Skating into year four on skinny skis

Magazines? Bolts? Barrels? No… I wasn’t reading, building something or making wine. I was sitting in class learning all the terminology to shoot a .22 rifle in a biathlon race. Doug and I decided to give a new sport a try this winter and biathlon looked like a lot of fun. This weekend there was a clinic to learn about rifle safety and how biathlon races work.

I cross-country skied years ago, but it had been at least ten years since I had been on skinny skis. The shooting part was new to me, save for a couple of lucky shots (I hit the target!) with a BB gun in Wyoming. I was a little nervous to try both of these things together, but I am glad I did. I had a great time! There were many newcomers to the sport in the class and it ended up not being intimidating after all.  I even managed to hit a few targets during the practical portion of the class. Of course–it will be much more difficult to do that while skiing in an actual race. One of the biggest challenges of biathlon is attempting to hit targets when your heart is pumping fast and you are breathing hard.  There is a race in January that I am thinking of doing so I can get a feel for what this really feels like.

Getting a feel for my skinny skis.
Getting a feel for my skinny skis.
Doug taking aim at the biathlon range.
Doug taking aim at the biathlon range. The distance is 50 meters.
I earned my red book during the course. This shows that I
I earned my “red book” during the course. This shows that I am now certified to take part in biathlon
races or practice on the range.

At the clinic, I was focusing on keeping my hands warm (the high temperature was a whopping 13 degrees), remembering how to skate ski and figuring out a lot of new vocabulary and skills. I was also hoping that skate skiing wouldn’t irritate the avascular necrosis (AVN) in my left shoulder joint (which fortunately it did not). One thing that I wasn’t thinking about at all was my ostomy. My altered plumbing feels very normal to me now and it rarely enters my mind except when I go to empty my pouch.

That wasn’t the case three years ago. At this time back then, I was a month out of surgery and struggling emotionally. It felt like my ostomy was the only thing I thought about during an entire day. Changes were overwhelming, I was full of anxiety and I wondered if life would ever feel normal again. Even though I had wanted my ostomy for treatment of my UC, I grieved over the changes to my body and cried every single day.

Those times were tough, but I know that I had to go through them to get to where I am now. Returning to an adventurous life after my ostomy didn’t happen all at once; it took a lot of small steps. Had you told me back then that I would be shooting a rifle at a biathlon course in a few years, I would have thought it was crazy! As I enter my fourth year with an ostomy, it is great that life feels so normal again and it is also wonderful to be trying a new sport challenge. I can’t wait to see where my skinny skis take me!

Skate-skiing-for-web

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9 thoughts on “Skating into year four on skinny skis

    1. Hi Carol,

      I’ve been wondering how you have been doing. Glad to hear you are gaining confidence. There is definitely a big learning curve and it takes a while to feel comfortable with all things ostomy. Happy holidays!

      -Heidi

      1. Hi Heidi, Congrats on your new achievement, the smile says it all. Thanks for sharing the joy. Happy New Year. Maranatha Carla

      2. Thanks Carla! I am doing my first biathlon race tomorrow. I am hoping I can actually ski 7.5K–skate skiing is so strenuous! This is all for fun though so I will just be happy being out there and experiencing something new:)

        Hope you have a happy New Year!

        Cheers,
        Heidi

  1. Hi Carol,
    I’m Ellie, I’m 19 from the UK and I’m currently in hospital fighting an extremely severe flare up of ulcerative colitis that is not responding successfully to the strongest ‘rescue therapy’ they are able to drug me with! The drug is now also showing signs of affecting my general health. I have been strongly advised by surgeons to consider ileostomy surgery. Like you, outdoor sports are one of my biggest passions and the thought of surgery maybe stopping me doing these things is one of the biggest reasons I don’t want to have it. Finding your blog on the Internet has been a source of real hope and inspiration to me over this difficult time – you look to enjoy a life totally without limits and it really gives me courage. Is there any chance I would be able to email you privately and ask you a few questions?
    Best wishes. X

    1. And I’ve just realised in my state right now (it’s 4am here and I’m not in the clearest of mind) I have come straight off on a down note and accidentally said ‘Hi Carol’ (seeing the post from carolcolorado) – HEIDI, I’m so sorry, I know that’s your name. X

    2. Hi Ellie,

      So sorry to hear you are stuck in the hospital with UC! Your situation sounds very similar to mine when I decided to have surgery. Please feel free to email me… I would love to help you with your questions. Just hit the contact button at the top and it will send a private message to me. No worries at all on the name error.

      Keep hanging in there!

      -Heidi

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