I love to ski. This is fairly obvious, I think, but sometimes I get so wrapped up in the training and the racing and the results that I forget the big picture of how much I love to ski. The past couple years I've elevated cross country skiing above alpine or telemark, and this has arguably led me to being a faster racer. Being hypercompetitive, I need to see how fast I can possibly be, and I love the racing side of skiing as much as I love skiing. Cross country ski racing defines a large part of who I am at this point of my life.
After Saturday's race, I was feeling a little bummed out, despite not having had a bad race. I was completely wrapped up in my own little world of analyzing how to make those skis work, what to do about this sort of situation in the future, how my body performed, how to make it recover faster, all the little details that matter after a ski race. And then my ski buddy Randy showed up, and we skied all day Sunday, and I realized how much of the big picture I miss by just racing. Sure, we were training, but it was in complete contrast to the focus that most training has at this point. We were goofing around, telling jokes, planning trips, and most importantly, just enjoying the fact that we were on skis sliding over snow. It was great to ski with a non-racer, someone removed from the intensity of it all, who skis because he loves to ski and be in shape and still can outski his 12-year-old kid.
Having that sort of contrast in your life is a good thing, I think. For me to become the fastest ski racer I can, I have to observe all the details, I have to be focused in my workouts, I have to analyze races to learn from mistakes. But for me to become the best person that I can, I have to remember to have fun on my skis, and to share this joy with those around me. And I wouldn't be surprised if that helps the racing, too.