IBU CUP Canmore: What would you do if you saw a bear on the track?

What I do best

Frozen River

What would I do if you saw a bear on the track? As Bjorn Lind (SWE) once said, “Ha-ha I would try to wrestle him”. While I’ve been out training, there have been that many bears/cougars around that I’ve been having a wrestle or two just to keep myself fit. No big deal really, that’s just what everyone does in Canmore. Unfortunately I didn’t get to eat any feral rabbit while I’ve been here, even though the locals were telling me to give it a crack. Overall the Canadian trip was pleasant and I am happy with it, well at least for now. The reason I say “just for now”, is that I’m hoping I will recuperate in a day or two, and not redevelop my illness from the overall fatigue.

Canadians know the status of a "Unicorn" so they engrave it out of Ice.

About a month ago my mate blogged about “Chasing The Unicorn”, it is about athletes searching for the ultimate balance of training and keeping healthy. When is too much? When should you have a rest or push yourself to the limits? And for me the answer is to listen to what your body wants/needs, are you tired, feeling run down? Have a rest, and don’t overdo your body’s competency. Sometimes you neglect the need of rest; you go out training because you feel lazy and guilty that you’re not doing everything you can to be the best. I think this is one of the reasons I got sick In Canada, I was super jetlagged and I had 2 hard training sessions the first day we arrived. My immune system dropped and I caught a virus.

Thanks to close family friends we were able to get some funds and make the trip to Canada, and after getting ill I felt so guilty and disappointed that we went to Canada for nothing. I knew that I couldn’t perform to my ability and the first races were going to be hell! After a whole week of lying in bed and doing everything I can to beat the virus, I was able to get back on skis.

As I anticipated, the race was pain, plus a little more pain, but I got through it. It was reasonable, I placed 38th only 13.2% behind with 3 penalties. Then we had 2 training days before the next IBU Cup, every day I was feeling better and better and on the day of the 20km individual, I felt ok. The race turned out to be a PB, 13th place 4.1% behind with 3 penalties. I was surprised with the result, with 2 less penalties I could have had my first podium, and with 3 less I would have had a victory! Most importantly I redeemed myself from a hole I dug myself into. To keep your qualification on WC you need to place top 40 and be 12.5% behind, I easily made the cut so Canada was overall successful. Next day we had the sprint event, I skied even faster than the 20km but unfortunately I missed 4, 34th position and 9.6% behind Nathan Smith (CAN) who won his 3rd race in a row.

10km sprint

Straight after the race we left for Calgary Airport and flew out for Kontiolahti (FIN). As you could imagine travelling from Canada to Finland is not the most pleasurable trip. With the time difference being +9 hours, I barely had any sleep the whole trip. I am now super jetlagged and I feel my sickness is coming back to haunt me! I am congested with mucus and phlegm, and again I am in this “not ideal” situation. I have 2 weeks left before World Champs in Germany and I need to get some hard training in, but instead I’m again trying to get healthy. It again all comes to “Searching for the Ideal Balance”, should I be training and preparing for World Champs while I am slightly sick? The answer would be to certainly not, I should get fully healthy and avoid the risk of getting any worse, however if I don’t start putting in some hard training a week before Worlds, I will not show the result I am aiming for. Sometimes risks are worth taking and sometimes not, for example; racing in Canada still being ill was a risk, but I requalified for next year’s World Cup and the trip went as to plan, but doing that I may have jeopardised my preparation for World Champs.

My focus is to get healthy and start training. Then have good prep work for my main event of the season!

Let’s hope my body has enough antibodies to fight my virus and get me back on track, because I feel like all I do is complain and whinge.

Talk soon, hopefully with some good news.

Alex

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