Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rookie Camp Video

Sweet Video from the US Ski Team Rookie Camp

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Park City Testing and Rookie Camp

For the past five days I have been moving along in overdrive down in Park City for a series of tests and Rookie Camp. The first two days in town we spent the entire day in the US Ski Teams new central gym called the Center of Excellence. That place is amazing; it gets you fired up just walking in to the place! With pictures and banners posted everywhere of all the successful athletes, you can't help but get instantly excited. Not to mention there are famous people everywhere doing the same thing you are doing, just getting some work done.

A view of one side of the Center of Excellence

Warming up with Ida- getting a little inspiration from Ted in front of us :)

Jessie and I had a little fun in the foam pits where the freestyle skiers practice. Here I practice my swimming dive into the pit...


Starting day one, we kicked off with a series of treadmill tests, blood tests, concussion tests, and then the following day hit two more treadmill tests, strength tests, functional movement tests, physicals, dexo scans, body composition tests, and probably a few more that I can't remember anymore. The schedule was tight with only two days and six athletes to get through, so I felt like a lab rat for a bit, just jumping from one thing to the next. In the mean time I was trying to fit in school work and some outside training, since the sun was seriously shining.

Treadmill Max VO2 Testing

I have watched so many people do the max tests on the treadmill with rollerskis on, so I was anxious to complete my first VO2 max test, and rollerski on the massive treadmill for the first time.I was surprised. It was pretty easy to get used to the motions of skiing on a treadmill. At first it was hard to remember to keep your skis straight, but within a few minutes it felt natural like skiing on snow. We would warm up on a separate treadmill, sometimes with another person- and then for the testing period we would transfer over to the treadmill with all the tubes, computers and harness hook up. In order to ensure that we didn't go shooting off the back when we skid to maximum effort, they would attach a harness to your back, which would catch you when you went to a point of no return. I only got to try this out once, as the other two times I just grabbed onto the bar in front of me when I felt I could go no further. It is a funny point to go to maximum effort, because most times in races you know you have to keep going and finish the hill, so you hold yourself back from going to that place where you can no longer hold yourself up.

You had a team of about 15 doctors and coaches standing around the treadmill with each test either pricking your finger for blood, waiting to catch you when you fall, holding your breathing tube, reading your heart rates, running the machine, or simply just cheering you on. I swear the rest of the athletes in the gym that were not nordic skiers were all watching, thinking us nordic skiers are absolutely crazy! With a tube stuffed in your mouth, you are not able to talk, so Matt Whitcomb would just stand in front of us watching our face expressions for pain, and cheering us on. It was really a neat thing.

Matt encouraging me as I get in the zone during the test.

treadmill test 2

The other tests were hard in a different way. Strength tests measured our jumping power, or various mobility muscles, our stability muscles, and a few other. It turns out, all of us nordic skiers need a lot of work in that field. The concussion test was hilarious, as I felt like I failed it before I even need to be tested for a concussion. The rest of the tests were good, and it was fun to get a baseline measurement to see where I will progress from here. I have never had the opportunity to make many of these measurements, so its great to have all of this as a resource to us now.

Squat test- we push against this bar that is impossible to move to measure the force we put on the scale below our feet.

Vertical Jump Test

The following three days we attended a US Ski Team class session, otherwise known as Rookie Camp. In three days, I learned more important information than I could have imagined. There were 42 athletes attending, who have just this year been named to the US Team, so it was fun to get to know these other alpiners, snowboarders, mogulists and aerialists. I don't know much about any winters sports besides alpine, so I had tons of fun learning about these sports and what they do for training and competition. Besides that part of the three days, we also got to meet all the managers and various people that work in different areas of the US Team. A lot of times we communicate with these people over the phone or email, but we never know them by face, so I enjoyed getting to put a face to the voice or name. We also had media practice, met some trustee's, learned about USADA, learned about Nutrition, got to speak with some of the top athletes on the team, and hear their experiences, learn about US Ski Team marketing and fundraising, did some team building exercises, played some outdoors games, and simply learned about all the various resources offered to us when you are part of the team. Starting at 6:30 in the morning when we woke up, to about 9:30 PM when we would return to the hotel- we were on a role, one thing after another!

The Rookies

Media Practice- explaining our story with Benji Farrow, KC Oakley, and Robby Kelley

With most of us in training at this time of year, they wanted to take the smallest amount of our time, but educate us as much as they could, so it was a successful process- plus I got to know a lot of talented athletes just introduced into the team that will probably be super famous one day!

The bird-man towering over me on the bikes!

Park City was so nice when we were there, like 85 degree days, but because we were inside testing all day, or inside doing meetings for the majority of the day, I had limited time in the sun. Somehow I still managed to completely fry my shoulders during day one of rookie camp at our ropes course. When you become used to living in Alaska, you forget about sun screen sometimes.....

For now, I have a week of dryland training in town before taking my second trip up to the glacier for a week. One thing after another- there is really no way I could get bored doing what I do. It is great!!!

Hopefully I will have more pictures from Rookie Camp coming soon!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Home away from Home

Eagle Glacier- June 2011

Super pumped on my helicopter ride up!

After only spending three weeks of my life now in the green building on the side of the cliff, I am beginning to feel like it is my home away from home. For this past week I have been training my heart out up on Eagle Glacier, about 6000 feet above Girdwood. I just recently returned from a 10 day on snow camp in Bend, Oregon, so after 3 days of resting in town I headed for the snow again.... this time a bit closer. Eagle Glacier is a very unique training atmosphere very different than any other training camp. Because you are perched on the top of a glacier, there is limited activity to do other than skiing, thinking about skiing, and dreaming about skiing. This is what makes it super fun though. You are constantly surrounded by the energy and enthusiasm of training hard and getting one step closer to your goals.

