Monday, October 29, 2012


Since getting back from Park City Camp, Anchorage has yet to get any snow. Of course, when every skier is looking for moisture, the sun finally decides to show in AK. With no snow, the temperatures haven't hesitated to resemble the typical Alaskan weather at this time of year. As temps dropped down into the single digits, rollerskiing gets less fun! Pounding freezing cold pavement isn't exactly the nicest thing for your joints. But, with a little extra clothes, and a longer than usual warm up- we made it happen.

One day we were rollerskiing at a local park, where all the ducks have decided to reside around a half frozen pond. They also have chosen to poop all over the trail. So, aside from the trail being half frozen, our skis were also being stopped and tripped up by frozen pooo. It provided for some laughing, a little swearing, and fortunately only one fall that didn't end up too bad.

frozen poo and lots of ducks!
Last weekend was also the annual APU ski swap, where all the elite athletes pass down our great equipment to the younger generation of skiers. This is one of the neatest qualities about this elite/junior/devo team. A great pair of skis never leaves the team as someone grows out of them, it just keeps living down the chain. The ski swap is also a time that Kikkan takes the opportunity to clear out her closet and raffle off all her stuff to the young kids. This is one of the most exciting things I have ever watched. Kikkan manages to accumulate some pretty awesome gear, so the kids get called out by number, have 10 seconds to pick something on the table, and then the next person goes. It's a pretty awesome thing Kikkan does- and I am sure that 90% of those kids mark the day on the calendar, it's that exciting!!
Kikkan and the surrounding group!
Marit Flora with her awesome new hat made by one of the skiers on the Swedish Team.
Oscar Flora with psyched on his new get-up!
On that same day we had one of the young devo team boys and Rob Whitney put on a fundraiser run for Mary Robicheaux, a young devo on our team that got hit by a car while she was biking. Mary has been in the hospitals for the past two months as she is learning to walk again. She suffered a fractured skull, many broken bones in both legs, a broken spine, and a tough road to recovery. She has been amazing though as she has continued to improve from day to day with a whole lot of heart. Anyways, one of her friends, Luke Jager headed up a running race for the community. He set up a little 5k course that weaved over logs, through trees, around in circles... you name it. It was pretty fun. It was amazing to see the community come together, with around 300 participants, who managed to raise $14,000 for Mary's recovery.
Some boys with some awesome outfits and great spirit! 
Some of the APU skiers at the race.
The Skhoop Goddess, and some of my greatest supporters. Osa and John Lapkass
So, this leads to last weekend. On Wednesday last week, I headed up to Fairbanks for a little on-snow time. Since Fairbanks has about 3 inches of snow, our team was off to find it. This weekend is also the First Tracks Camp, where all the skiers of Alaska group together for the first "on-snow" camp of the season. It is pretty awesome, they all get to chase all the elite skiers around during training, and then there are a bunch of talks set up from Nutritionists, Health Specialists, NCAA skiers and coaches, and the World Cup Team. With everyone in the same place, everyone gets to take advantage of the others around them. This is the first time I have attended one of these First Tracks Camp, but it is pretty amazing. Thanks Matt  Hajdukavich and Challenge Life Alaska for an awesome time!
The First Tracks Crew with the bright colored instructors in front. Holly Brooks photo.
Dozens of 3 foot long Subway Sandwiches each day. Thanks Subway for donating them! Best after skiing lunch.
Thanks Dave Edic for letting us crash at your house!
Happy Halloween Cake!
The final day, we celebrated Halloween and dressed up in costumes for our ski. I was doing intervals this day, so it meant throwing down pretty hard in a pink onesie suit with a white cotton t-shirt on top. It provided for some entertainment though for sure. Kikkan and Holly also organized a "world-cup field" for the final day where they brought all their race suits from other countries they have accumulated, and then raffled off who got to wear them the final day. The kids also got to wear world cup bibs on top, so it was pretty hilarious to watch the "foreigners" skiing around.
Kikkan, Holly and I feeling the spirit.
Ripping out some intervals in the silly get-up.
The World Cup Field! Holly Brooks photo.
We also managed to squeeze in a Fast and Female event the final day. Thanks Becca for organizing. Here, a Fast and Female cheer!

