This article was originally published on Grace Dafoe's website.
More greetings from Whistler! I find myself back out here again training for the next two AC races on January 16 & 17th, but decided to come out early to train in the international training week.
It's great seeing everyone I've met through the first half the season back here. It truly is paradise in Whistler, I love the atmosphere and the sliding centre staff are great and the ice is always in great condition.
I'm also excited to say I hit 132.74 KM/hr! The fastest I have ever gone on a skeleton sled. When I hit the bottom section of the track, the feeling was unlike anything I've felt before - tons of speed which makes corners 11-16 come at you incredibly quick. Nothing is natural about reacting at that speed, but it is so addicting.
That being said, the Whistler track hasn't been the easiest learning curve for me. I am grateful that I came out here in December, as that allowed me to have the track fresh in my mind before coming here, and allowed me to go from the top on day 1 of the training week, but the ice is a lot faster that it was in December.
Standing up top for my first run of the week (and 3rd run ever from the top), the guy before me hit 134km/hr. My heart was racing and I had to block it out of my mind and prepare to get going on my run. It was not a clean run by any means, but the fastest I've gone, while still dropping a runner (and almost flipping) on a key corner.
Since then I've had a few decent runs, took a day off to watch, just to keep my body healthy (sliding here takes a ridiculous toll on my body), and was back at it today with a less than stellar run. I can clearly visualize what each corner looks like and the steers I'm supposed to execute, but me being impatient, I am not executing properly....
This left me incredibly frustrated, as it is expensive to be out here and be training, why am I not executing? When will this track and I finally make friends and work together?
Then I had to remember that this is fun. I choose to do this sport, as much as it terrifies me sometimes and this is just part of the process. I'm still a fairly new slider and this is a terrifying and difficult track. I shouldn't be expecting too much of myself. The frustration is part of the journey, I just have to accept that.
Although it does cross my mind if I'm doing the right thing, mostly just because of how expensive it is, and the toll it takes on my personal life and school goals. Only for less than a second, then I go back to realizing how much I love sliding and what the sport has given me in my life in such a short time.
A great article was published on the price of the olympic dream.
You can see it here
It's true, chasing the olympic dream can send you in to debt. That being said, I'm incredibly lucky to have my parents and whole extended family behind me. Without the support (emotional & financial) from my parents, this would not be possible.
I am not a carded athlete yet, so I received zero compensation for my athletic commitments. I pay my own race fees, cost of travel and accommodation where we are racing, my own team fees to Alberta Skeleton ($2300), plus the cost of specialized equipment, training, and not to mention that with my studies, it is absolutely almost impossible to have a good job as well. So far, this has added up to almost $8000 this season. This doesn't include my off season training or rehabilitative expenses (physio, chiro etc) to keep my body in working condition. Not that I am complaining, it takes work and results to get sponsorship, and carding money and all that jazz, but the road there is tough, with very little support, except from your close family and friends. That is why I am thankful that my parents allow me to chase my dreams and have encouraged me to do that my whole life.
A whole lot of realizations today after 1 bad run here on the Whistler track. Pushing on tomorrow to try and get on with it and start getting along with this track. I don't want to just race in Whistler, I want to race to the best of my ability.
Send me safe & fast thoughts this week, I'll be needing them.