September 19, 2008

Motivation and Dedication

It's been a little while since I've written, and I'm now up in Alaska visiting Zach's family and getting some final training in before our big October camp and races in Utah. It's been nice to be away from the sometimes-chaotic OTC and have some relaxing but quality training leading up to the beginning of our season. It has been a good lesson in motivation and dedication, which, as anyone who's ever been an athlete knows, are quite possibly the two most important attributes one can have in order to be successful.


When Zach and I arrived in Alaska, we were heading into a medium week followed by two more intense training weeks. We had just finished two tough weeks of training, with lots of intervals, two time trials, and a lot of training at our new (completely uphill) rollerski range. They were great weeks of training, but very draining on us. So, we decided that while training was very important, our minds needed a bit of a rest if the next two weeks were to be successful. We did one good interval session, and a bunch of distance, and then headed out for the weekend to go hunting. We were unsuccessful (minus 6 rabbits that made delicious paella when we returned), but it was a great get-away from thinking about training. We hiked a lot, but didn't worry about time and just enjoyed being outside looking. When we returned, we were ready to tackle the next two weeks with renewed motivation. And one day into our interval week, we realized what it is to be truly dedicated.

Unfortunately, he wasn't legal.

Bear Tracks!

Our beautiful escape.

The new range being built in Anchorage at Kincaid Park is pretty much complete. It's a great 30-point range within the great mass of ski trails Kincaid has to offer, and is going to be a fantastic venue. The remaining project is the paving of the firing line, which began nearly two weeks ago. Why it takes so long to pave a 100-meter stretch is beyond me, and beside the point. The point is, we have not been able to use this wonderful range. Instead, we used the Rabbit Creek Rifle Range on Wednesday to do our running combo and shooting workout. For $9, we could wheel a biathlon target they had out on a private "instructor's range" and run out and back on the nearby wildlife refuge trails. I felt like I was back in high school when we would go out to the desert outside Boise and shoot at a little gun club. We would run out and back up this dirt road and return to shoot five quick shots, much to the amazement of the hunters sighting-in their rifles. Wednesday was much like this, but add a much more dilapidated target (we had to rig one paddle with a rock so it would work). It was true dedication, and I'd like to thank my coach Eric for preparing me to deal with this adversity. :)

Making due with what we've got.

Shooting clean on our fantastic target (it's supposed to be all white).

Anyway, we have two more interval sets left in this week (one more where we'll likely be returning to Rabbit Creek), and then a volume week before resting up and heading to Utah. It's important to be able to re-group and realize when you need a little break, whether mental or physical. And being able to do that is going to help me be able to be in the best place possible for the Utah camp and trial races.