Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Tough to Stay Tough

The past 2 weeks have been rough. Seriously. At the beginning of June, the camp in Jericho seemed so far away. But now it’s over. Looking back, I ask myself, “What did I learn at that camp?” You can take something away from every situation I think. So what can I take away from this? Well, that’s a good question.


I learned how to be tired at that camp. It was fun, don’t get me wrong, especially because we didn’t have to walk up that huge hill to the dining hall for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (we got to eat at a dining hall just a few hundred feet away from our barracks.) It was nice to see some familiar faces that were slowly becoming stranger’s faces. Going to Burlington is always a good thing.  As far as training goes? The whole reason we were there? Meh. Not great by any means. Mediocre shooting all week long, mediocre skiing a majority of the time, tired for a good piece of it, lots of toothaches (my wisdom teeth are coming in); all this translating into sub-par races at the end of the week. It’s nothing to stress over though, as I come to find after nearly every Jericho camp. Bad races in August have absolutely no influence on how the races go in December. It’s still early, we still have the whole fall to improve on more things!


The biathlon team went straight from Jericho to Carabassett Valley for a MWSC UNITE camp at Sugarloaf with the Cross Country folks. “Oh boy”, I sigh as Kat and I pull into the driveway. “Here goes another week.” There was a difference between these two camps though. Jericho was planned to be an intensity camp, lots of “going hard”, but not a whole ton of hours. This Sugarloaf camp, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. Not a whole ton of intensity, but lots of hours. Two very different camps, one very similar outcome. I have never felt so tired and unmotivated ever in my life between these two weeks. Just trying to get out there and train was a chore. I found myself thinking at multiple points through the week, “Why would I want to leave this nice warm bed to go out there…outside?” But I did get out there, although most of the time I wasn’t happy about it. The good thing about this Sugarloaf camp was it was completely centered around one of my biggest obstacles; up hills. The up hills are where I lose the most time in anything I am doing. Skiing, biking, running. Every time we come to an uphill, in training or in racing, I am amazed as I watch everyone I am training with just fly by me and create a 1 minute gap in 1 lousy uphill. Hiking is pretty much my worst enemy (although I do enjoy it.) So during this camp, the coaches really hammered the up hills. We did uphill intervals on roller skis, we went hiking, did some bounding. And although I maybe didn’t make huge gains in my uphill battle (haha), at least I was able to watch everyone else, and take notes on what they are doing differently that makes them go so much faster.


So, what did I take away from these two camps?


I think I learned some lessons on how to push through tough times, (both mentally and physically), even when I don’t want to.  Staying tough is often times…well, tough. When it gets to the point when you don’t want to do the things you love to do, where does that leave you? What do you do? You keep going forward, even when that doesn’t seem possible. It’s a bump in the road, and I can guarantee it will happen again. And I am almost certain it happens to every athlete in every sport. You get tired! You train hard for your goals, but sometimes forget that training hard and training smart are two totally different things! Slowly but surely, I am coming down the other side of this little road bump.


In other news…


The combination of sun with the smell of sun-screen, water, and sand could be used to cure almost any type of problem. When you get here, to that point, you have left any and all problems in a dark, claustrophobic room somewhere, and right now all you can think about is nothing, which is fabulous. This is what I was faced with yesterday afternoon. After a great bike ride around the Gilford area, Kat, Grace, Seth and I packed up our things, ate lunch, and headed to the marina. We piled up in the boat for the 20-minute ride out to Bear Island on Lake Winnipesaukee. We spend the day out there with Kat’s parents, swimming, eating good food, talking, roasting marshmallows and making smores. Mackerel. It was absolutely fantastic. Four more days here, then back up to the county with me! See you around soon! Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, July 19, 2010

5 down, 1 to go!

We are coming around the final stretch of a solid 6-week training block. Running intervals that brought me to tears, shooting that made me so angry I could scream, and hot, muggy, buggy days have been on the schedule for the last 5 weeks. It takes a lot out of you, both mentally and physically! Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad. I hiked Katahdin for the first time, participated in the tour of Stockholm, had some good, solid interval sessions, and learn some news ways to cope when things are not going smoothly.  Even with all that, I am still very excited for a low-hour week. I’m thinking I may escape to southern Maine for a few days that week, to spend some time with my sisters. A little time away from training is always good, especially after the past weeks we have had. But, it is essential to do the hard training now if you want to be fast in the winter. That’s what I’ve been telling myself; It’s all for Junior Worlds. I’ll be a first year junior this year, so trying to qualify for the Junior World Championship team will be tough. But, if I put in the right kind of training, it can happen. We’ll see. No sense stressing over it right now. That’s still 5 months away! For now, I’ll just focus on doing what I do. One shot at a time, and one foot in front of the other!


