2009 Year In Review

The tenth year I have trained seriously for wildwater is coming to a close.  My first senior wildwater world championships were at Treignac, France in 2000, and it’s possible that my last will be in 2010 at Sort.  There were times this year when I struggled with training.  And yet, many things went well.  Sponsorship was new to me this year, with KEEN, Clif Bar, and Immersion Research signing on with USA Wildwater.  I won my 7th national championship in June, and placed in the top ten in the world cup for the first time.

January through June was pretty good.  I trained decently, and my time trials steadily improved.  I set a few PRs heading into nationals, and was pretty happy about my speed by the FiBArk festival.  I did well at Nationals, and came out of it thinking that I could get a little faster before I headed for the world cup.  I didn’t really have my usual benchmarks to compare myself to, but I felt powerful and fast (Chris Hipgrave didn’t compete and John Pinyerd hurt his shoulder a couple of weeks before the races).

In July and August, I found it difficult to train well.  I usually take some time off from training at that time of year, and I wonder if my body was screaming against the unusual abuse.  September was a stressful month due to work and school starting.  October began, and I started to adjust, but then I came down with swine flu.  I left five days later for Tasmania, and performed well, all things considered.  But my 6th overall is colored in my mind by the knowledge that many of the fastest racers were not at the world cup.  I suppose that part of racing is showing up, and that a few of my races were the best percentages I’ve had, but I still wonder.  It’s sometimes hard for me to put paddling in perspective.  Tasmania is an amazing place, and I have been truly blessed to be able to travel there and race.  The Ouse race will always stand out to me as a great experience.  And I need a little more time and distance from racing before I can understand what I’ve done.

As I head into January and the next major push, I need to work hard, but take myself less seriously.  I want to train as well as I ever have, to be flying by June, and to be able to relax enough to have fun.

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