I’m not a motivational quote person. I don’t search them out, or write them in my journal, or repeat them to my friends. Those cheesy maxims we see all the time rarely resonate with me. “Live, laugh, love”? “Seize the moment”? Come on. How many different ways can someone say the exact same thing? However, I couldn’t ignore the following two quotes. The fact that I found both of them within a half an hour of each other made me stop and think. I usually don’t take much stock in this sort of thing, but when the universe is trying to tell you something, it’s pretty pointless to ignore it. Yep, I know, bring on the cheese!
First there was this gem, in the United Airlines Magazine, from the great Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
The source of this next one is a little bit embarrassing, but I’m being honest here. Ok, so it’s from this week’s calendar page in my very girly planner. Annnnyways, it’s still a good one, a Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.”
Of course, there is a reason that these quotes resonated with me. After a frustrating start to my race season, I’m left looking for answers. It’s difficult to train hard all spring, summer, and fall, feel real improvements in technique, fitness, and lifestyle, and then fail to see them manifest in my results. But, despite a slow start to the season, I’m hoping with the right mindset (Winston Churchill’s, to be exact), I can find just the nudge I need to get up and move on.
The truth is, that when things are going well, it’s easy. It’s easy to answer when people ask how your race went. It’s easy to write a blog summing up your successes when it’s full of happy, shiny pictures. It’s also much, much easier to continue to race well. Confidence breeds more confidence, and good results tend to snowball into more good results. However, the flip side isn’t so easy. It’s tough to admit to others that things really kind of suck. It’s tough to write a report from a bad result without rattling off excuse after excuse. So here I am, writing about bad results. I hope that it will help me understand the process of failure and learning from failure, and also in the hope that others will relate to what I’m saying (after all, we’ve all been there!)
I last updated from West Yellowstone, where we had just competed in a FIS race on nearly pure ice after an untimely thaw. The following weekend, still in West Yellowstone, the organizers got a little help from Mother Nature and were able to pull off a skate sprint and 10k mass start classic on the planned courses. After West, we packed up and moved to Silver Star, British Columbia, where we raced a classic sprint and 10k freestyle. In the broad scheme of things, both of the sprints were decent for me. On a flat, short course in West where I’ve struggled in the past, I finished 10th. In the classic sprint in Silver Star I was able to bring things around after a fairly disastrous qualifier (21st) and made the A Final, where I finished 5th. The distance races were more frustrating. I felt sluggish and unable to access my top race gear. By finishing 15th in the skate race in Silver Star, and 19th in West, I fell far short of my goals for opening SuperTours. It’s been a bitter pill to swallow, especially in an Olympic year, when so much is on the line.
Luckily I’ve had a little time to reset, both back in Craftsbury, and then at home in Park City. With some perspective (and a peek at the upcoming SuperTour calendar), I realized that we’re only one fifth of the way through just the SuperTour race season. There is so much racing ahead of me! While mentally going through my races thus far this season, I’ve had to really examine what I can take away from each one. There are two types of bad races. There are those that contain lessons to carry on to the next race: about fitness, race sharpness, pacing, tactics, fueling, picking skis, etc. Then there are races so bad that they have no silver lining whatsoever, and are best forgotten immediately. The key is teasing out which type of race is which. However, in the end, extensive dwelling on any type of bad race isn’t really worth it! Find the lesson, if there is one, then move on.
Another thing I’ve thought about a lot is the fact that, even when my results aren’t where I’d like them to be, I still love the feeling of racing and pushing myself. I still enjoy training and spending time outside with teammates, friends, and family. I even love going to the gym completely solo and challenging myself to get stronger. I love this sport and everything it represents.
So I’m looking towards the rest of the season with hopeful optimism. I’m headed to Anchorage, Alaska now for US Nationals, starting on January 3rd. I want to turn my early season frustrations into successes, but I’m approaching the rest of the season with patience. I know it won’t happen overnight. However, I certainly don’t lack enthusiasm, nor the ability to pick myself up over and over.
After that onslaught of words and feelings, hopefully you’re still with me, and made it to the good part, pictures! A smattering from West, Silver Star, and a few from my holiday break back in Park City. Enjoy.
|Looking for that extra race gear in the West Yellowstone |
sprints (Photo Gary Solow)
|Finding good snow up high on the plateau in West|
|We were oh so happy to find perfect conditions in Silver|
Star. Kait and Audrey on an evening stroll
|Another gorgeous Silver Star sunset|
|Women's podium from the classic sprint|
|My teammates are crushing it this year! Caitlin|
and Kait finished Period 1 of the SuperTour ranked
1st and 2nd, which means Caitlin is headed to the
World Cup in January. It's been fun to see them ski
|Happy skiers after putting three in the A Final|
|It was awesome to have so many family members |
cheering in West and Silver Star. Hanging with my
dad post race
|Most of the GRP crew happy to be in sunny Silver Star. BIG thanks|
to our coaches and wax techs, they are 100% professional every day
and work incredibly hard. We're lucky ducks to have them!
|Best part of doing a long ski in Silver Star is taking the ski lift back |
up at the end. We got out to explore off the race trails
during our last day
|Mandatory food pic. Always good to come home to Park City for|
amazing breakfasts like this french toast and antelope sausage,
courtesy of my stepdad the hunter/chef
|Back to my roots, skiing in Round Valley with my brother.|
This guy just got engaged over the holidays!! I couldn't be more happy
and excited for him.
I’ll be updating after the races in Anchorage. In the meantime, I hope you all had wonderful holidays spent with family and snow, and I wish you all the best for the New Year!