Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wrapping up in Canmore

We just finished our second to last workout on snow in Canmore. All we have left is a jog this afternoon, a classic sprint time trial tomorrow morning, strength tomorrow afternoon, and then an early Halloween tomorrow evening. We are going costume shopping this afternoon and the girls have a pretttty clever idea. This week we will have done two timetrials, a speed session, and a lot of easy distance. On Monday we had a 10k classic timetrial. The course was 5 laps around the 1.8k loop and I don't think anymone lost count! It went pretty well and I got to ski a lap behind Liz Stephen and see what she was doing so that was the highlight of my workout. It is still early and very few of us were using race skis so we're not getting caught up in the results, we're just viewing it as a good hard effort that will hopefully help ease the transition when the real race season begins in a month!

Erika (Packer photo)

Andy, Sylvan, Skyler

Annie and Sophie (Packer photo)

Annie, Jessie, and Sophie (Packer photo)

Packer photo
In general I've been feeling pretty good but I'm definitely starting to get tired. A couple of the other training highlights of the week were being able to ski some of one of my skate distance sessions behind Eric Packer and some of the guys and feeling like I made a lot of progress on my uphill skating technique. I probably went a little too hard to try to keep up with the boys but I felt it was worth it because I learned a lot and made myself go stride for stride with Packer (Sorry Eric). The other highlight was our speed workout this morning. Skate speed workouts are probably my favorite workout but today was especially awesome because the conditions were perfect, we had a good size group, the weather was beautiful, and everyone had a really positive attitude or if they didn't in the beginning, they definitely did in the end thanks to Matt Whitcomb's motivational pep talks.

Yesterday we had a much needed off day and Eric, Erika, Skyler, Annie, and I decided to go sightseeing. Our first stop was Lake Louise and then we went to Banff for lunch and wandered around for awhile. It was a beautiful day and we took a lot of pictures. Check out Eric's BLOG to see some of his amazing shots!
Lake Louise!

Annie and Sophie

The girls minus Jessie

Skyler, Annie, Sophie, Erika, and Eric (Packer photo)
On Saturday, we each go to our respective homes for about two weeks then Skyler, Annie, Erika, Eric, Gus and I meet back up in Bozeman on November 9th and Jessie and Andy head to Europe! We're looking forward to our last couple of days here but we're also very excited to go home! A couple of us are starting to go a little crazy...

Sunday, October 21, 2012


We made it to Canmore and so did the snow! We're still skiing on the same 1.8 km loop but we haven't gotten too sick of it yet and we got a bunch of natural snow yesterday. They were blowing snow today so maybe by the time we leave there will be some new loops opening up. Our travel day was pretty easy and uneventful. There were two highlights that day. Annie and I saw the tallest man we've ever seen in our lives and I discreetly took a picture that I will not post because that's creepy and I saw this rack full of jellybeans, my favorite food.
So many flavors!
Since arriving in Canmore, we've been doing A LOT of skiing. We generally ski for about 2 hours in the morning and then do 1-2 hours of something in the afternoon and that can be strength, skiing, running, or rollerskiing. We were supposed to rollerski yesterday afternoon to take a break from our snow loop but we weren't able to do that because of the snow so we went for a nice run on the World Cup trails.
Post ski (Annie, Sophie, Erika)

When we wake up each morning it's usually dark and cloudy and I never think it's going to turn into a nice day but I'm always wrong. It's not necessarily always bluebird skies and an endless amount of sun like Park City was but each day the sky and clouds are different and form some pretty spectacular views.

We're usually very tired during our down time and spend a lot of time reading, napping, watching movies, or checking out coffee shops. The coffee shop across the street has awesome muffins (hi annie!) and we've discovered a few other good ones in town. Yesterday Jessie, Annie, Erika and I went into town to get some tea and a treat and when we walked outside it was snowing so we took pictures until Jessie FINALLY cooperated and made a semi-normal face. Our internet isn't very good at our hotel so I don't know if I'll be able to do another update but I will try to! We have a 10km classic time trial tomorrow morning and a classic sprint time trail on Friday before we head home on Saturday.

