Erin and I are home after a pretty nice long weekend in Santa Clara, CA for her Regional Trampoline & Tumbling Championships. Since she has already qualified for Nationals, we decided to skip the training/warm-up session on Friday afternoon and fly in on Saturday morning to save us an extra night in the hotel and 1.5 days of sitting around before the competition started. So we flew in Saturday morning, did some shopping, then headed down to our hotel. After we checked in, we found out that some of her teammates were down at the hotel pool so we headed down there. I had been keeping in touch with Shantay from my Ragnar SoCal team all day. She lives about an hour away from our hotel but happened to be up near San Jose. When she was finished with work, she joined us for a beer and laughs at the pool as well. It was SO awesome to get to see her again and catch up. My friend was with us and we re-hashed our exploits from Van 2. The girls, meanwhile, swam for about 3 hours straight and were happy as fish. They only popped out of the pool 1 or 2 times just to say ‘hi’. It was perfect, actually.
We were staying at the Hyatt in Santa Clara, which was attached to the convention center. The hotel was also hosting Bay-Con which is a regional Sci-Fi convention. There was a wide range of, um … unique? … people there. Throughout the hotel lobby and elevator, they had plastered signs for parties they were having in their rooms and they just seemed to be gathering all over the hotel and we had to keep walking through them. There was also, down the hall in the convention center, a Charismatic Catholic Revival convention where people were singing church music, praying, and having Catholic Mass just doors down from rooms of Klingons, robots, people dressed as aliens, etc. etc. And, of course, one wing down from that were hundreds of gymnasts… Oh my goodness, what incredible people watching we had!
So Erin competed at 9AM on Sunday morning in her least favorite event, tumbling. With her long, tall body, she just isn’t built for this event and she doesn’t really like it either. This is the first year she has had it start to come together a bit though, and she is finally at a level where she can compete in this event at Nationals. She did pretty well, actually, and took 5th place out of 14 competitors. I’ve been happy that she has continued to work on it, even though she’d probably drop that event in a heart-beat if her coach let her. I think she’s still young enough that she should not give up on it just yet. It helps build her strength for other areas, if nothing else. Because she placed in the top 8 or so, we had to wait around for the medal ceremony but, fortunately, they had it fairly soon after she finished competing.
We were able to walk back to our hotel room easily from the convention center (I loved being attached to the venue for a change!) and we met up with her friend and mom. We didn’t have a ton of time (or want to wear the girls out) but we thought we could go for a short drive and let the girls get out and enjoy the beautiful California weather. We headed over to Santa Clara University, which was about 10 minutes away. Since we are just starting to look at colleges for my oldest daughter, I thought I’d like to go check this one out since we were there.
Santa Clara University is a small, private, Catholic college. It was a beautiful campus! The girls ran around in the grass and trees and were their usual goofy selves. We stopped in the student union for a frozen yogurt and soda then headed back to get ready for the next event.
Erin got back into her competition clothes and she competed in Double-Mini at 2pm. I was really disappointed that there weren’t more competitors at the meet for her age/level. Erin is towards the top range of levels (but not the very top) for her age, so there will not be quite as much competition typically, but I expected more than one other girl! This girl was really good though and they were very equally matched. The score boards were hard to read and we weren’t sure who came out on top. Eventually we found out Erin won by .1 points. I wish we could have seen how she fared against a larger field before Nationals, but this was fine. No matter what competition was there, Erin had 2 good passes. Again, we waited for the medal ceremony and then had another 3 hour break!
This time I told her we were just going to relax in the hotel room. So we just took some quiet time to lie on our beds and watch TV, etc. I needed that! At 4 we got a text from her coach that they were running ahead of schedule and to get back over there – so we did. Her final event was Trampoline. There were 5 girls in total this time. Watching warm-ups I knew Erin had a good chance to win. Her warm-ups looked great. But when she went to compete, she almost wiped out after the first skill. In this sport, once they hit the springs or pads on the edge of the trampoline, they are done … all scoring stops (in more traditional gymnastics events they get deductions but they can keep going and finish their routines to continue earning points). I don’t think Erin has ever had a fall in competition and I’ve never seen her almost fall, until Sunday. I had a totally different sensation as I watched her fight to hang on to the routine. It was pretty cool, actually. A small part of me was maybe a bit disappointed that her pretty easy shot at winning the gold again probably just slipped away but, more importantly, I loved watching her battle to finish the routine. I could see the concentration in her face to keep it all together. I loved that she didn’t fall apart. The middle section of her routine was beautiful. I loved that when she was done she was relieved but not upset. And, after all of that not-so-great, she ended up in 2nd place out of 5, a silver medal. I just have to think that these “life lessons” gained in competition will serve her well.
I got to thinking, it’s time for me to fight through some things too. I’ve had a renewed sense of energy when I’m running and I am slowly converting back to where I can tolerate treadmill running. I ate a bunch of crap during our trip but I knew one way to combat that was to get some good runs in. One of the moms graciously offered to watch Erin so I could
go to the hotel gym and get some time on the treadmill. I always pack enough running clothes and my running shoes on my trips now. It is ‘what I do’ now when I travel. For some strange reason, I have had some of my best runs in hotel gyms on their treadmills – and this trip was no different. The hotel gym was located at the end of the Sci-Fi convention “party floor” so I had to work my way through the characters milling about to get into the quiet sanctity of the hotel gym. Although we’ve owned the DVD since it came out, I finally got to watch Catching Fire on my iPad and that really helped me zone out and run hard. I was particularly inspired after Erin’s trampoline routine and I told myself I was running 3 miles at at an 11:00 pace (something I haven’t done in a while) and I wasn’t going to quit on myself. It was a little tough in spots but I didn’t let myself stop or slow down.
So, with that, I decided that as part of the Runner’s World magazine Streak Challenge (running a mile every day from Memorial Day to 4th of July) I would spice up my streak challenge by running every mile until the 4th of July. I’m already running most of them anyway, but I do like having those rest days where I can just walk. And walking a mile is often logistically easier. In fact, right off the bat I had to get up early on Monday morning before we went to the Great America amusement park to run in the hotel gym again. I knew we would be walking plenty of continuous miles inside the park, but none of that would count this time. And since we were flying home immediately after leaving the amusement park (arriving back in Phoenix after 10pm) I knew I had to run early. But, in general, it’s summer time and I should be able to make this work. I also think it will help me continue to improve my running fitness instead of letting it slide the other direction, like it was starting to do. Just in the past week, I feel like it is turning around.
Like I’ve said before, weight maintenance is one big fight. I have to think about it constantly to stay in the game. It was very fitting that this image showed up on Scottsdale Weigtht Loss Center’s Facebook page today – it is SO true!