Overdue Spring Update

by Jennie


I always have a to-do list. There is never a time without a task. I don’t understand you people who are bored. There is always something on the list that should have been done yesterday. The tasks never sound like much, but are all necessary in running the “Jennie Show”. This term comes from a few people close to me, who have been involved in my tornado, whether they wanted to join or not. Don’t point your judging finger at me, you are the Star of your own show too. If you aren’t, then you should work on that. That’s really what attempting to achieve greatness is about, no matter what scale it’s on. It’s creating a stage, with all the props you need, body guards to protect you from harm,  and where you are the Star. It’s an important skill to know when to shut up, and put yourself in other’s shoes, because it’s too easy to get so wrapped up in your own “show” when your sights are set high, that we forget what impact we have on others. My show will last for as long as my powers allow, and thank you voluntary and involuntary cast, for being apart of it all. May I make it worth your compassion.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you are the main one in charge of your own success, so I categorize my to-do list by writing down tasks under each role played in this journey of an elite athlete. The top ones are: Marketing Director, Accountant, Nutritionist, Life Coach, Personal Trainer for others, Coach for myself, Travel Agent, Friend, PR Manager, Writer, Entrepreneur, Volunteer, and meanwhile my main one; Athlete. There are other titles, but these seemed like the most common.  Meanwhile, when paired with a training and racing schedule, the goal is stay calm. No stress allowed. It’s not good for your body. Yeah ok, sure, got it.

(Click on Picture to Enlarge.)


I really like this above photo, because you see, they say stress and fear are very similar. They are both a motivator. Some people take advantage of the burst of adrenaline you get from both in a positive way, while others let it pull them down in a negative way. Many of you will agree, that the greatest fear as an athlete, is the fear of yourself. How do you look at that stress and fear in your life? Over the years, I have been learning how to turn stress and the fear of what might or might not happen, into motivation.  It is what keeps the blood pumping. This motivation is what keeps my “show” going. Practice turning your stress into motivation. What drives your “show”?

Enough of trying to be psychological. Here is what you have  missed:

Feb 19, 2013 – Ski clinic at Theodore Wirth with an awesome group of kids from South high school team. I really enjoy putting energy into coaching, and highschool kids are the best demographic for my wackiness.

Feb 21 2013 – Won the Birkie Elite Sprints  . Check out a video clip HERE

Feb 24 2013 – 12th in Skate Birkie. Not what I was hoping for. More so just felt like I was hanging on for the first half, then picked it up in the second half. Didn’t know how my body would respond to a 50k race, since my results for distance races have suffered heavily from my late summer illnesses.

Feb 26 2013 – Got bad Bronchitis. In bed for two days, then dealt with a constant cough. Went on antibiotics. I hate antibiotics. Had to turn down my spot on the OPA cup finals trip in Italy. Dammit.

March 2&3rd – Volunteered at the Midwest Junior Championships in Theodore Wirth Park, reminded me that chocolate bars are always a good prize, no matter what age you are. So are Swedish Fish (; .


March 9 – Feeling healthier. Won the overall men/woman Pepsi Challenge Classic 24k at Giants Ridge MN. Wishing I went to Italy.


March 12 – Flew to Truckee for 11 days of western altitude  training in Truckee CA before Canadian Nationals and US Supertour Spring Series. The trip started out a solo adventure, but I met so many really great people who have hosted me, I’ve trained with, caught up with, and in general been heart-warming happy to share a west coast spring with. Thank you Peter Hanson, Deeter Family, McClellands, Noah Brautigam, Andrea Brideau-Miller, the crew at Royal Gorge, the wonderful ladies from Tahoe Donner, and many others!

March 13, 15 & 16 – Helped teach and lead clinics with the Tahoe Donner crew. Have been giving a few private lessons as well. I am fully aware that I am not the prettiest skate skier, but I have spent so much time trying to analyze and fix my own technique, that I enjoy trying to turn what I have learned into something digestible for others.

IMAG0553photo 1

 I will make an official announcement soon, but I am setting up a PlayNordic Woman’s Strength class Saturday the 13th in Truckee! If you are here, come join! See my website PlayNordic tab above for more detail. 

