Wednesday, November 19, 2014

First Stop Finland

We made it! Our travel day Monday was a long one. We left home at 11:30 Sunday morning and didn't pull into Muonio until about 10 Monday night. We are seven hours ahead here, so we shouldn't have been tired when we arrived last night, but after such a long travel day, we all passed out quite easily. It's dark in Muonio. Really dark. When we pulled in last night I couldn't see anything, but when I woke up this morning, it was winter! Sunrise is at about 10 am and sunset is at about 2:30 pm, so our hours of daylight are very limited, but it was a pretty clear day with some beautiful lighting for our morning ski yesterday. I'm skiing with one pole for another week, but I'm really excited to be back on snow.

Muonio sunrise

Two of my favorite things - Sadie and snow!
My final two weeks at home flew by way too fast. I enjoyed spending time with friends and family while still getting in some good training. November weather in Vermont can be hit or miss, but we were lucky to have quite a bit of sunshine, not too much rain, and even a little snow! I did a lot of running on the dirt roads near my house, enjoyed my mom's home-cooked meals, and spent time with the SMS girls who I probably won't see until Spring Series.
Back road running with my SMS T2 girls

Snowy hike up Mt. Equinox with my sister

Running intervals up Mad Tom Notch road

Hike up Bromley on my final day in VT with Iz an Sim
I'll miss you too, Leroy.

On our final evening at home, we had an SMS T2 sendoff and fundraiser party. Thank you to everyone who came. We're extremely lucky to be a part of such a supportive community and I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend our last evening home!
Thanks to Hubert for the photos!

"Look relaxed"
We are in Munio until Tuesday when we head to Kuusamo for the first World Cups of the year. I will not be racing in Kuusamo, but I will start working in my second pole when I get there and I'll be ready to get out and cheer my teammates on as they kick some butt.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NYC and Snowy Vermont!

After my teammates left Park City, I had one final week in Utah on my own. The perfect Park City weather held up and I had a lot of fun exploring the mountains, catching up with some non-skier friends, and doing a ton of physical therapy. I think it ended up being a good idea to stay in Utah because I made a lot of progress with my elbow and it's feeling great.
I went on my first run with my new elbow before Sadie headed back to Alaska.

Hiked out to Desolation Lake with Parker and friends

A panoramic view from the top of Deer Valley

A sunset run with Parker down in SLC after she got off work
On the way home from Park City, a group of us stopped in NYC for a few days to attend the US Ski Team Ski Ball. Going to New York City is always an interesting experience for me. It's exciting to see the city, but it's also overwhelming and exhausting. I want to see everything I can possibly see in a few days and then by the time I leave, I feel like I need to recharge for a year before coming back again. The Ski Ball was successful and it was fun to get dressed up and meet so many wonderful people who support the U.S. Ski Team. It also took place in the Museum of Natural History! We were able to go for a run in Central Park, walk up on the high line, attempt to navigate the subway system, and visit with a bunch of friends who currently live in the city. It was a jam-packed trip and I'm now very happy to be back home.

I saw my friends from Stratton, the Crowleys, at the Ski Ball

Simi on a morning run in Central Park

Dinosaur room!

Ski Ball with Simi
Ben with his ladies

Thanks to Raika Studios for the hairdos!

The USST athletes

 We arrived home to Vermont on Saturday night to some cold temperatures and the first snow of the year! There wasn't much snow at my house, but a big group of us ventured up a little higher for a run on Sunday afternoon and the ground was white. I'll be in Vermont for the next two weeks before leaving for Europe. My plan is to continue focusing on running, but to begin adding in a little rollerskiing. I went for my first rollerski yesterday and it felt surprisingly good! Sadie and I are doing a Sodie Training Rap for SkiTrax where we will be switching off every two weeks to give everyone a glimpse into our daily training routine. Check out the website HERE for more details.
Austin Cobb, Emily, and Isabel out at Griffith Lake

Baker Peak

The crew on top

Cuddling cats

First rollerski!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Park City Update

Park City camp has come to a close for most of my teammates, but I'm sticking around for another week to do some more dryland and hammer the physical therapy while I have access to the US Team support. Most of the team headed north to Canmore to do some skiing at Frozen Thunder. The skiing looks good and the skiers look fast, so be sure to follow their updates! In the last two weeks, my training has consisted of hiking and a little leg and core strength training. I'm pretty lucky to have coaches that hop on the treadmill next to me to do hiking intervals. Matt did my first hiking intervals with me and Gus did my second day of intervals with me, all while making it look pretty easy.
I also have a set of wonderful teammates who showed up to my treadmill intervals as cheerleaders

Matt helping me sweat it out on the treadmill 
While the team was still here, I was able to go cheer them on during a couple of their time trials at Soldier Hollow. I planted my self on Hermode's Hill because that is by far the most brutal part of the race and did a few speed walks up next to them to make sure they made it over the top.
All smiles (except for Ben) after the time trial
Helping push Sadie up the hill (figuratively) 

Me, Jessie, and Sades

Canadian Thanksgiving! The SMS T2 team celebrates Canadian Thanksgiving each year we are in Park City and this year's meal didn't disappoint. Pat cooked up a delicious turkey that was supplemented with gravy, stuffing, brussel sprouts, salad, homemade bread, and every kind of pie. 
Sadie, Kikkan, Grover, and Rosie are in town until tomorrow, so I've had some nordorks to play with the past couple days. I've also met up with some old friends who live here, which has been really fun because they can show me around the town they're much more familiar with.

