This off season was a bit of a wild one. From having covid, to returning to training, not able to bring my heart rate above 50% of my max, to then setting personal bests once we hit the ice.
While social media may make it seem like things are just great, pushing & sliding personal bests in both park city & whistler, there have been a lot of hard moments - and I feel like sometimes we gloss over them, not acknowledging them, since a peak of a great performance likely followed. We then forget the “low” - probably because of “goldfish brain” or the athlete mindset that teaches us to just process & move on.
The season started in Whistler. Things were feeling really great, my nerves, calm, for probably the first time ever. Getting back on ice felt so good, and I was really stoked with how I was finally gelling with the whistler track.
The first curveball of the season came early though in the form of coaching.
One coach, from last year, did not return to our national team, so I was thrown quickly into forming a new relationship with a new development team coach - one I had worked with briefly back at the start of my career, but still a new one. This was made even more disruptive by our head coach abruptly leaving BCS, essentially, again, leaving us with only one coach for the whole program.
I can’t say enough good things about our former head coach, and it was one of my favourite coach-athlete relationship I’ve had with sliding. Often, it felt like he was one step ahead, thinking of everything. A fine balance of knowing to push me, but fostering the confidence in me to push myself. A chapter in my sliding career that I am sad to lose, but am SO grateful happened. It is probably not a shock that there were tears after the conversation was had, and I am so thankful for the past year and a bit I got to spend working with him.
However, selections was upcoming & I wanted to show that I was finally making progress in Whistler. I honestly don’t remember much of the selections at all - it was a total out of body experience, just executing what I needed, and without my normal “whistler track” nerves. I felt oddly calm. The biggest difference is, I was able to "close the book" (aka my brain) in the hours between sliding, and then allocate a period of time to go over video, questions, plan of attack & visualizations. Then shut it down. It is easy for me to overthink & definitely a privilege since I have so many runs in whistler.
My selections led to me being named to the 3rd Canadian National Team on the development side, and with a quick turnaround to starting North America’s Cup Training less than 12 hours later.
Racing internationally in Whistler is something I haven’t got to do for a while, and I can’t explain how nice it was to have familiar ice, people & on my now home track. The track time (close to 10 weeks) in the 20/21 season was finally going to pay off it felt like!
So, when the 3 races rolled around, I was excited.
Day 1, Was shortened to a 1 heat race after snow & issues with snow covering timing eyes, and it left something to be desired - I thought I could place higher, and was disappointed with my 10th place result. I brought that fire into day 2. I PB’ed on my downtime.
Day 3, I Was able to squeak up into 5th place, with a push & downtime personal best.
With the many athletes staying for the Intercontinental cup staying a few days after, there was strong competition, and to come away with those kinds of results felt really freaking good.
(and honestly I'm stoked to get back out there!)
A quick few days at home & turnaround to Park City, Utah - the home of my first international races ever in 2014! This week had lots of ups and downs, and a few hard hits, but I felt good that I was finally letting things fly. This was also another instance where the ICC races were following the NAC, so, lots of great athletes coming to use the NAC races as "warmups" for the ICC. Again, leaving with a few PB's, I was satisfied with my time there.
Unfortunately, an incident of keys locked in the vehicle (with sleds) led to an objection of missing the sled control, meaning that I was disqualified. I'll be honest - I've seen people get fined, but not DSQ for way worse things on NAC in my many years of sliding, but I guess being considered a threat to Olympic qualification is a good thing? Honestly still puzzled on that one considering I placed 16th in the first race day, but, moving on.
From Utah, to Calgary, and then over to Lake Placid Via Montreal.
Unfortunately this is also where we bid adieu to our only coach in the program, who was headed over to Europe. Again, more uncertainty & instability on the coaching front.
I've spent a lot of time in Lake Placid, and, I'll be honest, it is not my favourite track, or town. I can't explain why, because I try to, I pump myself up, I write things down in my journal. It just isn't. The track flow doesn't jive with me normally.
I had a rough period of training, but managed to pull together a PB push & put a few good runs together - with two 5th place finishes.
All in all, its been a whirlwind of October-December & most of it was spent away from home, so I am at home resting & recharging.
I have no idea what is in store for 2022, but I likely will head out to Whistler to get some training in, in preparation for the 2022/23 season.
Beijing is super unlikely, and really, pretty much impossible, but I kind of knew that going into the season. It has been amazing to be a part of such a strong women's program, and cheer on my teammates, as they push towards the games!
Happy New Year!
(if you made it this far great job!)