After some fun Zumba dancing, stretching it out!

So after four days of sweet skiing, we had to head home for some good "home time" before leaving for the winter. This is also the hardest part. Trying to get your life truly organized before being gone from your home for potentially 5 months!! Yikes. In the mean time, if you see me on the side of the road dancing... I am just doing the snow dance!! C'mon snow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Park City Camp Week 2

The second week of Park City Camp got more exciting as we started adding in some more intensity, and speeding things up. The weather started to cool down, so things began resembling winter a bit more.
The group doing some DP intervals- Matt Whitcomb photo
Good training on the 2002 Olympic Course and this years Nationals course.
Matt Whitcomb photo.
Erik and Tad going neck and neck on some classic speeds- Matt Whitcomb photo.

As always the week was busy with fitting in lots of things. I was lucky enough to be able to use Tad Elliots bikes for some of the recovery workouts (who double's as a professional biker as well as professional nordic skier). It made for some entertaining off day adventures. I haven't gotten to do much biking in the past few years, so it was pretty exciting to rip around on some trails as well as the road.
Holly and I headed out... Holly with her wardrobe in tow. Many times we were so busy we packed for the whole day of activities when we left the house in the morning... which meant several sets of workout clothes and more.
Biking on one of the new paths that was put in near the Center of Excellence
Deer Valley
I also got in some good times doing aqua jogging intervals in the tide pool with Kikkan. I have been splitting my intervals between skis and in the pool. This way I can do more intensity while still slowly introducing it back on land. One afternoon we did 30 mins of 30-30's... which turned into one challenging 30 minutes. By turning on the current, and tying ourselves to the wall, we were able to ramp the intensity up high. Without a real ability to gauge our effort... at 15 minutes I felt like a sick goldfish that starts floating sideways in the fish bowl... I was cooked! Turns out you have to pace yourself even in aqua jogging. It has provided some good entertainment as well as some good motivation having Kikkan jogging along beside me though.

Kikkan was multi-tasking and working on her shooting skills at the same time.
During the busy week of training we also managed to fit in a fun little fundraiser at Mike Engels house. It was super fun to meet the many supporters of the US Ski Team around Park City. It was also neat to see how much they had followed the whole nordic squad over the past year, and how much excitement they had!
Some of the many supporters, Kikkan, and the Crystal Globe
By the end of the week I ended up parting my way with the US Team. The Alaskans headed home for some local snow, while the remainder of the National Team headed up to Canmore for some skiing. Unfortunately Anchorage is cold and clear in the forecast (which means no snow)... but fortunately Fairbanks has been getting some moisture. The whole APU team is planning on heading up there Wednesday and doing a little four day camp for "First Tracks". Last year First Tracks was started where all the skiers from around Alaska gather and train together for the first tracks of the season. This year, we will also be incorporating a Fast and Female event for all the young girls. I hear there is a few inches of snow, and it is good enough to ski, so hopefully it is still there for us next week!!
I also got a chance to see one of our old teammates and a good friend Morgan Smyth... here is her adorable new dog that Holly may have brought home with her to keep.
Some sweet sunrises in the morning from our hotel room up in Empire.
On another note, if you are in the Anchorage area, tomorrow morning starting at 10AM, there will be a running race in support of Mary Robicheaux, a young junior on our team who got hit by a car while she was biking this spring. She has been in the hospital going through many surgeries and recovery for the past two months, so the APU crew is putting on a race to raise some funds for her recovery. The race will be held around University Lake on the APU trails, so head out if you are in Anchorage.

The US Womans Team and coaches- US Team photo
Thank you Carlile for Sponsoring for signing for another year!