Excited for snow!

Not quite...

Almost Jessie...
There we go!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Park City Update

Our time in Park City has been flying by! We've already been here 9 days and only have 3 or 4 more days until we head to Canmore. Everyone seems to be acclimating well and we've been able to begin doing some harder workouts. Our first hard workout was on Wednesday when we did some threshold double pole and classic striding intervals out past Jeremy Ranch. We were on a very scenic road with very little traffic. Here are some photos Gus took from that day.

The girls warming up


Girls doing intervals

Check out that synchronization!

Erika, Sophie, Eric, Annie, and Skyler on top of the pass

Gus keeping it pure

 Our other hard workout this week was a bounding workout on Saturday. We woke up to snow on the peaks of the mountains and some chilly weather but it warmed up a little and turned out to be a very tough workout. HERE is some video Bryan Fish took from the day.
Cold Morning for intervals

There is some snow behind those clouds!
We've also had some more scenic recovery workouts. I was able to go for a mountain bike ride with my friend Parker Tyler on the trails behind the COE and we also went on a beautiful distance run on the same trails and took a lot of pictures.

Eric Packer

We went and saw the movie Argo with some of our Dartmouth friends who are on the alpine USST and I think everyone who saw it would highly recommend it. We've also been experimenting with some new recipes and lately Annie has really nailed the seasonal cooking with her candy corn pretzel creations and her pumpkin snicker doodles.
Tomorrow morning Erika, Annie, Eric, Jessie, and I are all doing a VO2 Max test on the treadmill. I've never done one of these tests so I'm excited to try the rollerski treadmill but it will probably be painful since the goal is to go until we fall off. After testing tomorrow we might go get team pedicures since the nail place was booked when Gus tried to go today. Pictures to follow!

Morning View

Monday, October 8, 2012

Park City and Fast and Female

We arrived in Park City on Friday after a very easy travel day. We had to wake up at 3 am but we had landed in Salt Lake City by 11 am Friday morning. Annie and I ended up wearing very similar travel outfits and we didn't even plan it - great minds think alike!

Erika's Aunt and Uncle are very generously letting us stay in their beautiful house outside of Park City. We have a beautiful view and often wake up to a nice view of elk roaming in the hills behind the house. The house has a huge kitchen so we've been having very tasty family dinners and baking yummy treats. Gus was in charge of our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last night and made a great turkey despite the fact that he cooked it upside down and the skin was so tough you couldn't bite through it. There is one of those mini basketball hoop shooter games here and I'm currently undefeated in doubles. You can ask Skyler and Eric if you don't believe me.
If you look closely you might be able to see the elk!
The weather here has been perfect since we got here and it looks like it might stay that way for awhile. The key for training here is to wear a lot of layers. This morning when we woke up, my phone said it was 19 degrees but by the time we finish our skis it has usually warmed up into the 50s. We have only been doing easy distance skiing since we arrived while we're adjusting to the altitude. We also started a new strength program on Saturday and I'm still very sore from it. We are doing our strength at the Center of Excellence and it has just about everything we could ever need. We are sleeping at about 7,000 feet so I've been having some funny dreams but everything else seems fine so far. We are trying to keep very hydrated which is something that we should be doing all the time but probably don't do enough. As a result, we have to go to the bathroom a lot and this has proven to be difficult while training due to the lack of trees and very open landscape.
Group of boys training near Soldier Hollow (Gus photo)

Giant poster of Kikkan at the COE
Erik Bjornsen, Annie, and Jessie after our skate at Soldier Hollow

