Monday, June 29, 2015

Interval Day in Photos!

We've had a couple big weeks of training in Stratton and I'm ready for a recovery week before heading to New Zealand next week to SKI ON SNOW. I've never been to New Zealand and to say I'm psyched is an understatement, but first things first, back to the past couple weeks in Vermont. Minus the three hour rainy mud/river/trail run we did yesterday, things have been pretty nice. It hasn't been too hot, but it's been plenty humid, and pretty buggy. It's not perfect, but it could be a lot worse. On Saturday we had a classic interval session on our training plans and Jessie got in touch with friend and photographer, Reese Brown, who came over for the day to shoot some photos for us. Huge thanks to Reese for making the trip over and capturing all these awesome shots pictured below! 

Reese came over to Stratton on Saturday morning for our classic intensity workout. Before starting our intervals, we all sharpened our pole tips and grouped up to discuss some goals for the workout. After explaining the workout to us, Coach Pat had us each share something we thought we could bring to the workout and something we were hoping to work on during the workout. Personally, I think I'm a smooth level 3 classic strider, so I was willing to let people hop in behind me during those intervals. Areas that I can improve in are keeping my workouts in true L3 and working on staying relaxed, but strong, while double poling. 

Coach Pat sharpening our pole tips before the intervals
Annie, Annie, and Erika sporting their matching Podium Wear T2 tank tops
We headed out on the flats for the first half of our interval session to do some double poling. We took turns leading and following because it's important to feel the difference and practice drafting and skiing in a pack. When you have a head wind and can feel the effect of drafting so much, it's a great opportunity to ski with someone who is a stronger double poler than you are by hopping in their draft and learning a thing or two!
Sim and Paddy warming up for intervals in their matching Craft outfits

Pack of ladies following Jessie and her impressive double pole

After the double pole intervals, we headed to the steep stuff to get some striding practice in. We've put a huge emphasis on double poling so far this summer, so it felt good to get some different muscles firing and practice our striding. Threshold striding intervals are one of my favorite workouts because if you can nail the pace and the technique, you can be moving along really quickly, but also have it feel really graceful. It's tough to always do both, but every once in awhile you can and it feels GOOD.

Train of girls

Our cabooses!




Paddy and Sim

Reese took a ton of great photos and here are a few more good ones from our cool down after the intervals. 

The girls' team coming up over the hill. (We don't usually ski across the road like this)

Happy to finish intervals for the week!

Diggity Dog head on

All smiles
That's all for now! Again, thank you to Reese Brown for taking the time to come visit us. My next update will be from New Zealand!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why I Love Summer

I've only been back in VT for two and a half weeks now and summer is already going by too quickly. I'm looking forward to a lot of travel in the months of July and August, but in the meantime, I've really enjoyed being in one place for awhile. In less than three weeks I'll be heading to New Zealand for the majority of July and then I'll be back for a couple weeks before heading over to Norway for a couple weeks in August. So while I'm here, a couple thoughts on why I love summer, particularly summer right here, right now.

1. The weather

It's definitely not beautiful Colorado and I'm reminded of that on a daily basis, but there's something about having a sunny day followed by a rainy day followed by a cold day followed by an unbearably humid day that makes you appreciate the good when you have it. Finishing our ski walking intervals feeling like we just walked out of a steam room because of the 98% humidity and complementing teammates on each other's butt sweat marks on our shorts makes us feel tough. Motivating ourselves to get out the door to do an OD when it's raining and all we want to do is stay in bed makes us tough. Alternatively, waking up to rain on a Monday morning and knowing we have the day off is also a pretty good feeling. Then, when the sun does come out and temperature is in the low 70s (which is actually not that uncommon), we really appreciate.
Finishing some ski walking intervals on top of Stratton Mountain on a beautiful day

One of the more scenic spots we ski on a regular basis
2. Our Group

I've said it before, but we have something special going on here. I feel very lucky to be a part of two incredible teams (SMS T2 and the USST). Between our three new female PGs and one male PG and our SMS T2 team of 5 girls and three boys, the boys are a little outnumbered. So everyone is happy. The girls have more people to do girl things with, and the boys can have two dates each for every team dinner we have. But in all seriousness, we're lucky to get along and all be good friends because that's not always easy when you have a group of very different people smooshed together and expected to function as one team. It's not realistic to expect everyone to be best friends each day, but what we can expect of one another is to be really good teammates as much as possible and that helps everything else fall into place.

