Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rookie Camp

I'm heading back east today after a busy and exhausting rookie camp. I don't think I've ever been so tired from doing so little! We had very scheduled days that consisted of many talks and group activities. I was the oldest at the camp and a lot of the other athletes were 13-16 years old! It was funny to see so many young people because I don't think a 13 year old has ever been developed enough to make the US Ski Team for nordic skiing, but then a lot of the freestyle sports have 15 year olds who are among the best in the world. I watched some of them on the trampolines and had no doubts in my mind that they deserved to be there - they were crazy and fearless. We learned a lot of very useful information about the resources that are available to us through the Ski Team and how we should take advantage of them. We also got to hear from a handful of current US Ski Team athletes who advised us on topics such as travel, competition, and media.
Athlete panel included Ms. Jessie Diggins!

Media practice with some of the athletes
Group activity

Another cool aspect of the camp was the introduction to the SemperPro program. SemperPro involves having a wounded warrior come to a US Team camp and participate and train with us for a few days. We were very luck to have Dan Gilyeat, a retired marine and amputee, join us for the week. He has an incredible story and is a very impressive man. I think we were all extremely grateful to have him there and found him to be very inspiring. The hope is that in return, US Ski Team athletes will take trips with the organization, American300, to visit our troops overseas and share our stories with them and provide them with some of the inspiration people like Dan have given to us.

Dan on the high ropes course

The group!
After rookie camp wrapped up, Jessie and I had one final strength session with our coach Michael. Michael has been a huge help these past few weeks. He's been very patient and I've been able to make some big strength gains and most importantly, I learned how to do cleans! After strength, we returned home to an amazing home-cooked Swedish summer solstice dinner made by teammate Liz Stephen. It was delicious and the perfect way to end our trip to Park City. Jason Cork has been practicing making bulle and I think he perfected his recipe last night!

Cork cutting up the bulle

The final product!
Before rookie camp started last week, Jessie and I did a little photoshoot with US Team photographer, Sarah Brunson. We haven't seen many of the pictures yet and I'm a little nervous because it involved way more makeup than I've ever worn in my life, but here are a few of the photos we've seen! Thanks to Sarah for being so accommodating and helpful with the two girls who know nothing about hair and makeup!
Jessie and Sarah

Jessie and Sophie

Noah tried on some of our fake eyelashes

Sarah, Ryon, and Jessie

I'm on my way back to Stratton and excited to see my friends, family, and teammates. The past 5 weeks have been awesome, but it's always nice to go back home!
Big girls in a little truck

Jessie with the Adams' new puppy, Prince!

Another delicious meal at the Adams'
On top of East Canyon after classic intervals

Our strawberry rhubarb crisp

we blew out a new candle each time one of our housemates left

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to Spend an Off Day

Off days are tricky because it's hard to find the balance between allowing yourself to rest and recover and avoiding entering a lethargic state where you turn into a total couch potato. I've had off days where I haven't done any training, but I reach 9 PM and realize I have been on my feet all day long and even though none of it was considered exercise, I probably wasn't getting proper recovery. I've also had off days where I sleep in and then 9 PM rolls around and I'm still in my pajamas. While I'm definitely letting my body recover on these days, I often find that I'm more tired at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. In my mind, the perfect off day is spent with plenty of time off my feet, but still getting outside or moving around enough to wake the body up. This can be done by going for a short hike, doing some yoga, or walking around town, but I think it's important to get out of the house or at least out of your pajamas! Yesterday was a close-to-perfect off day for me. After a relaxing morning of sleeping in (until 8:30!), drinking plenty of coffee, and relaxing inside, Jessie and I went on an adventure with our friends Maddie Talkington and alpine skiers Keith Moffat and Nick Daniels. We hiked up to beautiful Lake Mary in Brighton and spent a couple hours relaxing in the sun before heading back down and making a delicious home-cooked meal with our coaches. It was only a mile out to the lake and Maddie and Jessie were wearing flip-flops to ensure we were take our sweet time to get there. As it turns out, you're not actually allowed to swim in Lake Mary, but the boys may or may not have stretched the rules. Here are some photos from out adventure!

We brought water guns that we failed to use, but they were pretty cool props

rock lounging

Maddie, Sophie, and Nick

Not a bad view

Hiking in
 When we got back to our condo, we started preparing for the homemade feast we were making that night. The menu consisted of Jason Cork's homemade pasta and cream pea sauce, Jessie's sundried tom-ah-toe (yes, that's the proper way to pronounce it) basil bread, salad, and a strawberry rhubarb crisp. Cork keeps on impressing with his cooking and baking skills and we had a delicious dinner. We went to bed happy, full, and well rested!
flattening out the pasta

cutting the pasta
Andy just left to fly back to VT and Liz gets back to Park City tonight. Everything is still going well and rookie camp starts on Wednesday night then I fly back east this weekend!

