Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic day and are getting out and adventuring about.

On Tuesday (21st) I picked up my new New Zealand support crew member, Bruce Hasler, and We drove from Munich to Crans-Montana, Italy- proceeding to get lost about three times. It was exciting though because Switzerland is so beautiful. Since then we have been exploring in the mountains and enjoying life. We are staying with two fantastic people- Nicolas and Severine. Severine is the World Champion in ski mountaineering so it is a pretty extreme household! We have been ski touring and cross-country sking, running and eating raclette- it is perfect.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2 more races gone

Bled, Slovenia has been as beautiful as ever. The castle on the cliff and the church on the island on the lake always takes my breath away. It is gorgeous.

We arrived safely to our rented apartment on Monday and went for a great ski on blue sky day on the hard tracks. It was really great. Tuesday was unofficial training and Wednesday was official training. I was feeling really good, but still not sleeping full nights, possibly from jetlag. On Thursday we had the 15km Individual race. It was a killer! I felt really tired and had a tough time with the skiing. The shooting started off great with no misses in the first two bouts. That is when the fatigue set in and I started thinking a bit too much and getting shaky legs on the standing. I missed 2 prone and 3 standing on my last two shootings- 15/20 (room for improvement) and a tough ski set me in 88th spot. It was not ideal, but the first 15km of the season is usually not a walk in the park!

Friday was an easy training day- a nice classic in the woods at Pokljuka stadium, a much needed relaxing session. The next day, Saturday, December 18th, was the 7.5km sprint. My ski testing was a bit frustrating as none of my skis felt good and all the other women testing were flying past me on the test hill. Hmm... I had a good zero though, and went to the start with bib 59. The first loop was good, but I was getting passed on the downhills. I came in for my shooting telling myself "Just don't think about it! Just shoot the silly things!" and I hit all 5! Yahoo. Out on course and I could definitely feel it! But having Richard on the big up hill yelling at me to go for it was a great help.

I came in for second and last shooting, and once again told myself "Just like training. No dwaddling. Just do what you know" And hit 4. I was pretty pleased. One penalty loop and then off onto the course for my last loop. Oh man, my legs were hating me at this point. I ended up 78th in this race, but am sure my ski speed could have been much faster with a better pair of skis. Now, to be clear I am not blaming it strictly on skis, but it may have helped to have had a faster pair ;)

I am now all finished for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Years! Off to Switzerland tomorrow for a nice break! Yahoo!

Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Lots of love,

Sarah

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So much Snow in Austria!


No Snow to WOW, Snow!!

My last week in Canada was fantastic. The weather warmed up from -39 to -5 and the sun came out. Training was great and everyone skiing at the Nordic Centre had huge smiles plastered on their faces. It was great.

My sister was offered a job as a nurse on Princess cruise lines so on Friday the 3rd, my mother, father and I dropped her off at the airport- She is gone for 4 months and currently in Mazatlan! The next day, we once again packed the car up and my parents drove me to the airport-They are now empty nesters for 4 months!

Upon our arrival at the Calgary airport- about an hour and a half drive from Canmore- I immediately dropped my head into my hands. “Oh no, oh no, oh no!” “What? What? What?” My parents said in unison. I had forgotten my rifle in Canmore. My rifle!! You can replace skis, boots, clothing, most things easily, but not your rifle! And my flight was closing in 45 minutes for check-in. We got on the phone and called every single person in Canmore- and finally we reached the Vukadinovics ie. My Saviors, Tatiana Vukadinovic and I have been friends for a long time, and we were teammates since we were 13. Her parents immediately got into their car, grabbed my rifle from my house, and floored it to Calgary.

I had the nicest check in lady from Lufthansa- and without her I would not have been able to race in the first World Cups. She is the first nice airline person I have met and I will never forget her. My bags absolutely had to be there at 1:00pm, as boarding was at 1:05 and the plane took off 1:30. At 1:10 my mother, father and I were all lined up outside on the sidewalk. Colleen and Dan pulled up, we grabbed the rifle,  and all the of us ran through the airport like a crazy family to get the tags put on and get it through the x-ray. At 1:25 I went through security and I made it to my flight! What an exciting way to start the season!!!! I almost died of an anxiety attack!

I could not believe it but upon my arrival in Munich, ALL my bags arrived-.
Well done, Lufthansa, well done!

Driving into Hochfilzen was a bit disheartening. There was not very much snow in the village, but fortunately there was enough on the racecourse, and training the next day was great. Richard Boruta arrived on Tuesday and we had 2 good training days before the 7.5km sprint race. This was my first race of the season, and considering jetlag and sleeping patterns all changed, I was feeling really good. The day before the race, the heavens opened up and down came Schnee! It has not stopped snowing since Thursday and our van is completely buried now. It is slightly ridiculous. So, the races have been extremely exciting and interesting with visibility.

I was starter 48, and Ukraine once again out did themselves- my skis were amazing. My first loop I felt like a Superstar, and my first shooting, which was prone, I hit 5/5!, despite barely being able to see the target Yahoo! The course was pretty tough and the track was covered so quickly after someone skied on it from the heavy snowfall. I came in for my 2nd shooting, which was standing, and I was shaking like crazy! I was very nervous and had pushed hard in skiing. I hit, missed, hit missed, hit. So 3/5 and 2 penalty loops to ski. My last loop hurt, but in the end I was happy with my race.  I ended up 78th, so no pursuit for me, but my coach bought me some dark chocolate, so that was a nice substitute! I also made my 15% qualification so I am off to the three world cups after Christmas! Woo!

I cannot thank Richard enough. He is helped so much, and it has only been 4 days. We are off to Pokljuka, Slovenia on Monday!

Take care, have fun and smile!!!

Sarah

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunshine please

Winter is here! And it brought its friend, Mr. Freeze. Now, New Zealand houses are cold, horribly cold, with no central heating and an electric blanket to heat the house, you get used to it. Buuuut..I do not think anyone can get used to -38 weather. Sounds cool to talk about, not the greatest thing to live through. and  this early in the season, it shakes you deep into you bones. So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week training was moved indoors. But other than that, it has been Fabulous!

Richard and Petr are the greatest people in the world. I could not ask for a better set-up and the training has been fabulous. I raced in the American trial races last week, and a Canadian time-trial this week. It felt great to be racing again, even though they did not go wonderfully. But that is why we do them, so we can get the bad races and Time-trials out of the way before the bigger races like the World Cups come along!

I am here for one more week and then back into the air. Wish for warm weather!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

1 month later

1 month later and I am feeling fabulous!!! It has been great being back in Canmore with the family and back into training hard. I had 3 days off after I came home and then my new coach, Richard Boruta, was all over the hard training right away! Testing and trials just to see where I was, and they went well!

