Winter Training Camp

13 Dec shonakamori No Comments »

Recently I feel like I’ve been starting off all of my blog posts with an apology.  Sadly, this one will be no different.  Sorry for the lack of updates!

A lot has happened over the past few weeks but I’ve been slightly busier than usual and have had little time to report!  Training and work has kept me busy and the fact that this is a short month due to the holidays had made things a bit more hectic.  Not to mention, I’ve also been feeling a bit under the weather so I’ve been trying to put in some extra sleep/recovery time whenever possible.

Aside from this minor cold I’ve been trying to get over, things have been going pretty well.  I recently came back from another National Team Camp in Colorado Springs.  It was another super productive camp and it was great seeing the rest of the national team members.  We had some strong training sessions and as a group/individual, we made plans for the upcoming year which is obviously the most important year in this quadrennium.  While some of the guys were working new skills to add into their routines, others were starting back up with routines again to prepare for meets that are coming up in January.

All was good at camp except for the fact that it was freezing temperature.  The high it got up to during our whole time there was only 8 degrees, and for a California guy like me, that’s no good.  I really can’t believe I lived there for two years.  I don’t know how I dealt with the cold and the dry and crackly skin.  I went through an entire bottle of lotion and 2 chapsticks, and I was only there for 4 days!

Walking to the gym. Lots of slush, snow, and ice.

For those of you that’ve never visited the Olympic Training Center, I snapped a few shots of the dorm room where we stay when we go there to train.  Generally we stay in a room with another roommate or two and have only a double bed, but this time we got lucky and got our own rooms with a queen-size bed!  It’s also constantly temp controlled and there’s wi-fi which is a necessity in this day in age.  Check out the pics below!

A TV with cable and DVD player

Ample closet space

Super comfy queen size bed

and a sink all in your own room!

Over the past few years, the rooms have definitely gone through significant changes.  When I was a young kid coming to the Jr National Team Camps, we literally only had a bed in our rooms.  It’s definitely a bit different today!

Medal Recall

22 Nov shonakamori 2 Comments »

Had to send back my medal from Pan Ams the other day.  I thought there was something strange about it when the color looked a bit faded, but apparently a lot of athletes saw the same issue.  It’s definitely very nice of the USOC for taking care of all the costs associated with sending it and getting it re-coated.

Sending the medal off

Wonder if all of the organizations are doing this recall or if this is only done through the USOC? Also wondering why all of this happened and they didn’t use the right material to coat it in the first place…

Catching Up

18 Nov shonakamori No Comments »

The last couple of weeks have been great both in and out of the gym.  After coming back from the Pan Am Games, I’ve had some time to play around in the gym a bit and learn some new skills.  This has been a really nice change for me given that I’ve been doing routines for about 6 months because of consecutive competitions.

Although I’ve been working just as hard in the gym, not training for a major competition definitely takes a huge amount of stress away.  Because of this, I’ve been able to catch up on some of the things I’ve been putting on hold outside of the gym.

For one, I finally took the judging test last week.  Although I’ll be judging less this year because of major competitions, it’s always good to be in the loop as the rules are constantly changing.

Lots of slides and lots of practice judging.

Outside of the gym scene, I actually went and checked out a Stanford football game against Oregon last weekend.  It was a bummer that Stanford lost, especially since it was such an important game.  However, as an athlete, I understand that there are those days when things just don’t come together.  Stanford has a few more games this year, and I’m sure that they will finish the season out strong.  Stanford actually has their annual “Big Game” against Cal this weekend.  The rivalry goes way back so this weekend should be fun!

It was a great atmosphere but Oregon was unstoppable that night.

I will have to say that the highlight was seeing my buddy, Justin Berkman, do his thing at the San Jose Improv.  Justin graduated from Stanford a few years back and is now performing all over the country as a professional comedian.  He’s incredibly funny and all of my friends and I that attended his show had an absolutely awesome time.  He’s on twittter so definitely check him out at @justinberkman!

Justin's name in shining lights!

Justin tearin' up the stage! It was such a fun night!

Pan Am Recap!

31 Oct shonakamori 6 Comments »

I apologize for not having updated my blog the entire time I was out in Guadalajara.  Internet was super spotty so I barely had the opportunity to get online.  I did try to update my twitter as much as possible so I hope you guys were at least able to follow me a bit through there.  If you aren’t already following me on twitter, please go ahead and do that!

