The Itch

Tonight I was granted the good fortune of watching the world tour of the Banff Film Festival here in Lake Placid.

6 films. Some serious… some not so serious.  (although I do think Ringo would make an excellent addition to C.A.R.C.A…) Emotional heart strings aside, all the films were packed full of awe worthy adventure and aspiration. Films that made you want to jump out of your cozy little theater seat and climb something with serious vertical for an absurdly long time.

Moments like those tear at my insides.  Moments where I break and declare, “I just want to be a normal 21 year old!!!”  Because in my mind normal 21 year olds go on treks through South America, and play in the mountains in France… this is apparently not the case.  I have only once openly declared the statement above…  That is my (vaguely absurd) desire to be normal.  And in that moment a good friend of mine reminded me, “But you aren’t normal…”  He said it in a way that was so matter of fact, the devastating reality of how good I have it sunk in and all I could do was shrug and feel foolish.

But a girl can dream… right?

Want to know a little secret?  Thats how I get through those 3 or 4 hour runs by myself.  I day dream.  I have plans. (boy do I have plans)  Heck I have plans to make plans.  Plans that are both conflicting and complimentary.

You are probably shaking your head.  “The girl who gets to travel the country… gets to travel the world!  With her skis!  Yearns for adventure!?!?”

And with mind numbing, bone aching curiosity I scream, oh yes!  I know how lucky I am to get to explore, frolic, and journey for a job… for a life style.  But I have a habit of dreaming big.

I know some of my adventures will stay in the vaults in my mind.  Some of the adventures I long for I will be lucky enough to experience first hand.  And some of the adventures I won’t even see coming will be the greatest adventures of all.

 

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When Life Gives You Antibiotics…

So you might be wondering what I’ve been up to since not making a team to go to Europe…  And well if not, you can probably stop reading this post right now.

Ever since leaving Jericho an epic battle has been raging on here in Lake Placid.  Corrine vs. Her Health.  Want to guess who’s winning?  If placed your bets against me you may now collect your imaginary winnings.  After completing a really great bout of amoxicillin and some good old fashion racing in the cold my body continued to call it quits.  The upper respiratory track infection I was confident I was squashing fought back with gusto!  And so… another round of antibiotics was ordered.

Yep. Antibiotics round 2!  We are bringing out the big guns this time.  Augmentin aka SUPER amoxicillin.

And for those of you who have been counting, you’re right, I will have spent most of the month of January pumping medication into my system.  Bring it on February!

While my health is a constant battle… in time I’ll win this one.  in time.

In the mean time I’ve turned my attention to training.  Its the best thing I can do.  I’ve decided I’ll just have to be  (spoiler alert) America’s best kept secret until next season… and then I’ll take Europe by storm.  Until then I get better.  Shooting, skiing, the works.  Back to basics, have to start from somewhere.

Jonne and I headed to the range this morning for some slow fire.  An activity generally reserved for the spring and early summer.  Its great to get this extra work in, and its incredible to see the improvements I’ve made since moving to Lake Placid in May.

That is my grouping from this morning! I can’t remember exactly, but there is between 35-40 shots on that piece of paper!  Shooting prone without a sling.  For those of you not familiar with a biathlon rifle.  We have a sling attached to the bottom of our rifle that hooks into a cuff worn on our non-shooting arm.  It helps you form a very solid steady shooting base.  To shoot well without the sling you have to keep your nonshooting arm both stable and relaxed.  Can you say, Goodbye 10-ring?

Here’s the video from one of the clips.  Steady, smooth, BOOM!

Bringing the Heat

Although I refuse to call the training center home… on a cold night, nothing beats a ‘home’ cooked meal.

Cranking the heat in the kitchen with some really (almost too) spicy chicken curry!

Amendment: Ok so it’s make your nose run hot… maybe keep the plain yogurt handy (ya pansy)

Crap I just touched my eye ball!  

Complete with pan roasted cashews and fresh cilantro!

Perspective

One of the things that makes great athletes exceptional is their ability to forget the mistakes they’ve made.

Of course you learn everything you can, but then you move on.  You take away a lesson. Or a feeling.  Or an experience.  But the eyes are always (always always always) on the future.

We adapt.  We adjust. change. readjust again.  sometimes we even start over from scratch.  But the eyes are always (always always always) on the big picture.

We often don’t know how we’re going to get there.  You can’t plan obstacles. or setbacks.  but they happen.

Its a cycle.  build. rebuild. breath.  Keep it in perspective.

Sometimes though it’s hard.  Hard to see the big picture.  You’re trying to keep your head above water let alone “keep your eye on the prize.”   So it gets murky, sometimes.

But when the dust settles you’re still standing.  And the path no matter how ‘unbeaten’ is still there.

So my season isn’t what I hoped for.  Its not grand.  I’m not gallivanting around Europe waving an American flag.  But despite all the setbacks, all the unideal-ness and uncertainty this year has brought me I know I am a much better athlete right now than I was last year.  A better skier.  A better shooter. And in fact a better biathlete.

Maybe I’m not exactly where I want to be.  Probably not where you want me to be either…  Hang in there with me?

We will make it.

 

Even as I write this I still do not  have feeling in half of my fingers.  Welcome to winter I guess!  Looks like I ought to double-check my spelling today, I keep hitting the wrong keys.  Numb numb numb.

This weekend was a whirlwind in so many ways.  The weather.  The skiing, the shooting, and all the emotions that go with being a racer.  Highs that make you nearly giddy and your face hurt because your grin could rip your face in two.  …and lows that make the inside of your body ache because you can’t see the big picture anymore.

It’s just a race.  Just a season.  But every athlete knows (or atleast will discover) it’s so very easy to forget that your self-worth is not dependent on the outcome of a race.

