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Searching For My Inner Shawn Johnson

Posted Mar 25 2011 4:36pm
I've always been jealous of short, sassy gymnasts like Shawn Johnson.  Despite the fact that I'm pretty sure they never grow real boobs, they have the uncanny ability to be adorable and charming while flipping and contorting their meticulously toned bodies into ridiculous little flashes of flesh.  If they do it well enough, they earn a rockin' gold medal and maybe even a shot at getting their perpetually young mugs on the front of a Wheaties box.  In addition to these cool prizes, some even go on to greater "fame" and take home the coveted mirror ball trophy on Dancing With The Stars,  like my homegirl Johnson did a while back.

But Johnson's main strength was on the balance beam.  She fluttered and kicked and twirled and catapulted her way to a gold for the AmeRUHicans back at Beijing in 2008.  That was a pretty awesome feat, especially when considering that I can barely walk in a straight line at times and often find myself with bruises on my thighs from bumping into end tables and desks every day.

While I don't plan on being a gymnast anytime soon, I admire the way they head into terrifying events like the balance beam, vault, and those crazy uneven bars without (seemingly) a shred of doubt, fear, or anxiety.  These tiny teens (or at least they look like teens, even if they aren't... *ahem*... China) just run out to the mats, throw on a perfected Thousand Watt Smile, and go for it.  They push for balance in every routine, tightening muscles and lengthening arms and legs to hold a position for as many seconds as they need.

And that's what I'm jealous of - the balance.  This week's been rough - I'm tired and whiny.  Even being complacent is too much of a chore right now.  The last thing I want to do after working all day (and trying to find balance in that job) is keep up with my training schedule.  Mileage is steadily increasing, and it's getting tougher to allocate time and effort to fit in all of the miles.

Once I do finally throw on my shoes, the balancing act begins all over again.  Keeping a consistent pace requires balance.  Remembering to intake fluids and "good" calories requires balance.  And for some reason, putting on a gaudy, sparkly leotard and dusting my hands with that chalky stuff doesn't do the trick.  (And that's too bad, because I really enjoy wearing sparkly leotards.)

I have to figure out, at least until this school year is over, how suck in those muscles and straighten out those hands to hold it all steady and even for now.
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