Yesterday was an off day for us and we spent the afternoon being ambassadors for Fast and Female. Fast and Female is an awesome organization run by Chandra Crawford and Kikkan Randall that motivates girls to try sports and lead a healthy lifestyle by exposing them to positive role models and world-class athletes through clinics that are held throughout North America. Thanks to Liz Stephen for organizing the event in Park City - I thought it was a huge success. Each of the ambassadors was assigned a job during the event that was either leading a station or leading a group of girls. I was in charge of the Blue group and that consisted of girls who were about 10 years old. My co-leader was Canadian biathlete Zina Kocher and our group was great and I was psyched because blue is my favorite color - BONUS! I was very impressed with Jessie and Annie because they were in charge of the dance station and danced for over an hour straight staying smiley and peppy the entire time. The only downside to the day was that I think I had an allergic reaction, or something of the sort, to the amount of sparkles I put on my face. I've prided myself on not being allergic to anything and it wasn't a bad allergic reaction but it wasn't comfortable. This means the two things that I could potentially be allergic to are sparkles and perfume. I'm not sure what that says about me but I'm glad it's impossible to be allergic to the color pink because that seems like it would fit in nicely. Here are some pictures from Fast and Female.
Annie, Sophie, Jessie, Sadie (USSA photo)

Fast and Female (USSA photo)

Ski Jumping station (USSA photo)

Dancing/ Nordic Station (USSA photo)

Alpine station (USSA photo)

Biathlon station (USSA photo)

Aerialist Station (USSA Photo)

SMS T2 Girls
There are a ton of athletes here now including skiers from the USST, Sun Valley, University of Utah, APU, and Canada so it's been fun to see a lot of old friends and meet some new people! Tomorrow we have a distance run and strength and then I think we start to do some intensity. You usually feel the worst around the 4th or 5th day at altitude so that could be coming any day now but hopefully we never feel too bad!
View from our deck 

Sunset over the same mountains

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Leaf Peeping and Rain

After a beautiful summer and start to the fall, we finally started to get a little rain. It's a little harder to motivate yourself to go out and train for two hours when it's pouring but we were getting a little too spoiled with the perfect weather so I think this will toughen us up. In the last week, we have had a lot of easy recovery workouts to get us rested up for Park City, two time trials, an SMS T2 reception, and some leaf peeping when the weather clears up! Last Thursday was a beautiful day so Annie, Dan, and I decided to hike Mt. Equinox to look at the foliage. Our training plan called for an easy hour run and we figured an easy hike would have the same effect so we left more than enough time before dinner and set off on our adventure. We made it to the top with a quick stop at Lookout Rock on the way up and had some awesome views full of beautiful fall colors. We were very excited and took a lot of pictures.
Made it!

Lookout Rock

A Perch
This is when it starts to get embarrassing. We should have had no trouble making it back down to our car because all we would have had to do is take the same exact trail we came up on. Welp...we decided to follow a "shortcut" trail that spat us out about 1/3 of the way down the access road so we climbed back up the access road to the top and then caught a ride down with some kind people because we were already late for dinner at that point. It was a fun adventure and we met some very nice people but our 1 hour recovery run turned into a hike that took a bit longer. Oops.

Since then we've had a lot of rainy and cloudy days but the training has been going well. We had a 5k classic timetrial on Saturday and a 10k L3 skate time trial today. Here are some pictures from the workouts we've done in the past week.
Annie and I demonstrating some good technique at BMD. Just kidding - don't do that

Sophie - Eric - Annie - Sky - Jordan

Lots of jumping photos this week

Skate speeds at BMD with Brooke Mooney

A long rainy ski in NY State with Molly Hoopes

Some pretty VT foliage before the start of our 5k classic Timetrial

Final hill in our 5k timetrial
HERE is a video of the girls during the 5k classic and HERE is a video of the boys during their 10k classic.

We also had a SMS T2 reception Sunday evening and we had a great turnout. Thanks to everyone who showed up!

Gus, Erika, Eric, Sophie, Andy, Annie, Skyler

Eric, Skyler, Sophie
Yesterday we had the afternoon off so I went up to Middlebury to check our Barney Hodges' apple orchard, Sunrise Orchards. Barney gave us a tour of the place and we got to choose our favorite apples and bring some home. It was very nice of him and I highly recommend his apples - they were awesome!

We leave for Park City very early on Friday morning and will be there until the 18th of October when we head to Canmore. Stay tuned for more updates!