Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Moment

I believe everyone has a moment. Something that has contributed to who they are today. Mine was a simple moment. Something I new before it was ever told to me, but actually hearing it for the first time changed me as an athlete.

In 2006 I went to Outdoor Nationals with absolutely no expectations. I just hoped I wasn't going to embarrass myself. The year before I did absolutely terrible so I was just about petrified. The first day racing started we were in the car, Jeff, my Mom, and me. When we parked at the velodrome and shut the car off Jeff started doing something weird, shaking and jumping around like he was a kid at a candy store or something. He stopped and said, I had to get that out so when you win a medal I can stay calm like I expected it to happen. I swallowed a rock instantly. I had won plenty of medals before, but I was a second year junior world class skater. The year before I got destroyed to the point I had to ask Jeff why I didn't improve like I should have. He told me that it takes time.

I skated the first race, the 300m and sure enough I won my first junior medal a bronze in the time of 27.376. I thought Jeff could read the future or something. I never had a more pure level of excitement and satisfaction as the moments after that 300m. It was just a bronze medal, but I improved two and a half seconds from the year before. But this is not the moment that changed me, not yet.

After that my expectations changed, I went from not wanting to be embarrassed to wanting to make the Junior World team that very year. My goal had always been to make it twice, in 2007 and 2008 but everything changed after that moment. The rest of the meet went okay, I won a silver medal in the 200m for my second medal. Then it happened..

The final race for the competition was the 500m on road (other than the marathon that did not account for making the world team, only the marathon team.) I was still in the running for the final spot on the world team. It was between two other guys and myself. I knew exactly what I had to do, If I won I was most likely on the team. If I got second and the other two guys finished specifically in third and fourth (one needing to be third the other fourth) I still would have made the team.

I told Jeff I still had a shot and exactly what I needed to do. I told him how I could still get second and make it. He told me win and your in. Everything came down to this moment if you win you're in. I was 16 and I wasn't ready for that, I knew everything he told me already, but actually hearing it from someone else is another story. I lost..

I was extremely disappointed in myself. I couldn't believe I blew it, that I had a shot and completely blew it. After that everything started changing. I became more confident in myself, which is probably how I became who I am.. just confidence. That year I went to nationals and won. But first, I finished second in the first final and another coach I respected, who coached my coach years ago pulled me to the side. He told me straight plain and simple, you skated like shit. I said, you know I got second right? He said yeah, just win next time.. you're faster. I won.

The following year I went to Outdoor Nationals with one goal, making the world team. I was just coming off of an injury that held me out for a few weeks. I had one month of quality training before trials. Sure enough, the last race was the 500m on road. Jeff wasn't there this time, I called him before my semi. I told him what he told me one year before, If I win I'm in. All I have to do is win. My semi was stacked, but if I won I was in. I won that semi, set the national record and because of who else made the final I managed to make that world team. Leading up to that race I played the previous year in my head a million times. If I just won I was in. It was simple, no sugar coating just win. My moment was simple. I just had to win, and I lost. I beat myself up over it, and decided it wouldn't happen again.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where I Stand

Well, I've got a lot of stuff going on and that's pretty much how I like to live anyway. I leave a little later today for the first installment of the National SpeedSkating Circuit's (NSC) second season. I'm not quite sure, but this could possibly be the best overall shape I've ever been in this time of the year. I'm a little heavier then I want to be but that will come off in a month or two like it does every year. Normally I am focused 100% on my inline technique and figuring out how to make myself better for the summer. This year however, I have been in Salt Lake City training on the ice. I am still focusing on my ice technique but I also am training with a lot of intensity so I can skate well on the ice. I officially do not have an off-season, but I don't really think I need one anyway.

Year's ago I told myself I'll never show up to a race out of shape. Well, I'm definitely not showing up to a race out of shape. But, I haven't spent much time on my inlines the last few months.. The snow and ice makes it a lot more difficult to get time on my skates (outdoor). So I'm going into this race with the unknown, something I try to avoid at all costs.. but that's the price I have to pay right now. Roanoke I will be much more prepared for.

In other news I have a ridiculous itch to be on my inlines right now. I've learned so many different things being on the ice and I can't wait to have the opportunity to see what I can incorporate into my inline technique to make me better. I'm excited to get some long skates back in outdoor and prepare for an awesome summer of training and racing. This summer will be a little weird for me, training with skaters of the highest caliber on inlines.. It will be like having a residency training session everyday which will be good for all of us.

Well that's it for now, the only thing I have to say is practice perfection even if you may never reach it! Remember every drill you sit out, you get that much further away from your goals.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Upcoming Events

Alright, well I haven't written in a while, sorry about that. I've been training pretty hard and still trying to get the technique right while training like I've been doing this for awhile. It manages to exhaust me mentally and physically most of the time. I'm getting a lot better and more comfortable everyday I am on the ice out here. I'm already capable of skating some high 8 second laps which is pretty cool.

Anyway, I have a few races coming up in the next few months both inline races and Ice races:

January 24th - NSC Season 2- Monday Night Mayhem

February 12th-13th - American Cup III (Ice)

February 17th-20th - NSC Season 2 - East Coast Carnage & Blue Ridge Challenge

March 11th-13th - American Cup Final/Nationals (Ice)

March 17th - NSC Season 2 - Thursday Night Throwdown

That is as far as my schedule goes at this time. I expect World Team Trials/ODN to be in late June or somewhere in that ballpark because the dates of Worlds is much earlier (last week of August, first week of September) Indoor Nationals is in early July. I'll have regionals in May this year. Other than that, I want to try and skate a few marathons this season and I would like to skate a few Eastern Seaboard Series races but everything will depend on when all of the races are.