So far, this year has been interesting. It was an interesting experience to essentially have a full year off last year. and then try to turn it all around this year. After Portugal, which I would consider a failure, it was difficult to come home for a month, take off again on vacation, come home and have 4 weeks until the first competition. I was determined to start the year off and prove to myself (and others) that I had improved and was still in the game. After last year, I know there was speculation as to whether I would continue or be done – and rightly so, I was injured, uninspired and was clearly in a worse state than the previous year when I had made Worlds. After Europe in December, I decided that if I was going to continue, then I needed to absolutely ‘go for it’.
The hardest part of the journey since forever has been nutrition – I love food and I love bad food. Fitness, across the board, has improved immensely. I am stronger than ever and it really shows. Motivation flickers depending on the circumstances, but overall I’ve been really excited to train and compete. Injuries come and go – my long standing Achilles injury is finally improving with the help of my new Physio. It’s been a long haul, but I have seen tremendous results from his program and help.
The first meet of the year was rocky but I was so grateful to compete and enjoyed it for once. It wasn’t about results, it was about progress. I was better, stronger and happier, and that’s all I had to go out there and do. I am happy to have survived it and I wanted to pull out 1000 times prior to. Routines and my showing were absolutely not my best, but it’s a stepping stone to what needs to be accomplished this year.
The second meet wasn’t great, but I had some good take aways. The tumbling floor was brand new and really took a toll on my body – I hadn’t teamed up with the new Physio at this point so things were on and off. Tramp wasn’t great either – I fell which I typically do not and really hadn’t anticipated. I play out many scenario’s in my head in the weeks leading up to meets so that I’m never surprised if something happens, but in every scenario I knew how to recover or adjust, but I really hadn’t considered falling as an option. I’m glad it happened and I would know how to handle it next time.
It’s interesting to me that others think I am so experienced. I don’t feel experienced, and especially not doing Double Mini now, I feel like I’m 9 years old again. I don’t know how to handle certain situations during routines and I get too emotional during a pass – it’s so interesting. Of course, my experience does help me across every event, but it feels like I’m starting over. It’s fun, scary and I’m grateful to have the chance to start over like this.
The last couple weeks of training has had highs and lows as always – I’m doing harder tumbling passes than ever and I’ve been able to tumble everyday at training for two weeks now. The last time I could do that was 2012. I am grateful for being healthier and heading in the right direction. I’ve also been working harder than ever – and this was a tough one to crack. I’m really trying to take this sport, training, my career seriously, and that takes a lot of work. I think a lot of people think that Gymnastics is serious, but Trampoline is just fun – that we are the fun step-sister to Artistic Gymnastics, and in a lot of ways, it’s true. The atmosphere is much more laid back, and I think the culture is more relaxed. I, for one, was always embarrassed to show that I “cared”. The culture, to me, seemed to be so nonchalant, that “trying” or “caring” was somehow a bad thing. I still see it today in other people and it makes me sad. I think it’s true to the outside world too – but I know I have had a hand in the perception of the sport, as I am the one who introduced it to a lot of people around me. So many people see the photos, and Instagram about the cool trips I get to take and think that’s it. By all means, the travel is the best perk of the gig, but it’s not everything and it’s not what I’m in it for either. I love to do gymnastics and I work really hard at it, AND it’s exhausting! That was the toughest pill to swallow in this whole thing – it’s effin hard. Who exercises for 3 to 4 hours a day? Today, I went to my trainer for an hour where he really beat the shit out of me, had an hour break and then went to training for 3 hours – an hour and a half of it was tumbling alone. Guess what? I did the same thing yesterday.
Now I’m not here to complain about it the process and the job – but fact of the matter is a lot of work goes into making teams and going on these trips – they aren’t handed to you, and the trips are not vacations. For weeks leading up to the meet, you stress, work, cry, ice, everything and then do it all over again when you get there. The stress, nerves of competing never leave you. For the one hour a day you get to leave the venue at a competition, the stress of competing comes with you. When you’re finished you’re relieved, but often disappointed, thinking of what to improve for next time and anxiously waiting to get home to work on it. but I LOVE IT! I don’t know if Trampoline is as hard as swimming, or hockey, or basketball, but I know that it is hard and a lot of work goes into. I’m not the fittest of people, I struggle with it and I am working on it, but I don’t think you can judge an athlete based on their body type or attitude or any one characteristic. There were points in my career where I absolutely didn’t work hard, relied on talent alone and made teams. There were also times where I worked my ass off and made no teams, got no results and went home empty-handed. It’s all a part of the sport. But I vowed to change how I trained, take every aspect of this sport more seriously and to do my best to raise the profile of the sport and chance any misconceptions people have.
After Portugal last year, I really decided to be in it for myself, because I enjoy it, and to only focus on what I want to accomplish. The chances of me getting this far in the sport were slim, so why shouldn’t I think I can take it to the next level? Why can’t it be me? I remember when we got the new gym in Grande Prairie when I was 10 ish, and the girls got a huge bathroom with stalls and sinks, and I (and any other boys, which were slim to none at the time) got a half door with a toilet and a sink – it was only logical as there were really no boys… I remember running through a set of of parallel bars to get to the Double Mini where I learn’t my first Double Back. I didn’t care, I didn’t entirely know where I was going with this whole gymnastics thing, but I loved it and worked hard. Well I’ve come a long way since then and I’m not finished. Odds were against me then, and they are now, AND I DON’T CARE. I am going to do whatever makes me happy, and I am going to get where I want to go.
On Thursday I leave for Canada Cup in Kamloops, which is the first of two National Team Trials this year. I’m not ecstatic with the level that I am at right now, but I understand that peaks during the year are important and right now is not a peak. I can appreciate the process and I am learning to live with it. I’m excited for what this year has in store and to see where it all takes me.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this far, and it’s just the beginning, friends!