The house- literally perched on the side of the cliff!

Dropping in on our home away from home

Welcome to the Glacier!

Clouds moving in- chasing some skiers in the background :)

Monday morning Alpine Air flew us up from cloudy Girdwood to a pleasant surprise of sunshine and great afternoon skiing. In my three glacier camps, there has only been about 5 days that I have spent on Eagle Glacler that have been crystal clear, where you can see mountains forever. So, when that happens I have this uncontrollable excitement where I want to be taking pictures constantly. Unlucky, but also lucky for me, I forgot my camera in town this week. So thanks to Holly Brooks and Greta Anderson for all the photos. As much of a bummer as this was, I honestly think my training greatly benefits from a mistake like this. I am still in the tourist stage that every five minutes I think the view is better so I have to take a picture. Or the conditions are soooo crazy bad that I have to take a picture. There is a lot to document in a week on a glacier!

Erin, Holly and I enjoying some sun just after arriving.

My brother soaking in Eagle Glacier skiing on his first trip with the team

Tuesday morning, and the majority of the rest of the week we woke up to socked in clouds that allowed you to only see about 3 feet in front of you. As much of a bummer as this was, it made for quite the adventure. Because the light is so flat on the glacier, and everything looks the same, many times you loose track of the ski trail. Luckily there are wands placed every 20 or so feet, but you would be surprised; you can easily get lost in 20 feet. There were a few times that I was at the point of near delirious exhaustion that I was beginning to wonder if I was lost in the cloud. Luckily I was always saved by the orange wands that would appear from the mist. I am convinced that if someone were to have videotaped some of the 180 degree corners, they could have for sure submitted the tapes into America's Funniest Videos. You would be ripping down the hill, and out of no-where the corner you were anticipating 20 seconds further down the trail would appear and shoot you flying this way or that. This became especially crazy in the afternoons when the snow was soft and we were in our little classic boots with no support. There were some hilarious tracks to watch!! I got a good chuckle every time.... even when it was me getting flung off the trail!

Erin and Pete throwing down some hard efforts in Intervals

Woman's Team following our first L3/L4 interval session in the fog

Holly Brooks racking in some kilometers- training hard and loving it!

In my two Eagle Glacier Camps last year, I was suffering with knee injuries, so I was only able to classic ski. With skate skiing being added into the mix, I was able to train a bit more and hit some more specific workouts. I have been working a great deal on technique this year with my coach, so the glacier provides for the ultimate "playing field". Learning various technique's is all about trying things out and playing around with what you feel. You can watch videos for hours and hours, but the magic comes from going out and feeling things out. Aiming for training between 4-5 hours a day leaves ample time to try one thousand different tricks. Between Monday and Saturday we were able to fit in many different workouts with many different goals. In order to keep our volume high for the week, we limited our week to two sets of intervals both with L3/L4 focus, some speed sessions, some relays in the mist, strength workouts, core routines, and lots of solid hard distance skiing. By the end of the week it simply becomes work to walk up the stairs 3 times a day. Once for a change of clothes after training, once for a nap, and once for bed.

Erik demonstrating some technique ideas

A view of the trails from our house. If you look closely you can see the little ant tracks on the hillside.

Tired muscles make for painful core routines!

APU ladies givin 'er all, and soakin 'er in!

My favorite part of the camp is always the last night. Everyone is so tired that they go into this stage where its as if they are looking through goggles, and everything slows down and becomes really funny. When your body gets to a point of being so tired, it simple goes into auto pilot and you loose control of what you are saying, what you are doing, and everything becomes hilarious. For many of us, six days of training meant between 20-30 hours of focused work and upwards to 400km of skiing. The final night of cooking dinner was just awesome. We were all cutting up random things, stirring in odd concoctions, and being lead by our stomachs. I think it actually took four boys to lift the bowl of pasta sauce onto the table. I was waiting for someone to fall asleep on their plate, I am sure there were several of us that were nearing that point!!

Erin Phillips- training hard, cooking hard, eating hard!

Between training, cooking, napping, video review and chores I spent the remainder of my time studying. I have been taking an online class this summer, so things got interesting thursday night during class when I had to get creative in order to attend class. Holly Brooks is also taking masters classes this summer, so luckily there were a couple of us to try the system out. We were able to tether internet from an iphone and then connect on our computer. Seems pretty crazy you can be up on a glacier training and still going to school. Not a bad life, I must say!!

Thanks to Erik Flora, Mike Matteson and Casey Fagerquist for putting on an awesome camp. Awesome grooming, drinking water, electricity and plenty of energy and enthusiasm! Rock on!

The video man. Catching all the best moments :)

For now it is back to dryland training in town for a week before taking off for Rookie Camp in Park City. I have had quite the month filled with lots of skiing, so I am actually excited to jump on the rollerskis for a bit. I am especially pumped because I just got some new marwe's, brand spanking new, thanks to Finnsisu! I am having a hard time taking them out in the dirt because they are so pretty... so maybe I will save my first time for the treadmill testing in Park City next week.

Saturday we get a new teammate, and a good friend of mine Rosie Brennan. I am super pumped to have a new talented, motivated girl on the team! There is nothing like having a huge woman's group to train with, I truly believe that is the magic! So welcome Rosie!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Newell Video from Bend

Thanks Newell for this short and sweet video from Bend Training Camp. Pretty much sums it up!!!