December 17, 2010

Best Yet, Take 2

Beautiful Bled!

Hello from Slovenia! We arrived in Bled Monday afternoon and have been enjoying some sun and great skiing up at the venue in Pokljuka. Things got underway for the final pre-Christmas World Cup yesterday with the Individual races. Watching the men's race before we left the hotel left me a little nervous. Many of the best men in the field had terrible days on the range. Our men were no exception, with the best shooting coming from Lowell Bailey with 5 penalties-not what you normally see in an Individual style race were each miss adds one minute to your time. The wind had been switching around a lot, and though some athletes were lucky enough to best the conditions and walk away with only a few penalties, not one man hit all 20 targets-nearly unheard of for this caliber field in this type of race.

Luckily, when we arrived at the stadium (a windy 30 minute drive from our hotel- thank you Bogus Basin for preparing me well to deal with winding roads to races and training!) the wind had settled a bit and was more consistent. There was still some gusting, though, and some swirling wind you had to be aware of especially in prone. I went off early with the top group of starters, which meant I had some great people to try and stick with and was able to see the level of where I need to be to win medals. It was tough to be passed by these girls, but I looked at it as motivating to see how long I could stay with them and where they would gain time on me-letting me know what I needed to work on. But the Individual race is usually won and lost on the range, and I was confident about my ability. With only one penalty, coming in the third stage in prone position, I knew I could have a solid day. As is my usual style, I had a great last loop after cleaning my final standing stage, and ended up placing 21st.

In less than a week I've managed two personal bests with two top-30 results. It's really motivating to be shooting so well and see my skiing improve each week. And the Pokljuka venue is beautiful, so no better place to have some solid results!

In the ski room post-race, and very happy with my 21st!

This weekend is the final two races before we break for the holidays. Sprint race on Saturday and a Mixed Relay on Sunday (featuring 2 women and 2 men it's a really fun event). I'm looking forward to the races; knowing we have a nice break afterward allows you to really push through the weekend. Then I'll be off to Italy for some relaxation, training and sun! I'm already heading in to Christmas with more World Cup points than my total from all previous years, which makes me very excited for the rest of the season...things have hardly begun!

December 11, 2010

Best Yet

Attempting a jog on the snowy running path.

Greetings from SNOWY Hochfilzen! It's been snowing here almost non-stop since Wednesday, which made for some tough conditions in yesterday's sprint race. The women's race was snowy right from the get-go, so conditions were tough but fair. Going into this weekend I was looking forward to having a good race, but nervous since last week had been so rough. I knew I was feeling good, but in biathlon anything can happen, so you can never count on results, especially in this kind of weather.

I must admit I was a little nervous the morning of the race, but kept myself calm enough to execute my race strategy. I focused on staying calm and not letting my skiing get too short and choppy, and having a good range approach. The range here can be tough, with a long flat section and an uphill right into point 30. My plan worked out well for me, as I cleaned (hit 5 for 5) both my standing and my prone. Leaving the range after standing shooting, I was psyched. Shooting clean is a tall order, and some biathletes never have a clean race. This was my second clean World Cup, and it couldn't have come at a better time to boost my confidence. I received a split on my last loop saying I was just out of 20th position, and though I knew there were still some fast women behind me, I knew I could hold on for a good finish. When all the racers were in, I was left in 26th place, a career best finish! I am more than pleased with my comeback from Swedish parasites-clean shooting and a top-30 result.

The best part is possibly that we have a pursuit race tomorrow, so I'll have the chance to improve and score a few more World Cup points. Both Laura Spector and I qualified for the pursuit, so we're psyched to have another chance to race well. Laura had 3 penalties yesterday, but skied exceptionally, giving her a great shot at moving up in the pursuit. We're both very excited to have good results already this season, and feel this is a sign that the US women are headed in the right direction. Now we just need to get a few more over here so we can field a relay team!

Pursuit race tomorrow, most likely in the snow as it shows no sign of letting up. Should be a good fight, and a fun race. Having a career best finish this early in the season is great, but I'll continue to call it the "best yet" and save my "best ever" for another time. It's nice to feel good again, and see all my hard work paying off...hopefully this is just the beginning!

Laura and me, enjoying the snow!

December 5, 2010

Adjö Sverige, Guten Tag Österreich!

