This month has been a very good month in terms of my pursuit of skeleton. I just got back to Austin after having spent 2 weeks in Lake Placid. Even though there were several ups and downs, I think my biggest take away is to relax when I’m going down that ice. Kind of ironic because I often get told to relax by Jesus when I’m panicked and desperate for answers. But I learned a ton and got some good feedback from Matt Antoine, Olympic medalist, and Stephen Garbett, one of our nation’s top sliders.
Next week I’m headed to Park City, UT for some sliding. My personal goal is to learn the new track quickly, meaning have some very good awareness of where I am at all times. This track is a lot faster than Lake Placid’s so I’m excited on plenty different fronts.
It’s been a while since my last update, but it’s my off season now and these past couple months have had some pretty good highlights.
In March, I competed in a Powerlifting Meet for the first time. My goal was to break the RPS World Record for squat in my weight class (75 Kg). The record was 515 lbs and my personal record is 500 lbs. I’d say the goal was within reach. However, at the meet, my quads locked up on me and I felt like I was about to pull a muscle, so I called it and decided it would be better to walk away from the meet somewhat (but not really) disappointed and HEALTHY, than to walk away limping because I’m injured. The other two lifts, bench press and deadlift went extremely well. Took away PRs in both lifts and set records for my gym, Austin Simply Fit. Overall, the meet was fun, but it was very drawn out—a lot of sitting around. I’d do it again, but probably next year.
April, so far, has been pretty good to me. It’s my birth month and my gym donated it’s opening anniversary towards my Olympic Dream and held a Crawfish Boil Fundraiser with me at the pot. We ended up raising just over $2000 which helped me purchase a pretty good Skeleton sled. Now, all I need to do is find a helmet that meets the requirements of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation. That is a herculean task, because they’re aren’t exactly the easiest to find. Adding to the list of goals for this off season and summer are to: gain strength, generate more explosiveness, gain weight (currently 165, trying to gain 20-30 lbs) and save enough money to support traveling for next season.
I have received so much love throughout this entire journey and I know God has so much more in store for me. If you’re wondering how to contribute to my success through prayer, praying for mental and emotional stability as I progress and learn the sport (it’s easy to get lost and look at how someone else is progressing compared to you), for strength in times when I feel like training isn’t going anywhere and for The Lord to continue to bless me with the finances as he has been up to this point.
Where to begin?! This week has been one of the best, most productive weeks of my life….in terms of skeleton anyway. I started kind of self-conscious and a little on the defensive side because I didn’t have the same opportunity that a couple other athletes had to stay at the OTC for several consecutive weeks. Tuesday was the worst day because for the first time my sled and I crossed the finish line at different times. I crashed and boy, did I feel isolated. I really just have never felt more unworthy and pathetic in my entire life. By mid week, though, the ice was warmer, slightly sticky and moist (if that makes sense) and that is where I began to reclaim my confidence and my sense of identity, which doesn’t lie in what other people are doing but in promises the The Father has for me.
Eastern Regional Championships was Friday, but it’s my first year, so I constantly told myself that it doesn’t really matter and my main focus needs to be to have fun and do the absolute best I can. I went in the day feeling great and focused. I went in confident in all my steering, both defensive and offensive. I went in knowing that my push had to be explosive and fast and strong. I went in not knowing, however, that my push, which is where the hopes and dreams of doing well lies, would die an icy death—I popped the groove. In skeleton, there’s no best out of anything. It’s the time of your total combined runs. So when my start was messed up before the beginning of my very first run, it was already over. That’s not even the worst part: I was so pissed and selfish minded at that point that I started to hope for my other teammates to fail. Obviously, that disturbed me, so I started to focus on everything I did right in the race and gave a little encouragement to a couple people around me. Eventually, my mood changed and I began to feel better about myself, my day and the sport.
Yes, it hurts that I didn’t have an accurate representation of my progress thus far, but I’m still confident I’m doing exceedingly well. So when I look back and evaluate my week, I’d say I’m thoroughly pleased. I have a long way to go and I’m ready for the ride.
Wow! What a week up here in Lake Placid. A nice solid week of sliding in, experienced some real central nervous system fatigue (see Twitter), and learn to steer the sled more confidently (not doing anything by accident.) One huge take away from the week is recovery. After 3-4 runs down the track from the top your focus is as good as gone, so I HAVE to get plenty of sleep, nutritious food, and stay as relaxed as possible in the morning and the hours leading up to the sliding sessions. Life in Austin would kill me if I tried to slide in addition to my normal life.
Anyway, I recorded a video with the GoPro on my helmet. Y’all are the first to see it. Justa small way of saying thank you for all your help and contributions.