Last year, after my last biathlon race I was *done* with winter. I didn’t ski after that race – which was the first Sunday of March – and I didn’t want to. I, somehow, was burned out, and possibly, overwhelmed with learning how to both ski and shoot in my first season.
This year was the complete opposite. I tend to float between extremes and being obsessed with one sport over another. Before biathlon I was obsessed with backcountry skiing and I wanted to “get serious” about my downhill skiing – which quite frankly, sucked, and still does – to access better backcountry skiing. But then I discovered biathlon. Last year after biathlon, I discovered bowhunting.
And then this year, this year feels like I’m coming full circle. After my last biathlon race I wasn’t ready to give up the snow. I cross-country skied a couple of more times, but even more I skinned and skied my way through March, April, a little bit of May, and one day in June. I was returning to that passion I had for getting out of bounds, but to get out of bounds I needed to focus on my downhill, so after a 3 year hiatus, I bought a ski pass for next season.
Where does hunting fit into all of that? I was worried, honestly, at first that my hunting was going to fall to the wayside, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that (1) I really want to just do elk bowhunting. I tried getting into rifle hunting but I don’t feel passionate about it the way I do about bowhunting (and I know, the fact that I am choosing this route is a luxury which not all have). I like being in the woods in seclusion, and granted, OTC bowhunting is not exactly secluded, but it’s no where near what OTC rifle is. (2) My love for sports that involve a crap ton of cardio and going up and up and up actually fit in pretty well with the type of bowhunting I want to do. I like getting in deep where it’s weird and messy and I need to be in the best shape I can be to get into (and out of!) those weird, wild, and sometimes mosquito infested places.
So it’s my way of reconciling what I feel like a burst of love and passion for winter, skiing, skimo, and biathlon and my newfound love of hunting last year. I don’t have as large of an uphill burden in terms of getting to the poundage I need to this year as I did last year. I started at 15 lbs last year, this year I’m starting at 37lbs. I’m also planning to stick with my unit from last year and spend my scouting time figuring out the easiest way in and out of my spot and hopefully pattern my (at least one) elk that I found in there last year. That frees up a lot of time to work on my cardio and strength, which I greatly need to, which tie directly back into my winter en devours.
Also, oddly enough, my fire for getting in shape for skimo and biathlon has given me much needed motivation to train over the summer. Last year it was painful to do any sort of cardio, I had no real desire or motivation and I was so focused on upping my poundage on my bow and figuring out where I was going to hunt that there was not much time or motivation left for the actual physical conditioning. This year I’m doing hill repeats once a week, not much, but way better than last year.
So…such is life, trying to cram and reconcile so many facets of my life.