Sunday, February 7, 2010

To all who have supported and encouraged me over the years,

Onion River Nordic skiers going above and beyond as usual! Thanks guys!!

I have tried to reflect over the last couple of weeks on what being named to this 2010 Olympic team has meant to me. I have tried to remember different points in my career and which ones were key to me making this dream possible. I have tried to remember the first time I won a race, and I don’t know the answer, but I can remember my first teammates. I have tried to remember the first time I thought of how cool going to the Olympics would be, and I can’t remember. I cannot seem to remember nearly as many bad days as I can good ones. What I do remember is racing the lifties from the top of the training hill at Burke, in a full-blown tuck all the way to the bottom, fear not even a consideration. I remember the rush of putting Nordic skis on for the first time, and how nervous I was that I was going to be laughed at, but instead, found support and encouragement around every turn. I remember chasing my teammate Carina Hamel around on the Burke Nordic trails every day for a year wanting to be just like her. I remember the people on my first International race trip, and the venue, and how big some of the other girls were, but I could not tell you any of the results from the races. I remember every day I have skied with kids, as they are the best people I know to remind you how to love what you do.

I have tried to live my life as best I can with focus on the here and now moment. Any time I have focused on the outcome of a certain race or goal, I have forgotten why I do what I do. And now, here I am, five days away from opening ceremonies at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and I am focusing with all my might on seeing this as just another piece in the process of my life. I have goals, I have dreams, I have desires, but they are just in place to help structure the journey.

I just raced in my final World Cup before the games in Canmore, Alberta. Before this I had a three-week training block in Park City, Utah and I have to admit, it was hard not to delve into total training mode. I have told myself every day for the last 24 days, that the Olympics are right around the corner, that they are next month, and then, they are in 2 weeks, and sure enough, here I am, staring at the five day marker of day one at the Olympics. So, what now? I have prepared the best I know how, used the resources I have available to me, trained, day in day out for the last seven years and now I have a new challenge waiting for me. I am part of a team who I believe completely in and am inspired by. I have coaches who I not only trust but who believe in me as well, and are all people I consider great friends. I have one of the best jobs I can think of, as each day I go to work by pulling out gear of one sort or another, a bike, a pair of skis, running shoes, barbells, a swim suit, and then proceeding to check out what the woods have to offer on that day. My job, in its simplest form, is to become the healthiest, fittest, strongest person I can possibly be. Imagine if we could all be so lucky.

So, my point is this. No matter what happens in 10 days, or in 20 days, I will still lace up my running shoes, will still put on my ski boots, still pick up some heavy weights and put them back down, and still rip around through the woods in any fashion I can, because this thing, this huge thing that we call the Olympics, is a huge deal, but that’s all it is. It is a huge deal that happens once every 4 years in my sport. It is a huge deal that I may only get to experience once, but it is not life or death. So what now? Now I put on a bib, lace up my boots and go ski as hard as humanly possible. This thing we call the Olympics, that happens once every four years, is now five days away. What I do now, is let the training, preparation and hard work carry me and try like hell to do my best.

What I do now, is get inspired. I am packing my bags to go to the Olympic Winter Games, the real ones, the ones we all dream about. What I do now, is thank all of the people who have been beside me, behind me and ahead of me for the last 23 years of my life, as there is no way I could have begun to live a life as awesome as mine is without you. What I do now is live. I live it up, because this may only happen once. What I do now is get goose bumps, teary eyed and jittery because I am about to compete on the biggest world stage there is, doing what I love to do more than anything else.

So in five days, let’s all fire up. Let’s all watch athletes do what they love, watch them compete and try to better their best. Let’s all get inspired. Whether you are an athlete who made the team, or one who tried like hell but didn’t, a parent, a friend, a coach, a loved one, a kid with a dream, lets all make a pact. Let’s all get inspired. Let’s all push ourselves to be better at something, anything. Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for inspiring me to do my best. Thank you for the countless pep talks and the unending belief in me. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for supporting me and keeping this sport fun, because the term “fun” really doesn’t sum it up.

Did a Fast and Female event last night in the streets of downtown Canmore. These guys are into it...50 truck loads of snow covering 4 blocks of main street. As the sprinters all said, "These conditions are nicer than any city sprint on the World Cup!"

Zumba dancing for a warm-up with the Fast and Female athletes!

Sarah Renner after her third place finish on Saturday! She may be the nicest Canadian you will ever meet, which is saying a lot as Canadians are the nicest people you will ever meet!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


The Canmore World Cup is in full swing here and the American team has begun to throw down with some awesome results yesterday in the 10/15K skate. Today is the classic sprint and 5 men and 2 women qualified in the top 30 so will do the rounds in 45 minutes. I am headed up to watch, the weather is perfect and I have an off day today. Yesterday was a tough day for me, but it's funny how the sun can brighten up any mood, and watching others kick ass in their own races. So, today is a new day, and today I am a spectator. Here are a few views of the course and the weather. It doesn't get any better for cross country skiing.
This photo is dedicated to Paul Mangi who passed away on Wednesday. I remember very vividly walking into Mangis after school with my dad to buy a loaf of bread and seeing Paul and his wife Elaine. They would always hand me a roll, fresh out of the oven, and I can still taste them to this day. My thoughts are with you Elaine and your whole family.

Pat Casey: Glamour Coaching!
Flags for all the countries

Men's 15K skate
Bomber tracks!
Moon rise
View from Tomas Grandi's parent's bed and breakfast. If you ever come to Canmore be sure to look "The Paintbox Lodge" up for accommodations!