GOSH DARN IT!

That is hopefully the first and last race I ever don’t finish.  I feel like a failure.  I know that’s not really the case.  But I’m not a quitter.  I’ve fought through some pretty horrendous races in my short career.  Running races on injury.  Ski races while sick.  Biathlon races where I’ve skied an extra 2km in penalty loops.  I’ve always found a way to push through it somehow and today I didn’t.

I felt okay skiing the first loop. under control.  shooting wasn’t pretty.  I missed three but with a correction on course I came in and cleaned.  during my third loop the tightness I had been fighting in my feet was beginning to become unbearable.  I was struggling to use my right leg altogether and came close to falling over on a few downhills unable to fully step turn on my one side.  Stupid.  I came into shoot my third stage.  missed four. skied my four penalties gingerly and headed back out on course.  I felt like I couldn’t put weight on my one side at all.  I gave Patrick a heads up on course and continued to try to relax it.  I barely made it around the downhill corner, nearly went clear out of the V-boards.  I wasn’t even skiing threshold anymore.  DANG I was getting pissed.  My foot and leg had become useless.

I came around the corner and skied off the course into the snow and sat down.  Ripping at my boot to try to get to my foot was the only thing I could think about.  When my foot came out of my boot it curled up into a ball my toes completely cramped up.  Patrick had to physically straighten my foot out.  Ouch. This sucked.  When I tried to bring my foot closer to me it shot all the way up my leg into my hip. miserable. stupid. ARGH!

We got me up out of the snow and into the building very slowly.  Every time I bent my knee my leg ceased up.  Super fun right?  no.  Thinking back on it. trying to figure out what went wrong…I’m pretty sure I was just really dehydrated and let my electrolytes slip dangerously low.  During my cool down yesterday I had to stop running because my side ached so badly…and I don’t get side aches… that should have been a sign right there.  oops. I guess I’ve learned my lesson.  I’ve been considering taking a better look at my dietary and hydration habits and after today I can no longer avoid it.  I will not do that ever again.  I might pee a dozen times a day and wake up in the middle of the night but I’ll take that any day over how badly my leg hurt today.

On the plus side I’ll be back state side soon and have plenty of time to get myself rehydrated  before my next bout of races!

Advertisements

That’s the sport.

Wow… wow!   Really.  I don’t really  have a good word for it right now…  but I’ve been grinning like a fool for the past 6 hours!  Like a huge ridiculous fool.

Today was a good day.  It was sunny and warm and the wind that seemed relentless and horrifying yesterday ceased.  They were pumping fun music in the stadium, it felt like spring.  Now that’s a dangerous thought!

The combination of white snow, no trees, white targets, and the bright sun meant you had to be careful not to go blind.  Actually we had to make sure to take our glasses off early enough before the range to give our eyes a chance to adjust before trying to shoot!

I headed out onto course in the bib number 118.  The Senior women got the normal numbered bibs (starting at 1) because their race was broadcasted live on EuroSport.  Not only was it bib 118 it was a men’s bib!  They gave all the men the women’s bibs and the women the men’s bibs!  It looked silly on the women, because they were so huge…but I felt bad for whichever big Austrian boy had to race in mine!

I’ve been feeling a little silly in the first 1km of all my races here.  A little spastic and all over the place.  but once again I was able to calm myself down and use a little better form than merely flailing my limbs wildly.  I actually went out too hard for the first part of the first 2.5km loop.  Coming through the first check point I had a big time gap on all the starters before me, but luckily our wax tech was on course and got me to slow down so I wouldn’t blow my first shooting stage.  I came in, settled down and cleaned my prone targets.  Prone has been going really well recently which is super exciting!  I headed out onto course and tried to keep myself from skiing too fast.  (now that sounds silly) The goal is for me to hit targets and since standing has been going so horribly we’ve been trying to have me ski the loops before my standing shooting more conservatively.  Its not perfect yet but I settled down enough to hit 3 of my 5 targets…and for me that’s pretty darn stellar.  I hurried off to the penalty loop to do my time and took off onto course again.

