I’ve been waiting until after our team trials races ended before I decided to blog about anything. As always team trials were exhausting and stressful, but overall I am proud of myself and how I finished before moving onto the International races this year. I also decided to buy a new sled this summer, I now have a beautiful Bromley (British sled builder), it was the perfect investment for myself and my future!
I finished trials ranked #1 for the US (Lake Placid Race #1 2nd place, Race #2 1st place, Park City Race #1 2nd place, Race #2 2nd place), which put me on our World Cup Circuit, I head to Europe on Wednesday for three races before the Christmas break. The schedule goes: Altenberg, Germany; Winterberg, Germany; and finally Koenigssee, Germany then home for Christmas.
I had a wonderful summer, with a little downtime, lots of training and working but mainly working on myself. When last season ended I was in limbo mentally and emotionally. I knew that I needed to really learn how to change my inner dialogue in order to become that athlete I know I can be.
One of my long time childhood friends passed away this spring, during the week of World Championships, I was lucky enough to make it home for a funeral and share wonderful memories with her family and friends. Her dad, asked me how the season was, but mainly paid attention to my emotional state. He explained that his daughter had been working with a life coach and mentioned maybe I could do the same he thought it would really help me.
I took some time finding a person to work with, and decided to reach out to a person who I had become close with this past season to see if she had any recommendations. It turned out she did, and shortly after that I started working with my new life coach (a part of Turning Leaf Wellness Center). I knew what I wanted, but didn’t know how to achieve these things. I will say that having my life coach has helped me change my outlook on a lot situations, learn how to express my opinion in a different way and be confident and proud of myself for what I accomplish no matter the outcome. There is so much more to the journey, and the rest can be for a different post in the future (or personal messages if anyone has any questions about it for themselves as well).
I’m excited about continuing on with my journey this season, and am looking forward to where it will take me.
I never posted anything about the race two weeks ago in Koenigssee, Germany the week went by very quickly and before I knew it, it was time to prepare for the next race. I had my best ever finish in Koenigssee 9th place. I’ve never had a great race on that track, the 2007-2008 World Cup season I crashed out of the Kreisel corner lost my sled, and had a DNF (did not finish) in the race. Training was decent all week, and I steadily got faster each day and figured something else out. I was so pleased with my race, this was the fastest I have ever slid there and just had a few mistakes I would have loved to have been able to correct on race day. Since I’m trying to take more positives than negatives from everything each day I left with what I did accomplish correctly. The corners I continued to do well in training were great and there a few other corners that I cleaned up and all but one pressure in kreisel was much better than training.
I walked away from Germany on a high, happy with myself and that I was able to put a great race together and be in the top ten there. The next stop, St. Moritz, Switzerland (also known as The Top of World), this is the only natural (fully man-made) track left in the world. Each year they cut ice blocks from the frozen lake and shape the ice and snow to create the track. There is a template they follow, but no year is ever the same as the last. Its a different feeling sliding on the natural track, you sound different going down, you can hear every mistake you make and you aren’t always fast when you think you should be. I would say the best feeling there is leading into the last two left handed corners on the track, you can hear the speed, the wind going past you through your helmet and feel the cold air going down your arms. At the bottom you are hauling, women normally reach about 135kph or about 84mph, one of the fastest tracks in the world.
My training week was only decent and I wasn’t really happy with much, I spend a lot of time listening to music with a lot of alone time but felt that I knew exactly what I had to do the night before the race in order to have the results I wanted. It all came down to letting my sled do what it wanted, being free and not forcing it to any lines that I felt it needed to take. I had a great start, and finally went mostly straight through the first two kinks and the insanely long straight away connecting them to the next corner named Wall. I felt a few skids in the next corners, but my Horseshoe corner (what the track is known for) was great all week, I had height and could hold decent time through the next few corners so even with the skids I had I didn’t stress on my sled.
I went heading down the straightaway into Horseshoe and instantly my chest felt the pressure, which just wasn’t right. The next thing I knew I was crushing the roof of the corner (we call it the wood because that is what it is made of) At that moment it was like I came to, realized what happened and was in utter shock, I’ve never done that before. The hit sent me straight to the bottom of the corner and then back up to the top just missing the wood again upon exiting. I was flying off my sled trying everything to hold on because it is much worse to lose your sled sometimes and I would have been disqualified from the race. I held on with acrobatic form, while getting my metal saddle to my hip. Oh I was in so much pain, my knee smashed on the ice and I knew there was no possible way I would be getting a second run.
When I finally made it to the bottom all I wanted to do was cry, I took my helmet off and just tried not to look at the camera. I went to put my warm clothes on in the finish house and just screamed with tears running down my face. No crying sound, just tears and pure anger, frustration and disbelief in myself. I spoke to no one and got on the truck to go back to the top, my hat puled down all the way over my eyes, hood on I could see where I was going but I didn’t want anyone to see me. I was so embarrassed of what had just happened, I just didn’t understand it. Our team medical staff took me into another room to see if I was alright, I just kept saying I hit my knee its the only thing that hurts and at this point I couldn’t stop crying. It turned into a hyperventilating style of crying and I had to focus on breathing only in order to stop. Two of my long time friends and competitors Austrian Janine Flock (who won that race for her first ever World Cup win) and German Anja Huber-Selbach stood there with me as well until I calmed down. It’s those moments that help you realize why you put yourself through so much, because the friends that I race against will always be there for me the same as I would be there for them whenever they need it. I’ve known some of these girls for about ten years now, thats longer than I’ve kept a number of friends.
It just goes to show you that there is always something to learn, it isn’t always about the race instead it is about who will be there for you when you need to be picked back up, who will help you move forward into the next week of racing, and who knows exactly what you are feeling because they have been there too. Every week this season I have learned something new about myself, as an athlete, as a person and how to be a better friend. Without family and friends life wouldn’t be fulfilling. So, as upset as I was about race my friends were there to hug me and pick me up through it, and it could have been much worse. I’m lucky that I only have a bruised hip-flexor and a damaged ego. I can heal the hip and rebuild the ego especially knowing I have so many people who support me.
What do you do when you need to get out of the hotel the day after a bad race.. well, you walk around one of the most beautiful places in the world: St. Moritz, and the day just seems that much better. And its onto the next week.. La Plagne, France; my absolute favorite place, best ever world cup finish of 2nd and more perfect than you could even imagine!
The 2014-2015 season officially starts next week with the Lake Placid World Cup. After a stressful, intense and challenging team trials I was named to the World Cup Circuit this season. We had four total races before the team was named, I had a very hard time relaxing during the races and put a little too much pressure on myself. Although I didn’t have the results I wanted in each race, I accomplished what I needed in order to make the team.
With that behind me, it is now time to focus on the International races. I had a very late start to training this off season, after letting my ankle heal from injuring it in the first race of the previous season (I had bruised my talus bone in my ankle and never took time off to heal). This late start has worked out great, World Cup racing is starting later than I can ever remember and it has given me the extra time I needed to be through my training cycles and preparing for competition.
I spent a good amount of the summer at home on Long Island, with tons of beach days family and friends. I got some really great training in, and was able to see the best Chiropractor around. I haven’t felt as good as I currently do in over two years (before my knee surgery in August 2012).
This year my goal is to find the positives instead of the negatives. Use every bit of information I can to race at my full potential, and to have the best season I have had yet. There is a great team atmosphere and it is exciting to get started in North America.
It’s a brutally cold winter wonderland currently in Lake Placid, but you never know what the weather will bring next week.