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September 20, 2010

I know it’s been quite some time since I last updated, but as we’re just starting to get to the interesting part of the season, I’m going to jump right in and forge ahead with my writing. I say interesting because fall term at Dartmouth starts on Wednesday – and for the first time in four years, I’m attending. I went my freshman year because I was required to go, but since then I’ve taken every fall and winter term off so that I’m able to attend all the pre-season training camps and early season races. These races are often important for qualifying to go to IBU Cups and World Cups in Europe, and of course, this year is no exception. So with a full course load at school I’ve still got to find some way to squeeze in a trip to Canmore, Alberta in November, prior to Thanksgiving break, for qualifying races. I purposely haven’t been thinking about all the upcoming meetings I’ll need to make with each of my professors in order to be excused from class and how I’m going to manage transitioning from campus life to skier life and back in a matter of days. But it’ll work out, because it has to.

And I say it has to because I really wouldn’t be satisfied after a full spring and summer of training if I didn’t get to test myself against the other women on our team and hopefully prove my worth to travel to Europe (making it over there in time for the first race and completing final exams will present yet another challenge). I’ve had really great training so far. I attribute this primarily to the fact that I’ve been in school for two successive terms and have had plenty on my mind besides skiing to keep my life well rounded. I really enjoyed making it out for a quiet two-hour workout most summer mornings, usually early enough not to even have to apply sunscreen. Having a busy schedule gives every hour of the day a sense of purpose, and I find that I apply myself with more vigor to my schoolwork in order to get it done in time, which often put me ahead of schedule. To put it even more simply, I love learning and studying in the area of what will most likely be my career path when I’m finished racing.

Over the past few months I’ve posted some solid benchmarks to show that my training has been paying off. I’ve been listening to my body more, choosing alternative activities such as canoeing to rest my legs when they’re tired, and doing activities that are fun for me, if what’s scheduled seems like torture on that particular day. At the NorAm rollerski biathlon races in Jericho in early August I finished third in the sprint with 0-1 shooting and solid skiing, falling behind in the pursuit only when I had some hiccups on the range during standing. Over the past three weeks (during school interim) I was training in Lake Placid where we had a time trial every weekend; not only did I find myself looking forward to every race against the clock, I posted results that indicated a marked improvement from last year. In the latest one this past Saturday I even shot 18-for-20. Shooting while at school has always presented a logistical challenge, but between weekend trips to Jericho, VT when other teams were there training and the generosity of Kevin Brooker, a master biathlete from Vermont who lets me shoot on his property and has constructed the best imaginable shooting point possible (metal target, roof and rifle rack included!) in the middle of the woods, I manage to do enough shooting to keep me satisfied.

I’m looking forward to heading back to school. I’m disappointed that I’ll be missing the national team camp in Utah this October because I always love the hiking and mountain biking we get to do there, but I know that I’ve built myself a solid base this year and will continue training that way. Maintaining a high quality of life remains a top priority for me, and I feel like this year I’ve finally got a grasp on that.

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