Friday, September 27, 2013

The Most Beautiful Time of the Year

October and November weather can be really hit or miss in Vermont, but we have been lucky this year! Since returning from Lake Placid, I would estimate that an average of six out of every seven days have been sunny and in the 60s with beautiful foliage, and the upcoming forecast doesn't look too shabby. The leaf peepers are starting to arrive, but many are under the misconception that the best time of year to come peep leaves is at the end of October when most of the leaves have fallen. So, as a result, we've been quietly enjoying the quintessential Vermont autumn. We took advantage of an easy week last week to participate in some non-skiing fall activities of our own, like apple picking! Apples are Erika's favorite food and Annie P. had never been apple picking, so there was a lot of excitement building up around this outing. It was a success and as usual, we got tired about half way through and ended up taking a nap under thee trees and then having Ben pull us in on the wagon.

We're in the middle of another pretty big training week before we tone it down for a few days before Park City and Canmore. Most of our workouts this week have been with the SMS kids. We're about to leave for three weeks so we're trying to ski with the high school kids as much as possible. They're looking pretty fast and have been keeping us on our toes in our speed workouts.
Poppet sent this picture to Jessie and me of the girls helping each other do pull ups and it made our day!

Simi and Koby

Ben and Max

Scenic ski in Manchester

Sophie, Erika, and Annie
My cousin, Anya, visited for a few days this week and we had a blast. She lives in Bozeman now and I rarely get to see her, so it was quite a treat!
Christmas came early!

Some Bromley selfies

The Dartmouth cousins...and Anya

The twins came home for dinner one night!
Annie and Erika are leaving today to head out west. They are going home for a week before heading to Park City. I leave on Wednesday and we will all be in Park City together by the 7th. I had fun being in Park City earlier this summer, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there. I will be in Park City for just over two weeks before heading to Canmore for my first snow skiing since May! I have a lot to do before I leave, including going to the Peru Fair tomorrow. I come from a town of about 450 people and the Peru Fair is by far the biggest event that happens in town. Downtown consists of a post office, a general store, and a church, and the main road shuts down so all the booths can be set up on the street. It's supposed to be a beautiful day and I definitely plan on checking it out!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back to VT

The final 5 days of Lake Placid went very well and now the T2 team is back in Stratton for a recovery week. The bigger workouts of our last few days in Placid were a continuous bounding workout, a long classic ski, and the annual Climb to the Castle. I was excited to still be feeling good by the end of the camp because usually I'm exhausted and it's a struggle to get out of bed each morning. This year, I saved that feeling for the two days after camp and have been sleeping A LOT.
All smiles after a skate ski in Lake Placid
Uphill skating is something I've been working on for awhile now, but it is still probably my weakness. The Climb to the Castle is all uphill skating with no downhills and a very small amount of flats. To put it lightly, let's just say it's not my favorite race. The fact that I don't particularly enjoy it probably makes it even more important for me to do and I will admit that the past two years it has gotten a lot better. Race start is at 8am each year, so we wake up very early to drive over and give ourselves time to warm up. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning driving over this year. The sunrise was beautiful and there was one cloud in the sky that happened to be hovering right on the top of Whiteface (where we'd be finishing the climb)! It was a brutal race, but we survived and I want to say a special congrats to my teammate Liz Stephen the mountain goat, who continues to rock it year after year! Check out a funny video coach Gus made about the climb HERE.

Happy to make it to the top!

The Lake Placid Crew
View of the road we raced up from the top of Whiteface

Off day treats in town!

SMS T2 beanie season!

The Lake Placid ducks
Everyone had a couple days off right after camp and most people took advantage of the time off to go visit friends elsewhere. I spent a few days with Dan before he left to go back to Haiti and now I'm back at Stratton. I think this is my favorite time of year in Vermont. The weather has been perfect. It's been sunny, in the 60s and 70s, and the leaves are starting to change. I will have to do some leaf peeping and take some photos for my next post. It's been so nice to be back and we're enjoying doing a lot of training with the SMS kids and looking forward to doing some fall activities like apple picking tomorrow!
Pretty VT evening

Bye bye!

Coach Chase Marston giving the SMS kids some tips

Sophie, Annie, and KO

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lake Placid Week One

We've been in Lake Placid for just over a week and have experienced a little bit of everything as far as weather goes. For the most part, we've had beautiful weather, but yesterday we had a team sprint workout in the pouring rain and this morning we had skate speeds in hot and humid mid-summer weather. We've been keeping ourselves busy with A LOT of training, but have made room for other various non-training activities such as Fast and Female, a school visit, trips into town to Ben and Jerry's, and a movie night to go see The Butler! I've loved having my SMS T2 team here as well as most of my USST teammates. The Craftsbury team and a big group of National Training Group juniors and seniors are also here. There is always someone to train with regardless of how you're feeling on any given day!