Richard Boruta lives in Canmore and is originally from the Czech Republic. His wife and him run the amazing Wildflower spa in Canmore, and Richard is generously donating his time and energy to coach me. He is making my training plan and coming to all shooting sessions and even some strength and recovery workouts. It is a whole different situation when there is actually a coach there. I feel like I am learning how to ski all over again because I have fallen into some bad habits from not having a coach tell me to fix little things. I bit frustrating BUT we are getting there :) Petr Zidek, who coached me at the Olympics, is also coaching me along with Richard so it is some kind of double force. Going from no coach to two coaches overnight- ummmm.....INTENSE! (But in a good way!) I am feeling really good and I feel I am getting stronger and stronger every week.

I had 3 weeks of really good, strong training and then I had a recovery week...and what do you know but it worked out myself and a mate were given buddy passes from a friend for helping out at their wedding so 2 days before we left we decided to go to....HAWAII! It was amazing- I desperately needed Vitamin D and this was the best cure. We just chilled, stayed at hostels, went snorkelling and took surf lessons! We also saw some turtles- Yahoo! It was a great trip, but the next day Megan was back at work and I was back at training. Holiday over!

So the season plans are to go to Europe on December 4th and be there until March 21st competing in World Cups, some IBU cups, European Championships and World Championships! Busy season it seems, and I am not even doing all the races!

I hope everyone is happy and healthy and loving life!!!

xx

Friday, October 1, 2010

Back in Canada-land!

6 months, 10 exams, and a lot of fun later I am back in the land of the beaver and maple leaf- Canada, to be exact.

I finished my first year of school- working towards a diploma in Adventure Tourism Management. It was a great 2nd term, learning all about weather systems and planning trips, risk management, and even accounting (Wow, did that get the wheels movin in the brain or what!). We even did a Pre-hospital emergency care course, which was great. CPR anyone- just ask me ;)

My good friend Bruce and I went on some great trip- including being stuck in the big earthquake in Christchurch. We were going to go see my very sick Grandmother but our flight to Wellington was cancelled- This then turned our simple 3 day trip into an extreme road trip up the coast to Blenheim and an impromptu flight on a dinky-toy plane from Blenheim to Paraparam, where my mother and Auntie Sue picked us up. We were able to have dinner with my parents and auntie and uncle- less than 24 hours later my Dad flew back to Canada! It was great to see him, even for the little bit. The worst part was we then had to do the whole trip back down the island! I am going to put this out there: I think it is impossible for me to have a normal trip- but if you think about it- if it was normal....would it be any fun?

My sister was back in hospital, which was really hard for me as I was so far away. She now has an Ostomy bag for the rest of her life due to her Crohns disease, but this surgery went much better than the last and she is doing great! She is the bravest person I know and is out as active as ever: climbing mountains, biking, and playing golf. What a superstar!

It was really sad saying goodbye to everyone in New Zealand- It is hard leaving everyone every year! My last week we drove my big truck, named "Marvie", out to my mates farm, Ban Falconer. Ben did biathlon for a season in Europe, and has a great farm in NZ- we drove around the farm and played with some lambs and saw lots of little baby cows. Marvie is filled to the brim with my New Zealand life- hold up Marvie, I'll be back soon!

The day I left was tough. As I was driving to the airport to check in, my family called and told me my grandmother had died. Although we knew it was coming, it is still really hard to hear it. She is in a happy, better place now, but I will miss her a lot. I took a breath and cleaned myself up and went to check in- wow, I felt awful for the check-in person- as soon as he said I had to re pack my bags as my 36kg ski bag is not allowed to fly that heavy and he was going to have to charge me $200, I burst into complete tears and could not stop. As I was re packing, weighing, getting my boarding tickets sobbing- he took me over to customer service- well, due to the fact I was about to miss my plane (and maybe the waterworks) they ended up not charging me. Yahoo!

As I ran through security, I was able to give Bruce one last hug, before being the last onto the plane. The poor family beside me thought I was having some sort of fit- in my frantic, crying state- I managed to pretty much inform the whole flight I was fine. Awkward....

My flights were all good- everything went smooth. Everyone, please read that last sentence again....everything went smooth! The air host even brought me a pillow from 1st class! WIN! I missed seeing my mother by 30mins as she took-off from NZ to her mothers funeral. I will see her soon though.

Now I am back in Canmore, hoping to sleep well tonight, and get into training!

Take care, have fun and smile!

Sarah

Sunday, September 5, 2010

An Oldie but a goodie...

This is from 'The Crowd Goes Wild" at the Olympics. Unfortunately I think it will only work in New Zealand...

http://www.skysport.co.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=57&cid=20312&cgid=0

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cross-country FIS races

The past Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (6th, 7th, 8th) I competed in the Cross-country FIS races up at the Snow Farm, here in New Zealand.  Canadians, Americans, Koreans, Japanese, and Australians were all racing in these races- which made it pretty exciting.

Friday was the 10km classic and it was my second classic ski of the season! But, I decided to do it anyways- Why not!?!?! My skiing actually felt really good, which was a surprise, and I placed 7th, which was the top Kiwi placing. The snow was great and our Russian coach, Alexei, did a great wax job.

Saturday was the sprint day! The usual sprint course here in NZ is usually 800m, but for this race day they changed it to 1600m- perfect for men, but a bit long for women. The weather was crazy! It was great weather for the qualifier, but then the forecasted storm arrived and from then on it was full-on blizzard! It was poor visibility and painful on the face for the rest of the sprints. It was definitely a fun challenge. I won the B-final sprint, which was great.

Sunday was the last day and it was crazy! The race was delayed 2 hours because of the amount of snow that had fallen and the track could not be groomed. Also all cars required chain fitting because of the conditions. The course was changed because of all the snow, so men ended up doing 5 x 2km loop and women did 3 x 2km loop. It was a tough course, with a big up-hill and soft snow, but it was great. I ended up 3rd, which was exciting as a Kiwi was on the podium. Woohoo!

It was a great weekend and I am excited for the biathlon races coming up on Sunday!

Take care, have fun and smile!

Sarah

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ain't no Party like....

WOW! Is it August ALREADY?!?!?!?! I cannot believe it! I have been running around like crazy I have not even noticed the time go by. The beautiful wonderful snow is here, and has been for months now! I am skiing every weekend are gorgeous Snow Farm and studying Monday to Thursday in Queenstown. You will be happy to know I passed last terms papers, but this term is tougher- so we will see!

We had an absolutely amazing Biathlon camp here in New Zealand. There is a big group of keen teenagers who attended- learning all about skiing and shooting, and then sticking them together. At the end of the GREAT camp we had a biathlon race where there were 30 racers, including myself and Vancouver 2010 Cross-country Olympian, Ben Koons, a fellow Kiwi. It was great fun and everyone did really well. I am so amazed and excited about the evolving biathlon club in New Zealand and the interest that is now developing! 

