Spokane, Nationals Part 1

I wrote this Monday night but I’m just now publishing it:

Now I’m on a plane heading back home from Spokane to Phoenix. It seems like we have been gone for a month but it has been less than a week. I really enjoyed seeing another part of the country that we haven’t been to before.

20140618-215748-79068587.jpgOn Thursday morning we took Sarah, my teenager, on a 20140618-215749-79069597.jpgtour of Gonzaga University with the office of admissions. We were impressed with the school for a number of reasons and it is possible we will revisit it when it comes time for her to start applying for college. If nothing else, for a first college visit, it gave us lots of things to look for when we do future tours at different colleges.

A selfie with Sarah, post-run.

A selfie with Sarah, post-run.

After a brief stop in the Gonzaga bookstore, we returned to the convention center for Erin to have a short training session with her coach. When she was finished, Sarah said she wanted to go for a run with me (this was a first!) so Erin went down to the pool with her teammate and Sarah and I set out on a run through the Spokane riverfront area. There are just so many neat paths, bridges, and directions to go – I could spend a month running there every day and not get bored I think. We took a different route than I had the day before. I wasn’t terribly relaxed while running with her, which is my problem. At 6 feet tall and a 20140618-203614-74174045.jpgteen, Sarah runs fast with those long legs, but tires out more easily so she stops and starts 20140618-203613-74173021.jpga lot. I just couldn’t settle into my own zone because hers was so choppy. But, it was fun to share that experience with her. We passed a really neat metal sculpture series along the trail – there must be 30 metal life-sized figures of men, women, and children running (and even a wheelchair racer) that are lined up, as if in a race, on the trail. We took a few pictures amongst them. For dinner we walked over to a local restaurant and had a super fattening, but yummy, meal that I will be working off for the next 2 weeks I’m afraid 😦

 

Deep fried Oreos (with fudge and whipped cream).  OMG

Deep fried Oreos (with fudge and whipped cream). OMG

Friday morning marked the start of Erin’s competitions. We woke up early and got her hair braided and took her over to the athlete staging area for warm-ups. There were 3 ‘flights’ of about 9 girls each and Erin was in the final flight. I sat very nervously in the stands as I watched 18 other girls go before Erin came out. She finally went on and performed her routine. She did a great job and had no major issues, but she she seemed a bit tight and didn’t get the height she often does. Her scores were good enough for 2nd place in her flight and an 8th place finish overall, which 20140618-203610-74170482.jpgwe were very happy with. The competition was tough. She was the gold medal winner last year so anything less than that is a bit of a let down, but we know that just getting to the medal ceremony is a great accomplishment at Nationals. At noon they had the medal ceremony. After all that, we headed out to lunch and then rode the sky gondola that goes over the falls of the river. It was quite pretty. We took the coaches out with our car to get dinner at Chipotle, they are addicted. I went for another short run later in the evening and then I took the girls (AND an entire Kleenex box) to go see The Fault in Our Stars at the movie theater in the mall.

The double-mini trampoline

The double-mini trampoline

Another early morning hair-braiding session, followed by Erin’s Double-Mini event. Double-Mini is an event that I guess is best compared to a vault I artistic gymnastics. They run along a runway, then jump or flip onto the first small trampoline, land on the second one, then flip off of that onto a mat that has a landing zone on it. They are scored for their mount, flips, and dismount (whether they stick the landing and if it within the zone on the mat or not). Erin’s coach thought this was her year in this event so we went I with lots of anticipation. Well, it just wasn’t to be this year. I’ve never seen so many kids do so well – girls were sticking their flips one after another. Erin looked really good but had a slight step with one foot on her first pass but stuck her 2nd. I thought it looked great – her coach was wondering too – although there were some small technical things that could have been tighter. Anyway, even without any very noticeable issues, she ended up last her flight and 19th out of 25 overall. We had higher hopes, but….there wasn’t much else she could have done. It just want her day. I will say, it sort of started my day off poorly. I was questioning whether I should has taken them to the movie, had she gotten enough sleep, etc. I talked to her a little bit and apologized for any disappointment I may have shared (for a bit she seemed a little too relaxed on not focused during the meet) but realized she too knew she could have done better. Oh well…moving on. We went and had ‘breakfast for lunch’ at a diner that was inside an actual train car. The girls loved it. We also tried to go walk around Manito Park, which was gorgeous, but the weather was shifting to cold and rainy so we left early to head back. I had to meet Erin’s coach at 3 to assist her with the march-in ceremony. I worked back in the staging area setting up holding areas for the hundreds of athletes that would march into the arena. It was actually pretty fun. During the march-in, another mom and I were stationed out on the floor of the arena to help guide the athletes around and back out. Afterward we stayed and watched some of the senior elite athletes compete. These are contenders for World Game and the US Olympic team in the future. They were amazing! By 8pm we were more than ready for dinner so we just walked over to Chili’s. I had a margarita and too much dinner. Heading back to the room I was dreading my one mile ‘streak’ run which I had yet to do. I laid down on the bed and set an alarm for 10pm when I would get up, hopefully having digested more of my dinner, and head down to the treadmill to run. I’d have to say that was one of my Top 5 – I want to end this steak NOW moments. It was made even more unpleasant by the fact that I’m running all the miles now. But, I got it done in the hotel gym and, not surprisingly, I felt much better afterward.

One of the “perks” – and definitely my diet-killer – was the warm yummy chocolate chip cookies provided by the Doubletree hotel.  Every night my little one would wander down to the front desk and ask for 3 cookies for our room.  And, every night I ate one.  *sigh*

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