Patience is not my forté as far as virtues go. I still mentally squirm like a border collie puppy if anyone makes me wait for ice cream, movies, or the next book in a series. Anticipation is supposed to sweeten the anticipated, but usually it sours my disposition so badly that I devour the event without savoring any of that purported sweetness. Waiting for ski results is even worse than waiting for any delicious or recreational thing. When you put so much of yourself into one pursuit, having success coyly elude you is absolutely enraging. I don’t mean waiting for published results after an individual start race, although that can also be excruciating, the issue at hand is patience with one’s own performance.
This is the first year that I have felt as though I am skiing into race form. Usually I get so excited when termination dust hits the mountains around anchorage that I practically start peaking during bounding intervals in October. I then proceed to time trial extremely well in early November, and race best at the beginning of the season. I see the downfalls of that method (weak performance during US Nationals in January for example), but at least it provides instant gratification! I can’t really think of anything that I did differently this summer of training, but this fall I have been extremely slow to spark up. My pop and race form just hasn’t been there, and while I can light it up in a 30 second speed, I just haven’t had success with race-pace yet.
Apparently this is normal.
Most people don’t develop an adrenal amp when a bit of snow dusts the mountains, and they don’t start to peak in October. Skiing into a season can allow for more consistent results and improvement. It means that your body was stressed in the summer and is taking a little while to recover from it. Hypothetically this means that you will come out stronger than ever. At least that’s what I am telling myself.
My first two races of this year’s SuperTour were unremarkable. ‘Stagnating in a purgatory of mediocrity’ is the phrase that I dramatically coined to describe my uninspired performance in West Yellowstone. I understood that the races were not suited to my strengths, but it sure seemed to me that I ought to be in the top 10 anyways. It didn’t help that I had written that incredible self-inspiring blog beforehand. I believed that I was going to rock it, so why didn’t it go well!?
After a mildly grumpy week of recovery, I raced again today.
… and it was better! I still am not satisfied, I am focused on qualifying for the Canadian world cups and today wasn’t quite at that level, but it certainly felt more like a real ski race. I felt it for a second in my quarter final- I was actually skiing strong, using my legs well, and holding people off. I was truly in the race, rather than wondering if I was in the race. I still don’t know what place I finished, but I think I was probably 7th. In all reality, that’s not so far off what I need to qualify for Canada. Hopefully my performance will continue to crescendo, preferably not too gradually, and I’ll make it to the world cup by the skin of my teeth.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to cross fingers, toes, eyes, or any available appendage in support of my WC qualification… the ski gods may hear you.
Coming in hot in my semi final (I am the third skier… look at that cornering technique, erik flora!) Photo: Sarah Cresap