Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Practice for the 100k

This Saturday we are doing our annual 100k skiathon fundraiser. We map out a 100k route (62.1 miles) and it usually takes us about 6-7 hours. Not only is this an important fundraiser for us, but it's also a great event for team bonding. If you can roller ski for 7 hours straight and still love your teammates at the end, you're golden. If you're interested in donating to our SMS T2 team or any individuals on the team, visit http://smst2.wordpress.com/100k-ski-a-thon/ for information on the event and how to donate.
Our team at the end of our 100k Skiathon fundraiser last summer

Skiathon poster
Last week we had an easy recovery week after our two big weeks of training in Lake Placid. Since the 100k is only a week away, we decided it would be a good idea to do a long roller ski for our OD on Sunday. We ended up skiing 55kms and that felt pretty good, so all we have to do on Saturday is what we did Sunday...twice! Thanks to Coach Pat, we ended up making a day out of our adventure on Sunday and it was probably one of my favorite days of training of the year so far.

9:00 AM
The day began with sleeping in, because it is an easy week of course. Annie Pokorny is known for her famous waffles, so after sleeping in, we woke up to a pumpkin spice waffle breakfast put together by Annie (who doesn't know how to sleep in). They were absolutely delicious and a wonderful way to fuel the big ski we had coming next.
Waffle master Annie P and intruder Annie H

Pumpkin spice waffles topped with yogurt, bananas, raisins, and drenched in maple syrup. YUM!
10:45 AM
Coach Patrick rolled in to pick us up for our big ski. We skate skied the first half and classic skied the second half, so this meant each one of us had four skis, four boots, four poles, one helmet, a lot of layers, and a bag or two to stuff in the van.
And we're off!

New Swix drink belt (glorified fanny pack) keeping me hydrated!
We started our ski in Townshend VT. We got 15 minutes of questionable pavement out of the way at the beginning of our ski and had beautiful pavement with very little traffic the rest of the way. We also got most of the uphill out of the way in the beginning and the majority of the rest of the ski was flat and gradual down!
About to take off in Townshend (Andy photo)
Skating the first half of the ski (Pat photo)
About half way through the ski we switched from skate equipment to classic equipment. This meant unloading and reloading the van, fueling up, and then continuing on our way. The sun was out, the temperatures were perfect, and we enjoyed a very scenic ski that finished by climbing up West Hill in Putney.
Switching from skating to classic equipment (Pat photo)
Girls chase boys chase girls (Pat photo)

Sporting our new SMS T2 Podium Wear tanks! (Annie P didn't get the memo) (Pat photo)

VT cornfields (Pat photo)

At about 2:45, we ended our ski at my Grandparents' pond in Putney. A few people jumped in, then we changed out of our ski clothes and headed over to the O'Briens' house for a BBQ. Pat's parents, Deb and Will, cooked us up an amazing feast including fresh raspberries, ribs, pesto pasta, corn on the cob, tomatoes and mozzarella, and ice cream and raspberry chocolate banana bread. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun and stuffing ourselves with delicious food.
Nap time in the hammock

How does Goob feel about this day so far?
Before heading home, Pat and Will asked us if we wanted to go for a crane ride. Umm, YES! We spent the next hour taking turns soaring above the trees. It was a wonderful field trip and we feel a little more prepared for our 100k ski coming up. Thanks to the O'Briens for taking care of us!
O'Brien tree service rides!

On my way up

Jessie catching me on my way back down

Andy enjoying a sunset ride

Annie P taking in the view
Everyone is back in town and we're looking forward to our 100k on Saturday. Follow our progress on our TwitterInstagram, and Facebook Page and check out our Website for more information. Thanks for following!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time for a Rest Week (or two)!

We just finished up our two week camp in Lake Placid and now it's time for a rest week. This was the biggest summer of training I've ever done, and I think I was beginning to feel some of the effects in Lake Placid. So in my case, it might be more like a 10 day rest week to make sure I'm all set to go again for the rest of the fall. During big training camps, almost everyone is tired by the end and that's how it's supposed to be. You push yourself, then you recover, and then you come back a little stronger and repeat it all over again. When you're tired, chances are that you are going to feel great some days and really not great other days. It's also pretty likely that these days are going to be different for each person, so this is when we get good at taking the lead on our good days and allowing others to pull us along on our tired days. We had a bunch of tough workouts in Lake Placid and the last hard workout was my favorite, the Climb to the Castle. Just kidding, the Climb to the Castle is actually one of my least favorite workouts because it is five miles of uphill skating at 8% grade, but hey, regardless of how it goes or how you feel about it, it makes you a lot tougher. It was also pretty impressive to watch some of my teammates fly up it. I think some special recognition goes to Liz for galloping up it the fastest once again and giving us all something to strive toward, Katherine Ogden for placing an impressive 3rd OVERALL as a junior in high school, and Simi for double poling the monster significantly faster than most people skated it. Here are a bunch of pictures from our second week at Lake Placid!
Jessie pulling our group along in a distance double pole workout

3.5 hour run to the top of Mt. Marcy and back (in a cloud)

Jessie going for a post workout dip...

