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Friday, December 31, 2010

Off to Nove Mesto!

On a wonderful little ski to Marcy Dam.

Traveling to Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic is how I will begin 2011. Its been a great month training at home, racing in the US and enjoying the holidays with family and friends. Thanks to all who have helped out over the last few weeks as I pieced together travel arrangements and training! 

Here's what the next step looks like:
US World Cup Tream Trials, Nove Mesto
Jan. 6 US Team Sprint Time Trial
Jan. 8-9 IBU Cup # 3 Individual, Sprint

Keep updated on results and press releases:
www.biathlonworld.com
www.biathlon.teamusa.org
www.fasterskier.com - (Interview coming in a few weeks)


Best,
Haley

Monday, December 20, 2010

Caution "Flying" Children: Racing at Mt. Itasca

Caution “Flying” Children is my favorite sign at Coleraine, MN’s Mt. Itasca ski center. On Saturday a ski jumping meet coincided with our Sprint race, and in addition to some more kids boarding on the adjacent alpine hill it was an ideal winter scene. Plus, the sight of little kids jumping mere meters on the "small" jump was priceless. I unfortunately didn’t get any photos of those tykes because it took me longer than normal at our post-race doping control and I missed it by the time I filled my cup.



Our IBU Cup Team Trials at Mt. Itasca finished up with a pursuit format 10km on Sunday. It was a good week of training and racing in Minnesota and I am happy to report my mission was accomplished. I accomplished it in more ways than one and am glad to move on to the next step: the IBU Cups and January World Cup Team Trials in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. As I mentioned in the Fasterskier.com interview, I really enjoyed skiing the technical and hilly terrain. My first biathlon and nordic coach, Kris Cheney Seymour designed these trails in 2002. The tight, turny, technical trails of his home ski area – Dewey Mtn. – and the trail layout of Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s Porter Mtn. helped inspire the biathlon specific loops. Basically, I felt quite at home and enjoyed finding the best line around the corners and up the steep and canted hills. That is what I think makes ski racing fun. 



The field size was small, but the races were still competitive and no matter the conditions every second counts. It might not have made too big of a difference this past week, but I know mere seconds can get you into World Cup points, into a pursuit or just behind a faster skier or a better shooter to compete with in another realm of racing. Racing well this week has definitely given me confidence in my fitness level and has been a great affirmation of the beauty of "Plan B" and an alternate start to the season. 


Wynn Roberts started the Pursuit on Sunday and too will be headed to Nove Mesto in a few weeks.


Pushing up and over one of the many hills. 


CAUTION "FLYING" CHILDREN

Thanks to Andrea Mayo and MWSC for photos of us skiing. And a big shout out to Chelsea Little of Fasterskier and Craftsbury Green Racing Project for giving biathlon unparalleled coverage in the US this season. I think she's done a great job covering our sport, both domestically and international, and created a window into the world of US biathlon. Thanks!


Monday, December 13, 2010

ice halo

Saturday, December 11, 2010

NYSEF event volunteer update

Bill Koch and J5 first strides during last winter's Lake Placid Loppet. Photo from a NYSEF blog.
Hi,

Just wanted to update my earlier post about volunteering for local NYSEF ski events. Here is NYSEF Nordic's blog, which also has up-to-date information and easy access to signing up to volunteer:
Scroll down to the Dec. 8th entry and you will see a blue link to sign up.
For event a complete event schedule.

The snow conditions improved everyday I skied this past week at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. Hope you get to enjoy it too and good luck to those in the NYSEF Season Opener on the 12th!

Best,
Haley

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Always nice to have a good amount of snow to start off the season at home.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

ADK Daily Enterprise: NYSEF is looking for Volunteers

Image from www.nysef.org

Adirondackers - If you are interested in helping out your local ski programs, local student-athletes and community venues check out this offer from NYSEF for volunteer opportunities at Whiteface, Mt. Van Hoevenberg  and Pisgah Mtn:

"NYSEF is looking for volunteers" (to read full article)
Adirondack Daily Enterprise
Nov. 26 Letter to the Editor

