Tuesday, August 27, 2013

100km Skiathon

We successfully completed our 2nd annual 100km skiathon on Sunday! We were out for 6:40 and were probably skiing for just over 6 of those hours. There were no wrong turns, no casualties (except for the roadkill), and there was no broken equipment! We had many cheerleaders out there to support us including family, boyfriends, and coaches, and as far as I could tell, no tears were shed. In order to complete a ski that long, or any physical activity that long, there are a few important rules I follow.

1. HYDRATION - You must hydrate often and early. I think we did a good job of this because Gus had to refill our huge water jug. You should drink enough so that you have to stop to pee multiple times in the first hour because after that, no matter how much you are drinking, it probably won't be enough. We were also drinking more than straight water. As we get further into the ski, the drink mix seems to get stronger and stronger. I remember last year it also seemed to get saltier and saltier (Gus...?), but this year I stuck with Gatorade and topped it off with some coke my Secret Santa gave me at the end.

2. SUPPORT - We couldn't have done it without Gus's constant support and encouragement as well as our friends that came out to cheer us on. Dartmouth coach, Cami, came to bike with us for the first half. Holly, Isabel, Sver, and Dan were there to bike with us for the second half, and Will and Henry rode with Gus in the van. The van was there whenever we needed more food or drink and the bikers could zip back and forth between groups so there was always someone there making sure we were happy and safe.

Dan keeping me company

Annie and Holly

3. FOOD - It's important to eat plenty of food leading up to the event, during the event, and after the event. Annie P.'s boyfriend, Will, brought a huge container of cookies for all of us to snack on during the ski and I prefer bars to gels, so I stuck to bars and cookies during the ski. I think the hardest time for me to eat is directly after the ski. Every part of me is exhausted and I basically lose my appetite for an hour or two when I finish, but this is actually one of the most important times to eat if you want to recover. I made the mistake of not fueling properly after the ski last year, so this year I made myself eat a big PB and J sandwich and a couple cookies right after I finished and it made a HUGE difference. Maybe I just felt better in general this year, but I think properly fueling played a big role. That evening I was able to stay up to a normal hour and make it through a movie without falling asleep, which is something I usually can't do even when I haven't skied 100km and when I woke up the next morning I felt...fine!
Erika giving Packer some puppy chow

The cookies Will baked for us!

4. TEAMMATES - There is absolutely no way I would have been able to complete that ski without my teammates. We took turns leading because taking turns is a nice thing to do and we all felt good at different parts of the ski. We told stories and did secret santas to help time pass and we encouraged each other when anyone looked like they were struggling. Our team is really special because of how well we get along and that's something I've known for awhile. The 100k ski is a good reminder of how lucky I am to have such supportive teammates that I genuinely enjoy being with for 6-7 hours straight on rollerskis because I'd be willing to bet that most people can't say that about many others.
Still smiling!

The group

Annie and Jessie exchanging Secret Santa gifts in the middle of the ski

5. GOALS - The longest race I do each year is the 30k at Spring Series. It's the final race of the season and I only have to do it once a year. We just skied three of those plus ten more kilometers! Accomplishing a goal like skiing 100km is very rewarding and it's even better when you can accomplish it with your teammates. Thank you to everyone who supported our skiathon and encouraged us every step of the way. We're all a little tired, but we're happy and psyched to start fall training!
We did it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

SMS Camps and Skiathon

Yesterday was the final day of the annual SMS camps. The first half of the week was a BKL camp for kids ages 10-14 and the second half of the week was a junior camp for kids ages 14-18. Both camps were huge successes and I really enjoyed getting to know so many motivated kids. The BKL camp is all about staying active and playing a variety of sports while the Junior Camp is more ski specific, including more rollerski workouts and training talks. Check out the SMS Blog and the SMS Nordic Facebook Page to see tons of photos from the week!

Some dirty dudes

signing Louisa's shirt at the end of BKL camp

Eric and Sara

Izzy and Sage

Jessie doing ski walking intervals next to Sophie, Pip, and Sara during the mtn. run

Junior Camp!
Tire roll!

In addition to helping out with the camps, we hosted a Fast and Female power hour at each camp. The BKL Camp power hour consisted of a quick brainstorming session about negative pressures for girls to drop out of sports and positive reasons to stick with it. It was followed by a scavenger hunt around the campus where the girls had to complete challenges in order to reach their final destination and new Fast and Female buffs! The junior camp power hour focused on goal setting. We explained the importance of setting a goal, whether it is to complete two pull ups by the end of the fall or to go to the olympics. Once the girls set a results based goal, we had them complete a goal pyramid and fill out all the process goals they could think of that were going to help them meet their ultimate results based goal. We also explained to them the importance of sharing your goal with someone and therefore holding yourself accountable. After the goal setting, we went down to the gym and showed them the multiple ways to do an assisted pull up. Hopefully the girls enjoyed the power hours as much as the ambassadors did!
Junior camp girls
Sophie and Jessie - thanks Powerbar for sponsoring the event
Demonstrating an assisted pull up

Sophie, Jessie, Erika, and Isabel


BKL girls
I caught a little cold last week, but I'm hoping to be healthy enough to jump into our big week of training we have coming up. Mondays are always our day off so tomorrow is the start to a big week that will culminate with our annual 100km skiathon on August 25th. This was our biggest fundraiser last year and we're hoping it will be a success again this year. Each of us will be asking for donations to help support our ski season. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, please visit www.smst2.com and click on the donate button on the right, or send a check made out to Elite Nordic Fund to

Stratton Mountain School
C/O Gus Kaeding
7 World Cup Circle
Stratton Mountain, VT 05155

Be sure to specify the skier you are choosing to sponsor!

our 100km skiathon last summer

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recovery Week

Last week was an easier week of training to prepare us for the two big weeks we have coming up. I just started the biggest training week I've done so far this year, but I took advantage of an easier week last week to do some things. Here is a recap in pictures.

We had a delicious dinner in Putney with Zach, Amy, Gunnar, and Noah

Gunnar doing some tricks

I visited my grandparents and drank afternoon margaritas with them, did some berry picking, and watched Grandpa cook up some of his home brew.

We got new shirts!

I had a great one-on-one interval session with Gus where he took this really artsy photo.

I visited Dan and his dog, Logon, and swapped rollerskiing with some paddle-boarding and beach running for a few days

I spent some quality time with my family

Annie and I discovered a delicious cookie recipe consisting of sea salt, maple syrup, oatmeal, and chocolate chips

I took this headshot:

We unintentionally matched our outfits with our dinner

We enjoyed the last few perfect days of weather

We're well into our big training week and have had double sessions most days. Everyone is looking good and we're excited for the busy weekend ahead of us!

Packer leading Cobby and Fabian up the Mtn

Don't use my body position in this photo as an example of what to do, but check out the others!