Adapting to the unexpected- Looking towards 2021

In these times of fear and uncertainty I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. Since my last post, I have not actually raced any more world cups. Only a few days prior to our world cup event in Quebec City mid march, the COVID pandemic hit Canada and most of Europe at full force. The cancellation of our final race block of the season, our home World Cups, was crushing in the moment. Flying to Quebec City unsure if the races would run only to fly home two days later knowing that our season was over before the second half had even began. Traveling through Canadian airports just as the COVID-19 outbreak was starting to be taken seriously in North America. This was followed by spending 14 days in voluntary isolation in case we had picked up the virus being around international athletes and traveling through airports. My 3 days in Quebec City were a whirlwind of emotions, anxiety, hope, disappointment and fear.

Returning back home, I felt like I had been away much longer than a few days and I felt almost as tired as if I would have actually raced. As the COVID situation progressed quickly over that time, my feeling of personal disappointment shifted quickly to relief to be safely at home. It is incredible how over the span of a few days my perspective was able to change from the selfish athlete view; being upset that I couldn’t compete in the racing that I had been peaking for all year, to a perspective of gratitude for being safe and healthy,  just a small part of humanity, one of billions coexisting on this planet. I felt very lucky to be healthy and safe and to have a warm home with everything I need to stay healthy and safe in this time of uncertainty.

Now all I can really do is be patient, take this time to reflect and plan for when eventually we can get back to racing, interacting and traveling. In the meantime, I am grateful that my sport is an individual one and that the forest still welcomes me in many training forms. In such uncertain times, two years until the Olympics still seems far away but also way too soon. It is hard not to feel selfish when I narrow my vision and think about how to reach the pinnacle form of my career for February 2022 when I don’t even know when society will go back to functioning normally. I am so appreciative to all the healthcare workers and essential service workers who are putting in extra hours and putting themselves at risk to keep our country going. My heart goes out to those who have lost their jobs, knowing that all I can do for them right now is do my part and stay home. If we all do our part, hopefully we will all be able to go back to work sooner rather than later. So much is currently up in the air but I am still preparing for next season and planning for the 2021 World Championships all the while reminding myself that no plans are set in stone. I am adopting the mindset that this summer will likely be one where you roll with the punches, do what you can and become creative with the resources you have access to locally knowing that everyone is in the same situation.

Originally our season was set to end April 2nd with the 30km race at Canadian Nationals. Instead the final 11 races of the season were cancelled, 6 World Cup race in North America and the Canadian National Championships, 4 individual and 1 team event. Missing out on such a large chunk of the races planned is a strange feeling mentally and physically. Even though I only raced a little more than half the races I expected to this season, I am happy with the races I did compete in. I had a really consistent first month of the season and had a few races where I felt especially strong. The strong start to the season has given me some certainty and calm as to where I stand going into the next training season. This past season I feel like I finally found a consistency in my skiing that I have been searching for the past few years. I am super motivated to carry that feeling into the next training season and continue to work hard to bridge the gaps to the very best, on my own for now and then with my teammates when we can go back to training together and pushing each other to become better.

As I look back on this race season and the training season that led into it, I am incredibly grateful for the amazing people who continue to support my skiing. This past training season was the best quality training season I have been able to put in so far in my career. I was able to prioritize the right training blocks, focus fully on recovery and injury prevention and stay healthy and balanced throughout the summer and fall months. Building and executing a successful training season wouldn’t be possible without the support of my coaches, team, family and my amazing sponsors. Thank you for believing in me and my ambitions on the tracks, and thank you for all the support you have provided me so far in my career.

As for right now I will be lying low in Canmore for the foreseeable future, continuing to perfect my home/backyard gym and chatting with the deer and squirrels as I run through the forest. I had been planning to spend the entire month of April in Whitehorse with my family and friends, enjoying quality time at home. However, after the global climate changed quickly in March I made the decision to stay put, avoid unessential air travel and unnecessary risk to the Yukon community. Under normal circumstances there were so many people I was looking forward to catching up with and exchanging stories with at home. Since that is no longer in the cards, I hope I can catch up with many of you virtually over the coming months. Often being halfway across the world from my loved ones in the winter, I have always been cognizant of how lucky we are in this day and age to be able to connect so easily through our phones and computers, but never more so than this past month. I am thinking about my friends all over the world and sending you best wishes during these crazy times.

Art nights and kitchen time have increased. Although that is usually the case for me in April. Homemade perogies are next up on the menu for easter weekend quarantine cooking! If you have any fun spring recipes or cool garden ideas send them this way.

Stay safe and continue being innovative!

Dahria

Looking forward to getting back to this! Photo: NordicFocus.

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