July 24th, I competed in the multi-sport race called the Peak 2 Peak- This involves downhill skiing/snowboarding, downhill biking, kayaking, running and a grueling road bike uphill to the next ski hill, and the finish line. I did it last year  and  this year improved my time by 25mins, so that was great. (I did get a flat tire though last year so its more like 15minutes!) That was a great race and a great day. Team Fluoro, which I was a member of 2 years ago, won again for the 3rd year in a row, and my good mate Gavin Mason was 2nd! What superstars!

I am now getting ready for the 3 cross-country FIS races happening this weekend up at the Snow Farm- 10km Classic, 1km sprints, and 5km skate. National Teams from; Canada, USA, Korea, and Japan are all here to compete as well so it should be a party!

Hope everyone is loving life and having fun! 
Lots of Love,

Sarah


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adventures Galore!

To be completely honest, New Zealand is really great. I have been having quite the time. Last friday, I went and Bungy jumped the Nevis which is the highest bungy jump in Austrolasia with a 134m freefall. It was amazing! The next day, we did a 6 hour Rogain, which is biking around while navigating and looking for check points! It was great fun- all in the rain- but it was an adventurous experience!

The snow has arrived in Queenstown so on Sunday we hiked up one of the ski field mountains, Coronet Peak, and snowboarded down. It was just spectacular. To finish the day off, I wnt for a nice paddle on Lake Wakatupu. Not even going to lie- I slept pretty well that night!

Heres some pictures:http://picasaweb.google.com/smurphme12/MissionsInNZ?feat=directlink


The snow is here which means the skiing will start! The Snow Farm is potentially opening this weekend- Wooohooo! Prepare yourselves for some fun!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Off again...

I arrived back in Canada on March 22nd, greeted by my wonderful sister, who is doing awesome after her surgery and everything she has been through. The trip home from Europe was a good one...for once! Rosanna Crawford, Canadian biathlete extraordinaire, and I were on the same flight route all the way from Oslo, and because she is a Canadian athlete she has Gold status when flying. She was also able to talk the check-in lady to let me have 3 bags as well, so I did not have to pay excess luggage- saving me over 200 euro. She was also allowed a guest into the lounges which was nice and relaxing between connections. On our flight from Frankfurt to Calgary, Rosanna was in first class, but I had a good seat not far behind the 'curtain' (I wonder what happens up there). One of the hosts on the plane ended up being my kindergarten teachers husband, Harry, who I have know forever. He brought me a 1st class meal for dinner and some freshly baked cookies, as well as fruit and water. Oh the life- the leftovers from the posh class, but I was still excited. Haha....one day, you watch, I'll be up there!

My sister moved to Melbourne, Australia on the 24th for...how long Erin?...well, she doesn't even know. But she got her dream job of nurse in the ICU unit at the childrens hospital, which is amazing- Go Erin! And then my life changed drastically as well.

On April 4th I made a decision. This Sunday, I am jumping onto a plane to Queenstown, New Zealand to study full time. I am going to study 'Adventure Tourism Management' at Queenstown Resort College (QRC), as well as train full time. The course sounds amazing, and I am really thrilled to be an ambassador for the college. They are going to allow me to train and study, and although it will be hard and very busy, I am so excited and determined to make it work. It is a 18 month program- 6 months study, 6 months internship, 6 months study- then I will have a diploma in Adventure Tourism Management. Check it out: It is truly a rare and exciting opportunity! http://www.queenstownresortcollege.com/

This means I have been home in Canmore for a total of: 13 days this time! Wow, it is a record. Within the last year, I have been home a total of 27 days, on and off- usually 5 to 10 days at a time. You really start to appreciate coming home and how mentally relaxing it is.

I repainted my rifle today, so the pink barrel and knobs are looking as pristine as ever.

Ciao!!

Sarah

Monday, March 22, 2010

And now it's over...

The end of the season is here. I raced my last race on Thursday the 18th in Holmekollen, Norway. It was the 7.5km sprint and I did the same thing as last week- hit all my prone, and then missed 3 standing. I ended up near the same position again. The conditions were pretty good- a little bit soft but nothing to complain about.  But the good thing is my skiing felt really nice. It is nice to finish the season feeling strong, and not dead on your skis.

Norway is a really great country, or at least Oslo is pretty neat. When I first arrived I had the greatest driver from the airport who took me on a car tour of the city; past the palace and the fortress, through the old city, and...it was exciting for me....I saw a prostitute! I got all nervous and averted eye contact. The hotel was great, with good food and a warm room, and about a 20 to 30minute drive to the venue- Not too bad. Myself and the Canadians went to town a couple times to shop which was really neat. It was nice to be in a city instead of the middle of nowhere.

We also had a 'tight n' bright' themed stagette party for Megan Tandy, a Canadian athlete, who is getting married April 3rd. We looked beautiful- I will post pictures when I get them! CONGRATULATIONS MEGAN AND ILMAR!

So, the last 2 weeks have been fun. My races were slightly unfortunate, but overall I am very pleased with my season. I was top 1/2 twice and I competed to my fullest at the Olympics. I raced 8 out of 9 World Cups, re qualifying in each race for the next trimesters- something I did not do last year. I am also qualified for next years World Cups! Great success overall!!!

Again, thank you to everyone for your support. I am now on the prowl for sponsors and I am trying to figure my life out! Always exciting....I will keep you posted!

Much love, and thank you thank you thank you!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Truly disappointed...

Today's race was the most disappointing of my season. When I crossed the finish line I was so...angry. So angry at myself, and this feeling of disappointment was something I have not experienced so deeply before. I had bad races at the Olympics, but it was so amazing just to be at the Olympics that it did not bother me as much. But this race, today, is the type of race that athletes must learn to deal with.

I was starter 64. I was very scared of this course before starting because there are 2 big hills in it that, in training, were really killing me. I started off and was feeling great. I got to the first hill and my strategy was to just put my head down and do it. Usually I look up the hill to the top, but these were so long that my plan was to just put my head down and go for it- and it worked. I think. It felt fine at least, and I was doing more passing on the up hills, instead of being passed. I came in for prone and clicked 1 left as the wind was down from zero, and hit all 5. Great start!

I was feeling better and better, so my second loop was just splendid. I came in for standing, and Olga Zaitseva from Russia came in at the same time. My first shot miss-fired twice, (which is when the shot doesn't go off), and this really messed up my rhythm. Then Olga started shooting and the Russians were going crazy in the crowd. Crowds usually don't bother me at all, but for some reason this day, all I could do was listen to them. So Olga hit 5 (she placed 2nd today), and I hit 2. I had become so unfocused, and made such a...I dunno what to call it...maybe 'rooky mistake'. This is what we train for- To block out noises and focus on what we are doing, and I didn't do it. So, 3  times around that damn penalty loop, (who I thought I was over but I guess it just keeps coming back. It is an awful relationship between myself and Mr. PL (Penalty Loop)) and then out on the trail. My last loop I felt was amazing, and I got a split that I was in 59th.

