29 November 2012

Fall World Cups...go Brian Hansen!!!

Thialf, Heerenveen. The mecca of Speedskating.
Having to nurse my body back to health the last couple weeks has been going well and my training has picked up once again, but while I have been focused on recovery and Jeffrey on his training/American Cup racing, Brian Hansen has been killing it at the Fall World Cups both in Heerenveen, Netherlands and in Kolomna, Russia!

World Cup #1 took place in Heerenveen, literally the mecca of speedskating and where every speedskater dreams of racing because the crowds of fans are truly inspiring and uplifting! They LOVE speedskating...how much do they love it you ask? Well, until you are there in person, these pictures are a glimpse of how much they love this sport (haha!):
The Kleintje Pils Band at Thialf
Again, Thialf fans are the best!!!
Love the fan dedication!!!

The first World Cup is always exciting in that it is the first time we get to see the top speedskaters, on the world level, compete this season, as well as getting people who've created their Fantasy Speedskating Teams all pumped up too! For Brian, even though he was without his coach (Nancy Sr.), he raced two solid races both in the 1000m (placing 7th) and in the 1500m (placing 6th). Watch the recap of the 1000m here (starting at minute 2:21) and the 1500m here (starting at minute 1:44)!

The second Fall World Cup this season was just this past weekend in Kolomna, Russia. Being a distance World Cup, the US sprint team headed back home to the US while Brian, Trevor, Jilleanne, Maria, Pat, and Emery went straight into another weekend of racing. I give my mom/coach so much credit because in coaching him from home (she stayed back to watch my stud younger brother, Johnny, the quarterback, play in the quarter-finals of the Illinois high school American football playoff series, which turned out to be his last high school football game ever), she spent her nights staying up late emailing, texting messaging, doing whatever she could to make him feel like she was there for him at all times, jeopardizing her sleep at night because of the time change. Nonetheless, Brian never fails to race well no matter the circumstances. Racing the 1500m on the second day, he placed the highest he ever has on the World level in an individual race with a 3rd place and on the podium, go Brian! Watch his entire race below (thanks to his brother, Stevie, who recorded it on YouTube):

Though it was hard watching these World Cup races from the comfort of home, it motivated me seeing my competitors race, reminding me of my own goals and as I get ready to compete again for a spot on the winter World Cup circuit, which is coming up at our Nationals, December 27th-31st.

Brian's 3rd place, podium finish in the 1500m in Kolomna
Again, congrats to our teammate Brian Hansen on his awesome fall world cup races! So proud of him! Follow him on his website here...

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

22 November 2012


The best Family I could ever have ;)
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to sit down and write in a journal all the blessings and successes that I have been given in my life from the littlest joys to the major accomplishments (I did this before my Olympic 3k and Team Pursuit races and I believe it was the reason I had such an outstanding Olympic experience!). Especially when you face trials and your most challenging moments in life, it is so inspiring and rejuvenating to look back on all the victories that have come out of battling your toughest moments. Those positive moments will carry you through...there is never a moment in your life when you can't defeat you're pessimism. Philippians 4:13: God never tells us to do anything without giving us the ability to do it. From those blessings that you wrote down, there is proof that God blesses your life tremendously. The ball is in your court whether or not you are going to push through.

On that note...I am SO thankful for my life. There has honestly been more downs than ups in my life and I have numerous times gotten to the point of quitting, but like above, for all those downs, I have been blessed each time I have endured those trials through to the end. I cannot emphasize it enough: reminding oneself of your blessings is so crucial in life. I would never trade my life for another one, I am truly blessed. Hence, I have to say this, I am tremendously thankful for my faith in Jesus Christ, family, friends, a speedskating career, Olympics, a support team who has been there for me every time I come down with an injury or overtrain myself, my product sponsors who make my training possible, and those who have donated to Jeffrey and my journey to the next Olympics...and I could seriously go on for days thanking everyone who has touched my life and made me who I am today. I am who I am because of each one of them.

So to all those who have touched my life, thank you on this Thanksgiving Day for your influence on my life. I am so grateful.

May God bless you...
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

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13 November 2012

Fall World Cup Trials

1,000 meters on Saturday, Nov. 3

SO, let me just begin by saying how incredibly hard my sister has trained and how much dedication she has and it's hard to imagine how she's been able to fight through the last few years. Keep her in your prayers.

Also, a big loving shout out to the awesome kids who made the trip up to watch us race! All three Jake's, Keri, Ben, Casey, Ryan, Kyle & Steph, Dena and family, my family and others.

