Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Topping 'er off

This period of the season is my favorite part of the entire year of training. With the combination of the cold weather, the snow in the mountains, and the building anticipation for the racing season quickly approaching us- there is no way to show up or leave training without unusually high levels of energy. I am beginning to get the feeling that every single workout I am putting in is directly effecting how hard I will be able to push over the steepest hills throughout the season.

Things are shifting here in Alaska. Starting a couple weeks ago- we drive to training in the dark and do our warm-up in the dark, but we are lucky enough to be doing the true "work" just as the sun rises over the mountains! It sure makes for some awesome views as we speed through the icy streets and trails of Anchorage.

The past month and a half I have been able to shift back into lots of foot workouts. It has been great to do some exploring on foot over the weekends, and to mix up the rollerskiing throughout the week. Last week I decided to put one of my "alpine" friends through some pain and brought him on an OD over the weekend up to Symphony Lakes and the surrounding peaks in Eagle River. It turned into quite the adventure :)

 Symphony Lakes Below.. and lots of white mountains that I wish I knew the names of!

I am screaming because the ice just dropped and broke right under my feet!

We also had TT's last week just to test the body and get it used to "racing". Though maybe a bit rustic, I was happy with where I am right now. The first day consisted of a sprint day simulation. With a team of 6 or 7 of the top skiers in the US, this simulation is quite accurate... it truly resembles a race! The next day we did a 35 min Hill Climb skating from the ocean to one of the highest access roads in Anchorage. In the past, I would have normally despised a race like this, as who wants to put your head down and climb to the peaks, but I actually enjoyed it.!! I have a video posted below that Erik took near the top of the climb. Check out the sweet houses and view in the background!

It's hard to tell because everyone is wearing pink and blue. But I am wearing blue tights, pink shirt, white helmet and white boots. 

3 more weeks until departure for the season..... YEAHHH!
Until then.... topping 'er off!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hiking above Anchorage
For the past couple of weeks we have been in our transition stage here in Anchorage, where its cold enough to snow, but it just isn't quite ready yet. We have made bets on our team when there is going to be enough snow to ski up at Hatchers Pass, and I have my money on Saturday. The precipitation is coming, and the temperatures are low enough... so its on its way! 

I suffered from a knee injury all summer that stuck around and continued to cause problems throughout the early part of the fall. Skate skiing is finally back to 100%, so I have been putting in some hard uphill skate intervals, trying to get the legs back in the grove of skating. I haven't felt the skating butt burn in a while, so I have been loving every minute of the intervals lately.! Running was also causing lots of issues, so one day when I was super excited I started mindlessly skipping down the road. After a couple of minutes, I started thinking and realized it wasn't hurting my knee. So the past month and a half I have taken up skipping... which gets lots of funny reactions when I am passing people.! Especially when I am out on the trails, because not only am I skipping, but I am also singing to warn the bears I am coming. Let me tell you, it is a sight to see. Fortunately, I have been able to shift back to running- so I am not making such a scene trekking through the woods.

Sweet view of Anchorage- Ky Eiben has MAD hops!

APU has this weekly workout that we run/ski-bound 1 hour uphill from a ski area down in town up to the mountains. The gas line trail cuts right through "bear country" central, so every 1 hr. pass up this trail I am counting my blessings for making it up without being chomped. As I get over my bear fears, this has become one of my favorite training workouts of the year. You just turn you engine on, and brain off- similar to racing.

Making it to snow yesterday!

Powerline Pass snowed in!!
School has been consuming all of my hours that I am not out training. I have managed to make friends with the library again- I did actually miss that last year! The schooling here at APU is great, I now understand what "active" learning really is. Each of my classes has between 4-8 people in it, so there is lots of focus on the students as well as real world application, rather than just learning the text book. There is no lack of challenge, but a much different focus then UAA for example. I much prefer this over public, state universities!

6 more weeks until we take off for our first racing series in West Yellowstone, the focus is on! Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!