22 December 2016

World Cup 3 & 4

Hi all! Good to be back here 😎.

The end of November and beginning of December found me competing at World Cup competitions in Astana, Kazakhstan and Heerenveen, Holland. Many and I began this season with some mediocre racing in October so I'm truly thankful for any chances to still compete internationally for the US–the elite competition experience is invaluable to any athlete. The single event I raced was the Team Pursuit in Astana where we took 10th place out of 12 countries, We had been hoping to qualify a time to secure a spot for us in the World Championships in February but unfortunately we didn't, and I didn't perform as well as I should have. With that behind me now, I'm looking forward to seeing improvements in the second half of the season. Remember, failures are really the stepping stones for success as long as you don't see them as your hurdles!

Here's some photos from the trip with USA's World Cup speedskating team below.

Astana, Kazakhstan

Arriving in Kazakhstan after a long day and a half trip:

The outside of our hotel in Astana:

Astana from my hotel window–a really interesting and sprawling city (but kind of empty!):

A famous landmark in Astana, the Bayterek:

Some of the team heading to the rink with Brian Hansen giving the peace sign:

Teammates Brian Hansen and Darren Huang before practice:

About to hop on the ice for the first session:

A few of us visited QSI International School of Astana to spend some recess time with the kids there and spend some Q&A time sharing about the crazy sport that we're competing in over there. Thank you for the traditional Kazakh slippers!

"Yo, we need some kind of cool photo."

At the start of the men's Team Pursuit:

I led the second lap in our TP:

Crazy, distorted photos of the beautiful Astana rink:

Brian getting cupped in between competition days:

Visiting Astana's iconic tent mall, the Khan Shatyr. It was so high inside:

Heerenveen, Holland

First day frost on the leaves outside our hotel:

The new Thialf, Heerenveen's famous ice rink:

Warming up for practice:

Looking at the rink through the windows from the athlete training room:

One of the best memories from the trip; racing a "Holland Cup" competition with all Dutch skaters in Deventer, since I wasn't racing in Heerenveen's World Cup competition. I got to compete Dutch style in the fog inside a half covered oval. The craziest part was entering the foggy turn at 3o+ mph and hoping you're skating the correct track!

02 December 2016

World Cup Astana, Kazakhstan!

In less than 24 hours Jeffrey, along with TeamSwiderPeltz teammate Brian Hansen, and Joey Mantia will be racing in the Team Pursuit event at the ISU Speedskating World Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan. First World Cup for both of them this year and pumped to watch Brian make his Speedskating comeback on the World Cup stage. For those that don't know, the Team Pursuit consists of 3 skaters from the same country working together racing one other country at a time. Fastest time wins overall (so even if you lose to your pair, if you're still one of the fastest teams you can place overall! Different from the Olympics setup. Here's an example from my Olympic race in Vancouver 2010:  https://youtu.be/l62SPPqPj-s?t=22m38s

Anyways. The main reason for this post is that the boys race at 8:20am CST tomorrow morning SHARP and if you want to watch them live, you'll have to change your IP address to one from the Netherlands. To do that, on the computer I've opened up my Chrome browser and downloaded AnonyMox here:  (there should pop up an X in the top right corner of the browser. Now change the identity to the Netherlands flag) https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/anonymox/icpklikeghomkemdellmmkoifgfbakio?hl=en

Or I downloaded on my iPhone this app that changes your IP address as well:
hide.me VPN - Free VPN Proxy for Secure Browsing

I used the App on my phone  above and it worked well today watching the 5k men racing. So once you've changed your IP address, go to this site and click the play button  at the top: http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/isu/

If further questions, message me on Facebook or text me preferably tonight because tomorrow morning I'm watching them myself, training then listening to Wheaton College's round 3 playoff game that my younger brother, Johnny, will maybe be playing in. Chaotic day in the life of Nancy Jr!

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

28 November 2016

Believe it or not, its a NEW TeamSwiderPeltz blog post! lol

It's been too long. And we are sorry about that. It's a hard balance to find when much of our free time between workouts is spent actively recovering to make sure we are prepared for the next workout or speaking for myself (Nancy Jr.), I find that I'm just too exhausted post workouts to have blogging on the forefront of my mind. But it is truly the best way to keep you all in the loop, which I know is the least we can do for all you who are our greatest support team.

