After almost five weeks of being away from Southern Vermont, I am happy to finally be back with my SMS T2 Teammates and excited to get into some hard fall training! In early August I took a trip home to the Midwest to spend some quality time with my family at our cabin and visit friends from home in the Twin Cities.
While at home, I hosted a clinic with Gear West Ski and Bike Shop at the Theodore Wirth Trailhead. I also visited a few club practices including the NordicWerks SkiKlubb in St. Paul. My goal for these events was to connect with junior athletes in the Twin Cities area and to chat with them about staying in sport, setting goals and challenging themselves. It was really awesome to spend time with the ski community that I grew up in and work with high schoolers that are in the same position that I was in just a few years ago!
I’m so grateful to have a supporter like Gear West, willing to help me with a fundraiser later this fall (more on that later) and help me get involved in the community. Growing up in Plymouth, MN, whenever I needed anything ski related, I always went to Gear West. When I was in middle school, my dad and I went to the store together in search of a new pair of classic skis. I remember the Gear West experts spent so much time with the two of us picking out a pair that would be just right for me and I later referred to these skis as my “magic skis” because they were so fast and I could always kick on them. To have a store that cares so much about the young skiers in the area is really special and something that I have been very thankful for. So, it was an honor to put together a ski clinic with Gear West in the hopes of developing more junior athletes to succeed as the next generation of elite skiers!
After a busy week in the Midwest, I flew west to Bozeman, MT for my own mini altitude training camp. Bozeman isn’t super high in elevation, but it’s high enough for me to feel the effects. I’ve never felt like I could race to my true ability while at altitude and it’s something that I’ve been trying to work on for years now. I was able to jump in with the elite skiers training in Bozeman for a few time trials, long mountain runs and strength workouts. They were so nice to let me join them for three weeks!
After a month of running around, I was ready to head back east. Although, while planning all of this travel I scheduled a 48-hour layover back in Minneapolis to spend two more nights with my parents, attend the Minnesota State Fair and see my sister one last time. For anyone not from Minnesota, you might not understand why I would schedule an extra two days at home just to go to a silly little fair. Well, it’s not silly. And it’s not little! The Minnesota State Fair is one of the biggest in the country and includes food, rides, games, concerts, shopping, animals, etc. My mom and her friends had a bunch of tickets to see Brandi Carlile in concert at the Grand Stand and they had an extra ticket for me! We walked around the fair eating all kinds of great food: fried tacos, fried cheese curds, gyros, pronto pups (foot-long corn dogs). Pretty much any type of food you could think of, the fair has, and it’s fried or on a stick, or both! It was so great to spend this time with my mom and all of her friends. It gave me a good mental reset before a Fall of hard training.
Before I could leave The Cities I really wanted to see my sister, Marit. She and her boyfriend, Nick, had just flown back from a vacation they took in Oregon and I was excited to hear all about the trip. We headed to their place for one last dinner as a family and Nick's family came along too. We ate and laughed and heard all about their special trip together and were about ready to go home for the night when Marit started talking about a hike that they did in Bend, OR. They climbed up one of the more challenging mountains called Middle Sister and Marit told us about how hard they worked to get to the top. They were determined to summit and once they did, they enjoyed the view at the top and felt very accomplished. Marit then casually pulled her hand out of her pocket and stated, "and then Nick asked me to marry him," while showing us a gorgeous ring! Woah! I could not be happier for these two! This was a moment that every family member had been waiting for and we are all so excited for them! Marit and Nick are two of my best friends and some of the hardest working people I know. They are so loving and supportive of each other and of the people around them. I love both so much and can't wait to have an older brother! :)
The next day, I took this excitement with me as I finally made my way back to Stratton, VT to be with my team. We jumped into a big block of hard training and got to work during intervals, strength workouts, and long runs. My teammates Sophie, Ian and I decided to hop into a half marathon in Manchester, VT and I think we all surprised ourselves with how good we felt. After so much high-quality ski training we were able to transfer this over to running and probably pushed our legs a little too much. We’re used to going out for long runs in the mountains, but these adventures are on trails (much softer than pavement) and we run much slower because of all the hills, rocks and roots on the trail. Running fast on pavement was a little shock to our legs and I definitely had a hard time walking the following few days.
Although it was fun to travel and see family for so long, I am happy to be back with my teammates for training and adventuring throughout Vermont! Ski training in the summer is a lot of hours and volume but it's pretty easy to do from almost anywhere. However, the fall is when we really crack down on hard workouts and it is so valuable to be with speedy teammates that I can learn from every single day in a place with such phenomenal ski training terrain. It's time to sit still in Vermont and grind through tough workouts that will make us stronger and fitter for the winter racing season!