Keeping things fun after a hard workout

Forward hips practice with bands (AKA Annie my horse)

You can follow my on the flats if I can follow you on the hills
3. Summer Food

Vermont is known for its Cabot cheese, Ben and Jerry's, and maple syrup, but that's only the beginning. Our team is now partial owners of a cow (thanks Erika!). Well, not really, but we bought part of some friends' cow and should now have enough beef to last us the rest of the summer. I'm also the official gardener for my dad's vegetable garden while he's gone for the next couple weeks. Who knew asparagus could grow six inches in a day?! I love eating fresh food in the summer and after a spending the winter eating out of hotel buffets, it's nice to have our own kitchen to experiment with.

The staples

Home of King Arthur Flour

4. Making Progress

 The goal of the spring is usually to have some fun and to rest. Although we rarely admit it, in other words this basically means the goal is to get a little out of shape. When we start out the summer, we aren't in the best shape of our lives and that's okay! It means that there's room to improve and it turns out that progress is pretty easy to track and a great way to make you feel good about yourself. We do a bunch of little marker tests at Stratton ranging from an uphill run test, to a double pole test, to an L3 skate test. We tend to see improvement on these throughout the summer, but you don't need a time trial to feel improvement. Eight pull ups is better than four, not blowing up during a L3 workout is better than blowing up, and knowing when to stop is better than digging yourself a hole. We might not have World Cup races each weekend to compare results, but it's pretty easy to track progress and it's a good feeling to be making little improvements, one step at a time.

Knock on wood, but a summer with two healthy elbows so far is progress in itself

Working hard in our double pole test

By the end of the summer, a three hour ski will be nothing!
5. Family

And last, but definitely not least, my family. I'm one of the lucky ones on my team who has a family close by. After a winter on the road and a spring full of adventures all over the place, I love being somewhere where I know my family is a 25 minute drive away and still have a bedroom at home that I'm always welcome to come sleep in (thanks Mom!). Last weekend I got to watch my little brother, Austin, graduate from Dartmouth and was able to spend a bunch of time with my whole family. As we all get older, I see my sister and brother less and less, so it's always a treat to be able to spend time with them.

Proud of you, brother!

Kisses for the graduate

Austin and Dad

Austin and my beautiful Grandmother, Twinkle
That's all for now!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Back to the East!

The day after Park City camp officially ended, the perfect PC weather we know made an appearance. I had decided to stay through the weekend to make up the testing I had missed when I was sick at the beginning of the camp, so I got to experience a few beautiful days. I think the highlight of the extra weekend was our trip to go skydiving. I had never been skydiving before, but Jessie is a big fan and had a group trip set up down in Ogden, Utah. Thanks to Ogden Skydiving for showing us a good time!

Getting ready to dive

Matt showing off his skydiving certificate
Ready to go!

Happy campers
Run at Deer Valley with Erika and Rosie

The Monday after testing, I flew back home to VT. After a day of rain, the skies cleared and we had a few days of beautiful summer weather. My SMS T2 teammates are starting to trickle in for the summer and I was able to enjoy some workouts with the Annies, Ben, and coach Pat. By the end of this week, just about everyone will be back! The goal of last week was recovery for me. By the end of the camp, I was tired. We did a lot of training, I came into it a little sick, and then I capped the camp of with testing and I was very ready for a rest week. After a handful of easy workouts with my teammates, I headed to Boston for a weekend off and one of my best friend's bachelorette weekends. It was a fun girls' weekend that consisted of pretending to be a city person, watching the Red Sox win, eating delicious food, and my first hot yoga experience ever. We had a blast and now I'm looking forward to being in southern VT for awhile and getting into the rhythm of summer training.

What's your goal for the season?

Treadmill testing with Matt
AP doing some double pole intervals with coach Pat following on the bike

A lovely run on the AT with Annie and Ben

Mae's bachelorette party in Boston

Oyster brunch

Red Sox game with the bride to be