I remember as a younger skier watching some of the World Cup footage, and just being blown away by how any person could move so fast. To me, these World Cup stars were like superwomen of my dreams. Having never met any of them at the time, they were not even real… they were just figures in a movie. Fast forward ten to fifteen years, and here I am, living out the dream of being one of those World Cup racers. One of the most unique parts about being in this position is how small "the picture" is, considering how big the world behind it is. What is shown on the TV screen is just one little three minute snapshot, or maybe a 25 minute snapshot into the life we live. It is funny, because those three minute "snapshots" are what we spend 365 days a year pushing our bodies to extreme levels for. While we put on a show each weekend, there are so many parts and pieces behind the stage that ten to fifteen years ago I would have never realized existed!
So, I am going to take you on a little backstage tour of the few months, weeks and minutes leading into last weekends Classic Sprint show, where I had my first ever podium in a sprint event. This way I can maybe "myth bust" some young kids ideas that World Cup Skiers are super-humans coming from another planet. Nope, we are just your friendly neighbor across the street working darn hard towards something we are dreaming of.
Backstage three months ago- "Just finishing up my three week intensity block at home in Anchorage. Inspired by my teammate, Rosie Brennan, I decided these three weeks that I am not going to look at social media. Social media currently seems to have some element of "comparison" to it. All I can see right now is how warm it seems to be everywhere else, and how hard everyone is pushing themselves. Meanwhile it does nothing but rain in Anchorage, and I am darn tired. These three weeks I am going to focus on myself, and how hard I can push myself. I am two and a half weeks into this block, and I know I am balancing on a thin line of too much, and just enough to make a jump. I have done one Time Trial, and I feel like I can't ski out of a plastic bag, but I am not worried. The goal right now is to push myself. I am using technique to keep myself focused through these final sessions of the block, and keep them productive.
Backstage three weeks ago- "I am one week from taking off for the winter, and the season to come. I just set up a Christmas tree and am playing Christmas carols, because I have a new house, and I know I will get mega homesick if I don't live that experience at least once this winter… even if it is the wrong season. Oh well, there is snow on the ground, and it is dark outside, so who can tell the difference? Because I am an overly organized human, I have already laid out all my stuff to pack for the winter. I haven't put it in my duffle bag yet, but every friend that comes to visit, I make them walk through all my stuff with me, and pull the "extra's" out. Hard to believe I have to fit everything in my 50 pound duffle bag. I am commuting three hours every day for some great skiing up at Hatchers Pass; this has left me with lots of time to "think", as well as carry on some awesome conversations with teammates. Today I spent the trip to Hatchers arguing with the young juniors on our team if training logs were valuable. Everyone has their reasoning, but I am a fan of them! I am starting to feel better on my skis after having a long two weeks of sickness during camp. I am feeling quite lucky to have such good snow to ski on before the season, and I am taking this opportunity to really focus on some of the technique changes I have made this summer. I wonder if they will still hold while I am racing? I hope so! "
Backstage three days ago from the race- "Just arriving to Kuusamo, where we will start the first World Cup races. We will have a classic sprint on Friday, a 10k classic individual classic race on Saturday, and a 10k skate, pursuit start on Sunday. Holy cow, I forgot how tough these courses are. I feel like I am skiing down one side of a giant half pipe, and back up the other. Thank goodness the hills seem to ski easier when you go hard. I am still darn jet lagged, and waking up at 3am nervous as heck. I wonder what this season will bring? Holy cow, I am nervous! Good thing Jessie is teaching us dance classes every night so that I can have something to put my mind on, other than ski racing. There is nothing quite as powerful as giggles, and friends. I am one lucky girl to be doing this sport at this time, with all these great people. "
Backstage three minutes before the race- "OK, time to focus, time to do what you know how to do. These are real girls you are out on the course with, not super humans. Let's do this".
OK, now that you have taken a backstage tour, you can see that what you see on the TV is such a small snapshot into our world. There are so many individual minutes, hours, and feelings that go into those "perfect days", or those "not so perfect" days. What I have learned over the years of racing on the World Cup is that each day is only a snapshot. For that reason, you can go from "the dumps" to "the digs" overnight, and vise versa. I feel really excited about last weekend, and how things started. Coming into the season, you never know where you are. Especially for myself, who is pretty infamous for not being a great "trainer", I never know what is going to happen when I put a bib on. But the best thing I can do, is keep the belief in myself. So, with one weekend under my belt from this season, and my first sprint podium, I am thrilled to see what can be possible this winter.
We have just arrived in Lillehammer for our next stop on tour, with a classic sprint again, and a 15k Skiathlon. If you want to watch back home in the US, races are now being show on NBC, on The Olympic Channel.
Big thanks to everyone for all the cheers, congratulations, and love last weekend. You make this journey incredibly special!!
In case you missed the watching the race last weekend, here