In recent years I’ve become acutely aware of this strange phenomenon where it’s not cool to admit that you are trying your best at something, and really, really care about the outcome. I’ve seen people sabotage themselves, just so that at the end of a workout or race they can have a pre-made excuse for why it didn’t work out the way they had hoped. Sometimes it’s intentional, but sometimes it’s a self-defense mechanism that they aren’t even aware of anymore. Then there’s always a net to catch you if you fall – a net made up of “well, I wasn’t trying that hard anyways”… “I didn’t really want it that bad”…or this classic: “it was just because my skis were slow”. I will fully admit that in past years, I’ve done this in races, and I’m not proud of it. It’s something that I had to get rid of before I could ever start racing close to my goals.
It would be like showing up to a meeting at work, raising your hand and saying “Ummmm, guys, I think I have, like, maybe a good idea? And maybe I could share it?”
Uh, WHAT? What is THAT?
Severe upspeak and pre-made excuses sound like
lack of a backbone low confidence to me. At the very real risk of overstepping my bounds and sounding preachy…if you confidence in yourself, others will too.
When you want something so badly that you’re willing to change your life for it, it’s ok to admit that. And sure, it’s scary for me to think that I’ve centered my life around skiing, because what if it doesn’t go well for me? Actually, it’s terrifying. Because when I don’t have any excuses and I’ve done absolutely everything I can to race fast, and it DOESN’T work out? Then:
a.) The world ends and we all end up in a zombie apocalypse. Boom. Life will end as we know it.
b.) I will get up and try again, and the people I care about will still love me and support me.
Possibly all of the above, but mostly the answer is B.
So own up to it, people. JUST OWN IT. Accept your good races, and don’t make excuses for the bad ones. Own up to your crazy moments – we’ve all had them – and don’t pretend you haven’t. Own up to the things you want in life, and then go get them. Commit to your training plan, and believe in it. Do what you know is best for YOU, not what you think someone else is doing that might possibly look better. The worst thing that can possibly happen is having to go do it again. Which also makes you human, by the way.
That’s why I’m so fired up about this one week long, intense training camp we’re doing right now in Lake Placid, New York. We opened up camp with a double interval day, doing threshold (or just below race-pace) intervals in a pace line format down the side of the highway in the morning. Then that afternoon we ripped off some REALLY hard double poling intervals that were all out from the get-go. It would have been so easy to back off, but nobody did. Everyone put themselves out there, and said “I’m GOING FOR IT” without any qualifications or excuses.
And you know what? It was a humbling workout. It was hard. It was painful. We all got our butts kicked…by each other, because we were ok with putting ourselves out of our comfort zone. Someone puked after a couple intervals, and after the fourth one I was pushing so much lactic acid I had to take a knee – I actually could not stand up anymore. It was one of those days where I can say without a doubt that we all got one step closer to our goals. And that made it all worth it!
There’s not a whole lot of room for a big ego in this sport, because at some point we all end up dry heaving on the side of the road after the last interval in a set. You’re welcome for that beautiful visual image I just gave you. You can also thank me for not giving you a real photo of it.
So! What were we up to in Stratton before driving over to the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center? Julia Kern’s parents came to cook up a wonderful birthday dinner, and we had a birthday party with all the SMS juniors, too! So now…the secret is out, and all the juniors know where we’ve been hiding up on the mountain. Uh-oh.
We had some awesome workouts with the Sun Valley team, who’s been staying with us in Stratton for the past week. It’s been fun having guests!
I had a great car ride up to Lake Placid with Julia, and we jammed out to music the whole way.
This morning we had a 2 hour easy recovery run on the Mt. Van Hoevenburg trails, and it was easy to imagine how fun it would be to race on them in the winter!
I’m excited and ready for the rest of this training camp…stay tuned for more updates soon!