Life as a Sprint Race

I have been racing competitively for just over five years, and while I still have a lot to learn, I have picked up some skills here and there that help me prepare for races. One skill in particular that I picked up, helped create of my proudest race moments in my career so far.  When I raced at Junior Nationals in Truckee in 2015, I knew I could be strong in the distance races, but because I had never been that successful in sprint races, I didn't have high expectations. With the first races being skate sprints, I went in, ready to go with the flow.

A skate sprint relay from this past weekend (photo from Skinnyski)

As my first time racing at altitude, (7,000 feet!!), the sprint qualifier left me very aghast, but I was happy to qualify for the heats in 5th. In the heat, I raced in, I thought only about how I was going to get to the finish line on two heat. Surprisingly (to me) I won the heat, meaning I moved on to the next heat. Again, my goal was to survive (it's an excellent goal when you're breathing in thin mountain air), and I ended up winning that heat. Then I found myself in the final, where I was like, how did I get here? I ended up doing very well in that race, placing 2nd, my best National place ever. And it all happened when I wasn't thinking ahead. I was just living in the moment.

I like to go hard all the way to the finish line- never count me out (Photo from Skinnyski)

A couple times the past couple weeks, I have become stressed thinking about the end of the ski season. I am approximately 2 weeks from Conference, 4 weeks until Sections, and 5 weeks until State. Some days, I have very good workouts that make me excited about my progress since my shoulder injury, but other days, its very easy to loose all perspective about what has happened. I tend to sometimes overanalyze all things ski related, and begin to worry about if I'll be ready to compete at the larger competitions, and if I can realistically achieve my dreams. It has been exciting to start getting into the racing rhythm and really challenge myself, but it can also be frustrating because racing really highlights what needs the most work, right now.
One thing that has felt very good so far is my striding!!!

That is when I need most, to think like I am in a sprint race. At the national sprint races in 2015, I wasn't thinking about the final, or if I was going to get there, or if I did get there if I would succeed. I was just thinking about what was next on my plate, how I was going to get through the next race, and barely a step farther. After spending years of scrutinizing future races, it's been difficult for me to get into this 'sprint race' mindset. But this and not stressing about things I can't control is important for me to have on my mind, to help get rid of my insecurities I have as a skier right now. And while at times it's hard to stay positive, this has really been helping. 
Next up? Getting ready for my first JNQ for the season!!


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