Saturday, 22 February 2014

A little Bruinsight

I am now officially a Bruin athlete, having competed a few times. We're actually past mid season now; time definitely goes more quickly when you are competing every weekend.

As you may or may not know, I broke my toe in November and was set back in my full training by about six weeks, which was extremely inconvenient. So I started off the season by just competing Vault. I would have liked a little more time to train it following my injury but for the good of the team I needed to get competing as soon as possible, so of course I did my best.

After a few weeks I could also exhibition my Floor routine and last week I competed on three apparatus- Floor, Vault and Beam- in Seattle, where we defeated the Washington Huskies.

 It feels like I never really stopped competing.

The only difference I feel my time out made, was to affect my fitness. I'm nowhere near as in-shape as I was pre-Olympics and due to the setback of having a broken toe in November and December I never fully got all my skills back either. Now we're in-season I don't have much time to work on them. But I am still progressing every week, that's certain.

Like any team, we've had to deal with difficulties this year, but we've also had some great triumphs and moments of brilliance. We are hoping to peak for the national championships, of course! One thing we've been doing is working on our 'mental game', which is vital to achieve any kind of success, in every area of life. It keeps being said, but I will say it again, this team has a great chemistry. There is a strong sense that we are all in this together. Part of our mantra this year is that we have 'no outs, no doubts and no excuses' to 'be a champion, today.' This motivates me daily.

My weekly schedule goes something like this-
Monday/ Tuesday/Thursday/Friday- Treatment between 6am and 7:30am, Training 8am-11:30ish, Class 12 'til 4ish, evening tutoring sessions. Meals and skyping home in between!
Wednesday- Morning stretch session or team meeting or activities with Mikahl, our guide to controlling and harnessing the power of our minds. Studying and class.
Weekends- travelling and competing and resting.

There's also the irregular but fun extra programs I like to do, for example yesterday I attended a Bruins Fighting Cancer event where we made paper cranes to send in their thousands and bring joy and good fortune to children facing the illness. Tomorrow I will be going to 'Joe Bruin's Birthday Bash'!

"..though the once-Olympian has returned to making sacrifices for her sport, she has also rediscovered her skill and love for gymnastics, something she never thought would happen after her Olympic finale..." 
A few days ago The Daily Bruin published a little about me, too. Read it here. I felt the need to add some notes afterwards however, which I don't feel were emphasised enough- so I posted a few tweets on Twitter such as

Whatever length of time I am here makes no difference to my commitment to this team and its goals&values right now #7 #fierce #championstoday
— Jennifer Pinches (@jempin515) February 19, 2014

I might see Becky Wing today! We compete against Stanford at 6pm (LA time, that's 2am GMT, sorry) in Pauley Pavilion! If you do want to keep up to date, you can, via @uclagymnastics on Twitter :)
EDIT: MAY 2014. My apologies to you all but I'm afraid I will be discontinuing this blog in order to prioritise my other responsibilities. But fear not, you can still catch me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr, plus the occasional blog for BG or The Zone or RTN etc!  -Jen xo