6 Days to go; roll on Nagano!
Firstly, a massive thank you to everyone who has donated to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. So far I have raised $688.25 USD. You’re all superstars! You can find a record of all donations pinned to the top of my Facebook page by clicking here.
Every donation motivates me that little bit more and gives me a shove out the door when I don’t feel like going for a run. I’m taking on this challenge for myself, but also to support people who want to pursue careers such as the one I am lucky enough to be living. The foundation provides financial support to alpine professionals (instructors, guides, patrol…) who can not afford surgery and rehabilitation and consequently risk losing the ability to pursue their dream career.
My friend Kim, who is being supported by the foundation, has started to walk and swim and is having physiotherapy sessions. Although I know she feels progress is slow and is very frustrated, she is on the road to recovery. The foundation have insisted that she be happy with her physiotherapist and she has consequently sought out a sports specific professional who understands the importance of getting her knee strong to ski. It is thanks to the foundation that Kim is receiving such fantastic treatment and will hopefully be back on the snow, stronger, next winter.
It takes instructors, particularly those making a career in this industry (mostly those at level 3 and above), a lot of hard work and training to achieve these higher qualifications – technical (bumps, piste skiing, off piste skiing, demonstrations of the progression of a beginner, known as the central theme in BASI) and teaching tests (similar to coaching and teaching other sports following a teaching template) mountain safety (snow and avalanche knowledge and risk assessment, map reading, using a compass, bad weather navigation, transceiver searches…), race and freestyle coaching modules (specific race coach training involving course setting, drills (I’m afraid I know little about the freestyle!), a written dissertation, second language, the Eurotest and a second discipline. Training for these examinations involves time in the gym getting fit, as well as time on psychology training, getting out on the mountain, and gaining experience – it takes time and money.
Many of those teaching at higher levels will mainly teach those on holiday, but more and more instructors are getting involved in training instructors, children who are set to be very talented free-riders, free-stylers and racers and those who offer a variety of different courses to feed the snowsport market.
A set back for an instructor as a result of injury is bad enough, but then struggling to get treatment because of financial reasons and consequently suffering major set backs is career crushing and soul destroying – especially when you have got so far through the system, such as Kim, or are fully qualified.
This is all from the perspective of a ski instructor, but the foundation also supports guides and patrol. They too have a challenging process of examinations and tests to go through to fulfill their dreams of working in the mountains.
If you’d like to make a donation, however much you can afford, be it $5 USD or $50 USD or more (!) is so appreciated, please click here and follow the instructions, quoting ‘R Hallewell Marathon’ in the comments box so we can keep a record of how much I have raised. Thank you.
I can’t believe there are 6 days until the marathon. On a very windy run the other week, whilst not seeming to be moving forward, I got highly frustrated with my stupid MP3 player that played the same 10 songs on repeat (I have since figured out why – technology is not my forte), I hurt and consequently had a little breakdown/tantrum/threw my toys out the pram questioning why was I doing this, what was the point and that yes, I am crazy. I had a look around to make sure no one had witnessed the snotty tears and yells of frustration.
This past month I have been extremely grateful for the clear roads, the slightly less enticing ski conditions (the conditions have still been pretty good with some awesome off piste spring skiing through the trees) and therefore I have been able to focus properly on my last few weeks of running and training.
My legs have been very sore, as well as my poor bum/glutes (!) and this week the ankle I sprained back at the end of February has been uncomfortable – ice, rest, elevation, some moaning, tears and panicking seems to be the extent of my tapering. Oh, and eating! Running has been less painful than walking though, and I am finding it challenging to acknowledge that this week ‘less is more’ – save the energy for race day.
I fly on Friday to Tokyo, take the bullet train (so excited!) to Nagano where I will be reunited with Eri. On Saturday, I will register and get my bib, and then Sunday, unless you are this side of the world, when you wake up, it’ll all be over! The race begins at 08h30 and I hope to finish in time for lunch.
Trying to quieten my competitive nature is proving challenging. Yes, I do want to finish in under 4hrs, but I keep reminding myself that this will be the first time I have ever run beyond 35km, so to complete the distance first is what is most important. Really. Get to the start line, get running, enjoy the atmosphere, look at the sites, just keep running, ignore the pain, eat some gels, glug some water…I can do this. Wish me luck!