World Championships – A year of firsts as well as hills to overcome!

drzonkow1The trip to Poland came up quick and before I knew it, it was time to pack my bags for three weeks in Poland. I would be traveling over with one of my coaches and three of the men on the team. We would be training in Drzonkow for a little over a week then going to Warsaw to train at the facility where we would be competing for World Championships.

I was glad to be able to go over to Europe early and adjust to the time. The jet lag is always rough competing through. It would also be good to see the venue of the competition and get to do some training before the competition started.

The trip over went well but was a long day starting with a 5 am flight and about an 18 hour trip followed by a three hour car ride from Berlin to Drzonkow. It was good to be back to Drzonkow again as I have been there a few times before for training and competitions. I went there for a training camp before World Championships in 2012 and for Junior World Championships in 2012.

trainingThe training facility is great and has a long course 50 meter pool, horseback riding facility, outdoor shooting range, and beautiful trails and forests to run through! When we arrived it was straight to the pool and a shakeout run after. It was good to keep me awake, but I was so tired from the long traveling and I can never sleep well on planes.

train3I was struggling with my training a little bit in Poland which seemed strange since I was going from altitude to sea level. My workouts and splits were great back in Colorado, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling my pace well or hitting good times. I was a little worried, but tried to give my body some time to adjust to the time, food, and training changes.

I also knew that I had been working hard all season and had to trust the training that I had put in. We trained in Drzonkow for about a week and a half then took a train into the city of Warsaw. It was a neat and fun experience to take the train as I had never really experienced that before. I was neat having our own little cabin on he train and there was even a small restaurant we could walk to.

otteam1Once we got to Warsaw we stayed at the training facility where the competition would be. The rooms and food weren’t very good, but we would only be staying there for a few days until we go to move into the Marriot hotel in downtown Warsaw. The days seemed to drag on before the competition and I always struggle a little bit with tapering. I feel that I am still figuring out the best way to taper and lighten up my training without going too easy or not doing enough. There also is a lot of down time at training camps when I am away from the OTC in Colorado Springs. There can be a lot of distractions such as work, school, meeting up with friends in Colorado, but here there was just training and resting which was good for me. I was definitely ready to compete though.

fencingI was in group A for the semi-finals and we started out with the fencing bright and early. I felt ready to go and all prepared. I unfortunately got back into a rut in fencing and wasn’t able to pull myself out. I had some great bouts but was so nervous and hesitating which cost me and my points suffered.

I had an amazing swim and a new personal best time which I was extremely happy about since my workouts hadn’t been going too well in Poland. I had a lot of ground that I had to make up in the combined, but wouldn’t let that stop me. I knew that I had to run as hard as I could and do my best to get in the top 12 to move on to the finals. I had great shooting and ran extremely well, but it wasn’t enough to get me into the finals.

Although this was a year of firsts for me this would not be one of them. It is disappointing that I didn’t have the result I wanted especially at World Championships, the event we train all year for. I finaled at every world Cup this year and that was a great accomplishment that I have to remember. Having big competitions can add to the stress and pressure that athletes put on themselves, but I love that. I love competing, but to end the season with this result was hard. At least I would still have the opportunity to compete In the Mixed Relay in a few days with my teammate Breandan Anderson.

warsaw night 2We had a rough start in the fencing, but both had a great swim. The riding course was pretty technical with lots of tight turns and a fast time. I had a great horse that was a little uneasy with the footing, but we still got around the course clean and clear. Brendan only had a run out but still rode great with a strong horse. We were both exhausted from the day and from competing earlier that week. I was able to pull out a strong run and shoot to keep our position and Brendan did the same. It wasn’t what we had hoped for but was a good way to gain more experience and competition at worlds.

Three weeks had gone by already and it was time to go home. I was very ready to be back in the U.S. after three weeks in Poland. We would also be getting a little break from training which I felt that I mentally and physically needed after a long season.

Even though I didn’t have the results I wanted I know that I am improving and making gains in the right direction. Sometimes it’s hard to see and realize that even with a disappointing result there are still good things to learn and take away from it. We always want to get better faster and even though I was not able to make the finals at World Championships, I was able to make every final at the World Cups I went to as well as win Silver at U.S. Nationals. That is a great improvement what I did the seasons and years before.