Thursday, August 21, 2014

Big Week and SMS Camps

We had a busy week last week with one of our biggest training weeks of the summer in addition to the SMS Camps that were going on at the school. Between all the camp kids running around, the Canadian men's team being here for a camp, the Craftsbury girls last week, and Rosie Brennan visiting now, it's been an exciting time to be in Stratton. After returning to the east, I had a relaxing few days and felt ready to jump into a big week of training. I think we either had an OD or intervals almost every day last week. It sounds like a lot, but if you're smart about taking care of yourself and listening to your body, you can actually feel pretty good and that's always fun. We had two continuous threshold workouts and one sprint practice. I think the sprint practice was one of my favorite workouts of the summer so far. After a prelim, we took turns breaking the wind at the front of the pack and drafting behind the leader. The leader would go as hard as possible for 1:40 and then they would pull to the side and the rest of the pack would do a sprint finish for 20 seconds. It was fun to go as fast as possible and it was also pretty impressive watching the boys' group because it was basically a North American World Cup sprint final.

Warming up for sprint practice with coach Pat

Sprint practice
Ben, Simi, Lenny, Alex, and Devon during sprint practice
Camp kids lining the course
Our T2 team tried to help out with the SMS Camps as much as possible. We ate our meals with the kids down at the school and got to know them pretty well by the end of the camps. They were all lining the course and cheering us on during our sprint practice and hopefully they left the camp fired up about skiing and summer training. It's always refreshing for us to see kids who are eager to learn and full of questions. Being healthy role models for those kids is one of our biggest motivators and the SMS camps have been a great way for us to make a lasting impression on them over the years. Be sure to check out the SMS Blog for tons of pictures from the camps!
Camp buddies

Simi helping with drills
SMS T2 doing a Q and A with the kids

SMS T2 and coach Pat in the back
Shirt signing on the last day.
This week we have a recovery week before heading to Lake Placid for two big weeks of training with the US Ski Team at the Olympic Training Center. I'm tired after a big week last week, so I've been enjoying taking it easy and not worrying too much about training. We had our final Summit Sisters hike up Stratton yesterday and now I'm looking forward to spending some time with friends and family back home before heading to New York to see my teammates!
Summit Sisters hike up Stratton
Baby Basil is the first baby to complete a Summit Sisters hike!

Haylen sporting her new T2 truckers hat


Ben and I took our new Fischer head shots. What do you think?!

New pink HR monitors from Polar!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Western Adventures

After our glacier camp in Alaska, I spent a few relaxing days at home before heading out west for twelve days of adventure training. I did the most skiing I had ever done in a week while in Alaska and finished the camp tired, but psyched about skiing and our team. I took some time to rest and let the training sink in and then I flew back out west to visit some friends and family in Montana and Colorado. One of my favorite things about our sport is that you can cross train in so many ways. My time out west was the perfect mental break from ski specific training, but I was kept busy each day chasing people around the mountains. My sister and I visited our cousin Anya in Bozeman and we woke up each day, picked a mountain to climb, and spent most of our days above treeline "bagging peaks" as Isabel would say. After Bozeman, I went to Colorado for six days for some more adventures including climbing my first 14er, attempting rock climbing, riding a horse for the first time in ten years, and SUPing (which is a great way to be on the water without actually being in it).
Anya brought us up to 10,000 ft on Blackmore Mtn straight from the airport when we arrived in Bozeman

Sunrise coffee with Anya, Kelsey, and Isable

Kelsey and me giving Lander a kiss on top of Hard Scrabble

Our buddy Ellery came for a visit! (me, Ellery, Anya)

Rock climbing up Sphinx Mtn.

Anya doing a handstand on top of the Briders

Anya was a trooper and did ski walking intervals with me one morning

We got really close to a goat when we climbed Sphinx Mtn. I was pretty excited about it.
Summit Sisters in Colorado

So many pretty wildflowers

Taking a break above the trees

Checking out the burn zone

After Alaska, the SMS T2 team had a vacation week, so a lot of people went home, but we're finally all reunited back in Stratton. It's great to have the team back together and we're lucky to have been joined by Ida, Caitlin, and Liz of the Craftsbury Green Team for a few days as well as the Canadian National Team men who are training in Stratton for a couple weeks. I'm ready to get back to rollerskiing and building strength and this stretch of beautiful VT weather is making it easy to spend a lot of time outside. The SMS camps start this week, so we've been helping out with the camps when we can. We also hosted a Fast and Female at SMS before camp started yesterday. It went very well and we owe a big thanks to Jessie for organizing it all!
Skate speed day with a big group of girls at BMD

Showing the Craftsbury girls one of our favorite places to ski on a beautiful VT evening

The Fast and Female crew

Attempting some human pyramids

A group of my favorite little buddies at SMS camp
Be sure to check the SMS blog this week for photos from the SMS Camps and you can read about our Fast and Female event on our SMS T2 website! We will be training in Vermont for the next two weeks before heading to Lake Placid on August 25th for our next USST camp.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Week on the Glacier

Two Saturdays ago, we flew up to Eagle Glacier to spend a week training on snow. I had been on the the glacier once before, but that was three years ago. While we were up there, we put in a ton of hours, kilometers, calories, and ZzzzZzzzs. There is a lot of work that goes into a successful glacier camp and it wouldn't have been possible without our staff of USST coaches Matt Whitcomb and Jason Cork, APU coach Erik Flora, glacier workers Don Haering and Andre Lovett, and always smiling PT Zuzanna Rogers. We have a lot of photos from the week, so I'll mostly let the pictures do the talking, but I'll highlight some of the main themes of the camp.

