Saturday, June 7, 2014

Five days of Methow Paradise


The past five days have been nothing but paradise. Five days of family, five days of sunshine, five days of amazing Methow Valley! 
Home, sweet, home!
Some Olympic Spirit still living on the front of the Garage.
When you become an elite athlete, similar to when you have a full time job- your life becomes about your job. I eat, sleep, breath ski racing for 11 months of the year. I wake up, train, come home and study, train again, recover, and start over. Squeezed in between that is Fundraisers, team obligations, searching for sponsors, traveling for camps, racing, meeting with professors, and much more. The result of this is sadly no time for anyone. Even most of my best friends in Anchorage, I rarely get to see if they aren't training with me every day. But the thing that has been hardest for me is not having much time for my family. I always try to find at least 10 days of the summer that I can go home and spend some time with my family- but those 10 days always go too fast- and the time in between becomes large. I used to count on seeing my family at the races cheering; but with most of my racing in Europe now- I can't count on that too much. So over the course of these past four years, as I have become more and more dedicated- it has been hard to see my family less and less.

Missing these days!
That is why these last five days were so special. My sister came over from Seattle for the first two days of my little break in the Methow, which was super nice. She is getting married next summer, so I got to finally participate in some of her planning, art projects; and even got to model my brides made dress! I have only been to maybe two or three weddings in my life; so I don't know much about the process. One of the things I learned is that the made of honor is in charge of planning the bachelorette party- so we even got to start brainstorming about ideas for this next spring in my one month off. 
Mom and Kaley were in charge of drawing, I was the designated painter. ( I lack their artistic skills)
Making sure my dress fits.
My sister and I
My family is really great in that they really respect my training- which means they come and join me for all my activities. When I roller ski, they bike alongside chit chatting away and keeping me entertained. For my running, biking and strength exercises- they jump in beside me, amazingly keeping up! I guess I know how I got my athletic abilities! I grew up playing outside, and exercises all day long- so not much has changed, except that things are a little more focused now. When we head up behind my house for a run though…. sometimes you could convince me that I am still seven years old chasing my mom around in the familiar meadows filled with wildflowers and scents that I miss a lot in Alaska!
Princess Kaley
My training buddies
discovering some awesome new trails!
Miss these trails!
Taking me back to these days.
As you can imagine, the five days went too fast. With school two of the nights that I was there- I barely got to squeeze in enough time with my parents before I was packing up again and heading back to the Airport. I didn't get much time to visit anyone, or do much; but just a little family time is going to carry me over until August. I did manage to do a little community event telling my story from "The Olympic Chase". I talked about this past year leading into the Olympics, and then my story of the Olympic Games. It was grew to see so many people show up- thank you everyone! Experiences like the Olympics are only special when you get to share them with people; laughing over the hilarious parts, and speculating about the mysterious clouds that drifted over the mountain one day. The Methow was very supportive over the Games- so it was fun to come back and share my part with the kids and adults of the community!
Pat Leigh at my Olympic Event. She is one of the nicest ladies in the world- and the best fan!
Enjoying the Washington fresh fruit!
chasing the June snow with mom
Turns out, I didn't inherit my dads hand eye coordination. He is just as good as ever at Montana Golf... and I am just as bad as ever!!

This leaves me back in Alaska, where I have about two weeks of training in town before I head up on my first Glacier Camp. In the meantime, I am diving deep into my senior project with lots of research and excitement.... dreaming about this fall when I am going to finally be done with my degrees!