After all of us faced a humorously frustrating sprint day in the wind on Friday, looking forward to Saturday’s race felt easy.  For the first time this year I felt the unrelenting urge to chase down every single women starting in front of me.  Just like Lilly, no reason not to just go catch to the next one… just because you can.

It was cold.  I couldn’t feel my hands.  During prone I might as well of had hooves.  Breathe, Breathe, take a good shot.  Back to my old form in prone, I only missed 1 out of 10.  Even in standing I can now feel myself in control.  I don’t have to cross my fingers and hope a target goes down.  I know it will.  and I like that feeling.  I managed to hit 6 out of 10 in standing, a huge improvement over my races in December.  Skiing wasn’t too bad either.  I could feel the crud trying to settle on the top of my lungs, but I did my best to hold it together.  It was a good weekend of… trying not to drown.  Success?

It wasn’t my best day on skis.  It wasn’t my day on the range.  But sometimes good results come from ok performances. In the end.  I won the pursuit.  My first win as a Senior.  And it felt good.

At this point racing was starting to take a toll on me.  My mucus and I are in this epic battle of , “No I was here first!”  And I was losing.

With the temperatures plummeting well below 0F and not looking like they wanted to warm up any time soon my dwindling health that I had fought hard for all week became a priority.  After consulting with the Women’s head coach and the US team doctor we decided sitting out of the mass start was in my best interest I headed back across the lake to New York.  Where I virtually held my breath waiting for the ICC to announce their nominations for the U26/Euro Championships team….

Well. I wasn’t on it.  I quickly became a wild mixture of crushed and furious.  Fighting the urge to cry, laugh, and kick things simultaneously.  I’m still fighting that urge.

I know there is little I can do besides keep my chin up.  But its moments like these when you have to search really hard for the good things and hang on to them… because it’s so easy to drown when you forget how to tread water.

Gale Force Winds

Ok I’m no scientist… but I have a feeling gale force winds is exactly what we saw today on the range.

After not making it out of Lake Placid yesterday due to some… wintery conditions.  I hit the road bright and early this morning with the ambition of making it to the first race of North American Championships on time.  It rained until I hit the ferry to Vermont.  The sun came up, the rain stopped.  I sighed a breath of relief that we would have ideal conditions for this mornings sprint race.

Boy was I wrong.

As I pulled into the race parking lot the wind picked up.  And never relented.

The positive?  Everyone was going to struggle on the shooting range today.  You can’t fight the wind.  No matter how hard it pushes you around.  You just sort of have to give into it.  And in many of my fellow competitors cases today… hope something goes down.  Even if it wasn’t the target you were aiming at.

I found myself laughing when I left the shooting mat during zero.  “Honestly!?” I thought.  “This is insane!”  With wind gusts similar to what my team mates saw in Germany last week all I could do is shake my head and hope like any true biathlete…. “Maybe the wind will die down?”  Wishful thinking.

Prone went smoothly.  I was patient and waited out too little gusts, but left the range with only one penalty and feeling pretty good about how things were going.  Standing…man alive, now that is a different story.  The wind was gusting so hard.  I had been told to wait.  To hold out.  To not rush… and so I did just that.  In vain.  Only to leave my mat and slog around the penalty loop over and over again.  Ouch.

Turns out my shooting was pretty much parr for the course today.  Crazy.  But the precious time I wasted hoping I could apparently somehow will the wind to die down… dropped me down the results list.

Skiing went ok.  But going on day 6 of 10 on antibiotics showed a little bit over the course of the race.  Struggling to maintain any semblance of energy and spunk over the last couple kilometers…

But I learned something today.  Sometimes its better to cut your losses and run than try and weather the storm.

Etiquette 101: The Snot Rocket Edition

Yes the snot rocket.  A handy tool that once mastered will make your cold weather activities more enjoyable and earn you some serious trail cred.  Come on, you can’t tell me the cold weather doesn’t make your nose drip.

So whats the best way to dispel that exorbitant amount of snot threatening to steadily drip from your nostrils?

The Snot Rocket.

It’s easy enough.  After checking the wind and double (yes do it twice) checking where your team mates are you may now attempt to dislodge your snot.  It’s simple really.  Cover a nostril with your thumb or finger and then blow.   I like to use my thumb… sort of using my hand as a spray shield. Ok I know, I never said this was going to make you look pretty!

You might need a little courtesy wipe, sleeves and gloves are both acceptable.  Some times you just have to tidy up your face a little bit.  Because lets face it no matter how great your legs look or how musclebound (or extra skinny for you biking types) your arms are, being speckled with your own snot is not well… glamorous.

‘the only time you may be covered in your own snot (and I suppose slober) is during a race… this however will be corrected once you regain consciousness’

Now before I let you go blow snot where ever you please there are some additional ground rules:

You WILL do your best to not blow snot on yourself or anyone else

Although ‘the snot rocket’ should generally be reserved for use only during physical activity, you may discretely use it in SEMI-public places.

I use the term ‘semi’ rather loosely as the appropriate vs inappropriate locations for snot-rocketing has come under much discussion…  Just ask yourself next time you go to dispense your snot, “Is this totally inappropriate right now?”  If you find yourself hesitate at all you should probably stop.

Snot Rocket at your own risk.

Here’s a little tib-bit for you high school athletes… Using the snot rocket on the start line of a cross country running or track race gives you major intimidation points.  Fully tested and Corrine approved.

Disclaimer: 
If for whatever reason you read this and begin to question your ability to properly blow your nose… I say to you. Buck up buttercup!  Blow your nose you wild winter animal!

If not I will personally safety pin a hanky to your mitten you grandma.