The New York Ski Educational Foundation (NYSEF) is a nonprofit organization that provides opportunities to athletes of all ages in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, snowboarding, ski jumping, cross-country skiing, nordic combined and biathlon. NYSEF was formed in 1973 and has grown from a couple dozen athletes to more than 400 athletes. This past winter, we had the honor of having multiple alumni compete (and succeed) in Vancouver. [Bill, Andrew, Lowell, Tim, Pete and myself]
This coming winter, we will be hosting more than 25 events at Whiteface Mountain, ranging from council-level races to JI/JII Eastern Junior Finals. All of these events require a great deal of volunteers. We have positions for first-timers and seasoned race workers; we even have some indoor positions. For each day of volunteering you will receive a voucher good for a future day at Whiteface, Gore, Mount Van Hoevenberg or for an Olympic Passport. These vouchers do not expire and can be used during the holiday periods.
Thank you to all the volunteers from previous seasons who come out in any and all weather conditions. I look forward to hearing from experienced volunteers, parents and new volunteers. For more information and race dates, please e-mail brianf@nysef.org, call 518-946-7001, or check out nysef.org/wfraceregister.html.
Sincerely,
Brian Fitzgerald, NYSEF at Whiteface Mountain, Saranac Lake


Here is a link to NYSEF's Events and below are some notable upcoming races after the holidays:

Jan. 8 Hovey Memorial Race at Whiteface for J3,4&5 (This event is named in honor of my grandfather, Bill Hovey)
Jan. 14&15 HUGE weekend at Van Hoe! - USSA Supertour races, Junior Olympic qualifiers, and the St. Lawrence College Carnival (alpine events @ Whiteface, nordic events @ Van Hoe)
Contact: NYSEF Nordic coach Margaret Maher for volunteer information margm@nysef.org
Jan.  29&30 USBA NorAM#6 and Canadian World Championship Team final Selection event

Thanks for the help - volunteers are invaluable and can make all the difference!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: "Burke, Bailey, Cook begin tours"

November 26, 2010 - By PETER CROWLEY, Enterprise Managing Editor

SARANAC LAKE - Three local biathletes will start a competitive international winter tour next week, but instead of Haley Johnson joining fellow Olympians Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey, it'll be Annelise Cook.
Bailey was picked last weekend as the fifth and final member of the U.S. biathlon World Cup team, joining Burke in Ostersund, Sweden for the World Cup season kick-off Thursday.
Bailey, 29, has called Lake Placid home since he was 10. Burke, 28, grew up 20 miles away in Paul Smiths, where his parents still live, but he bought a house in Lake Placid earlier this year. Both were Winter Olympians in 2006 and 2010, and Burke made history last season by becoming, for a time, the first American ever to wear the yellow bib as overall World Cup points leader. He, fellow Olympian Jeremy Teela and young prospect Leif Nordgren pre-qualified for this season's World Cup team based on last season's results.
On the women's side, Cook, 26, of Saranac Lake, was chosen for the IBU Cup tour, a step down from the World Cup. She was a discretionary pick by the International Competition Committee after some strong results in a three-race trial series last week in Canmore, Alberta.
"The ICC, in selecting Annelise Cook, noted that she showed great improvement over the previous season and had the next highest performance in the trials and was well ahead of the next rank competitor," the U.S. Biathlon Association wrote in a Nov. 19 press release announcing the team picks.
"I'm pretty psyched," Cook said Wednesday, back in her hometown.
Cook had dropped biathlon after missing the cut for the 2006 Winter Olympics, switching to nordic ski racing for the University of Utah. She returned to biathlon last winter, but "things didn't go that well," she said.
"I didn't ski that fast, and I ended up getting cut from the national team in the spring," she said. "But I wanted to give it one more shot."
Over the summer, biathletes and coaches in Lake Placid "were very gracious" in sometimes letting her join team training when she wouldn't be in the way. As a result, she said, her skiing speed has greatly improved, which was her favorite part of the recent trials.
"It made racing really fun, instead of last year when it really stunk," she said. "Last year, I had to rely on my shooting. ... This year, I would say they're more even. I'm a decent shot; I'm pretty consistent, which is a good thing." But being a better skier "takes some of the stress away" when she approaches the firing line.
"I'm super-grateful that people were very inclusive of me over the summer because otherwise there's no chance I would have made it - no chance," Cook said.
Johnson has not yet qualified for either the World Cup or IBU Cup circuit. The 28-year-old from Lake Placid wrote on her blog Saturday, the day after the teams were announced, that she had skied well but shot poorly in last week's trials. But she will have more chances before the final World Championship team is picked in January.
"I'll continue as planned and be ready to race later again in December at a NorAm in Mt. Itasca, MN for the IBU Cup Team Trials," Johnson wrote. "However, in this next month I'll be able to take a closer look at my shooting. I have some ideas of how to fine tune my competition shooting and with the help of my staff, we will re-evaluate the mechanics of my rifle (its a bit like a well-loved old car - 13+ years old? - and could use some new parts)."
Bailey was a discretionary World Cup pick.
"The ICC in selecting Lowell Bailey noted that he had very strong results over the summer/fall and had been sick before the trials so was not at his best for the races," the USBA wrote. "They also noted that he has played a very important role in World Cup Relays and that his experience there will be helpful to the team."
Bailey is back home this week after the trials in Canmore. Burke has been in Ostersund since Nov. 15. Johnson was in Lake Placid earlier this month and visited with fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Lake Placid Elementary School on Nov. 5, talking about how exercise is harder at high elevations. Johnson regularly keeps in touch, visits and skis with LPES students.
Bailey, Burke and Johnson grew up skiing and competing together in the Adirondacks. Cook did, too, albeit a couple of years behind.
World Cup biathlon races start Wednesday for women and Thursday for men in Ostersund. Cook's first IBU Cup race will be Dec. 11 in Martell, Italy.
Contact Peter Crowley at 891-2600 ext. 22 orpcrowley@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

