101 in 1001: #40 Attend a national gymnastics event.

I walked into the arena and memories rushed back. The feel of grips against my calloused hands, the sound of the beam squeaking as I jumped and landed, the smell of chalk as I prepared the bars just the way I like them. It was all there in that place, and I felt like a 14-year-old girl again. I absolutely adore gymnastics. There's something so addicting about the sport that just never leaves you. For me it's the combination of power, grace, focus, and complete and utter strength. Ah! Gives me chills.

Since I've taken a hiatus from coaching for the last year, I've been craving gymnastics. And since the Olympics are coming SO soon, I knew this was the perfect year to try and attend a national, elite-level gymnastics meet (on my 101 list!). Enter Visa National Championships, the precursor to the Olympic Trials.

Anna, one of my coaching friends, and I traveled to St. Louis this past weekend, which was like a mini vacay in and of itself. We got to tour the arch, attend a baseball game, check out an awesome breakfast spot and, duh, spend an entire day watching gymnastics. That's perfection right there.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that you couldn't take a DSLR camera into the meets, so my little iPhone camera had to do the trick for the day. Sad.

Visa National Gymnastics Championships

Oh you guys. If you're a gymnastics junkie right about the time the Olympics roll around, you're going to have a good time watching these athletes ... both women and men. And don't forget to catch the Olympic Trials in a couple weeks! Should be exciting.

Here's a little of our time in STL.

We were so excited about gymnastics that we did some gymnastics in front of the arch. Slightly dorky, yes, but that's how I roll.

The view from the teeeeeeny, tiny windows in the top of the arch (top) and the view from the stadium. St. Louis is a cool city!

Then we went to this Portland-esque restaurant for breakfast. Check out Plush if you're ever in STL. Right near Saint Louis University. I had buckwheat pancakes with blue cornmeal, granola and cranberries, and Anna had porridge with custard and berries. YUM.