The summer of 2013

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
-Will Rogers

Note: The first half of this post (in italics) was drafted June 16, 2013.  Due to the flood, and then technical difficulties, the second half was written September 15, 2013.

I am happy to report that winter is safety out of the way now, although I fully do expect a random snow day every now and then throughout the summer.  The sun is starting to make fairly regular appearances and the grass is…wait for it…green.  The days are longer, thank heaven, because this is the time of the year I step back onto the work/training treadmill.  In this state of perpetuity, just the perception of more time in the day is helpful.

The competitive sliding season finished with one final race in Winterberg, Germany.  Going from the evil constantly-planning-to-kill-you-like-a-cat Altenberg to lay-there-like-a-pancake Winterberg was a breath of fresh air.  It was a strange training week with only 2 sliding days before the race.  But after a long and arduous season getting home even one day sooner was a pleasant offering.    Although I could have used a bit more time to adjust to the whole sack of potatoes mentality after sliding on the highly technical Altenberg the previous weeks, I felt confident navigating the track after only a few runs.

On race day I was tired, but relaxed.  I managed to work out most of the kinks from training, and even mustered up the courage to try some new lines in the race.  On the other hand, I encountered a new problem in Kreisel during the race, and had very little left in the tank for the push.  The cumulative effect was a third place rank after heat one, and falling back by only a few hundredths after the second run to fourth place. And I must say if I was to fall off a podium spot to anyone, I was glad is was my teammate Robynne.

Flash forward 3 months:

A lot has happened since I started that post.  On June 20, a combination of unfortunate weather and mountain run-off led to a devastating flood in Calgary.  The surrounding communities of Canmore, Longview, Exshaw and in particular High River were also hit hard.  The city of Calgary essentially ground to a halt. I have never seen anything like it.  I live less than a block from the river, and as such was on constant alert during the first few days.  Luckily, the bank near my place is high and I sustained no damage.  My neighbors to the east, west and south were not so fortunate.  In the following days I did what I could to help, including working at the evacuation center and getting down and dirty in the Mission area cleaning up affected homeowner’s water/mud/sewage logged property.  Being at the “ground zero” of the flood affected areas was incredibly sad; the scope of the devastation was hard to grasp.  But at the same time there was an electrifying sense of community and hope.  The dichotomy of severe destruction on one hand, and the resolute optimism, generosity, and hard work of the people of Calgary on the other, was overwhelming.  Looking back, I must say I am so proud to be part of this community.

The flood is still continuing to, and will for the considerable future, affect many people and communities.  If you would like to help, please consider a donation to the Canadian Red Cross/Alberta Floods Fund.

During the time around the floods I started to evaluate what was important to me and what I felt I needed to do to give myself the best chance of success for the upcoming Olympic season.  For me, this included a reasonable work/training/life balance and stress/time management with the end goal of being strong, fit and happy.  After much consideration I decided to make a bold move– I changed training groups.  It wasn’t an easy decision. Some might even call it crazy, being only a few months away from the biggest races of my life.  But as they say “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

I am now training with Cascadia Power Training.  If you want to see some awesome lifts, check out Rob Gray’s YouTube channel.  The group is definitely a big change–bigger arms, bigger lifts, bigger laughs.  Hopefully soon you’ll see some video of me crushing squats and Olympic lifts personal bests!  I have already managed to destroy my previous all time fastest 15m and 30m sprint times, as well as pb my clean, front squat, push press, medicine ball throw and bench press.  As a result I am finding confidence and success in the ice house, and am projecting a very competitive push time at the top once sliding starts.

Keep tuned! If I can say one thing with certainty, it is that life is never dull.  We start sliding in just a couple of weeks and race in just over a month!  Anything is possible, especially on the road to Sochi.

“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”
-Patrick Overton