Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Learning to Follow

I've decided that one of the strengths of our team is that we're not afraid to follow each other. Each one of us has different strengths and there is absolutely no shame in hopping in behind someone who is better than you are to try to figure out what they're doing. So we have this deal and it goes something like this. I'm allowed to follow Jessie during L3 skate intervals if she's allowed to follow me in skate speed starts and Erika is allowed to follow me double poling if I can follow her whenever we V1 and Annie P is allowed to follow Erika V2ing if Erika can follow her striding and Annie H is allowed to follow Jessie in double pole speeds if Jessie can follow her in striding speeds and Annie P is allowed to spot me doing pull ups if I can watch her do cleans. Just kidding. It's actually nothing like that, but my point is that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and we learn A LOT from the simple act of following each other. The past week and a half we have been putting in big hours and when you're training that much, some people are going to feel great on certain days while others feel like crap and might even shed a tear or two. But that's okay! Chances are the next workout it's going to be the other way around and I feel very lucky to be on a team that constantly reminds each other of that because we're all some of each other's biggest fans...and followers.

Jessie with one of her fans at World Champs
Annie, Sophie, Annie, Erika
So back to the art of following. I've mostly been talking about learning from each other on our girls' team, but our boys are also really great about letting us jump in behind them and ski like mad women to try to keep up. Last week we had a skate speed workout in Windham. Speed workouts are one of my strengths and favorite workouts, but I definitely still have room to improve. I hopped in behind Ben a few times and I learned that the guys are a lot stronger than I am. While realistically, I'm probably never going to be the size of Ben Saxton, it was very clear what a difference being strong can make. I also had the opportunity to follow Austin Cobb and David Sinclair for a lot of our classic OD on Sunday and we have a lot of the younger boys following us during our workouts with the whole summer group.
Russel hopping in behind the Annies and me

Cobby, Davey, and me
Ben letting me jump in with him for some classic speeds

A big train of...followers!
Another one of our big workouts last week was L3 ski walking intervals. I have a tendency to push some of my L3 workouts a little too hard and while it usually seems like a great idea at the time, I realize afterwards that the goal of the workout was L3 for a reason. Erika happens to be very good at pacing and staying extremely consistent. During our ski walking intervals last week, I asked her if it was okay to follow her and instead of being exhausted after 6 intervals, I was able to do 7 and stay in L3.
Andy and Simi

Erika and me
On Saturday we did a sprint practice in New York state. This was one of the hardest workouts we've done this summer and one of the only L4 workouts so we knew it was going to hurt. There were some people who had great days and some people who had tough days, but overall it was an awesome workout and we all made it through! Sprinting has been my strongest event in the past, so this workout was a chance for me to do some leading and let some of my teammates follow me. It was a lot of fun and awesome to have Erika and the Annies right there on my bum.
The girls
Andy, Ben , and Eric
V1 has always been a struggle for me to grasp, but once again Erika comes to the rescue! She led up the hill in one of our sprint heats and I decided that I was going to learn to V1 by following her. Luckily, we just happened to have a V1 L3 workout on the schedule for this morning. To add to my luck, Rosie Brennan is in town and she decided to come train with us for a couple of days. In my opinion, Rosie, Annie P., and Erika, are three of the best skaters in the country, which these days also means they would be very competitive internationally. So, I was eager to take my turn following this morning. I don't learn very well from overanalyzing things or having a lot of words thrown at me. I prefer to follow people or practice something until I feel it click and know it's right so that's what I tried to do this morning. It was an awesome workout and I felt like I learned a lot. I'm not sure I could tell you what exactly I changed about my technique, but it feels like it's heading in the right direction as long as my teammates keep allowing me to follow them!
following Erika

Following Rosie
That's all for now!
Isabel taking the leap at Little Rocky Pond