Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - Perspective
Phil's XC Journal #8

- By: Phil Villeneuve

Hi Everyone,

Yes I'm still alive! Sorry for the delay of this entry but my throat has been suffering from a viral attack and so my mind wasn't exactly focused on writing. Now that things are back in order and my training regiment is once again back on track I'm ready to put my grey matter to work! It's funny to think that an illness, even something as simple as a sore throat can throw your daily routine off by so much. The only thing on my mind was: "What can I do to get better? Should I sleep more, drink more, go out to see friends and relax, get my mind off being sick? Should I go for an easy run? Can I run? Will it make me worse or help me? What can I do?" For 2 weeks I suffered these mind games waiting for that sign that my body was getting better. When I look back now it doesn't look so bad. I got sick and I took some time off to rest. Chances are, I got sick in the first place because my body needed a break anyway.

It's interesting to note how much I need to train in order to be happy. Everyday I look forward to getting out there. I love it! If something prevents me from doing that, either an injury or illness, I become very, very cranky. It's that simple. Cross country skiing is my life, it's my passion and my job. I take it very seriously. Comments like "You train too much, You should get out more, I never see you anymore (probably my girlfriends saying that last bit or should I say...ex-girlfriends)" are day to day occurrences. It's weird for someone to think that I look forward to training everyday of the year or that I enjoy pushing myself on an interval session to the point where I almost collapse from fatigue. Most people have no idea that elite athletes love to punish themselves. We crave that hurt to the point where it could almost be considered an addiction! Yikes!

The general feeling out there amongst my friends (oh yeah, I do have a few!) is that I must be suffering from some sort of health freak disorder. I guess I sort of see their point. I hardly ever go out, I go to bed too early, it had been so long since I last had a beer that I got cut-off after one, my house is being referred to as a cave and me the old crazy hermit living inside it and if someone sees me in town it is considered a 'sighting'! I've imagined this short, little man wearing a gigantic pokadot hat standing outside my house yelling at the top of his lungs: "Come, come see the skiing freak! He does nothing but train, eat and sleep!" I could imagine little heads peeking inside my windows staring wide eyed at me as I sit there stretching or eating my lunch. Maybe I should be hustling that guy into getting a cut of the profits...As elite athletes we are dedicated to pursue our goals and dreams. Since skiing is my priority, everything else comes second! I love what I do and have absolutely no regrets about the sacrifices I've made.

Man, talk about being way too serious. It really has been too long since I last wrote. I've lost that silliness that makes me crack up when I write a funny. So, now that I've probably discouraged every talented skier from ever wanting to go pursue their dream... We don't live a very glamorous life but I guess that's not really the point is it? Besides, have you ever really paid attention to that guy you always see rollerskiing on the side of the road (except maybe when you just about ran him over!) We train in silence and it's not until you win that oh so ever precious gold medal that you finally get some recognition for all the years of living the life of a disciplined athlete. But I bet it feels amazing once you get there...I can't wait!

That's it for today.

(Phil Villeneuve was a member of the Canadian National Ski Team for two years and has been a part of the training centre system in Canada since it's beginning. He now lives in Canmore where he continues to pursue his Olympic dreams.)

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