Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sprint and Recovery

Lake Placid camp wrapped up on Thursday with a classic sprint simulation. I felt great during the sprint and was able to pinpoint some of my strengths and weaknesses. We've had our lactates taken a lot in the last several intensity workouts and I'm starting to get a pretty good feel of what my lactate will be. It's kind of a nerdy way to measure progress but it's exciting nonetheless! We do a lot of threshold workouts where our lactate level is supposed to be around 4.0 mmol and in the sprint workouts we basically try to get it as high as possible because we're going as hard as we can for a short period of time. My lactate during the sprint workout was between 11 and 12 mmol and yesterday during a threshold classic workout up the Stratton Access Road, I had a lactate of exactly 4.0 for probably the first time ever!
Getting our lactates tested during the sprint workout in Lake Placid (fasterskier photo)
Erika and Annie doing intervals up the Stratton Access Road with brand new pavement! (Gus Keading photo)

HERE is some video footage from the prelim and the final from the sprint race. It was a great day and thanks to all the coaches who helped make it run smoothly!

Sprint Heat (Sophie, Annie, and Ida in the front row)

Our wonderful driving companions to and from Lake Placid - Jordan and Gino

Lake Placid was a very hard week with a lot of intensity and most of us were pretty exhausted by the end of it. We had a few very easy days on the schedule with the goal of absorbing the training we had just done and resting our bodies so we'd be able to start the hard training again soon. Sometimes after I've done a lot of ski specific training and have a little time to rest, I like to take my mind off of skiing for a little while whether that's through exercise in some other form or simply going somewhere else for the weekend for a little change of scene. This past weekend I did exactly that! On the way home from Lake Placid we stopped in Hanover for the night and I did a sunset hike up Gile tower with a couple of my Dartmouth friends. We just missed the sunset but it was still worth it.
View from Gile Tower
The next morning I spent about three hours at my favorite breakfast restaurant, Lou's in Hanover. It's really fun going back to Hanover and seeing everything I loved while I was there. After my stop in Hanover, I went to visit Dan for the weekend outside of Boston. It was a very relaxing weekend and just what I wanted and needed. We went to a Gotye concert, ate lots of yummy food, and went on some beautiful runs around the area. Running is my favorite kind of training and it was nice to leave the skis and poles at home for the weekend and explore a new area. We also walked around the city of Boston for awhile and it was awesome! We only got a little lost which was a big feat for two directionally challenged people (thank god for smartphones!) Speaking of getting lost, I forgot to mention the two hour walk that Annie and I ended up going on in Lake Placid. It would have been three hours if Gus hadn't driven by us and given us a lift. It was a beautiful day so three hours wouldn't have been the end of the world but it probably wasn't the smartest idea given our exhausted states.
Not a bad day to get lost on a walk in Lake Placid
Now I'm back at Stratton for another week and a half until we head to Park City and Canmore for our next camp. We are having an SMST2 reception on Sunday afternoon at Stratton Mountain School and would love to see anyone who can make it there. Click HERE for more information. Gus even told us we can wear dresses if we want to!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Don't Feed the Ducks!

The day after the Climb to the Castle was an easier day for everyone at the camp. The USST group had already been in Lake Placid for a week so most of them took the full day off but those of us who had only been there for a few days had an easy classic ski on the schedule. It was a beautiful fall morning and I did my ski with Annie Hart. We kept it very easy and took in our lovely surroundings.
Annie following me up a hill (Amy Caldwell Photo)
Our afternoon was highlighted by a trip into town for a snack, some bonding with ducks, and mini golf! We discovered a cute little bakery called Bluesberry Bakery that has delicious scones so we made our purchases then headed down to the lake to relax and devour. Annie and I had fun feeding the ducks at the lake little pieces of our scones until we looked up and read the very obvious sign that asked everyone not to feed the ducks. We were lucky not to be caught but unfortunately attracted quite a bit of attention from the ducks who pestered us until we left.
Annie and Erika at Bluesberry Bakery
Beautiful Lake Placid and a man with his (light) imaginary friend
After a relaxing time at the lake, we decided to go mini golfing. We go mini golfing every year in Lake Placid and it's always very entertaining. It's meant to be fun but when you get a group of athletes together to play any kind of game, things have the potential to become a little competitive. Erika, Jessie, Annie, and I were able to keep it fun and Annie and Erika played very impressive games while I'm pretty sure Jessie and I reverse podiumed for the day.
SMS T2 girls at mini golf (Sophie - Jessie - Annie - Erika)
Yesterday morning we did a skate speed workout. These were continuous so there was a loop set up with a few stations in each loop where we would sprint for 20-30 seconds. I felt good and it was fun to ski with the girls from other teams as well as the SMS girls who I've been skiing with all summer. The US Ski Team's PT, Kurt, is here for a few days and I've had a tight back lately so yesterday afternoon he showed me some exercises and I got electric stimulation and a heat pad on my back - it felt awesome! He knows a lot and has been very helpful so I think everyone is extremely grateful to have him here.
Speeds with Clare Egan and Jessie Diggins

