If you asked me last March if I’d be racing another US Nationals I would have said it was very unlikely. I also wouldn’t have predicted that I would be ski coaching.
I guess the way things fell into place I am psyched to be where I am and grateful I’m still getting the chance to race. Last week I earned two second place results at the US Championships. Although I missed two nationals titles by a combined time of less than 5 seconds last week, I am still pleased with the results. It’s actually my best average from all the years past racing at Nationals.
Lasts week’s results were a cool accomplishment considering that I was coaching full-time and racing. I’d be lying to say that I’m not proud to pull this off, and it would not have been even closely possible without the efforts from Josh, Dan, and Eric who are the head coaches at SSWC and SSCV.
I didn’t train at all this summer with skiing in mind. From late March-September I was focused on running, which was derailed by a heel fracture in May. After my heel injury I was stuck to a month on the stair master and road riding. After a month of that, I got to a place where I could uphill run on the treadmill as well as ride my mountain bike again. Mid-September I started rollerskiing, but the boot caused a bit of discomfort so I limited most of my boot time to coaching practice until mid August. My heel is continuing to improve today, and I hope that it will be 100% by next summer’s running races.
This experience has been valuable to me because I’ve learned so much about training. There has always been this idea that training needs to be ‘perfect’ or ‘specific’, but my last nine months have been anything but that. All I have done over that period is train a ton! I love going out on long adventures on the bike, and when I was stuck on the treadmill I did tons of intervals to pass the time. Since starting coaching in early Sept I’ve done lots of training geared for high school kids, which has been a new stimulus, but is rarely the volume of intensity or duration I would preferably do.
I learned that an atypical approach can be successful as long as the work load remains high. I don’t believe there is a perfect algorithm to achieve results. I find this inspiring for both myself and others moving forward, as it’s rare for an athlete to not face some sort of adversity or need to forge their own way forward- whether that be due to injury, illness, financial/time constraints, etc. I am psyched to continue pursuing ski racing as I move forward with my life on a different path. I hope others in the sport are motivated to take a similar approach as they phase into new chapters as well.