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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Hitting the mark, missing it, and everything in between.

We’re starting our second Tour event of the season tomorrow! But before I get into race stories, a really fun announcement that I’d like to highlight…the registration for my book launch party is up! We’re hosting it at the Stillwater Area High School (so my English teachers can grade my final project) because they have enough space to fit everyone who wants to come! The signup link is below:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/book-launch-for-brave-enough-with-jessie-diggins-olympic-gold-medalist-and-hometown-hero-tickets-89882836985

I’ll be speaking, sharing a recap of the past year’s races, as well as some of the highlights from the book. We’ll cover the process of going from a pair of 3-pin binding skis at youth club to racing on the world’s biggest stage. We’ll talk about the ups and downs of ski racing, learning how to deal with pressure, being a woman in sport and what I hope people will learn about body image from my book. 

When I first got to see the advanced copy, around Christmas!

Then you’ll get to hear from both Todd and I as he leads a Q&A session, before we sign books and take photos. I’m really looking forward to sharing this book launch event with everyone, and celebrating the end of the season! 

The event is free and open to all, but please register for your ticket so they know how many people to expect! When you register for your ticket, the “price” is listed as $0-26.73 because there is also a book pre-order option for those who would like to order their book and have it signed at the event. There is also a donation option, for the ArtReach St. Croix to further fund their literary arts book programming…and those donations will be split between ArtReach, WithAll and Protect Our Winters. 

Now back to racing…it’s been interesting for me, navigating pressure and the expectations of others in a post-2018 Olympic world. I have had a podium since the Tour, but also been so tired I wondered if I was going to collapse before reaching the finish line. I’ve made good choices, and some spectacularly dumb ones. 

Getting ready for the next set of races with Cork in the wax truck (photo by US Ski and Snowboard)

While racing in Nove Mesto, I had difficulty connecting to my body while racing. This seems a strange thing to say and even stranger now that I’m writing it, but it’s true! After the Tour de Ski and a little time off, getting back to racing felt like something my body wanted to do while my brain was saying “eeeehhhhhh…but really? Why?” 

When lunging at the line, always make the most ridiculous face possible. (photo by Nordic Focus)

In Oberstdorf, the 15km skiathlon was a rough day for me as I was pushing absolutely as hard as I could…with a gas tank that was only about half full. I felt tired and low energy, but not on low mental energy, which made it very frustrating. The next day I rallied back, reasoning to myself that even if I was tired for a 15km race, anything can happen in a sprint. And anything DID happen, as I pulled off 3rd place on the podium! Classic sprinting…who knew, right? 

Racing in the 15km skiathlon…and doing the head tilt that happens when I’m super tired but pushing hard anyways. (photo from US Ski and Snowboard)
Look ma, no feet on the ground! (photo by US Ski and Snowboard)
I don’t know why I make these faces. I can’t help it. (Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard)
A slightly more normal looking podium shot. (Photo: Ben Merrill/U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

We then scooted over to Seefeld for a mini training camp, during the only weekend that was without World Cup races the entire winter. After a chance to live in apartments and try to get over the homesickness that was starting to tug at me, it was time to get back to business in Sweden. 

Road trip! We stopped in Mittenwald, Germany for a lunch break and loved all the painted buildings.
Alayna and I enjoying some sunny skiing!
Caitlin, Rosie, Alayna, David and I about to embark on a 4-minute long sled run…after a 45 minute hike up to the top. Earn your turns, sledding style!

Falun was a bizarre weekend for me. The morning of the classic sprint race, I woke up with a super tweaked neck. I had managed to strain a muscle by sleeping funny, and it was an intense kind of pain that I wasn’t used to. Our entire sport is pretty much based on handling pain and discomfort during a race, but at least you’re in control of it; you could always back down the pace if you choose. This kind of pain was foreign to me, and while getting it worked on I started to tip over, recognizing the signs that I was about to pass out. I felt silly, with this loss of control. My trademark is being good at pain tolerance, so why I was starting to faint from a silly neck muscle pain? Luckily for me, we had our amazing volunteer PT Zuzana Rogers there, and she checked me out and made sure it was safe for me to race. Every time I planted my poles I felt unsettled, but I had set my mind on racing, so I pushed through it (this was undeniably stupid of me). By Sunday, I was incredibly sore but without pain, and I thanked my lucky stars every time I planted my poles and was able to push as hard as I could around the course. 

