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.