Giddy Up

by Jennie

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Aka, I’ve been living life, and not blogging that much the past few months. However, it’s time to get back on the horse, so hold on.

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This time last year, I was hiking for a month on the Appalachian trail, and damn I wanted to do that again. However, I sort of had my end of season/spring adventure in Europe, as a mental/physical break before Spring Series in Idaho. So, my April involved staying in Bozeman, figuring out life, looking for work, paying bills, and trying to remember what my post-season life is like. I think that’s why ski racers like spring so much – there is no structure. Daunting, thrilling, liberating. Like walking around without a bra on in public.

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Lets start with a little backstory. Then I’ll get into the good stuff.

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Most of us, not from the upper Midwest already, suffered a solid two weeks of post traumatic Houghton syndrome after Nationals. I know I definitely did. After 10 days of no sun, constant blizzards and racing in the single digits, we all needed some TLC.

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When Bode Miller crashed out this winter and severely cut open his leg, he did his best to stay calm, and sugar coat it into not being a big deal. It’s a skill you need to have as an athlete. Honesty is highly regarded, but sugar coating keeps the gears oiled. When you acknowledge that you have negative thoughts mid-season, those thoughts are like sand getting kicked in your eye. You become frantic, it hurts your whole body, and it’s all you can think about. So how do you dig the sand out and move on? A question that we’ve all experienced at one time or another.

If you missed it – Bodes Crash LINK and one of the interviews LINK 

Did you notice the reporter has to end the interview with, “Are you done?”. Why is everyone so eager to know when you’re going to be done!? Please see answer here – LINK

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The sand in my eye this season was my performance at US Nationals. I did leave with a 3rd place in the Skate Sprint, however that was not my goal going into the week. So, with some hypothetical sand stuck in unfortunate places, I headed to Craftsbury Vt for a month and a half to race the last Supertours. The sprint races went great, with double wins in both weekends, and in both the qualifiers as well as heats, however the distance races were a different story. Perhaps a combination of low iron, timing of training, and mental state; my distances races were not showing all the hard work I put in the past summer, which grew progressively aggravating. The sand worked its way deeper.

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After Nationals I stayed in Minneapolis for a little bit and did a few high school clinics. Working with that age group is still my favorite. Perhaps because I remember each and every person who reached out to help me in high school when I knew nothing, and also because sometimes I have the maturity of a 16 year old.

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South clinic 1

I qualified again to race the OPA cups in Europe, and decided to join the U.S. trip, along with the top 20 SuperTour racers. This was either going to bump me back into the game, or crush me. Soon I realized, this was my first ever, full blown mental burn out. Little did I know, that it will take you down just as fast as any injury or illness.

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The symptoms – Your current situation makes your skin crawl. This isn’t just feeling tired. You’re confused. You’re frustrated. For the first time you want to throw all the papers in the air and yell I quit. But, do you really want to?

The reaction – Everyone figures you’re done. No one wants to talk about it, who hasn’t already been there. It’s a taboo subject. “She’s got the disease, careful it might rub off.”

The remedy – Remember how to enjoy life. Remember what makes you happy. Forget the haters. THEN make a plan to proceed ahead, in whatever direction you choose.

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So, Europe trip 2015 went a bit different for me this time around. After 7 years of going to Europe to race and only seeing the inside of hotel rooms, I decided to make it an adventure.

It’s a happy ending, because after coming back for the last SuperTours in Sun Valley, I raced the best I ever have at Spring Nationals! Not only had the best feeling distance race since December, but was 3rd in the skate sprint, which included a group of tough gals who were not there for US Nationals.

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Stay tune for Europe 2015…

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