Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Fall!

We celebrated the transition from summer to fall with our annual 100km skiathon last Sunday. It always ends up being an all-day adventure and while it's usually a lot of fun, I've found that the best approach to skiing 100km is not to think about it too much. Wrapping your head around skiing the distance of three 30k races (the longest race we ever do) plus a 10k race, or being on your rollerskis for 6-7 hours, or worrying about how to properly fuel, or wondering if your legs, butt, elbows, and back can handle it all generally causes a lot of anxiety. So this year my approach was to get excited about the ski without thinking or worrying about too much. I just wanted to enjoy spending the day outside on what I would argue are some of the most beautiful roads in the country with my teammates. It worked pretty well. We switched from classic skiing to skate skiing at about 50kms and there was an hour there where I wasn't sure my legs could handle skating any longer, but then I got used to it and on we went! We had a very supportive cheering section consisting of Sverre, Jason Cork, and Pat for coaches, Annie P.'s parents and boyfriend, and Simi's mom, aunt, and uncle. When you have people smiling and cheering you on around every corner and up every hill, you never really question whether or not you're going to make it to the end. So thank you to everyone who supported us. Here are some photos from our epic adventure and you can check out the SMS T2 website for more.
The crew before the start - Annie, Annie, Jessie, Andy, Erika, Ben, Paddy, Sophie, and Simi (Annie P photo)

Coach Patrick calculating our route (Annie P. photo)

Thanks to Podium Wear for our matching tanks! (Annie P. photo)

The coaches marked every intersection with encouraging words and directions (Annie P. photo)

There were a few hills that were a little too big to feel comfortable skiing down, especially with tired legs, so we used the vans to help check our speed (Annie P. photo)

Fuel. When you ski 100km, you probably burn 3,000-4,000 calories, so if you want to be alive at the end and feel semi-okay the following day, you need to eat enough. As long as it doesn't upset your stomach, you can eat anything with calories. Bars, PB&Js, donuts, apple cake, gatorade, jelly beans - yes please! (Annie P. photo)

When the vans weren't an option, the coaches were there to slow us down. Here is my dad braking Erika, Annie, and Jessie down one of the bigger hills

Draft. Some people like classic skiing more, while others prefer skating. Some people are really good on the ups and others are good on the downs. We took turns pulling during our strengths and when no one was feeling great, we recruited Pat to do a little pulling on the bike (Annie P. photo)

If you smile long enough, you will become happy. Fake it till you make it. Just kidding, it was actually really fun, but I'd be lying if I said there weren't a few times my smile probably wasn't that genuine. (Annie P. photo)

Aaaaand that's a wrap. (Annie P. photo)

Start together, finish together. Or at least finish with the girls ;) (Annie P. photo)
We did it! (Annie P. photo)
That has to be some kind of record.
In addition to skiing 100 km, we've been enjoying the perfect fall weather and watching the leaves pop more and more each day. After a couple weeks of recovery, I have a big week before I head out to Park City for our next USST Camp. I'm going to get back on my bike tomorrow for the first time since breaking my elbow in May, we're going to go apple picking, we're going to check out the Peru Fair this weekend, and I'm running in the Vermont 50 mile relay on Sunday morning with two of my cousins! We are also hosting a clinic in Hanover on Sunday afternoon. Check out this VIDEO Annie Hart made to get you psyched for ski season!

Enjoying a date night with my sister and Annie at the Hapgood Store in Peru

USST coach Jason Cork is town for the week. Not only is it awesome to have him supporting us at our workouts and giving us feedback, but he also happens to be an amazing chef and has been cooking up some tasty meals. A man of many talents who is just a pretty cool person to have around! Here he is taking his try at karate with me. (Jessie photo)

My favorite time of year

Jessie, Andy, Simi, and I did a school visit to the Burr and Burton Mountain Campus the other week. My sister is working there this year and is happier than can be. I now see why. It's a really incredible program where students go for a semester to focus on environmental education. You can read more about it HERE.
This is a photo of my sister and the rest of the Mountain Campus at the Climate Rally in NYC on Sunday!

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 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