself back up to the point where I’m able to compete again. Although I’m not quite 100%, I’m definitely inching my way there. The plan is to get back in and compete in the sport I enjoy the most. Lots of ups and downs over this past year but I’m grateful for all the help that I’ve gotten. This is definitely all part of the journey and I’m ready to continue to build on it!
Major apologies for the lack of updates! Last week was possibly the busiest week yet. I was busy getting ahead with my work and running errands to make sure that I was ready to go on my trip to Hartford for USA Championships.
The great thing was that training was light all of last week. My hard cycle was done by that point so we basically focused on lower volume but higher qualities in each of the routines. This was all just part of the tapering process to get my body physically fresh and ready for the competition. Now that the preparation’s done, it’s time to put on a show!
As for this weekend, I went to my old teammate’s wedding. It was great seeing him so happy, not to mention that the wedding became a huge reunion for the Stanford Men’s Team! All of my teammates are doing well in their own respective fields. They’re all out saving the world by working in the computer field, becoming doctors, lawyers, vets, etc.
Now, after a full day of traveling, I’m finally here in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a long cross-country trip but I made it over without any delays! I’ll be going to the arena tomorrow to get used to the equipment. Tuesday will be the same, and then it will be game time on Wednesday. Thanks again for all the support! It’ll be fun to be back in the game again!