Sunday, March 10, 2013

Preparing like never before...

My Birkie Sweater!
The 2013 American Birkebeiner was a great race and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome! I knew heading into the race that my preparation and fitness were both great but in 50K anything can happen. In the past I have spent a fair amount of time pulling the group, mostly to prevent sprinters from hanging on too long, but this year I was told to be patient and wait. I did have some confidence in my sprinting after successful Bozeman and US Nationals Sprints  earlier this season. On the Thursday before the Birkie I participated in the Elite Sprints placing 3rd which also gave me some confidence to relax in the pack a bit!

Success! I am very happy to have such great support from my husband!
I honestly couldn't have waited a second later to start my final sprint down Main Street. After 50K of racing 10K of which were at a pretty fast pace my sprint felt more like a slow-motion movie but it was just enough to secure my 2nd American Birkebeiner Win! A huge Shout Out and Thank You to all the Volunteers and Organizers who make this race possible!!! A huge thanks to all my family, friends and supporters who were there to share the awesome outcome of the day!!! The winnings will go directly to help pay for some quality training and racing over the next summer to help us qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia!!!
Winning two American Birkies has only been done a handful of times and I am very honored to be among some amazing skiers and women from the past!
Hanging out with the Rochester, MN kids we visit in the summer. It is so great to share my victory with so many people Brian and I work with throughout the year!

Onto the next adventure!!!Welcome to California!
Psyched to be in Truckee, CA
After the Birkie Brian and I had to make a tough decision. We had to decide whether we were going to fly over and compete in Europe or stay stateside and train for Spring Series in Truckee, CA. Thankfully I have and uncle who lives in Truckee and has been an amazing supporter of my skiing over the past few years.
He and his girlfriend Fran welcomed us and have been providing the best training support I have ever received. We have a fantastic place to stay, a vehicle, great food, perfect company and my uncle has taken to coaching us while we are out. We have video, lactates and times that Kelly, my uncle, has dialed in for us.
Getting extra encouragement and coaching from my uncle Kelly!
 I just finished up a volume block of almost 150 Kilometers of Classic Skiing. Most of the races at the end of the season will  be classic so I am working harder than I ever have to become very proficient. Today was my last day and after 6 days in a row of only classic skiing my legs are a little fried and I welcome the day off tomorrow.
Enjoying the beautiful sunshine after a hard workout.
The Staff at the Tahoe/ Donner Ski Center have been absolutely amazing!!! Brian and I will be hosting Clinics for them in exchange for free skiing during the month we are here! Opportunities like this add up to huge savings for us and also give us the chance to interact with the local ski community on a more intimate basis! So far we have done two lessons and we look forward to a Women's Only Clinic and a Free Open Clinic in the weeks to come! Stay tuned for details!
Strength is an important component for my training throughout the year. We typically don't do much strength during busy racing periods, but when we get a few weeks between races we take advantage of a local gym to maintain our power and strength. Yesterday I got to train at Julie Mancuso's (Olympic Gold Medalist) gym here in Truckee. It was an awesome place with everything an athlete could want ie...lots of strength toys and torture devices! Despite few strength sessions I am feeling very strong and ready for the next races to start in a couple of weeks. It's been exactly one year since my concussion at the Engadin and I am feeling MUCH better than I did at the last spring series! Here's to more good preparation!
Strength training old school!

Thanks again for all the congrats and kind words after the Birkie! It means so much to Brina and I to have such a great support network!

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