Goodness. What has happened since our 2014 Deep Creek World Championships? Well, let me start by saying that the World’s came and went far more quickly than I’d have liked. Now they feel as though they were years ago.
Deep Creek was a learning experience for me. I went in feeling strong and ready. I left them feeling disappointed and as though I was unprepared. Of course I was disappointed. I knew what I was capable of and didn’t meet that potential. Was I unprepared? Certainly not physically. I had trained plenty on the course and was in good shape. So what was it? Deep Creek reminded me of the intense “mental game” that racing is. This reminder has sparked me to look at training differently, and to focus on my focus. The arrival of a certain teammate may be perceived as an invasion or threat by some, but I see it as an opportunity. I am grateful for any chance to learn, and the focus shown by this individual is inspiring. Enough about that.
We jumped pretty quickly from World’s to our National Championships as they were the weekend following Deep Creek. It would seem things like to happen in bunches. I was excited to once again take the top of the podium at Nationals! It was also fun to be racing at Dickerson! Dickerson is a terrific asset for us. Access to this facility has become more difficult over the years, but it is my hope that we can strengthen our relationship with the power plant so that we may see more training, camps, and races there. We are a small sport so it is important that we show everyone just how important we are.
Nationals concluded the racing season for us. This meant I needed to make some hard decisions. My car had recently taken a turn for the worse. It is now up and running after months of being down. However, it is no longer strong enough for training camp trips, and will need replacing. I am so grateful to my friends who have graciously helped me get around! I have also returned to working groundskeeping at the whitewater center here in Charlotte. I had worked in this department leading up to the 2012 Olympics, but left afterwards due to the combined toll of physical labor and training. The lack of car meant making a decision though. I am fortunate to live on the other side of the Catawba River from the whitewater center. This meant I could use my other form of transport! My commute means hopping in the boat and paddling to work. This time of year is a little cold, but I like to look to the positive things. The big dipper lights my early morning commute everyday. It’s a shining reminder of the world we live in, and not once have I gotten lost. Paddling also means no gas money, and is actually faster than the drive! I keep moving forward, despite the toll, because we do what we have to so that we can chase our dreams.
Of course sometimes I get tired, scared, or overwhelmed. I’ll end this time with a quote from a wall at my gym that I turn to on those days…
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt