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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Top 12 List: A Retrospective

2016…that’s a wrap (Reese Brown photo)

Three years ago, I made it my goal to qualify for the Canadian World Cup Tour in 2016. I followed the goal planning process shared by ski mentors and champions before me and took to heart the advice that “you can do anything you set your mind to.” That’s how goals work right? You set big ones, make a plan to achieve them, tick off all of the training and racing boxes and three years later you bask in the glory of representing the U.S. in your first World Cup races.

Turns out ski racing is a little more complicated than that. Unexpected injuries or setbacks, changes in training or coaching, experiments that don’t work out as planned, not to mention the social and emotional side of racing can interfere with the straightforward goal planning and execution. Even a perfectly laid out plan may not yield the desired result. Facing this reality was a bitter pill for me to swallow, especially during the early season. Despite my knowledge that skiing is “all about the process,” I badly wanted the results and the word failure came to mind when I didn’t achieve them.

The thing is, there is this big space between failure and success, a gray area that seems to be ignored in the dichotomy of winning and losing. However, somewhere in that space offers the biggest opportunity for growth. One of my favorite athletes/inspiration gurus, Alexi Pappas, has a quote pinned to the top of her Twitter feed that reads “good thing I didn’t accomplish all of my goals yet because then what would I do tomorrow.” I am so excited to take on new goals and new ambitions and kick off the 2016-17 training year this week (!!!). Despite falling short of one of my big goals, I had a lot to celebrate last year and even found some space for growth. With a little luck that growth may pay dividends in the future. But first, a quick look back on my top twelve (10 was too hard) moments of 2015-2016…

MY TOP 12 

1. Race for the Cure in July. Nothing like sharing a hammer-fest road race in honor of your mom with your best buds in pink in the pouring rain to make for a top 12 moment of the year.

2. My first cross-fit workout: incredibly painful, humbling, sweaty and somehow still fun..? Thanks Craftsbury for the intro and teamies for the cheering.

I’m still here…I’m still breathing…woof

3.  2-for-1 intervals in Lake Placid: I had never done two interval sessions in one day before, but there is something extremely satisfying about testing your body in that way and the workouts were two of my favorites all year.

Skate in the morning (Reese Brown photo)

Classic in the afternoon (Reese Brown photo)

3. Annual Salute to Women: Women’s Sports Foundation Gala-surrounded my so much lady power!!!

3. My first ski race after breaking my elbow: I finished an unimpressive 21st. But I was skiing and that was worth celebrating.

And so begins the up and up!

4. Dancing to Taylor Swift with my teammate Annie Hart before racing in the A-final sprint in Houghton at U.S. Nationals. A few years ago, I struggled to even qualify for the top 30 at U.S. nationals and coaches would chuckle at my “sprint” racing. Many hours of practice and speed sessions later I was thrilled to be in the A-Final at U.S. Nationals. Racing alongside my teammate who went on to finish 2nd that day was icing on the cake and we prepped for the final by sharing our best T-Swift dance moves.

5. Crossing the finish line in 5th at U.S. Nationals. This was big for me-after breaking my elbow and losing some of my edge both physically and mentally in November, I was thrilled to secure a best ever result at U.S. Nationals after finishing 21st just a month earlier.

(SkinnySki photo)

6. Watching the Slovenian World Cups: watching the top racers in the world up close is both incredibly inspiring and somewhat humbling. The experience gave me a picture for where I want to be and is an image I come back to often. Bonus: I got to see Andy!

7. My first SuperTour first: I have finished on the SuperTour podium during previous seasons but I had never won a SuperTour race and the feeling is hard to beat. The best part may have been the hugs from my teamies and coaches afterward. No, I hadn’t won a world cup or even U.S. Nationals. But after standing by me during a  frustrating fall and start to the season and a lot of hard one-armed sessions later, they understood the feeling better than anyone.

All of the feels with Annie P (Lazenby photo)

8. Finishing 3rd in my first American Birkebeiner: Definitely put the Birkie at the top of your ski race wish list. I had no idea what to expect for my first real 50km but I loved every minute of it and look forward to racing it again.

(American Birkebeiner photo)

9. Tagging off from Coach Pat in the annual Club Relay at U.S. Spring Nationals. You know you have a special team when your coach will race a leg of the relay to help field two full teams. I had the pleasure of tagging off from Pat for the final anchor leg and I have seen few coaches willing to go that deep in the pain cave for a little team pride.

(Reese Brown photo)

10. 30km at Spring Nationals in Craftsbury, VT: striding it out wiped and euphoric from a long hard race to close out the 2015-16 season.

(Gary Solow photo)

 

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