Training weeks seem to zip by so quickly! Looking over my training plans from the past few weeks, it amazes me how progress can seem so slow day-by-day, but how much I’ve improved after those weeks.
After Rocky Mountain Championships, my mom was able to visit me for a couple of days. We spent some time in Colorado Springs waiting for my car to be fixed, and then headed up to Boulder for a day. Training and competition schedules make it hard to visit home very much (any athlete would tell you that), so it was a wonderful breath of fresh air. I love the chance to occasionally step back and evaluate where I am in life, then be able to come back and plant my feet back in the shooting world. Plus, I’ll never complain about a chance to see my family!
Right after she left, I headed down to Fort Benning to train for a few weeks before our upcoming smallbore selection match. I’ve been staying at some friends’ houses this time instead of hotels, and it’s SO much nicer! Of course, hanging out with old friends is super fun, not to mention being able to cook whatever/whenever I want. It’s a nice break from the OTC bubble, and I love the chance to be a part of “normal people” life for awhile, where kids and dogs are not a rare sighting. The day before the match, I also had the chance to hang out with some old friends on a beach we found, and it was absolutely perfect weather for it.
And then there’s the match. This was the second part of smallbore selections for World Cup USA and World Cup Munich, which are two opportunities to get an Olympic quota for the US. After the first day, my 584 wasn’t a bad score, and I ended up third in the final. There were a few things I wanted to tweak for the next day, but overall I was pretty happy about my performance.
On the second day, I still didn’t have my ideal kneeling, which got into my head a little. The wind was tricky, and I shot a couple of 9’s because it caught me. Having a bad last shot in prone added to my frustration, and by the time standing came around, I was running low on time to do reholds. My big mistake was abandoning my process on many of those standing shots, because I thought my frustration would force me to focus. Boy, was I wrong! In reality, experiencing any high emotional state while shooting (nervousness, frustration, excitement) is the exact time to rely on your process. I worked extremely hard at this match, but I could have worked smarter.
I came in third in the final again, but I definitely got some much-needed experience under my belt. For this match, they take the top three finishers to those two World Cups, and I just so happened to tie my close friend and teammate Hannah for third place. The tiebreaker was X-count, which she won (after shooting a kickass final). Each of the three ladies who took the spot earned it, and my frustration after the match had way more to do with simply not shooting my potential than it did with not making this team.
Disappointment is not unique to any athlete. After an unsatisfying performance, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was face my failure. Leaving the range and not returning sounded so much nicer than having to painfully process what had happened and admit that I just didn’t shoot a good match or finish where I belong. While it’s much easier to wallow in self-pity and make excuses, owning up to failure is the only way to move on and make a better shooter. Not an easy pill to swallow, but it needed to be done. And quickly, I soon realized, since World Cup Korea is just around the corner–about a week away.
On the other hand, I learned a ton from this match that helped point out changes in my training approach for the future. Both mental and technical, these changes should put me right back up there. And even on bad days like this, I still love shooting 3-position. Those days are just fuel to the fire.
Another fantastic thing I learned is one of my favorite pre-match breakfasts: two eggs, half an avocado, plain toast, and OJ! Of course, don’t forget a little Cholula on the eggs. This breakfast kept up my focus and physical/mental endurance, not to mention it being so yummy! I sense an avocado addiction heading my way soon.