Where skiing can take you: STEAMBOAT


My sister, Kara - a former freestyle mogul competitor, my Olympic Maid-of-Honor, and great skier among other things - is now livin' it up in her retirement as an avid tele skier on the slopes of Steamboat. Studying at the Colorado Mountain College and moving towards a Physical Therapy degree, she picked up this sweet side job posting weekly about snow conditions and life on the mountain for Steamboat's Straight Talk blog.

Here's her post from today: "White Friday"

Here, with my brother Lars and I in Vancouver.

And this is the website she manages for me during the competition season: www.haleykaralars.com

IBU US Biathlon press release: "...Upward Trend"

"Change Helps US Continue on Upward Trend"
www.biathlonworld.com
Jerry Kokesh Nov. 26, 2010

"Earlier in the year, US Biathlon Head Coach Per Nilsson said the entire program had “gone back to basics” to begin the new Olympic cycle. Now after six months of training, Nilsson thinks this philosophy and some tweaks in the program have the team poised to continue its upward performance trend that started in 2006. "


World Cup Opener: Ostersund Individual Competitions Dec. 1&2

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Glad to be a Friend-of-Dewey!

Thanks for the nice post on Saranac Lake's Dewey Mtn ski blog! Hope you all have a fun start to the winter season - snow is in the forecast!

Bill Demong and I this spring with some of the boys of Dewey:


January 1st 'Top of the Morning' 5km skate - perhaps I'll see you all there if I am in town!
Best,
haley


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Two hats, two buffs, two gloves....

two race tops, two hand warmers and ..... too many misses in the range. 

I just finished up a 3 race Trial series in Canmore and three pretty cold days of racing. Everything got doubled up, and as mentioned, so did my misses on the range. Handwarmers taped to the backs of my hands to keep my precious trigger finger warm and alive worked well, and in addition to the quirky things skiers do to keep warm, racing actually wasn't that bad.

Everything about the races felt great, except for many unexplained missed hits. I've had a pretty good training season and physically know I am where I need to be starting the year. I'll continue as planned and be ready to race later again in December at a NorAm in Mt. Itasca, MN for the IBU Cup Team Trials. However, in this next month I'll be able to take a closer look at my shooting. I have some ideas of how to fine tune my competition shooting and with the help of my staff, we will re-evaluate the mechanics of my rifle (its a bit like a well-loved old car - 13+ years old? - and could use some new parts).


Its been cold here, but not too cold. The change of plan was tough at first, but not too tough. In this year I feel very lucky to have another month of solid training and some extra time at home before hitting the big time. There is plenty of opportunity to come and I am looking ahead towards January IBU Cups and continuing on with the rest of the biathlon season.

And for now, I've got one more week of great training in Canmore.