The third lap was challenging.  I was starting to feel tired and my right hand was going all tingly because my cuff was cutting off circulation.  I had a great coaching staff and team mates out on course yelling at me to give it everything I had….and I sure tried!  I came across the line slobbery and crumpled into a mess on the snow.

It wasn’t the perfect race but it was pretty darn close today!  I finished in fourth and only had to watch my name drop two spots while the rest of the girls finished.  Everyone was really excited for me, it was a little surreal. Other athletes, other coaches, team mates, it was pretty darn awesome.  I got to cool down and cheer during the women’s race and wait for our flower ceremony to begin.  In biathlon the top 8 are considered the podium.  Not only did I get to do the flower ceremony right after the races but they had an award ceremony tonight in the big party tent.  The top three were awarded their European Championship medals and the entire top 8 was awarded flowers and a funky wooden trophy!  I’m still not quite sure the best way to get that one home!

Biathlon is a funky sport.  Two funky sports and anything can happen.  Today was one of those days where things sort of came together for me.  My skiing was pretty solid and my shooting tied my best performance ever on the range!  I can’t really ask for much more.  Hopefully in the future I will have more good days.  I know there will days of good skiing and bad shooting and even good shooting and bad skiing…but the days where things come together are that much better because of that fact.

We have one last race here in Europe before we fly out of munich on monday morning.  Tomorrow afternoon, the last race of the day, will be my second true pursuit.  I’ll be starting in 6th position. 49 seconds behind the leader. 10 seconds behind 5th. and only 1 second ahead of 7th and 8th.  Anything can happen tomorrow.  We have 10km and 4 shooting stages…thats a lot of “race” to be had.  All I can do is try my best.  Hope to hit my targets, and never give up fighting on the skis.

I’ll try to get a quick post in tomorrow afternoon after we pack the ski room up and before the festivities commence!  Here’s to another exciting last 48 hours in Europe!!!

Relay Rounds

Yesterday’s relay was a bit of a a mixed bag of nuts.  Some really good things happened and some things just didn’t really workout.  The tracks were super fast since the weather man was very very wrong and not a single snowflake fell yesterday at all.  Actually there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky!

By the time the junior’s mixed relay started the entire course was in the shade and the track was glazed and slick.  Not super ideal conditions for me but you have to make do with what you have I suppose.  Our skis were fantastic and the wind stayed down so there wouldn’t be any tricky changes and decisions to make on the range!

Grace led off as our scrambling leg.  Someday I’ll get to scramble, but until then I’ll let other people deal with the crazy elbow rubbing, jostling madness, cluster mush of leading off.  Grace with a few spares got out of the range with no penalties and tagged off to me.  We were off the back by a little bit but I tried to chase hard once I settled myself down into the rhythm of skiing.  I came into shoot prone and cleaned!  With no spare rounds, that was a pretty incredible feeling.  The second lap was a little tricky because I like racing and chasing down people…but I’ve been shooting standing rather poorly and we decided it would be a good idea to ski the second loop threshold to try to get out of the range with no penalties.

I slowed way up and felt that I was under control when I came into shoot standing.  I took my time, I gathered myself… and things just didn’t work out again…  Targets didn’t go down.  I was high.  even with spare rounds I garnered three penalties in standing!  UGH!  I was pissed when I left the range…which worked out alright since Vlad told me however much I slowed down in my second loop I should take back in the final loop.

I skied my penalties, screamed at a Belrussian coach for being in the center of the trail (still not sure what the dude was thinking on that one), and took off onto course.  I had let two teams pass me with my errors in shooting and I was going to do whatever I could to get them back.  I suffered out there on course and came into to the tag zone with one of the two teams a little down on the other.  It wasn’t pretty, it was far from perfect, I had the nastiest bit of slobber hanging off my face but I was done….I had done my job to the best of my ability for that given day and it was up to the boys now.

Our tag went unhindered, I tagged off to ethan…he’s 6’5…lets just say it would be a hard tag to mess up.  I quite literally just sort of ran into him?