Anyway, after 10 long days in Mexico, I’m finally back in the US.  I have to give a huge shout out to the USOC.  They totally bent over backwards to accomodate us and make our stay as comfortable as possible but I have to admit that I’m totally glad to be back in the US.  After spending some time out there, I realized that I’ve been taking a lot of things that we barely give second thought to for granted.  I’ve learned to be more appreciative towards consistent internet access and hot water!

Despite some tough situations, the trip turned out to be an awesome experience and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to get back into the international scene after being out of it for over two years.

On the competition side, we made one too many errors as a team to be able to come off with the win (we ended up with the bronze).  Clearly we were disappointed since our main goal was to win the gold but I know that all of us will take this experience back to our own gyms and use it to fuel our fire.  I’ve already returned to my normal training and I’ve never been this pumped to get back in the gym!

I honestly cannot thank the people around me enough for all the support you’ve given to me  up to this point. This meet was especially significant to me because I was actually selected to the Pan Am team back in 2003, but never had the opportunity to actually compete because I had a major accident right before the competition.  I’m incredibly glad to be back in action and to have had the opportunity to compete at Pan Ams again.

Below are random pictures from the event.  Enjoy!

The Athlete Village - This is where all of the athletes from all sports (and all of the countries) lived for the duration of the Games!

The apartment complex for the American athletes. It was awesome being able to hang out with other athletes from the US!

At the "International Zone" there were some familiar shops such as Starbucks, Burger King and Dominos

The dining hall at the Athlete's Village. This is where we ate all of our meals.

The stage at the Athletes Village. There were performances every night that we were there. Lots of dancing and singing. Good times!

One of the mascots attempting to do some stuff on pommel horse. Not bad for a big fuzzy guy!

The competition venue. I've never been in a venue with that much energy before. The Mexican fans were awesome and I had a blast competing there!

Off to Pan Ams!

18 Oct shonakamori 10 Comments »

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks since my last blog post but I’m glad I got through!  For some reason I had a lot more stuff going on than usual.  Maybe the extra visits to the dentist on top of my regular schedule made things a little bit crazier.  I’ve gotta give a shout out though.  Big thanks to the lovely Dr. Joy in Newark!  Now my mouth is cavity-free and I’m ready to take on some action!

After leaving early this morning, I’ve landed in Houston and just finished processing for the Pan American Games.

Houston Welcomes Team USA!

My teammates and I’ll be staying here over night before we head off to Guadalajara early tomorrow morning.  During processing we went through the usual picture-taking for our credentials but also got a ton of new Nike gear from the USOC!

Nike USA Gear

We’ll be in Guadalajara for a week until we actually compete.  Team competition is next Tuesday, with AA, Individual Event Finals occurring in the following days.  I’m totally excited about this meet.  Although we may encounter some tough situations given that we are competing in another country, I’m confident that we’ll get through it as we’ve all prepared hard for this.

From what I hear, the Athlete Village does not have a ton of hot water.  That said, I took an extra long hot shower tonight just to make sure!  Pretty sure that there will be other surprises as well but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see when I get there.  Stay tuned!

Fall Weather is in the Air

03 Oct shonakamori No Comments »

For the first time in a long while, it rained here in the bay!  Not only did my car get a good car wash but I was also happy to no longer feel the summer heat.  When it’s a little bit cooler it’s definitely a lot easier to train.  Spring/fall time is without question, the best time to train.  Summer can get a little bit intense with the heat, and winter can get a bit rough when it’s cold and your joints start to hurt.

Anyway, training has been coming along.  I leave two weeks from tomorrow for the Pan American Games.  Sadly I’m not with the US team that’s in Japan right now for the World Championships, but I’m definitely busting my tail to help the Pan American Team bring back the gold!  Hopefully the weather in Guadalajara won’t be too different from what it is here when we go in about two weeks.  Should be fun times!

Back in the Cycle

23 Sep shonakamori No Comments »

It’s been a little too long since I’ve last written but please forgive me as things have been pretty crazy on my end.  I’ve gotten back into my regular routine cycles and my work outside of the gym has also picked up!

Luckily, things have been going very well so I won’t even complain.  On the gym end, there’s just about a month until Pan Ams and I’ve started back up with training routines again.  The next couple of weeks will definitely be tough as I try and grind through some numbers to get strong.

