Today’s the day! Opening Ceremonies…probably the thing I’ve heard Olympians talk the most about. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long, long time, and it’s happening tonight! However, the question of “to walk or not to walk” has been a big debate over the last few weeks. The issue is that the first XC event of the Games is the very next day: the women’s 15km skiathalon. And I’m racing it. So the reason I was so stressed last week is because I desperately want to walk in the Opening Ceremonies, and be able to get the experience because I know that it will make me ridiculously happy, but all the other girls racing the skiathalon are skipping the walk because it’s the night before the race, and we will get back around 11:40pm. For a while I had some serious guilt over choosing to go, but then I decided to just commit to it and let myself be happy and feel the excitement of walking into the stadium with my country.
I’m in the group that isn’t staying for the entire ceremony – we are going to walk, and then immediately jump into a shuttle that will take us back to the Endurance Village. Now that I’ve decided to walk, I’m really happy with my choice because you only get to walk into your first Olympic games once, and if I make the Games in the future, there’s a huge probability that I’ll face the same issue again of a race the next day, and I might not be able to go. So I’m going to soak up as much of the experience as I possibly can, and use that energy the next day! I’ll be sure to post as many pictures as I can when I get back!
A lot of questions are being asked about the stadium and trails, and all I can say is that I love it! The skiing has been unbelievably nice in the time I’ve been here. There’s tons of snow, the tracks are rock solid and perfectly groomed, and the trails are wide. The trails are also really challenging, and I like that! I think it’s a good thing for our team that the skate half has such a large climb (it’s about a 5 minute climb) and I like how the classic half has such nice rolling hills with lots of transition spots. Technically there’s not really a “skate” and “classic” half, because both techniques will be raced on all the trails, but for the skiathalon that’s how my mind has split them up. I’ll be putting up stadium and course pictures later this week!
Now that we’ve gotten into the swing of things, we’ve developed a series of shortcuts to get to the dining hall. One of them involves climbing over the top part of a fence where the snow has been piled high enough, and another involves climbing over the “coca-cola deck” railing. Pretty fun, huh?
We also played a couple games of pool last night, which was especially fun when some Norwegian skiers joined us and we had a team game! I think I’ll be playing a lot of games and learning a lot of new songs on my little pink guitar by the end of the 2.5 weeks we’re up here, just to have fun and keep my mind off the racing.
The house here is beginning to feel like home, especially since I’ve hung up good luck posters, pictures and cards from home above my bed! It’s nice because we all have rooms to go to if we want more quiet time, but we also have the common living space where we can hang out, spin bike, foam roll or watch TV. I feel so lucky that we have staff staying here with us as well! Margo, our communications guru helps us through the mix zone and manages media for us. Ana is our PT who helps take care of us and make sure we stay injury-free, and Steph is our amazing massage therapist who keeps us from getting all knotted up!
In other fun news, I got this picture from my Mom the other night from their travel day to Sochi. I am so happy to have family and friends here! It means a lot to me and I can’t wait till I can see them in person.