Ethan had a great day on the range, cleaning with no spares and thus earning one of the best range and shooting times of the day!  Pretty spectacular!  He tagged off to raleigh.  Raleigh had a hiccup in prone which left us with another three penalties, but he charged back out onto to course to try and spare us from being lapped by the incredible russian team!  Although our team was not physically lapped because Raleigh didn’t make it through the second range check point before the russian anchor finished we were pulled… So it wasn’t a perfect day for team US…  but all in all we all learned something from the race, good or bad, and left the day with a little more experience than we had before.

So ideally…if I shoot more than 40% standing ever again this season things will be looking up?

Its sunny and snowing here now and two days of racing are still ahead of us!  We race the sprint here tomorrow afternoon and then a pursuit on Sunday before heading off to munich to fly back state side.  I’ll let you know how the race goes tomorrow, stay tuned!!

Oh Billy!

Today was…hard?

yes.

today was hard.  The toughness of this course is a deception.  It was tough.  The gradual climbs were still climbs and the steep buggers kind of sent you backwards on your heels.  It decided to start snowing during our race.  Of  course it did.  But the wax techs were on their game and made sure our skis were ready for the changing conditions.  With the fresh snow you had to be constantly  searching for the “fast stuff”.  It made passing people work as you had to move out of the glazed bit of trail.  Ridnaun isn’t super high but its considered a high course compared to the rest of the biathlon circuit.  I believe its a little below 5000 feet.  So compared to what I’ve been racing the past two years this should be considered pretty darn tame.  Out in Bozeman we regularly trained from 5000-8000+ feet and raced as high as a hair over 9000 feet (that is no fun).  But you could feel it today.  You could tell your heart rate didn’t come down as easily and you had to be a little more cautious with how you came into shoot.  As always, I took my time.

The shooting wasn’t horrible today…but its so close to being really quite okay.  I came in got settled and cleaned my first prone stage!!! HOORAH!  I came into shoot my first standing stage and missed 4…bummer.  I uttered some choice words as I put my rifle on and left the range.  My misses in standing are always just a little high.  So when we fix my alignment I will be on.  With some dry firing and range time this spring and summer I will be moving in the right direction.  I started taking little feeds on my second, third, and fourth ski loops.  At altitude you need the added sugar.  My skiing felt steady and strong and I was being told that I was skiing well (but no splits until the last loop, in individuals its hard to give “ski splits”).  I came into shoot my second prone and missed my first shot.  I later found out it was a split DANG!  I resettled and hit the next four, 90% prone again!  I left the range feeling good, even after knocking my sunglasses off leaving them behind on my mat.  I came into shoot my final stage and missed the first shot, resettled and hit the next three BAM BAM BAM.  I lost focus and mentally sort of left the range before I took my final shot…it was a really bad shot, way out.  Oh the What if’s!!!

Any way.  turns out I had the 2nd best course time of the day, only loosing to the eventual true winner of the race, a russian girl who missed only 1 target all day!  I felt good skiing, but I had no idea I was skiing so well!  Bernd told me I was in 18th on my final loop 13 seconds down to 16th.  I tried to push as hard as I could.  I finished 14th and on the final results ended up 21st with 7 misses.  Not bad.  Alot better than my last individual!  All the girls that finished in front of me had better days on the range so I have a lot to look forward to!

When I pulled up the competition analysis here in the lobby and saw I was second on skis I let out a little yelp “YES” of excitement and all the russian boys playing pool looked at me like the fool I am.  But 2nd…dang.  strong and steady I suppose.

On a side note our wax tech informed me that I ski like a girl… a girl!?!?!  hehe.  Don’t worry that too can be fixed somehow?

In the name of experience

In the name of experience I head into this week of racing in Ridnaun!  We are here for the Open European Championships, also known as U26 championships in the biathlon world.  Some pretty outstanding talent has converged here on this little Italian mountain town.  There will be both junior and “u26” fields and we will have some pretty incredible competition.   It will be very similar to the field at Junior Worlds which is exciting and scary!

