Athletes, at any level, find joy in their sport. Ultimately, our enjoyment of the sport motivates our involvement. Any skier can tell of the wonder of skimming across a well-groomed ski trail or the enchantment of experiencing a snow covered landscape on skis. The workouts and skis when we lack the wonder and the enchantment tend to be ignored and forgotten as quickly as possible. Experiencing a full range of emotions in all aspects of our lives, including skiing, enables us to embrace life more fully. Admitting that I am not perfect, I am not happy all the time and I do, in fact, have slumps, here is one of my no good, very bad days.
Something was wrong. I did not want to train. I woke up in the morning, or after a nap, and wanted to stay in bed, that, or make myself a mug of tea and sit on the porch. I did not want to do intervals, or rollerski, or run. Maybe my life bored me, maybe I overtaxed my body the weeks prior, maybe I was slightly depressed, or, finally and most probably, maybe a blend of all of those. Whatever the root, it was a slump and I did not like it.
We were between training camps and only Brian Gregg and I remained in Hayward to train together that Thursday. In the morning I ran 800m intervals on the Hayward High School track. Complaints bubbled through my head like balloons that refused to be popped or blown away. Consequently, the intervals dragged on interminably and I finished the interval session wondering why I had bothered.
That afternoon we had a strength session scheduled; however, due to the paucity of enthusiasm, we kept delaying it until after dinner when we finally dragged ourselves to our weight room in the Lenroot Lodge in Seeley, WI. I enjoy weightlifting and started to regain some vim during the workout. The cool summer dusk settling in and displacing the sticky heat helped to renew my interest in the activity. By nine we finished the bulk of the workout and moved outside onto the lawn to complete a series of core strength exercises with the medicine balls.
We sat down to do partner sit-ups with medicine ball throws, in which one person does a sit-up with the medicine ball, throws it to her partner who does a sit-up and throws it back. Before we start I say, Wait– I'm not going to be able to see the med ball.” “You'll be fine,” Brian assures me. “Okay, I'm ready,” I respond and subsequently fail to catch the blue and black twelve pound missile that Brian, with unfortunately good aim, throws at my face.
When you train often with medicine balls, you get hit occasionally– not a big deal. I even managed to break my friend's glasses and give her a bloody lip in one throw when she wandered innocently into the weight room and offered to catch for me; she laughed. This time, for some reason, the slight pain combined with my frustration at my ineptness made me cry. Who cries during practice? Certainly not super fast, tough skiers. Do I even belong to the world of elite skiing?