One year done, another begun

New Year’s Day for biathletes is May 1st. It’s when the winter season and subsequent vacation are officially over and training for the next year begins anew. In my case, it’s when I face the athletic consequences of not working out for 4 weeks. I’m very active during our month off, but my April activities of choice are walking (read: shopping), tennis, snorkeling, dancing, and wind-surfing. (You’ll notice roller-skiing, running, weightlifting, and strenuous uphill mountain bounding with ski poles are absent from that list.) I am serious about my devotion to rest and relaxation. Most of my readers probably laugh at the idea of me being “out of shape”, and in the conventional sense of the phrase, they’re justified. The fitness base I’ve established over the past six years certainly doesn’t disappear over the course of one month. But May first does not bring conventional workouts and the goal is not conventional fitness! Everything is to the extreme! And for that, yes, even I am out of shape.

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Parque Nacional Tayrona, Colombia
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Cartagena, Colombia

I spent my April break traveling with my boyfriend to Colombia and then visiting family and friends in Florida, Rochester, NY, New York City and Philadelphia. (No strenuous uphill running). Even after all that time off from biathlon, I was anxious about starting to train again. The first few weeks are indeed physically arduous, but the bigger challenge for me is the psychological stress that comes with renouncing a balanced life. During the coming 11 months, I will spend about 230 days on the road, train 6 days/week, and commit 24 hours/day to optimal health and recovery.

We are already at our first training camp, in Bend, Oregon. On a typical day here, we ski (on snow) in the morning for about 3 hours, then eat and rest, then run or bike for about two more hours in the afternoon, then eat and sleep. Some athletes thrive on the literal train-eat-sleep rotation, but I resent the zombie-robot I become. There are days when this lifestyle feels freeing, like when I can sit on my porch in the afternoon sun and work on some hobby project, knowing most people are stuck indoors behind a desk. But when I don’t even have the energy to stay awake for the hobby project, it feels like a prison.

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Yesterday was delightful. Today we skied for 3 hours in freezing rain so guess what, no smiling picture.

I’m working on reclaiming some semblance of balance in my life this year, and I’ll keep you informed as to ways you might be part of that. But for now I have to rest because soon I have to go running for two hours.

My next blogpost will focus on the excitement of the Olympic Year, and I will try to find a time to write it when I am not exhausted.

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The bed blog 2016-2017

I regret my lack of diligence with regards to keeping this year’s photographic journal of hotel beds. You can still get a taste for my life on the road, and I’ve included a thorough list of all those beds left unseen.

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Siegsdorf, Germany
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Literally don’t even know
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Jericho, VT- Ethan Allen Training Site barracks
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Burlington, VT
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Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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Ostersund, Sweden
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Bled, Slovenia
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Ruhpolding, Germany
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Antholz, Italy
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Antholz, Italy
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Hochfilzen, Austria
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Siegsdorf, Germany
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Munich, Germany
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PyeongChang, Korea
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Joensuu, Finland
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Oslo, Norway
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Burlington, VT

Other beds, not photographed, in chronological order 5/1/2016-5/1/2017:
(same location listed twice only if I stayed in a different bed)

Olympic Training Center, Lake Placid, NY
My apartment in Lake Placid, NY
Bend, OR
Woodstock, VT
Colorado Springs, CO
Park City, UT
Rochester, NY
Buffalo, NY
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Hosmer Point Camp, Craftsbury, VT
Underhill, VT (camping)
Burlington, VT (hotel)
Burlington, VT (camping)
Oberhof, Germany
Burlington, VT
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Zdar nad Sazavou, Czech Republic
Hallbergmoos, Germany
Oberhof, Germany
Valdaora, Italy
Munich, Germany
Inzell, Germany
Burlington, VT
Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Craftsbury, VT
Cartagena, Colombia (hostel)
Parque Nacional Tayrona, Colombia (hammock)
Cartagena, Colombia (hotel)
Stuart, FL
New York City, NY
Philadelphia, PA

…and now I’m back in Bend, OR, and the cycle begins again!

Behind the Scenes 2016-2017

Here are some of my favorite photo highlights from behind the scenes on the 2016-2017 World Cup circuit.

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Our Finnish massage therapist, Jani “the hairless Finn” never misses a moment to make me laugh. That “bazooka” is actually tubes for traveling with ski poles.
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Our head wax tech, Petr “Gara” Garabik (CZE), is neurotic about how he packs our van…and makes sure to stock it with cheap beer from his home country whenever we travel to Scandinavia.
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Wax tech Federico after he got kicked out of the bar on St. Patrick’s Day (*I left voluntarily).
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Gara and me after our first ski-test of the year in Sweden.
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Susan and Lowell captured silver in the single-mixed relay at World Cup 8 in Finland, ending a 23-year relay medal drought and crushing the poor Germans’ souls.
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Our hyper-organized team leader, Bernd, was absent for just a few days and this is what happened to our packing discipline.
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In honor of international Women’s Day, we took over the workspace usually occupied by our all-male wax team. Note the wall “art.”
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Pinkies up! My buddy Paul and I enjoyed this rare upgrade to first class!
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Me with massage therapist Jeurgen. Yes I’m wearing a dirndl. This is Bavaria!
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Coach Jonas modeling the hat worn by Bernd’s infant son who bears the same name.
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Women on our way to work!
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Celebrating at one of Susan’s many podium ceremonies this winter.
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Paul and I were featured on the IBU’s official Instagram after he placed 30th in his World Cup debut!
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My favorite venue: Antholz, Italy
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Job perk.
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I love this picture of Franziska Hildebrand (GER) struggling through her pre-race meal. Even biathlon superstars have to force-feed themselves plain pasta pre-race! We may be from different countries but we’re all in this together.
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Tim Burke’s pre-race nutrition strategy: dry bread in the changing cabin.
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When our changing cabin became a literal changing cabin. Welcome to the team baby Ophelia!
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Sometimes you just need to have some wine and a laugh with your wax tech.
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My best racing moment of the year, when I hit 10 for 10 at World Champs!
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My favorite racing moment of the year: qualifying with bib 30 for the mass start at World Championships.
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Funniest official picture of the year: when the media thought I was Susan after she took silver in the mass start.
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Best team of the year!