Nationals are over, the snow is melting, and athletes across the country are in full-on recovery / catch up on work and homework mode. The race season is over, bringing me the usual feelings of exhaustion, relief, and a bit of sadness. Although I’m definitely ready for some rest and excited to go on lots of April adventure skis and runs, I generally finish the race season wishing it could last just a little bit longer. For me, racing is the reward for training, and when the season ends it takes me a bit of time to figure out how to be happy without getting to train or race every day.
Nationals, which wrapped up a week ago in Whitehorse, were not quite the set of races I had been hoping for. While I was hoping to head into Nationals healthy, rested, and recovered from the Ski Tour Canada, my body had different ideas. As it turns out, racing 8 World Cups in 12 days while travelling across the country took a bit more out of me than I expected! I unfortunately caught a post-tour cold and spent the week before Nationals trying to stay healthy.
After delaying my flight, missing the first 3 races, and still fighting the cold, I realized that I could either race sick or not race at all at Nationals. So, since it was the end of the season and I figured that racing sick wouldn’t kill me, I opted to do one race: the skate sprint.
The sprint course in Whitehorse was a lot of fun, and a lot different than most of the sprints on the NorAm circuit. It was only 1.2km long and didn’t have much climbing, which made the course much more about top end speed and strategy, rather than about whoever could go fast for the longest amount of time. Compared to the 1.4km to 1.6km long sprints we had been doing all year, this race felt incredibly fast and fun.
In the end, I finished the day in 3rd place, which I was very happy with! I was especially happy to have had the 2nd fastest qualifying time; having consistent qualifiers throughout the season is something I have been trying to work on, and it’s been exciting for me this year to have a good sprint qualifier more often than not.
In retrospect, racing sick definitely wasn’t the best idea (I’m now well into my 3rd week of this cold and got significantly worse after racing), but at the time the temptation of doing one last skate sprint was too strong to resist. Lesson learned for next time: listen to my coaches and don’t race while sick.
While at Nationals, I got the opportunity to help out with a Fast and Female event focusing on Sports Psychology! Mental training and mental health are such an important parts of our sport, and I was so happy to be able to help share that with girls from across the country.
I’m now getting ready to head back to Athabasca for some family time and sunshine on the farm. This has been an incredibly fun year of racing and training, and now it’s time to debrief and recharge for a month!
On a final note, I would like to send out a HUGE thank-you to everyone who has supported me through this year. To my parents, siblings, friends, coaches, teammates, and sponsors: thank you. This wouldn’t have been possible without you!