Every year the start of a new season marks uncertainty, excitement, goals, and lots of race opportunities. Expectations are loosely there, but it is not until you are a few races in that you can gage exactly what expectations are appropriate and the races start to matter. There is general race plan in place, but as the season goes along, things can change last minute and it all becomes a whirlwind as I hop from one location to next, finding myself in a new bed every week. It can be scary setting goals, unsure whether you will succeed or fail, and how you feel at certain points in the season. Since the CSU summer training camp I went to when I was 14, I have made a goal pyramid every year before the season. The process and smaller goals are at the bottom to build the foundation for the result and outcome goals that are on top. Over the past two years I have learned that I need to set big goals, some that are attainable but also some that are a bit of a reach; I need to be working towards something that challenges me, drives me, and pushes me to be better. Ironically, not having concrete goals scares me way more than failure.
I have gotten to race a lot so far this season, and many of those races I have had high expectations for myself after feeling really good in the early season races. Some people say that expectations are bad, but I see them more as a sign of confidence in yourself and what you are capable of. Of course, expectations come along with things that can get in the way of your performance such as nerves and pressure, but I have learned to channel those feelings towards excitement.
I had a wide range from small to big goals for this season such as:
- Ownership in my training plan
- Health: adequate sleep, nutrition, hydration
- Build in race efforts during training season (triathlons, rollerski time trials)
- Make time to do things that make me happy and are fun besides skiing
- Senior Nationals Podium Sprint and Distance
- Top 6 at U23’s
- Senior World Championships Team
I always set process goals that I think I can achieve because they are the things I have highlighted as the building blocks to my success. My outcome goals on the other hand, are both a mix or attainable and reach goals.
Along with these goals and expectations, comes both ups with success and downs with failure and frustration. I have experienced many more highs than lows this season which is something I have never experienced before and it has made racing extremely fun! I kicked off the season feeling really good and putting down my best races I have ever had in the early season. After getting over a cold during the holidays, I came back racing well at U.S. Nationals, also having my best results I’ve ever had at U.S. Nationals. The whirlwind continued by hopping on a flight to Europe the day after nationals, where I jumped into my first World Cup of the season and placed 19th in sprint in Dresden, Germany (my best World Cup result) and the following day I teamed up with my teammate/friend/role model Sophie in my first ever team sprint, just missing the podium by a literal hair! To top it off, my family (parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle) were there cheering me on. One week later followed another high of being named to the World Championship Team for the first time (a reach goal for me this year) while at the same time hitting a low by placing 27th in the sprint at U23s World Championships (one of my most important races of the season to me) in the same day.
What has changed for me this year is that instead of being brought down by the lows, I have figured out a way to channel my frustration and disappointment as motivation to race again and get a chance to show what I am capable. I am writing this blog right now cooped up in hotel room for 8 days straight without skiing or training…there is nothing like not being able to do what you love to get you really fired up to ski and race again! After coming down with a brutal stomach bug at the end of U23s followed by a nasty cold right after, I am climbing my way out of this low and have a new appreciation for being healthy and happy!
What is next? I am on my way back to Lahti, Finland (where U23s was) for a World Cup and I am crossing my fingers I will be fully healthy in time for the races. I travel on to Cogne, Italy the following week for another World Cup before heading to Seefeld, Austria for World Championships. There is a lot of exciting racing ahead and I am looking forward to getting fully healthy and taking all of this restless energy from lying in bed and channeling into the racing to come! Here are a few more photos of some of the incredible highs of this season so far!
And the whirlwind continues, thanks for following!