The final score here in Sweden left the parasite up two-nothing after not quite having the legs or shooting for a good enough sprint to move me on to the pursuit. Tomorrow we're off to Hochfilzen, Austria and I for one am looking forward to re-starting the World Cup season. It's been a rough week here in Östersund, but after talking to my coaches I've decided to take these races as practice and nothing more. I'm finally feeling normal while training and am confident the parasite will not follow me on to Austria.

Internet is sometimes tricky in Hochfilzen, so in case I can't update, you can follow the team on our website or at Wish me luck!

Getting ready for the COLD sprint race. Hopefully Hochfilzen is a bit warmer...

December 2, 2010

Ready, Set, World Cup!

Sunset over the biathlon venue with Östersund's lake in the background from our room.

With the Östersund individual race over, the World Cup season has officially begun. For me, it was a decent race, all things considered, though certainly not the way I had envisioned beginning the season.

As you may have heard by now, the town of Östersund is having some trouble with their water supply. Since before we arrived, there has apparently been a parasite (Cryptosporidium) contaminating the drinking water and many of the athletes, including myself and several teammates, have been unlucky enough to contract the bug. For me it has meant several days of upset stomach, some throwing up, and general weakness and feeling drained from not being able to eat much. I didn't train much in the days leading up to the race, so simply being able to start and have a couple of solid laps was great. I was pretty happy with my shooting and proud of myself for fighting through a less than perfect situation.

Bottled and boiled water...

I'm definitely on the mend now, though my appetite is not 100% and neither is my feeling. However, I am confident that I can have a great sprint race regardless. My shooting is solid right now and I know I am in great shape, so as soon as I can get this bug completely kicked out of my system, I'll be ready to rock.

The day was not a complete bust, though, as my teammate Laura Spector had a fantastic race. She shot 19/20 and skied great, ending up in 25th place! It was her first World Cup points ever, so congratulations to her! I think it's a great indicator of where the US women can be this year.

The men begin their season tonight with the 20km Individual. A few of the men are recovering from Crypto symptoms as well, but hopefully we'll all be back to 100% in a few days. Off we go!

The sun DOES come to Sweden, and yesterday we saw it! What a nice sight!

November 23, 2010

Hej från Sverige!

A view of the Östersund biathlon range with the lake in the background.

It's winter here in snowy Östersund, which suits me just fine as I'm putting the final preparations in before the first World Cup, which starts exactly a week from today! Trials in Canmore are over, and the rest of the WC Team will be joining us in the next few days. Congrats to Laura Spector, Russell Currier and Lowell Bailey for making the World Cup team, and to Tracy Barnes, Annelies Cook, Zachary Hall and Bill Bowler for making the IBU Cup team. The IBU Cup Team heads to Europe in a little over a week for the second and third IBU Cup in Martell, Italy and Obertilliach, Austria.

Being here a few days early has been nice. The training has been great, as the snow here is a plentiful mix of man-made and natural. A few teams have been here for the past week, but most are just starting to arrive, making the atmosphere feel more and more like the World Cup. I've been staying in town for the past few days which has allowed me to explore Östersund a bit more. On Friday, I'll move up to the hotel at the venue, where we'll be through the races. It will be very convenient to be right at the race venue, cutting down on travel and logistics for the races.

They continue to make more snow and perfect the trails. This weekend the range will be getting buffed out and World Cup ready. Its hard to believe the races are so close after so much preparation, but my mindset is switching over to race mode. Hej World Cup!

The tracks in Östersund at 4pm-ironically the lightest time to be skiing!

The pumpkin pie I wish we were having on Thanksgiving. One thing's for sure, the Swedes will feed us potatoes!

November 13, 2010

Hello, Goodbye!

A snow gun going full-blast in Canmore trying to make up for a snow-less November.

I thought this post would be a hello from Canmore, Alberta, Canada, where USBA is currently having it's on-snow camp and December World Cup/IBU Cup trials. However, it is instead a hello from the Albany airport, where I am currently killing time waiting for a shuttle back to Lake Placid.

The quick version of the story is that, until yesterday, there was no skiing at all in Canmore. So, the National Team coaches and staff decided that those of us pre-qualified athletes should leave Canmore and head to Sweden early where there is already 5km+ of great skiing. This has meant a lot of shuffling of tickets and last minute preparation, but here I am, just 6 days after leaving, back in Albany and heading to Lake Placid for re-packing and a quick turn-around for Sweden.

