Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Reality Check: Do I live in Kate Land?

Alright. Monday was the first day on snow for the group of people who are training to try out for the Demo team in 2012. It was an awesome day, super specific, and we went out there to delve into ideas pertaining to rotation and rotary skills.

We wanted to know what we believed about rotary, what was ideal, what was real, and if any of us could execute specifically. It was a very productive day to go deep into one idea, and we had a very open forum.

We started with side-slips, the hockey slides, then pivot slips. In the afternoon session, we took what we'd learned in the low end maneuvers and looked at short radius reaching turns and short swing turns.

To be honest, I got a little distracted from the theoretical, and technical conversation, and started focusing on my specific task of changing my skiing, trying to stay open to the ideas all around me.

I've spent so much time trying to turn my legs independently under a pelvis that is facing open down the hill that I've lost the task. My upper and lower body were completely separate, and I was very much on my uphill foot.

So while the group delved into ideals of rotary, I listened, but started asking some questions about the task itself, even though for our purposes, the task was supposed to be a vehicle for the discussion.

I got some great feedback, and I found a through line into my short turns from my pivot slips. Megan had me connect my torso to the activity again, bringing my body actively into the task in a quiet, but effective way. Will had me think of the pivot as a retraction turn, and Josh had me do it independently, so I'm retracting the downhill leg while pressuring the uphill leg, pretty much what I'm working on in short turns, not extending off both.

I've been through the two legged extension issue a couple of times, and it creeps back into my skiing, frustratingly enough.

Earlier in the season, I skied with Weems, and he had told me that I wasn't inside the turn enough. I had been working so hard on not dumping and on reducing my tip lead that I'd climbed right back onto my skis and was once again massively over angulated.

The combination of all of those things led to short turns in the afternoon that felt snappy, but that STILL don't have a top. Megan and Schanzy asked me to begin the turn not with an edging move, but with a rotation of the femur to the inside of the turn. I did this, and the ski hooked up a lot higher, but my knees were not loving it. I was getting rocked for and aft, although I was finally bending the ski.

The primary focus of the start of every turn was "rotate IN", which was followed by "EXTEND!" then "SOFTEN!" then "ROTATE IN!". It was happening occasionally, but I was rarely aligned well enough to get the ski to bend predictably, or for the edge to be there for me to trust at the top of the turn. It felt like a huge crap shoot to get the ski to bend reliably, and therefore I was scared.

I wanted to trust it, I wanted to stand on it, but it just wasn't reliably biting at the top of every turn, I'd step on it and it would push the ski away from me, hooking up at the apex and accelerating me into the back seat.

I felt change happen, but I had one of those moments where I was worried that the synthesis of everything I needed to do to make this turn happen would take weeks and weeks of integration work.

I got very single minded, as focused as I could on pulling these pieces together with the rotation being the driving ideal. But it was hit and miss.

We went down to watch the video and I was not really super psyched at what I saw. Everything improved on each run, for sure, and I got a nice compliment on my ability to make change in my skiing, but sitting there and watching just how far I am from where I need to be was disheartening to say the least.

I wondered, as the talk swirled around me, if I was insane to try this. Did I belong in this room? I feel like I have something to offer, but I know that on this day, my need to bring my skill up superceeded my ability to contribute well to the technical conversation. And I know it will again and again, because that's where I am and what I need.

At the end of the meeting, I took Megan aside. "Megan, can I ask you a question? Do you think I can do this? I mean, really?"

I needed to ask. I don't want to be in a world where people are like, "Humor her. She's insane, but its fun to watch." I need the hard answers. Megan took me seriously. "Yes, you can do this. You might not make the regional team by next year, but you can petition your way into Nationals. It will be hard. A lot of hard work. But you have the talent to do this, Kate."

She wasn't bullshitting me. She made some recommendations, such as going to Rossi Race Camp rather than Academy this year, and going to Chile next fall to train for a few weeks.

I came home feeling a bit shell shocked. I knew I had a long way to go. But for some reason, I thought I'd get a small breather this season in the intensity of my training. My mom looked at me when I came in the door.

"What's up honey?"

"Mom, I feel like I've been avidly reading a book for three years and I just found out I'm on page two of a 22,000 page book. I have to rededicate. I have to completely focus on this, or I'm not going to make it."

"Well, you can't do that without help. That's why I'm moving here. Go do it. What did Megan say?"

"She said I could do it. She said it would be hard."

"Then go do it honey. That's why I'm here. Go get your ski books out and do your homework every night with Ethan and Bodhi. Go train. I'll be here with the kids. I'll help you."

I stood there, realizing one more time how incredibly blessed I am to have a mom who is willing to give me this gift. Because she is here, my rent is cheap, my home is comfortable, my kids have a consistent stable heart to hug, I can go to Movement Analysis and team training and lectures a few evenings a week. I can be with my kids in the morning and after school and on those few nights a week, she can put them to bed, and it doesn't cost me $60 or $80 every night that I need to do that.

Because of my mom, I can actually pursue this. I can dedicate myself to my kids and my goal, while making enough money to care for my kids.

I texted Weems. "What time tomorrow?" Time for me to go learn to bend my ski.

1 comment:

dave said...

I love it, for all the years I've skied, and the level I think I'm at...and I don't have a clue what you were talking about with rotating and stuff. Some day you'll have to give me a lesson:)

Regarding improving your skiing, remember 2 things:

1) you may not always improve where you planned, but if you ski b/c you're loving it, you will improve.

2) that skiing is so much fun, even if you don't improve, you still love it:)

cheers.
Dave d.