What a week this has been. First off, congratulations to Lowell Baily on a world champs win. Secondly, training has been going well... great. Performance level is back on the rise. And thirdly, I know what the rest of the season is going to look like for me. It's not all that I hoped for, but there is still room for hope.
After so many years in this sport, I can say that results don't always dictate the most committed athletes. I still maintain that you can't argue with results and shouldn't make excuses, but it's demoralizing when the sacrifices you've made for decades don't have the results you know they can. More so when anyone out of the top ten isn't considered note worthy. It's as if you didn't exist. Did the training I did from the age of 14 on never happen? Will there ever be a podium for the "They Tried" format?
Watching Lowell secure a full blown win last Thursday made me think that there is in hope for the determined. Admittedly, Lowell is super talented, but I will back that he has put in the effort and work to fully deserve that win. I can only imagine (and I do, frequently) what it must have been like to cross the finish line after 20km of racing and see your name on top of the world. There you have it folks, the American's broke the threshold and won, at world champions no less.
As for Stockholm, Maine's team? Well, for being denied a spot on the world champs team this is a decent second place of a situation to be in. The weather in Antholz never takes a day off. It has been sunny and warm everyday so far. With out a scope or any zero paper the shooting training has been fully functional. The Australian team has been around to help with zero and the range is always ready do go regardless. The shooting percentage is back on the upswing. I've put the last few races behind and worked towards building the confidence back up. A minor adjustment to the focus process has made the difference. The last two weeks have been a mix of long distance classic sessions and top quality intensity sessions with shooting. Next week will still take place in Antholz. The plan has an increase in the amount of intensity. The goal is to push the amount of race like training sessions while keeping the legs fresh. That will put the fitness at a peak for March.
From Antholz the 2016/17 season has me in Kontilahti, Finland. It's the IBU cup race, not the WC. It wasn't easy when I learned that the pre-Olympic WC or Korea wasn't going to happen. It all came down to one WC point. It hurt to think of how many different ways I could have changed that outcome. Some I could control and others were pure bad luck. Still, that one point difference will keep me out of the entire last trimester. Have I mentioned this is a cruel sport to pursue?
On the positive side, Kontiolahti is nice place to race. The course isn't half bad. I've have an individual, sprint, and pursuit to work with. The last IBU cup for the season is in Otepaa, Estonia. Another place I've competed at. That one will have a cluster of relay formats. Who knows, maybe I'll get to race a relay this season after all.
So far this has been the season of "could have been worse and could have been better." It really is scary to think of what could have been if only a few parts had panned out differently. This isn't untrue for a lot of athletes, but if I swear I'm prone to bad luck when it comes to this. I so sorely wanted to be on the Korea WC team and I missed a chance to see a lot of old faces at the world champs. On the other hand this has been a monumental step up from last year. That was the closest I've ever been to calling it quits for good. I didn't, hung on for another year, scored WC points, and now I'm soaking up the sun in Antholz training for more Euro racing. So call it what you want. All I can do is make the most of training next week. If I can put it together in March this could be a spectacular season.
Pictures to come...