Saturday, April 9, 2016

Fork in the Road



   

So what happens now? US Nationals (NorAm champs) are long over. With those races out of the way the spring time check out period has started. The goal for April has always been to relax. The peak focus of professionalism means a few coach meetings to discus training structure for the next season. This year things are different. Normally we're trying to come up with a new plan that's going to make the big difference I've been shooting for. Not unlike past years, that part is still in discussion. The difference circa 2016 is that that's only half of the equation.


          It was nice to see the other athletes on the A team in Northern, Maine again this year. The Fort Kent Outdoor Center did an impressive job hosting NorAm champs. The racing for me was solid. Nothing too out of the ordinary happened. Shooting was it's abysmal self for two of the three races. The mass start showed signs of improvement beyond the first stage anyways. Ski speed was right where I wanted it to be for all three competitions. I was clearly in the mix with the A team athletes.


 The limiting factor currently, is deciding what I want to be doing next year. The specific ideas range from training volume, to consulting precision shooter professionals, to finishing out an education, to finding a simple job. Where should I start? Well, in the big picture it's a two party situation. I can stay in biathlon and continue fighting my way back up to the level of three years ago. Or! I can abruptly and awkwardly declare retirement and start what would realistically be a new life.

If I stick with the sport for one more year I'm in for it two more years. Nobody quits the year out in an Olympic cycle. The thought process has been very conflicting. On one hand, grinding it out for another two years with little to no resources is an exhausting strain on everyone involved. On the other, were I to land another spot on the 2018 team it would all have been worth it. I wasn't named to any team again this year. Shooting must have weighed heavy because ski speed clearly was not my weak point comparatively speaking. I don’t clean sprint races very often, but when I do I’m at least capable of making the pursuit cut. Right now I'm looking into what resources are still available. Since nothing is official I'll hold off on the details.

Opposing directions include even more indecision. I wish I had an excuse not to get a degree of some sort, but the current scholarship deal I’m locked into is hard to argue with. I don't have a definitive idea of what to pursue yet, but at this point, simply committing to more than one class a year would be a decision within itself. Then there is the prospect of living in the real world. As someone who consideres quiet time to himself as good as currency, having a job that could enable me to live on my own is a tempting thought. To be fair that sort of job is also hard to find.

           There has been a lot of thinking going on and not so much decision making. My motivation changes from day to day. The goal is to have an answer by the end of the month. I'm going to wait and see what if any options I have. That aplies to both directions.
   
           Now, this is April. Since I had amassed some unused ticket credit that was going to expire there was no reason not to put it to good spring time use. It's down to one more connection flight to Bozeman, Montana. Proving once again that it is a small world I'll be staying with an old friend from northern Maine. Infact, to further drive home the small world theme, this trip will be a good chance to catch with several old friends from all over the place.

       All this, while trying to do less "am deciding" and more "have decided." Wish me luck

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