Part of my team will head over to Europe shortly for both the IBU Cup and World Cup circuits. Check out their progress at:
www.biathlon.teamusa.org
www.biathlonworld.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fasterskier's US Biathlon Preview 2010-2011

Fasterskier: Can the U.S. team build on its historic results from last year, when Tim Burke wore the overall World Cup leader's bib and Lanny Barnes had the best women's Olympic result since 1994? article

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

1st race down - two more to go. Tough shooting, but good skiing. In a sport like this there is always room to improve!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Recover Faster: Trigger Point Technologies

One of my sponsors, Trigger Point Technologies, was featured on EMS's (Eastern Mountain Sports) website this week. I am traveling with a couple of their tools this trip and I thought I would say thanks for their support by featuring them on my blog, too.

First, here's what EMS had to say about Trigger Point's GRID roller:

Muscle Care and Maintenance from Eastern Mtn. Sports: Improve Circulation, Warm Up More Quickly & Recover Faster
The best gear on the planet won't help you if you're too sore to get out of bed or your legs cramp up after two miles on the trail. At Eastern Mountain Sports, we've seen how recent advances in sports medicine can offer better performance in the backcountry. If you want to warm up more quickly, hike/run/bike/ski longer, and recover faster, here are a few new technologies and tools to think about.

RECOVERY TOOLS

If you've experienced a professional massage, you understand how muscle manipulations can relieve pain and decrease your recovery time. Since you can't take your massage therapist with you on a weekend hike, recovery tools such as The Grid foam roller are a terrific supplement between massage sessions. The Grid is specifically designed to safely and effectively massage your lats, quads, and lower back, and there are plenty of other tools available for other muscle groups that can help you feel better, faster.


I have had four on-snow training sessions and now I have two pretty tight calf muscles. I had surgery for compartment syndrome in my shins (Tibialis Anterior compartment to be exact) 12 years ago, so tight calf and shin muscles have long been an issue of mine, but I was a bit surprised by how quickly they tensed and tightened with the change of ski surface and new boots. I've used Rossignol boots my entire life as a nordic skier/biathlete and this year's model is by far the stiffest. I really like the minimalist design, especially when paired with new skis and the new Rottefella bindings, but am glad to have had a few weeks of rollerskiing in them to adjust.

On snow skiing has really fired up my soleus muscle and made it painful to walk downstairs. I've had a steady routine of icing, heating, massaging, and dynamic stretching to help my calf muscles loosen up, get warmed up and cooled down. Because I am dealing with smaller muscles and I didn't pack the Grid for this trip, I have been using Trigger Point's Massage Ball. Before skiing one specific way that I can release the tension from the balls of my feet to my knees is by rolling along the massage ball. I slowly roll the ball from toe to heel along the muscles in my feet, pausing along the way to give more pressure to a tender spot until it release with increased blood flow.

In the wax room before skiing today using the Trigger Point Technology Massage Ball. Plus, wearing my wind turbine Teko socks. Its hard not to be superstitious when my socks now say "Feel the Power."


Another way this little ball is handy is while stretching after training or an afternoon run. While sitting with both legs stretched forward (like a seated forward bend), I place the ball directly under my soleus muscle. I start just below the thickest part of the gastrocnemius muscle and work my way up. This is a bit more passive and lets gravity do the work, but gives the muscle time to reinvigorate blood flow and promote healing. Plus, I can do it while writing this blog. Afterwards, my whole calf area feels looser and less stiff. This is a good thing because tomorrow is the first race to kick off the season.

Real snow flakes are finally starting to fall here in Canmore! Thankfully we've got a solid 1.2km loop to ski on, but it would be wonderful to get some more and to let winter begin. Tomorrow's race is Sprint - 7.5km (typically) with 2 shooting, prone then standing. It is also the first of three in our World Cup/IBU Cup Team qualifying series. Let it begin!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Congrats!

Congrats to the US skiers competing in Finland this weekend! Fantastic start to the year!!



Check out articles, personal accounts and photos:
Liz Stephen's blog
Team Today - National Cross Country Ski Education Foundation NCCSEF
Fasterskier.com
Craftsbury's Green Racing Project's blog




Thursday, November 11, 2010

DIY Winter in Canmore





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lake Placid elev. 1,801ft, Canmore elev. 4,430 ft.

Friday visit to the 4th and 5th grade classes at the Lake Placid Elementary School:

Because I didn’t think that talking about altitude training would be interesting for a bunch of 8 to 11 year olds, I decided to respond to the request in a different way: elevation and who’s conquered it. To start things off I figured I’d speak of elevation most relative to them: the Adirondacks Mts. around us.

