December 17, 2010
Best Yet, Take 2
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!
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
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!
December 5, 2010
Adjö Sverige, Guten Tag Österreich!
Internet is sometimes tricky in Hochfilzen, so in case I can't update, you can follow the team on our website or at biathlonworld.com. Wish me luck!
December 2, 2010
Ready, Set, World Cup!
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.
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!
November 23, 2010
Hej från Sverige!
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!
November 13, 2010
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!
November 1, 2010
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.)
October 25, 2010
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.
September 26, 2010
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...
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!
Boise High Olympians: Lisa Kosglow (BHS '92, Olympian '98 & '02), Sandra Shellworth Hildner (BHS '62, Olympian '68), Sara Studebaker (BHS '03, Olympian '10)
August 22, 2010
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.
August 1, 2010
July 30, 2010
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
May 22, 2010
Rested Up and Ready to Go
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.
March 19, 2010
One Last Push
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!
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!
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.