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Congested Frustrations

Staying healthy is a key priority for any athlete, but the nature of what we do pushes us to the brink. To the edge where even a little bug can hinder our performance. Or not! There are two ways to deal with illness; one is to push through. Focusing on what we still have control over and truly accept that it could be a satisfactory performance or sub-par because of health. But regardless, you did the best you could do on that day. I’ve had decent races while not completely healthy. Sochi is a great example of that; throughout the Games, I was in a flux of health. I was able to perform in two races before the body said that was too much. The other option is to rest, which is usually the more advisable option. But this option has its challenges; we are so used to go, go, go. That our bodies don’t always like to rest; the best way to beat a bug is to rest and not push too hard, making things worse. Depending on the time of year or the certain focus of training, that can be extremely frustrating.

I’ve recently been battling through a time like that. After an incredible camp in Mammoth, which I finished feeling tired but excited at the same time. I was very motivated to return to Canmore for a bit of rest before a hard intensity block going into the early Winter. Perhaps my excitement was a bit blinding. I lost focus on what I needed to be doing to stay healthy. I felt so fit through the Mammoth Camp. Strong and able to keep going for a long time. Very beneficial and effective time spent working on technique, along with a huge number of quality training hours. As things were going so well, I forget to pay attention to the little things that could derail this atmosphere of strength. After three days home I developed a sore throat, which then evolved into a sinus infection. I even took days off as soon as I noticed the symptoms, but it hit me hard. It was about a week before I was getting my energy back but still congested and occasionally a deep cough. I love being outside, and I know that resting is the best thing for me, but it is not easy to do it. I had the unrealistic thinking that I’m losing so much time and training. To know that while I train that each stride, I take matters to become a better skier. Then to lay in bed for the whole day is the opposite of what I want to be doing. But it is needed! Once I accept, I’m doing the right thing, I then starting thinking, ‘ok, I’m resting now, happy? Well then be miraculously healthy.’ Wrong! It is a slow process, regardless of my want to be 100% healthy again and training at my best.

It is a frustrating part of not only being an athlete but of life. In the grand scheme, I will be healthy soon enough as long as I make smart decisions with rest and what I’m doing once I get out for training. It should be an exciting time of the year. It is putting the final pieces together after a long dryland season of training. The early signs that Winter is soon upon us, for Canmore that means that there have already been two major(ish) snowfalls in late September and early October. But one of the truest signs that the race season is near- Frozen Thunder! A three-kilometre saved snow project at the Canmore Nordic Centre. It is getting back to skiing, and fine-tuning technique before the racing starts. For shooting, it lets us ski into the range and work on our range procedure. Vital to the overall shooting performance. The approach, the setup and the range exiting are where you ‘make up’ time in the range. Without your proper setup forget about hitting any targets. Now is the time to perfect those aspects of anyone’s shooting.

Though I had serious frustrations, I have convinced myself that everything will be fine. It just takes time, like anything else I do. Tomorrow or the next day is not my make-it-or-break-it moment. It is about being fast when it counts, and for me, that is March!

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