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

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A new year!

(I wrote something similar to this on my Twitter and Instagram) (Click the links to follow <3)

A new year is a good time to refresh and reflect on the way you live your life. Maybe you don't want to change anything, maybe you do. Here's an opportunity to think about it.

It's also a chance to realise all the positive things the past 12 months have brought you, and appreciate them, as well as establish what you have learnt and set new goals for the upcoming months ahead.

Because I'm a rather big fan of lists, so this one's just for you; some Pinchy tips!

My New Year's Suggestions-

  • Let the people you love know it
  • If you want something, go and get it. "Dream it, believe it, achieve it." Because if you never try, you'll never know. What would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail? What do you lose from trying? Nothing. What do you avoid? Regrets. Be confident!
  • Throw away something you don't need. De-clutter a drawer. Buy a new make-up bag. It will make you feel good.
  • Is your NY Resolution to go to the gym? Don't aim to be skinny, aim to be fit & healthy.
  • Communicate clearly. Every relationship relies on this. Don't expect people to mindread, even if you think something is obvious. Everyone interprets the world differently.
  • Read a book. (If you're stuck for ideas, try the author John Green. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter are also fantastic series to read for all ages, especially if you've only seen the films)
  • There are more important things than money.
  • Have integrity- people really appreciate it. That means meaning what you say and following through. The best way to respect a person it to be honest. That doesn't require you to be mean though.
  • Go outside more.
  • Finally, consider these words of wisdom from John Wooden- You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for somebody else.

What's more, here's some quotes I acquired in 2013:

Live the life you have imagined.- Henry David Thoreau

If you don't shape your world, somebody else will. -Gary J Lew

Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.- Anon

A year from now, what will you wish you had done today?- Karen Lamb

Go to bed earlier. Get up earlier. You'll be surprised what a difference it makes.. - Something I've learned

Everyone looks at you strange, and says you've changed... like you came all this way to stay the same. - Jay-Z lyrics

We all change. When you think about it, we're all different people, all through our lives. And that's OK, that's good, you've got to keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.- Matt Smith, as 'The Doctor'

Humble enough to know that I'm not better than anybody else, and wise enough to know that I'm different from the rest.- Dannie Riel

Don't worry about those who talk behind your back. They're behind your back for a reason.- Anon

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.- Elbert Hubbard

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I'll try again tomorrow."- Mary Anne Radmacher

Aiming for perfection is pointless. Always aim for improvement.- Something I've been taught

You're a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust, what do you have to be scared of?- 'Cher" @Porkbeard

The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are truth. We make an assumption and misunderstand. We take things personally. Then we react by sending emotional poison with our word that creates a whole big drama for nothing.- Don Miguel Ruiz teaching us to not be so quick to judge.

Life is a painting, every day a brush stroke. With love, courage and wisdom, we can create a masterpiece: no matter what colours we have to use, how long we are given, or how rough the canvas. For we are our own artists, and we can choose to be beautiful- Jennifer Pinches

Good is the enemy of great - Jim Collins

Never cheat, never lie, never steal. Don't whine, don't complain and don't make excuses.- John Wooden.


I hope that some of those will inspire or help you in 2014.

2013 brought me so many happy memories.
2012 was a high standard to follow, but I managed to have another really great year.

I started off in Scotland with my boyfriend James' lovely family. Soon after I was pleasantly surprised to be featured on the TV panel show 'Question of Sport' as a question answer.
In February I went snowboarding for the first time, in Austria with my family; then ended up going again, this time accompanied by British team members, at 'Chill Factor e' later on in the year.

At school, I was part of the King's production of 'Our Country's Good', portraying the character Liz Morden in between working to finish off my A Levels. Hard work pays off and I ended up leaving sixth form with straight A's.

In May I was invited by my local MP Andrew Bingham to visit the House of Commons and the House of Lords with him, which was a special privilege.

Over Summer I went to music festivals in Leeds and on the Isle of Wight, saw 'Wicked' for the second time in London (I love musicals!), and went holidaying in Portugal and Ibiza too. I was also invited to have tea with the Queen at a garden party in Buckingham Palace, where I reunited with the Olympic team and also happened to meet Benedict Cumberbatch!

In July specifically, I released an app for iOS devices, with the help of my talented computer programming boyfriend James; a puzzle game called 'Laser Chambers'. Apologies for my Twitter spam about it, but my no-money marketing online (mainly through App Review websites) did enable it to top the charts in 16 different countries. It is still available for download here.

Somewhere amongst other things I also did some modelling, in photoshoots for the Barnaby Festival with Simon Brown, The Zone, and with Steve Thornhill. Additionally I was part of a few other treats like a BBC highlights show with Louis Smith and some of Gymcastic's brilliant iTunes podcasts.

At the end of this year I left home, which also meant leaving the country, and continent even, to join the Bruins gymnastics team at UCLA. It has been a lot of fun joining this team and inspirational to meet so many dedicated and wonderful individuals on the team and all around us. Moreover, quitting Zumba for real gymnastics again felt fantastic! As I reported to 'The Gymnast' magazine in my second piece for them HERE, I feel like superhero regaining a power when I get back another skill. If you missed my first report, on post-Olympics stuff you can still see that here.

THANK YOU to everyone who played a part in making my 2013 so good :)

I wish you all a 2014 filled with luck, love, health, wisdom and happiness. Here's to it!

I would love to hear your comments about this post and/or your New Year's resolutions. I will be posting another blog soon(ish) specifically about Gymnastics/sport of 2013. 

Bonne année et bonne santé.