Well, I finished in 60th, but ended up 73rd- 3 minutes 50 seconds behind 1st place, who had no misses. Of course you cannot say this in biathlon, but if I had had no misses, I would have been in approximately 40th position.

I think the reason why I am so angry is because I could have done it. I can do it. I am ready to do the pursuit, but it is just not all coming together when it needs to. Oberhof, 45th position, no pursuit. Antholz, 47th position, 1 hour before start get deathly ill and end up in hospital. Kontiolahti, mess up mentally and throw it all away. I am sure I am not the only one who is highly disappointed in today's results because this is what happens in biathlon, but I really hope it all comes together because I am feeling so good.
 
POSITIVE OF THE DAY: Congratulations to the Canadians. All 4 women qualified for the pursuit! Good luck to all of them, especially Rosanna in her first World Cup pursuit! Woohoo!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I just found my other post about Nationals- It's called "scroll down the page slightly further, Sarah" Sorry about that folks!

The pursuit of Finland

Man, I was sure I had written an update about my first 2 races at national champs! Where the heck did it go? I also spoke about Louise Crawford calling me Canmores little bird....am I crazy? (rhetorical question, no need for an answer!)

Okay, I'll do a brief update then on the races. I arrived home from the Olympics on the 2nd, and raced on the 3rd in Canadian National Championships. It was the 7.5km sprint race and I missed 3 in prone and 2 in standing- 5 misses out of 10 = disaster! I placed 7th, and was not so pleased. BUT if you look at a positive: If I had had a great race I would have been thinking "WHAT? WHY could I have not done that last week at the Olympics?!??!" So after this race it was like "Oh, nice Sarah. At least you didn't shoot THAT bad at the Olympics." Positive, right there.

The next day was the 15km Individual and my last individual of the season. I was nervous my legs would not be fresh in this race, but when I started I felt great. My skiing felt nice and smooth and I had no problems. I came in to shoot my first prone and missed 2! "AHH....not a good start---If I keep going like this, that's 8 misses!" So I was slightly nervous heading into my next shooting, which was standing. CLEAN! Woohoo. Prone again- Oh no....CLEAN! Yessss....okay Sarah, one more shooting. Focus on every shot as its own. CLEAN! WHAT!?!?!?, YESSSSS....18/20 in an Individual. I had no idea how Zina Kocher or anyone else had shot so I was just doing my thang on the race track. Then, on the 2nd last hill, Petr Yells at me "YOUR GOING TO WIN THIS RACE!!!" Best 6 word any athlete can hear, unless its "YOUR GOING TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES!!!" (Which nobody yelled at me, but said in a soft whisper creates the same amount of excitement, I think) So I placed 1st in the Individual, which was just splendid. Oh, and after the race someone came up to me and said "Sarah, why couldn't you have just done this at the Olympics?" hahaha....theory BLOWN!

We had Friday off where I slowly started to digest that I was leaving in two days. Thought about packing, but decided to get my eyebrows waxed instead.

On Saturday it was the 10km Pursuit. I was the 7th starter because of my challenging shooting in the sprint, so I started 35 seconds behind the leader, Megan Tandy (who wiped the field, hitting 19/20!). I came in for my first prone and missed 2- crap! "well, maybe it will go like the Individual!" was what I thought as I left the range. I came in and hit all 5 in my next prone! Wooohooo...on my way to 18/20! Wrong- I missed 2 in my first standing, then 2 again in the 2nd standing. So, that dang penalty loop and I had 6 small dates that day, but it seems slightly lost in life, always going in circles, so hopefully I won't be seeing much of it anymore. I ended up 3rd in the Pursuit, which was still very nice. Petr was not pleased with my shooting, and I even got a few words from Mrs. Zidek about my shooting- I'll try harder just for you Eva!

The next day I hopped on a plane and flew to Joensuu, Finland. Thanks to Devonian Properties for making it possible for me to come here!!! Now I can compete in the next 2 world Cups- One in Kontiolahti, Finland and the next on in Holmenkollen, Norway!

I like Scandinavians- It's cold up here, and lots of snow, but the people always seem happy. They choose their words so carefully that it always excites me whats going to come out of their mouths next! About 5 minutes ago I went and got a new room key and she says, nice and slowly "So, here...is...your...room...key...and.." I thought she was going to say "you owe 10 euros" or something but then "everything shall be working fine now, please have a good day, bye". Sort of seems like a lame story when I write it down, so maybe you just have to experience it yourself- haha. I am staying at the Sport institute with Ukraine and Japan. Back to Russian/German/Japanese/ sign language- Woohoo!

Smile everyone!

Friday, March 5, 2010

I love this Earth

I love this planet we live in and the crazy things that happen. I ran into Blake Skjellerup up at the nordic centre today. I had never met Blake before the Olympics, where we were teammates. He is New Zealands short track speed skater, and a Superstar to say the least. I think it is so neat that crazy meetings and run-ins happen like this, all the time, all over the world. We also found out that we are potentially on the same flight home from Frankfurt on the 22nd. Crazy? I think so.

I also just ate the best sandwich. And this is also why I love this planet, because we don't have a long enough memory to remember the other "best ever" sandwich we ate 3 years ago. So I can say, "WOW, that is the best sandwich I have ever had". Just like I can say "That was my best race", or "most hilarious moment of my life". Does this make sense, or do I sound slightly crazy.

All I really want to say is "I Love this planet, and the people in it."

Just loaded a plethora of Olympic pictures onto my picasa site!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some Pictures- Sorry I dont know how to organize them or make proper captions.

My Birthday cake!!! THANKS NZ!

Canadian National Championships

I arrived home from the Olympics on the 2nd, and on the 3rd of March I competed in the 7.5km Sprint race at Canadian Nationals. I was definitely tired from the weeks events and knew it was going to be a tough one, but I did it. I had awful shooting- 3 misses prone and 2 misses standing. All my prone misses were in the exact same spot, so a correction may have helped, but in the end that dang penalty loop and I hung out for a bit- 750m extra actually, and I finished 7th. Not a great race.

