Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks

        We all have our quirks. I'm not is position to accuses much. Still, through all my years of training I don't think I've ever felt compelled to run on the paved road when an off road option was available and that is what I'm going to complain about. At this point I'm pretty much morally against it and will often go out of my way if necessary to avoid running on the road. As a biathlete there is a seemly bottomless amount of reasons for having a grudge against paved running, but even for the average weekend warrior; what are you thinking?
Even the leaves don't like being there. 
         Aside from maybe breathing and the like, most of life's activities should probable be done with variety. Running is one of them. Let's say you're not a part of my pet peeve list. In other words you're running on some nice single track trail. Like the trail system at the NHC for example. You made the logical choice to not give into the road. In this case, you are planting your whole body weight   on a surface that could be anything from gravel, to dirt, rocks, grass, roots, while going uphill, downhill, over a flat or around a corner. You're joints and muscles are never getting nearly as over stressed as they would if you did the main street death march. Any kind of terrain (especially running downhill) can be problem inducing for what's technically a high impact sport. No matter where I'm based out of, trail running has always provided the most variety of terrain. I'll admit most of the hikes that I've done usually put me in a state of c3onstantly being on the verge of snapping an ankle or two off. As of now, that has not happened. You want stronger ankles? Try to gradually increase the speed of decent the next time you go hiking. Yeah, this is where the "what doesn't kill can only make you stronger" policy might apply, but it's worth the risk. Long story short, running on softer ground will extend your running expectancy compared to the alternative.
Wynn knows where the party is at.
          Then there's the benefits of taking your jog (or walk) to the road. You can expect increased car exhaustion intake, better success rate of injuries, repetitive scenery, that awkward stare down with oncoming traffic, and even some evidence suggest that marathon runners are more susceptible to Alzheimer's because even your brain has to take up some of the impact when you plant your foot on that hot top.
          As a biathlete, I find myself confined to the road against my will. We're not out there to contribute to the stupid human trick phenomenon and yet sometimes we'll still get dragged into it. For example: Lets say we're doing a time trial on a roller loop and on the last you come around the corner. This is the last loop mind you and you're really going for it. Sure enough there's a dog with a leash that no one has grabbed a hold of and three people frozen like deer in headlights! Was the rest of the ski trail made of lava that day!? No! It wasn't even wet! Besides, I bet shoes can dry faster than an ski pole tip wound can heal! All that and more because you're too good for a nature walk.
Look! Even captain idiot here knows where running belongs!

              Did I mention that trail running is ten fold more interesting. I haven't taken nearly as many pictures running on the road as I have trail running. Question: Do some people wake up in the morning and ask themselves "How can I make exercise as boring and miserable as possible today?" The next time you pass a someone doing the thrash going down the road. Take a gander at there facial expression. I doubt there smiling. Sometimes, when I've done every trail in the surrounding area I'll just pick a cardinal direction and go. I usually get a little scratched up but I'm richer for the experience.  Oh, and trust me for the sake of probability, cars will get a lot closer to you than bears will.
See how much fun you can have off road!
        Maybe I went a little overboard. This is only me ranting. If you are motivated enough to exercise in any way then go for it. The more the merrier these days. I didn't go into any detail regarding bare foot running. I think it awesome when you can do it, but apparently there's some controversy over it. Might be true or might be the shoe industries. All I want to know is, if you're one of the athletes who likes to run on the road, why would you take
the most universal, all terrain, and oldest sport in the world... and put it on a limited band of monotonous pavement? Have fun...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Summer Twenty Twelve.

        Though not officially fall yet, it was cold enough to warrant a long sleeve training shirt and even a vest for brief moments this morning. As far as I'm concerned summer is over for the year. We have about ten or less days before the leaves hit full swing and go rouge with color. It was a good summer for the most part. Full of shenanigans, as always, and plenty of training. Officially summer doesn't start till June, but for a biathlete it might as well start early May. When the training ramps up the spring season feels at loss. So anyways here are some pictures to summaries summer 2012.
May shooting camp. Running combos at Mt. Van Hoe. Otherwise know as "Tim's favorite workout!"
No amount of training camp shall interfere with Cinque De Mayo.

Ironically, part of summer training brought us four feet of near perfect snow.

On our way to train on snow. This is how summer training should be more often.

Bend, OR is alright.

After the Bend camp it was back to Placid for some occasionally fine roller skiing.

And some always stellar hiking.

Training make tired sleep must...
Iron Man Sunday: "I think I look forward to this more than Christmas" -Lowell Bailey

Naturally I need my time back in the cocoon of Stockholm, ME.

Does anyone else like to mess around with negatives?

The only way way to prove this was taken in the summer is due to the sunlight. With out that element there is no reason not to see grilling like this in February. Just close the barn doors; problem solved. 

It was a grand year for Blueberries. Apples... not so much.
And then we were in Bavaria...
Frozen ski tube twenty twelve.
Roller loop Ruhpolding you're alright.
Months later I find myself doing pretty much the same thing as I was in May. And that's nothing to complain about! :)
I was going to put a picture from a few hours prior to this. I think we can all agree that bon fires are best when on fire. But the post party ash seemed like a good way to end this update. And yes. Those are bed springs.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Euro Camp 2012: DONE! Dies ist Woche Drei!