After our week off, the biathletes will be heading down to Jericho, Vermont, for a training camp. I’m pretty excited about it. Even though 99% of the time we are down there it is so muggy that you don’t want to move, and even though the barracks don’t exactly provide the most comforting atmosphere, (pictures will be posted so you all can see them), I like going to Jericho. Although it may seem unlikely, what with no internet service and hardly any cell phone service, Jericho is usually a fun camp. You never know that kind of things can happen with this group of athletes. And it is so different from any other camp we go on. As cliché as this may sound, I love the bonding that goes on during this camp. What do you do when there is nothing to do? Well, you look to your teammates, and hope that they have something more exciting to do than doing nothing, if that makes sense. 


Anyways, I’ll hopefully keep you more up to date as interesting things happen. I feel like I write that in almost every blog entry, but seriously. I’ll try. 





Sunday, June 20, 2010

The past weeks of training have been going really well, and hopefully, it will continue that way. Other than a few aches and pains here and there, this season is starting off quite well. Shooting is on the upward swing right now, which is really exciting to see. We have done quite a few shooting tests recently, and I have posted some of my best results ever in those few weeks. And what's more, it's only JUNE! Needless to say, I am very excited to see what the rest of the year has in store for me. 

By the looks of it right now, it's going to be a pretty mellow summer, and I am ok with that. We did quite a bit of traveling last summer, so it will be a nice change to just chill out and train at home for a little while. 

This past week the biathletes of Fort Kent spent some time at the recently acquired athlete house, (thanks Phyllis!), doing some demolition! Ripping up carpet, tearing down trim, picking staples out of the floor, etc. 2 days later, the house was gutted, and those stalactites were gone from the ceiling! It was pretty neat to be apart of the demolition crew, although I was upset I didn't get to take a sledgehammer to any of the walls. Once done, the house is going to be super nice. The athletes are pretty lucky to have such amazing people looking out for us! 

This winter, the Biathlon World Cup is coming to Aroostook County! It's gonna be sa-weet! Presque Isle and Fort Kent are going to be swarmed with the best biathletes and coaches from all over the world, and it's going to be an unbelievable experience. I wasn't around for the 2004 World Cup in Fort Kent, so I went to the library and checked out the video of it. Let me tell you, after watching that video, I was jumping up and down with excitement. Seeing that many people here, in little ol' Fort Kent…AH! It's almost overwhelming. I am excited for the world's best biathletes to be able to experience what a great, welcoming community we have here in Aroostook County. 

Mmwell, I spose that's all I have for now. I'll keep you updated as the summer rolls on! 


Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Day Ended

At the end of the day, as I climb into bed, right at the moment when I pull the covers over my shoulders, I can’t help but smile. This is my favorite time of the day. It seems a bit odd, considering it should be my least favorite. It signals another day that has come and gone, all to fast. It is a silent reminder of how easily time slips away when we get caught up with all the rigors of a day.

But I think of it as a time for opportunity. There are an infinite number of things that are possible when you wake up in the morning. What will the next day hold? No one knows. That is up to you. 

It’s the perfect time to just relax, close your eyes, and imagine.


It is also my favorite time, because it is the time when you can finally look back on the day. It is a time of reflection, for me at least. Think about the day. What did you learn? How can you apply this to future days? It’s a time to be totally in tune with yourself. No other outside actions, distractions, reactions; just you.


To feel the comfort of the blanket hugging your body, to feel the warmth surrounding you from your toes to your nose. To me, there is almost no better feeling. It’s just you. And the security of your blanket.


A blanket is a perfect companion. There are no commitments, it won’t be mad at you if you forget to say happy anniversary to it; it will always be there to comfort you at the end of the day. You know, even if you have the roughest of days, that there will be something, waiting for you when the sun goes down over that horizon. Waiting to comfort you, and somehow, without using words, tell you that everything is right. And what's more, it offers only the warmest and truest of hugs.


Do not forget the benefits of even the most simple actions in life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

me shooting a shotgun.
Yes, that is me; yes, i am holding a shotgun; yes, i did go turkey huntin'.
Well ya know, the skiing in Colorado was really awful... just kidding.

We went to a National Park called Mesa Verde. Here are some of the cliff dwellings left behind.

I had posted an article before to go along with these pictures. Read it in the archives!