I am currently trying to adjust a bit to European time, so I went to bed at 8:30pm (Grandma, right here, I know), and woke up at 6:45am. The 15km Individual race started at 10am, and I was there, number 11, on the start line feeling awesome. I was a bit concerned for this race because my skiing had not felt wonderful yesterday and this is an even longer race. As soon as I started skiing, I felt better. I got into the rhythm of the race and my body felt good. I came in for my first prone and missed 2- Oh no, 2 minutes added on already! This is going to be a disaster....wrong. For the next three shootings I did not miss anything. I hit 18/20 and placed 1st!!!!!! I was so happy to have finally shot well, and even more excited that I placed first! GO TEAM NEW ZEALAND! One sad thing is a don't get a medal because I am not a "Canadian". I am a foreign racer.- Haha, oh how hilarious!

Glen and Louise Crawford did an amazing job commentating and making me feel really great to be back on familiar trails. Louise kept saying I was Canmores "Little bird", or Caniwi, or little Kiwi, and all the volunteers and the crowd were cheering for me. It was really nice. Thank you to everyone.

Tomorrow is just a training day, Saturday is the Pursuit, and on Sunday I hop on a plane and fly to Finland! Wholly Cow, life is moving fast!!!!!!

Stay awesome!

A glimpse of home...

For the past 2 weeks I have been in the Whistler athletes village just enjoying myself. I would go training, then watch some races, maybe go see some 4 man bobsleigh or cross-country skiing events, then relax at night, maybe do some dancing. It was really great. 9 year goal done, now it was time to relax. My amazing friends, who drove out from Canmore to Whistler in one night to watch me race, then drove home after the race, said they visibly saw me relax after the race. I didn't notice it, but it is true. I can now start to look forward, and get all uptight, for the 2014 Olympics!

I went to the closing ceremonies which was, in my opinion, awesome! I think maybe because I did not get to go to the opening ceremonies that I was able to appreciate the closing a bit more then others. The giant moose and beavers, well, I love them. It was hilarious how they brought everything that the rest of the world stereotypically thinks of Canada. I loved it.

We had an absolutely amazing New Zealand team send off on the 2nd. We started it off in our common room at the Athletes village, where we all sat around and everyone spoke, saying thank-yous and just saying what they wanted to say about the Olympics. It got a bit emotional and it was great to hear what people think. The New Zealand team is now very pumped for the 2014 Olympics, and we really want medals! It was such an amazing group of people and I think the New Zealand team is top notch!

We then went to the party portion of our farewell. It was at a neat Italian cafe in downtown Vancouver called 'Sciue'. It was an Icebreaker party, which was one of our awesome sponsors for the Olympics, and a lot of local Kiwis were there to take advantage of the sale and to see the team. There was also an amazing New Zealand band there "Soul Paua" who rocked the night away. It was so amazing to just relax with the team, do some dancing, and enjoy each others company knowing there was no more competitions. What a great bunch of people!

I flew home the next day and was picked up by my wonderful sister, who is doing amazing by the way, and drove to Canmore. Oh, how nice was my sleep that night!!!!

I hope everyone is awesome!!!! Smile!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

High-five!

I would like to give every volunteer at the Olympics a big high-five and I wish I could give each of them a present. They have worked so hard, with ridiculous shifts, without much recognition. They have made these games run so smoothly and they are just absolutely AMAZING!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Best compliment ever!

Best compliment I have ever received. In reference to a picture that was in the NZ Herald. According to John Burridges grandson, I was "looking like a cross between a Ninja and a Star Wars warrior". YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Thank you mini man, that is awesome!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Olympics- Race updates!

Well, that is the end. My biathlon races for the 2010 Olympics are done. My lifelong dream of becoming an Olympian has come true!

On February 13th I raced the 7.5km sprint race. I was starter 34 which is a great, early number for me. I was excited to be racing again after having some time off with just heavy training, so arriving up at the venue was what I had been waiting for. I had a good zero and was feeling good at the start line. I felt good on the skis and coming into prone I was focused on the task- didn't work. I missed 2/5 and had to ski two 150m penalty loops. Around the 2.5km again and then in for standing where I missed 1/5. I missed three total in this race and finished in 82nd. When I crossed the finish line my mother and father were there with their arms wide open as they are volunteers. Not many people get to experience having their parents at the Olympics, let alone helping out at them, so it was really great.

Three days later I hoped on the bus at 7:45am and took the 30minute ride up to the venue for the 15km Individual race. I was feeling relaxed and tested my skis, choosing the fastest pair out of 7. I had a great zero, and the day could not be any more beautiful; blue skies, no wind, and a good temperature. The track was hard, but getting softer and softer as the sun rose and more people raced on it. I was starter 48 out of 89 starters. I missed 1 in my first prone, an 2 in the first standing. I then came in for my second prone and hit all 5! Yes, great success. But, different story for my second standing: I missed 3...WHAT? WHY? Well, I was talking to my coach afterwards and he was very pleased with my race. I am exactly where I should be in my sport at my age and just need to build a bigger base so I can handle the longer races and keep my shooting up. So I missed 6/20 and was once again 82nd.

Although I did not have the races of my life at the Olympics, I am still here and I did it! I am an Olympian and I raced the races and did my thang! It was such a good feeling wearing the Olympic New Zealand suit and being out there knowing I am representing such a great country for the first time. The New Zealand support has been absolutely amazing; the team was there today cheering me on, Ginny (physio) was amazing and with me in the start and finish area, Petr did his coaching thang and nailed it, my parents dominated the supportive parent role, and all the support from the friends and family afar has been breathtaking.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

It was amazing, and now it is time to experience the other part of the Games; other sports, the atmosphere, and to really enjoy everything. You are all awesome!
www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/sport/national-sport/more_headlines

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Starter #48 tomorrow in the Individual!

Go team Go! And good luck to all the NZ competitors tomorrow! It is an exciting day with the Skeleton and snowboarders also racing. GO TEAM!

Erin doing awesome!

Good new everyone; My sister Erin is out of hospital and feeling good. The surgery went really well and she is now in planning mode for her big move to Australia. She has also decided that when you get tired at the Olympics, or overwhelmed, it is called 'Olympitis'. She is hilarious, my sister!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Race 1- 7.5km sprint

I am now officially an Olympian! Wooohooo! I raced yesterday on the first day of Olympic competitions  and it was splendid. Conditions that last few training days have been tough, with a lot of precipitation, making the course very soft and mushy. I was starter number 34 and felt good. They put a whole bunch of salt on the track right before our race which hardened the snow,  so I had no problems with the conditions. I had a great new pair of skis which beat out all my other skis- Thanks Salomon.

Right when the women started, it starting raining. But it was okay, I didn't really notice it while racing- just at the end when your soaking wet. I came in for my first prone and missed 2! What?!?! I was confused as I felt good shooting but missed- But it happens so I went on and did those dang penalty loops and came back in for standing where I missed 1. Target Delta and high- this has been a consistent problem this season unfortunately, missing high on Delta and Echo. Out on course  for the last loop and I had the most AMAZING skis- Ukraine really got it this time. They were so quick and I was passing everyone on the downhills- I LOVE YOU UKRAINE!

