Updated on December 6, 2015
New Year, New Races & New Personal Bests!
The last 2 weeks have been great ones. Despite some miserable weather conditions – and by miserable I mean the kind of sleet, rain and wind that has the entire field of athletes and staff in full head to toe rain gear – I feel like I have taken a step forward over the last 14 days.
I wasn’t planning on racing World Cup 4 in Oberhof, Germany at all, but when one of our girls got sick I drove over the night before in order to start our relay the next day. Everything was so rushed and hectic from my side that I had no time to feel nervous about the race. I went out with no pressure, thoroughly enjoyed the tactics and excitement of the first leg’s mass start and had a perfect shooting day with 10/10. I spent most of the race in 2nd position which was exciting in itself, and despite falling back into 5th position during the last ski loop, I passed off only 8 seconds behind the lead which was great.
The sprint in Oberhof was an interesting one: it was a mixture of windy shooting tactics with a generous helping of luck required. The conditions were so windy that with 5 misses out of 10 shots I still found myself among the top 60! I was definitely disappointed with my shooting, but chose not to overanalyze given the extreme wind conditions.
I have been living in Ruhpolding (and loving it!) since September so in a way these felt like home races to me. The races started off with more unpleasant weather – it rained so hard that after our relay race I could literally wring out my gloves and pour water out of my boots! Anyways….us Canadians are tough cookies and as long as my fingers stay warm I don’t usually feel like the weather effects me much. I started out relay once again and this time I really did pass off in 2nd position. It was fun, exciting and painful but a really satisfying and confidence building race.
It turns out that the relay was just the start of good things to come as 2 days later I posted a new personal best World Cup result with an 11th place finish in the 7.5km Sprint. This race was also my best ever ski performance: with the 11th fastest ski time in the field I was able to stay in the top 15 despite one missed shot in standing. This result qualified me for the Mass Start (a race limited to the top 30 athletes on the World Cup). It was the first Mass Start of my career and I went into it feeling focused but relaxed and happy to have earned the opportunity. My legs were pretty tired and it was a hard fight on course from the start to the finish. Considering how shaky I was feeling I am pretty happy about hitting 18/20. I finished 23rd: it could have been better, but it was still a good day.
Altogether I feel like I am gaining confidence with every good shooting race I do and am really looking forward to the next races. My plan is to keep my goals task oriented and keep my relaxed approach moving forward.