Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reflections of Old & New

Home for a week.


The Dolomites.

Don't try this at home - wild Yaks!



The Antholz training venue...

It has been far too long since I last updated. To the handful of you that actually read my blog, I'm terribly sorry and, as is usually the case after an extended absence, will commit to trying to be more consistent. This time will be different. :) Whoever you are and wherever you may be, welcome back!

Since it is now August 1st, that means I'm already well in to the summer training schedule. Coming off a very successful season, yet realizing that I didn't make a couple of the teams I was pursuing (missed both the early season World Cup and Olympic team by one spot) has been a unique experience. It's always interesting when a situation can at the same time be both the Yin and the Yang. That certainly seemed to be a central theme of the last season. Of course, referring to the Yin and Yang would suggest equal parts euphoria and defeat and there was actually much more of the former, though that's almost always easier to see in hindsight. However, somewhat ironically at times, that can be a catalyst for growth. And did I ever grow. Some call it the 'calm after the storm' and others 'purification by fire', but regardless of cliche description, last season's experiences gave me new perspective on my life as an athlete and, more broadly, on sport's contribution to the whole that is me. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I'm back training and have a renewed drive to excel in biathlon while continuing to search for a healthy balance between that and the other facets of life.

Coming off of last season's successes of qualifying for the European Championships, being the Olympic Team alternate, and winning the overall North American Championships, I was excited to be renamed to the National Team. The team has been reduced to only eight men this season so it was great to have made the cut. The improvements to the team structure are already evident to me since I finally have access to full-time coaching and a much better support network. I'm into my fourth year of residency at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid (can you believe it?). Hard to imagine how quickly the past three seasons have passed and how much my training has progressed. It's great to see that the positive trajectory continues for me and the Team.

Training has been very focused and effective thus far in the season. We started off the year with a camp in May in Lake Placid. Three weeks of solid training and getting reacquainted with the coaches. Following that camp I was excited to spend two weeks in Alaska with my family. Not getting to be home very often makes it that much greater to return. The weather cooperated perfectly and produced typical Alaska training; read: fantastic. There was plenty of wildlife to see, including moose, fox, eagles, and even a black bear boar that said hello on the Coastal Trail near Anchorage. The weeks following being in Alaska included a shooting specific camp in Lake Placid, a trip to Rhode Island for Sara's grandfather's 90th birthday party, a quick trip to the San Francisco area for a wedding, and then on to Europe for a month-long training camp that has just gotten underway.

I arrived in northern Italy a handful of days ago and have been using the time to get adjusted to the altitude difference. We're currently in the Dolomite Mountains near the Austrian border in the Antholz/Anterselva valley. I've been lucky to see many beautiful places in the world, each one seemingly grander than the last. This area surpasses most of its predecessors on my list with its rugged, steep peaks, turquoise bejeweled lakes, quaint valley villages, and charming culture. I certainly can't do Antholz justice with mere written descriptions so I've included a few pictures above that will whet your appetite should you be in need of a place to venture. I'm here in Italy for another week before heading to Austria for ten days and then on to the ski tunnel in Germany for a final week of training before returning to the states. Hopefully the next locations will be just as photogenic as Italy has already been. If so I'll be able to pass on the views.

Until next time...Ciao.

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Sara Studebaker said...

Beautiful! I can't wait to see more!

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