Mtn Bike at Round Valley

post SOHO intervals 

Holly back in AK with my favorite animal - baby goats!
some baby goats in Park City
Jessie testing out her new humidifier

Happy Father's day to the nicest guy I know and to all the other dads out there!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Park City Update

Jessie and I have an easier week this week with two or three off days! We've been trying to sleep in a little and Jessie has mastered that pretty well while I still have some work to do. Park City has proven to be both an easy place to train and an easy place to rest. I'm still working into running and bounding, so the majority of my workouts have been on the many rollerski loops around Park City and in the Center of Excellence. There are a ton of other athletes working out in the COE who compete in the other disciplines such as alpine skiing, snowboarding, jumping, and freestyle, so it's fun to walk into a packed gym and see what everyone else is doing for training. A handful of the alpine guys went to Dartmouth while I was there so it's nice to see some familiar faces. It's been an awesome opportunity to be able to take advantage of the many incredible resources the COE and US Team have to offer. I've been working a lot with our Physical Therapist, Adam, who has been a huge help and doing strength three times a week with our strength coach, Michael. This is the most strength I've done before and Michael has been really patient, walking me through each exercise to learn the proper technique so I don't get injured.  It also helps to have Jessie there to demonstrate the perfect technique for each lift. Strength makes for long days, but I feel like I'm starting to get stronger and I think the combination of the lifting and muscle milk will begin to pay off in skiing! 

morning drive to the COE with a hot air balloon in the background

I ran on the AlterG machine in the COE for the first time yesterday in order to ease the transition to running for my foot. I only ran for 15 minutes at 70% of my body weight, but I'm going to play around with it some more before I leave. I had been warned that it isn't the most comfortable contraption, due to the fact that you're strapped into a pair of shorts that resemble a wetsuit and can be a little sweaty and unpleasant. Noah Hoffman said, "Running on the Alter-G is not a fun experience. It makes me feel bloated, and I am running with a massive wedgy." I still prefer running outside, but I can't say it was THAT miserable.
Simi and Jessie checking out the sunset view from our condo

Holly, Jessie, Matt, and I went for an awesome 3 hour rollerski around the Promontory community the other day. There was barely any traffic and there were enough roads so that we didn't ever have to repeat ourselves. We were pretty exhausted by the end, but found enough energy to check out the Park Silly market that happens every Sunday in town. We didn't take any cute puppy pictures to share at this one, but it was fun to check it out. I did some skate intervals yesterday and Matt was nice enough to join me on the bike. Training is much easier when you have good company and we made a new friend during our workout! I don't know what kind of perfume Matt wears, but whatever it is, he has been attracting the wildlife lately and this moose stopped by our intervals yesterday!
Moose friend

ski in Promontory with Jessie and Holly

Holly left on Sunday night, so now it's just Jessie, Andy, Simi and me in our condo. It's a very easy group to live with and I'm excited they're all coming back to VT for the summer. The boys have even been cheffing it up the past couple nights! Andy made a very tasty pasta dinner and Simi insisted on making a delicious frittata for us with no help from the girls. Both turned out wonderfully and Jessie and I were very impressed. I have about 10 more days in beautiful Park City and I'm hoping to bring the weather back to VT, where I've heard they could use it lately!

Jessie with her first loaf of bread ever - it was delicious!

The girls

watching a mtn bike race with Maddie Talkington

Friday, June 7, 2013

Park City Testing

We've been in Park City for one week now and it's flown by. The first four days were a whirlwind of testing, but since then, we've been enjoying the near perfect weather we've been lucky to have every day. I had done one treadmill test last October when SMS T2 came to Park City for a camp and this week I added my 2nd and 3rd rollerski treadmill tests to my list! The testing days were long days at the Center of Excellence that usually began around 8 and lasted until 5 or 6. The idea of rollerskiing on a treadmill is exciting for the first 3 minutes, but just like any other indoor machine, I got tired of it pretty quickly. Luckily, the tests only last 10-15 minutes and you're going until failure so it goes by quickly, similar to the way a race does. Breathing into the big plastic tube is also a little uncomfortable and will leave you with a sore mouth for a few days, but it's pretty incredible how much information can come out of the test. In addition to VO2 max testing, we did tests such as blood tests, strength tests, and body composition. I don't like to get too hung up on numbers like VO2 max because I know there are so many other factors that go into ski racing, but it was fun to be a lab rat for a couple days and now I'm happy to be back outdoors.
When you're going till failure, it's not always pretty

Erik B. strength testing
classic max test
Jessie keeping it fun in the COE :)
Our first day free of testing, Jessie and I went for a beautiful classic ski all around Park City and were accompanied by Cork on the bike. We had the afternoon off and planned on resting and doing a little yoga, but when we finally sat down at 9:30 that night, we realized we had been on our feet all day! We visited the Park City Farmer's Market and petted some cute puppies and bought some fresh food for the feast we were planning that evening. It was Matt Whitcomb's birthday the following day so we had some people over and made a tasty risotto and special birthday dessert. I think we cooked and baked from 3:00-7:30 straight. It was a busy day, but it was worth it!

waiting for the cookies to bake


the final product - chocolate cupcakes in a chocolate chip cookie shell!
Farmer's Market friends

Jess showing off her fanny pack on our ski
We had L3 skate intervals yesterday morning and drove to East Canyon to do them. It was a warm day at altitude so it would have been easy to push it too hard, but Jessie, Holly, and I had a great workout with some beautiful views! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Jessie, Sophie, Holly

The crew on top

Andy, Sim, and Nick
Yesterday afternoon we had a tough strength session and then headed down to Salt Lake. The rest of the team went to a baseball game for Matt's birthday and I visited Parker and went to  BBQ at her house. It was a very nice evening and we all got to sleep in this morning since we have an off day today!
Jessie and me out to dinner!