I'll be off on Wednesday for Östersund, the site of the first World Cup, and am looking forward to a more relaxing lead-up to the first races. It will be nice to be there early and hopefully I'll have more time to explore the city than I did last year. It's going to be hectic couple of days back in Lake Placid, but well worth it to get good skiing in sooner. I'll keep you all posted as I continue to country hop!

Östersund here I come!

November 1, 2010

Something New

As some of you may know, my boyfriend and fellow National Team member Zach Hall is gluten intolerant. For those who don't know, gluten intolerance is, very basically, an inability to break down the protein gluten (found in rye, wheat and barley). Zach's intolerance is thankfully not celiac disease, which is the same general idea, except instead of having an upset stomach and GI issues, celiac sufferers can become violently ill when they eat gluten in any amount.

Zach has been able to manage his intolerance with only a few issues (mostly while on the road, when language barriers can present a problem), and since going gluten-free his junior year of college, he's seen a steady improvement in his results. Recently, there's been a lot of news about other sports teams going gluten or wheat-free (namely the Garmin Slipstream Cycling Team, featured recently in Men's Journal). Since Zach and I share many meals anyway, I decided to try it while at our Utah camp. What I found was that my legs felt lighter and less tired, I was recovering faster, and I lost a couple pounds (putting me at my race weight in October, something I've never been able to accomplish). So I've decided to go gluten free for the season and see how things go.

Like Zach, I expect to encounter some issues, especially while traveling. However, since it is not an allergy that keeps me from eating wheat and gluten, it will be less worry-some for me. That's not to say that I won't be trying to keep this diet 100%. Luckily one of my sponsors, PowerBar, has several wheat and gluten free products that range from recovery bars to drink mixes to snack-type bars. I've already ordered several boxes to take with me to Europe. (Note: if you have issue with oats, many of these products will not be suitable for you. Check out celiac disease and oats here.)

PowerBar stash! The drink mix label was a casualty of travel, but what's inside is the Endurance Beverage in Lemon-Lime.

I'll be keeping close tabs on how I feel and what I eat to make sure I'm getting enough of the right nutrients, but I'm confident in my decision. Hopefully it will yield the results on the ski course that I am looking for!

October 25, 2010

Circling Back

The Teton Mountains, view from Idaho.

After a good camp in Utah and a great celebration of USBA's 30th anniversary in Jackson, WY, I'm finally back in Lake Placid for a final couple of weeks of training before we get on snow in Canmore, Canada. Fall is definitely in the air, and though the last couple days have felt more like spring, we know winter is right around the corner.

Our camp in Utah was a great chance to really nail things down both on the range and skiing before the snow flies. While I've made some big gains in the last few weeks, pretty much all the work is already over. You might think that's relieving, but it's actually pretty scary to think that all the training is behind me and now I just have to see how things shake out. We'll be on snow in a little over a week, and ready to hit race mode full-on in just a month. I've put over 6 months of really good training in (plus countless number of years before that!) and we're almost to the point where I get to see the payoff.

Working on my range procedure at Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Talking to new Women's Team Head Coach Jonne Kahkonen after a tough interval session in Utah.

While our fall camp was a lot of work, that's not to say that we didn't have any fun. Utah is beautiful in October, and traveling to Jackson, WY was an added treat for us. It was a weekend full of catching up and fun events, like skeet shooting just over the Teton Mountains from Jackson. Thanks to all the USBA staff who helped organize this fantastic weekend!
Hiking in Teton National Park with Zach and some of the USBA Board of Directors members.

Learning to shoot skeet at the Lazy Triple Creek Ranch with USBA members just outside Driggs, Idaho. Thanks for a great time!

So now we're back in Lake Placid getting things turned around to head out to Canada in search of snow. I can't wait to get on snow again and leave the rollerskis behind. Winter is what skiers wait all year for, and I'm feeling more ready than ever to get this season going!

Zach and I outside Jackson, WY.

September 26, 2010

Back West

First things first-I'm back! Back not only to my blog and my western home, but also to training 100%. Recovering from an injury is never easy, but after a couple weeks of careful practice, I've been able to complete all my normal training for the past weeks, and even had a couple of really solid time trials. The athletic trainers at the OTC have told me I'm "not injured" and should train as usual. I've still be icing every once in a while to prevent soreness, but mostly things are back to normal. Just in time...

Photo-op in the foothills above Boise.

