Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where to go from here?

*More pictures to come later on this week.*

           This was supposed to be the part where I emphasis how little time I have back home before heading across the pond to Sweden. Much to my dismay that is not the case this time around. It's amazing how your season can take a kick to the teeth before it's even started. In the grand scheme of things life isn't so bad. December might not end up being the easiest month to deal with, but this year the world isn't really fixed on what happens in December. We're going into 2014 and all eyes are on the looming winter carnival of February.
            The national team is still in Utah. Almost everyone is gone. By the time the qualifier races were over everyone's bags were already packed and checked through. Our house on the other hand is still here. Today we did 2.5 hours of skate technique work with some shooting drills and combos. This afternoon will be about two hours of easy double pole distance. We'll all be at our respective homes by Sunday evening this week. If anyone wants to celebrate a post Halloween Halloween I would be game.
            After this came is a little up in the air at the moment. There are a lot of options at my disposal and plenty of pros and cons to consider. I could make the flight out to Canmore. It will be cold and take a lot of travel. Conversely I wouldn't be the only one there and the first NorAm cup would make for some good racing expedience. I could head over to LP. This would get me a room to myself and remove a lot of stressful shenanigans. Not to mention a 47 inch LED TV. It's the new best friend. We get along great. This might make for good training provided there is some snow around. Then there is the stay home option. This would also require an abundance of snow. With out much for coaching it would have some obvious down sides. Either way around mid December I need to be at Mt Itasca in Minnesota for more trial races. Since the races out here last week didn't go as intended I have to put my Euro racing on hold till January.
             Assuming the races in MN go as they should I'll be on the IBU cup team for January. There are two series of races both being held back to back in Ridnaun, Italy. This is a nice place if you've every heard me or anyone whose been there talk about it. The rest of January once again depends on how I do in those IBU cup races. If all of my training pays off like it should I'll be back on the world cup. That would take me to Ruhpolding or Antholze. Or Rainpolding and Suntholz as they could also be called.
So that's January. With out a prequalification under the belt pretty much every race from here on out is a trial race. All of them leading up the to Olympics. I really don't like reading the details of the qualification criteria. I'm not going to train any harder than I am now because like a professional athlete I already am training as hard as I can. All I can do now is keep the confidence up and try to bring out what I know I'm capable of. Provided I do this through December and January there's no reason for me not to be on the 2014 Olympic team.
            Once the stress of team naming is over the focus can shift towards peak performance. Unlike four years ago the pre Olympic camp won't be on Vancouver Island. I've never been to the OWGs but I'm guessing it will feel like any other world cup, only ten fold. Most days will be somewhere between cabin fever and non stop shenanigans. As for results, who knows? It's biathlon, any possible, but always extremely difficult to do; if that makes any sense to you.
Post Olympics will hopefully consist of the last WC trimester. This one will be different from past years. We're looking at a Slovenia to Finland to Norway trip. I have good reason to want to be at all of those places. Pokljuka, Slovenia is an awesome place to be in general. I've had great results with Kontiolahti, and the course is to my liking. Olso may in fact be the most expensive city in the world but for the most part you get what you pay for.

              As you can see. It's hard to go into very much detail this far out. The training season is a lot easier to nail down. Racing seasons tend to be a lot more chaotic. As I mentioned earlier it's all about the confidence. Any mention of December world cups makes me shutter in disbelief that I have to duck out again this year. Right now the course of action revolves around performance that will get me on the Olympic team. That course of action doesn't have much room for complaining about some poor shooting last week. So that being said, for now I'm going to finish this up and go clean my rifle. It actually rained in Utah yesterday so it could use a little solvent. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Off Week in the Life of Russell

      We don't have very many of these a year. An off week is never really off. It's more of an unstructured low training week. There isn't any amount of exercise lit that says seven days is the perfect amount of time for endurance athletes to fully recover, but for the sake of scheduling it's very convenient. This is a brief rundown of how my last so call off week panned out.
Last day of hiking in LP.