My visit was on a Friday, post-lunch and I knew had to move fast to keep their attention and to not ramble outside of my 15 minute window. We started at the Lake Placid Elementary School, which is roughly 1,800 ft. I explained that I was soon heading to Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies - elevation 4,430 ft. My sketch on the board of  nearly 3,000 foot difference didn’t completely catch their attention. So, I asked if any of them had climbed Whiteface Mt., elevation 4,867, before? A bunch of hands go up and they start to catch on. By the time I arrive in Canmore I’ll at an elevation similar to Little Whiteface. I then asked if any had climb Mt. Marcy, elevation 5,344 ft, the highest mountain in New York. A few more hands and a few more hiking stories arose. I continued that when I was in Utah last month, elevation 5,528 ft., I was higher than the whole state of NY. They've become a bit more interested at this point. Then I pulled out the straws and had them give a low oxygen state a try. [I made a mental note of this idea when talking to an old MWSC teammate, Kate Whitcomb. Breathing through straws demonstrated to her school kids what it can feel like to exercise with less oxygen at a higher elevation.] I had them first inhale and exhale, with their noses plugged, through the straw. They didn’t think this was too hard until I had them try while doing jumping jacks. This gave me the results I was looking for: some felt tired, one felt a little dizzy, another described a “pressure” and all agreed it was a bit harder than normal breathing. Now they were all into it, and once the straw trumpets died down, I moved on.

Instead of boring them with red blood cell adaptation and oxygen carrying capacities, I introduced them to Jordan Romero. Jordan is only 13 and the youngest person to summit Mt. Everest. I read a few quotes from Jordan while passing around a photo of him on the summit of Everest wearing an oxygen mask.

Here’s how he described hiking with less oxygen in the air:
“It feels like you have cinder blocks on your legs. But we weren’t gasping for air up there. You know we were not suffocating, but we were breathing heavy…taking 5 minute breaks every 20 seconds.” They liked this description, so I didn’t bother mimicking skiing slowly during my first few days at a higher elevation.


Bringing their own knowledge of hiking and Everest to the conversation, they became increasingly interested in what this was all about, especially once they had to guess how high the tallest mountain in the world is. They came close to the 29,035ft, which was pretty good when you only live at 1,800 ft.

I also offered another neat quote from an interview with Jordan after he had accomplished his goal: “I wouldn’t recommend it [Everest] because it is a hard mountain and we prepared for it. To the kids out there, I just want to encourage them…to dream big…to find their own Everest.”

None of them were sure if they wanted to ever climb Everest, but I hope they got the point.

In the final moments once they got the gist of my ideas, I decided to take it one step further. What if they climbed Everest, with all the challenges we had briefly talked about, but they were blind? I knew I was talking about some intangible ideas to begin with, but couldn’t help exposing them to just a bit more. I passed around a photo of Eric Weihenmayer, the first blind man to summit Mt. Everest, attempting to jump over a crevasse with the help of his teammates. They were genuinely amazed and just couldn’t believe it.

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary

Monday, November 8, 2010

"US Trials Coming Up Next Week"

Recent article on www.biathlon.teamusa.org

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First Snow

Snowfall Cards at the Bookstore Plus in Lake Placid.


Here's to hoping for a first (significant) snow in Canmore!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Adirondacks, kids, climate change, winter recreation and what we can do, come together at the following Wild Center events:


Adirondack Youth Climate Summit 
hosted by the Wild Center
Tuesday & Wednesday, November 9-10

This is the 2nd annual gathering of Adirondack students and professionals to share information, expertise and enthusiasm about helping the Adirondacks adapt and prepare for the effects of climate change. This two day event will include discussion, presentations and workshops that will mix motivated students with regional professionals

WinterGreen: A conversation about the future of 
winter recreation, sports and culture in the Adirondacks
Friday, November 12

This is an original open discussion held at the NYSEF building at Whiteface next week that will gather people interested in and dependent upon the effects of climate change on the future of winter sports in the Adirondacls. Whether participants help promote winter tourism in our area, run the regional ski venues, or are outdoor enthusiasts themselves, it will be the first time this issue is seriously addressed openly by the public. I am hopeful that this format will not be just a meeting, but that it will incite action, education and sustainability in the Olympic region. Local contributers will be joined by a Finnish delegation who face the same climate effects to their winter sport culture in an environment similar to the Adirondacks.