As we have done this time of year for the past several years, the US Biathlon team is now in Utah for our fall altitude camp. I always love coming west in the fall-the weather is fantastic, training is starting to become more specific as winter approaches, and I get to spend a couple days at home seeing my family and friends. This time my trip home was made extra special because I was being inducted into the Boise High School (my alma mater) Hall of Fame. Boise High has had 4 Olympians, and three of us were at the Homecoming football game to be inducted during halftime. All Boise city high schools play varsity football on the now famous blue turf of Boise State University, so it was a fun experience to be on the field that was showcased the next night on national television. I'd also like to think that the presence of three Olympic athletes helped infuse the field with a little luck that helped BSU to a win over Oregon State!

Olympic tailgate before the Boise High Homecoming Game.

Receiving my plaque for the BHS Hall of Fame out on the blue turf!

Boise High Olympians: Lisa Kosglow (BHS '92, Olympian '98 & '02), Sandra Shellworth Hildner (BHS '62, Olympian '68), Sara Studebaker (BHS '03, Olympian '10)

I arrived in Utah last night. I'll be spending the next week with the men's A and B teams until the women's B Team arrives on Saturday. It should be a great camp-the weather is shaping up to be perfect and our coaches are looking forward to lots of ski specific training and focused work before we get on snow next month. It's hard to believe the season is just around the corner, but feeling fall in the air is getting me excited to ski! It won't be long now...

Some pictures from the past couple weeks...

Black Bass, anyone?

Apple Picking in Maine near my aunt and uncle's house.

Bouldering near Saranac Lake with a few of my teammates. Coaching extends beyond biathlon-thanks Patrick!

August 22, 2010


My new friend-The Concept 2 double pole machine.

I'm slowly recovering from my injury, but my limited range of motion and inability to do any lateral movement has made this week a pretty low one for training. While that was not in the plan, it has worked out fine for me to have a bit of down time. The one big problem is that I'm starting to go a little stir crazy. I've read one and a half books in the last week, and gotten lots of non-training things done, but not being able to go out and rollerski, run or bike has been hard. Luckily, this weekend I was cleared to do some light biking and double poling, with one caveat-all my activities have been stationary training. In order to keep my knee stable and not have any worry of re-injuring it, I must start with stationary activities, before adding outside elements into the mix. So, the stationary bike, the double pole machine, and I have been getting to know each other well. It's not the most exciting training, it is training, and has been keeping me occupied. Even so, hopefully by this time next week, I'll be back to business as usual!


August 15, 2010


It suppose it is just a matter of time in an elite athlete's career before they have some sort of big injury. Friday was my time. I was lucky, however, and in the realm of "serious" injuries, this one is not too bad. I was in Jericho, VT at our second women's team camp and NorAm rollerski races. While getting out of prone position during an easy combo workout, I dislocated my left patella (knee cap). My coach was right there, and we were luckily able to get it right back into place. My coach then drove me to the ER in Burlington. The hospital took X-Ray's and determined that there was no ligament damage, which was very good news. The doctor advised that I use a brace to immobilize my leg and keep it from dislocating again. After talking to the sports physiologists in Lake Placid, the agreed that was the best course of action until the swelling went down and they could examine me. I'm now back in Lake Placid, trying to rest and ice my leg so that tomorrow we can start figuring out where to go from here.

Creating a distraction on the range in my leg brace during practice. In good spirits despite it all!

Having never been injured before, it's a tough situation to be in. I'm having to lay low, even though I feel good (minus my knee!), and it takes me twice as long to get anywhere. But, I'm confident that if I can just relax and stay positive, I'll recover quickly and be back to training in no time. In the meantime, I'll just have to enjoy my down time.

August 1, 2010


Pictures from my friend's wedding in California where Zach and I debuted our talents as florists!

Starting to work on the arrangements for tables.

Putting the finishing touches on the bouquets.

The table arrangements all finished!

Boutonnieres for the groom and groomsmen.

The tables all set for the reception dinner...a beautiful location!

Zach and I right before the ceremony-notice the beautiful bouquet!

