Upon returning home from Europe, I initially meant to leave for Park City, UT for a three-week stint before returning back to Lake Placid at the end of February. I then planned on sliding in Lake Placid in an International Training Week as well as the final race of the season, U.S. National Championships.
Well, my plans for Park City fell through (mainly due to cost effectiveness) and just 2 days after coming back from across the pond I found myself in my car enduring the 6.5 hour drive to LP!
I spent February working for ORDA- the Olympic Regional Development Authority- the group that runs all Olympic venues in Lake Placid, including the bobsled, skeleton and luge track at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. There wasn’t a whole lot of sliding time available in LP, but as a resident athlete at the OTC, housing is free. So I slid when track time was available and made some money in the meantime!
On to U.S. National Championships….National Championships are open to all U.S. male and female skeleton sliders. The athlete with the lowest combined time over four heats is determined the winner. That means you’ve gotta show up, ready to go on both race days. One good run won’t win you this one.
Usually Nationals are a week-long, and end with us racing on the weekend. A scheduling conflict at the OTC cut our Nationals down to four days- 2 official training days followed immediately by our 2 race days. It was quite an adjustment!
I was excited for Nationals but my hips were not! Pushing a skeleton sled is pretty rough on our hips; running bent over is not a normal function of our bodies and over the course of the season, it really takes its toll. Typically, my hip flexors are very tight and require additional stretching, rehab and treatment. By the time my season is complete, my hips are ready for a break! This go round was no exception- pushing at the start was really difficult for me during Nationals and although I gave the best effort, it seemed like there was no power behind my stride and I felt like I was going nowhere!
Fortunately, I was able to thread together some decent runs over the course of the two days, and it was good enough for SILVER! I say “decent” because I was not at my best throughout this racing series and I know that I have so much more to offer than what I showed. While I’m pleased with ending the season on a positive note, I was really hoping to finish a bit stronger!
Now that Nationals are over, I’ll remain in Lake Placid for another week or so for some additional sliding before returning home for the month of April for some much needed family time and R&R! The countdown to off-season training begins!