Thursday, November 10, 2016

2016- What a Trainwreck

This season has been hard. That’s the only thing I felt I could say to start this. It’s been a year that has blended into one great feeling of disappointment, anger, and frustration. Not only did I not reach my goals for the season, I really wasn’t even close to them. I had never pulled out of a race before. This year, I had to pull out of 6 races I intended to compete at. I really thought this year was going to be big for me. I finished off last season very strong, and had a lot of confidence going into the winter. My base season went well- no injuries, no problems, and feeling like I was hitting the best shape of my life. It was time for me to start stepping up to race the big boys, and while I knew it was going to be a big learning experience, if I raced to my ability level, I knew I could have success. Unfortunately, the world had some other plans for me.

Breaking my foot in April really started the spiral. I rehabbed from surgery as well as I could, and it seemed to go very well. After a few months that really tested my patience, I finally felt ready to race again at the Montreal World Cup. It didn’t go the best, but I didn’t expect to be out for four months with surgery on a foot and come back to the best race of my life. I just had to get back into it. After the race, I came home with a slightly sore knee. It seemed like most post-race soreness—just a few days rest and it should be ok. After a couple days resting it without any pain, I went for a jog and the knee just locked up. Again, I didn’t expect it to be as big of an issue as it was, but it turns out IT bands are not so simple to fix once they go wrong.

I planned to race WTS Edmonton, but then had to pull out of that. Then I lost my shot and going to U23 Worlds, my main goal for the year that I really felt I could win. By this point, we had decided to shut it down quite a bit to let it all heal. We put the US Nationals race in New Orleans tentatively on the calendar. Again, I wasn’t ready for that. As we built back up, it was looking like I would be ok to race the final two world cups of the season in Tongeyong and Miyazaki. Unfortunately, the knee flared back up and that was it. It’s hard to believe that by the end of the year, the surgery on my foot was the least of my worries. If I didn’t have a scar to remind me, I wouldn’t even think anything ever happened to it.

The year has been long and hard, but in the end, all you can do is take what you learned and look forward. I feel that I have a great team around me doing everything we can to help me be successful. I’ve got a good strength program to help me stay injury free, we’ve identified my functional limitations and how to improve them to allow me to train at the level I need to. Neal will design a program that will address my weaknesses and give me the skills to be successful at the highest level. I will need to take a couple steps back and work my way back up, but with a couple good performances the doors can easily be wide open again for big opportunities. The pieces are all there, it’s just up to me to make it all happen.