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!

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