For a year that started off on the wrong foot, it definitely is ending on the right one. I’m sitting here in my hotel room in Inzell, Germany (after 13 years since I was last here!), indulging in a much needed Duplo bar, seeing as I can’t keep digging into my hot paprika chips (europe’s finest). Having had no junk food for a while, this seems like a nice little treat, while I’m blasting Sting and reflecting on one of the best (yes, the best) days of my entire life.
Like my best friend had always said, Inzell heals. I came here a couple of weeks ago because I needed a reset on ice, but also mentally, more than anything. At first I wasn’t really sure how that was going to happen, nor how I was going to maneuver it but I let all expectations go, and I let it be. I focused on my task at hand – that mainly included finding the joy for speed skating again, which I instantly did on Day 1, seeing as I was in a healthy and supportive and fun environment – and then the rest was all left to how I wanted to free style through what began with a month here; actually only doing things I loved, while working hard.
Fast forward to two weeks, I have now decided to extend my trip by a month and will be here until late March. Not only do I wake up surrounded by beautiful snow covered mountains (which I missed in Canmore, and Banff), but I now wake up every day and see opportunity. It might not seem that exciting to you as you’re reading this, but imagine being so down, to the point where you contemplated completely packing everything in, and starting a normal life. With that being said, I am excited to stay here longer (also for other personal reasons) to continue my Olympic season prep on dry land, as well as with my bike (endless hills – you know I love a good climb…as if life’s mountains aren’t kicking my ass enough). I feel so deeply grateful to find my passion again, but also to know that I am so far from being where I know I am capable of.
I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion, or place (physical and mental), had it not been for the worst 3 months of my athletic career, earlier this year. I would have instead stayed in Holland, raced some world cups, world champs, and would have been going on with my life without feeling the challenge – and without taking another road to getting to where I want to get to. Now my road brings me back to Inzell in September (hopefully sooner), and for now will continue to be present here, and take all the unexpected wonderful daily happenings, all day, every day.
So, don’t give up. Even when it’s dark. Because the light at the end of the tunnel, may be you. (In Steven Tyler’s fine words).