2019 Athlete Journal: Tora Hoshizaki
This is my second athlete journal and I just wanted to review on the past year! This season has gone by so quickly, and I would like to take you through my experiences on and off snow.
My season started off well, as I had some successes early on in the year. My highlight being my double SL win at Norquay. I was elated and pleasantly surprised with my results and I felt that it gave me a lot of confidence to bring into the year. I was able to carry these results throughout December and came back to Edmonton for Christmas as a happy (but extremely tired) little lady. Right after the holidays Claire and I left for Collingwood, Ontario where we both had some awesome races. One of which being when we both qualified for the panelled slalom. We had the opportunity to race against girls who are dominating the NorAm circuit. Although Claire and I were eliminated in the first round, we had so much fun being apart of all the action!
When I came back from Ontario, I felt the best I had ever felt in my skiing career. I was putting out good results while still making gains at every race and training block I came out of. So what could go wrong?
It was mid-January when I started to feel pretty unwell. I had high fevers, chills and extreme tiredness, but I was still determined to try and ski the Lake Louise race series. I ended up staying in the hotel room for two days, and that’s when I felt a continuous sharp pain in my left side. My family and I drove back to Edmonton and that’s when I was diagnosed with mononucleosis. On top of all my symptoms, I had an inflamed liver and an enlarged spleen. These two factors prevented me from being able to ski, and I wasn’t going to be on snow until I was cleared. The illness progressed into my lymph nodes and throat, which caused major swelling all over my body. Another common symptom with mono is extreme fatigue that could last for months after the initial signs of illness. This is something my coaches and I feared would hinder my performance when I would return back to skiing. I was sick for a month and a half, and this was the biggest adversity I experienced the entire year. As I sat on the couch, I could feel my muscles slowly getting weaker and all the hard work I put in the summer had now diminished. Mentally, all I wanted to do was ski and it was unbearable to watch my team go to race after race without me. It reminded me of the things you take for granted until it’s gone. I have to admit, the month of February was an extremely difficult time for me (and not just because of the cold weather!)
When I got back to skiing, I was 10 pounds lighter but had an undying motivation to get back to skiing. I knew the month of March was jam-packed full of racing and I knew I had some major ground to make up. I only had about two weeks to prepare, and within that time I tried my best to get back to where I was at the start of the season.
The month of March had many downs, but consistent sparks of success. One good run here and there but just couldn’t put two together. After we came back from out East I was excited to race back in Alberta and hopefully have some good results on terrain that I felt comfortable on. I think that it was that mindset that set me up for Panorama Spring Series. I felt awesome on my GS skis, and even better on my SL skis. I was even able to sneak in a win on the first SL race. Finally! I felt back to where I was at the beginning of the season.
Now, what could go wrong right? Well, unfortunately, I sustained a tailbone injury the very next day, and it arguably ended my season. It was devastating for me, as I was so hopeful for the last couple races. But as I sit here and type this athlete journal with a sore butt, it reminds me of all the great moments I had. Yes, it wasn’t my best year, but everyone has “one of those seasons”. I realized I can’t dwell on the negatives, I need to look into the future and start planning for the positives. My coach Leslie told me that “ski racing is a grind, and you have to learn how to love the grind,” and this quote is something that stuck with me over these past couple months. Now it’s time to take a short break, finish school and get back to the grind 🙂
I would like to thank my sponsors Sporting Life, Western GMC Buick, Descente and Pro Sport Protection for all their support over this past year!