Monday, July 29, 2013

Alaska R and R

Monday blogday is upon me again, so I of course need to update you all to keep you in the loop of what is going on with me over the last week.  However, I am going to keep this one to a minimum, as, though there are many stories to tell, I am currently taking some much needed R and R after an amazing week on the Eagle Glacier, which was full of sun, friends and a lot of training.  After flying off Eagle two nights ago, we had a last hurrah of the whole crew at Kikkan’s house with some pizza and beer, the National Team girls and Astrid took off to Holly’s cabin in Hope, Alaska.  Her husband, Rob, has done a ton of work on the cabin over the last 8 months and it is astounding how fast he is putting up a house.  We are staying in their shed, which has been here for a year or so, with a bunch of mattresses upstairs and a generator for some light, though you don’t need it too much this time of year here in Alaska, and a propane camp stove.  We cooked brats over the fire last night and this morning we slept in, had a relaxed breakfast and now are heading to go fishing on the Casillov River (spelling?) with one of the APU skier’s boyfriends who has generously offered to take us for the afternoon.  So excited.  More soon.  Here are just a few pictures from the glacier with many more to come midweek when I am back to Park City and internet, but for now, I am really going to get into cabin life, R and R and the Alaskan Wilderness.  Ciao!

Astrid Jacobsen, Norwegian National Team Member and World Sprint Champion in 2007 joined us for the last 2 weeks of camp.  She has been not only an awesome addition on the ski trails but also a huge addition to the social aspect of our camp.

The glacier crew!

Sadie, Kikkan and Holly practicing their jump skills!  We had a sprint relay one day and one of the sections included a turny downhill with a jump.  It was great for practicing our comfort on skis!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

AK Dryland Week

This morning we will get the call as to when the helicopter will get a weather window that will allow us to fly up to Eagle Glacier where we will spend the next week.  As a nordic skier, Eagle can be a little slice of heaven, with not much else to do but ski, sleep, eat, repeat.  There is no internet, just a bit of cell service,  an old TV with a VCR and DVD set up, and lots of Cosmo magazines that date back quite a few years.  However, for me, I really love being up there for 1 week a year.  It makes me rest between my training sessions, and although at times it can be boring, it is really important as a skier to learn how to rest.  I also love the fact that it is back to interacting completely with people for forms of entertainment.  We cook together, clean together, do puzzles together, talk together, and there are no distractions from one another.  No one is multitasking by texting and trying to have a conversation in the here and now, and no one is watching a movie by themselves in their room on their computer.  There are no computers, for the most part.  We have each other.  I am pumped for my one week a year up there, just skiing and living and it starts today.  As posting up there would be a major challenge with no internet, I am going to recap the week today, Sunday, and have another one ready when we come down from the glacier next Monday.  Cheers!

We spent this week doing dryland in town in Anchorage.  Here are a few images from the week's sessions.  Photo credits go to our volunteer PT Zuzana Rogers, Matt Whitcomb, Holly Brooks, and Paul Clark.

Bomber Glacier Run: Yesterday we went on a long OD run with a goal of getting up to Bomber Glacier where a bomber jet crashed in the 1950's.  6 people died, 4 survived and the remnants of the plane are still there.  I didn't make it, as I really struggle when having to work my way over big boulders, but here are a few pictures of the plane from those who made it the whole way.  Afterwards we talked and had lunch with the REG athletes, who also joined us on the run.

Astrid, Holly and Erik on the jet's wing

USST Members and Astrid Jacobsen (Norwegian National Team) and Bettina Gruber (Swiss National Team) talking with the REG athletes.

We have had some really awesome workouts together, learning from one another and pushing each other to become better.  Here are a few group shots.

Bluff Trail Run: Holly and her husband Rob led us on an awesome run on the Bluff Trail by Kincaid earlier this week.  It was beautiful.  Huge props go out to Alex Moore, our strength and conditioning coach, who came to this endurance camp and did all of our running workouts with us.  In fact, I hate to admit it, but he actually won this 1.25 hour run!  Norma, our volunteer massage therapist for this past week also joined us on the runs and is a major badass woman.  How do we find such awesome people?!  Thanks Norma, Zuzana, and Alex for being so generous and great this week.  Gold stars for you all!

Kikkan giving me some advice during a speed session earlier this week.

International Women's Training Alliance crew this year!  Thanks to SKIDA for the awesome headbands!!!

Alex Moore, endurance fanatic and mountain man! ;)

Thanks to the Alaska Club for hooking us up with a sweet place to lift!

Moose count is high on this trip.  These guys are everywhere.

I did a skate rollerski clinic for the Park City Nordic Team before I left.  Rossignol gave all of the kids cool sweatshirts, too!  Thanks Paul and Ryan!

Here I am with all the PC Skiers!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crest Trail Anyone?

