Caitlin Cassidy is a member of the Durango, Colorado Nordic Ski Team
This past year I have gone through a physical and mental change in my skiing abilities. In the physical aspect, before this change I was puny, and now, I’m ripped; I have built strength and improved my technique these past nine months. The mental change was what sparked the physical change; I had a change in my goals as a skier. Before, my goal had been to be a better skier and make a reappearance at the Junior Olympics, now, my goal is still to become a better skier, but also to put in a real showing at the Junior Olympics and make the competition quiver in fear. I could not have done this without our new ski coach, Rick Callies, it was he that put the notion into my head that I even had the potential to compete against the gals that were skiing at a higher caliber than I thought I would ever achieve.
At the beginning of last summer, I planned on training the same way I had for the past two years. My workout schedule would consist of working out once a day, excluding Fridays, and do enough to be in shape by the time cross-country running season started. It all sounded good to me, what was the point in working out except to get in shape, it never occurred to me to use the summer more to my advantage. What I didn’t know was to use the summer to build my endurance. Still being toned from track season, I had no need to do anything but retain that over the summer. I was fine with being a skinny-minny, besides, who likes ripped girls? Since I was already in shape, I didn’t believe I would have to do much to stay that way. Enjoying summer was to be my number one goal. Turns out I did enjoy summer, but not the way that I thought I would, who considers two-a-day workouts fun? My definition of fun used to be going to movies and sleeping over, I had to learn to call a grueling 26 mile bike race fun. The aspiration to be a good skier was what I was planning on driving me, not the goal of kicking butt at the Junior Olympics.
The perspective that I had on the summer, and the rest of the year, changed when Rick had a team meeting to propose working harder than we ever had in our lives, I decided to go for it. Rick set up a training program for my sister and me, it was rigorous to put it lightly; we trained an average of 17 hours a week even up to 21 hours. At times I resented doing that much work for a goal that would not be achieved for another nine months, but I bit my tongue and did it anyway. I had never eaten or slept that much in my life; I had to to keep up my strength. Pushed onward by Rick, I even consented to working out twice a day during the school year lifting weights and running before class. Oh man, was that difficult, I ran on very little sleep for almost four months and my grades suffered, but it was all for the paramount goal of doing well at Junior Olympics. Had anyone ever told me that I would be working out before school, I would’ve thought they were crazy. During this period of base training, I made many sacrifices; my schoolwork, my sleep, my boyfriend, but the hardest of all was the sacrifice of my friends. They all played volleyball and basketball and unbeknownst to me and my training, we gradually drifted apart, it was extremely hard when I came to the realization that we were no longer close. My boyfriend broke up with me because I didn’t have enough time for him, I was upset, but I knew that some boy could never come between me and skiing. While in the base training phase, I worked so hard for a goal that seemed so far away; training hard is hard!
Now that I am through with the hard work it’s time to pursue my overall goal. The Junior Olympics are being held in Lake Placid, New York from March 4-13, so now the waiting has begun. One of the biggest perks of waiting is we get to rest, I mean really rest, we actually get days off! Considering the fact that I’ve had about ten days off since school started, I hardly know what to do with all my spare time. Nine months of training has left me with biceps, and a six pack; I can actually do a pull-up! My opinion of burly girls sure has changed from the beginning of the summer. I am in the best shape of my life and I feel good! In Lake Placid my goal is to place top ten in one of my races, if I can do that, it will open up all sorts of training options for next summer. I have worked hard for this and right now all of it is balancing on a needlepoint. There are so many things that could go wrong and cost me my races, I am praying to the snow god that everything goes the way that it should. It is time now to sit back and watch my hard work pay off.
In conclusion, I have indeed gone through a huge change in my abilities and in my everyday life; I can now say that I have done everything within my power to reach my goals. I have pride in myself for sticking with my training and pride in my team members who make up more than one fourth of the entire team from Colorado. We will represent Colorado by doing well, at the Junior Olympics, and hopefully, everyone else will also reach their goals.