I've been back in the normal world for nearly two weeks now, and vacation and the World Champs already feel like a distant memory. I guess that's how it works, you all of a sudden get busy again upon return. I think I like playing pretend at the life of a professional athlete, filled with unlimited food and limited responsibilities, but that's not for me, if only for the glaring mismatch in desire and ability. Like every other master blaster out there I keep plugging away, while balancing the rest of life, racing for the love of competition and seeing improvements and beating our nemeses and escaping the parts of life that need the balancing.
The World Champs two weeks ago had two of the more successful orienteering races of my career. Still plenty of room for improvement, but I am coming away from 2014 WOC feeling proud of my performances and excited to take the steps to the next level. This is a far cry from how I felt after 2013 WOC, where I had two of the worst races of my career, and let the negativity spiral too far. Hopefully the positive feelings will only build now!
I felt like my navigation took a jump last fall, of course with some lumps and bumps, and it was great to get the confirmation that it had indeed climbed a step. I'm not a professional athlete, and I am lucky to have as much time to train as I do, so no complaints. Do what you can with what you have. Getting over to Europe for the WREs at the end of May was money and time well spent, because for me race starts are the all-important magic bullet. I came into this WOC feeling more prepared than ever before; partly that was because the terrain felt so "normal", but partly it's that I did my homework.
Now I'm bringing some skiing back into my diet, coaching my juniors and enjoying living vicariously through them. Seems like being a skier entails being sore all. the. time. If I'm not sore from strength, I'm sore from rollerskiing; if I'm not sore from rollerskiing, I'm sore from tripping over myself because I was too sore to pick up my feet and running headlong into a stone wall... maybe someday I'll have rebuilt some of the strength I need to do this sport; right now I'm paying for taking two years off from any upper body strength due to that elbow tendinitis. It would be pretty cool if I could race fast at World Ski-O Champs, but that is off in the future in the blurry and scary unknown. For now, one day at a time, cramming in what I can and appreciating what I have, tumbling toward a precipice of uncertainty.
Next stop: North American Orienteering Champs, in October!