In the Points!!!
I am sitting on my bed waiting to go and do the pursuit and I am super pumped because my main concern isn’t getting lapped today! I finally put together a good race in the sprint and hit some targets, had my best result, and made the points for the first time. What a great feeling. Sometimes it feels like an accident when you do well in biathlon because it can be so hard to get it right. There is always something that can go wrong. On the flip side, even if things don’t go perfectly, you can always find something good that happened too.
However, it was a really awesome day because of all these other things that happened and they were more important for me. Earlier, while I was waiting to start and jogging around the start pen, I went to put on my transponders and I saw someone I knew from my cross-country skiing days at the University of Utah. My friend Gunnar from Norway who raced for the University of Montana was helping out! It was such a cool thing to have him be there to help me get the rocks and snow out of my boots before I started. After I finished I was so relieved because whenever I miss a lot of targets or ski slowly, I picture my parents sitting in bed with their computers feeling sorry for me. So I was really glad to think of them sitting there being excited instead. Also, the Norwegian fans are really special. You can feel how much they love and idolize cross-country skiers and biathletes. They are there to cheer YOU on. Although there are more fans going crazy in central Europe, you can feel that they are also there for the party and the drinking. Here there were tons of school children just going absolutely bonkers. I think it took me twenty minutes to go from the finishing pen to the wax cabins because there were so many kids wanting autographs. They were so fired up I couldn’t just walk by and ignore them. Pretty awesome. Imagine being from a country that idolized a woman, and one who is hardworking, modest, kind, and strong (that would be Marit Bjoergen). When I finally made it back to our hotel I got even more nice surprises from all the people who are watching out for me, like Patrick!
And then the best part of the day was getting to go and visit with my good friend Ingvild again! I can’t believe how lucky I am to have made such good friends who live all over the place and then still get the opportunity to run into them even though we live so far apart. The transportation network here is unbelievable and I was able to organize a 30 minute shuttle ride to where Ingie works and a 30 minute shuttle ride home from her house (2 hours of shuttling for me to visit my friend…) It was so nice to putter around in a kitchen, cook food, sit on a couch, drink a glass of wine and relax with my friend. It is the best feeling to realize that a good friend will stay a good friend even when you don’t share a life with them anymore. I was so happy to be with her AND I love Sushi.
Got lapped again…
Tough sport. Today did not go very well for me. We had a chilly one today and that always throws a wrench into things. It can be a huge stress because biathletes don’t really have the luxury of being able to wear warm gloves because we need to be able to feel the trigger, load clips, and all of those biathlon things we do. Plus, you are touching cold metal. And you also don’t have the luxury of not caring whether or not your fingers loose their feelings because you need them! So I felt a little bit rushed trying to figure out exactly what to wear so that I could prevent the inevitable problem of having dead cold fingers. And then once the gun went off I did my best to stay calm and race my own race, but still I felt a bit overwhelmed.
Pursuits are usually my favorite race because I enjoy “playing the game”. I like having a cool and calm head and being patient and staying relaxed. But I am starting to realize that it is just a totally different game at this level. Everyone is skiing so fast and I am working so hard to keep up right from the start, so it completely changes the vibe of a pursuit for me. Still a lot to learn, I guess. I felt like I was in a fog the entire race. After missing 2 in the first stage, I still felt okay. But then I missed 2 in the next and I could just feel myself sagging internally. I couldn’t get going and the only place I felt aggressive was on one long climb where I could find the focus again. But I just wasn’t there mentally for some reason. It’s disappointing when you do that to yourself and in a way that is really different than when you are sharp and do everything as best as you can, but just don’t have a perfect day.
So I was lapped. Which is an awful feeling. I have a rule to never quit a race that I have started. When someone else makes you quit, it hurts. And I got passed at the beginning of my lap so I got to ski and entire loop working hard, but also thinking that I am probably done for and wondering when I am going to get pulled. It’s a bizzare way to race.
Luckily I got to eat warm waffles with jam and brown cheese afterwards and that does a lot of good. Plus, I had a funny moment with a couple of girls from Norway, Austria and Finland. They asked me how I did and I told them I was lapped. The Norwegian girl reminisced about getting lapped last year at World Championships and how she got pulled after the 4th shooting by the penalty loop while there were girls who had made it in the penalty loop. The Austrian girl said, “Yeah I got lapped there too”, and I said, “Yup, me three”. And then we all looked at the Finish girl sitting across from us who was the winner of that race and the one responsible for lapping us all and she sort of laughed and shrugged while we glared at her. That’s biathlon for you; it giveth and it taketh away.