Rollin with the Punches
Lately, I’ve been doing my best at rolling with the punches. Although, I can’t help but admit that I’m starting to feel a little beat up from the past month. I had very high hopes for this year and as the summer and fall progressed I gradually believed more and more in those hopes and dreams.
Unfortunately, those hopes did not turn into reality for me and I came shy of making the Winter Olympic team. I wrapped up the Tour de Ski feeling like I had been stung by a bee. I was a bit numb as I was grasping what my World Cup results did and didn’t mean, but there was nothing I could do about it. I knew it would take time to process and I wanted to allow myself the time to lick my wounds.
However, the ski season was far from over and I thought I had a chance to still make something out of it. I looked ahead to future World Cup races in Les Rousses, FRA, scheduled for 10 days after the tour. Rather than booking it back to the US for the remainder of Nationals and a Sun Valley supertour, I held out for international race opportunities.
It was convenient (and exactly what I needed) to spend the week after the Tour with my boyfriend, Thomas, in Northern Italy. We went alpine skiing in the Dolomites, tried our hardest to find the best croissant available in the Sudtirol area, and I slowly began to accept the heartbreak of not qualifying.
Just as I was getting excited to race in Les Rousses, we heard news that the World Cup had been cancelled due to the covid situation in France. I still had the chance to fly home to race in the supertour in Sun Valley, but there was another WC race opportunity that looked promising the following weekend in Planica, Slovenia. I decided to continue with my plan to prep for international races and took a mini trip to Seefeld, Austria to get back into training.
Accepting another cancelled race I did not feel fit for travel with my current health situation. Still feeling pretty sick I went to get a second PCR test four days from my original… this one came back positive. Just what I needed. As it sank in that my body had been fighting Covid and that the bug I had stayed safe from for almost two years finally got to me, I accepted defeat. I was feverish, had a horrible sore throat, congestion, cough, body aches, just about the whole package aside from losing my senses (although maybe I did metaphorically).
Looking ahead at the timeline, it would appear that I would make it out of quarantine just in time for my sister and her husband to travel over to Europe for a ski vacation/honeymoon trip. Marit and Nick planned to drive straight to Toblach, Italy for a few days before racing the Dolomitenlauf Marathon race in Obertilliach, Austria. With no other races on the calendar for me and feeling very unsure as to how my body would feel post-covid, I decided this would be a great way to get excited about skiing again and just have fun with it. Sometimes you just need to do what’s best for the ski soul!
Marit, Nick and I had some spectacular skiing in Toblach and feasted on charcuterie boards, pizzas and so many espressos. We were scoping out the marathon scene and waxing our skis up for the exciting weekend. Just as Thomas drove into town to join us the day before the race, we received news that the race was cancelled due to Covid. That night, I poured myself a nice glass of wine.
Feeling utter frustration with the outcome of the last four weeks and the toll that Covid took on my body, it’s been really difficult to remain focused on the ski season. I feel like every time I get excited about a new race, schedule, or plan, something blows up in my face to inhibit it from happening.
I do admit that I have been skiing in some pretty incredible places the last few weeks and have had access to delicious food and views. As a competitive athlete though, this is far from how I wanted to be spending my January. I am not sure what else my body has in store for the rest of the season, or what the season will look like, but I am trying to take it one day at a time and get excited about whatever opportunity comes my way. I’m doing my best to remain positive and get excited, but I’ve had to reset my mind on realistic hopes and expectations for the remainder of the winter. I’ve had some amazing support the last month from friends, family and sponsors reaching out to share their love and it has been much appreciated! The emails, texts and phone calls have helped put a smile back on my face and I’m ready to use that energy and encouragement to give whatever I have left for the remainder of the season. Thank you!! Being back in the US just for a few days now I already feel happier and more optimistic that there are great things yet to come this winter. Here goes nothing! In the meantime, I will be cheering (yelling) at the TV screen while I cheer on my teammates and the rest of Team USA as they compete in Beijing. I am so proud of our SMS squad, Jessie, Julia and Ben, for making the team and can't wait to see what they have in store for us! LFG USA!!
1/26/2022 06:29:42 pm
Believe me, I really feel for you. But you gave it what you had to give and a lot of really tough breaks bit you. I wish for you all the best possible success.
1/30/2022 06:25:09 pm
I’ve experienced events that I was really looking forward to cancelled recently due to Covid and have not been racing as well as I was hoping to this season, it was great to hear your perspective and I hope you can stay optimistic!
Susan Sonnesyn Brooks
2/2/2022 02:45:49 pm
We love you so much, Alayna, and are heart broken alongside you at your incredible hard work and amazing work ethic that still brought you just shy of your primary goal. But we love your optimism and positivity, and thank you for sharing your journey with us and so many others. We are rooting for you wherever your life plan takes you next!! Glad you are feeling better!!
Leave a Reply.
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.