Morgan Smyth took me on an adventure and we bagged some new peaks I had never been on

Morgan and her dog Sam way above Park City

Sadie, Rosie, and me on top of Bald Mountain. It looks like it's snowy for some reason. It is not. We did have a three minute hail storm yesterday, but that quickly passed and we woke up to blue skies again this morning. 

A pile of buddies
I had a followup doctor's appointment with my surgeon today and he said everything looks great. I even got a new cast that I got to pick the colors for. I can take it off to shower and stretch and it's a little smaller, so I might be able to stuff it into a few of my shirts. He also cleared me to run and do some one pole rollerskiing, so I'm looking forward to switching training up from here on out.
Blue and beautiful!

I head back east a week from today and go to NYC for a few days to attend the US Ski Team Ski Ball before heading back to Vermont. In other exciting news, my club team, SMS T2, just received a challenge grant. If we can raise $25K, we will get a matching donation! This means our program can continue running for another year. For more information and a link to donate, please visit HERE.
SMS T2 at summer training
I miss being with my teammates in Canada, but I will see them soon and am looking forward to spending another week in the Park City mountains and sunshine.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sharpen Your Elbows

Up until this summer, I had never broken a bone, but in the last six months, I've managed to break both of my elbows. I wish the injuries had cooler stories to go with them, but I won't sugar coat it. I broke one trying to unclip out of my bike pedals in May and I broke the other while walking across a parking lot on Monday. I don't usually take too many falls on skis and I think of myself as a pretty coordinated person, but I realize flukes like this happen and that there are always ways to come out stronger.  Gus and I were heading out for a run Monday afternoon and about twenty feet from the car, we were walking and a low-hanging cable clotheslined me at the ankles so I went elbow to pavement hard. It was pretty apparent that something wasn't right very quickly, so Gus drove me to the ER. They checked me out Monday afternoon and Dr. Olson and his team brought me in for surgery Tuesday afternoon at the Park City Hospital. I'm extremely grateful for how quickly they got me in and how kind everyone I interacted with was.
Post-tumble trip to the hospital. Matt was intent on documenting it. Gus, Matt, and Simi put in their fair share of hospital hours and thanks to them, I think I spent most of my time in there laughing.

The hardware

By Tuesday evening, I had some new hardware and between the anesthesia and pain meds was feeling pretty great about life. The few days following were a little more painful, but my teammates and friends have been incredible. When I came home from the hospital, my room had been transformed into a candy shop complete with cards, flowers, and the most candy I've ever had sole possession of in my life. The last couple days the pain has subsided and I've been able to go for some hikes of my own and watch some of my teammates' training sessions. My followup appointment is in ten days and hopefully at that point I will be put in a movable and removable cast that will make activities like running, one-armed skiing, showering, and wearing shirts with sleeves a little easier. The doctors predict six weeks recovery. That's a long time, but it was a pleasant surprise since that's the same time frame as my other elbow that didn't need surgery. I haven't made any concrete plans about going to Canmore or Europe yet, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to recover as quickly as possible by mid-November.

Hike up to the top of Deer Valley

Mary, Jessie, Annie, and Zuzana joined me for a hike the other day and Annie even brought her own sympathy spongebob
Sadzarue skating her way up Hermode's at SoHo yesterday

Snow outside of our condos this morning!

Sadie psyched to do some treadmill testing

It's been so nice having Parker close by 

Catching some fresh air while watching the training session yesterday (Matt Whitcomb photo)
Grateful to have our awesome PT and friend, Zuzana, here with us
Before the elbow incident happened, I was able to enjoy a fun week out west. Simi and I went to the desert for a few days before camp started. It was my first time to the desert, and I had never seen anything like it. When we returned to Park City, the USST girls hosted a Fast and Female. We had a huge turnout with a lot of little smiling girls running around.

I was in charge of the red group (9 year olds)

Fast and Female stamps ( Sarah Brunson photo)

Huge turnout ( Sarah Brunson photo)

Sarah Brunson photo

Mtn Bike station!

My red group girls practicing their speed skating
Canyoneering through Moab

Welcome to the desert!

Simi's mom, Ruthie, joined us for a day of canyoneering and showed me the ropes (literally)

The prettiest campsite in  Utah and my trusty Injinji toe socks 

Running up the porcupine trail

And wading through a lot of freezing cold water
Thank you so much for all the wonderful notes of support I've received. Breaking my elbow was tough, but it could always be worse, and being surrounded by so many loving people makes it a lot easier.