The Austin Life
I cannot claim being a Texan because I will always remain an Oregonian at heart, but I wouldn’t mind saying I’m almost an Austinite. Having yet to take advantage of the “Live Music Capital of the World” aspect of this fabulous city, I have already fallen in love. The food is amazing (seriously, everywhere I go), the people are eclectic and friendly, and the gym I’m training at couldn’t be more perfect for the goals I’m trying to reach.
The community here is all about being healthy and active. With as many natural and organic grocery stores and restaurants as not, eating healthy here is made easy. Many restaurants have a “Gluten-free” menu upon request – side note: I’m not allergic to gluten but it’s great that the option is made available to the growing population that is – which I think is pretty cool. A couple of my favorites so far are Torchy’s Tacos – aaamazing tacos with fresh grilled meat, veggies, and a variety of homemade salsas, and Bouldin Creek Café with a delicious tofu scrambler or 2 eggs over medium on toast or a bagel – I’ve heard their omelets are tasty as well.
The daily dose of vitamin D the sun provides offers a great excuse to go outside and exercise. The beautiful and lush Green Belt is a seemingly endless nature preserve encompassed by running/hiking trails with tree-cover to shade from the blazing sun, a creek perfectly placed for a quick dip when even in the shade the 100+ temperatures become unbearable, and natural rock walls for the avid climber or interested passerby. It is a super bicycle- and running-friendly city – most main roads have bike lanes and paths are easy to come by with popular picks like Shoal Creek and the Town Lake loop. And running stores like Rogue Equipment make joining a running and core program a fun activity to look forward to each day rather than the common “ugh, do I have to go work out today?” attitude.
Capital Gymnastics and Officially Qualifying
Training with Barry Hyder at Capital has been amazing. His knowledge of the sport and easy-going demeanor are exactly what I need at this stage of my sport. Sharon Bunch is one of the upper level coaches and often works with us on beam and floor. Well educated and very helpful, she has a great sense of humor but makes sure you get your work done. Jason Jarrett, son of Jim and Cheryl who founded Capital Gymnastics runs the gym. I coach with him in the afternoons and his passion for the program and helping young girls reach their potential in the sport they love is evident every day.
I’m progressively getting stronger and building up endurance I lost in the transition of finishing the Arkansas season as the volunteer coach, graduating, moving down to Austin, and adjusting to a different training regimen. I have only myself to blame for the valley I slipped in to slightly, but you can’t have peaks without valleys, right?
I’d have to admit that I’ve already had a couple peaks since moving… finally passing the compulsories officially made me a senior international elite, having retroactively qualified optionally for the Classics. Then last weekend at the American Classic I got the 3-event score necessary to qualify for USA Visa Championships! I qualified on vault, balance beam, and floor exercise. I still have one more chance at the U.S. Covergirl Classic in Chicago to get the all-around score to be able to compete uneven bars as well, but without the pressure of still needing to qualify at all, I just plan to compete as best as I can, make improvements from last weekend, and have fun! Isn’t that why I’m still doing this crazy sport anyway?
For those of you unfamiliar with the scores necessary to qualify to USAs, I will try to clarify. The all-around score (which I’ll be trying to get) is a 54.0 – this averages to a 13.5 on each of the four events. If you wanted to qualify on any three events, the score is a 41.25 or 13.75 average. The two-event score is a 28.0, so an average of 14.0 on two events is needed. Basically, the fewer events you do, the better you should be at them. My scores last weekend were:
Uneven bars: 11.6 – not good at all, lost 1.0 for falling, and the rest of my routine was totally thrown off
Balance beam: 14.6 – good, now I just need to reach that 15.0+
Floor exercise: 13.25 – definitely needs improvement; need to clean up some landings and increase my difficulty
Vault: 14.0 – good score for a full-twisting yurchenko, but I need to get a 1.5 twist which is worth more and can only be landed if the pre-flight (or entry onto the vaulting table) is improved
All-around: 53.45 – only 0.55 away from the all-around score I needed even with a terrible bar routine. Three-event score for vault, beam, and floor: 41.85
All I can say is I am SO extremely excited about qualifying for USA Visa Championships -- the best showcase of the nation’s top elite gymnasts…and I get to compete with them! They are being held in St. Paul/Minneapolis August 17-20th. The men compete on Wednesday and Friday and the women compete on Thursday and Saturday. Very exciting!
Thank EVERYONE for the amazing support you have given me in this journey I have undertaken. I honestly can’t begin to explain how much it helps keep me going when I’m having a rough day or wondering if my goals are too lofty. But you all make it worth it, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I want to give a special thanks to Robby Edwards who wrote this article and all the people at the U of A who helped put it together, it really meant a lot to me! Arkansas Razorback Gymnastics
I also want to thank Anne from gymnastike for featuring my beam after winning the event at the American Classic last weekend. You’re amazing Anne! I sincerely appreciate it! Gymnastike Feature
P.S…I’ve been told they are looking for a few more senior elites to be considered for the U.S. Team to compete at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico in October so I’m going to put my pedal to the metal and work as hard as I can to impress the National Team staff these next two meets and who knows what’ll happen?! It’s a fun and motivating thought anyway