Late August and September are months saved in my head as "where the work gets done". It is the time that I am carrying the most amount of fatigue from the summer of training, and I take the opportunity to dig deep, and push one step harder.
Last week I got a little "recovery" week to split the hard work and did some training on my own, to prepare my mind and body for three weeks of digging deep to come. My mom flew up from Washington, where it is 100 degrees and full on summer. It was pretty special to share the week with her up in Alaska, where it is full on fall! I think she had a little shock to her system. First, because it was 50 degrees and rainy, which meant wearing winter clothing and being darn cold. And second, because she joined me for an entire week of training… and she survived! As an athlete, I get so consumed and invested in my "work", that I forget to sometimes look around and realize what I have done and what I am doing. Training 3-5 hours a day, traveling to and from training sessions, refueling, taking care of my body, and all the "maintenance" is my normal routine. Having my mother around for the week made me realize how much energy this job entails. As my mom jumped on the bike with me while I roller skied, and joined me on the trails and the gym, it gave me a fun new breath of perspective. Firstly, I have reached a whole new definition of "training hard", and secondly I am a pretty lucky girl to have family that can jump right in with me and enjoy the process. I would have never gotten to where I am had I not learned the joy of being healthy and active from my family. It is pretty unique and special to be training at such a high level, and still be able to share that love with my family to this day!
I am now back into the full swing of training and digging deep. I have three weeks ahead of me of digging just a little deeper, pushing just a little harder, and shooting just a little higher. Often during these really hard blocks of training, it is easy to lose sight of your achievements. When I am living in a small daze of lactic acid and fatigue, it is easy to have a swing in belief, like the swing in fatigue. My best method of coping with periods of hard work is to shift my vision. Am I working hard, or hard working? Am I finding weaknesses, or finding opportunities for improvement? Was I tired today, or did I achieve my goal yesterday? Is it a downpour outside, or is it fall? Sometimes tricking your brain is the best way to make that next step!
I look forward to pushing these next few weeks of hard work, and hopefully getting one step closer to my World Cup and Olympic Goals this winter!