Sunday, August 12, 2007
Of course, during all of my hopping around, training goes on. City streets or Kansas corn fields, the daily workouts are top priority. This year I finally have the luxury of prioritizing training as number one and that is going to be the key to success this year.
I returned from the Midwest and got settled into my room at the Olympic Training Center. Almost immediately those of us on the Development Team got thrown into a two-week camp with the U.S. National Team. The National Team coaches were here from Sweden and the Team's High Performance Director flew in from Munich, Germany. We spent time learning new strength and balance exercises, did lots of shooting drills and, of course, got to do most of the interval and distance workouts right alongside the National Team. That was definitely one of the most intense two weeks of training I've ever been through. We continued with high-volume training for another two weeks after the National Team camp ended, racking up almost 75 hours of training in the four-week block. To put that number into perspective for you - last year I trained roughly 525 hours. Getting adequate rest and nutrition has been paramount for me being able to absorb the jump in training. I'm excited to see where I can go in the coming seasons.
At the end of our last block of training I got to fly out to Boise, ID to spend a week with Sara and her family. I should mention that Sara is also on the Development Team, so our schedules coincide pretty closely most of the time. Anyway, back to Boise... I spent three days backpacking in the beautiful Sawtooth mountains of Idaho and a wonderful few days at a cabin on a lake in McCall. It was a much needed rest before jumping back into another big block of training. With that, we're almost caught up. Yesterday I finished my biggest week of the year - 22.5 hours. I was exhausted, but with a full rest day under my belt I'm looking forward to jumping back into training tomorrow for the last week of this block. We're here in Lake Placid tomorrow and head to Jericho, VT Tuesday to take advantage of the roller skiing loop and firing range there. We have two time trials on Friday and Saturday so I'm excited to see how my shooting and skiing are coming together. There probably won't be internet available since we're staying on a military base, so I'll update you the next chance I get. Until then...cheers.
I returned to the East Coast at the end of May to take the first step towards becoming a biathlete. June was a busy month. I spent the first week and a half at a camp in Lake Placid learning the basics of shooting and getting in some solid training hours and then bussed to Hanover to see Sara, my girlfriend, graduate from Dartmouth. A day later I met up with the Dartmouth Cords (www.dartmouth.edu/~cords) in Boston to sing the National Anthem for a Boston Red Sox game. What a cool night.
We got to stand right behind home plate and sing for a crowd of 37,000. If you care to check out a video, head over to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Lcjokn5rh8 . There is a chance that the Cords will sing at a Red Sox playoff game, so keep your eyes peeled if you happen to be watching the Sox.
Since this will be my first real post I'm going to take a little time to catch you up on events from the past few months. It has been an exciting year. Since much has happened in recent months, catching you up will probably take a couple of posts. Hopefully I can hit all the major things without putting anybody to sleep.
I'll pick things up with my return to Dartmouth in late December for a final quarter of studying and my last season of collegiate competition on the Nordic ski team. I had a fantastic fall of training and was excited to get the season started. Despite thin snow cover for training in Hanover, the team was extremely focused thanks to great leadership from the older guys. Poor training conditions can easily become a psychological stumbling block for athletes, but that was never an issue this year. We hit the trails in high speed and never slowed down, winning all six of the regular season carnivals and qualifying five Nordic men and four Nordic women for the NCAA National Championships. I qualified for the first time, but unfortunately didn't get to compete since only a team's top three qualifiers can race. No matter though, the NCAA team went on to perform brilliantly, bringing home our first NCAA National Team Title in over thirty years. Perhaps most amazing was the fact that we achieved so much without European imports. Being part of making Big Green skiing history will always be a highlight of my career at Dartmouth. I wrapped the ski season up with the Rangeley Lakes Loppet 50k Marathon. Lots of fresh snow made for challenging conditions, but I was able to capitalize on an early lead and turn it into a win by nearly two minutes.
I finished my coursework at Dartmouth in early March and received a B.A. in Psychology & Brain Sciences. About the same time I decided to apply for the U.S. Biathlon Development Team program and left on a six week backpacking adventure in Central America. Jamin, my older brother, met me on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and together we traveled south through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. What an adventure and a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with Jamin while also seeing another part of the world and practicing my Spanish.
Towards the end of the trip in Central America I found out I was named to the U.S. Biathlon Development Team and would be moving to Lake Placid, NY to live at the Olympic Training Center. (For those of you not familiar with Biathlon, it is a sport that combines competitive Nordic ski racing with precision target shooting with .22 calibre rifles). That was an exciting notification! I think Jamin and I ate an extra pineapple and bag of mangoes that night in celebration.