      And it's done! First three week training block of the year and my first summer Euro training camp since 2010. It wasn't perfect. There is still and always will be room for improvement, but a success nevertheless. Stopping the watch for the last time is always a victory in it's self. Most of the team has already left. It's down to the last six of us. As always, I have a lot of work to do. First off is some much needed rest. The rest of the to do list is a conclusion drawn from some video analysis, paper results, and just general feeling.
:Please stare at for two hours... That's
our day at the office. 
       The ski tunnel or "ski hall" as it's demanded to be called is boring as ever, but it's effective and I'm in no position to complain. The USBA wax techs gathered for the last camp and I was able to try out my Rossi's for next season. Apparently next years boots are 100 grams lighter! Ski technique is down to "minor details" as Per described it. There are still some somewhat glaring issues that stuck out when we did hard intensity, but's it's more or less doing just fine.
         And speaking of 100 grams lighter. My barrel is going get a few hundred grams heavier! I tried out a sprint barrel this year. It's lighter which adds a nice perk, but at -15 Celsius the grouping can't compete with my older, fatter barrel. Even the other Russian athletes that were in the cold chamber at the time were jealous of this old barrel. It may be a little heavier, but it might also lead to an extra hit or two over the course of a racing season. It could make the difference or it could not. There's is honestly no way to tell. Though heavy, this rare barrel is a gem and the coaches didn't want to part with it.
        Shooting from the operator perspective is still heading in the right direction. Our team psychologist was available to work with. He had recently been at the London games and as a lot of experience with the US precision shooters. Our sport is a little different, but the conversions were conveniently similar enough. His suggestions combined with the mechanical changes the coaches implemented should give me plenty to work on over the next few weeks.
No ammunition lot number can make this barrel
group well. But it does make a nice wall ornament. 
         I should also mention that I (of all people!) got lost! I successively turned a measly 90 minute recovery run into a 3.5+ hour trek. I have no sense of direction and blame the mother for this. This is far from the first time this has happened. In my defense however, I have a 100% rate of always finding my way home. I try to keep that statistic in mind when it starts to get dark in the back roads of east Germany while I scrape by on directions from local Deutchers. Arrival was around 8pm, almost post dinner, and my massage was moved to the end of the group. With limited time separating the directional glitch from tomorrow's ski session, I instinctively showered, slammed a bunch of food, then stretching, massage,  vitamins, a generous amount of melatonin and it was bed time for this corps.

Someone (from Stockholm) once told me that if you can see the cloud from a plane well after the plane has past it means there will be precipitation with in 36 hours. said 0% chance of rain. It rained that afternoon...
        This was a good week to a good three week camp. As I've mentioned before some components are off the mark, but I'm leaving on a positive note. The physical shape is looking good, and I'm plenty tired at the moment so don't even bother playing the early peak card! Speaking of tired. I would not recommend a six hour day of distance prior to a 6x5min race pace on snow session with a poor nights sleep at the end of a 65+ hour training cycle. If you should run into such problem I suggested being indestructible. I actually had to lift my left leg with my hands into my ski boot to compensate for my useless hip flexor. I'll be eating waffles by Tuesday morning in the 896 region and that was enough to keep me going.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

One Week Dash

From the top of Rossenfeldt.

The post training swim was an easy task. 
        Last week was no easy task. In retro spec is one of the hardest seven days of the year. Partly due to the debatable hardest work out of the year taking place last Wednesday. I made some good progress on some fronts. Confirmed suspicions on others and still manged to soak up some genuine Bavarian shenanigans.

This cow was not having my cool down.
        The Rossfeldt is a road that winds up a mountain, not too far from Salzburg, Austria. When the coaches stumbled on this gem a few years ago they naturally couldn't resist forcing the poor submissive athletes up this relentless climb. When I say relentless I'm not exaggerating. There is no downhill in this effort. If you can make it to the top in under an hour your're having a good day. I had done this time trial once back in the summer of 2010.  With two years of training behind me, less weight, and better technique I had no excuses not to show improvement. I find these races to be the most agonizing while ironically they are my strong point. I proved this with a solid five or so minute improvement over my 2010 time. Only nine seconds down from the record with debatable slower roller skis.
       The whole team was in a fog after that effort and we had to cut back on some the planned training the following days. I was glad to stop my watch for the last time on Saturday afternoon. It was the first Saturday of the month. In Bavaria that's a call for celebration. Not sure why, but I sure didn't plan on not partaking in tradition. I wasn't really into the cow tongue but the rest of the Bavarian cuisine was something to appreciate. We were looking at a lot of pickled vegetables, varies meats, especially pork, prepared in a variety of different ways, and a glorious array of cheeses to choose from. The scenery was naturally filled with lederhosen and accordion music. Splice in Lowell's guitar, some skilled spoon work, and maybe even a trash bag to complete the band and you would have our Saturday night in a nut shell.
        Shooting is getting better. It's a seemly never ending fight for me. But who am to complain, no one averages 100% for the season. We changed up the breathing mechanics and slimmed down the focus. It may be off the mark, but all it has to do is come together when it matters.
       To bring our survival week to a close we had the five plus hour drive up north to east Germany. Oberhof to be more precise. The only place in the world that can generate more screaming fans at a world cup than Ruhpholding. The details lead to more of "Week Three" update. But I should mention that after last week (week two) this week really earns the title the "One Week Dash" I'm still appreciative to be here, but don't get me wrong, I speak for the whole team when I say that trip home on Monday is going to feel nice. As always I'll keep you posted on how the Oberhof segment pans out.

P.s. When I say the "is going to feel nice" I referring to a more indirect sense. You can fly first class but it's still a six hour siting session.