July 30, 2010


It's July already. And not only is it July, it's the END of July. I can hardly believe how fast this summer is going by, and how much I've already fit in. June was a whirlwind of National Team camp and a trip to Alaska (it's SO light there in the summer!). Now July has almost past between a shooting camp, a family reunion, a friend's wedding and a trip home that's now half over. I'm heading back to the east (Jericho, Vermont more specifically) on Wednesday for our last camp of the summer. It will include the US National Rollerski Biathlon Championships, so that should be a fun way to test out where we all are right now in our training. We've had a bit of a different philosophy this year, waiting to do much intensity until fairly recently. The coaches decided that was a good plan of action so as not to burn us out too early, especially with World Championships being so late this year.

July has also brought some changes to US Biathlon. A new head women's coach was hired, and we're all looking forward to start working with Jonne Kähkönen, former Finnish National Team Head coach. We know he will be an excellent addition to our staff, and I am really looking forward to having him and his family in Lake Placid.

Typically, I don't have any pictures to put up right now-Zach is the master picture taker, and he (along with his camera and pictures) is currently in Italy at a training camp with the men's team. But I promise to post some soon (MUCH sooner than the interval between this and my last post...sorry about that). For now, I'm off to brave another workout in the heat of Boise (with a high near 100 F it's looking like a good afternoon for the gym and strength inside!). Stay cool, wherever you are.

May 26, 2010


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May 22, 2010

Rested Up and Ready to Go

Spring is the rest/vacation/down time for an athlete, and within reason, coaches usually suggest you don't start training until you really feel you want to again. That means lots of fun "workouts" and general stay-in-shape activities for a few weeks before the real training starts. So I've taken that approach with my blog and not written anything until I was inspired. Hope you won't mind a quick pictorial look at some of my spring activities.

Relaxing on our porch in Mexico. A warm climate, a good book, and a great view = the perfect post-season vacation.

Dinner with Zach's brother, Christopher, in Mexico. Incidentally, Christopher is a GREAT cook.

Pozole-our last meal in Mexico!

Speaking to students at Boise High School-my alma mater.

View of the Washington Monument, just before going in to the White House to meet the President.

In the blue room at the White House!

May in Lake Placid...luckily it's gotten more spring-like since then.

Now I'm back in Lake Placid and already back in full training mode again. Our first National Team camp started this past week, and though the re-organization of US Biathlon means a bit smaller training group, it's a good group and I'm looking forward to the season ahead. I made some big jumps in results last year and was named to the National A Team, so will compete in the December World Cups along with one other woman who will be named after trials in November. Right now the focus remains on the basics and volume to re-set us all for the new season ahead. With World Championships in March this year, it will be a long season. Starting a little later this year has helped everyone recover a bit from a stressful Olympic season and really be ready for what's to come. Ready...begin.

March 19, 2010

One Last Push

The Holmenkollen Ski jump from the biathlon stadium.

I have been terribly delinquent in updating my blog the past weeks, but in my defense, things have been a bit crazy.

Right after the Olympics I traveled home to Boise for one day (yes, I know it sounds crazy, but even being home for just one day was so refreshing). I then returned to the OTC in Lake Placid for 5 days of training (which were rudely interrupted by sickness) before flying off to Europe for the last couple World Cup Races. I left Lake Placid last Monday morning and arrived in Kontiolahti, Finland Tuesday late afternoon. We trained Wednesday and Thursday and then raced Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Monday we traveled to Oslo, where I currently am, and raced yesterday and will race again (for the last time this year) tomorrow. Whew, makes me tired just thinking about all the travel I've done lately!

Skinny tires on snow? No problem in Finland.

However much travel it's been, though, it's been more than worth it. While sickness and jetlag made optimal performance tough in Finland, I was still able to gain some valuable experience. We had a mixed relay which gave me another opportunity to mass start against some of the best, and I made the pursuit which gave me another start there to add to my experience level. Yesterday's sprint here in Oslo/Holmenkollen went a bit better. I felt much better skiing, and finished 46th-qualifying me for the pursuit and putting me only 10 seconds from top 40 (World Cup points). The pursuit race on Saturday will be exciting, and hopefully I'll be able to finish the season on a high note!

Oslo biathlon range, with a view of the controversial behind-the-range finish loop.

Whatever the outcome tomorrow, this has been an amazing season for me. Between making the Olympic Team, having some great results, and learning so much just being on the World Cup circuit, I know I have progressed a ton in these past few months. And while I'm looking forward to some rest and time away from biathlon after these races are done, I'm also really looking forward to next season and improving from this start point.

View of Oslo from our hotel window (it's currently too foggy to even see the trees, but when it's clear, the view's amazing!)