Racing. It's a big concept to really understand. Most think racing is all about training, training, training. I can put in as many miles as I want and be 10 times stronger then everyone else but that won't make me a better racer.
There are so many components that go in to being a good athlete. Of course there is practice. And there is different types of practicing. There is the residency type training where I was just skating as hard as I could every time I could because it will make me a strong competitor. But then there is Spain practice. Where every time I touch the track I'm thinking where I want to be every time I skate. Training to make the most of my races. Not so much to be stronger but to know take the strength and speed I have accumulated thus far in my life and use it all to good use in order to have a good performance.
It's so easy to just be strong and then decide 'I'm going to go race like hell.' Well that is a great approach but there is so much more you need to do. You literally have to visualize every aspect of the race so you are mentally prepared. You have to visualize the race when everything goes perfect, and even when something goes wrong so that you are always prepared. You should be able to see yourself with the results you want before you even tie your skates.
Everything I am doing here in Spain is for muscle memory and that sort of thing. I run through my starts so I know where I want to be on the track. I picture myself skating my race a million times so that my mind is prepared for the race just as much as every other part of me.
Those of you who know me, know that I over analyze everything. I know every element of every wheel, whether or not I'm skating on it or not. I know what makes me go faster and what doesn't. I ask more questions then anyone just because then I have all of this information I can just sort through and decide what is for me. Out here, the coaches and staff think I am screwing my own head up with all of my questions and all the starts I'm doing but I'm trying to tell them that this is me. I've said if they ask Jeff he will tell them the same thing, that I over analyze everything. But it normally works out for the best!