I am happier today. Much happier. Don’t panic, I haven’t been sad recently but the last couple of days have been frustrating to work through during and after the sessions to find answers to my unknowns. Friday we doubled up the sessions and following a great (single) run last Wednesday morning I was not able to continue this feeling. It was hard because, as I blog posted, I could not work out why I was going wrong and therefore how to fix this. Yesterday was the same. Just the one session and all three runs did not find the solution to my issues. There was definitely progression in some places, but the focus points which were further up the top of the course, and near the start, were tricky. Again, when things are not smooth at the top they have a pin ball effect down the bottom. You can fix these issues but it is hard, and to be honest we have not been taught how to make Plan Bs whilst sliding so we have to use our untaught intuition – tough one!
So as I said, I have not been unhappy but I have been thinking (probably too much) about things. Naturally I want answers, and my over-analytical mind took control. All through my sporting life I have had technical features to overcome, and I have conquered them or made things better through the feedback that I have processed myself from different sources of information – whether that be coaches, video or data (in some capacity). Unfortunately this took effect on me, away from the track. I spent extra time on my sled yesterday trying to visualise things. I went through my runs in my mind more so. I was too much in my head, and this stopped me from socialising the way I usually would which was noticed by others. I spent the rest of the day just getting on with things, socialising where I could trying to relax and take my mind off things and just be myself.
Ended up watching a film last night – ‘Jobs’ – with the second half in bed. Most people know I am an Apple lover so I was in my element. Drifted off to sleep afterwards and I got a great sleep in, most likely due to the unknown efforts of Ash turning the heating down so the room was cool (as I love it). 88% sleep quality on the sleep analysis app, much much better than any other day since I have been here. I woke up feeling ready to learn on my track walk ahead of the afternoons session and following a quick (first) breakfast we hit the top of the track. The group were split at this point for the first time in the camp, which can hit you if you are not careful. I want to progress further up the track with the others but I was held back, understandably, and I had to have a reality check and remember what I am in control of. I needed to work on some more things and I was okay with this, if anything it gave me a little fire in the belly to really focus and nail it. I track walked with coach Patrick and three other athletes, two of the guys are having similar outcomes and there was a predominant focus on them using head steers in the corners to help their lines. It was like a lightbulb moment. Why have I not been consciously using my head to steer better lines into the corner? It seemed like my naivety of following instructions and not exploring within some boundaries was potentially hindering me. Track walk done and I completely wrote out my track notes from scratch, including these additional head steers. Food for thought, something new to try. Talking of food, we got back from the track walk and we hit a second breakfast. Back to the cabin, visualisation, preparation for the session and even time for a cup of tea.
Turned up at the track and barring a couple of discrepancies it was the same as usual. Prep the sled, get the tubigrip on, put my body suit on (this was new for today) and then warm clothes on before getting the warm up started. Went through my track notes, a few visualisation runs and then waited for the guys further up to start their runs before my go. I head outside and lie my sled on the ice, lie down and breath out. I feel ready to try a couple of new things but also hope that things click into place. I set off and things are going okay, I use the head steers and I feel the sled moving the way I want it, lining me up into the corner just as I want. Speed is picking up and I come out of corner 5 with a head steer into 6 that gets me in a much better position that before. Confidence builds. Labyrinth is next, my problematic area. I guide up late into corner 7 which is what I need and I apply the steer, I come out and take a scuff off the wall like previously but this time I am already looking to corner 8 and my sled comes into the corner well. Set up so nicely into 9, 10, 11 and 12 it was exactly like how I felt like Wednesday where things just glided through. The two oscillations in 12 felt great (and subtle, which is good) and I had a nice line into 13, caught the steer well and continued this progression all the way to the end of the course. I finished and sighed with relief, a weight lifted off. I spoke with coach Woody and spoke well about my 12-13 section where he said he was happy for me to move up to the start between corner two and three – exactly what I wanted. There is not much to elaborate on my second run from the higher start except more speed and more pressure, but it felt smooth and right throughout. Definitely areas to work on still, but an improvement. The runs excited me today, I really enjoyed the second run and the additional speed. Having felt like I nailed a few things I can relax and be myself again, then prepare with a good focus on Tuesday. Session was finished after the second run and I got out at the top to find I reached 105kph on my first run today – 65mph. Icing on the cake of what had been a challenging training block. Now to consolidate this Tuesday and (hopefully) move to the start of the track and really add speed and pressure. Exciting times ahead.
Rest of the day consisted of lunch, video review, ice bath, sled work and relaxing/socialising with everyone. Day off tomorrow so whilst everyone is hating on their Monday, I will be in bed 🙂