That being said, here's an update :)

I am currently in the Calgary Airport waiting for my flight home to Chicago...just finished a 3-day weekend of racing at the CanAm competition and have 3 hours before our flight leaves and felt too guilty to not get back on this and post an update! haha

Our training group has grown a little. I still train with Jeffrey, Brian Hansen (who is making his comeback this year), Darren Huang (taiwanese speedskating training partner that has been with us for a bunch of years now), but now we have an awesome girl that has joined us: Petra Acker. Simply, I needed a girl training partner (the boys have gotten too fast for some training workouts) and she needed to be based more consistently at an indoor rink. So mom-coach reached out to her asking if she wanted to join our group...thankfully she said yes. It's been good to skate at a pace thats better for me so I don't fall into the overtraining I have done way too many times. And having Petra now, we push each other to our limits daily at a pace thats better tuned for our abilities. Lets just say its been a great fit! And she's a great encourager as well when I am having a hard day.

Our group didn't come together as a whole until the ice opened up in Milwaukee mid-August, so all summer Jeffrey and I trained together, and every one else was doing their thing. Tons of grueling inlining, weights, dryland skating imitation, stair intervals, etc. It was a solid summer. AND it was a solid first couple months of training on the ice before our first major competition in October for the Fall World Cup Qualifier in Milwaukee which some of you came to and SO thankful!!! From the first weeks on the ice, Petra and I trained weekly to push each other, skate faster, work through intense painful workouts, and became great friends. We had a Team Pursuit training camp with the National Team in Milwaukee mid-September that went well for all of us. But when it came to the Fall World Cup Qualifier, some of us struggled and were frustrated with results that didn't match the effort and work put in for so many months beforehand.

For myself, I was truly disappointed. And like I have been in the past on this blog, I will be honest and vulnerable, sharing a side of sport that is not usually seen because of the athlete drive to be the best and share a front that is strong, successful and all-good. But as much of you who know me know, I have struggled more than I have succeeded in speedskating. Yes I have made an Olympic team and that was my most proud moment of my athletic career, but I have failed in this sport more than I have had success. I hit rock bottom a lot. And yes, I have questioned my continuing in speedsakting more than once. To some, they may think I should be done and hang up my speedskates, but there is a fire still within me that says to keep persevering when my mind tells me I'm crazy. To continue on when I can't see the future, but He can. There is a certain truth, though, that out of some of the greatest hardships, the most disappointing moments, the times I am feeling ashamed at myself...come the greatest rewards (ask most champions). And those rewards are not just going to be in the obvious successes of winning, but will come in a form completely unexpected like influencing those people around you. And that is what continues to drive me in this sport that I have been so fortunate to keep pursuing and pouring my life into all these years: using the platform that I have been so fortunate to have and impact, encourage, and influence those around me and point them towards Christ.

Ok back to October. Again, the Fall Trials didn't go as most of us hoped, but Brian, Jeffrey, Petra, and Darren (who already qualified on his own) still made some of the Fall World Cups. Brian, Jeffrey, Darren and coach mom are currently in Astana, Kasakstan for their first world cup this season and will be competing THIS coming weekend...updates for those races/results will come later this week! And Petra and I are currently waiting for our flight home to Chicago after a pretty successful weekend competing here at an international race called the CanAms at the Calgary Olympic Oval (where mom-coach competed in her last Olympics in 1988!). Love this rink. It is one of the fastest in the world, rivaling the Salt Lake City Olympic oval. Petra dominated actually...setting a personal best (PB) in her 3000m, coming 4 tenths away from a PB in her 1500m and getting close in her 1000m and 500m. I, on the other hand, really struggled the first two days. My 1500m and 3000m were not close to what I am capable of, which brought me to a low point Saturday night. But I knew I couldn't dwell there, so with the help my my mom (who was flying to Astana at the time and on a layover in Frankfurt), Danny (my boyfriend), Petra and some friends, I stepped back trying to see the larger picture and brought my mind back to positivity. Sunday (yesterday) I was to race the 500 and 1000m and told myself I was going to have fun, setting aside my disappointments and getting pumped to sprint. My favorite race has always been the 1000m...and though I have not been training for these sprint races, I was going to mentally prep myself instead by setting goals and visually running through my races. The 3 goals I set I accomplished :) and raced times I haven't hit since 2013 SO...I ended on a great note and am leaving Calgary encouraged (because I still have the ability to skate fast laps! haha) and ready for the next weeks of hard training ahead leading into our US Nationals out in Salt Lake City come early January.

Hope that gives some brief insight on the TeamSwiderPeltz training life so far and wanting to encourage you that if you want to pray for us, we would love prayer support as we continue to train hard and prepare for important races as well as staying healthy and injury-free throughout the next year and a half. We thank you all so much for your support, love, and encouragement...I know I say that a lot, but I (and Jeffrey) can't emphasize it enough. We are able to do this, to pursue speedskating and live out dreams with the talent/abilities the Lord gave us because of YOU.

