Monday, October 21, 2013

Park City to Canmore

The training season is quickly coming to a close as the first ski races are now only weeks away! In fact, we have a classic sprint and 10K time trial on snow in only a few days. Before the season starts we enter the hardest part of our training year. This year we have been fortunate to be able to travel to both Utah and Canmore to train alongside the US National Team athletes and other top Club athletes. The training has been focusing on high intensity and that is no small feet at almost 8,000 FT! Especially for some of us "flat landers!"
Dakota and Matt get ready for our 3.5 hour OD in the mountains!
It's been great to be out West and get the chance to work with our coach from the Methow Olympic Development Project. We are very fortunate that he understands our need to balance our travel time with plenty of time in Minneapolis, MN to work with our In-the-Arena program.

Working with Scott on our OFF day!
Training has been going great and it has been nice to be with the National Team coaches as we prepare for a very important Olympic qualifying races. I was originally going to be joining a group from Maine for some early season races in Munio Finland, however, I decided to change my plans so I could build into the season a bit more.

After Park City we traveled up to Canmore, AB for the second half of our Fall travels. We are loving being back on snow and the transition was very easy this year after our trip to the Eagle Glacier in August!

 I have been very happy with my Madshus Skis this year! Switching companies is a difficult decision and even more risky in an Olympic Year. So far the decision was a very good one as my skis are much better than any other year and the people within the company are completely behind me and my efforts! Yeah!!!
Our first day at Frozen Thunder 

As always it has been great to share these days and the journey with Brian. We enjoy thinking about how much diversity we have in our lives between traveling to mountain resort towns and working and living in the inner city. It's a great contrast that we enjoy being able to experience and learn from.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Heading to Park City and Fast and Female!

Our second day in Utah brought almost six inches of snow! Brian and I are totally in love with skiing!!! So we borrowed some rock-skis and kicked around the local golf course for two hours! What a treat for October 4th!
 Welcome to Utah! and SNOW!!! After another busy two weeks back in Minneapolis Brian and I are now on the road for an undetermined amount of time! I LOVE IT. We could be home in a couple of weeks or a couple of months! At first I was a little hesitant about whether or not I was ready for the long road ahead but as soon as I got on the plane my excitement was right back! Before we left the Twin Cities Brian and I put in some of the hardest training of our year. Mine consisted of multiple days of high intensity training back to back. I competed in a 1/2 Marathon (15 minute PR from my previous finish on the same course), a number of 4 minute L-4 efforts, sprints, Rollerski Time Trials (Another 30 Sec. PR!) and Power strength Sessions. The volume of my training was slightly lower but the quality was super high. Despite Training so hard Brian and I decided to give back to the Ski community and offer a Free Clinic to help fund-raise for the National Nordic Foundation (NNF)! We then finished the week by flying to Milwaukee to speak at an event to help fund-raise for the American Birkebeiner Foundation. Brian and I are really finding our stride as a married couple trying to make the Olympics together. We have learned how to function as a fantastic team and support each other through victories and set-backs. It was great to share our story with the audience and I the response was fantastic. We look forward to more speaking engagements together in the future :)

We have been in Park City for about 5 Days and today is our first day off! We put in a solid Volume Block of low intensity so we could adjust to the higher altitude (6,000 ft). Yesterday I had L-3 intervals in the morning and an 1.5 run in the evening. Between the two workouts I volunteered to be an ambassador for the Fast and Female Champ Camp held at the USST Center of Excellence. I had an absolute blast and enjoyed every minute of inspiring the next generation of female athletes! I was particularly proud of my 'Green Team" girls who all showed me their clap push-ups! Awesome :)

Kimberly Derrick (Bronze Medal 2010 Winter Olympics in Short Track Speed Skating!) Here is a fellow Northern Michigan University Alumni and Olympian. It was great to hear her speak about the importance of getting her degree while also being able to train for the sport she loves! I couldn't agree with her more and I love the fact that we both called NMU home!

The Green Team rotated from station to station learning about different elements of each sport. Here we learned about the importance of leg strength and quickness for Alpine Racing.

Hanging out with an Olympian :)

Here the girls learn about the sport of Biathlon. They completed an obstacle course and then tried to get a shoe in a bucket (sort of like hitting a target!) If they missed I made them do push-ups! Soon they decided push-ups weren't enough and they started doing clap push-ups! Love it!

The most popular station was the trampoline and foam pit. The girls got to do a series of tricks and then finish with a move before landing in the soft foam pit! I was stoked about the cool socks everyone had!

Sophie showing how it's done! Toe touching while the other girls cheered her on!

The one aspect of the afternoon that stuck out to me the most was how exhausted the other Ambassadors were after the 4 hour event. Most of the other Ambassadors had the day off from training too! I realized that ironically this was a typical day for Brian and I! We usually put in a big effort in the morning, spend the middle of the day through afternoon at run club and then train again in the later evening. Feeling like I could handle the load so well made me feel very good about the amount of energy and enthusiasm Brian and I put into everyday we work at the Boys and Girls Club and how that has become just another part of our lives! I had a blast meeting new kids and motivating them to be their best but I do miss our Run Club Crew quite a bit. Brian and I have already started planning for our next series of workouts and races for the kids when we get home!