It all came back to me, the smell, the fear, the adrenaline. It was a scary but exciting moment for me last night when I stepped back into the gym. The place where nine years ago it all went wrong. Last night I started by warming up, remembering all my old warm up routines, then before I knew it I was there again, at the beginning of a tumble track focusing my mind on the strip of sprung floor and visualised what I was about to do. A short run up and numerous flips, I felt like the confident 11 year old psyching myself up and channelling all my vision into the long strip of mat, ‘you can do this’ I thought to myself.
The problem with me in the gym is that I give 110% every time. Once I have mastered one tumble, I am straight on learning the next. I was feeling strong and able to complete some of the more advanced tumbles that I once did. I went for a back straight ½ twist summersault but it didn’t feel right. After a short chat with the coach I realised that my technique was wrong. Learning a new technique nine years after learning the first was a challenge but one I was happy to do, after gripping my technique mentally it was time to put it to the test.
So I tried the tumble again – perfect, nothing wrong. It felt good but I wasn’t yet happy. I went for another tumble, this time to try and conquer the full twist. Again, I lined myself up at the edge of the tumble strip and mentally prepared myself. I went for the summersault and threw myself high into the air to complete the twist, making sure I was tight through the move I landed feet together. I had done it! Nine years after my retirement to the sport and I come back into training and master a new tumble. I had learnt something new and felt like I had no pressure this time, it was just a personal achievement and I was over the moon.
I am so happy with how it all went last night. I am definitely going to be keeping up my training. I felt so alive on the tumble track and it will slowly but surely push all of the bitter memories I have of gymnastics aside to make room for new ones. I have always loved the sport gymnastics and it was a hard confronting the facts when I had to quit at such a young age with such high aspirations in the sport. I know that I will never go to the Olympics in gymnastics and I know that I don’t want to compete again, but I also know that I have still got it and I proved that last night. I’m not going to waste the talent I have. To a new adventure!