Sunday, January 25, 2015


The week after US Nationals in Houghton, MI was an awesome combination of rest, rejuvenation and more time with the local Midwest XC Ski community. Brian and I returned to our pre-nationals camp headquarters in Hayward, WI. We have been so lucky to stay with countless families and individuals each time we visit and we cannot thank each of them enough! 

The snow on the Birkie trail was awesome and the vibe, with just over a month until the American Birkiebeiner, was even better. Brian and I spent a few days planning an outlining the remainder of our race season and where we would travel for training and racing. It's a long process as this is the time of year when we are waiting to hear about international race opportunities (World Championships in Falun, Sweden) and we are guessing a bit on what is the best approach to make sure we are ready for whatever decision is made.

After a few days of planning, organizing and recovery we were both anxious to get out and start building a base for the remainder of the season so we can finish the year out strong. We started putting in long hours on the Birkie Trail and enjoyed the company of the famous Ski and Tea Ladies! It was their 7th anniversary and they have always been huge supporters of healthy, active women! I am very grateful for all of their support over the years and it was great to celebrate such an awesome milestone with them on Friday morning. 

The Ski and Tea Ladies ready to ski!

Brian and I also spent Saturday morning preparing for and racing the Seeley Hills Classic race. It's a 42K (well only 38K this year) and 21K classic only race and  it is put on by Dennis Kruse of Seeley, WI! The event is always a blast and the stone trophies with Metal skiers are the coolest prizes at any event. Each age group podium finisher gets an awesome handmade plate as well! We proudly display our trophies and eat off our plates from year's past! The race itself was a bit of a challenge as Brian and I decided to try and wax our own skis! Wow! That was hard! We tested base layers, top coats and kick waxes galore. We were at the venue two hours before race start and by the time we started the race I was happy to finally just get going! We gave ourselves a B- for the day. We were competitive but it was so much work and we still didn't quite nail it as our skis seemed to have a little too much kick for the mostly flat second half. Oh well, it was a good way to really learn to appreciate how hard our coaches and wax techs work to get us such incredible race skis when it counts! I had fun skiing with Natalia from the CXC Team and catching up with so many faces I hadn't seen since before I left for the first World Cups in October.

Signing our picture cards
The very next morning Brian and I were up early to ski the 46K Birkie Tour Event. We had a great time skiing and sharing stories with tons of people from all over. It was a great way to enjoy the trail without the pressure of an important race. After the Tour Brian and I stayed around to volunteer for the Hayward Nordic Kids that afternoon. There were 145 kids at the event and everyone was having a great time on skis. Brian and I enjoyed leading the Timber Wolves through a series of drills (and spills!).

Back on the trails at Theodore Wirth.

After a very long day we packed up our stuff and headed home. It was great to be back in my own bed even if it was only for two nights. I had only been home for one night since mid-October and it was very refreshing to feel grounded (and get some laundry done and pack new clothes!). Brian and I were up early the next morning and joined a number of the LNR kids for a beautiful day of skiing on the Theodore With Trails. Minneapolis doesn't have a ton of snow but we are lucky to have such a great area right outside our back door to train. 

Although I was only home for two nights I spent one evening with our neighborhood block leader Bobbi at the 4th precinct for an opportunity to meet and talk with the new head investigator for the 4th precinct. There has been an increase in crime lately in our area and many are concerned not only about their safety but also how the situations will be handled. Minnesota Public Radio was there and it was great to bring up the importance of keeping the kids in North Minneapolis engaged and receiving attention for their positive actions rather than negative. It takes a lot of effort but the kids are willing to listen if you truly show you care. We are excited to have multiple police officers from the 4th Precinct come into the Boys and Girls Club this fall and start an interaction and dialogue with the kids in a positive situation! 

Sunny Colorado!
Brian and I boarded a plane for Colorado and are now training well at 9,000 ft. I have always responded well to altitude and I am excited to have so much sunshine and great terrain.

Beautiful Sunsets
We are putting in big hours up here and often finish our second workout well after dark. I am pretty psyched we got these huge headlamps because they make the whole experience way more fun. Brian apparently found the local coyote on one of his night skis but I haven't been able to find him yet! Here's to more K's and hopefully good news tomorrow!

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