I grew up in the Midwest with mosquitoes, deer flies, and the most dreaded: humidity! I thought I did a good job surviving it, knew how much my body could handle, and stayed as hydrated as I could. I went to college in another notoriously humid area, but I only spent September through April training, when things had already started to cool off. My coach at UVM recommended I spend a summer training in Bend, Oregon, an idea I jumped on right away. It only took a couple weeks to absolutely fall in love with the Western summer. The dry heat, mountains of opportunities, and lack of bugs, had me crawling back to Bend three summers in a row.
Alas, it was time for me to grow up. I didn’t pick a ski team according to its local weather patterns. So I had to say goodbye to the endless sun and welcome back the spontaneous thunderstorms with open arms. During my first month of training with the SMS T2 team in Southern Vermont, I received a good slap in the face. I traded in the sun screen for bug repellent, the sun glasses for a rain jacket, and pretty much anything I could find for MORE WATER! Last week we had a pretty intense week of training with lots of intervals and volume. One of our workouts included 4x11 minutes of skate roller skiing intervals up and down a gradual pass working on skiing well at high speed. The goal was to build neuromuscular adaptations while not being too aerobically taxing. The humidity killed me! After each training session it wasn’t only about replenishing the thirst from what our body just endured, but preparing it for the next time we had to go run for 2 hours in 90 degrees and 88% humidity.
Thankfully, this team is not new to breathing in a sauna. In order to get through the challenging weather we held each other accountable to take plenty of water breaks, restore electrolytes, and eat many snacks along the way. Luckily, Coach Pat came prepared with PLENTY of extra water to keep our core body temperature down.
Finally, we made it through the end of the training block and got to take some time off for more R&R. I've spent the last few days trying to find any body of water I can to jump in and have taken on average 3 cold showers each day. Thankfully, the weather is starting too cool off again before we jump back into the next big block of training!