Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back Home and Ready for the Next Season!

Last year let me with big decisions to make and a lot of options and opportunities but without the desire to hang up my skis and pole jut yet. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do and realized that my only option was to focus on working throughout the summer and start training more full-time during the fall. As the summer unfolded I found myself accepting that I was not going to be able to workout even as much as I had hoped. After an Olympic year there are a ton of requests from other to make appearance give talks and just be an ambassador to sport. I found myself with numerous engagements and meeting incredible people and children but also feeling as though I wasn't doing the work I know would be needed to make the World Championships in Oslo.

Fast forward to today and I am fresh and ready both physically and mentally for next season, which officially starts tomorrow!) I have been extremely busy the past couple of weeks with wedding planning and home buying. That's right!!! Brian and I are buying our first house! It fits us perfectly! The house was a foreclosure and Bank owned when we aw it listed for sale. Due to the poor housing market (great for buyers! Bad for sellers), we were able to get the house for $25,500. There isn't a 1 or a 2 missing from the front of the price. Last year despite my busy schedule I also volunteered with the Harrison Neighborhood association and learned a ton about the North Minneapolis Community (where I live and mentor my youth!), and the programs that are available to get first time home buyers into homes that they can afford. So Brian and I applied for two great programs that have allowed us to receive $15,000 in forgivable loans. We do need to live in the house for 7 years though! The house is small, only a one bedroom, and in an area of Minneapolis that gets a bad rap for it's violence and condemned or vacant properties. To us, however, it is a prime location. We are less then a few hundred meters to the running and bike trails in the spring, summer and fall and even  more exciting... less then a few hundred meters to the ski trails in the winter!!!

The Living Room/ Dining Room

Me in the Kitchen!

The Kitchen looking towards the Breakfast Nook.

Lahti Checking out the House after hanging in his new yard.

Lahti's Approving Look!

I have also been in to see the kids at the Harrison Park but have had a hard time seeing any familiar face from last year while I am there. That's not to say I haven't been hanging out with the neighborhood kids. Last week Brian and I saw my friend Molaki at the Boys and Girls Club in North Minneapolis and the next day we saw his brother Kolanghi hanging out in the Alley behind my apartment. I was psyched to give Kolanghi the pair of shoes I had been saving for him all winter from Salomon!
Kolanghi and I showing off our new digs!
I have also seen my park kids hanging out around the Library and in the fields near the park. I am not sure why the kids haven't been visiting the park lately. We have another new Director there, the third so far this year, and I was excited to hear that he felt strongly about working with the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation and the Adventure Camps they hold during the summer. I am hoping to recruit some kids from Harrison to be a part of the Awesome opportunities available with the COLLNSF!

Today was my first day back on the short skis (rollerskis) ad I loved every minute of it. I am so pumped for tomorrow and the rest of the year. I am feeling confident that I can greatly improve on my results from the 2010 Olympics and I can't wait to try!

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