So I finished and my mother was there with arms wide for a hug. Not many athletes get the experience that! It was great. Ginny, our NZ physio was also there and it was so exciting to be done the first race and officially an Olympian. I could say that all day!

My final result was 82nd, which is not great, but every athlete I have spoken too had a bad day. It was a weird day because everyone felt really good, but the results weren't showing it. The World Cup leaders had the same feelings-  nobody knows why it was just strange.

Now on Schedule:
Today, Feb 14th- The Day of love- Valentines day
Feb 16th- My birthday! Woo!
Feb18th- 15km Individual and my last race!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It was a great day yesterday with the opening ceremonies, but also a tragic one. 21 year old Luger, Nodar Kumaritashvilifrom from Georgia, was killed on a training run in Whistler.


My condolences to his family, friends and teammates.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The day approaches....

We had a training day on Wednesday, where it snowed like crazy and was difficult to see. Snow bullets were getting all up in our eyeballs, so that was unfortunate, but at least it was snowing! It was such wet snow and the track was getting a bit chopped up- But the pink barrel was lovin it!

Yesterday was Thursday and the New Zealand team had a day that we will never forget. We all jumped on a bus and we rolled on down to the Squamish Totem hall, where we met up with the rest of the team from Vancouver. We were greeted by the Squamish Band and were invited into their long house. We had a great feed, which was made by the families, and then some great inspirational speeches by some of the elders.

All the NZ athletes and Staff were then invited into a room where we were blanketed. This is when a special, traditional blanket it wrapped around our shoulders and fastened, and a handmade woven headband, made my children, put on our heads. We then lined around the building and were paired with the Chiefs descendants, whom we walked into the main hall with. We stood on the 'sacred ground' which were blankets and were given amazing gifts from the Squamish people. Afterwards they folded up the blankets, and we gave them to people in the crowd as gifts.

It was then NZ turn and we had speeches from the head of the NZOC, Barry Meister, a speech from Pete Wardell, our Chief de mission, and the NZ Minister of Tourism. They were very inspirational and all the athletes kept looking at each other going "oh man, this is pretty full on", in a good way of course! We then did a team Haka, and then the flag bearer was named.

Congratulations, Juliane Bray, you are amazing and deserve to carry in our flag at the opening ceremonies with pride! You really show the NZ spirit and we love you for it! Well done!

We then gave our punamu necklaces (green stone) to the little kids of Squamish. It was so cute. It was an amazing day, and the NZ support staff put so much work into. Trevor and Robyn, way to go! Thank you for the experience of a lifetime and I personally think you two are top notch.

Our whole team is amazing- a very happy, friendly group of awesomeness. We get along great and are having a blast.

Unfortunately I will not be walking in the Opening Ceremonies tonight as I have my first race tomorrow. It would have been 6 hours in a bus, 2 hours to stand around, 10 minutes to walk in, and not enough recovery. It is sad, but I am here to compete and the timing and circumstances just didn't work out. So, I will go see my parents as it is my Fathers Birthday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPS!!!! WAY TO BE AN AWESOME DAD! xoxoxo

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

To the Whis..

Alright! On Monday, Collen Campbell (awesomest neighbor around) drove me into Calgary to do a CBC radio interview before I jumped on a plane and flew to Vancouver. I was met by Robyn Wong, the NZ team manager, and we rocked it to the Vancouver athletes village. I was supposed to go straight to Whistler but with my head cold, we decided I would stay in Vancouver. It was absolutely beautiful, right on the water with a view of the dome for the opening ceremonies and the humongous Sochi 2014 disco ball (its amazing). I stayed there one night, went to bed at 9pm, and felt better the next morning. I was driven up the Callaghan valley at 10am to do some training. It was nice to be movin and groovin again even though it was easy training. I also got to see the Parental Units! It was awesome to see Mum and Dad dressed up at 'Smurfs' (as they are called here). Go Parents! Woo!

(not my parents in photo)


After training, Petr and I made our way to the Whistler athletes village. I had a plethora of baggage in the car and when we arrived, we carried it up from the bottom of the street and were greeted by the Haka (traditional Maori war dance) from the NZ support staff. It was amazing and it felt awesome to be greeted with something true Kiwi.

I will write more when I am back from dinner. Off to chow down on a delish dish. Stay classy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Vancouver Athletes VIllage

I made it safe and sound to the Vancouver Athletes Village. It is amazing- absolutely awesome! I am staying a night in Vancouver just to try and relax and get better ( I have a bit of a head cold, unfortunately) and then I will head up the Whistler tomorrow.

Woohoo!

aaand...break!

This week has been one to remember. Watching the Cross-country world cups was so great and inspiring, and with the perfect weather, the races could not have gone any better. Congratulations to Andy Pohl and Katie Calder for their great racing, and to the Canadians and Sara Renners Bronze medal! Great job everyone- definitely a great atmosphere for Olympic preparation.

But the real excitement and inspiration happened yesterday, here in Canmore.  I was called last week by the town of Canmore to be apart of the Olympic athlete sendoff ceremony. I said yes, thinking it was just a small thing at the civic centre. Well, it was a full on parade. I remember this same parade from 4 years ago when they did the same thing for the Torino Olympics, and how amazing and untouchable I thought the athletes were. As I walked down main street yesterday as a local girl flying the Kiwi flag, walking with all the Canadian athletes, it hit that I am now apart of that group- I have achieved that dream that seemed completely impossible just 4 years ago- even 1 year ago! And everyone in Canmore, everyone, was cheering and smiling and clapping, it was the most amazing atmosphere and that was the first time I really realized how big this all is.

Afterwards, there were speeches by the mayor and past-Olympic athletes, and they introduced us one by one. I was so touched to be a part of this ceremony. I thought that maybe I would be discluded but they treated me just as they were all the other Olympians, and that shows how great and loving people are! Thank you Canmore, I will always think of you, and you will all be taking this crazy journey with me in my heart. (A bit cheesy, sorry, but some times you need some gouda sappyness....hahaha)

I am leaving in 1 hour for my plane to Vancouver. and then its real....
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/winter-olympics/3304246/Biathlon-always-in-the-stars-for-NZ-Olympian/

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Preperations

I never thought I would be in this position- preparing for the Olympics. It is full on preparation mode now, and I am starting to feel better and better from my disaster trip home. Mum and Dad had an open house here in Canmore where many family and friends stopped by. I was so touched that so many people came to give me their best wishes and congratulations, and even though I  had to go to bed at 9:30pm in the middle of the party, it was so nice to see everyone.