I’ve done my homework and have learned that the altitude in Guadalajara, Mexico is much higher than it is where I normally train.  In other words, this means that I need to be doing extra endurance work to make sure that I’m in shape to compete in high altitude!  Things have been progressing well though.  I’m currently at the point where I’m deciding whether I should add new skills for the competition or to stick with what I’m used to and execute them cleanly.

USOC Pan Am Logo!

I also learned that the women’s side also finalized their squad for the Pan Am Games and the World Championships.  Can’t believe that on their Pan Am squad are three former World All-Around Champions!  Good luck to the World and Pan Am Team (both guys and girls) as they prepare to represent the US at these major meets!

Home Again

08 Sep shonakamori 4 Comments »

…well not really, but I suppose I can partially call it that given I lived here for two years during my high school days.

Currently I’m at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for a national training camp.  It’s a short camp (just 3 days) but I’m definitely very grateful to be back here with the rest of the national team members.  As always it’s an awesome environment to be in for training.  It’s incredibly motivating when every direction you look, you see amazing gymnastics.

As of now, I’ve gotten through one whole day of workout.  Two more to go!  Below are some random pictures that I’ve taken since I got in.

The OTC Complex (Rocky Mountains in the background). Wow, I just realized that the clouds look really fake...

The building where our training gym is located.

A miniature version of the "The Gymnast" sculpture in the gym building.

Stairway to the Athlete Center.

Athlete Center. This is where the cafeteria and the resident dorms are located.

The Rockies (taken from the Athlete Center). This is definitely altitude training!

Visitor dorms. This is where we usually stay during our training camps.

TURN Gymnastics Apparel

07 Sep shonakamori 5 Comments »

TURN Gymnastics Apparel has recently become one of my biggest supporters!  They’re a fairly new company but they’ve been producing a bunch of cool looking apparel (see pic below) and are continuing to add to their collection.  They are definitely not your everyday gym supply retailer.  Instead they are totally pushing their products with a more sporty and modern look. Not only that, they are also the exclusive retailer for the Reichel Sport Grips!

Recently a ton of elite athletes have started to use the Reichel-brand grips and I’ve also jumped on board.  I’m totally excited about breaking-in the grips and can’t wait to start training on them!  Check out their website and their facebook fanpage as well!

Official logo for TURN Apparel!

The "100+ Circles Club" T-Shirt

Close-up of the T-shirt

The new Reichel Grips that I'm going to start using! Totally stoked for this!

Big thanks to the team at TURN Apparel!

Sports-Filled Weekend!

05 Sep shonakamori No Comments »

Things have been pretty crazy for me lately so it honestly feels like forever since I’ve had a full weekend to myself.  Generally when I have a ton of time on my hands, I become lazy and just sit around at home.  Usually this is a good thing because I’m able to let my body recover but this past weekend, I was out and about, and attended a couple of big sporting events.

On Saturday, after my morning training, I went off to Candlestick Park (the home of the 49ers), to watch the Niners UC Berkeley play Fresno State.  Yes, I know this is strange for several reasons but I had a friend that gave me free tickets to the game, and it turned out to be a really fun time, especially since it was my first time visiting the “Stick.”  And for those of you that are wondering why Cal played at Candlestick, well, it’s because they are doing a complete renovation of their home stadium.

Candlestick from outside.

The field - Cal vs Fresno!

On Sunday, I went to an A’s game against the Mariners.  As I’ve said before, these games are always like a two-for-one deal for me.  I get to watch my hometown team and my favorite player, Ichiro Suzuki, all at the same time!  This game was particularly special because it was Breast Cancer Awareness Day at the Coliseum.  Before the game started, a ton of breast cancer survivors came out and took a lap around the field.  The players also wore pink wristbands to honor those who have fallen or is currently fighting against the disease.  It was definitely very inspiring to see.

Breast Cancer Survivors on the Field

As for the game, the A’s ended up with the win!  However, that wasn’t the best part.  The best part was catching a foul ball, hit by none other than my favorite player, Ichiro!  I’m definitely going to have to get a case to for this.  Definitely turned out to be a super exciting day!

Matsui played a ridiculous great game. 4 for 5 with 3 doubles!

The Man at Bat!

Foul Ball hit by Ichiro. I've gotta run out and get a case for this!