When life hands you lemons… Get a Life Coach!

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!

photo: courtesy of Molly Choma who was wonderful enough to take pictures for us and allow us to share them with others!
photo: courtesy of Molly Choma who was wonderful enough to take pictures for us and allow us to share them with others!
All white everything! Favorite "color"
All white everything! Favorite “color”

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.

Lake Placid Race day. Photo credit: Molly Choma
Lake Placid Race day. Photo credit: Molly Choma

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.

Park City Team Trials. Photo Cred: Molly Choma
Park City Team Trials. Photo Cred: Molly Choma
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Lake Placid and Calgary.. the good and the bad..

Well, I suppose I reverted back to my old ways of blog posting, I don’t think I’ll ever be like my sister Kaitlin who posts something every day. Lets be honest, it’s hard enough for me to post updates on Facebook and Twitter often. The Internet isn’t great over here in Altenberg, Germany so I can’t upload any pictures with this post. My plan is to make an end of the season photo post taking everyone through my trip so you can see the places that we go to, and the crazy weather that we always have!

There have been two World Cup races since my last post, Christmas and New Years as well. So much to catch everyone up on, I’ll start with the two races that got the World Cup season going; Lake Placid,  and Calgary.

Lake Placid was an interesting week; I had an awesome week of training and felt great leading into the race. The first day of training I had a personal best down time (faster than my official track record there). I made a small change to my sled which I shouldn’t have, but this was not the cause of my problems in the race. For anyone who hasn’t watched a race before we wear a bib, this goes over our race suit, and is normally orange on the top and white on the bottom with your race number on it and the World Cup sponsor. I was off 11th, just after the 2 minute commercial break. I was standing outside waiting to be told 1 minute until the track was cleared for me.  I took off my booties covering my shoes, got my pants off, waited a few moments and started to unzip my jacket as I did that I looked down and only saw black. It hit me, my heart was already pounding when I realized I didn’t have my bib on I raced inside the start house running into the door and some person grabbed my bib and ran back outside. Of course it was inside out, Tuffy is holding my sled and my helmet, I’m shaking while my other coach Brian is trying to help me put my bib on, all while I’m screaming I can’t I just can’t (because I couldn’t get it turned right side out or get my arm in the sleeve).  Tuffy put my sled down, I got my helmet on bent down and you could visibly see my legs shaking I started pushing my sled (slower than I ever have in a race). I wanted to make up for what I had just done so I tried to be perfect down the track and that was a bad idea. I crossed the finish line and made my way up the outrun, saw the clock and just put my head in my hands.  I didn’t want to do anything but cry, I was so angry at myself, I’m not a rookie how could I possibly do this! We instantly turned it into a joke, which was helpful and I made sure to show the coaches before run two that I was fully dressed with my bib on and everything.

When something goes wrong you believe you can fix it on the next run, I knew exactly what I had to do and if I had an awesome run I could move up a few spots. Instead I tried to be too perfect again!  I made even more mistakes and basically went slow again! I didn’t move up any and finished the first race of the season in 9th.

After that I said I would move on and do better in Calgary the next week. Calgary was an interesting week of training, nothing really ever went right, I never went fast and never got relaxed on my sled. Race day came and I don’t think I believed in myself at all. I was so far behind from the first run I had put myself in such a hole it seemed like there was no coming back from it. After the first run, I put my headphones in and turned on JLo’s newest album A.K.A. (I love JLo and could listen to her all day!!!) I had it on repeat and other than getting feedback from the coaches I talked to no one, acknowledged nothing and hopped the fence that I wasn’t supposed to for my warm up. I was able to have a faster second run, but since my first was so slow I only moved up one spot. However I did let my sled “run” (or do what it wants to) a little more which was a positive to take from the day. I finished the race in a disappointing 12th place.

Racing is stressful, and something that takes a long while to perfect. My last full World Cup season in 2011-2012 I had really figured out what helps me race best. These last two seasons a lot had changed and that no longer worked for me, or I basically felt like I forgot how to race. It is easy to expect to do well and want or wish to do well but not take the steps to make you better. The first part of the season was a reality check, or better yet a slap in the face.  The Christmas break was just what I needed to get my head back on straight and the drive to be the best to push me for this next part of the season.

My positives to take from both of these races: my start is coming back, I feel fast and healthy and know that I’ll be right  back to where I need to be before the season is over. This is a great start to the quad, its a long four years, and I have a lot to learn about myself still as an athlete and a slider.