I am feeling better, so I am getting more and more excited for the Olympics. It is amazing: My brother and his wife are coming, my Father is already in Whistler, my Mother leaves on Saturday, my Aunt and Uncle live there so they are going, and many friends will be there fore running. One person who will not be able to make it is my Sister: She is one of the bravest people I know and has a tough couple weeks in front of her. She is getting surgery on February 9th at the Canmore hospital and will need 2 weeks recovery, the exact 2 weeks over the Olympics. It will be a tough time for her as no one is home to look after her so her friend is moving into the house, but we will be thinking of her non-stop, hoping she has a fast recovery. I am sad she will not be there, but it is very exciting for her to be getting this surgery! Love you Erin!

I have to thank everyone again...I just cannot get over how awesome this world is!

Have fun, smile, dance, and have an adventure!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back at it!

I have now been home for 5 days and am starting to feel better. I was very sick and tired for 3 days and  yesterday I started feeling better.  I have started to train again with Petr and am getting back into the rhythm of things. It is exciting. The conditions here in Canmore are perfect, -10 and snowing today. There are a lot of athletes training here from all over the world preparing for the cross-country world cup on the 5th and 6th of February. It is exciting stuff!

I leave for Whistler on the 8th of February, next Monday.

Hope everyone is well!

Sarah
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10622966

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The BIG news...

At 10:21am I received an email from Biathlon New Zealand; Title read "NZL Reallocation process OWGs 2010 WOMEN". This was the email we have all been waiting for. As soon as I read the word "Congratulations" I knew. The IBU had allocated a spot for New Zealand in the Olympics.

I was then officially named to the New Zealand 2010 Winter Olympic team. 

I am going to the 2010 Olympics as New Zealands first biathlete ever. I am making history, I am going to complete my life long goal, and this will hopefully help, big time, in the development of the sport in New Zealand.

I am over the moon.  (Strange saying, really)

I am currently running on adrenaline as I am so extremely jetlagged as I arrived at 4am after 3 days travel home.

Thank you to everyone for everything. This was our goal and without all your support and generosity I would not be here writing these unbelievable words.

Monday, January 25, 2010

THANK YOU

I have to say a HUGE thank you to:  
MANUEL STEINBACH 
UND MARIA GREINWALD

They saved me when I was stranded in an Italian hospital with a stomach infection by packing all my gear, staying an extra night, and driving me to Munich the next day AS WELL as re book my flight to Canada, contact my insurance company and contact my family. Thank you so so so so much. Also to Rudy with the IBU and all the paramedics and doctors in Antholz and Bruneck. I am en route to Canada, leaving tomorrow morning from Munich! THANK YOU EVERYONE for helping me! This is when it is tough without a team, but everyone is so friendly!

xxoxo

Friday, January 22, 2010

Shocked...

I am so....shocked, excited, happy, exhausted! Today I qualified for the 10km Pursuit race on Sunday. Only the top 60 get to race and this is my first time ever qualifying for a pursuit on World Cups. It is going to be interestingly fun, I hope!

I am feeling better and better on my skis. Ukraine, ONCE AGAIN, waxed a great pair of skis. I came in for my prone and hit all 5! YES! There was a German girl shooting at the same time so they were cheering like mad for her, but I was secretly telling myself it was for me. Haha. I'm a nerd, but whatever gets you going I guess. I came in for standing and decided to shoot on lane 30 as it was in the shade. Bad idea as it made an awful noise against the wall and i ended up missing 2. I went out and skied my penalty loops and back out on course.

At the start of my third loop I did not feel as good, but then I told myself "Sarah, this is your last race before the Olympics. Get up that dang hill. What is the problem here?". Well, there was no problem so I got up the hill and finished in 47th!!! Out of 100 competitors. I was top half and my second best result on the World Cup. (45th in Antholz out of 90 women). I AM SO PUMPED!

I was also informed this morning that I have been named to the New Zealand Olympic Team, PENDING alocation. I was told today I will not find out until January 28th! Scary stuff, but I am feeling so good and excited to Peak at the Olympics!

Woo! Go Team Go!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

news.......

http://www.winterolympics.co.nz/nervous
http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/olympics/90094/first-athletes-named-olympics

Sarah Murphy has been selected as New Zealand's first Olympic biathlete pending confirmation of a quota spot from the International Federation.

sprint tomorrow- Antholz

Starter #70 tomorrow for the sprint. Watch it live at: www.biathlonworld.com, starts at 2:15pm Italy time. 12 hours ahead of NZ and 8 hours ahead of Canada

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old-lady-who (I didn't know you could yodel!)

Sooooooo.......I just found out how to read peoples comments on my blog. Thank you so much everyone! You are all so unbelievable and the support is absolutely amazing!

Mark Raymond, Maria Greinwald, and I are going to ski to Austria today! You can go on an amazing ski up to the top of the pass and have a wee treat in the little cafe at the top. I am going to yodel from the top- Hope you will all hear it!

Antholz- 15km individual

The big one is over; the Individual. We had not had a World Cup Individual race since Pokjluka, which was before Christmas. I had some issues during the zero, and went to the start line frustrated, and not completely into the race. I was starter 57 and the conditions were perfect- tiny bit of wind and clear blue skies. It is absolutely gorgeous here.

I came in for my first prone, things looked good, but then I missed two. Then I came in for my 2nd shooting, standing, things looked good, but then I missed 2. But you know what? I felt so great on my skis. I was so happy and really enjoying the race. It was amazing. My next prone I missed 1 and my next standing I also missed 1. So 6 misses total, adding 6 minutes to my time and putting me 8mins 35 seconds behind total. But I just didn't want to stop skiing. I was feeling just splendid.

My final place was 66th, which is my 2nd best place in a World Cup. This means I skied very well for me. If I hate hit all 20 I would have been 18th, but you cannot say that in Biathlon. But it really shows how much I have improved since the beginning of the season, as in Ostersund if I had shot clean I would have been in 77th position. I am so pleased with my improvement, and I am only feeling stronger and stronger!

Next race is on Friday and it is the sprint! Woo! Hold on to your pants!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Congrats!

I made it to Antholz safe and sound and it is so amazing. It is absolutely gorgeous and the trails are perfect. The elevation is 1700m or so and we are right at the top of a pass. You can even ski around a lake at the top, and ski to the top of the pass into Austria.

Also. CONGRATS to the Albertans (and Matt) going as team Canada to WJCH in Sweden: Joel Pacas, Scott Gow, Matt Neuman, Tana Chesham, Christian Gow, Aaron Gillmor and Kurtis Wenzel!! You guys are awesome!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Raving Ruhpolding!

I like Ruhpolding. I have decided that it is a pretty neat place. The atmosphere is amazing with all the fans and the excitement that is reverberating from the crowd is just incredible. I have a problem in Ruhpolding that I cannot stop smiling when training, and even racing. I just really enjoy it here.

