Skiing

Day 5 Nationals Flying home

I put in headphones and lay my head back. Something catches my eye and I look over. What the?! There I am! I'm sitting right next to myself! Across the aisle. I'm wearing the same clothes I was on my way out east.

I watch myself for awhile.

I'm laughing and talking to the person next to me. I'm enjoying watching this encounter. My exuberant gestures, head bobbing and laughing out loud. I didn't realize how big my cheeks got when I laugh. God, I still look like my baby pictures. Those cheeks! It makes me smile watching myself laugh.

Suddenly, everything shifts, and we're falling. Wait! Somethings happening! The plane is going down! I'm scared! No one seems to notice! I'm trying to get her attention, but myself doesn't seem to notice either. She just keeps smiling and laughing!

No! This can't be happening! Not yet! It's not time yet! After everything, this is the way I'm gonna go?!

I bite my lip and hold back the tears as I watch her spiral downward.

Then it shifts again and she's suddenly skiing... backwards! Down a GS course as if skiing away from me! Down, down, down. She's still smiling. She's waving at me!

I love her! I don't want her to go! She's wearing bright colors and looks so happy! She loves it here! On the mountain - skiing. All she wants to do is support children like her, in their own dreams, and adventure the world with other people, championing for greater love and respect for the planet, and the beings that share it. I want to make all of her dreams come true, but I'm so afraid I'm going to let her down! I don't know how! I don't know what to do!

"Don't go! No! Not yet," I yell to her, but she doesn't hear me. She doesn't here me! This is my greatest fear! This moment! When it all ends. It all just slips from my fingers and I never did those things! Because I was too afraid. Too afraid to crack my tough, independent, strong and physically brave heart open to actually tell anyone what I actually wanted to do with my life! Auugh!! It's almost too much for me to handle.  "STOP!"

 

I jerk awake. I'm on the plane. Sweating. I look around. Did I say anything in my sleep? Was I moving around? No one's looking at me in my giant puffy coat with the hood still partially covering my leaking eyes, looking totally bewildered and dazed. I assume I didn't do anything hysterical. But then, I don't really care if they did. I am totally empty of all my masks.

Just before dozing off I had been reading the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. At the end of his book, Ruiz describes the death of the 'mitote' or the parasitic judge and victim. This must be where the plane crashing and eminent death idea came from.

I'm on my way home from my ski racing adventure. I had such an awesome time catching up with teammates, athletes, coaches, friends and family. I am so grateful for the trip! The whole experience brought back some great experiences for me! Some questions have been answered in my mind about what I want to do, and yet I wonder if there isn't something more Just beneath the surface. Time to dig a little deeper? What's possible? 

Day 4 First Slalom Nationals

Day 4: First day of slalom. DNF. That's what it says on the print out next to my name. It stands for “Did Not Finish.” On my second slalom run I hooked my outrigger on a gate and it spun me around so that I couldn't push myself and my heavy sit ski back up to finish the race. The rules state that, if you fall you can finish the race without assistance, but if you receive assistance you are disqualified. I flailed around on the course for a bit, but I knew that with the tip of my ski higher than my tail, I wasn't getting up any time soon. Assistance came and I accepted it… gladly.

10 years ago I would have been extremely disappointed in myself and beaten myself up relentlessly for my shortcoming. She was a champion, but she wasn't that nice to herself. With age comes patience and realistic expectations. Having any expectations of myself, in any kind of race at this point in my life, is like sprinkling fairy dust on a pile of shit hoping it turns into a pony! Ok, maybe I can have some expectation, especially after winning some hardware already at these races, and my past experience, but slalom? It's #slalom. Let's just say the poopy pony is more true.

I celebrated by taking teammate, Ricci, to visit my sister's place #dacres permaculter farmstead. I hadn't been there before. It was really cool to see so many working and moving parts to the land conservation going on there, even in the winter getting ready for the growing spring season. I was very inspired by the efforts of the many hands that had touched that place.

Later we had spaghetti dinner, a Wednesday night tradition, at the Browns -my Dorchester, New Hampshire neighbors. The food was warm, delicious and the company was exquisite. Ricci and I were supposed to go to a race banquet, but this was - from what I heard later - way better.

My niece and nephew told jokes that had us laughing and crying. We played music and mostly we spent quality time together that warmed my soul right up! There are some things in life you just can't win, and medals can't buy. #lifeisshort #sowhat #lifeisbeautiful #momentslikethis #makingmusic

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Day 3 Second GS Nationals

 Lasse Eriksson, Ray Watkins, and Kevin Jardine - Coaches of the US and Canadian Para Alpine Ski Teams.

Lasse Eriksson, Ray Watkins, and Kevin Jardine - Coaches of the US and Canadian Para Alpine Ski Teams.

