Kristina Groves: "Lazy Bones" Living Life in Skating's Fast Lane
|Canadian speed skating ace Kristina Groves shares journal entries|
(As Canadian speed skating ace Kristina Groves notes in this latest edition of The Grovesline (see previous dispatches below), it’s been some time since we’ve heard from her. Not like she hasn’t been busy – she looked very sharp yesterday in finishing second at the Canadian Fall World Cup Selections at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Groves is a big supporter of Right To Play and Clean Air Champions. She's also still dreaming of carrying the Olympic torch.)Kristina Groves: The Grovesline
It’s almost a miracle that I’m writing this. Since I last wrote, which was many moons ago, I have thought of, and half composed in my mind, countless brilliant pieces of writing about the very fascinating and noteworthy things that happen to me on a daily basis. Sometimes when I’m out for a long training ride or biking to the rink in the morning, I think of endless witty and poignant sentences about all kinds of ideas my mind conjures up for this very thing.
But then I get home and flip open my computer to read the newspaper and check my three new emails. Then I start to make lunch and take forever to eat it, and before I can even take a nap it’s time to go back to the rink for the next training session, massage, physiotherapy appointment and special program in the Human Performance Lab. And then it’s off for groceries, home to dinner, cleaning up and falling asleep …
Sounds busy right? Or rather much like everyone else’s life out there except with way less email and no children. I’d like to pretend that the reason I haven’t written for so long is because I’m so busy with training and therapy and focusing on preparing to qualify for the upcoming Experience of a Lifetime. If only it were so. No, the reason I haven’t gotten around to writing for so long is simply that I can just be one lazy son of a gun.
Since I graduated from university in 2004 I have been a full-time athlete with part-time interests on the side. I used to take three classes a semester, train twice a day, work a part-time job, cook my own meals and keep a pretty clean house while maintaining a reasonable social life.
Now I feel proud if I empty the dishwasher within 48 hours of it being run and fold my laundry before I’ve managed to take a piece or two at a time off the drying rack till it’s all back in the dirty bin. I started house projects five years ago that I have yet to complete and recently hired a firefighter who does renovations on the side to help finish the trim and baseboards around all the new flooring we installed seven years ago, even though I had a borrowed nail gun in the basement and most of the pieces were already cut. Don’t even get me started on how often I clean the bathroom!
Apparently my time management skills have taken quite a beating in recent years. The one upside to these embarrassing confessions is that it seems my performances in skating are inversely proportional to the amount of stuff I have going on in my life. As all the extra-curricular and extraneous activities have fallen away, my rankings have slowly improved. It is, of course, possible that this could have more to do with maturing physically and mentally but honestly, I only have the energy to explore one theory here. I think I have taken the art of doing nothing to a whole new level. I sit around. A lot. It took me a long time to be okay with this, and although I have made some headway in accepting that this is part of what I do, I still often feel like I could and should do more, although I’m not exactly sure what I mean by ‘more.’
The racing schedule often determines my inability to ‘do’ things as I am on the road for weeks at a time during the fall and winter. This inevitably leads me to make a list of all the things I’m going to do in the spring when I get some time off. One year I finished the season mighty exhausted but with a really long list and was itching to get started even though I was cooked. My good friend and roommate at the time, Sabina, set me straight one day and said, ‘Kristina, you’re tired, just let yourself rest and be okay with it!’ I promptly took her advice and lay around the house for a week.
During the last Olympic season in 2005-06, I discovered Sudoku. I actually became kind of obsessed with it and spent hours lying on the couch after training pouring over endless pages of nine squares of nine squares. I also discovered the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm and read a whole lot of books. Those distractions served me well; I had some of the best races of my life that season.
Which brings me to the present day. For the first time in my life, I see a light at the end of the tunnel on this sporting journey and realize I might not be a speed skater until the End of Time. With equal parts energy and motivation, I approached the beginning of this season with an intensity that was not entirely productive. Feeling like this might be ‘it,’ I felt compelled to do everything right and got a little caught up in feeling pressure to perform at the big show – a big waste of energy. After few bumps in the road during the summer and help from some great people around me I’ve managed to readjust my mind and attitude accordingly.
In short, I am focused and positive on the ice and relaxed and, dare I say, wonderfully lazy, off of it. I have gotten to the end of many a day wondering how it is possible that I have merely trained and eaten. It might have something to do with discovering a website that allows me to watch never-ending streaming episodes of Frasier and The Cosby Show (ridiculous, I know). Or it might have something to do with training really hard and being so tired some days that my brain is in a fog and I just sit there until I have train again. Or most likely it has to do with the fact that I’m intent on skating fast and one way to do that is to make sure I train hard and be lazy, just not at the same time.
Whew. My fingers are pretty tired. I think I’ll sign off now and go take a nap.
Some other editions of The Grovesline:
June 22 -- Close Encounters With Steel Poles
May 19 -- Meditating on the New Moon
March 31 -- What the Puck?!
January 26 -- PB's of a Different Kind