Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two Weeks

We only have two weeks left until we depart for the start of the 2011/2012 race season. This year's season has me starting out in the usual spot West Yellowstone, MT. Every year there is an influx of Nordic enthusiasts who flock to the small tourist  town outside of Yellowstone National Park. This year, like past years, I will be heading out early with the CXC Team Van to acclimate to the 7,000 ft elevation. There currently isn't any snow on the ground but hopefully this week will bring a few storms.

Getting Ready for the first ski of the year (Last Year)
The pilgrimage to West Yellowstone always starts with an epic drive from the Mid-West across the plains and mountain ranges to the center of the North American ski world just outside of Bozeman, MT. This year there will only be one coach and six athletes heading out to the first races. The size of the group has to do with the coat f the trip. We will be spending over a month out west and the expenses can get pretty high.

I am excited to be skiing through powder again soon.

I am excited to see snow, to ski tons of kilometers and of course start racing. Brian and I have two time trials to gauge our fitness coming up. I will update one more time before we leave with some photos and results from these races.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Training with the Boys

I have been living and training in Park City, Utah these past two weeks with  the CXC Team. This is our first altitude camp this year and I was psyched to get the opportunity to go UPHILL for more then 4 minutes at a time! There were lots of athletes here from many of the other teams including the US Ski Team. Sun Valley, Maine Winter Sports Center and Team F.A.S.T.

The two weeks were filled with lots of training and lots of intervals. Brian and I came straight here from a 3 day clinic in Chicago so we were ready for some training. I was very pleased with how well my body adapted to the altitude and handled the intensity. I spent most days training with some of the top women in the US (many of whom are headed over to the World Cup in a few weeks) and felt like I was able to benefit from having other women who could challenge me day to day. The camp also included two Time Trials, a 10K Classic and a Skate Sprint. I felt great for both of them and finished 4th in the 10K (3rd American) and 2nd in the Skate Sprint. These results are very promising and I am excited about returning home to Minneapolis to complete my final preparations before the ski season starts!!!

The highlight of my camp however, was training with the boys (my husband too!). I headed out on a 15 mile run in the mountains with some of the top guys in the country and only saw one keep up! Otherwise I would be one lost "city-slicker" running around as cougar bait. I felt great and think the added intensity was a good confidence booster. Today we headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon out of Salt Lake City and climbed 4,500 feet. Again I was able to stay with the boys for most of the workout and feel like my race fitness is well within reach.

One of the many switchbacks!

Trying to follow in stride with the "Big Boys"
Running for my life high up in the Uinta Mountains!

I return home to Minneapolis tomorrow and hit the ground with another clinic a few hours after I land. It's a tough schedule but it allows me to keep skiing and racing as fast as I can! I also think the work makes me appreciate the time I am in camp and helps me make the most of it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Healthy Eating

As athletes we know the value of a healthy lifestyle with nutritious meals. Everyday we focus on getting the vital nutrients that help us reach the height of our potential and prevent us from getting sick. Our diets are filled with a variety of color and a variety of flavors. Thankfully Brian and I live less then a mile from the Minneapolis Farmer's market. We visited the market on our OFF morning gathering lots of fruits and vegetables that would feed us for the following two weeks at home in Minneapolis.

This is what the Farmer's market looks like on a Monday morning. Saturday is the main day for the market and it is packed! Brian and I enjoyed the slower pace of the morning crowd and took our time sampling the delicious offerings.

 We see our neighborhood kids almost everyday, either at the park, or at our front door. While we have been encouraging them to become active we have noticed that they soak up everything we tell them like sponges. So we decided that feeding them Popsicles and gummy bears might not get the entire message across. Of course popsicles and gummy bears are delicious but they weren't very nutritious. So I decided it was time to offer them healthier options with their activities. Brian and I had two huge boxes of apples and oranges that were donated to us after the North Shore In-line and Rollerski Marathon. The kids were psyched to see all the fruit and stopped by just to get a piece of fruit some days!!!
I managed to get a few pounds of ground elk from a supplier that was going out of business and decided to make chili with some of it. Gerry, Javaree and Quinn were thrilled to sit down to a nice chili dinner with Brian and I until I accidentally put too much cayenne pepper in the pot. Despite the cayenne pepper and the tons of beans and veggies with the Elk meat, the boys ate their dinner and laughed and smiled at the dinner table. We were all sweating by the time we finished.