These ideas seem to be a common theme around here this fall:

Our regional magazine, Adirondack Life, feature article this month is: Will the Adirondacks Survive Climate Change?

Whiteface Mtn. and the Olympic Torch 

Cold nights have enabled Whiteface Mtn. to begin snowmaking and according to www.noaa.gov snow and cold temps are in the forecast. I leave on Sunday for Canmore, Alberta for a two weeks of (hopefully) early on-snow training and competitions. But, due to a lack of snow, my rollerskis and rocks skis will be packed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

"The Importance of Balance in an Athlete's Life"

Yesterday I spoke to my former high school, National Sports Academy, about the importance of balance in an athlete's life. My post-lunch talk is a part of a larger series of speakers, ranging from sports psychologists to farmers, and their perspectives on the process of achieving peak performance. 

One thing I realized in doing this is that the subtleties of finding balance can be so individual and unique, varying greatly from athlete to athlete. So I wish only the best to those that strive!
* * * * *

Here's most of what I had to say:

I do a sport where success can be elusive and fleeting – literally, a hit or miss. I view peak performance a bit in the same way. As an endurance athlete I train all year to prepare for a few minor peaks and one primary summit at World Championships or the Olympics. I could also call these peaks my goals for the competition season.

Visualize the view of Whiteface Mtn.:  Mt. Fuji-like in its symmetry, it emphasizes its peak – the summit – the goal – the top – it is but a mere point, albeit a castle, but nonetheless a small point compared to the mountain, the base, its dimensions and immensity.  For me, the summit represents peak performance and my goals for the season. As athletes, you know you can’t just go from the beginning trailhead of a mountain straight to the summit. That’s why it’s no news to you that the benefits in reaching peak performance are often not just in the goal but also in the process. 


Whiteface Mt. Photo by Shaun Ondak www.shaunondak.com

Instead of being overwhelmed by reaching the summit and achieving my top goals, I reorient myself towards a different focal point – optimal performance. 

This I know I can achieve time and time again: I can do it in training, while working, while traveling. Anytime. The ability to create optimal performances more often is similar to training your threshold for endurance – it’s your base. The more efficient I am at “scaling” 90% of the “mountain” means I have reserved my energy to make that last push to the top when I need to.  I’m pretty happy with how my training has gone this year and I feel like I am right where I need to be going into the first races of the season. When it comes down to my Trial races this November all it will take to qualify is this last leap to the summit. 

One reason why I think I’ve been able to create optimal performances and reach peaks in my career is because I’ve put a lot in to being a balanced athlete.

I look at balance in two ways: physically and holistically. Basically, how strong is your core and how strong is your mind?

Let’s look at the physical aspect first. My standing shooting position requires inner stability to balance out the weight of the rifle and to shoot accurately. If I set myself up right, then I give myself the best chance of shooting well when under the physical stress of racing – high heart rate, competition, heavy breathing

video
A quick clip from combo training (rollerskiing and shooting) at the Soldier Hollow Biathlon venue during a National Team training camp in Utah this October.

One way I have created my physical ability to balance is by strengthening my inner core – my spinal musclesThis fundamental inner strength is undeniably key to all athletic movements. This strength creates balance, which prevents tensions and weaknesses in the body that can hinder your performance.

Demonstrating.

The other way I look at balance is much harder to define and more individual than the physical side. Here are 4 ways that I keep myself in balance:

Know when to be “on” and when to be “off” with particular importance to the “off” part:
It is easy to train hard, but it is hard to recover and relax, especially with busy schedules. You can’t be “race-ready” all of the time or else you’ll burn out or just go crazy. I know that in order to be fresh and ready to train and race everyday, I need some downtime to get away from the intensity of biathlon. I’ll head to Canmore, Alberta next week and one of my favorite things about Canmore is a great downtown yoga studio. When I need to get out of the hotel room and away from guns, I usually seek something like this out. But, when I can’t a couple winter knitting projects usually does the trick.

