Today it feels as if the winter has just begun, though it is already nearing the beginning of February. After a short and sweet break at home for Christmas, our team ventured to the US for GS/SG series in Schweitzer and then back again less than a week later for the Speed Series.
At the first series I finished two out of four races. On the first day I skied straight through the fifth or sixth gate, having made some equipment changes, my skies reacted in a way I wasn’t expecting. I took what I could from the experience knowing I still had another chance. The next day I ski well on the first run, but to round and cautious not wanting to make the same mistake again. On the second run I skied well up until the pitch, didn’t make the proper move forward to readjust my position down the fall line. I got caught on the inside ski and without the power of my downhill ski I got thrown out of the course by a small rut. On the two super-g days I skied respectably considering that it was my first super-g race since that time last year. I was disappointed with how I did, knowing I could have put more on the line. Contrary, feeling my subconscious natural instincts telling me to be ‘safe’ and hold back. I knew I had done what I could in preparation, but was frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t just let my body perform.
Second time around, we started with two days of downhill training, managing to get in three runs. On the first day I got instinctively nervous considering my past downhill experiences. The biggest thing for me was to ski well and finish every run. Knowing that if I could accomplish this it would be a huge accomplishment, and I was right. The first time I made it down I nearly cried because I was so relieved. Every run I made it down I felt that same relief to have made it again and again. And on the fifth day it was an amazing feeling to have completed five consecutive downhill runs. I had only ever finished two run before! I took the good feelings into the super-g and the next day I skied with the most confidence I had in what felt like two years! Realizing that day that I wasn’t doing anything wrong before, that I needed to be patient and know that with time and commitment these things would come together.
On the last day, while slipping the men’s run before our race I witnessed a terrible crash on a part of the course that a few people were having trouble with. I did a good job of not focusing on what I saw, instead visualizing myself skiing that section well. When the time came for my run that image was certainly there. My confidence drifted, I got low on a gate and it was too much to make it back so I skied out.
Since I have been back I have had some good days of training, but also some very rough days. I had a hard time tapping into that confidence that I skied with in the super-g race. Now I am going into a solid training block while the rest of our team heads out to Apex for a Nor-Am speed event. My focus will be on gaining confidence and belief in my self and my abilities. I know that if a bring focus and commitment to myself and my performance, but also relaxation and patience that I can make strong improvements technically, and mentally.