Monday, November 14, 2011

Trials of Time

          The MWSC athletes did a time trial yesterday. I took this opportunity very seriously. You'll soon find out why. Showing up late is one thing, forgetting a piece of equipment happens to everyone and even giving half of your effort to the task at hand is acceptable for everyday training sessions. But this is not about your everyday training session. This is about those elusive time trials. The ones we save for a special occasion. There was some minor disorganization yesterday that inspired this article.
August 2006, Jericho TT,  2nd, 80% 1,1
          I am notorious for forgetting my possessions. I've driven all the way up to Fort Kent for a biathlon time trial only to find I didn't have my rifle. I was none too proud of myself that day. Yesterday we had not one but three athletes forget there helmets. Back in Utah this year I had to convince one of the coaches to go back to the athlete house and pick up my poles for me. Like I said, it happens to everyone. To combat this I developed a check list. This list includes all of the essentials that I might need on that day. Skis, boots, poles, rifle, cuff, ammo, spare poles, running shoes, alternate race cloths, post race cloths, pre race food, post race food, MP3 player, glasses, and sometimes credentials are just a few of the common things you might see on a biathletes list. I read a book that that's soul purpose was to convince you of how beneficial the check list can be.  It wasn't a very exciting book so making a check list myself was the only way to get my moneys worth. If you run through a checklist then the probability of you forgetting something drops significantly. This is something you can control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
         Let's not forget about just making it to the time trial on time. I was staying in Presque Isle Saturday night. I woke up at six am Sunday morning. Zero didn't start until nine. That means means be at the venue in Fort Kent at 8:30. It takes an estimated 1:15 hours to make this trip up. Plus five minutes to compensate for who know's what. In this case it could be anything from picking up other athletes to dodging moose. I was on the ball Sunday morning and left just after seven. However, if there is a chance to car pool these days it a chance worth taking. So there I was waiting for the rest of the group in Stockholm. A few angry text were sent out to express how I felt about people being late for something this vital. The reasoning behind the frustration is all about preparation. Showing up to race too early can be problematic in it's own right. But being too early can't hold a candle to being late. 90 minutes to a couple of hours is adequate for a biathlon time trial. I might suggest more for a high caliber race such as a world cup due to the extra content of a race day.
          Now why am I stressing all these things for a measly time trial? For an athlete a time trial is the closest thing to the real deal and isn't the real deal what setting goals and training is all about? This is why mental prep is a equally important as making it there on time with all of your gear in tact. Everything changes on race day. Everyone is stressed and more often than not we see teammates making their race day a foreign experience to any other normal training day. If you've been training well all year and done your homework this is not the change you want. You can reduce these changes by conditioning yourself to that race day mentality by, you guessed it, treating the time trial like an important race. This I am good at. Yesterday was big deal for me and I knew well before Sunday morning.

         Yesterday was a sprint format. I felt tired as expected, but not necessarily as tired as I thought I would feel. We were late, but efficiency prevailed and I was zeroed, warmed up and ready to go on time. I missed my last shot in prone. I have no justified excuse for the miss. After four hits I thought for sure I had a clean stage in the bag. It's "one shot at a time" not a single stage. I missed another with standing. That put me at 80% for the day. Range times were slow but 80% is a good sign and only helps confirm my suspicions that my shooting is on a really good track. Ski speed was good. I have not seen my loop time but I'm interested to see where it is compared to the last time we did this exact format.
       Every workout is valuable, but some are more than others. Time trials should never be taken lightly and I want to make this point very clear. I have two more on the plan before I head out to West Yellowstone. For the record the group that was coming  all the way up from Presque Isle still made it to the lodge in Fort Kent before the group of athletes that actually live in Fort Kent. Coach Hubbard didn't think this was as cute as I did.
Waffles matter to.


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