Diverse resources: 
In a given day I can work with a shooting coach, head coach, strength coach, sports psychologist, mentor, team manager and physical therapists. They all bring different views to biathlon from their unique specialties. A different voice and approach helps balance out my primary coaching support and gives me another way of looking at a problem or task. *

Simply, Know thyself.:
By knowing your self, your needs, your follies, and your strengths you can be a bit more imaginative with what you need to keep you head, heart, position and often just your day in some sense of balance. It’s a bit about efficiency. Why waste your energy trying to juggle too many things, when you can instead use it to move forward and closer to your goals? 

Knowing that I am more than just a biathlete:
I’ve been in and out of school since I left NSA, but in addition to keeping up with my education, I have always found a way to keep art and community service a part of what I do. Currently it comes in the form of visiting the LPES gym class. Don’t forget to remain connected to other interests, communities, clubs, etc. We often are so much more than we think we are. 

But ----- sometimes, no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, no matter how good you are – your balance will falter. At the moment of a missed goal, a hooked tip, a slip on the ice, and for me, a missed target and all you can say is ‘damn it’. We all know what this feels like and there’s no hiding its momentary agony.


After a tough race or training session when I feel that all is lost, I’ve relied on my sense of balance to right me. When I am stressed or tired while racing, I can often hit only 50% of my targets that often results in additional minutes spent skiing around a penalty loop. There’s really nothing worse than having to make sure I count five loops around the penalty loop. However, these moments are humbling because they demonstrate that achieving balance isn’t easy. It’s challenging to have everything go right every time. But because balance is something that I know is key to my success I have learned a great deal more about being accountable and aware of what works for me.

In that respect, achieving a balance - reveling in equilibrium – is an optimal performance in and of its self: only steps away from your peak.
* * * * *
www.shaunondak.com - Thanks for letting me borrow your photo!
* www.greatplay.us Just one of my great resources.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fort Kent and Presque Isle: 2011 Biathlon World Cup Hosts

"Dedicated Organizing Committees preparing Presque Isle and Fort Kent Venues"

08.10.2010, Presque Isle  / IBU Inf. Dept. TO/JK
High level of preparations for BWC 7 and BWC 8
An IBU delegation inspected the E.ON IBU World Cups 7 and 8 venues in Presque Isle and Fort Kent, USA Tuesday through Thursday last week. Presque Isle will host its first IBU World Cup while Fort Kent has previous experience from 2004.

Read the article on www.biathlonworld.com

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thursday: Speaking at NSA.

On Thursday I will speak at NSA as a part of their series "The Process of Achieving Peak Performance." I've been asked to speak about the importance of balance in an athlete's life. One of the last lunchtime speakers that they had was Bill Demong '98.

"The qualities of an exceptional cook [or in our case, an exceptional athlete] are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker: an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance." - Bryan Miller

Monday, October 25, 2010

Read what Billie Jean King has to say....

"Through sports our children learn about teamwork, goal setting and the pursuit of excellence. It is also how youth learn how to deal with failure and become more determined to do better the next time, not only in sports but in life."

Read the rest of her blog post on the Let's Move! website: Billie Jean King Salutes Women in Sports
Tennis legend and President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Billie Jean King, shares her experience at the Women's Sport Foundation's annual event stressing how all of these women athletes continue to mentor your people to help put them on a successful track for life.

Article about our new coach

Our new women's head coach and Lake Placid regional coach, Jonne Kahkonen, was recently interviewed by Fasterskier.com:

"Getting to know Jonne Kahkonen"
By Chelsea Little 10.25.10
Jonne Kahkonen was hired by the United States Biathlon Association this summer to be the new women’s head coach. Kahkonen, who hails from Finland, just finished a four-year stint as head coach of the biathlon program. Finland’s top performances last season came from Kaisa Makarainen, who finished the year ranked 22nd in the overall World Cup Standings.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"...how good can you be?"

Floating down the Snake River with a good view of the Tetons. 

USBA just held its 30th Anniversary Celebration in Jackson Hole, WY. Not only was it the location for the Board of Director's Annual Meeting, it was also host to a Gala dinner, annual awards, Snake river float trips and fly fishing, skeet shooting and a grand gathering of influential people within the US Biathlon family.  Olympians from the 1960's until 2010, retired biathletes and officials, memorable staff members, current National Team members and our Olympic staff spanned the history of biathlon in the US over the past 50 years. It was not until some of these people were recognized that I realized why we had all traveled to Jackson - the Snake River valley is filled with former biathletes. This event was unlike any I have attended before and I appreciated the time that was taken to recognize this amazing community that has been created through a small sport in the US. 