Lots of speedy boys
This morning we woke up to...RAIN and lots of it. We had skate intervals on the schedule and we like to think the rain only made us tougher. It's supposed to rain all day but hopefully the weather clears up again for our last few days at the camp!
Skate Intervals in the rain - Amy Calwell photo (Liz, Ida, Jessie, Annie, Sophie) 
Annie and I are not the cleanest of roommates

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lake Placid Update

Five of us packed into Annie's car on Thursday and had a lovely road trip to Lake Placid complete with a stop at Up For Breakfast in Manchester for brunch and the GNC in Rutland for some Muscle Milk (strict orders from Gus).

Before coming to Lake Placid, we trained with the SMS high school team for a few days. We had a couple of very easy days and had some fun doing balance drills and a double pole workout with the SMS girls. Brian Fish and Jason Cork from the USST accompanied us for some workouts and I think everyone welcomed their words of wisdom.
Pip getting some technique advice from Brian Fish (Liz Kantack Photo)

Bungee Pulls

I'm confident Jessie would add to think pink theme of this photo (Liz Kantack photo) Sophie - Erika - Annie

Stratton Ladies (Liz Kantack Photo)
We also had one day with Stratton that was particularly hard. It was an 8.8 mile running time trial that started at Ball Mountain Dam and finished in South Londonderry. It was a good workout that definitely made us tougher but it was exhausting and left us all looking forward to an Off day before the Lake Placid Camp started.
Happy to get that out of the way! Erika - Annie - Sophie (Liz Kantack Photo)
Since we arrived in Lake Placid, we have done a few easy distance workouts, a speed workout, and this morning we did the annual Climb to the Castle. The speeds workouts were a lot of fun and video from the women's workout can be found HERE and men's HERE. It was really fun for me to be able to ski with people like Ida Sargent who has a super fast tempo. We took turns leading and following and I think we were both able to learn a lot from skiing behind each other (at least I was!). This morning we did the Climb to the Castle. I hadn't done this race for a few years and hill climbs generally aren't my favorite races - in fact, they're probably my least favorite races but NYSEF does an awesome job putting this race together and it's something I need to work on so I was excited to put in a hard effort and hopefully improve on my not-so-stellar performances in previous years. Rollerski races are funny because everyone has different ski speeds so you really can't get caught up comparing yourself to others but it's good practice to put on a bib every once in awhile and try to remember how to race. The weather for the 5 mile climb to the castle was not ideal but it rarely is. We had some pretty windy sections and the mountain seemed to be trapped in a cloud so it was damp and cold but we put our heads down and went for it! I think I had a solid race and it was a much more positive experience than previous years but I am very relieved to be finished with that. We just finished a strength session and drank our muscle milk! I am very sore and looking forward to an easier day tomorrow. Here are some more pictures from the Climb. Off to dinner!
Sporting our new SMS T2 hats  Gus - Sophie - Annie (Annie Hart photo)
The Start (Amy Caldwell Photo)

Tad Elliot (Amy Caldwell Photo)

Jessie, Annie, Ida and I got to ski together in the beginning (Fasterskier Photo)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall is coming!

Fall is coming!

We had a few easy days at the beginning of last week in order to recover from our 100km ski-a-thon and I don't think any of us had a problem resting. Annie Hart is training with us for the fall and this has been a treat for multiple reasons. Not only is she one of my best friends and an awesome training partner, but she happens to love baking (especially baking muffins) so one of our first off days she cooked us up a delicious french toast brunch. For more details about the brunch and her baking adventures, check our her blog HERE

One of my favorite parts about this week was that we've been able to do a bunch of workouts with the SMS high school kids. Hopefully they learn a lot from following us and I know we gain a lot from skiing with so many other athletes and getting some feedback from the SMS coaches. We did our double pole test with SMS on Friday and 20 out of 23 skiers set PRs! I think that is an example of the progress we've made over the summer but I think it's also easier to get excited about skiing and psyched about racing when you're training with such a big group. We started one every 15 seconds so no one was alone on the course and if anyone got passed, they could hop in behind someone and see what they are doing to go faster. After the double pole test, we did some speeds and worked on having an uncomfortably fast tempo in hope that it would eventually seem more natural as we practice it more. Here are some pictures taken by Liz Kantack from that workout
Alex Cobb is always smiling!

