Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stop and smell the roses

As an athlete I am constantly striving for more.  I always want to run faster or to lift heavier so that I am able to perform at the highest possible level.  I think that is what pushes me to be great, but can also be considered one of my greatest downfalls.  It is important as an athlete to not only push yourself, but also equally important to appreciate each and every road block and the gains made along the way. This is something that is easy for me to say to other athletes, but a lot harder for me to put in practice. 

When I first started sliding I remember feeling very insecure about how weak and small I was compared to the other athletes.  I remember being in Germany and having to share a squat rack with the Canadian women and being mortified when I had to ask them to take off  weight so that I could work in with them.  I had always considered myself a pretty decent athlete.  I had a successful college track and field career, but this sport was a whole new beast for me.  I went home after that day in the weight room and I cried my eyes out. I felt so inadequate and knew that I had a long road in front of me if I was going to have a chance of becoming an Olympian.  I vowed that day that I would never feel that way in the weight room again.  I guess I have not really stopped to appreciate those days back in 2007 when I was a quiet, scared, 23 year old girl taking on what felt like an intangible dream.  I have come a long way since those days.  I am now known more for my strength and have transformed my body to a more ideal shape for a bobsled push athlete.  Of course our sport is constantly evolving and growing and I am always pushing myself to be the best I am capable of, but as I mature as an athlete and a person I am learning to reflect on the path that has gotten me to this point.  It is a path full of bumps, bruises, tears and a whole hell of a lot of hard work, but one that I would never change.   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Competition Produces Excellence

I am the second of four girls.  My older sister, Amber, is only thirteen months older then me, so course we were very competitive growing up.  I remember always trying to out do her and live up to all of her accomplishments.  Amber, who is now well sought after high school teacher, is very intelligent and one of the more naturally gifted athletes I have known.  In high school she received high grades and was a stand out athlete, which was often hard for me to live up to.  At the time I didn’t really know it, but reflecting back I realize that she is a major reason I am the athlete I am in today.  I was often discouraged when we were younger and we would race in our backyard.  This was tradition started by my Grandmother when every Christmas my cousins and I would try and beat her in a foot race for a prize!

Luckily I was able to beat my Grandmother, but I am not sure if I was ever able to beat my sister.  This was something very small that continued to push me.  I worked very hard to keep up with her athletic gift.  The work ethic I learned helped me be successful in high school and college athletics and is something I still carry with me in the Bobsled world.  I believe that with hard work anything can be possible… I think it may be time to challenge my sister to a race again!