Acting Out

If you are being nagged by a persistent, reluctant to heal injury… you probably shouldn’t do the following.  But feel free to read all about it!

In my return to Lake Placid I’ve been counseled by sports med, reassessed by the doctor, covered in enough kinesio tape to look like a piece of deco art, and finally started up on a rehab program… Progress looking for progress.  After all I have to put myself back together so that I have a functioning limb whenever it is my season starts up.   The whole process is a little bit frustrating.  There is a lot of, “You want me to do what with my shoulder blade?!?!”  Flexing things on command I didn’t know you could flex.  Ideally I would like an overnight miracle healing where I wake up feeling good as new… unfortunately I’ve come to find it doesn’t really work that way.

And so last night I took to my mountain bike (ok that’s a lie, its not my bike) and headed into the dark and the rain to take my frustration out on the muddy, root filled trails.  Its great.  Its generally just a bunch of guys.  They let me crank along, mashing on my pedals as I try not to get lost cussing at each looming stump and log.  I seem to mostly perpetually fall over (don’t worry I broke the bikes fall with my body) as my riding style leaves a little to be desired… In general I choose (hah, as if I have a choice!) to ride through whatever obstacles might be in my way rather than over or even around them.  Yes as I’m sure you are imagining right now, I am a graceful specimen on a bike (also a lie)…

The mud was flying, the roots were slick.  You could see our breath in the light from our headlamps.

Quick Aside: Thanks for slapping a light on my helmet every time I show up…even if you only do it so that if and when you drop me you can locate me again through the woods via the beacon on my head.  I really do appreciate it.

True it was cold, and yes the blood trickling down my calve may or may not be from slamming my own gear into my leg… but for the most part I was having too much fun to really care.  Ok sure, snuggling with a Pitbull for body warmth might have been a moment of weakness. But I will attest that he was shivering almost as much as I was…

After any abuse I caused to myself (or the trail for that matter) I was happy to roll into L&S for warm food and good company… good food and warm company?  Either way, covered in mud, looking not at all presentable… I was happy.  Truly happy. and grinning like an idiot.

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Team USA

Before our camp came to a close this past weekend in Utah we had one thing left to do… check out some short track speed skating!  Earlier in the week we got an invite to come on over to Deer Valley for dinner at the speed skating house before heading into Salt Lake City for a night of watching spandex clad bodies race around the olympic oval.  It was completely optional, but the entire women’s team jumped at the opportunity, and soon I found myself post 5 hour hike, post shower, nestled between a ski bag and the window of our van hurling down the interstate. (Late as usual)

We arrived at the speed skating house fashionably late and on the verge of loosing all the food I had managed to get back in myself after that morning’s adventure.  “Pull yourself together!” I thought, “YOU MUST CO-MINGLE!” “Green is not a normal complexion!”  Between the parking lot and the condo we only got turned around twice more.  I’m surprised we couldn’t find the place by our coaches excited chatter.  When we got inside they only paused briefly to smile hello before returning to their discussion.  (who knew speed skating, biathlon, and nordic combine had so much to talk about!)

Quick side note:  Whoever thought burritos were a good “getting to meet a bunch of strangers” food I ask you simple this…really!?!?  Ok, I love burritos…but I can only imagine how goonish I looked covered in a mixture of guacamole, rice, and what appeared to be chicken. “Hi I’m Corrine, I would shake your hand but as you can see its covered in my dinner…”

From there we took off for Salt Lake for the Korean Air ISU World Cup.  Ready to be thoroughly confused and entertained by a sport I knew nothing about.  Time to get my chant on!  USA, USA, USA!  Getting there alive might be the highlight of the evening as we followed a car following a car to the venue at some ill-conceived rate of mock10.  You don’t often squeal the wheels of a mini van.

We piled into the media section of the stands and waited to have our minds blown.

The races made me dizzy with their short loops.  I got nervous and anxious for the racers as they approached the final two laps of each race and the suddenly accelerated!  Talk about a sport of tactics!  I would either be sliding on my butt into the boards or getting DQ’d for elbowing some irritating chick in the face.  It was an exciting night to be an American fan, the women alone took home three of the six podium spots!

We stayed until the end so we could watch the men’s and women’s relay qualifying races.  During the relay there is something like 20-25 skaters on the ice.  There are tag offs, crashes (oh yes we love crashes), and an overwhelming list of rules.  Lucky for me I had two speed skating pros and olympic medalists Joey Cheek, and Travis Jayner to explain everything that was happening in a play by play run down race after race.

It was an awesome night and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to watch my future TEAM USA teammates kick large quantities of spandex-y ass!   Going into Sochi the USOC really wants us to be something bigger than all these separated sports teams who just so happen to wear the same awkward opening ceremonies sweaters…  They want us to be united.  To really be Team USA, and last night you could already feel the olympic spirit!

(picture from team mate: Susan Dunklee)

Short a Limb

Yep that’s me.  Back down to three limbs.  I got so excited  to have both arms again…that I sort of went overboard.  and by overboard I just mean that I jumped back in to training with my national team guys and gals.  Full speed ahead…right?

