March 27, 2009: Disgust

Author’s Note: I consider these entries as my journal so I don’t like to sugarcoat anything or pretend everything is going great when it’s not. I want to reflect all sides of my athletic journey: the good, the bad, and certainly the ugly. And while overall I am positive and confident I’ll make the Olympics, every now and then I have bad days and like to write about them immediately and exactly as I feel.

Isola 2000, France – My first race back was not stellar. Not stellar at all. In fact I’m so disgusted with myself I can barely look in the mirror. I’m so pissed off I’m beyond tears. I just want to have an out of body experience and punch myself in the face and yell, “What the bleep are you doing!?”

I slept pretty well last night and started the day with a positive attitude. I inspected the course and it looked fast and fun. Great, I was excited. I mimicked the race start strategy that worked from my last race (relaxed and smiley until a few minutes before my start where I focused on the course and intended to ‘flow like water’). I came out of the start gate rather slowly and the girl I was racing gained a little bit ahead of me in the flats. Coming over the pitch I set up really well and carved my toeside cleanly (someone later said that there was no spray on that toeside, a sign of a clean carve). But then I pinched the next heelside gate and my board was set straight down the hill when the next gate was way over to the left. When I realized I had to get way the heck over, the only way I could do that was to get my board perpendicular to the fall line (line going down the hill) so I jammed on my back foot to make the board turn. But I put too much pressure and slipped out onto my backside. I recovered but had to crawl over to make the next gate, went around that gate and it was either that toeside or the next one where I leaned in, lost my balance and fell onto my bad shoulder and slid a bit. Well I got up from that and finished my course in 16th, barely making the cut for the second run. (Only top 16 in each course get a second run.)

I wasn’t too disappointed in that run even with the two falls. I was really charging it over the pitch and wasn’t prepared for the speed and turny-ness of the course. But before my second run I felt fear. Fear of not being able to hold a turn and crashing and injuring myself. Fear of going too fast and out of control and crashing and hurting myself. And the thing is that you’re likely to hurt yourself when you’re thinking you’re afraid of hurting yourself.

For my second run I really had nothing to lose since it was virtually impossible for me to make the finals (top 16 overall times). So I figured I’d better give it all I got, but subconsciously I had something else in mind: a safe run, a finish-the-course run. I pulled out of the start and had a clean, but not very fast, flat section. (Someone later said it looked like I was out for a Sunday drive; good line but not really pushing it.) And coming into the pitch, I stood up pretty tall and hesitated. My board didn’t stop or lose speed, but I do remember sucking in my breath and for a split second everything seemed like it was in slow motion. I wasn’t nearly as aggressive as the first run and I took a very round line but was slide-y on my turns. Didn’t let the board run, especially on my heelside. Held on too long with the pressure. Was afraid of the board snap. To put simply, I was running scared.

I ended up beating the girl I was racing, but overall ended 32nd. Despicable. Frustrating. I should have done way better but I let my fears get the best of me. The fact is I don’t feel confident. I don’t trust my board. I don’t trust my body. I don’t feel like myself. I know that coming off from an injury takes time, but really how many excuses am I going to give myself for not going fast?

But it is the first race back and I’m trying to be patient with myself. I could also be slightly jet-lagged. My friend who dislocated her shoulder at a race said it took her a full year until she felt comfortable running gates again. A year! I don’t have that much time. I’ll give myself until tomorrow, but I’d better get my act together for tomorrow’s race. If I repeat today, I don’t know what I’ll do.

Isola, France - Before the start of the race

Isola, France - Before the start of the race


1 Response to “March 27, 2009: Disgust”

  1. 1 kayano14 March 28, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Keep focusing on the next race Eden and best of luck! You’ve worked so hard to be there.

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