You may be thinking, “Is it hard to write when you’re busy training?” my answer would be no. I actually need some time to reflect on what I’m doing and take a step back. When it’s off-time for most people the plan is to go crazy. I don’t have that luxury because off-time for me means recharging the batteries. It’s difficult to be a short track speed skater and make time to just relax. Thankfully I’ve found some free time to get reacquainted with my notepad.
For most of my life I have been inline SpeedSkating. A lot of people recognize me from the short track national team, but previously I was on the inline world team. I raced with multiple sponsors like K2 skates, Luigino racing, MPC wheels and others. But the important thing I learned during that time was how to train myself. I had a team while i was racing. However, I wasn’t with them all year round. We had training camps and races together but they were three days long. After all the traveling to races I had to figure out my own training methods. I would skate with my local teammates as much as possible. We would find the best roads for our workouts and plan the training schedule. In most cases we would meet up somewhere with the best roads for intervals, sprints or marathons. For the other workouts I had to reach out and find opportunities in the community. Luckily I had a weight room to work in and access to sponsors to help me with my racing equipment.
Before I started competing internationally there were a couple coaches i worked with. Their families raced in our local club and it was a good place for me to start. After I made the world team I had to learn how to coach myself. I couldn’t get away with missing training sessions anymore, so it turned into a full- time job. That meant going out everyday and doing a specific workout on the bike, skating indoors, on the road, weight training and dry land. That being said, everyone needs a coach to improve. A coach can get you through the beginning of your career, but it comes down to you “the skater” to do it yourself. That is hard grasp at first, because everyone needs a team to get better. Sooner or later the coach can’t push any harder and you will be able to take care of everything yourself.
The competitive spirit is the most powerful weapon in any skater’s arsenal. Being with a team is constantly pushing the limits. Being with this team for the past year has taught me a lot about international racing, training techniques, and how to work harder as a team. But the farther along I get in my training, the more I realize the importance of my early years. I started off training myself to get better, stronger, faster. After getting more attention from coaches and skating with great skaters I picked up a lot of things. So now comes the hard part: putting it all together. I’m really relying on my past training to get me to that next level. All of those days I spent skating outdoors, rain or shine. I would even skate to practice, change my wheels and then skate indoors at the roller rink. My teammates and I went on road trips from one practice to the next. Skating by myself on the hills in Pennsylvania in my high school days. All of that has really gotten me through the labyrinth of trials I’ve encountered.
As for my ice skating career, the last 2 months have been very exciting. When we got together for our first training the energy was high. This would be a little different than normal, except we are just 6 months out from Olympic trials. Everyone that showed up wanted to make this their best year. The main focuses for early season are skating laps and making gains in my training off the ice. The group of people I have been working with have been great. We have been killing it on the ice, in the weight room and in our fitness testing. I have a feeling that all of us will be skating faster than ever before. That’s a good thing because this is the Olympic year and we need to be at our best by the Olympic trials. We have been planning this year of training since the last Olympic Games in Vancouver and have put in three years of hard work.
There have been a lot of improvements this season. Not only with the team but the community and willingness to help out. When we had special requests, the Energy Solutions Arena helped us with our training needs. the University of Utah made a commitment to helping us reach our goals. Also the staff at the Utah Olympic Oval have done their part to help us with all of our training needs. The local foods stores are helping with our nutritional needs. I hope that all the support keeps progressing through the year. It makes our jobs much easier. Within the team we have found a common ground with everyone involved in the sport. We will do whatever it takes to help each other and its a great feeling to have everyone working together. As we get closer to the World Cup trials some skaters may want to do their own thing. Not every skater needs the same training, which is understandable. But for now we all are vested in this program and work well together.
On another note, our team had the opportunity to visit Liberty Heights Fresh. This local-first produce distributor has teamed up with USS to help feed athletes. We went there as a team to check out the spread of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and pasta. The people we met, including the owner Steve, were very helpful, friendly and committed to the cause. Like us, they’re promoters of helping the community learn and eat better. Local farms have even invited us to come visit their farm to pick up food. Here are a few pictures from our visit.
To find out more about this SLC food supplier visit liberty heights fresh- Steven’s Blog
The best part about writing my blog is getting feedback from you guys. Just saying some words of encouragement it plenty. So feel free to ask about what else I’m doing or general questions you have for me. As always, please share.