Fast and Female Ambassadors and friends
 Some of my favorite workouts have been the easy distance skis and the speed workouts. The rollerskiing around Lake Placid is some of the best I've experienced. There is very little traffic, the scenery is beautiful, and the pavement is smooth! We've been able to explore several different areas for our skis and I always enjoy switching up training locations every once in awhile. The speed workouts have also been really fun for me. It was extremely hot this morning, so as soon as we finished our speed workout, Jessie, Liz, and I took a dip in the ice cold river and then continued to sit in it for 15 minutes until we finally cooled down (or went numb). It was the perfect way to end a tough workout and I was proud of myself because it's one more step toward taking the dreaded full-body ice bath Matt is going to make me do when I get to Park City in October.
agility practice before speeds

Skyler during speeds - zoom zoom

Jessie and me doing a classic start
Beautiful day to be outside
When I sat down with Gus at the end of the spring, one of my big goals for the year was to get tougher. I wanted to get stronger, but I also wanted to get mentally tougher, especially in training. That doesn't necessarily mean doing one more interval or skiing 15 minutes longer, because I need to be smart about the amount of training I'm doing and not overdo it. For me, getting tougher meant gritting my teeth a little, becoming more aggressive, and skiing a little "angry", as Gus would say. In addition to a handful of fun workouts this week, we've had plenty of workouts that have helped make me tougher. The first was the L4 bounding interval workout we do up Whiteface each year. I can't remember a year when I completed this workout feeling awesome and this year was no exception. The thing is, it's not supposed to feel good. It's a really hard workout! Simply surviving it means you're on your way to mental toughness (yes, that's how hard it is). The other really tough workout that stood out to me was the classic sprint relay. For this workout I actually felt pretty good, but it happened to be POURING rain. This was also the case several years ago and before the final round of sprints, I was in the van, huddling around the heaters, and I'm embarrassed to say...crying. That year, I didn't do the last round because I was so cold and miserable. I don't think it was quite as cold this year, but it was still wet enough to get pretty chilled between rounds. It was a blast to team up with the juniors and go as fast as we could around the new rollerski track and completing the workout and being able to smile about it felt a lot better than sitting in the van crying, so I like to think I'm getting a little tougher :). HERE is a link to some video from our rainy sprint practice!
Liz, Jessie, Ida, and Jennie during the bounding intervals
Camp ends on Sunday with the annual Climb to the Castle and we still have a few other hard workouts between now and then. Here are a few more pictures of what we've been up to the past week!
Our 3 hr run in the ADKs

don't worry...our coaches have also been getting strong with their 100 pushups a day

Fast and Female
3rd grade school visit
Noodle games with the kids
Skate speeds this morning

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Rabbit, rabbit (Happy September 1st)! Even though the transition into fall happens gradually, I always tend to think of September 1st as the first day of fall. We just finished up a recovery week, which was a great opportunity to soak up the last week of summer before everything starts to pick up very soon. Our camp in Lake Placid begins on Tuesday and then we will spend the majority of October in Park City and Canmore before heading to the first races of the season in mid November. That's still 2.5 months before the first race of the season (basically a 2nd summer!), but fall is the time of year when things really start to pick up and we're going to be on snow before we know it. So what is going to be different about fall training?

1. Camps - Since returning home at the end of June, I chose to spend my whole summer in the East. I think it ended up being the right decision for me and I've loved spending so much time at home with friends, family, and team. I will be spending 5 or 6 weeks of the next 2.5 months at camps, so I will mostly be using my time at home to recover in between. I got into a nice training routine this summer, but I'm excited to travel and go to camps while using the few weeks I have at home in between camps to recover from those harder efforts.
Lake Placid hill climb last fall (Jessie, Annie, Ida, Sophie)

2. Weather- The beginning of fall is one of my favorite times of year. I'm hoping the leaves will be changing by the time we get back from Lake Placid and they are already beginning to sell local orchard apples in the grocery stores! The weather gods are a little confused right now because we had beautiful cool dry fall weather a couple weeks ago and this morning I had one of my sweatier, hotter workouts of the summer, but hopefully they will straighten things out soon.
One last trip to Little Rocky Pond before it gets too cold!
A little rain never hurt anyone
4. Training - Fall training isn't too much different than summer training, but the workouts tend to be a little shorter and a little harder. We work towards building a good base all summer and fall is the time to fine-tune everything we've been working on while adding some harder efforts to prepare us for race season. The days aren't always as long, but they're generally just as exhausting!

3. Outfits- This may seem a little ridiculous, but when you spend the majority of your time in training clothes like we do, changes in workout gear become pretty exciting. The days of booty shorts and sports bras are about to be replaced with spandex and long sleeves. I believe this is the most comfortable weather to train in because you can choose from the various clothing lengths to find the perfect combination that will keep you warm without sweating! Unfortunately, rain coats and rain boots sometimes make the occasional appearance in our wardrobes, but that just prepares us for any inclement weather we could face this winter.
Goodbye shorts and tanks!

4. Family- I've been very lucky to spend so much time with my family this summer, but pretty soon I hit the road and only see them over Skype. The fall will be a nice transition period because I don't have to jump from seeing them every day to never seeing them, but this is where team becomes especially important. Hearing about the role of team as a second family might get repetitive, but it's so important in the months we spend away from home. Luckily, I have two pretty awesome teams who happen to be wonderful stand-in families. :)
I don't get to see as much of my sister and brother
Or my fashionable dad and mom

But luckily I have these girls!

and my SMS family 
In other news, we had an end-of-summer gathering at SMS last night and had a great turnout! I took my first rollerski crash in about 5 years, but at least there was a big crowd there to watch it happen. Thank you to everyone who showed up to support us!

Thanks to Marina Knight of T2 for our t-shirts

A little road rash
Good turnout of SMS alumns and US Team skiers!