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. day, you watch, I'll be up there!

My sister moved to Melbourne, Australia on the 24th 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!

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.



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, 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 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," 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!

NORMA ammunition