I can't describe the complete roller coaster of emotion I had this weekend. I've never been through anything like it. As much as I try to remember it's just never happened before.
But where do I start.
Several weeks ago, I finished up a practice and just didn't feel like myself. It was just hard. Not just a hard work-out (it was) but it was just hard for me to do anything. I skated poorly. Afterwards I talked to my trainer and coach, we decided to take the next day off. The next week it was more of the same. I just couldn't do anything. I'd show up and literally not be able to warm-up for practice. I didn't have the energy to do anything. This was an issue, I have a very demanding schedule with work and skating. After about a week and a half I started feeling like my old self again. I was worried that I missed too much training. Getting that close to trials. Two weeks before trials I started skating better almost everyday, somehow I figured out the simplest of technical things that helped put it all back together. The week of trials my concern was gone, I was skating great.
Fast forward a few days, Saturday morning. It was an early start for me. I'm not a huge morning person. The very first heat of fall trials I always have a tiny bit of nerves. I just have to get that first easy heat over with and I'm fine. Except I wasn't. The semi I deployed my usual strategy, and it worked but it didn't feel great. I tried to block it out. In the final I again used a strategy I've used a number of times and it never failed me. But this time it did. I actually died out in a race. That doesn't happen to me. Nothing changed that day for me and it felt way too much like the issue I had several weeks earlier. For my 1000m semi I went it with the mind set that it was my A final because I knew if I could get through it I wouldn't have anything left for the final. I fell with 7.5 laps to go while leading the race. It was a big disappointment. I left that day feeling as if everything went about as worse as it could have, but I was also afraid I wouldn't wake up feeling any better Sunday.
After cooling down and chatting with my coach, I was driving home when I heard a song on the radio I had never heard before and something about it caught my attention. I downloaded it, listened to it a lot.
The next morning I woke up and felt better. Tried to pack more calories into my breakfast to get me through the day. I left for the rink, plugged my phone into the car and turned that song on repeat. Time after time it just kept hitting me hard.
In the 500m I was able to skate my own race, something that sounds easier said than done when it comes to the 500m for me. I was skating very, very well. In my semi while in first place, I fell down. I didn't slip and didn't see it coming. I just put my blade down while crossing over and it didn't grab the ice. I went down fast. I've never.. ever had a fall that just sucked the life out of me like in that moment. I was skating so well, definitely on a high note thinking I was turning my trials around for the better.. That I could right the ship from yesterdays turbulent waters and then in the blink of an eye it was completely gone. Now I was in extreme danger of not even making the team at all.
The 1000m I didn't know what really to expect. I knew for the most part, it would come down to me and another skater and I wanted nothing more than to have an opportunity to race that person in the deciding race. In the semi that's exactly what happened. I skated a good race, not spectacular but mistake free and qualified for the A final.. giving me that final world cup spot. In that very moment the largest weight I've ever actually been able to feel came off of me. The expression is there, we've all heard it and probably have used it.... But in that moment it wasn't just an expression I actually could feel it come off of my shoulders.
In this crazy, wacky, and unpredictable sport I compete in anything can happen. It doesn't matter how good or bad you feel. For the overall point standings at the end of the competition I sat in third place, by the criteria they use to select our world cup team I finished 6th.