1. Food

We were all training about 20-26 hours in our six days up on the glacier. Even though training four hours a day feels like you're training all day every day, it turns out there are still 20 hours left in the day. Let's say about 11 of those hours are spent sleeping between napping and night time, so that basically leaves about 9 hours left for eating! We would wake up at 7 and eat breakfast, come in from our morning ski and eat a snack, get changed and eat lunch, take a nap and eat another snack, go for an afternoon ski and have a snack, get changed and eat dinner, clean up and hang out and then have another snack before bed. It was awesome. The amount of food that gets flown up there is more food than I've ever seen in a kitchen before and every cooking group did an amazing job of making some delicious meals.

One of Celine's many Norwegian treats she made us, bula!
We made big salads to go with dinner each night, but Rosie B. isn't a huge salad fan, so Sadie made her a special Rosie salad on the final night

My favorite snack - toast, jam, Norwegian brown cheese, and eggs

Celine posing with her burger
Caitlin brought a basil plant up to the glacier and made us a caprese appetizer for dinner one night
2. Skiing
Most of our workouts on the glacier were easy distance. We were skiing twice a day, so doing too much intensity wouldn't have been sustainable. We did throw in a speed workout, a classic intensity workout, and a skate intensity workout. Each girl on the glacier has different strengths and weaknesses and there were always days where someone felt good and someone felt bad. Everyone was happy to follow or be followed, so we were constantly learning from each other. The days you didn't feel great made you tougher and the days you did feel great made someone else tougher.
A group ski on our final day
A train of us led by Celine on the team sprint day
Erika skating into the sun on one of our first days up there
Kikkan and me on the final day (she was much more appropriately dressed)
Following Kikkan on team sprint day
Kikkan and Liz showing off our Bjorn Daehlie summer uniforms
3. Sleep ZzzzZZzzz

When we weren't training or eating, we were usually sleeping. We slept in bunk rooms and hung blankets on the windows to keep the light out at night. Sometimes it was difficult to wrap my head around going to sleep when it was still so light out, but when we were training as much as we were, it wasn't too difficult.
Matt taking a little snooze on our first day up there

Looks like I caught him again!
4. Special guest
For the past four years, the girls have had a special guest from another country come to the glacier camp. This year Celine Brun-Lie was our guest. Celine is on the Norwegian National Team and she is a very good sprinter and I really enjoyed having her at our camp. She has a very relaxed personality and was eager to learn from us and happy to teach us a lesson or two. I hadn't really noticed it before this camp, but apparently Celine and I have very similar styles of skiing. At one point it was really freaking Matt out how similarly we skied, especially when we were wearing matching clothing. Celine brought a lot to our camp and we were all happy to leave Alaska with a new friend. I hope she will be back soon!
Maybe we are more similar than I realized!
Celine, Jessie, Sadie, and me after a rollerski workout while we were still down in Anchorage
Celine and Erika pushing each other
Celine and Sadie during our skate sprint time trial
Celine and me on the helicopter ride up to the glacier
5. Weather
The weather wasn't perfect (despite all the beautiful pictures), but it really wasn't terrible until the last day. We had a couple days of sun, a few days of clouds, and one day of rain. It was warm enough to ski in sports bras one day and warm enough to ski without a raincoat every day except for one. The last day it was cold and rainy and I didn't wear enough clothes, so I just about froze and had to come in early. It wasn't the best way to finish of the camp, but I learned my lesson and (hopefully) saved myself from getting the flu. Whether it was cloudy or sunny, there was almost always some kind of incredible view. My favorite thing to do was to walk up to the heli pad in the evening around the time the clouds usually cleared to rest and take in the surroundings. I've never been anywhere like Eagle Glacier and on a good day, it's hard to beat.
View from the heli pad on a beautiful evening
Our helicopter up
One of our first days skiing

6. Good Company

This was the most important part of our camp. It would be easy for a group of 14 girls to be sick of each other after spending 6 days straight in a small building on top of a glacier, but instead, we were all sad to say goodbye. I don't know what the secret is, but we know how to read each other and we know how to be bearable at worst and enjoyable at best. There were 1,000 times more smiles than there were tears and we all came away fitter and better skiers. I'd call that a success!
Getting ready for a group picture with Zuzanna, Don, and Andre
Many different clubs coming together
The girls with Matt and Jason (missing Erik Flora)
A snake of sorts?
Erika and me
Sadie and me
and a final Sodie pic!

After we came down from the glacier, we went to Holly's cabin in Hope, Alaska for a night of hanging out in the sun and relaxing by the campfire. I flew home on Monday night and will be home for a few days before I head out west to visit some family and friends in Montana and Colorado. I'm looking forward to an easy week of training with the Annies and Erika followed by a good fix of western mountains and sunshine. Thanks for following!
Celine and Rosie peeking into Holly's beautiful cabin
s'mores by the fire at Holly's

Matt making his own instruments

Jessie, Erika and me on top of Hope Mtn.