The Rollercoaster

Last month we had a race cancelled to due too much snow; fast-forward one month, races are getting cancelled because of too little snow. Just in this past month, I have ranged from feeling unstoppable, to being sick in bed, from winning races, to falling straight on my face, from my body aching everywhere, to being stronger than ever. At this point in the season, every athlete has experienced a ride on the “rollercoaster”. Some fall off and try to find their way back on, while others hang on and have fun through the journey.

From one month to the next (L:Truckee, CA, R:Cable, WI).

With only one month left in the season, I have rode the rollercoaster quite a bit. Season after season I learn how to try to make the rollercoaster ride more smooth, avoiding too many lows, but of course trying to keep the highs. This takes a lot of experience and my training log has really helped me. I can look back and see what worked and when I overdid things and got sick or injured. For example, after World Juniors I looked at my training log and realized that it was pretty obvious why I got sick…I trained too much leading into it
(an easy thing to do before really important races). My coach and I saw that and backed things off and before I knew it, I climbed quickly back to a high point this weekend, winning my second ever SuperTour! I am hoping that the more I ski race and get to know how my body works, I can experience a more enjoyable journey. With that being said, I think the lows are required to be successful because you learn from them and gain motivation.

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Yummy food!

As usual, this is the point of the season every year where I start to feel really good and the rollercoaster finds a steady climbing pace. After spending most of the season at altitude, I was very excited to go to Ishpeming, MI to finally race at sea level! On Friday we had a 2-lap skate sprint, on a relatively flat but long 1.7km course. I am pretty sure I only V1’d once the whole day, and it was during my quarterfinal when we were skiing really easy the first lap. The fast snow and the flat course brought me back to the Leo J. Martin Golf Course I grew up skiing on. My goal for the day was the put down a really fast qualifier (to practice for Canada), something I have struggled with, especially in skate sprint qualifiers. I ended up qualifying 2nd behind my teammate Erika and my other teammate Annie right behind me! The heats were unique in the sense that each heat had only 4 skiers instead of 6 and there were no lucky losers. Most of the heats all day had a first slow lap since no one wanted to lead with windy conditions. In the A final I just decided to push the pace hard form the start because I didn’t want to be stuck behind someone and I felt good all day. It required more energy but I was happy to lead the whole way and avoid broken poles and being boxed out. I am really excited to put down a good skate sprint because I haven’t done many skate sprints this year and it has been something I have wanted to work on.

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Podium (PC: Bryan Fish)!
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Ice bath to keep the legs going for a 3 day weekend of racing.

I had a quick turn around for the next race because I decided to hop in the college 15km skate mas start race. It was fun to ski with some of my ski friends who I haven’t seen in a while and play the games that mass starts entail. My friend Nicole and I played game of cat and mouse the last 5km, each leading and trying to drop one another. Once I got to the sprint hill from the day before, I knew exactly how to ski it since I had done it 4 times the day before.

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Mass start action (Jackie Schneider).
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Final sprint hill (Jackie Schneider).
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Chatting it up fast the races (Jackie Schneider)!
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Erika surprised post race me with a Skida headband that each girl on our team got with their nickname on it!
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Mine is YUYA, guess where that came from?
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Annie P and I post race trying to cool off in the hot weather!

The next SuperTour race followed the day after with a 5km classic race, one of my favorites. I was really looking forward to crushing this race because I feeling good all weekend but I just didn’t have a great race for no particular reason. I was especially bummed since the time gaps were so large and I let myself mentally get thrown off, but this is just part of the rollercoaster ride.

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Fighting in the classic race, but not hard enough (Jackie Schneider).
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Top 6 for the day, Annie and I 6th and 5th!
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Cleaning off the sticky stuff!
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Hanging out in the sun with Bryan (Jackie Schneider).

We packed up and headed to Birkieland to do some training and prep for the Birkie (for my teammates), and I was going to hop into the team sprint. Wisconsin had a lot of bad luck with warm weather and over an inch of rain so almost all of the snow melted. We found some snow and went for a ski, but there were some spots where we had to take off our skis and walk. They have already cancelled the sprint and are waiting to make the call for the Birkie race. I really wanted to go home after being on the road for 2 months (but really since end of November), and adding no snow into the equation, I decided to change my flight and I am on my way home now. I am really looking forward to being at home longer than a day and getting in some good rest and training before Junior Nationals! I am ready to keep climbing on the rollercoaster ride and enjoy it!

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Groceries in the ski box…sure.
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Swimming or skiing workout?
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Looking for snow.
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Our matching headbands and and the poor snow man trying to hang in there.

 

-JKern

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