November is always a really tough time to be a Cross Country skier. You’ve been training as hard and as smart as you can for months and months but there’s really no way to tell if it’s all worked out until you start racing! Even then, the first races of the season aren’t always indicative of what’s to come when it really matters in January and, especially this season, mid-February.
It’s easy to lose some self-confidence at this time. I’ve had a few workouts where I’m asking myself “did that feel about right? Am I too tired? Am I too RESTED? How do I know?” And the funny thing is, this happens every single year. Every fall I start to doubt and worry and wonder about how my body is going to perform after all those hundreds of hours of training stack up.
But you know what? There’s two ways to go about it. I can sit and worry and wonder “will I succeed? How will I race fast?”
Or I can say to myself: “How can I NOT race fast? I’ve trained hundreds of hours, trained the best way I know how. I trust myself, I trust my coaches, and I trust that I’ve been smart enough to know when to rest and when to push it. This style of training has worked out for me the last few years…there’s absolutely no reason it shouldn’t work this year, too.”.
So I’m betting squarely on myself. I’m not asking “what if it doesn’t work out?” but instead saying “what if it DOES?!?”
I’ve always defined reaching success as that feeling when you cross the finish line, look back, and you can honestly say to yourself that you’ve done absolutely everything you can to race fast. I’ve looked back at the last 10 years and I’ve put skiing first, before everything else in my life. I’ve kept it balanced, kept it fun, but every training session I’ve gone out there and not slacked off.
The most important part? I’ve had so much FUN along the way! The pursuit of “the perfect race” has been like a game for me. There’s always going to be some little tweak to my technique, pacing, or the way I take a corner in a race. There’s always going to be some way to get faster, and I love that. It’s never going to be boring. I’ve met some of the closest friends in my life through skiing, and had a chance to meet people all over the world.
So with that in mind, I’m approaching my final week of training here in the US before flying to Europe with the same determination and focus that I’ve taken to every week of training since I became a professional skier. Find ways to improve every single day, enjoy the little moments along the way, work hard and rest hard. I’m looking forward to this season.
Before I go, a lot of people have asked me how they can support US XC skiing. I have an answer for you! You can’t donate to me personally any longer, but you CAN help make sure that the next generation of skiers has all the right building blocks along the way so that they can climb their way to the World Cup circuit. Please donate to the National Nordic Foundation. I donated because in 5 years when I’m the old lady on the team, I want to make sure my relay teammates have had experience racing internationally so they’re ready for the World Cup.
Any amount helps: $25 pays a ski bag fee while traveling to race, $50 pays a race entry, $125 pays a day of food/lodging at a European race circuit – crucial for young athletes to gain exposure to racing internationally!
Here’s my fundraising page:
Thank you for your help!