The conditions were perfect on race day: No wind and fast tracks. Our race was not until 5:30pm and I did not start until 6:10pm. It is tough when racing so late because you have to try and do nothing, or very little, all day and not think to much about what is coming up. I headed to the range at 3pm and tested my skis, which Ukraine waxed phenomenally, as usual! I was starter 88 out of 118 which was alright. I had been feeling a bit sick for the last two days in my stomach and gobbled down 3 pieces of bread before my race just to try to settle it. I guess it worked because I felt much better once start time came.

I hit all 5 prone and was so excited! Woo...clean. I have been training since I was 13 in biathlon, and it is still so exciting when I shoot clean. I think it will always be exciting to hit all the targets, no matter what! I hit 4 standing, so 9/10! Yes- I was pumped-olad!

My skiing felt fine, legs were a bit tired but I think everyone's are after those dang hills. Why do I like Ruhpolding again....oh right, because of the atmosphere, because it sure isn't the course- It's a toughy!
I ended up 87th, which is my 3rd best result on World Cup.

I am staying with Anna Carin Oloffson-Zidek, Tom Zidek and their son Liam and Petr Zidek. It's nice because we can cook our own meals and just chill and hang out. So, I was 87th and Anna won the womans sprint, so I am sharing a house with a superstar. Hopefully some of her powers will rub off on me! Haha.

Anyways, I am off to Italy on Sunday for the next World Cup and then home to Canada! Woot woot!

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 is an awesome year so far...

Well, I did it. I DID IT! I DID IT! 
 Today was the woman's 7.5km Sprint in Oberhof Germany. It was chilly, -10, windy and foggy. Very difficult conditions for shooting. I was starter 54 out of 95 or so. Group 3 was very popular as many believed the track would get faster and faster. I chose group 3 because I can only choose between group 3 and 4 and starting last is lame. Welcome to the back of the pack, you faster athletes. Get on the party train.

I was able to get some physio the night before from the Swedish teams physio because I did not want my leg to act up again. It was good and I was feeling great the next day. I had been having some problems with my sights not moving great on my rifle all week, and the same thing happened this morning so I was so frustrated at zero and left to start the race not so pleased.

So 2:54pm rolls around and I start. The Oberhof World Cup was sold out, around 17000 spectators or something crazy. Usually I have no one on the hills cheering for me and all the coaches stare at me like I am from outer space, but TODAY I had HUNDREDS of people cheering. Maybe not for me, but it still felt awesome. Haha.

So my first shooting I came in and wasn't sure about the wind. I don't remember if I clicked or not, but I missed my first prone and thought "crap, this is going to be awful". But then I hit the next 4. Woo! Around the penalty loop and back out on track. Peter Zidek was on the big hill and it was SO exciting having a coach to run out on course and yell who-knows-what in my general direction. It was very motivating, even if I didn't hear what he was saying. In to the range again for standing and I was a bit nervous as my standing has not been top-notch this year. The wind was...You know what, I don't really remember. The best races, at least for me, are the ones that just happen without thinking. So the wind was doing something, and I hit all 5! Yessss....I do remember thinking I was cross-firing or doing something wrong because they were all going down and nothing ever seems to go so smoothly for me! So, no penalty loops and I ate that last loop up. I don't know how awesome I looked but I skied like a mad woman, or tried to atleast.

I finished in 31st position. This was very exciting for me as usually I finish on my number (ie. 54th) or after it (57th). But today I finished ahead! I ended up 45th position and 12.06% behind the leaders. What is the New Zealand qualification? 12.5%. Which means....I DID IT! I qualified for the 2010 Olympics. Ballin.

Now, don't get excited everyone. There is still one more thing. The IBU has set this nation ranking thing. Top 27 nations have definite spots, and if they do not fill their quota then they do a countback. I am nation #33. We will not find out if I have a spot until January 25th. 3 more weeks and we will know if I will go or not. AHHHHHHHHH!

What a day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Overwhelming Obertilliach!!!!


Incredible: That is how the last two weeks have been. I have been training in Obertilliach, Austria which is a very popular training spot over Christmas for biathletes. There is one bakery, and only restaurants in the hotels, so not much happening which makes it perfect for training. After our crazy blizzardy Christmas day the conditions were absolutely perfect. -12 and clear skies with perfectly groomed trails. It was impossible to be angry about anything whilst training. The Australian team (Coach Paul, Mark Raymond, Giles, Hamish, Tina and Rachel) was here so I was able to use their scope and get sighted in. Allen Eason from Great Britain was also here training and did some videoing so I could do some technique analysis, which I really appreciated. The teams that were/are here over Christmas: Japan, Ukraine, Belgium, some Czechs, some Norwegians, some Austrians, Aussies, New Zealand (thats me!), Greenland, a Slovakian, and a German. So, pretty much a party on the range.


The first 3 days were longer training days, about 4 hours. I would ski from our accommodation in the mornings down to the range, which I think is pretty great, and then ski home afterwards. Afternoons would be shorter with ski strength or a recovery workout.


It was also really nice cooking for myself. It's amazing how quickly you get sick of hotel food. But then again, I am not sure who else would want to eat my cooking. Sarah's cooking tips: Throw anything and everything into a pot and eat it. Usually turns out pretty successful.


I like to think this picture is like a runway into the sky. For New Years we all jumped into the van and went to Lienz for dinner. The internet is amazing- we searched "Lienz restaurants' and lots of different places popped up. We chose one, clicked reservation, added our details, showed up and it was set! I was excited it worked, and the restaurant was too as it was the first internet reservation they had ever had! Yes! After a delicious dinner (Lamb shanks!) we headed back to Obertilliach (40mins or so) and went for a midnight ski in the full moon! We skied up the downhill ski slope and watched the fireworks. The best part was skiing down at the end. It was fresh groomed tracks and lots of fun.


No rest for athletes, as we were at the range by 9am the next morning doing intensity, and it was great. As I said, you cannot be upset about anything in these conditions. I am so excited as well because my body is feeling great. I have no more leg pain and my back has not been sore at all. I am feeling healthy and am really excited for the coming races!

I was supposed to be leaving at 4am this morning to drop Marks girlfriend, Kim, off at the Munich airport, but this is maybe not the best way to travel before a World Cup. So Uiloq Slettemark from Greenland has contacts and helped me hitch a ride with a Norwegian athlete, Lars Berger and his girlfriend. We are leaving tomorrow morning and driving to Oberhof in one day (about 7 hours) where the next World Cup is. I am excited to get moving again! I think a lot of athletes have get this itchy bug where they cannot stay in one place for more than 2 or 3 weeks.

Okay! Woo! So, I hope everyone is happy and healthy and lovin life. Do your thang, have a dance party and jump around because its 2010 and the Olympic village opens in 1 month. Woo! Go Team Go!

Smile!!!!!

NORMA ammunition