An amazingly scary photo of the snow situation in Falun this winter, but a big thank you to the organizers for pulling it off! (photo by Nordic Focus)

But here’s the thing; the muscle strain was just an outward symptom of an overtired body. It wasn’t really about the neck at all. The problem wasn’t that I had almost passed out hours before the race, the problem was that I was extremely tired, my body was shutting down, and I was stubbornly insisting to myself that I was fine and ready to race. Even after 200-something World Cup races, it can be hard to be honestly in tune with your body and have the courage to rest when you need to. It’s something I’m (clearly) still working on. With that in mind, this week I cut my training load by a wide margin, and – surprise, surprise! – started to feel better and better through the week. I hadn’t realized how tired I was until I experienced what normal energy felt like! 

Trying to float instead of herringbone. My only thought at this moment was “ouch. this hurts.” (photo by Nordic Focus)

If there’s any kids reading this right now, here’s what I have to say about it: it’s ok to be human. It’s ok to have races that aren’t exactly what you wanted, as long as you fought hard for them. I know, because I’ve had a wide range of races these past few weeks, and you don’t always have to have perfect performances. The only thing you “have” to do is get out there and give it everything you’ve got. And that way, you’ll either have a great race, or learn something to take with you for next time! And if you have any injuries or suspected injuries, get them checked out right away! Not all pain is significant, but all pain is worth getting looked at to be sure it’s ok. 

Alayna, me, Julia, KO, Zuzana, Caitlin, Cork and JP all enjoying some much-needed sunshine!

So heading into this Tour of Scandinavia, my only goals are these: 

  • Be a good person (I mean, isn’t this on everyone’s goal list?)
  • Set very clear process-oriented goals for each race, like “keep my core locked in tight while v2-ing”
  • When I cross the finish line, be able to look back and honestly say I gave it all the energy I had that day.
  • Decide for myself if each race was a success or not – BEFORE I look at the results sheet – based on how I hit my own goals and the effort I was able to give.
Excited to get this tour going with my longtime coach and tech, Jason Cork! (photo by Nordic Focus)

We’re excited to get this tour rolling! And as a Valentine’s Day bonus…a photo of our family dog Leo looking so darn cute. 

I will never understand how he’s able to do that with his legs…but cute no matter what!

The Tour test of positivity

I didn’t mean to completely block the finish line by collapsing a mere two feet from it. When I finally dragged my tired and completely flooded body across the red line in the snow at the top of Alpe Cermis, my ski hit one of the pine boughs marking the finish, I tripped, and that was it. Once I was down I wouldn’t have been able to get up even if you were waving free tickets to Disneyland in front of my nose.  Awesome photo reposted from Ragnhild Haga…sorry I was right in your way at the finish, girl! I was so out of it that it took a good 30 seconds before I realized that the GPS pod in the back of my bib was digging into my spine. I treated it the same way I reacted to the spit I was sure I had all over my face:…

The TDS, explained in GIFs

Here we go, you guys. On the eve of the Tour de Ski 2019-20, I’ve put together a ridiculous interpretation comprehensive guide to life inside the Tour de Ski. It’s a wild ride, but it’s also my favorite event of the whole year because of it’s non-stop energy! When you’re not pumped about leaving Christmas behind. I had a really incredible week with my family over the Holiday break. It was our first Christmas together in 5 years, and although it flew by, we had an amazing time skiing together, sledding, baking cookies and just enjoying each other’s company. Family ski up Sertig valley! The tiniest of gingerbread houses! But now, it’s time for that thrill ride of a race series…the Tour! I’ll let the photos/gifs do most of the talking. Fuel is important (always), but especially when you have 7 races in 9 days. Eat up, kids. When you’re…

Race-day braids and Relay socks

This has been, without a doubt, the most exciting Period 1 of World Cup that I’ve ever had! It’s had it’s little ups and downs in the weeks between the races, but it’s been so much fun being part of a team that’s killing it both on the race course and off. And it’s hard to believe that we’ve been over here for a whole month already!  Keeping the Beito plant baby alive…even on a 16 hour travel day from Ruka to Lillehammer! (photo from Sophie) We arrived in Lillehammer after some delays and extra flights. Honestly, I was relieved that I’d managed to not kill my little plant that I’ve been traveling with since Beitostølen. Curiously enough, no eyebrows were raised in customs each time I marched through the airport clutching this bundle of little white flowers and green leaves…but the flight attendants seemed to really love it.  Psyched…

Bust out the Sparkles!