Altogether, I competed pretty mediocre in my 4 individual races, ending up about even with all my personal best times (which I set all late in the last season). Now that sounds like something I should be content with but based on my solid training this offseason and what I know I'm capable of, I was hoping to really be raising the bar for my best times at this competition. And if I have certain 'aspiring' goals for next year, I'm going to have to get my act together pretty soon. I was pretty nervous and I think that affected my relaxation and focus throughout my races. But looking at the bright side, results this early in the season should be taken with a grain of salt because oftentimes, some skaters blossom by the end of the season while others are only able to maintain their times.

So among US speedskaters, I ended up 18th in the 1000 meters, 9th in the 1500 meters and 8th (I think) in the 5,000 meters. I also did lower my personal best time in the 5,000 meters (in Milwaukee) from 6:57.00 to a 6:52.40.

A highlight of the trials was the Mass Start Race (in the video below) which isn't an official race yet but hopefully it soon will be. It's 20 laps, many skaters, and winner takes the pot at the end. There's breakaways, drafting, strategy...Tour de France style. I ended up 3rd and had a blast. The vid's pretty long so you'd probably want to skip around.

Thanks for the vid Olu, and the commentating haha.

07 November 2012

Déjà Vu

Life is Unpredictable...so unpredictable...

That is the story of my last couple weeks of training...or the lack of training. It pains me to write this because I feel I keep letting down (with every injury I get) all those who have been my support team these past years, who have gotten me through 3 injuries since Vancouver 2010. Don't get me wrong, I am bouncing back, but this past weekend, as you know, the Fall World Cup Qualifier in Milwaukee took place and so many were excited to see how our hard work would pay off from the summer/fall in my racing. In short, I overtrained myself once again...literally déjà vu to Olympic year when I did the same thing, but I still made the Olympic Team. So there is always hope...if you believe...and that is what I am doing. I have faith (especially in the One who is guiding my daily life, Jesus Christ).
Jeffrey Racing his 1000m last Saturday

The awesome t-shirt Jake made for Jeffrey's race,
mom is signing it "I love Jake, Nancy Sr." :)
Rewinding back a couple weeks: I really didn't realize my worsening condition until my body started acting weird after my back injury (see my blog entry on that for more info. here). Though I had great workouts once I recovered from my back spasms, there would be a workout here or there when I just wanted to stop part way through or I mentally had to play tricks to fight my way through the workout. Knowing the Fall World Cup Qualifier was coming up, I didn't want to mentally trick myself into thinking something was wrong (again, something I think makes me strong, but is my downfall, usually), so I kept fighting through a roller coaster of workouts. The night before my races last Friday, I basically had the worst race-prep and it took all of me to fight through and compete the next day...which was terrible. My 500m and 3k races were 'blah' and I couldn't fight like I usually could do, I just motioned my way through the races. Once I finished that morning, I knew I was done competing for the weekend and thus began the painful process of letting people know I wouldn't be racing the last 2 days. I felt awful I couldn't inform everyone, but if you came, I hope watching the racing was inspiring! It is such a cool sport that not many people get to watch live. :)

I don't wish this kind of pain on anyone, so if this post can help prevent athletes from overtraining (also read this article on it, its very informative), I am pumped! The plan from here is to rest...which I have been doing. I am resistant stretching a lot and taking time off of skating for a couple weeks. Obviously I will not be going to the Fall World Cups, but I have complete confidence I will be back with great force by the USS National Trials in Salt Lake City, December 27-31st. None of this has affected any Olympic qualifying...so the passion to make Sochi 2014 is still running strong through my veins, ha.

Jeffrey's fans: Dena, Steph, Kyle, Jake and myself...cheering him on in the 1000m
Like above, I hate disappointments, and last weekend was just that, but know that all you who have been of great support to us, it means the world to Jeffrey and I. I am fighting through this and will try not to disappoint again. All our product/service sponsors (Extreme Endurance, Major Chiropractic & Sports Injury, CoreFitness Chicago, Magnet Street, Dr. Yoss/ART, Ochsner International, USANA, TCBoost, sorry if I forgot any!) have been so supportive and cannot thank you all enough for your generosity. We couldn't be where we are today pursuing our dreams without your help. And then our family and friends...your moral support is what pushes us through these tough trials and again, we couldn't achieve our goals without your encouragement. :) Thank you all.

And as for Jeffrey's races, I will let him blog about that himself! So watch out for that post...

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25