This week I had an awesome training week, full of so many of my favorite kinds of workouts and 5 of the last 9 days I spent in Park City took me in one way or another to the Crest Trail.  The Crest Trail runs along the top of the ridge of mountains that separate Salt Lake from Park City.  The views are beautiful and right now the wildflowers are out and we have gotten some rain, so trails are in super shape.  I ran parts of this trail 2 times, biked it twice and hiked it once with my Mom, so I have really made the most of my favorite trail before heading to Alaska for women's camp.

Views from one of my most recent runs coming off the Crest Trail on my way home.

Another view from the trails.  I am so lucky, I am so lucky, I am so lucky.

It was Alex's 35th birthday last week and in the afternoon I went over to his house to hang out with the girls.  Charlie, his 4 year old daughter and I worked on this beautiful chalk sign for him to come home to.  I wrote the "Happy Birthday", Charlie wrote the "Dad" and of course did all of the flower/weed decorations that really took it over the top.

And then she made sure I wrote this.

This is the view I wake up to most mornings here in Utah.  Not too shabby, eh?  Beautiful sunrises these days especially with the rain clouds hanging around a bit more than usual.  Makes for really good training weather.

Noah and I also did some treadmill testing this week.  Here I am VO2 Max Testing.  We breath sea level air for this test, which is what is filling those balloons in the back round.  This gives us better numbers, as your body can work harder at sea level, letting your heart rate get higher and allowing you to reach your full max.

We also do a double pole max test, which is what I am doing here.  It's really good for me to test every so often, because though I still get so nervous I don't sleep the night before, whether I have a good test or a bad one, I learn things about where I am both physically and mentally in the preparation phase of my training.  I place tremendous value in my mental state and approach to training, so this test tells me as much about where I am mentally as it does about how well I am absorbing training.  I found myself constantly inspired this week.  I was inspired by my Mom running 7 minute mile pace intervals on the Alter-G.  I was inspired by the plank competition I heard about the Women's Alpine Tech Team (slalom and GS is called "tech") doing in which one of the girls held a plank for 26 minutes!  The day we were testing on the treadmill, we had almost every alpine skier on the USST in the gym cheering between their sets of 450 pound squats.  I read my teammates blogs and I get psyched.  I am inspired by the people around me in the gym, on the trails, in my life and all week I have just found myself getting more goosebumps because of hearing about or watching somebody do something incredible.

And then I showed up at the airport yesterday evening and learned I had been upgraded to first class for the first time ever!!  Here is dinner, and yes, it is as nice as you think it is.

Alex and I enjoying our first class experience together.  It's always better when you can share your excitement with someone else.

Kikkan is also fun to share an experience with.  Look how psyched she is in real life too!
(Photo courtesy of Jessie Diggins)

Alaska Women's Camp has officially begun.  This year we have a rocking crew of North Americans as well as Astrid Jacobsen of Norway and Bettina Gruber of Switzerland.  Oh, and a big welcome to our massage therapist, Norma, who came down from Fairbanks on her own dime to help us out this week!

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Mom Came to Town!!!

My Mom is in town!!  She arrived on the 5th and is here for another day before heading back to our new puppy and my Dad who are anxiously awaiting her return to Vermont.  It has been so nice having her out here.  Today she tried out the Alter-G at the COE and ran intervals on it at a 7 minute mile pace!  I was so impressed, and I think she may have some sore muscles tomorrow!  We have had some really good dinners together, gotten to hang out with some of the people in my life out here in Utah who mean the world to me, and it has been really amazing to have her out here.
My Mom having fun on the Alter-G this morning!

Dinner night 1: Homemade Sushi at the Adam's house with Chef Noah.

We baked a chicken for lunches!  Oh man, I am living large with Mom in town!

Dinner night 2: Grass fed beef with radishes in our salad from my parent's garden in Vermont!

Some of last night's dinner crew, Alex Shaffer, me, and Carly.  Thai Curry!!

Tonight's dinner: Spagetti with homemade tomato sauce and heirloom caprese salad! YUM!

Happy 4th of July earlier this week too!  I ran a 5k with Noah, Matt and our strength coach Alex Moore.  We had bets on how far each of us would be ahead or behind the others and Matt won the competition, as he is in super secret really good coach shape.  Then we all headed to watch the parade with Alex's family.

I also played my first game of disc golf with Noah, Graham Watanabe (Star of the newest Ninja Warrior and Olympic gold medalist Snowboard Cross Athlete) , Heather McPhie (Mogul Skier), and Emily Cook (Arial Skier).  It was pretty fun and we only lost 2 discs!

Me on my mountain bike ride on the crest trail this afternoon.  I have gotten two rides in on the crest this week and the trails are in perfect condition with the recent thunderstorms in the afternoons.  The rain feels so good!!

Also got a haircut this week.  Feels so good to have short hair in the summer!

Oh, and we have been doing a bit of training too:)  Matt joined Noah and I on a recent rollerski around the roads and bike paths of Park City.