Monday, March 31, 2014

Nationals 2014

The National champion team for our 5th consecutive year!
Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland
    Nationals are always a great competition. Having not done them last year, I was pretty excited for the races. Nationals were in Whistler in 2013 and missing out on that sucked, there's no nicer way to put it. This March though they were in Corner Brook, Newfoundland at Blow me Down ski trails. Some would think that that is a bit of a downgrade from Whistler. I guess it would be like missing out on going to World Juniors when they are in Italy but making them when they are in Turkey (well, not exactly the same). But places like Turkey and Newfoundland are special in there own way. The people in Newfoundland have funny accents and are extremely friendly. Ok, so I guess that is a stereotype, but I swear its true. The scenery is beautiful and the weather is, well, full of surprises. As for Turkey, there are the obvious differences but the landscape is completely different from anything you would find around here, with lots of snow and mountains but no trees to be found. When you go to places like Whistler, you know you will have perfect grooming on Olympic quality trails and when you go to Italy you know that it will be well done, them having hosted many World cups before. But, when you go to Newfoundland or Turkey, you really don't know what to expect, and that is what makes it fun.

Quarterfinal, I somehow managed to fall twice in 1.4km
    I planned to do 4 races at Nationals this year. I decided to skip out on the 10km skate race. It was a hard decision but hey, it's still 4 more than last year. So, after a fun week of racing, here I am reflecting on all of it (and procrastinating doing any sort of homework, very successfully). When asked about how Nationals went, I am not sure what to answer. I didn't have any amazing races, but it didn't go terribly either. I never got a top 6, I didn't improve my qualifier, I failed to make semis in the sprints and I had disappointingly slow lap times in the team sprint. But, when I look at things closer, I realize that I'm not actually that far from where I would have liked to have been. I was 30s from the podium in the 5km classic and 30s from being 4th in the 20km. I never would have even dreamed of skiing a 20km this past November, let alone be competitive in it. And that is extremely encouraging. I know that I have SO MUCH more to give, so many things to improve on and so many things to do differently from last year. I am very very excited to start training this summer. I haven't done quality summer training in 3 summers so it is more than exciting for me to finally know that when May comes around, I won't be wishing for it to delay itself. And then when September comes around, I won't be counting down the months to the ski season, trying to figure out whether I will be fit enough to race. This year, I KNOW that I will be able to train and for once, I can't wait for summer!
Sprint qualifier

The Nakkergirls showing off their muscles. Skiers can only be
 so classy. From left to right, me, Holly Brown, Alex Slobodian
and my sister Katherine.

   I'd like to finish off by mentioning how proud I am of our Nakkertok Junior women's team. Looking at the aggregate points list, we seem to be the strongest junior women club in Canada. None of us are on a training center so we get to train together all year round while going to school. It is a great set up and it has created a great team!

My sister Kath and I visiting Gros Morne
That is all for now!