Sunday, April 21, 2013

NMU Hall of Fame Induction

I think this is the funniest thing ever! Look how nice my hair is!
Last weekend I had the honor of being inducted into my collegiate hall of fame. I was nominated and honored for both Cross Country Running and Cross Country Skiing. This was a special weekend for me and I am very glad that Brian was able to make the trip to Marquette and NMU with me.

Brian and I after his awesome finish in the Hill Climb!!! I was so proud.
After two busy weeks of racing at Canadian Nationals and Super Tour Finals Brian and I quickly sped off to the Reno Airport for a 4PM flight back to Minneapolis. We left the same day as Brian's 50K and the day after my 30K. These were warm weather slush fests at 7,000 ft and needless to say we were a bit exhausted.

Once we boarded the plane I thought we would sleep but we were both too excited. We landed in Minneapolis at midnight to fresh snow and frigid temps. We managed to get to our house at about 1 AM only to find a puddle of water in our basement. After an hour of mopping we climbed into bed and tried to fall asleep.

We woke up around 9 AM which felt like 7 AM and started the drive to Marquette in yet more snow! & hours later we arrived just in time for the open house event at the NMU Athletic Director's home. His name is Forrest Karr and it was wonderful to hear about how he has been running the athletic department and his excitement for the NMU ski team!

NMU Athletic Director Forrest Karr and NMU President David  Haynes.
Sten and Pam Fjeldheim!
 At the Meet and Greet we met up with my former College Coach Sten Fjeldheim and his wife Pam and made arrangements to meet up with the NMU ski team for their last ski of the season. Early (well it still seemed early because we were still on California time) we met the team at the ski room and headed out to Forrestville to ski on the Noquemon Ski Trails. It was mid-winter conditions and both Brian and I were blown away by the amazing skiing and grooming still available in the Upper Peninsula! What a great place to go to school ;)

After a bite to eat at the NMU Market Place (Thanks ski team!) and a quick 3 hour nap, we headed over to the ceremony on campus! The dinner was fantastic and the event was amazing. I spoke briefly about how much my time at NMU has shaped me as an athlete and person. I also made note of the influence Sten had on me to share my unyielding passion with others. I noted that the greatest accomplishment in my life has not been my Olympic success or even collegiate All-Americans but my opportunity to share my passion with the youth I work with and see the impact it has on the trajectory of their lives.
Ingrid and Kirsten Fjeldheim. 
Steve and Lisa Bigeck!
Don and his wife. Don Hurst was the first NMU ski team coach
Assistant Coach Jenny Ryan and Vicki and Tom Asmus who hosted us for the weekend.
After another two full days of visits and traveling Brian and I finally made it home from a long season. We only had two days before it snowed 8 inches in the Twin Cities and we were back out skiing and smiling :) We are so lucky to do what we love and so grateful for all those who help support our pursuits of excellence!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Last Races of the Season! Still lots of Energy!!!

This time of year has traditionally been tough for me. I am usually pretty tired and each races presents a new opportunity, yet my body never seems ready for action. This year has been totally different! My energy and enthusiasm has been through the roof and I am very excited about each race and the challenge it brings.

Tomorrow is no exception. It is the final race of the Super Tour Finals and that means that it is an uphill skate race!!! Two of my favorite types of skiing :)

As the season draws to an end I am almost sad rather than relieved like most of my competitors. I am not sure if my happiness is because I am fresher than other years, having not started training until August, or because Brian and I have become experts at living on the road!!!

I have spent less then 2 weeks at home since Finals Week last August and as much as I want to go home with Brian by my side it never feels like I am sacrificing any other part of my life.

As the season draws to a close I think back to the awesome accomplishments, journeys and people Brian and I have experienced throughout the past year.

Although we did not get married, buy a house or speak at a commencement this year...We made other significant steps in our lives. I went back to school after 13 years, Brian returned to the Methow to work with a coach who he has known since high school, we planted many gardens, we helped an entire family get bicycles, we shared our story with new faces and inspired others to lead healthier lives, we lived together in a  300 sq/ft Yurt! and we had a wonderful time along the way!

Next Thursday when our races are over, Brian and I will head straight to Marquette, Michigan for my induction into the NMU Hall of Fame. I am honored to be receiving this recognition and I look forward to emphasizing how much my college education has positively impacted my life and how much being an NCAA athlete positively impacted my education.

In just over a week I will be back in Minneapolis and working with the Harrison Track Team again! Spring has Sprung back home and their are a lot of fun programs I have lined up for the next month!