• Maddie Phaneuf

Let it go

As the title suggests, and if you read my last post, I didn’t have the best racing experience last weekend for the opening World Cup team trials. I came into the weekend feeling prepared and ready to attack…but I came out feeling disappointed, angry at myself, and just plain sad. So, how do you get over the bad races and what can you learn from these experiences?

I had to reference Frozen at least once...

I’ve been told by teammates and coaches that I’m resilient. I’m pretty good at letting things go and not holding onto the bad races for longer than needed. This is a great skill to have, especially when you’re a biathlete or a skier.

If you’re only focusing on the bad performances and the mistakes that you made, you’re going to continue making those mistakes and having bad performances. It’s perfectly acceptable and encouraged to analyze your race, realize what needs to be done differently for the next race, but then you need to move on. Whatever it is you need to do to let out your frustration, go do that! Some of my go-to’s include…going for a run with my music on, crying (this usually happens immediately after the bad race), eating chocolate while watching Netflix, yoga, and being around my friends almost always cheers me up.

A good cup of chai and a book also does the trick

I’ve learned a lot from my own experiences, but I’ve also learned from my teammates. Last year, my former teammate Hannah Dreissigacker was having a string of disappointing results and was not in a happy place. She was even contemplating retiring in the middle of the race season, but I’m so thankful she decided to stick with it…because the second half of her season was great to watch. She was resilient and made a great comeback, with top 10 finishes on the IBU Cup, top 30 finishes on the World Cup, and racing the 2016 World Championship team with a top 20 result, and even qualified for the Mass Start! It was so fun to watch her finish her season strong.

Another teammate that constantly motivates me is Susan Dunklee. Like every athlete, she has her highs and lows during the race season. I remember watching her race the Mass Start in Canmore last season, and at one point I thought “Where did Suz go?!”…unfortunately she didn’t have a great race, dirtying a stage and finishing in last place. I was sad for her, but happy to see that she finished rather than just giving up because she was having a bad race. The best part is, that following race weekend in Presque Isle, Susan ended up on the podium with a silver medal! This is a prime example of how you can’t let your lows bring you down, you’ve got to keep moving forward.

These ladies were always there for the ups and downs

I guess where I’m trying to get at is that you’re not defined by your bad races, you’re defined by how you handle those bad races. It’s helpful to know that every athlete experiences the lows, and has feelings of doubt and discouragement…you’re not alone. Tomorrows a new day, and there will be more races and opportunities to prove what you’re made of…so keep your chin up buttercup, and let it go!