Scott Mooney has won the T2 girls over and is always eager to hop in and train with us

Erika and I are always flattered when the girls ask if they can follow us

Eric sporting a mean race face

Erika and I led some girls for the double pole speeds

Striding speeds

Our other big group workout of the week was during the NENSA coaches symposium and all of the coaches came out to watch our threshold skate intervals at Ball Mountain Dam. This is a workout we've been doing all summer so it was fun to have the whole group together again and to let the coaches from other clubs see one of our typical training days. The T2 girls did 4 12-13 min intervals and the SMS kids tried to hop in behind us if we skied past them. Here are some photos from that workout, thanks again to Liz!
T2 Girls

Checking our watches
Besides some awesome training this week, we've also been able to enjoy some fall activities. Temperatures are dropping but the weather has remained beautiful and some of the leaves are beginning to change - this is definitely one of my favorite times of the year and makes me so thankful we get to experience four seasons. Eric, Erika, Dan and I went on an awesome bike ride around the Dorset area on Saturday and we took a break to stop in the cornfields. We had heard that corn stalks are strong enough to support your weight if you lean on them so we decided to test it out.
The stalks supported the boys but Erika and I were just too big

Sunday was Jessie's last night in Stratton before leaving for Lake Placid and other travels this fall so we decided to go apple picking and then make an apple feast for her last dinner. Apples are Erika's favorite food so she was very excited and we managed to make a delicious dinner consisting of apple and butternut squash soup, pork chops with apple, salad with apples, and apple crisp. Between the meal and the apple picking, I think some of us went to bed with stomach aches from an apple overdose but it was well worth it. Here are some photos from apple picking and some other tasty creations we've come up with in the past week.
Excited for Apple Picking!

Erika in her element

Apples can be multifunctional!

My spirit animal who lives at Dutton's

Peach, fig, arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella, goat cheese, garlic pizza - YUM 

Jessie and the boys headed over to Lake Placid today and Erika, Annie, and I will be joining them for a week on Thursday. We will be jumping in with the SMS team until then and we're looking forward to seeing everyone in Lake Placid.  I have linked the blogs of some other teammates under the Links tab so be sure to check those out! That's all for now!

Monday, September 3, 2012

100km Skiathon!

Yesterday the SMS-T2 team successfully completed our 100km skiathon fundraiser! Our goal was to gain support from friends and family to help fund our travel expenses this winter by asking people to donate to our team/individuals if we completed our 100km ski. Thank you to everyone who contributed and to my awesome teammates for making the 6 hours of rollerskiing not only bearable, but actually quite pleasant!

Erika leading us up a hill

We did our ski over in NY state because there are beautiful paved roads and there is very little traffic. We did the first 3 hours of our ski on classic skis and then switched over to skate skis for the remaining 3 hours. The first part of our ski was flatter so classic skiing was just as fast and the second half went through winding green hills and farmland.


Still smiling after 2 hours

 We did a ski in NY earlier this summer and I think by the end of that ski, Erika and I had both decided that it was the nicest rollerskiing we had ever done so we were excited to show Jessie and Annie what we had been talking about.

Tons of cornfields
The girls skating up some hills
While there wasn't much car traffic, we did encounter a lot of roadkill and although my brother took plenty of pictures of the dead animals, I'm going to happily refrain from sharing them. He did think it was hilarious that the roadkill was found on the following road:
Survival of the fittest
We spent a lot of time brainstorming what we were going to do and talk about in order to pass the 6 hours of time spent skiing and some of the girls came up with the brilliant idea of doing a Secret Santa during the ski. So each athlete was paired with another athlete and at some point throughout the ski, they had to reveal a gift. Paddy gave me some awesome energy boosters and candy and here is a picture of Gus sporting the hair band I gave him about halfway through the ski while performing a rap for Jessie with his brother, Sten.


Paddy catching a ride with Andy

Annie kept us entertained with her impressive rhyming skills so there was a constant stream of lyrics flowing from her mouth updating us on our progress throughout the ski! At one point we decided to calculate the number of pole plants we were going to have done by the end of the ski and came up with 15,000 - 16,000. I'd post the exact math we used but we were content with our solution and I don't want Eric pointing out any errors. 

We wouldn't have been able to make it without the constant support from Gus. He was always refueling us with water, Gatorade, and eventually Gatorade with added salt (gross). Some of us are directionally challenged so we were also very grateful that he marked every intersection with chalk arrows and words of encouragement. 

 The girls decided to finish the ski holding hands and there is video evidence HERE - cute, right?! The boys finished before we did but I'd be willing to bet they didn't have the same brilliant idea.
Skyler, Eric, and Sver
After our ski, we were all exhausted but knew it was important to eat and drink a lot in order to recover as quickly as possible. Luckily, I went to my house for a going away dinner for my little sister so I had no problem eating as much delicious food as possible. She will be spending the fall traveling the Western United States for an Earth Science program with Dartmouth and everyone should follow her awesome travels here
She will be missed!

Thanks to everyone who supported us in the Skiathon! At one point Jessie said, "Guys, this is probably the longest distance we will every rollerski!" I responded by saying, "If I ever ski any longer, please come find me and tell me there is something wrong with me." That said, it was a beautiful day spent with an awesome team.