Two years ago I competed in the Canadian Skimo National Championships, a race called the Dogtooth Dash. I was new to racing, let alone skimo racing. The competition was challenging. Back then the course seemed to go on for eternity- endless hill climbs and demanding descents. Skiing was still new to me at the time, let alone attempting black diamond chutes with shitty little skis.
At the after party I was advised to try out the recreational category instead of the elite. I was crushed. To do so would be to give up or take the easy way out.
Instead of selling myself short I persevered and applied everything I had to the sport.
I trained not only harder, but also smarter. I read up on training, poured hours into creating training plans, I talked to people, I changed my nutrition, I watched video clips, I analyzed, I reflected -I posted pictures of opponents on my wall. There were days when my friends partied and I stayed home to sleep or study. If I was going to attack the Dogtooth Dash- I was going to attack it with fervor.
I started my 2014 season with severe frostbite on my fingers. I couldn’t go outside for 3 weeks and even afterwards I was restricted on some very cold days. Racing wasn’t always an option, and my healing fingers certainly impeded my performance as I physically managed my hands and mentally dealth with the risk of further damage. Without a doubt, when one invests so much into a sport, the agony of defeat is powerful. It seemed that whenever I started to experience success, another roadblock or setback kept storming its way into my plans. I wasn’t going to ease my way to the top- it was going to be a serious endeavor.
March 2014 rolled around. I suffered a few weeks of sickness- mad fever, sore throat, and a nasty nasty cough. The couch became my BFF, but I still had a hard time shaking off the cough.
I woke up Saturday morning coughing. I ignored it. I knew my body was still a little sick, but I figured if I didn’t give voice to it- the ailment didn’t exist.
The race was phenomenal. I sprinted hard around the Eagle’s eye restaurant and took off like a flash down the Crystal Bowl descent. My heart always beats at an alarming rate in the first section of every race. The first ascent I struggled to keep my heart-rate at a decent level as I climbed up to Stairway to Heaven. Fortunately I shifted into the zone. Each ascent and descent I felt myself get a little bit stronger. I continued to push the pace after every transition.
The sun shone brightly. The snow conditions were excellent. The skin track was 1st class. And the descents were fantastic fun black diamond lines down stellar chutes. I rejoiced in every moment of the race. It was an amazing course. Every transition I laughed and chitchatted with the volunteers and fellow racers.
When I crossed the finish line- to say I was euphoric might be an understatement. To hear my name announced as the female national champion was a pretty incredible feeling. I did it! I claimed first place.
~ ~ ~
& not to forget- a great accomplishment is not possible without a great event and the people behind it- a well deserved shout out to: Buff Canada, Live Out There, SkinTrack, KHMR, the organizers Stano & Eric, the many volunteers, and other sponsors and wonderful folks!