Tomorrow we race an individual.  Once again no penalty laps, just minute upon minute added on for each miss.  That’s a little intimidating after my first and last experience with this race format.  However, it really can only get better after Nove Mesto.  Hopefully I will not have 12 misses again tomorrow!

The course here is kind of odd.  It loops around and around and back in on itself a lot so with each 2.5km lap you feel like you dont really go anywhere.  The course is never really “flat” but there is a lot of gradual and alot of time will be made up by skiing really smart.  I’m excited.  It isn’t an easy course and as one of the coaches said to me earlier, “the harder the course the better for you corrine!”  I’m excited to race again and hoping with time I will put something together!

More tomorrow.  Goodnight

Forgot my sunscreen?

Sunny Sunny Sunny Wonderful Italy.  I might play hookie on the the 28th when we are set to drive back to munich and fly back state side.  Hide out in the Alps and never come home.  Sounds like a good plan to me!

This mornings ski was incredible.  Sunny and warm.  I was pretty convinced I was going to crash into something since I spent more time starring off at snow covered mountains than the ski trail today.  It really was incredible.  My checks are still pink and my nose a little more aggressive shade of red…oops!

Besides the amazing weather, great food, and good company I’ve also gotten some great coaching help over the past couple of days that I’m incredibly grateful for.  Armin is great at pointing at little things each time he sees me.  A little quirk here, an extra movement there… things I didn’t realize I was doing or wasn’t doing.  I’ve gotten great guidance this year but haven’t had a coach around for a pretty long time.  I’d almost forgotten what that was like!  Its been quite the treat.

I’m only in Anholtz until tomorrow afternoon and then I’ll make the short trek over to Ridnaun.  Meeting up with a lot more US team athletes and getting stoked for another week of exciting racing!

All Hail Public Transportation

Phew!  I made it.  I made it from point a to point b.  From Ruhpolding to Traunstein to Rosenheim to Anholtz!!! And even better it went pretty darn smoothly.

I got to dabble with the German train system making it from one bahnhof to the next with all my limbs and belongings.  Now hauling a ski bag and a duffle bag with a rifle case in it on and off trains, up and down stairs and around platform after platform is now a cake walk…but I had a lot of help.  Alot of strangers made what could have been a disasterous morning really pleasant.  I had a pretty tight connection in traunstein…with a few flights of stairs to get me onto the right platform.  Lucky for me a women sitting on the first train with me dropped her bags and grabbed my duffle!  It was super nice of her.  Then getting onto the next train I had chucked my ski bag in around this elderly women who was struggling with the height difference of the platform and train car entrance.  As I was helping her in worrying about the doors closing with out my rifle a stranger walking by picked it up and threw it in after me!  I didn’t even get a chance to yell thank you as the doors shut immdedaitly and we were off again on our way.  Rosenheim is a pretty busy station and as we approached our stop the women standing next to me said something to the man in German and then turned to me “He will get your ski bag off when the train stops!”  Thank you Thank you Thank you!  The other common phrase of the day was, “Such little girl! Such big Bags!!!”  Thank you Thank you thank you.

Sitting in Rosenheim was a little scary.  I had to wait for the men’s team to come and rescue me, except they were flying into munich from the US and I didn’t have a cell phone.  I million things could go wrong.  I hunkered down on my duffle bag by the doors with some coffee and a giant tasty delisousness and waited.  I had to wait for just over 2 hours…there were moments of panic but there wasn’t a lot i could do.  Someone would come eventually.  And sure enough they did!

We drove the rest of the way to Anholtz that afternoon.  We were met at the hotel by Armin, the team’s shooting coach, and the hotel owner, Cristoph.  This place is amazing.  There are mountains on all sides, snow on the trails, sunshine, and the most incredible food.  Really…Italians like their food, love their long meals, and are some of the most hospitable people I’ve encountered in Europe.  I could get used to this!  I’m here in Anholtz until friday or saturday and then I’ll head over to Ridnaun to prepare for European Championships.