Wrong.  I should have expected back tracking to occur.  I know better that you can’t skip over the whole “rehab” process.  You can’t go from 0 to 100%….but I sure gave it a real good try.

Finally did some intervals again.  Did the first time trial.  And then BAM!  That all too familiar lingering pain and discomfort crept back into my shoulder and down my arm.  Things got tight.  Every time I move my arm you can hear things click, pop, and pull.  And so once again we pulled the plug on my vain effort of a painful catch up.

And so….if you put two and two together you have realized by now that I will not be going to Europe for the first set of races.  Injury will do that.  It doesn’t help when you can’t race and the qualification process is clearly written out “Best TWO out of four races.”  I didn’t even get to race two…. oops!

Not a lot one can do about that.

So that being said.  I’m headed back to Lake Placid.  “Back home”  I’ll be there with my team mates until they leave for Europe towards the middle of November.  and then…I’m on my own!  Relatively.

The plan right now is to keep me out east (weather permitting) until I go to Minnesota for racing before christmas.  So its not exactly what I wanted… but after meeting with my coaches I’m excited.  re-excited perhaps?  Since I will be one of the only biathletes in placid for a bit I’ll get lots of one on one coaching, and lets face it…I could use a lot of that.

 

And so it goes.

Today could have been better. sure. but sometimes it just is what it is.

Because of my shoulder I missed almost an entire block of intensity workouts… I just started skiing again with my bad arm about a week ago.  I didn’t really know what to expect going into today but I thought, “Heck!  I dont have much of an option!”

It wasn’t horrible.  but it was far from good.  Shooting actually went fairly well. I shot 70% which for me right now in a race effort is pretty reasonable.  and very realistic.  My skiing however was far from where I want to or should be.  It felt rusty.  I couldn’t find a good gear and was just sort of stuck spinning.  Not the effort I was looking for.

The good news?  We know whats going on.  you can’t ski fast when you have no intensity to back it up.  It will come back fast.  In the next couple of week with regular workouts back in my plan I will get back on track.

Its frustrating that I’m not fast right now as these races determine if I go to the first set of IBU cup races… but alas. Injuries happen.  Set backs happen.  Its just another hurdle I will work through.

Good things that happened today:
I didn’t give up.  No negative talk going on during my race!  …actually I didn’t really think about anything.  maybe its back to that  “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” ?

On the range I felt calm and controlled.  It wasn’t just point and shoot.  I took good shots and felt really happy with my performance from that side of things.

Lastly… I went on a really awesome hike run this afternoon up the ridge behind our house.  And it was lovely!

 

People keep asking me how I feel about the trials race tomorrow.  Ready? Anxious? Excited? Scared? Prepared?

This is how I feel right now…

 

Let the nervous laughter begin.

A Day With the Board

Once a year the US biathlon board gets together for a meeting and to celebrate the accomplishments from the year before.  Volunteers, athletes, and coaches are recognized for their many different feats and everyone enjoys good food and great company!

After our interval workout in the morning the board showed up at the range so we could teach them how to shoot!

I think everyone hit a target!  The brave ones even tried to shoot standing!  It was fun having everyone on the range.  Coaches and athletes running around, lots of “This is the best rifle on the team!”  … “No THIS is the best rifle on the team.”

Here former athletes (Bjorn and Walt) duke it out in a mini biathlon race!

After everyone tried their hand at marksmanship we headed up to the day lodge for lunch and then off all over the valley for some great activities.  There was golfing, fly fishing, a hike up to stewart’s falls, and a horse back ride at the sundance stables!  Most of the women’s team ended up on the horse back ride which was a blast!  There were 13 of us in all, each paired up with a horse that fit us seemingly well.  I was on Romeo.  We hit it off right away!

After our ride we headed back to our houses to get ready for dinner in Park City.  (Yes it was a very very busy day!)  We gathered at the High West Distillery and Saloon for food and our awards banquet!  It was a great mix of the young and the old(er), with board members, the national team, paralympic team, and several of the clubs and junior program that are in town to train.  We ended up at assigned tables…and low and behold I was in  fact at a “kids table”.  I was the only national team member tucked away, I had a blast with my little table of youth boys, but part of me wondered why I couldn’t mingle with the rest of the adults.

The awards for the evening for the athletes panned out something like this.

Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Corrine Malcolm
Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Casey Smith
Junior Marksman of the Year: Kelly Kjorlien
Senior Male Athlete of the Year: Lowell Bailey
Senior Female Athlete of the Year: Sara Studebaker
Senior Marksman of the Year: Sara Studebaker
Sports Man of the Year: Leif Nordgren
Paralympic Athlete of the Year: Sean Halsted
Paralympic Rookie of the Year: Dan Cnossen
Coach of the Year: Jonne Kahkonen

It was a long but fun day for everyone.  I know when we made it back from Park City I fell into bed and was happy we got to sleep in!

I’ll leave you with some pictures from our classic ski up Wolf Creek Canyon.  We even found some snow up at the top!