Ski Racing!

I skied raced this week.  I'm so happy.  I worked harder than I ever thought possible and now I am doing again what I love the most, competing.  But here's the behind-the-scenes of my first three starts...

I was pumped for the two weeks prior to racing and watching the World Cup weekend in Lake Louise was the icing on my preparation and inspiration to have a great race week.  Monday we had a day of freeskiing on the race hill.  It was supposed to be chill.  I was a mess from the minute I woke up in the morning.  Very stressed and too excited.  It wasn't a good state.  I was tense and irritable and pretending to be relaxed.  A true mess.  In the evening after our team meeting (after receiving my first race bib), I laid down in our make-shift gym and the self-imploding began.  I was checked on by a couple of my coaches but didn't know what words to use other than denial.. "no, no, I'm good, thanks."  I can't put into words how grateful I am that my mom came out to be with me this week.  After surrendering and truly realizing that I couldn't tackle this alone, I called her.  She gave me about 15 seconds to be tough and then offered to come down and meet me on the meeting room floor.  So there we were, me laying on my back with tears pooling on the floor beside me and my mom sitting up, like the sturdy ship that she is, holding my hand and my pride.  We spent the next hour and a half reminiscing over the last two years.  We laughed and cried.  We laughed about my dad attempting to keep things light and full of perspective by telling me that 'lots of kids don't even get dinner' and we cried about how few dinners I could even stomach with all the drugs I had to be on.  It felt ironic to be so distraught over the completion of such an ugly chapter of my life.  I didn't have an ounce of negativity or anger in my heart, but just a boat load of emotion.  Mom and I, ceremoniously, said goodbye to the baby that was my injury and recovery and decided that I would have to brave the what-ifs of this next chapter.  And if the last two years didn't make me brave, I don't know what would.

Tuesday was race day.  I was still very stiff and nervous in the start and on the course.  I made a tactical error on the first pitch and skied out.  I was annoyed but not upset, just relieved to have that first start out of the way.

Wednesday was my second start.  And my first finish.  I got away with some hairy skiing because the course was set fairly easy but I was pumped to go through the finish line with a fifth place.  

Thursday was my third start.  I was wishing all afternoon the day before for bib #1.  I had been starting 25th and 29th (luck of the draw, or lackthereof).  When I got to meeting the night prior, I saw #1 and knew it was mine.  I loved going first.  There's no one to show the way, or give a course report.  It's all about trust and confidence.  I was so calm.. I thought possibly too calm when I yawned minutes before my start.  But I've learned that it takes very little for me to get fired up and even just a good visual of a perfect turn will get my blood pumping.  So I pushed hard, skied smart and skied to the win.  :)

Life's a wild ride and I don't understand most of it, but right now, in the moment, I'm happy.  Since I can remember, that's all I've ever wished for when I have candles to blow out or the clock says 11:11 or the chairlift stops at the tower... to be happy.  

I owe my success to a long list of people and the outpouring of support in the last week has been so kind and not unnoticed.  Thank you to everyone for continuing to follow my path and believing in me as a person and an athlete.  Let's see where we can take this.