Max, our CEO and President, speaking at the Gala dinner.

While this anniversary celebration folded the likes of past Olympians back into the current, time was also taken to acknowledge the newest members of USBA - the newly formed US Biathlon Foundation. An incredible league of distinguished business leaders make up this strong financial team that will help support current and future USBA programs. With short notice, I had the opportunity to address this impressive crowd during one of our dinners. Even though I nailed the short-order speech, I actually don't remember what I said (not far off from the in-the-moment feel of a race, actually) except that I enjoyed welcoming this new team to USBA and hope that it is a mutually beneficial connection. We are all striving for peak performance - be it on the range or in the board room - and I am pretty excited about the potential synergy created.

During one of our dinner table conversations I made a mental note of a comment from one of our new Foundation members who made an observation of a distinguishable quality: when people pursue something to its fullest potential. How good can you be? Its a risk, its a leap from average, and honestly it is one way to define many of us in that room that night because it is one reason why we were all there in the first place. 

After a good camp in Utah and with sights set on the final weeks of dryland training before heading to snow and qualifying races in Canmore, Canada it was nice to spend a few very relaxing hours watching Bald Eagles and floating down the Snake River:




Lake Placid Ski Club Sign Up and Ski Sale

When: October 30th, Saturday
10am till 1pm
Where: St. Agnes School, Lake Placid


Sign up for - After school ski program at Whiteface, NYSEF nordic, alpine, snowboarding, alpine, jumping and biathlon programs, and the Bill Koch nordic ski program
Meet - local Olympians Pete Frenette, ski jumping, and my self
Buy and sell - used ski equipment


For further information and details:
www.lakeplacidskiclub.com
lakeplacidskiclub@roadrunner.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

Utah Camp photos - UPDATED!

After a chilly and rainy rollerski this morning in Placid I look fondly back at the ideal training climate that we had in Utah. Just checked NOAA and we're in for more snow and rain.

Our annual fall camp in Soldier Hollow, Utah was productive and fun. We kept the focus and quality high during training to return home a bit more fine tuned and ready for the race season ahead. Training at a higher altitude is interesting, but the older and fitter I get the easier it is for me to adjust. This is my 5th fall in Utah and every time I gain a better understanding of how I am affected by altitude. I paid particular attention to this this year because it added an interesting element to training analysis and it will give me insight into the two weeks I will spend in Canmore, Canada later in November. I am super psyched about starting the year off in Canmore and look forward to the qualifying trials that will fill up the rest of our World Teams for December. With important races coming up ahead at higher elevations, Utah proved to be a good test. 

Check out a recent article on FasterSkier.com - Biathletes Make Most of Altitude at Soldier Hollow 
to get some insight from other teammates, coaches and photos. 

On our way back down from ski walking intervals up Park City Resort.



A good portion of our national team is on Rossignol equipment and I think this is my 13th year, (well 15 or 16 if you count my alpine years) skiing on Rossi. Each year during our October Camp we head up to the Mountain Center in Park City to meet with our Rep. Robert, take some photos, check out the offices, meet the staff and learn about the new equipment. 

Instead of just a quick hello while passing their cubicle, this year the Rossi staff got to try out our SCAT laser shooting system. 

Rossignol's conference room is also a hall of history with a variety of legendary rooster tipped Rossi models. I liked this pair - Mt. Olympique.


After our final interval/time trial session to looped out recovery jog around the rollerski trails to cheer on the Canadian National Team's classic sprint session. Most days we have Soldier Hollow to ourselves, but on a few occasions its been packed with the US Ski Team, Canadian National Team and APU ski team. Often on a very separate schedule for the US Nordic team (they were in Placid while we were in Utah, for example) its a treat when our training overlaps. Plus, it was pretty neat to watch the speed of such skiers as Devon Kerhsaw, Chandra Crawford and Kikkan Randall. Best of luck to all of them this season! 

BethAnn Chamberlain, Tracy and Lanny Barnes, Annelies Cook and I on a run at Soldier Hollow.

Looking down range at Soldier Hollow. 


Chandra Crawford, Olympic Gold Medalist and Fast and Female founder, during the classic sprints.