It was only my first full weekend back after returning from the National Championships but it turned out to be busy one, and one filled with a ton of gymnastics!
Not only did I swing by the Region 1 Congress to do a couple of presentations but I was also called upon to evaluate the boys at the Northern California Future Stars Testing.
I was totally lucky to have my old teammate, Abhi, with me for the congress presentations this time around. He definitely picked up a lot of the slack and put together some good slides while I was away for Nationals. Last year, I had a tough time when I signed up to do 7 lectures all by myself. Not only was it tough to prepare all of the slides, but by the end of the day, my voice was pretty much gone from speaking so much. Signing up for less presentations, and being able to do them with another person definitely made things a lot easier! As always, it was great seeing some familiar faces and also to meet some new coaches and gym enthusiasts!
As for the future stars testing, I definitely saw some good gymnastics. Big props to the boys who are involved in the future stars program. It’s tough because they have to learn specific routines for the future stars season on top of the other routines that they have to perform for the regular season. Most of these boys will go off to the Regional testing next so definitely lots of luck to them!
With USA Championships approaching in a couple of weeks, the main focus of my training has taken a slight shift. While getting through the grind was the main focus over the last several weeks, I’ve now entered the recovery phase. This is the phase when I let my body rebound a bit so that I’m ready to take on the two full days of intense competition.
One of my biggest supporters that’s been helping me achieve this is Jacon Chun at Elite Sports Physical Therapy. I’ve mentioned him a few posts back but I can’t be more appreciative for all that he’s been doing for me. From the everyday pains to caring for aches related to overuse, his support has been tremendous, and a huge part of why I’ve been able to keep up with my training cycles.
Below is a picture from a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to fix a jammed finger. Apparently using paraffin was to treat jammed fingers is fairly common but it was the first time I’ve used it so it was definitely rather interesting. Either way, he’s got a ton of cool tricks up his sleeve to keep me in the best health possible!
A couple more weeks to go. Looking ahead but keeping it one day at a time!
In my latest post, I wrote that my life has been slightly busy these days especially with the combination of work and training. But when things get hectic in my life, I make it a priority to do something completely unrelated to gymnastics and work to get my mind off of things. Experiences have taught me that when I get too focused on a certain thing, my performance drops. Doing something unrelated and letting off steam helps me recharge my batteries.
Last week, I went to another baseball game played between the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners. I was totally stoked to see my two favorite baseball players (Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui) play against each other. Watching a high performance match definitely got me motivated to get back in the gym and train hard again!
Over the weekend, I went off to napa after my training to celebrate my old teammate’s birthday. It was held at a vineyard and we had an awesome time. Good food, good music and overall good time. The drive up and getting away from the hustle and bustle definitely helped me relax a bit!
And most recently (on Sunday), I spent the early afternoon watching the women’s world cup final against Japan and the US with my mom. Honestly, being a Japanese-American I was in a weird position as I didn’t know which team to root for. There were also a couple of Stanford alums on the US team as well, which made choosing sides that much more difficult. However, it was awesome seeing Japan win and seeing the reactions of the people in Japan. It was a great moral booster for the country that has had to deal with so much after the tsunami/earthquake hit the northern region in March. Definitely congrats to both teams though for playing an awesome match!
Wow, it’s been another week since I last made an entry! I guess I was totally wrong when I thought that:
Summer = More time to do stuff outside of gym
In fact it’s been the complete opposite. Not only has my training intensified with USAs coming up in less than a month but I’ve packed on a ton of responsibilities outside of the gym, namely my part-time jobs with the computer companies. People do say that busy is good though right!?
However, I’ve been making sure to take mini-breaks in between and take the time to refuel and do something aside from work and training. Without them, sooner or later I’ll definitely burn-out. Most recently I checked out a friend and old teammate perform at a nearby cafe. It was an awesome performance and I’m looking forward to the day when his band (Today Okay) goes BIG TIME. If you guys are familiar, his music is like a blend of Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson. Check out his website and music here.
Aside from that I’ve been visiting home every once in a while. It’s always nice to go back and hang out with my friends that I grew up with, as well as having home-cooked meals.
I’m getting through the summer with these mini-breaks to recharge me along the way!
Hope everyone had a fun and safe fourth! Had a fun and eventful weekend myself, but before I go on let me do a quick rewind about a week or so. A post has been long over due so I’m trying to condense most of what happened last week into this one! Don’t know what kept me busy all this time (probably extra assignments from work) but my apologies for not writing in a while.
Ok, rewinding back to last weekend. Trekked north about two hours, passed some hills, more hills, some fields, the great capital of California, and finally to a town called Auburn. The local club, Auburn Gymnastics, called me up to help their kids as a feature clinician! It was a scorching hot day, but I had a blast nonetheless because I got to work with some great kids that were excited about the sport of gymnastics!
Wanted to give a quick shout out to the coaches and parents and say thanks for hosting me. Again, I’m amazed with the dedication of the staff and the parents of all gymnasts (in particular the ones that live away from central gymnastics locations). I managed to keep myself busy during the two hour drive by surfing through all the radio stations, but these parents do it every weekend to take their kids to meets during competition season. Success does not only come around because of the gymnasts’ hard work, but it’s also due to the hard work of everybody around! It’s an obvious statement, but it’s something that we tend to forget every once in a while.
Anyway, I’m glad that I’m having the opportunity to work with a ton of different kids. It’s fun seeing the variety of training programs that coaches have in place for them. Hopefully they keep up the good work. Looking forward to seeing them next season!
Now, back to the fourth of July weekend. It was pretty eventful to say the least. First off, I took part in a parade and sat on a float alongside my coach to promote our gym, Champions Academy. The best part was being able to see my coach’s Olympic and world championship medals. It wasn’t my first time seeing them but I get super excited every single time. So there we were sitting on a float, a former Olympian, and next to him, an aspiring one!