And finally, 25 more days for the National Nordic Foundation fundraiser. The coolest part about this fundraiser is that some anonymous donor has agreed to match $5 every dollar raised. This means that every $25 donations goes a long ways.
NNF Campaign

In the meantime hopefully it begins to snow! This morning I did DP intervals in the 17 degree weather... slamming my arms into the pavement pretty hard... yikes!!

One more thing. Check out this hilarious video the US Swimming Team made on their way to the Olympics. Those guys know how to go fast and have fun!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Park City US Team Camp, Week 1

I have just finished my first week of meeting up with the National Team, testing and training for the week. I still have one more week down here in PC, but a lot has already happened.
Doing some training along the APU Ladies. Thanks to Rob Whitney for all the photos!
First, I did some testing, which we complete every spring and fall.  Testing includes treadmill tests, strength tests, body composition tests, agility tests, checking in with the Physical Therapist, blood work, etc. Basically we assess our bodies, our strengths, our improvements, and our weaknesses. This year, I added dental into my regime, so I had one more appointment to add to the busy week. (Thanks to Funk Dental for donating your time!) Because I have been injured so much this summer, and haven't done a whole lot of max effort training, I opted out of doing the treadmill tests this fall. Otherwise, I was still able to assess all other areas for improvements etc. I saw some improvements, some weaknesses that I still have time to work on, but overall it went well.

(I am the one in the pink helmet in all these photos)

The large group on top of East Canyon.
Second, I was finishing one of my classes, taking finals this week, so I was working a lot on that as well. I took two condensed courses this year. One 4 week course, one 7 week course, and two semester classes. This means that the seven week course had the perfect landing on this busy week. Luckily I managed to get my final paper written, about "are there too many nonprofits in this day and age?". After a great deal of research and analysis, I made a decision on this question, but since it takes such a huge explanation, I will leave that up to the imagination.

Third, I had to head down to SLC for an MRI on my wrist. About five weeks ago, I fell on my bike on the wet ground and really hurt my wrist. I went into the doctor, got some x-rays and left with a cast for ten days. The doctors were really concerned I had broken my scafoid, but x-rays don't show enough, so  I waited it out for ten days to see if there was any evidence in bone growth showing explaining a break. They decided that everything looked good, so they sent me off and asked me back for a check-up right before coming to PC. Because there are so many doctors that work with US Team athletes for free down here, I waited to check up until I got here. Unfortunately an MRI showed that I do have a fracture in one of the bones in my wrist, just on the opposite side of my wrist as my Scafoid. I am going to see the specialist on Monday to find out what the deal is. I don't know what this means.... but I do know what thing for sure, it's not going to stop me!

On a positive note, training is going super well, and it has been great to mix back in with all the speedsters of the US. The SMS T2 team, Sun Valley, APU, and a few other athletes are joining the US Team, so it has made for some great workouts. The weather has been amazing, with exception to today... our first day of rain.
Some Beautiful Training!
Some great coaching here in PC. APU, US Ski Team, US Development Team... good stuff!
It also happens to be the time of year that National Nordic Foundation runs their annual Drive for 25 Fundraiser. It is a fundraiser where all the athletes of the US work together at one common goal of raising money for all the incoming athletes as well as the top athletes. By donating $25, you join the rest of the supportive community in getting one step closer to our goals. I am an ambassador this year with a goal of raising $250, so check out my page for more information. Please consider joining the force and helping the youngsters have their first races overseas as well as our world cup athletes win medals.
Sadie NNF Campaign

I also wrote up a little article about what NNF has done for me over the past years, and how US Skiing wouldn't be where it was if it weren't for the support of National Nordic Foundation and the many supporters.
Exciting Times

From here I have one more week of training here in Park City. Aside from training and testing, we have also gotten to have some team meetings. Our USSA director, Joey Caterinichio, just recently returned from Sochi, Russia, the venue for the 2014 Olympics. She gave an update on courses, the pre-olympic year World Cup- which we will attend this winter, and the transportation, etc. Exciting times for sure!!

Thanks to Rob Whitney for all the great photos!!

More soon!