Before I get into the race tales, I have received a number of questions about my book, Brave Enough, so I thought I’d take the hottest of seconds to go through those. First of all, thank you all so much for the positive messages and excitement! After 18 months of hard work, I’m pretty over the moon about the book coming out for real on March 10th!  Leo the handsome doggy is excited about the book, it seems! A lot of you have asked about the best way to buy the book, and the answer is 1.) pre-order that cute little sucker! and 2.) if possible, order it from your local bookstore. The Indiebound and Barnes and Noble links on my website should take you right to where you can pre-order it. I’ve also gotten questions about how to get a signed copy, and the mnworldcup.com site has a tab…

I wrote a book!

I am so excited to finally “officially” share some really big news…I wrote a book, called Brave Enough! And my website got a much needed update! And…I’m currently in Beitostølen, Norway, skiing in a winter wonderland, so life is good all the way around.  My book cover! Our “morning commute” from the apartment to the wax truck in Beitostølen The website update seemed obvious, and a huge thanks to Doug DeBold and Zach McGill for their awesome work! But why would you write a book, Jessie? (I asked myself this many times, especially around the 200 hour mark of working on it). Weeks after the Olympics, I was approached about writing a book. I thought “eh, that’s cool…but seems like a lot of work. No way, dude.”  Then I did the ESPN body issue shoot, and decided to share more of my history with an eating disorder. And the weirdest…

My Barbie doll is jealous of my biceps.

I’ve only lost my cool in the gym once in my life. I was lifting weights early in the morning my senior year of high school, intent on being able to do 3 sets of pull-ups like I’d seen the senior athletes do at regional training camps. I was serious about training hard for cross country skiing, which meant that, like it or not, I was going to have to get serious about spending some time in the gym to get strong. I was getting ready to do my first set of pull-ups with some assistance from a rubber band when a football player walked up with his chest puffed out. “Move over, I’m about to do some REAL pull-ups.” he announced. “I need that bar.” I almost punched him in his smug, stupidly chiseled jaw. “These ARE real pull-ups.” I spat out. “You can just SIT AND WAIT!” I…

My Barbie doll is jealous of my biceps.

I’ve only lost my cool in the gym once in my life. I was lifting weights early in the morning my senior year of high school, intent on being able to do 3 sets of pull-ups like I’d seen the senior athletes do at regional training camps. I was serious about training hard for cross country skiing, which meant that, like it or not, I was going to have to get serious about spending some time in the gym to get strong. I was getting ready to do my first set of pull-ups with some assistance from a rubber band when a football player walked up with his chest puffed out. “Move over, I’m about to do some REAL pull-ups.” he announced. “I need that bar.” I almost punched him in his smug, stupidly chiseled jaw. “These ARE real pull-ups.” I spat out. “You can just SIT AND WAIT!” I…

Creating a new arena

“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backwards after taking a step forwards is not a disaster. It is a cha cha.” – Robert Brault I feel like the last few years have been big opportunities for learning more about myself; learning what I can do, what I can’t do (yet) and where I feel comfortable in the great balancing act of work, life, family time and outside commitments. It’s no secret that last summer I found myself completely overwhelmed by the number of things I was doing outside of training. I hadn’t allowed enough time for simply recovering and absorbing the crazy amount of training I was doing. As a result, I found myself feeling just a little bit emotionally and physically tired all the time…not enough to really notice it as it was happening, but with some hindsight, enough to notice that I feel much better this…

Creating a new arena

“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backwards after taking a step forwards is not a disaster. It is a cha cha.” – Robert Brault I feel like the last few years have been big opportunities for learning more about myself; learning what I can do, what I can’t do (yet) and where I feel comfortable in the great balancing act of work, life, family time and outside commitments. It’s no secret that last summer I found myself completely overwhelmed by the number of things I was doing outside of training. I hadn’t allowed enough time for simply recovering and absorbing the crazy amount of training I was doing. As a result, I found myself feeling just a little bit emotionally and physically tired all the time…not enough to really notice it as it was happening, but with some hindsight, enough to notice that I feel much better this…