     Training camps are nice and Lake Placid is fine by me, but that doesn't leave much time to be spent back home. Training in the county is as good as anywhere else, but as of this year it seems most of the home time has been low time. At least in regards to the training volume. Driving time is at it's peak when I'm home. "Whoops. Guess I plum forgot my roller skis in Fort Kent. Oh well. I'll just make the 45 minute drive... to go get...(sigh) them" - me packing yesterday. The stress of a week like this is partially my own fault. There is always so much good intention crammed into too short of a time frame. A week is never enough to fully catch up with all of your childhood friends, hunt all of the animals you legally can, help out at every shenanigan taking place, and watch all of the movies you wanted to. You sure can try though.
Just set it to B&W to see what November is going to look like.
      I made it home on Sunday in time to catch dinner and the new season of Simpsons and Family Guy. A very important staple of Sunday nights growing up. Aside from stacking wood and a failed attempt at baking bread I accomplished nothing on Monday. This was in fact the intention. One day of uselessness every now and then is what keeps us human. Unlike a bread machine which I could have probably used.
Isn't fall nice!
      Day three brought a short hour run, some boring computer work,  and a mound of laundry. I drove down to Presque Isle in the evening to visit an old friend. It was a nice end to a productive day. I went to bed at midnight assuming that I would wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed five am for some geese hunting.
     ...When I woke up at seven with my 4:45 alarm mysteriously dismissed so I decided to make myself another glorified breakfast. Local eggs, homemade bread, Scando cheese, and fresh fruit made for an authentic start to a fall day. I took my time getting ready for a what will most likely be my last ride of the year. I told myself three hours would be fine, but ending up getting carried away trying to map out the unending maze of Aroostook county woods roads. The legs were tired after the ride, but the birds still alive so I finished off the day with stroll down back. No success
      Thursday's highlight was at the 10th Mt lodge in Fort Kent. The coaches left the week up to me training wise, but permeated me one time trial if I felt up to it. Which to me translate's into "DO A TIME TRIAL." Historically when I attempt these TTs on my own with no one to scope my shots or take times I usually don't have much success. Just driving up and setting up the range on my own turns me off. The last update that I mustered up mentioned some good trends in shooting. If it really was going in the right direction then it would show even on a solo day like Thursday. I did two mini sprints. Skiing was effective. I didn't have a blood lactate test waiting for me at the finish, but I assume it was pushing double digits or higher. Technique and transitions didn't feel sloppy or bogged down either. In general I think the ski speed was fine for the middle of a rest week in October. Shooting was also splendid. I cleaned the first sprint in a commanding fashion! I slipped getting into position for the second sprint. I don't think it messed up my zero, but it was an uncommon enough mistake to distracted me into a few misses. Nevertheless I was pleased with the self administered suffer fest. So much that I left my roller skis at the end of the stadium and went straight home. There was more bird hunting in he afternoon, but still no success.
     Friday was the cram session of 2013. This time I didn't mess around with sleeping. The dad and I were out the door with hot coffee before six am. When the unsuspecting geese settled down on the grass they didn't stand a chance against the blanket of lead (or steel technically) flying through the air. Mid morning was a second breakfast and stress packing. Or just regular packing, if you will. I did a short strength session before lunch. Nothing special just maintenance. I told the sister that we would hang out as soon as I was done packing and back from FK. This never came to fruition because with out question a nap was in the pending future. When I woke up and made more coffee the sun was starting to go down. We spent the evening with some neighbors down the road. It was a good end to successful day.
     Saturday meant departure day. So far this has been a very smooth trip to Utah. No obnoxious bag fees or missed flights. In fact my itinerary landed me in the SLC airport well ahead of the rest of the crew. My reward is getting to wait for four hours for them the show up! If you were wondering why this update is longer than normal that's why.
     This was one of the more successful off weeks. It's nice to veer off track for a few days sometimes. Especially after a hard three week block and before another structured three week camp. Sometimes supercompensation is as necessary mentally as much as it is physically.
         Next up is the Utah camp. There is some racing coming up in there to. The blood is stockpiled with extra iron so it should be just fine.