After the parade, I went to an amusement park to check out my childhood friend, Sergei, perform in a show there. I’ve known Sergei for a long time as we used to compete against each other since we were young kids all the way through college. Super great gymnast but retired soon after graduating from his university. Coincidentally, he got a summer gig to work as an acrobat at a show close to where I’m living. The show was exciting as it was a hybrid of gymnastics, rollerblading, bmx biking, among other extreme sports!
At night, went and saw some beautiful fireworks and celebrated Indepdence Day. Place was packed and took about a half an hour just to get back onto the freeway but it was well worth it. Summer is always a great time. Lots of activities, and as always, a ton of training for the athletes!
Finally got the opportunity to head back home during the weekend (I currently live only an hour away from my hometown). It was the first time in a really long time so it felt super refreshing!
The very best thing was being able to get my mind off of my normal routine. I feel that having these small get-aways, or the chance to think of something aside from training is incredibly important. Some athletes read, go outdoors, or take part in other sports. In fact, the US national team has started to incorporate yoga into the national team camps. It’s not only a good way to become more flexible (physically) but it’s an equally great way to take your mind off of things and to be able to relax.
In general, having a good balance in is vital. Now that I’m refreshed it’s back to training again. I’m hoping it’ll be a week of good training!
When I went into the hospital today, the doctor finally gave me the magical words I was looking for, “you’re cleared.” Finally! After 8 months and 1 week of intense rehabbing on my ACL, I’m cleared to return to my sport without any restrictions! Obviously I’m not completely out of the woods just yet and I’ll continue with my rehab, but hearing those words was such a relief.
Looking back, I think that the most difficult period was not being able to walk and always having to use my crutches to get around. Going up and down steps was definitely scary, as was going to the bathroom. That was also the period when all I could do in rehab were quad tighteners and straight leg raises but it’s crazy to think how far I’ve come. Now I’m jumping off of things, doing single leg exercises, and running. I definitely need to thank a bunch of people, especially the PTs that worked with me while I was in Japan and my PT here in the US, Melissa. Thanks also to all the people that gave me a ton of encouragement during this process. This is definitely only the beginning but I feel like I’ve jumped over at least one hurdle (literally)!
It was the first weekend since I got back from Japan that I had a whole weekend off to myself. All the other weekends, I’ve been judging at various meets in the area.
As much as I like to be in the gym, I realized how much my mind and body needed a rest from gymnastics. As some people say, recovery is just as important as training!
The hardest part about my recent schedule has been the fact that I haven’t been able to sleep in. During the week, I’m up early to go to work or to rehab, and n the weekends, judging. It’s no wonder why I had so much sleep debt and I took a total of three naps in one day!
Just goes to show how much I needed this weekend to catch up on sleep and recovery. Now that I’m rested up, I should be good to go for the week. After all, there’s one thing I’m excited about for next week. I’m supposed to have my last check-up with the doctor for the knee! My knee has been feeling a lot stronger lately so hopefully he’ll give me the final word to completely clear me!
Wow, I think that’s the longest I’ve gone without writing an entry! I won’t lie, it’s been pretty hectic out here. Last week seemed super short because I headed up to Oroville on Friday to judge the State Championships. As the head pommel horse judge for Northern California, I also took part in a clinic for the all-star team members who are getting ready for regionals. I’ll be going there also in a couple of weeks.
Aside from that, I’ve been focusing a lot on my rehab as I’ll be meeting up with the doc for a follow-up. It’s been 8 months post-op and I’m anxious to get full clearance.
The comeback process in the gym seems to be coming along. There’s still some variation in good days and not-so-good days but that always seems to be the case when I’m returning to competitive shape. The important thing is to keep my head down and plug away. I need to remember to listen to my body though because I do have the tendency to push myself too hard.
Lots to do but I’m glad that I have the next couple of weekends off from judging. It’s been non-stop since I came back from Japan at the end of January. It’s time to catch up on things that I’ve been pushing aside!
Recently, I’ve gotten the same question from different people about what my schedule is like day in and day out. It’s definitely not anything too exciting but I’ll just go ahead and share it:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays:
7:00 am – Wake up, slowly roll out of bed, brush teeth, wash face, make breakfast/coffee
7:30 am – Leave for physical therapy
8:00 am – 10:00 am – Physical therapy for the bummed knee (shouldn’t be bummed for long though)
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – Part-time job # 1 (office stuff)
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm – Make lunch, eat lunch (usually something light bc it’s before practice)
1:30 pm – Leave for gym
2:30 pm – 3:30 – Part-time job #2 (private gymnastics coaching)
3:30 pm – 8:30 pm – Gymnastics training
9:30 pm – Back home, make dinner (usually something with rice), eat dinner, shower
11:00 pm – Pass out
8:00 am – Wake up, roll out of bed, etc (same old routine as M, W, F)
8:30 – 12:00 pm – Part-time job #1 (office stuff)
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm – Make lunch, eat lunch
12:30 pm – Leave for gym
1:30 pm – 5:30 pm – Coach (I volunteer coach for the Stanford team 2x/week), while I also go through my own training
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Part-time job #3 (private subject tutor in English or Japanese)
7:30 pm – Home, make dinner, eat dinner, shower, and the deal
11:00 pm – Pass out
AM: Training (Training only on Saturday. Sunday = day off)
PM: Judging gymnastics at local meets
So there you go. Nothing too exciting right? I’m sure my schedule will change up again once the competitive season ends for the collegiate guys and the junior kids (around April). Plus, once my knee gets stronger, I probably won’t have to be in the training room 3-times a week. For now, I’m taking it day by day!