02 November 2017

99 days til the start of PyeongChang 2018 Olympics!

                                                                                                                            Hilary Barreto
I have written a quick update below and then following, a more personal section of thoughts from lessons I keep learning from my speedskating career.

The quick update version:

It's November FIRST y'all (can't believe it), well into our speedskating season and Jeffrey and I are currently training in Milwaukee. About 2 weeks ago we had our Fall World Cup Qualifier (our first of 2 national races each year, and the 2nd one this year is the Olympic Trials). Jeffrey qualified for the Fall World Cup team in the Mass Start (YAY!!) and I struggled through all my races, missing the Fall World Cup team. This Saturday, Jeffrey will be leaving for the first World Cup race in Heerenveen, Netherlands. This race is followed by 2 more World Cups weeks later in Calgary, Canada and Salt Lake City. We will send out updates when those race days are available to watch online. For myself, I will stay here in Milwaukee training through til the Olympic Trials (basically 8 more weeks) because they are in Milwaukee at the Pettit National Ice Center this Olympiad! :) YOU SHOULD COME watch because this happens once every four years and its local to all of you living in Wisconsin/Illinois. Details will come later when times and tickets are available. At the moment, January 2nd and 7th are the best days to come watch Jeffrey, Brian and I.

Jeffrey in the Mass Start at the Fall World Cup Qualifier where he placed 2nd overall in points: he is 3rd from the right, front row

For the more detailed explanation....keep reading!

To think of one reason why I struggled at this past competition is like trying to find a polar bear in a
snowstorm. There are just so many variables in speedskating to figure out exact reasons. Altitude, hitting my rest period wrong, equipment, a rash that I contracted from my skinsuit which was severe, past injuries, etc. It has made my mind spin thinking of what I could have done differently.

                                                                                            Hilary Barreto
Or. There is another way of thinking. I read recently the verse, "Let us run with patience." Hebrews 12:1. I faced quite a bit of trials going into the 2010 Olympic Trials and the 2010 Olympics. Though I reached my goal and beyond, it definitely set me up for what was to come in these last 8 years, which were more trials. Just when I thought I hit rock bottom, I found myself sinking deeper as I was struggling season after season. Back when I missed the 2014 Olympic team, I had a terrible 3000m race, that night I just cried and wanted to be alone in my room because I felt defeated. My mom-coach's response was..."no Nance, you need to go back to the rink tomorrow and cheer for Jeffrey, Brian and your friends. You must push through what is painful because people will be watching how you deal with failure, falling short of your goals, and struggle. It’s in this time that you have the greatest influence on people and show an even greater example of Christ in your life.”

Those words and my mom's example have stuck with me since, helping me work through more adversity and obstacles in this sport. In these recent years, I have questioned being involved in speedskating because I just seem to be stuck in the same rut of poor results. But there's always been a little voice, whether it is friends speaking into me, Jeffrey Gingold :), or the following words that I have read that remind me of the pure strength of persevering through the season and staying positive. Words that suggest an even greater strength that is hardest to obtain:

"...the power to continue working after a set-back, the power to still run with a heavy heart, and the power to perform your daily tasks with a deep sorrow in your spirit. This is a Christlike thing! Many of us could tearlessly deal with our grief if only we were allowed to do so in private. Yet what is so difficult is that most of us are called to exercise our patience not in bed, but in the open street, for all to see. We are called upon to bury our sorrows not in restful inactivity, but in active service--in our workplace, while shopping, and during social events--contributing to other people's joy. No other way of burying our sorrow is as difficult as this, for it is truly what is meant by running "with patience".    --Streams in the Desert (October 30th)
Hilary Barreto

I do want to clarify that I know my trials start in a place of privilege; that I have been given the chance to pursue dreams and not live just to survive day to day. Trials I’ve struggled through have wiped out things I hold onto dearly. Things such as identity, security, good race results, and goals that not only I have worked so hard for and have sacrificed a lot of my life to achieve, but also the team behind my brother and I. Our team (YOU, you know who you are) has poured into us by encouraging us, giving their services, sponsoring us financially, coming up to Milwaukee to experience a day in the life of a speedskater, and it motivates us to achieve results for their hard work put into Jeffrey and I. To you, our team, we can't thank you enough for the time and effort you put into us to make our speedskating career happen.

And so, over the year of my career, I’ve learned that my responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities given to me and to put in effort. "To whom has been given much, much is expected." I've been given incredible opportunities and it’s how I use my platform, share my journey, support others, give back, volunteer, etc. that will be required of me. Already it’s a frustrating start to my season, but it’s the journey to the goals that are most influential and will impact and develop your character for life. Choosing a positive mindset while perservering through adversity has been the challenge for me when no one is watching. An Olympian's life isn't glorious behind the scenes nor does previous success guarantee future success. Each moment in life is an incredible gift, but life is a grind and always will be. You have to always put in the effort knowing that no matter the outcome, it’s been worth it.

Keep your eyes out for more blog posts to come, because both Jeffrey and I know that this is the best platform to keep everyone informed on the next 8 weeks and beyond...AND, y'all will need info on the Olympic Trials coming up so you can come watch the Olympic Trials in person! 

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

Hilary Barreto

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