Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All I Really Wanted for Christmas


       This must be what it feels like for college grads to finally obtain that degree and still fail to find a job with it. Maybe I've mentioned this earlier but I recall doing slowfire drills in the rain and snow in Fort Kent. It was May first and the coaches really wanted me to increase the volume of shooting this year. We don't have a covered range and it wasn't the best conditions that day, but hey goals are goals... and so is hypothermia. The point is, thus far that effort has been in vain. I also recall snapping the lenses out of my race glasses in frustration while I clenched the the sides of my head in the changing cabin. That was last week, post WC sprint race in Slovenia. What can I say I really like great results and don't bode well when things don't pan out the way I want them to. In a lot of cases this in understandable, but in this case the work was done and I was expecting better performance from my myself.

There are lot of grand pictures to be had from Bled Slovenia.
       Let's just keep the negative train going for little longer. After two racing series we all thought I had the cobwebs out and was primed for a better day. We had a plan that was simple enough to follow even during race. The conditions were not perfect, but with one of the hills salted it made a nice  chance for the late starters. By the way; not unlike the other two places we've been to this trimester Pokljuka, SLO was also struggling for snow. It doesn't feel like winter anywhere in central Europe at the moment. After patiently waiting for my bib (101) to leave it was finally my last chance of the year to justify being on the circuit. In case you haven't already guessed, prone was my downfall. Four misses and the race was virtually over. I told myself not to over hold on the aiming. Time and time again this year that was the problem. The timing and a small part in the set up have been the cause all the problems in prone it seems. Why did I do this? It's hard to take a shot any earlier than you want to. It's temping to take that extra 2/10ths of a second to double check the aiming. This works fine if you're shooting off a bench at a resting heartrate. I was around 180 bmp. The window of opportunity to have an eight ring or better is a narrow one. Ironically, it seems the more I want it the more I miss. See why I consider biathlon to be a cruel and viscous sport?

       Standing was also the worst of the month with another two misses. Normally the last lap is fight with your fitness level. On this day it was a struggle to keep it together mentally. I felt bad for the coaches and techs on side of the course that had to wait for me. Though I do appreciate the unconditional support. The other three guys had a solid day. We're on good pace in the nations cup points. Needless to say I wasn't in the best of moods. I was going to have to watch the pursuit on EuroSport for the third time this year.

If you want to see more you should hit up the google machine or the archives of this blog for more Bled, SLO  pics.
      And finally, I might as well mention that ski speed was also demoralizing. It has been the whole trimester. The energy level has been up and down, but more so down. That springy feeling in the legs is always a good indicator that you're recovered and ready to race. I can't say I've felt that way for most of the race starts. Not completely sure why. I've seen it happen to wide variety of athletes so there are countless reasons.

        Okay so where does this put Russell's 2015 racing season? First of all, staying calm under pressure may not be not my specialty, but neither is giving up. The contrast between a good day and bad day is staggering for me. Just ask the other guys. Seeing the leaders cross the finish line on TV reminds me how grand a successful day can be. I've invested too much into this to think that I can't be closer to the top. Let me put it another way. If (hypothetically) cutting off one of fingers meant having the results I want to have, then I would go through the rest of my life with nine fingers if it lead to successful racing career. Obviously it wouldn't be my trigger finger. Maybe my ring finger... That one isn't going to be useful anytime soon.

Just breakfast things.

        Lets get down to the point. If the third time is not a charm then maybe the fourth is. I have two key ideas to work with in shooting. Next week will have a brief amount of volume before Christmas. Followed by a full recovery. Resting is the most fail safe way to bring the energy levels back up and it's pretty easy to do this time of year. The week after Christmas will have some quality shooting sessions. All with a race pace effort. The goal is to flesh out the racing zone. It can take some time to get into top form. A few controlled high intensity sessions can do a lot to build on that. The more I can recreate a race like effort with shooting the more I can bring the progress from easy sessions to the higher pressures situations. In other words: I want to train in the “fail zone” so to be rid of it before the next important race.

Oh yeah. Now I remember why I sought out a "better than a cell phone camera" camera. 
      And yes there is more racing to be had. It's not even 2015 yet. I'll have more details on that one in another update. Think Poland for now. I mentioned in an interview back home a while back that I had made good progress in training all year; that shooting had good promise to it. This has been undeniable... during training. The days before the past world cups are usually around 90% shooting wise.

           It only takes one good race to start the catalyst of a great season. No promises. This isn't a sport to make promises. It's a sport of good probability. The plan to increase the probability is set out and as always I'll carry through with the plan the best that I can. Sorry for the less than positive updates lately, but hey “you can't argue with results”. 

Thanks for reading.

See also: Merry Christmas n'stuff.

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P.S. To add to the bad news: I'm pretty certain I need a root canal done. My insurance will not cover it and I don't have the time right now. It hurts like hell and often wakes me up in the middle of the night.

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