#Annies showing us how (not) to ski

We hosted a Fast and Female event in Lake Placid with the Biathlon girls. Here are two of the girls sporting their new F&F swag

Sophia twins!

Skiing up the Climb to the Castle with my SMS T2 teammates (Pat photo)

Our final workout of the camp was a 3 hr ski. I skied with Annie Hart and we skied at the back together. As we went by Matt once, he jokingly asked if we were tied for last place. We were and I wouldn't have had it any other way. 

Who is ready for a rest week? We are.

Women's start of the Climb to the Castle

The crew after our final workout (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Pat bikes along next to us for a lot of our workouts. He has mastered videoing while biking, chatting while biking, and coaching in general. Thanks Pat!

Ida and me catching some air during classic speeds

Matt giving me some encouraging words during the Climb to the Castle. Matt is one of the most inspiring and hard-working people I've ever met and I feel pretty lucky to have him as one of my coaches. 
On the way home from Lake Placid, we stopped in Montpelier to have dinner with Gus and his family. Gus made a guest appearance in Placid for a day and it was great to see him for another day in VT. It was awesome being able to work with Matt, Pat, and Gus all during one camp. Fall is coming to VT and this is one of my favorite times of the year. The transition between summer and fall is hard to beat. The days are still warm, but the nights get cold and the humidity drops. The leaves are starting to change and I'm looking forward to a relaxing rest week at home where I can soak it all in.

Gus's dog, Barney, getting excited as Matt and Liz pull up for a sunset dinner

Stackers and coffee! My favorite breakfast

Happy to be home!

And back with Leroy and the rest of my family

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lake Placid Week One

We spent our off day on Monday making the trip up to Lake Placid, NY for our annual USST training camp. The camp is two weeks long and we will wrap up the first week after a long run/hike adventure in the Adirondacks tomorrow morning. The camp consists of two big weeks of training with three intensity sessions a week, a speed session each week, some strength training, and a lot of easy distance and technique work. We have a smaller group in LP this year, which has been really nice for logistics and group size during training and it's been great to train with a handful of people that I don't get to see everyday. It's also fun to have the entire SMS T2 team here and see the familiar faces that I train with the rest of the summer. We kicked off the camp with some hard uphill skate intervals on day 1 just to make sure everyone was nice and tired from the beginning. Just kidding, it was a tough workout, but on the other hand, we got it out of the way! We're staying at the Olympic Training Center where we have access to all kinds of recovery methods including ice baths, physical therapists, massage, and constant food and hydration, so it really is an ideal place for a hard training camp. We've had beautiful weather so far and everyone is looking really strong. We held a classic sprint out at the jumping complex today. It's a long tough course with a couple technical downhills and two really big uphills, but I think most of the blood shed today was from collecting lactates, so I view it as a success. The coaching staff has been amazing, providing us with instant video and feedback and I'm looking forward to the next week of tough training! Here are some photos from our week so far.
Group of girls working together during a double pole workout (Matt Whitcomb photo)

The coaches put together a couple video clips for us to watch before each workout that highlight some good technique that we might want to work on. Here is the group before a classic day watching some World Cup footage of Marit Bjorgen and Therese Johaug (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Classic sprint day! (Bryan Fish Photo)

The start of one of our heats (Bryan Fish photo)

This is my teammate Ben Saxton eating salad. He isn't a huge fan of vegetables in general, but he has come a long way since last year. He now eats a huge bowl of spinach at both lunch and dinner. The spinach is undressed and doesn't have anything else on it, so it doesn't seem like the most appetizing option to me, but hey, it's progress!

Ida and I are roommates at the OTC and so far we've managed to wear matching outfits on most days. Here we are after the sprint workout today sporting matching everything except for our ski boots. (Bryan Fish photo)

I'm not sure why I'm smiling in this photo because I'm pretty sure it's in the middle of double poling up a massive hill, but I guess Matt caught me at the right time. (Matt Whitcomb photo)

Practicing cornering with Annie H during our classic threshold workout (Pat O'brien photo)

Jessie had her 23rd Birthday on the first day of camp and we got her tank tops that we all spent the afternoon tie-dyeing. THanks for being born, Jess!

On the way up to Lake Placid we stopped to go climbing. It was a beautiful day and a (mostly) fun adventure. I don't think of myself as someone who is afraid of heights, but the jury is still out on whether climbing actually makes you more or less afraid of heights. About 3/4 of the way through the climb I was voting more afraid.

Attempting to crack climb

Simi leading the way

Before leaving for Placid, we spent an evening at the Bondville fair watching the truck pull. It was very entertaining, but after about 10 trucks,  Jessie and I decided to wander around and see what else the fair had to offer (ferris wheels and candy apples!!!)

The fair had a petting zoo with goats!

Truck pull. Vroom vroom