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

03 February 2016

Stavanger World Cup 5 Recap

Overall, Nancy and I didn't perform great. Neither of us qualified for the World All-Around Championships next month in Berlin. But that's the life of an athlete, unless maybe you've risen to the title of Champion in your sport and when you're at the top it's a little easier to stay at the top for a while. But we're both not at the top, yet. Nancy and I had a great US Championships a few weeks earlier, but sometimes race weekends just don't turn out if one (of countless reasons) hasn't prepared your body and mind just right for that weekend of racing. Now as the speedskating season shuts down during the next couple months we both have to figure out which competition we will finish the 2015/16 season with!

We just want to continue to say a sincere thanks for all the thoughts and encouragement from you all out there, we gave it our best!

Race morning warmup

My 5000m race

Warming up for the 3000m race

Pre-3000m race

12 year old Andreas speedskates and cycles on a team here in Stavanger. He also returned my lost phone to me :)

Andreas' 7 year old sister Adele also speedskates. The next brother/sister speedskating duo for Norway?

Cycling warm up room

Erik Gilmore. Our Norwegian/American friend who we trained with in Milwaukee when he lived there for 3 years. Haven't seen him til this weekend!

Photo Credit:  Oscar van den Bosch (SchaatsFoto's)

 Photo Credit:  Oscar van den Bosch (SchaatsFoto's)

Right before Jeffrey's 1500m A group race (my gloves always feel too small)

Cameras on Nancy

One of the crazier things that happened this weekend was that the lights completely shut off during Nancy's 5000m race! Nobody was sure if the (quad of) skaters were going to keep going but all four of them finished–it was kind of cool to see.

30 January 2016

World Cup Stavanger Day 2

Short update, again because we need to get to bed for another big race day tomorrow. Jeffrey raced his 5k today and I raced my 1500m. Jeffrey's 5k was solidly consistent, but not his potential...and my 1500m was, well, lets just say my first World Cup race in 4 years. And it is a race from which I can only get better and improve. To be honest I was not happy at all, but as I sat down afterwards, I was just thankful to have the opportunity to be at this World Cup and gain international experience again. Perspective. I can smile though it hurt. :)

Tomorrow is the 1000m for Jeffrey and the 3000m for me. Jeffrey will be racing at 11:35am (4:35am CST) and I will be racing the 3k at 12:40pm (5:40am CST). The last day of racing!

Picture below is of our great and long-time friend Mats Roger Jensen who we've known from the days of summer ice camp in Hamar (Norway) that Mom-coach taught for years. Then he came to the US and trained with TeamSwiderPeltz for the 2010 Olympics but missed it. He's an incredibly hard worker, has a heart of gold and am so thankful we are able to catch up with him and his father Geir-Arne again. 

29 January 2016

1500 Meters Earlier Today

Real quick cause I'm going to bed–I finished 20th out of 20 in A group. So not a very good race today although I thought I was on a good one. It's ok though, it's been a great year! You can’t win them all–but almost all. Tomorrow both Nancy and I are racing. A 1500m for her and a 5k for me. Let's go!

UPDATE: By the way, here's the video of the 1500m!


28 January 2016

Jeffrey Racing the 1500m Tomorrow

Jeffrey will be racing the 1500m tomorrow at 6pm Stavanger time, 11am Central Standard Time for those back home! This is his best race and will be racing in the A group, first pair as shown above. This race combined with his 5k race Saturday will determine if he will then make the World Championships that will be held in Berlin a month from now! Support him, pray for him, cheer him on :)

To watch his race (because he is in A group and its shown live), one must be on the Google Chrome browser, download this: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/anonymox/icpklikeghomkemdellmmkoifgfbakio

When downloaded, there will be a blue X in the upper right corner. click on it, change the country to NL (netherlands), and go to this website: http://nos.nl/sport/schaatsen/ where there should be a yellow box or something that will say "live" 1500m men. Click on that and watch! Sorry I won't be able to help much because I will be watching him race live myself, but will keep you all update later unless you follow me on Instagram where I will post his results soon after his race..

For LIVE time results, click on this link: http://live.isuresults.eu/2015-2016/stavanger/d505.htm

25 January 2016

Arrived in Stavanger, Norway, for World Cup 5

We took a short walk around an old part of Stavanger and near our hotel today get our legs moving, then in the afternoon we headed to the Sørmarka Arena for #TeamUSA's first ice session! Races this weekend are Friday through Sunday (Friday & Saturday for Jeffrey, Saturday and Sunday for Nancy).

Front stretch

The turns are underneath a low roof

Posters all over town