12462_349799395267_753395267_9749950_1538936_n.jpg

It used to be spitfire. It used to be piss, vinegar, gumption, grit and confidence. Then one day, in a bloody pool on the side of a mountain in Chile, that all changed. A fellow entrepreneur recently asked, “Why DeepFit?” Well, it all started back in 2007 on the side of that mountain.

I grew up alpine ski racing and it was everything I did from the time I was 3 years old until I retired in 2011. I ate, slept, bled, dreamed, breathed, spoke and lived ski racing. I formed a strong identity around my athletic prowess, my community and the sport itself. I was climbing the ranks.

Then, in 2007, during a U.S. Ski Team training camp in South America, I wrecked training downhill. I wrecked hard. The immediate result was some fractured vertebrae, a crushed eye socket and cheek bone, 6 fractured ribs and traumatic brain injury. That all became scars, a newfound sense of fear, and an identity crisis from no longer being the spitfire, confident athlete I always was.

I continued pushing through it for 4 more years of competition, but every time I stepped in my skis, I was quite literally shaking in my boots. Flashes of my accident would flood my mind and I could still hear the sound of hitting the ground at 70 mph quite clearly. No one knew the extent to which I was paralyzed by my own fear and stuck inside my own mind. People who knew me could speculate based on my lackluster performance, but as an athlete, I had been taught to toughen up, suck it up, and rub some dirt on it. So that’s what I did, and what came from my internal turmoil was excessive drinking, anger, resentment and risky behavior that allowed me to discharge some of my pent-up energy in the moment, only to send me further away from who I wanted to be in the long run.

After winning a Division I NCAA championship at the University of Colorado in 2011, I was tired and broken, physically and mentally, so I threw in the towel.

A month later, I entered my 200-hour yoga teacher training. For the first time in my life, I was encouraged to talk about my deepest fears, my welling emotions and my broken heart. I was encouraged to allow those aspects of my life to be a part of the story, not an unspeakable chapter. After 6 years of consistent yoga practice, many hours of teacher training, endless encouragement to be exactly who I am (“negative” emotions and all), I’ve finally become someone I am proud to be and someone who is not afraid (well, less afraid) to show vulnerability and let my support system back me up when I need it.

The person I had to learn to be most honest with through the whole process was myself. I spent my entire life looking for my coaches, my times, my teammates and a national governing body to tell me I was good enough, strong enough, fast enough and tough enough to accomplish my dreams. In reality, I had to stop looking outward for the fuel to chase my dreams, a process that was only burning through my own internal reserves. I had to decide who I wanted to wake up and be every day.

My inner landscape needed the work, and that is what I set out to do. I would strengthen my inner world and give myself a bombproof foundation to take on the outer world.

I have committed my life to continuing my own growth and development. In the process, I am committed to finding ways to support others in doing the same. Between studying sport and performance psychology and co-founding DeepFit, I am compelled more than ever to challenge our societal norms around inner strength and confidence. I want to make the world a place where we can be tough, strong, and vulnerable, and fall apart when we need to. Because let’s face it, rainbows and butterflies are awesome, but mosquitoes and thunderstorms are still a part of our world.

Wherever you are as an athlete, DeepFit is a community where you can be yourself and build the solid inner landscape you are meant to have. We love taking this journey together and we are glad you're here with us, too!

-Kirsten

2 Comments