November 5, 2009: Overcoming Pain

Copper Mountain, Colorado – Last night I massaged the life out of the muscle or tendon on the outside of both ankles. My back leg was hurting twice as much as my front leg so I really focused on that and work on it to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. Throughout the night I woke up and felt both sore legs, and when I got up this morning they were really sore.

But I just sucked it up, booted up and went up on the mountain. We were training an extra long course which could really aggravate my legs, but I decided to just ignore it and hope for the best. Right off the bat my front foot leg started hurting, probably accelerated by skating on that front foot (back foot out of the binding) when setting the course. Not the best start to the day, but what could I do?

Since there were so many terrain changes, my focus for the day was to get forward, forward, forward. Getting late in such a long and fast course would not only lose the race but also had the potential for a major mistake and crash. My first run felt pretty good and smooth. It actually was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be; the snow was really good and the set flowed well. By the end of the run I was out of breath but my body felt good.

The rest of the day went well. I continued to focus on getting forward and Coach Mark said I need to carry my toeside turn across the hill a bit more so I could set up better for my heelside. I had some mistakes here and there, including a very close encounter with the same fence as yesterday, but overall I felt strong and aggressive, and I’m gaining a real understanding of what I need to do and what it feels like to do it. Even during the run when I felt like I was rushing through it I had to keep reminding myself to ‘relax, relax’ (just like in my 5k race). And it helped to keep my energy up and slow down the turn transitions and really feel the carve. Unfortunately on my last run of the day I hit a ball of ice on my toeside and fell hard on my stomach and slid but I was really going for it. Ice balls usually aren’t in a race course so that shouldn’t happen again.

My front leg hurt a lot when I was just standing around and on the lift, but I didn’t feel it when riding. My back leg had no pain at all during the day. I think it is due to the fact that when I was riding yesterday I was jamming down from edge to edge and those specific muscles took the brunt of that. Today I focused on slowing the transitions down (down-up-down-up as opposed to staying down and switching edges so brutally) and I believe that solved most of the problem. (I also wore thicker socks which may have helped.)

At the end of the day Coaches Mark and Shan said I had some really good turns and that I was going for it and being aggressive, especially coming over the knoll (where all I thought was ‘get forward, get forward’). Coach Mark even said it was like a new Eden out there. He added that if I continue to ride like that while keeping a good line (i.e. minimizing my mistakes) then I’ll be in good shape for the races. Yay!

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