Happy New Year, and Happy early Winter - call it what you will! I am fully embracing the power of the snowflakes but I know many of you will be slightly less giddy than I am and doing less daily snow dances....especially after this bitter polar vortex we've been engulfed in during the holiday season!
I hope this email finds you with joy in your heart, family and friends around you, cookies abound, and maybe skis on your feet 😉 Here in Canmore we got on a 2.5km loop of stockpiled snow on October 21, and despite first a Chinook and now an extreme cold snap, we have many trails of both man made and natural snow open here in the Rockies! So amazing and how lucky we are to get on snow early and transition back into race-season mode.
I let another 4 months slide by before updating all my friends, family, sponsors, and supporters again...normally I update every 2.5 months, but this time, I really honestly did not want to send anything mid-November; I'll explain!
Last time I touched base I was heading off for a recovery block the last week of August in Ontario. I had a lovely time at the lake in the Ottawa Valley with my family, and an extremely successful fundraising Shoot at the Listowel Gun Club. Thank you SO much to each and every person who contributed and/or came to the event on August 25th....I was once again blown away by the generosity, support, and love from so many amazing people. I have added some new names to this email update list as there were more new faces supporting me as I chase my dream. Thank you - I truly could not compete and train without you all.
When I returned from the recovery week, I settled into some really solid training here in Canmore. There were a few smoky days to start out with, but then we were graced with clean air for the rest of the fall. The past couple of autumns I have spent 2 weeks training at altitude (2200m+) in Park City, Utah, but this year we decided against that. I wanted to train and recover well here in my own place, and get some really solid intensities in here at 1500m. The fall flew by in whirlwind of solid rollerskiing and shooting, mountain runs, power strength workouts, and many batches of curry to warm me up at night! I set personal bests in time trials rollerskiing up Mt Norquay and at Time Trials at the Nordic Centre, constantly in the mix, and felt fitter/faster/stronger and better recovered than ever before. I think I'm slowly, finally, learning the importance of both mental and physical rest.
I also did lots of work for Fast and Female, as we had a very busy fall with at least 2 events every weekend across the country. I'm very lucky to be able to work for them from my laptop, sitting down, between workouts - and feel like I'm playing a small part in inspiring young girls across North America to stick with sport for life.
I had a small hiccup in early October when I was waiting at a red light and got rear ended very badly...resulting in some whiplash and stress around insurance! But, my neck has recovered really well and hasn't impacted my ability to ski or shoot much, and I was well taken care of by my insurance (funny what mountains they will move for you when it isn't your fault!) as was my poor little Honda Fit after 6600$ in damage! Wheweee I sure got off lucky in that collision, and it was a sharp reminder from the universe that as much as we think/want to be in control in life, we truly aren't!
The first week of November was Biathlon Canada's Time Trials (3 races here in Canmore) to decide which athletes would go to the World Cup and IBU Cup tours before Christmas...and thus which athletes would get one more chance to fight for top international results to qualify for this winter's Olympics. Going into that week I felt fit, mentally prepared, and ready to deliver my best performance on any given day. I know I've said that in the past, but I truly and honestly mean that the data showed I was ready, and my coaches and support team could feel it too. I was a dark horse to qualify for the World Cup team and assumed I could make the second-tier IBU Cup team. I didn't peak for this week - want to be in top form later in the winter! - but was rested and excited - I love racing and finally it was underway! I suffered a mechanical issue with ice in my sight the first race, then choked under the pressure the second race - turns out telling yourself you "have to be perfect" to reach your dream is not the best mindset to be in when you're racing. The third race I had a fairly solid day and thus ended the week 0.5% away from making the international team - and as usual in this sport, one target; one un-frozen sight; or one not-panicking-wind-sight-click away from where I needed to be. The only way for me to let go and accept this epic, gloriously massive failure was to look forward towards the light. So many people have told me how badly they felt for me, underperforming as I did that week, and I have despised the pity....but felt enormously grateful for everyone across Canada rooting for me. My sport psychologist said that it's too bad the results sheet from that week couldn't have an asterisk next to my name; not to say ***she had mechanical issues! and then she put too much pressure on herself!..but rather, to say, ***this result does not reflect all the growth and change she has undergone this past year. She is a different athlete and person now, despite this number. She will rise again.
So instead of hopping the pond before Christmas, I took advantage of the "gift of time" and another 7 weeks of working on my mastery of this sport and stayed here in North America. I've gotten in some really solid training - specifically working on a couple crucial things that are my main weaknesses right now - and also won the Biathlon North American Cup races. I also enjoyed an epic early Christmas with family in Ontario, and was able to attend the Grand Opening of my sister's new business - BackRoads Brews & Shoes in London, Ontario! Check them out next time you're in the city if you need running shoes/gear, or want to socialize over some craft beer/coffee! https://www.backroadslondon.com
I know I am still in this sport for the right reasons - because the actual sting right now is not from saying good-bye to Pyeongchang 2018 (as only 5 women will get to go to Korea, and of Dec. 31 I'm somewhere in the next 3 women in Canada, in the IBU Cup group)....the pain was coming from not getting to race my heart out on the world stage and rise to the challenge that is a biathlon race during December. However, January 5th I head overseas to finally tear up the IBU Cup and possibly World Cup across Germany and Sudtirol, and I couldn't be more excited. I have grown so much the past 7 weeks; no matter the results in Europe, I am choosing to be content with my pursuit of mastery and grateful for every opportunity to don a bib and race for Canada. The fire within has NEVER been burning so hot!
Thank you so much for reading, and for the support and encouragement this past year as I took a huge mental and physical step forward as an athlete and person. I want to apologize for not having the outcome in terms of the 2018 Olympics I so badly wanted for all of you; I don't know what will happen the next few months, and I don't know where this journey in sport will ultimately take me...but I do know I'm young for this sport yet; I have a lot more in me in terms of ski speed/shooting accuracy/mindset to be a champion; and I am determined to continue working on my mastery of this sport for as long as I continue to feel this burning passion for it. I will be joyful for every opportunity I have to compete healthily, and grateful and appreciative for all the amazing people I have in my life: guiding me along the way and sticking with me through thick and thin.
I promise to touch base the second week of February, to update you all on my international racing and second trimester this winter. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Enjoy the energy, focus, and clarity that can come from a fresh start! Remember not to worry about setting too many complicated, specific goals....make friends with the process instead; the gritty days and the ah-ha moments that come from pursuing something larger than yourself. In the end, having a purpose, and being there for those you love, is all that really matters anyway.
That's by far the most rambling I've done in a while. Thanks for making it this far - not just in this update, but in your support. All the best!
Love and light - Pura Vida
“he who has a why to live can bear almost any how”
"she is this lightning; she is this frenzy"
What I'm ....
Listening to: Glorious Christmas Carols. (Good ones...harp music and hymns.)
Rapping: Eminem's new album. Enough said. Also, TSwift's new album. After all, I've got quite the Reputation too.
Eating: All the curry. All the oatmeal. All the dark chocolate.