Sunday, August 24, 2014

Training and Racing is the easy part...

I have been living the ultimate athlete life for the past two and a half weeks! A month ago I asked Brian if I could take a little road trip after our friend's wedding in Crested Butte, CO. I decided to go to Truckee, CA (one of my all-time favorite places to train) and stay with my uncle Kelly and his wife Fran. Kelly and Fran got married last year in Truckee and Brian and I came out for the wedding and got a great taste of all that Truckee had to offer. Brian helped me book a ticket and I was on my way!

The weather the past two weeks has been amazing! I have hardly seen a cloud in the sky! Perfect temperatures and perfect humidity paired with incredible mountains, perfect roads and amazing trail running have made this trip a huge success.

The past two weeks have been a huge boost to my training and I am excited about heading into the Lake Placid Camp tomorrow feeling so good. I have an early flight but look forward to maybe getting to the Olympic Training Center for dinner!!! The OTC can get old but when you are there for two weeks a year it seems amazing everyday! I am once again grateful that Brian is letting me travel for such a long time while he is home working and taking care of the dog and house.

Training is on track and I am excited to be starting on the World Cup this fall...but it is incredible to realize that these two factors are only a part of the equation for success.

In this past year I have had both parents flirting dangerously close to death. My mom had two strokes during her massive surgery to remove a cancerous growth from her abdomen last summer. I spent two and a half weeks with her in Pittsburgh while she was in the ICU. I trained every morning early, went in to be with her, then trained late every night. Two weeks ago I learned that now my father also has cancer. His is stage IV and he has been through a tremendous regime of intense Chemo and Radiation. Like last year with my mom I will be heading down to Queens to be with him and take care of him after my camp in Lake Placid.

With so much uncertainty about my parent's future I am left thinking long and hard during my workouts about what this all means and how it affects my life. I have come to the conclusion that life can be short, hard and filled with uncertainty but when someone lives with passion there is never a moment lost.

I have decided not to dwell too long on death but rather focus on life. I am giving it my all this year and look forward to helping my parents by leading by example. I now realize that the training and the racing are the easy part of what I do. The harder part is finding the strength and will to push through difficult times and obstacles and really show how tough we are.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Altitude Camp

This season I have changed a bit of my training focus from previous years. Last year in particular I put a huge emphasis on long distance hilly skate races at altitude. Thankfully that seemed to be what I really excelled at. I am currently trying to be a more well-rounded skier with much more emphasis on sprinting, speed, power and classic skiing. So far so good!

Over the past couple of months I have been putting in a lot of time with the LNR Comp Team when I can and their progress over the summer has been incredible.

When August 6th rolled around Brian and I boarded a plane and headed out to Denver, CO to attended and be in our friend's Casey and Taz's wedding. They were married in Crested Butte and I cannot believe how awesome of a place it was! From the moment we arrived I was in awe the incredible scenery and we had a blast hanging out with skiing friends from many years and new friends we just me that weekend. Much of the wedding party was pretty endorphin driven so every morning started off with a mountain bike or awesome run. Although we were at 9,000 ft and often trained above 10,000 ft I couldn't help but feel great with such great company.

The wedding was amazing and Taz and Casey looked incredible! My only regret of the entire weekend was that I didn't get to go training with Rebecca Dussault. Rebecca has always been one of my favorite teammates! She is so generous and supportive and it was amazing to visit her and her family on the hillside between Crested Butte and Gunnison, CO. She and her husband Sharbel have done some of the most inspiring work with their faith community, their athletic community and the farming community. I am looking forward to visiting (and Training) with Rebecca in the future! All I can say is that this mother of 4! is super fit and I hope to see her crushing it somewhere on the ski trails this winter :)

I am now in Truckee, CA visiting my uncle Kelly and Fran and getting in another two weeks of solid training at high altitude. I love training here and looking forward to hanging out with the Farwest team while I am here!