It's 8:32 and all is well...considering

Well, here I sit in the Phoenix airport. It's 11:32 pm at home, which means its 8:32 pm local time. My plane for Philadelphia doesn't take off until 10:55 pm. And that is not home time, that is local time. I am tired, and I just want to go to sleep in my bed. But, seeing how that isn't going to happen for about another 24 hours or more, I spose I will update you with what I have been doing this spring. 

After NorAm Champs, I was toast. I did not want to touch those things we call skis for a few months, and I didn't even want to think about next winter. Not quite yet. I spend a few weeks relaxing at home, spending time with the fam, and going to an occasional high school softball practice. This were pretty mellow, to say the least. The highlight of my spring was probably watching Max and Raia (Gary's dogs) while he was on vacation. I like those dogs. Anyway, that was the highlight of my spring, until I went out to Durango, Colorado for a few weeks. (which explains why I am sitting in Phoenix.) 

The last week in April rolls around, and I am packing up for the first travel of the year. Tracy and Lanny Barnes invited me and Susan Dunklee to stay out at their parent's house in Durango for a few weeks, to get in some low intensity, high volume, maximum fun training before the serious training starts. The first week was pretty mellow. Biking, hiking, running, you know, the normal. But, also in that first week, I went on my first turkey hunt! It was very fun, although we didn't see or hear anything. I still felt dangerous carrying around a 12 gauge shotgun. The second week, we packed up everything we fit into our backpacks, loaded up the truck, and drove up to the mountains and did some camping! The real kind! We had a tent and a fire pit and everything! It was my first time camping in a tent. I was a little nervous, but I managed. It took a little while to figure out how to sleep in a sleeping bag though. I figured I was supposed to put on layer after layer of clothing and cuddle up in the sleeping bag and brace for the cold to hit. Oh how wrong I was. Tracy tells me "Just wear a long sleeve shirt and some shorts, and you'll be fine." Thinking she was a bit crazy, I went to bed on the first night in a 2 long sleeve shirts and some long underwear on top of my shorts. And that, my friends, was quite possibly one of the life. Apparently, if you sweat while in the sleeping bag while it is below freezing outside, you will be warm for about an hour. And then? YOU FREEZE! And that is exactly what I did. So she pulled the "I told you so" card, which she had every right to, and I learned my lesson. But for some reason, I still wasn't sleeping at night. It wasn't until the last night that I finally got a really good night's sleep. In the mornings we would go skiing up in the mountains, and in the afternoon we would just be active, whether it be hiking, biking, or even more turkey hunting or fishing. I had heard the twins talk about making training fun and not so serious all the time. I kind of always thought training was fun, but they take it to a whole new level, and I finally understand what they are talking about. It's really important, especially in the beginning of a training year, to keep things fun. Just going out to do things because you want to, not because you have to; that is what it is all about. And it doesn't always have to be running or hiking or normal strength. One day in the first week, we decided we wanted to do a strength workout. So, what did we do? Go to the gym, you say? Well, that's a good guess, but you would be wrong. We rode our bikes around town, finding all the different jungle gyms and playgrounds, in town, and each came up with 2 exercises for all of us to do, incorporating the jungle gym into each one. Sit Ups on the slides, lunging around the park, doing pull ups on the monkey bars; we even went to the skate boarding park and did some things around there. Those were the sorts of things we were doing. They were so fun, and so different! So that was great. 

And the last night I was there, I shot a shotgun! In the 2 weeks we were there, I think all the turkeys went on vacation to Florida or something, because we didn't see one male turkey! So instead of shooting the shotgun at a turkey, I shot it at an orange juice bottle. But, I hit it! And it turns out it has a little bit more kick than my biathlon rifle. But it was really fun. So, although my vacation was a little delayed, it was well worth the wait. 

I will be moving into the lodge as soon as I get back to Maine, which I am very excited about. I will become apart of the long legacy of athletes in the lodge! 

Hopefully you all had a good spring, and are looking forward to an exciting summer! I'll add some pictures soon!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Closing Ceremonies.

Tonight. Is the night. When ttwwoo become oonnnee.


Just kidding. There will be no Spice Girl singing here.


Tonight is the night of the closing ceremonies of the Olympics, and I am quite distraught! I don’t want it to end! Watching these Olympics. Watching new medalists receive their medals. Watching the athletes do the things they love to do. It makes me want to be there so badly! All I can do is sit in envy, watching the athletes have the time of their lives, the experience of their lives. I think to myself, I want that. Right there.


Seeing the athletes there, it makes me realize that this dream I have, although to some might seem very out of reach, is achieve-able. Those athletes have made it. They put in the time, the effort. They got past the sweat and tears, and learned from the rewards and triumphs. They have learned that, with sport, comes agony and ecstasy. And look where they are now. Olympic athletes. The best title anyone could have….well, only one thing would be better.