March 17 – Helped out at the Sugar Rush 15k ski race at Royal Gorge. It is so beautiful up there!  I wasn’t really feeling like doing a race, since I hadn’t been at altitude very long, so did intervals and helped set up and take down the course. Guess I still got to be apart of the race paparazzi!


March 22-29 – Flew to Seattle from Reno, drove from Seattle to Whistler, and stayed with my buddy Munny and his wonderful girlfriend Gillian. Wasn’t feeling very energetic to start out with, and felt horrible during the first 5k skate race. Thought the classic 10k would feel a bit better (every race is a new day), but ended up dragging myself to the finish line in the high 50 degree weather, exhausted and very out of it. Met some great volunteers (Thank you Tom and Marlie!)  who became my adopted parents as they gave me fluids, covered me with snow to cool down, then offered me their clothes and covered me with blankets to warm back up once my body responded. Took me to the medical tent, where there was a staff decision that I would benefit from some IV from the Whistler ER. Many lonely hours later, and 2 1/2 bags of fluid injected into my forearm, I was able to stagger out and leave all the sights of downhill ski injuries who had been flooding in. I was still eager to race the classic sprint, so figured I would take it one step at a time. I did not want to race again after I finished the Qualifier. I was 13th, not good for me, and felt like someone put me in slow motion mode after the race. Because it’s easier to proceed ahead on auto-mode, I warmed up again for my Quarter final. Surprisingly, I was 2nd, and ended up winning my B final, of which I did not think I had in me that day. Still not in the A final where I wanted to be, but considering my previous state, I took it. My body doesnt feel right, I kept thinking. Do I have mono again? There is something wrong, more than just average fatigue that everyone is going through right now.


March 29 – Retraced my tracks back to Truckee. Figured out I have a strain of Strep throat, which I am hoping is what is causing the heavy fatigue, lump in my throat, slightly elevated white blood cell count, and nausea when I ski. Antibiotics again.  Just great. Some of the biggest races of the season, and my body is waving the white flag. I swallow vitamins, stuff my face with spinach, put gross health stuff in my water, get painful massages, fly all over the place to prepare, and I come to the start line on my knees. But isn’t that how it goes sometimes in the world of sports. Might as well put the body through one more week to see if it will perform. Physically weak breeds mentally tough, right?

“No Excuses” – Don Becker


Side Rant –

My views on dropping out of races have been challenged. From the get-go, I have said that if you pay to put a bib on, don’t quit because you think you’re not doing well. That’s lame. However, this year has tested my views. I look now, and see I should have quit the classic 10k. I usually wait to see if any one will pull me, and no one does, so I keep going. I have wanted to quit more races this year than in the past 5 years combined, but haven’t. I’ve had the biggest swing of results, swing of health, and swing of emotions.I guess my ability to adapt has prospered.

Our last big week of races are upon us. The Spring Series races are a 3.3k prologue, 10k classic, classic sprint, skate hill climb, and 30k classic distance. Then a nice rest before training for next year starts up. Season of 2013-14; I’ll be coming at ya swinging.




  1. Dorothy Malone-Rising
    05 April 13, 5:21pm

    Jennie – first thanks for sharing your philosophies on “showing up”. It applies to everything, of course, that we choose to devote any time/energy to. No need to be an elite athlete to benefit from your perspective.

    As you comment on second guessing decisions to stay in/drop out of races –do you lose over-all points due to poor showings? Aside from expending the physical/emotional energy (which could be a problem when you are ill), what is the down side of staying in the race?

    Finally, as you know, I have a serious interest in your health issues, and would like to take some questions/concerns off-line. If you have the chance please share your e-mail address at Dorothycde@comcast.net.

    I very much enjoy following you from afar, and appreciate your continued posts.


  2. John Widdifield
    07 April 13, 4:54pm

    Wow Jennie. Great post. Sure gives a glimpse of what you go through. Life as an elite XC athlete is sure no simple picnic. Sounds like you need more rest!! Great to see you at the Birkie and congratulations on winning the sprints!!

    Have a great summer. John

    • Jennie
      25 April 13, 11:19am

      Thanks John!

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