I didn’t think it was going to be a year like it has been… best way to describe it is: STRUGGLING
After a career worst finish of 19th in Altenberg, Germany my body had enough and for the 3rd time since the end of September I was down and out sick again. Sliding is hard enough on our heads with headaches and face smashes on the ice. But having inner ear pressure issues makes it really difficult to stay relaxed and feel the ice on your sled. Day 1 in Kongissee, Germany the ice looked in mint condition and I joined the team for a track walk, but that was about all I could handle for the day. I packed my gear up afterwards along with my ego and went straight to the doctor’s office. I would sit out sliding and the sprint workout. When I made it back to the hotel I slept for 4 hours! My body definitely needed the rest.
I had to get in as many of the workouts as possible despite my health because they are all structured to have me peak for World Championships beginning of February. We were warned that we would be extremely tired this week and just deal with it. Konigssee & Igls would be work weeks and don’t expect to be feeling fast or strong. Well how about being sick on top of it. Where was the line that I draw between my health, rest and preparing for Worlds?
Race day I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I was exhausted from being sick and sore from the volume of training. I usually do a stim workout the day of the race to wake my body up, but I decided to reserve as much energy as possible. And why should we expect anything other than a weather change? Story of the season… race day weather to be different from training. It was snowing heavily and with the long bend away exposed to the conditions the race was going to be won and lost determined on who hit a snow bank.
After heat 1 I was sitting in 6th. I wasn’t excited about it, but it’s been a tough year and with how sick I was I’d take it. My 2nd run I had some problems in the 1st corner and I could feel I was starting to tighten up. It was a mediocre run, but I crossed the finish line and I didn’t follow the trend of the sliders before me who were losing spots. I kept my spot and had earned my 3rd and final Olympic qualifier for this season. Even though I didn’t perform to my potential I was happy to have them out of the way.
My teammate Sarah Reid was sitting in 1st place after the 1st heat. Which was extremely exciting because this season 3 races were selected for bobsleigh and skeleton athletes to race and have the opportunity to win a portion of 100 000 EUROS. Kongissee, Igls and Sochi are the “triple crown” races. Sarah had another strong push but when she came down the bend away to take her calculated hit she didn’t hit hard enough and got stuck in the snow and had a couple of more hits and skids through the snow. Dropping out of 1st spot would give the American Noelle Pikus-Pace the win. I would finish the day in 4th, an Olympic qualifier but felt so much disappointment for Sarah who ended up 5th.
My plan is to test a new sled at the next World Cup in Igls, Austria. A track that is extremely easy to get down so I won’t get myself into to much trouble with the unknown…