Olympic Gold Medalist.


Saturday, January 30, 2010


Some ski signs.

The crowd at the Youth Men Individual.

At the opening ceremonies. this does not even begin to describe how many people were there!

Some kids skiing to school!

**Read the post titled "The Pursuit"

The Pursuit.

I had done all I could do. My race was done. Over. Everything else that could happen was out of my control. All I could do was sit and watch my name get bumped down from place to place as other girls finished ahead of me. All I needed was a top 60 to be able to race the next day. Top 60, not to hard, right? I shot alright, 3 misses. I thought I had skied alright. For minutes, the contact between my eyes and the big screen monitor was undisturbed. 28th. 34th. 44th. 56th. 60th. If one more person finished ahead of me, I would be out of the pursuit. A few more seconds passed, and the monitor updated. 65th.




I dropped my head and closed my eyes. This? This was the feeling of defeat setting in.  I sulked into the wax room, dropped my skis off, and walked back to my room. I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I had wanted this. The pursuit. That was one of my goals for this series of races, to qualify for the pursuit. But things didn’t work out that way. Sometimes, that happens. You see things going one way, and they turn out completely different. I had known going into these races that I would have to push myself to get into the pursuit, it wasn’t going to be easy. And I thought that I was ready for it. But when the time came, when that last beep went off and I skied out on that course, I just wasn’t there. And the other girls took advantage of that, as I would have done had the roles been reversed. That’s part of biathlon, taking advantage of your strengths, and trying to overcome your weaknesses.


So, I won’t race tomorrow. Even though I would rather be racing than sitting in the stands, this will be good for me I think. It’s a good chance to sit back, take notes, and learn some things. If I can’t get the experience of racing in the pursuit, at least I will be able to take something away from it. I will be able to see what the other girls from other countries do differently from me, and what they do that is similar to me.


I noticed one thing today. I feel like I have improved a little bit, just by being here, just by experiencing these races and being around these girls. This has been a total eye opener for me, and for a lot of girls here I think. There is a level of competition here that has reminded me why I love this sport. I now recognize how much work and how much improving needs to be done before I can be ready to be competitive at this level. So bring it on, I’m ready for it…for real.

Friday, January 1, 2010

i decided something today.

I decided something today.


But first, (before I get to that) I have finally taken a look back at what I was thinking about before my trials races. I was reading way to far into my emotions. I was nervous, plain and simple. I wanted to make this team so badly that I was beginning to doubt all the work I had put in, thinking that it wasn’t good enough, or that everyone else had worked harder than me. But I did know one thing; no one else wanted it as bad as me, and that is what kept me from totally losing my head during the races. After I got past my dramatic thought sequence, I began to realize that drive and focus were 2 things I had that I could use to my advantage, and in the last race, it all came together. And I could not have asked for better timing. So, I can honestly say I have learned from these races. At least now I know what I can expect to encounter on my next big trials races, and do my best to avoid these thoughts, or at least know how to deal with them.

Next thing on my mind? Sweden. This past summer there was an article on that was an interview with Grace and I. One of the questions that was asked was something like “what are your major goals for the year?”, and I replied that I would like to make the Youth/Junior World Team (check) and have one top 15 finish in Sweden. Over the past few weeks, I have been getting the vibe that people think this goal is a bit “lofty”, seeing as it is not only my first Youth/Junior Worlds races, but also my first European competition, and my shooting has been a little off lately. I was thinking about this as I was skiing today, and then this thought popped into my head. At first, I was going to try and change my goal, make it a little less of a stretch. The truth is, I was scared to believe in a lofty goal. I didn’t want to look like a total fool if I didn’t achieve it. I put my goal right out there for people to see, and they could do with it whatever they pleased; make fun of it, doubt it, embrace it. I don’t know.  The main conflict was, I did not want to look like a crazy girl who had all these crazy dreams about wanting to do well at her first junior worlds. But you know what? You have to have those crazy dreams in this sport. You have to believe in yourself even when no one else does. (CORNY, but factual.) That is what I have decided.

And you know what I say to those people who doubt my goal? Go watch Miracle. I know that this goal may be difficult to achieve, but if you have a goal that is easy to achieve, what is the point of having a goal in the first place? You need to have something to strive for. Because I set that goal for myself, I am going to be pushing harder and harder through those races to try and achieve it. I am going to want it.  And even if I don’t get it, even if I fail miserably, I will know that I tried, and I at least believed enough in myself to set such a mission for myself.

 **please excuse my use of the word “lofty”. I watch the movie Miracle way to much.