Monthly Archives: June 2013

It’s the Little Tweaks that Count

 

After each season, athletes look back on how it went and what they need to do to improve. Sometimes it is easy; just a few tweaks here and there, but nothing drastic. Sometimes it is hard. That is where I am.

Sometimes you're on top. And you're happy.

Sometimes you’re on top. And you’re happy.

Sometimes you fall. And it hurts.

Sometimes you fall. And it hurts.

I have talked to a lot of people who have expressed feelings and opinions about how my season went. Early on in most conversations, the question of, “What went wrong?” comes up. I think for every person I’ve talked to, I’ve given a different answer. Maybe it is that I am narrowing down on the right one, but it’s most likely that I really have no idea.

There are so many things that go into being a good skier. Good coaching, training, equipment, mental aptitude, luck, a strong support system, good wax technician, etc. Within those things, if I wanted to, I could go into excruciatingly small detail of how I have lived in the last year. I could analyze every detail to try to find out the reason I had a sub-par season, but it wouldn’t work.

Getting patted on the back after a frustrating Junior National race

Getting patted on the back after a frustrating Junior National race.

Skiing and training is so complex that over-analyzing would leave me stressed and with a lot of questions rather than answers. Even though a frustrating season left me feeling like I needed to change everything I did differently, I’ve come to realize that I was just over complicating things.

After I give the answer of, “I don’t really know”, the next question is, “Well, what are you changing?” Obviously, this question is heavily dependent on knowing what went wrong. As I said, most of the time, it is just simple tweaks. Maybe it is introducing more speed or less strength and more distance training. I have a few of those simple tweaks as well. For me, it is organizing my resting areas, eating better, being more prepared for workouts, and increasing flexibility, among others.

The biggest change I am making is obviously a new team and a new coach, but if I don’t make an effort at the small things, the effects of a new training program will be minimized.

At the end of the conversation, some people accept my response, but most do not. Most people really do not like the simple answers and almost all of them have a different opinion. In the end, it really does not matter what anyone thinks but me. The only way I will fail is if I doubt the changes I am making. As I steadily train and develop a rhythm, my confidence in the changes I’ve made will steadily increase and will allow me to train and race harder and smarter.

So, as I finally made it back to Anchorage for the summer, I have been busy dialing in my routine and making sure I give myself an opportunity to make my tweaks. Even though it’s been the nicest beginning of summer in recent memory, I have had to spend a lot of time inside recovering from a bit of sickness. Luckily, we are starting to ramp up training, so I’ll be able to get my needed dosage of Vitamin D. Hopefully next week, I’ll have done some exciting things that I can share with you.

Moose blocking my way out.

Moose blocking my way out.

Moose blocking my way home.

Moose blocking my way home.

Until next time,

Tyler

Jumping In With Both Feet

 

I am on my way back to Anchorage from my first official professional ski camp in Bend Oregon. After a frustrating season, Bend was going to be where I would get my fitness and my mind pointed in the right direction training in some sunny weather. Unfortunately, we missed the window by a week. As it so happens, the day I left Anchorage until the day I come back was “the best 10 days Anchorage has ever had.” Bend was lacking for a few of those days and we skied in some pretty stormy weather. As it so happens, the next week in Bend is supposed to be perfect and Anchorage’s weather is starting to turn back to what it is known for. Just can’t get any luck.

Interval day in powder. What Mt. Bachelor looked like most of the week.

Interval day in powder. What Mt. Bachelor looked like most of the week.

Anyways, Bend was a great camp even with the rough weather and I am happy to finally feel like a skier again. I also got to spend a lot of time with my new coach at APU, Erik Flora, and am slowly learning his training philosophy. Even though I grew up in Anchorage and have been around APU my entire life, I have discovered I know almost nothing about how the team actually operates and how Erik coaches. Erik’s enthusiasm for sport is contagious and the more time I spend working with him, the more excited I get about skiing.

My team and me skiing on one of the few nice days in Bend.

My team and me skiing on one of the few nice days in Bend.

As my first blog post, I think this is my best chance to thank some really important people who have supported me. All of these people deserve a blog post of their own as gratitude, but I’ll give them just a paragraph for now and hope they forgive me.

Thank you to my family for putting up with me and all of my neediness. It’s tough to be an athlete, but it is even harder to be the family of one. I have had to lean on my family a lot over my career and I am privileged to have one that is this supportive of my goals and dreams.

My family at my graduation this March.

My family at my graduation this March.

I actually got a surprise visit from my dad over the week. Without me knowing, he was flying an airplane up to Alaska from California for a friend. He had to make a detour due to some bad weather as well as a gas shortage and when he saw Bend on the map, he vaguely remembered I was there training. He called me up when he landed and we went out to lunch. That had definitely never happened to me before.

My dad and me in my Bend host house.

My dad and me in my Bend host house.

The plane my dad is flying up to Alaska from California in.

The plane my dad is flying up to Alaska from California in.

Thank you to my junior club and coaches. I was nine-years-old when I started with Alaska Winter Stars coached by Jan Buron and Ben Arians. I have become incredibly close with both of them over the years, through the good and the bad, and will continue to be for the rest of my career. It was with Winter Starts and a special group of athletes that really pushed me and my love for the sport.

My coaches and me after the 2010 US National Classic Sprint.

My coaches and me after the 2010 US National Classic Sprint.

Thank you to my college, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Fairbanks, my adopted city, for the last four years. I have achieved some surprising results and gone on some amazing adventures because of the support of coach Scott Jerome and my Nanook teammates. It was definitely a good ride and I am very fortunate to continue skiing in Alaska to be able to visit Fairbanks as much as possible.

My team in Coleraine, Minnesota on my last ski trip with the team.

My team in Coleraine, Minnesota on my last ski trip with the team.

Thank you to the countless others who have given me so much support. All of my friends, extended family, the Anchorage community, and everyone else. It can not be done without everyone.

The last two weeks, I was able to stay with a family in Bend. Without these huge gestures from often people who I have never met, I would not be able to go to all the places I do to race and train. Thank you to Dana, Jason, Aidan, and Aamion for letting me stay with you!

Aamion and me.

Aamion and me.

Me and Aidan

Me and Aidan

I hope you enjoy my blog. It is definitely a work in progress and I will work to get rid of all the bugs. I will try to update it weekly and let you see what life is like as a professional athlete, hopefully with more pictures. There will be a lot of pretty cool adventures: glaciers, mountains, foreign places, Alaskan wilderness, etc. Thank you for visiting.