"A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be." - Tom Landry
My first coaches were instructors from @recunlimited @bogusbasin who took me to my first race, the Idaho First Security Games @brundagemtn. They also encouraged me to race the #dottyclark @bogusbasin and believed in me long before I did.
My first competitive coach was @julieminahan with the @nationalabilitycenter. Julie was an incredible coach that taught me work ethic, what it truly means to be a strong woman and how to MAKE my dreams come true!
Then I made the US Adaptive Ski Team in 2001 and the Paralympic ski team in 2002 and these guys pictured became life long coaches and friends.
I asked Coach, @kevinjaspen @usparaalpineski why Paralympic athletes? This was a while back, but it really stuck with me. He said something to the effect, 'There really isn't much of a difference between able bodied racing (AB) and what you do. I coach you the same way I would an AB. I really don't see the difference other than equipment and what you've been through. It's ski racing.' I love that answer. It's really stuck with me through the years. "It's ski racing." That's it! That's all it is! Simple!
It's been fun for me to do a bit of coaching myself and work with young kiddo's and also veterans, who are looking for that outlet to freedom and transportation to explore their true potential. Coaching ski racing allows for exponential growth without throwing someone down a tree run and saying, 'Good luck! Try avoiding trees!' Instead, as a coach, you get to witness the 'ah ha!' moments regularly and then watch that athlete go from having very little confidence on a green run, to a fierce ripper on a black diamond! This is a taste of the thrill I imagine these top level coaches get when they watch their athletes race down the mountain.
DAY 3: Won my second Bronze medal in giant slalom! Maybe this old tiger still has her racing stripes! Great hugs and thanks to @ray_watkinsx @lassetheswede @kevinjaspen and @usparaalpineski also @mountainhardwear @smithoptics @pocsports for the sweet gear!

Day 2 First GS Nationals

LaceyHewardPOC

I'm not skiing like a ski racer at all! I'm enjoying my free ski run after first run inspection, imagining I'm riding a snowboard, working my single plank edge-to-edge at my own pace. And I'm smiling so huge! This is me! This is what I love to do! Listening to my body and how and where it wants to move.
I've gotten very accustom to listening to my own rhythms. My very survival has been dependent on me being attuned to what my body, my mind, and spirit needs from me. Not to say I'm a guru at listening to my needs, but I've definitely developed a practice of listening. I know this because I'm aware when I'm consciously ignoring them. And now I'm here. Ski racing and noticing all kinds of things!
I remember who I use to be and how I use to have no clue what I needed, or how I actually skied, or what I wanted. I just waited for someone to tell me how to do it and what to do. Then I'd attempt to fiercely do that. Not a bad tactic, but also not exactly self aware.

I can see why ski racing was awesome when I was young! I was moldable and impressionable! Like a sponge I soaked up all this fascinating micro technical knowledge about ski racing and all of its possibilities. I aimed to please and stretched to win!
Now it's pay bills, avoid breaks and sprains, more time, energy and freedom I long for. Ha! Don't get me wrong... I still LOVE racing! And I love tuning skis and being part of a team and skiing and training. But can I truly afford it in other ways?!? You know what's very cool to me? All the incredible athletes! Wow! I watch them fly down the course today and I was looking around thinking, "where are all the spectators? Where are the bands and fans for these guys?" Everyone skied so well and was really giving 'er!" So cool!

Day 2: I finished 2 good Giant Slalom runs after 10 years of ski racing retirement, and came in 3rd! Not bad for this come back gal!
Then I crashed in the finish and took a ride in the wambulance to ER where they determined I am fine. Most expensive day ever! I'll be racing again tomorrow! @pocsports @uvexsports @smithoptics @pingtour @loonpov @usparaalpineski @volklskis Thank you coaches!

I'm going to NATIONALS. That's right.

 Sitting on the plane.

Sitting on the plane.

The plane's about to take off. For the first time since getting the invite I'm excited! Someone got me first class! Who arranged that?! The guy at the counter? Kevin? Jessica? I don't know but I'm feeling it!

The plane assends and I remember! I AM an ATHLETE!
Everyone watches me as I get on late. And I feel it. There are murmurs and I feel it and remember. They're not talking about me because I'm weird or different. Their talking about me because they can tell there is legitimately something special about me. I remember what this is like. Before all the dialysis. Before I got sick. Before it all went to shit. Before…

And suddenly I'm excited! IM BACK!

This time I'm 10 or 13 years older- however you wanna look at it - wiser in any case. And I feel better than I ever have. One back pack is in the overhead compartment. One bag! No more crazy D bags to carry around every where! I wanna cry! Is this real? I've never felt so light!

My kidney sister, Ali, dropped me off. How perfect! My sister who gave me my new start, dropped me off for my new start! Like a duckling she leads me to the waters edge and says, “kick some ass”! I fucking love her so much! If I had to pick one person to spend the rest of my life on a desert island with, it would be her. And we wouldn't even suffer! We'd have so much fucking fun!

This is it! We're flying! All the fear and foreboding I've been feeling all week about racing and what to do with my life, money and other life stuff, is gone! I'm going to Nationals!! What the hell am I doing?! This is so crazy!! I laugh inside and smile out loud! With a broken shock, no race skis, retro race clothes and cheesy wheelchair, I head east, to Loon Mt., New Hampshire with new conviction that THIS is going to be so much fun!

God, I'm old! But I don't give a damn! Cause I've never felt so good! I'm alive! Thank God, I'm alive! Thank Ali, I'm alive! And I'm living! “Here we go! Life is short! I know for sure! Here we go!” @loonmountain One cool thing I've got going is @mountainhardwear @usparaalpineski #idahogirl thanks #united #skidreams #sowhat #lifeisbeautiful #lifeisshort #monoski #onepowski