Outdoor skating

We just finished up our camp in Collalbo Italy, team processing in Munich and are now in Sochi!! For those of you who don’t know, Collalbo is an outdoor track in the Italian Alps. Obviously, skating outdoors with all the elements creates all new challenges that most of us who grew up in the tightly controlled environment of indoor rinks are not used to. The snow, the cold, and the wind can easily be a distraction if you allow it to be.

During warmup one morning, some of us were discussing how skating in climate controlled ovals has changed the type of athletes who are now in skating. There is something about skating indoors everyday for years on end that in many ways makes you “fragile”. The slightest things seem to become a distraction. If the shades aren’t down in the south end of the Utah Oval, you will invariably hear complaining in five minutes.

But skating outdoors is one of those things where you either accept each day for what it is and do your best or you lay down an egg for a workout every time you are out there. In a lot of ways, skating outdoors is similar to life. You see what each day brings and do your best with what you got. It may not be perfect all the time but a lot of good things can come from the struggle against forces beyond your control.

With that being said a life long dream of being an Olympian is finally coming to fruition. There have been a lot of days were myself and those around me took each imperfect day for what it was and made the best of it. We did that for years on end and look where it got us now…


Emotions of Trials

So Trials have come and gone now, and as most of you know I was able to fulfill my life long goal of making the US Olympic Team. It has been a whirlwind since then with trying to get everything in line and leaving for 12 weeks on the road.

The most striking thing to me was all the different emotions that I felt right after and in the days that followed making the Olympic team. I thought a lot about this and I have condensed them into the following:

Relief: the first emotion I had making the team was relief. Like “oh thank God it happened. All the hard work was not for nothing”

Happiness: this feeling hit as I celebrated with my friends and family who were in the stands and celebrated with me. It was pure joy.

Satisfaction: this one came later in the evening as I realized that the plan that Matt, Kip, Finn and I came up with actually worked. They took a mule to the Kentucky Derby and we got on the podium.

Thankfulness: As I couldn’t sleep the night after the 5k, I could be nothing but thankful to all those around me who helped me along the way. There are far too many people to list but you all who you are.

Guilt: this emotion came later on as Trials progressed and we started to realize that many of my best friends were not going with me to Sochi. I felt guilty that things had worked out for me and not those I cared so much about. It was pretty heart breaking to see and at times I wished they were going and not me

Sadness: Sadness hit me after the 10,000m when I realized that I did not grab that top spot. I love the 10,000m with my whole heart. It is such a tough race but something I love so much. To have the race I did out there and it not be good enough was a tough pill to swallow.

Overwhelmed: This came in the days that followed trials and it felt like the world was moving at 10 million miles a second. For a while, it never felt like I could even have a chance to catch my breath. Not to say I am complaining but making this team has been a tornado wrapped in a hurricane since it became official.

We are now in Calgary for Regional Qualifier and then head straight to Italy for our pre Olympic camp. I will try to be better about posting as life becomes more and more simple and I have one focus now…. Going to Sochi and kicking ass.

Fall World Cup Report Card

Well we have been back for a bit now from World Cups and it is time again for my report card from a month of World Cup racing.

WC Calgary– B, a decent race with some good solid skating.

WC SLC-C+, another race that was solid and nothing really else. A crossover issue doomed a fast time but nonetheless nothing special.

WC Astana-D-, what a pathetic race. The only reason this race didn’t get an F is because I finished the race and that’s it.

WC Berlin– A-, What a difference a week and a whole new racing mentality makes. I am really looking forward to taking this mentality towards the rest of the season.

Team USA– A+, 28 medals in 4 World Cups. Enough said.

We have nine days until a somewhat important competition they tell me. Apparently, we are picking some kind of team that will travel to a Black Sea resort town that Stalin used to summer in. I suppose that I should get ready, focus and wake up not wanting to jump through my skin. 😉

The Holidays

So as we speak Thanksgiving is wrapping up for most Americans. Food comas are in full effect. Most awkward family fights have been averted and everyone is trying to figure out how they are going to work off that extra helping of stuffing this week. For us on Team USA, it means another race week and continuing the hunt for Olympic spots. As I am sure most of you know, we are now in Kazakhstan for this week’s World Cup.

Many of us were talking last night trying to figure out when we were last home with our families for the holidays. It honestly took us all a long time to pinpoint a date. One coach of ours said he hasn’t been home for both Christmas and Thanksgiving in one year since 1989. I don’t want this come across as complaining. One of things, I am most thankful for in my life is the opportunity to represent this great country on the world circuit. But it is at times difficult to be away from the ones we love. There is just something about this time of year that makes you yearn for that family connection.

But this thought got me thinking a bit more about our team. I have said it before but we are like a big family. We fight. We yell at each other. We can annoy the hell out of each other. But when one of us has a great race, we are there right away to congratulate them. We help pick each other up when life happens. We are there to share some of the best and worst moments of our lives together.

The more I thought about this holiday season and those I have missed in the past, the more I am thankful to be spending it with my other family here on the road. I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving and to all my family back home I love you and hope to make you proud on Sunday during the 10k.