Oh what a journey it has been the past few months.
US Biathlon Summer Nationals were the first weekend of August, 2022. Truthfully, I did not race well. I was feeling like my body was not recovering from the training I was doing and my old injuries were flaring up. However, I mostly attribute my fatigue to being a mental block. I didn’t feel fit or confident or trust that I was capable. I am still struggling with feeling stable on my left foot 2 years post-operation now. I also knew that I was leaving to job training, therefore, stopping biathlon for 6 months, so I didn’t even want to race; it felt pointless to try knowing that I would lose any progress I had made over the summer. I did not perform to standard, but I gained race experience and witness my teammates sweep the podiums, that is what matters!
Job training was focused on human resources and administration work, which aligned well with my background in business from college. The job training was a blur, nothing to write home about, honestly. If I could think of just 3 things that stand out from all of August to February, it would be 1) I learned how to communicate better with people and a variety of personalities 2) I broke my pinky in November, but it seems to have healed up fine and 3) my foot IS fine, it is mental, and I need to get over it!
I think this break from biathlon and ski training actually helped me find motivation. As I mentioned before, I faced a lot of mental blocks when it came to getting my butt up and moving. I re-discovered how much fun it is to just play outside. I decided to not think about skiing as something I have to do or hours on a training log or reach a certain amount kilometers/miles every week. I am happy to say I fell back in love with skiing and I am feeling a fire relit under my booty.
Break for summer photos then the winter recap below!
Also I’m selling this mountain bike message me if you’re interested! (small frame full suspension)
Since I missed majority of the ski season, I returned to Alaska in February 2023 with the plan of simply romping around in the snow and not worrying about training hard. Ironically, I think I trained harder than I would have with a solid plan because I was just having so much fun and wanted to get outside for as long as I could every day!
Winter activities included fat biking to the Knik Glacier, nordic skiing new venues like Mirror Lakes, backcountry touring at Hatcher’s Pass and Turnagain, and non-active activities too like comedy shows at Mad Myrna’s, live music at Humpy’s, and gawking at the northern lights.
I posted a reel video recap on my instagram (zoeeeeee.may) you can watch here!
can’t catch me without my nuun!
After playing around in Alaska, it was finally time to go back to Vermont for some biathlon racing. I flew back February 13th and promptly raced the 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, and 26th. So much racing in such a short amount of time! I shocked myself when I picked up my rifle for the first time in 6 months and actually hit a lot of targets! During the races, I cleaned 6 prone stages and am very happy about that 🙂 I did not expect to get back into the swing of things so quickly, so it was really reassuring to know I hadn’t lost all my skills.
Results on paper helped my confidence, as well. I had low expectations for myself, so I was happy to come away with a podium finish in each race, including the team relays. But really, I was the most excited for the maple syrup awarded – classic Vermont!
Besides racing, it actually snowed on the east coast so I got in a few touring skis. The icy, tree skiing was sporty and fast compared to the big, open skiing I am used to in Alaska, but it was very fun in its own way.
dare I call it powder skiing?
US Biathlon Nationals are this next week in Casper, Wyoming. The venue is at 7900 feet (2400 meters) in elevation, so I drove out to Colorado and Utah to get in some high elevation training this week before the races.
Again, I don’t have a lot of confidence or high expectations for myself since I only returned to biathlon a month ago, but I am excited for the experience, nonetheless!
We are coming up on the end of the winter season 🙁 when I feel my season has just gotten started, but I will have to channel this energy into next season. I’m excited to be a part of the Nuun Hydration team again this year and upgraded to the Legacy Team. My new favorite flavor is Lemon Splash. It will come in handy on the hot, humid days training in Vermont this summer!
Nuun has promotion discount codes sporadically which I post on my Instagram and Strava. Follow along and stay tuned!