When Kris called this morning (afternoon in Norway) he said that, upon reflection, yesterday’s race sucked. He went over there to kick ass, not to get 20th place in Norway Cup races. This isn’t a big change in his evaluation of the race, it’s simply part of the process of absorbing a result and moving onto the next objective.
The mental aspect of an individual sport is a fascinating thing. Everybody lives their own story, and in the hours and days following an event we write that event into the story. Some of this involves reporting facts, but most of it involves interpreting the situation and explaining it in the context of what came before and what is supposed to come after. It’s a process of self-affirmation. It can be a healthy thing, and it can be an unhealthy thing. The important part of making it a healthy thing is to keep it based in reality.
Kris had one observation this morning that I thought was quite revealing. He recognized that, when he’s training alone, for the better part of the year he’s unbeatable. In part this is because there’s nobody there to beat him. But in the story that he’s writing he’s the only protagonist and the training he’s doing is almost inconceivably colossal. The legend of Kris Freeman grows in isolation. When he sees high level competition he gets reminded that if he wants to do well, he’s got to be his best. As Kris pointed out, if yesterday’s race had been against domestic US competition he probably would have been quite satisfied with the result. It’s important for him to be reminded that there are a lot of fast skiers in the world, and he’s got to get it right to be where he wants to be.
Kris wants his competitive efforts to be 100%. He expects his competitive efforts to be 100%. Early this summer he mentioned that he could always get 100% out of himself, regardless of circumstances. Later in the summer he recognized the value of competition in milking better efforts out of himself. Yesterday his initial report was that the race was pretty good. He wanted the effort to be good and he expected the effort to be good. Upon reflection he identified the weaknesses and acknowledged the strengths. This is now written into the story as an unsatisfactory effort, but in recognition of where he can improve it’s a positive development. I still see the race as more good than bad because he showed the primary pacing qualities that we were looking for. Kris might now see it as more bad than good, but the rewrite has added to his confidence, and there’s no rationalization involved.
Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman