Besides the rap lyric I've been busting out at every strength or interval session this year, I didn't even know where to start when I finally got around to this website and blogging game. I've been pursuing my dream now for almost 4 years in Canmore... and from the day I graduated highschool and starting call myself a "full-time athlete," I had people asking for a way to follow my journey. Well, here it is, more athlete musings, pictures of training adventures, racing emotions, and epic/corny quotes for you to follow!
I'd avoided the blogosphere until now, because I truly didn't think I had anything important enough to share with the world, and that in the grand scheme of life, one girl's lessons learned were really not very interesting. However, I've been told I have words and gems to share (I'll leave that up to you to decide)... and figured that while I develop and mature as a person and athlete, maybe someone out there will connect with/appreciate something of what I can offer. I want to inspire those young, skinny little teenagers out there...and really anyone that ever fell in love with the challenge of becoming a better person. Because, well, I think this slightly unorthodox life choice I've made has shaped me into a different? wiser? tougher? person than I otherwise might have been. I will promise that I'll do my best to cut to the truth of things on here, and to try and connect the mundane endurance athlete lifestyle to some bigger-picture ideas. Another reason why I'm putting thoughts into words here, now, is because I want to reconnect with writing. Thanks to the badass Lauren Fleshman for that. This post is basically just to touch base with where I'm at, so I can jump in on more recent updates/topics later on.
This winter, it has officially been SIX years since I started ski racing with a .22 rifle on my back. In my most recent email update to my sponsors, I said it had only been 5 years since I started biathlon...but now, as I count season-by-season, I realize it's really been six! In that time period, an incredible amount of amazing things have happened, and part of me feels guilty for not sharing them better with my family, friends, and supporters - but know I've been busy living and learning and growing (literally and figuratively) in the meantime.
I really easily get wordy and can talk/write in circles for days, so I'm simply going to give a synopsis of where I'm at after the past 6 years of biathlon. Yes, there is much more to me and my life than the fact that I'm a biathlete, but this website is mostly to track that part of my life - so I'm going to give some background on that, to build on for future posts.
I started biathlon at a training camp with Biathlon Ontario in the late fall of 2010, and by January 2011 I had learned how to shoot a .22 in between loops of skiing my hardest (the skiing I'd started in grade nine). I raced for Ontario at the 2011 Canada Winter Games, not hitting many targets but falling deeply and passionately for this crazy new sport. That spring, I deferred my acceptances to Universities, and moved to Highlands Nordic to figure out biathlon; working with schoolkids in the forest and on the trails during the day, and training hard in the mornings and evenings.
My first year out of high school, I raced lots around North America and finally started to hit some targets. Since there is technically no .22 biathlon venue in Ontario (besides the cadet situation in Sault Ste. Marie) I continued to train in the woods at highlands. That spring, I was invited to train at the Biathlon Alberta Training Centre - the BATC- in Canmore, AB (it was and still is the development team for Biathlon Canada). I moved in April 2012; my first time being really far away from home, and my first time training with the top dogs, in the big leagues.
After an incredible first summer of training with the BATC in Canmore, I made my first international teams, racing for Canada at the World Junior Championships, as well as at couple (senior-level) IBU Cups. I had moments of glory, skiing fast and shooting really well, proving to myself that I had what it took to be among the best. I was definitely enjoying training full-time, and working part-time at Nutter's (the health food store) to fund this crazy dream.
The first Olympic year I experienced as a biathlete (I remember watching biathlon at the 2010 Olympics, thinking it looked cool). I attended my second World Junior Championships and some more IBU Cups, really getting to see what life on the road is like in biathlon, but struggled with fatigue and energy levels throughout the year...though I continued to love training in the mountains and pushing my body and mind.
I trained harder than ever leading into this season, thinking my energy had been off the previous winter due to mistakes in training. I ended up being diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the fall of 2014, and spent my first winter as a senior adjusting to medication and discovering that I might have pushed my body to the point of no return (I'll delve deeper into this in a future post). I raced many IBU Cups, wrapping up the year with the highlight so far of my career - racing the international field at home, at the Canmore IBU Cups.
Winter 2015, 2016 - Now!
I chose to alter my path this training season - "I saw a fork in the road, and I went straight", thanks again Eminem - and work with the club team Rocky Mountain Racers. I've learned more about myself and what I need to be happy and healthy this year than ever before, and can now say with confidence that my health and form will return to 100%. My new coach and I decided to call this year a rebuilding year as we took a broken body and spirit and re-created them to be Erin 2.0....coming back bigger, stronger, and angry:) So far this year I've continued to train lots throughout the race season to keep my base strong for the coming years, as well as race some straight-up XC races and more IBU Cups as well as my first-ever World Cup.
Currently, I'm back in Europe, about to finish off the last international races of the year. I have more downtime when I'm on the road, no work or the usual obligations to worry about, so between training, racing, eating, and sleeping, I figured it was high time to use some of my recovery time to get this blog rolling!
I'll wrap this one up with a promise to share something more interesting than my own boring history in sport next time, (cuz ain't no one got time for that) and conclude with list of "What I'm..." ...Mostly because I thought it would be cool to finish every blog the same way, not because I though anyone would care much what rap I'm listening to right now. We'll see.
Listening to, explicit: Psycho, 50cent ft. Eminem (it's not rap unless slim shady's in it, ammirght)
Listening to, rated G: Broken Arrows, Avicii
Eating, chocolate-wise: Raspberry Giddy-Yoyo bar (both the unreal flavour and health benefits are much needed here in Czech right now)
Eating, pre-tour: eggs and avocado on toast
Wearing: thin Apogee Canada spandex and my headband Buff, because it's been so gloriously warm and sunny in Canmore leading into this grey wetness here
Watching: the Ski Tour Canada (!!!), and Suits
Excited for: the last IBU Cups in Italy, and off-season adventures
Grateful for: my amaze-balls sisters and my roomie/biathlon bae (that's the current cool way to say it, right?) here on tour
xo Feminem (<----the female eminem)
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!