Back in Vermont for three weeks but still haven’t unpacked and moved in? No one should be surprised… Vermont has been absolutely popping off the last few weeks, making it bittersweet that I haven’t been around as much as I’d like. I drove back to Stratton on June 4th but have only spent a handful of nights in my condo with teammates and roomies for the year, Lina Sutro and Lauren Jortberg. There have been too many extra adventures to go on!
I have been able to jump into interval sessions with the girl squad we have. Skate intervals at Ball Mountain Dam, bounding up the mountain, double poling in Weston, and speeds on the steep and windy roads. In between these intensity sessions, I’ve been bouncing up north to do some biking.
In memory of pro cyclist, Moriah Wilson, I spent a solid amount of time this month in the woods and on the roads with my boyfriend, Thomas, and other Dartmouth skiers. We honored Mo by grinding out a 130 mile gap ride in the Mad River Valley of Vermont; we biked 6 gaps in the Green Mountains, one of which is home to the steepest paved mile in America (Lincoln Gap). We also embraced the beauty found in the woods around Burke, VT, where Moriah was from. I never met Moriah, but from what I learned during the hours on the saddle and memorable gatherings held in her honor, was that she was tenacious, determined, gritty, and an unbelievably positive and happy person. She was driven, but always had a smile on her face. She will forever be remembered in the ski and bike community and my heart goes out to anyone mourning this loss.
After returning south to the team in Stratton, I leaned into my own community. The SMS ladies went to visit the women’s Vermont Fusion Soccer team, which is a summer program for college female athletes to continue working on their skills and develop while not in school. We joined the girls for lunch and spoke to them about women in sport, sports psychology, strength, goal-setting, managing nerves and pressure, and a whole lot more. This was the second year we’ve visited with Vermont Fusion and both years have been incredible opportunities to meet some very talented young women.
Meanwhile, I had a few goals of my own that I was hoping to soon achieve. Last winter, after missing an olympic team and feeling pretty upset about the direction my ski season had gone in January, I really felt like I needed something else to focus on and get excited about. I loved (and still do love) ski racing, but I felt like I had other opportunities waiting for me. After consulting with my sister and her husband, Marit and Nick, they persuaded me to sign up for a road half marathon this summer. As a native Minnesotan, the obvious choice for me was Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth.
I put June 18th on my calendar and ever so slowly started incorporating some more running into my training. This was back in February/March while ski season was in full swing and I was having a great time racing, so it really only encompassed about 2-4 runs a week that were 3-8 miles. After ski season officially ended, I gave myself a few days off and then picked up the running again. My legs faced a little bit of a shock in April, but not nearly the same shock I’m used to experiencing when I go months without much running in the legs. As I traveled through Europe this spring and then started focusing on ski training again in May, I continuously sent sporadic text messages to Marit and Nick, requesting running workouts in preparation for my half marathon.
They prepared me so well. They knew I couldn’t handle too much mileage but that I did have some power and speed in the legs from skiing. They concocted the perfect, semi-committed, super spontaneous training plan that I was looking for. I tested the waters in a few races like the Pole Pedal Paddle in Bend, OR and Women Run the Cities in Minneapolis. Finally, I put the finishing touches on the scheme last week on the track at the Manchester rec center.
Last weekend, I traveled back to Minnesota for a brief 72 hour trip. I got to spend a few extra days with Marit and Nick and pestered them with questions about the upcoming race. I also sandwiched the trip between my mom’s birthday and Father’s day. We gave them no break as they spent the weekend parenting and supporting the running race with cheering, meals, and race-day feeds.
Duluth brought us impeccable weather with 52 degrees and sunshine at the 6am start; then blessed us with a 10 mph tailwind as we ran 13 miles down Lake Superior. It was so fun to see the running community, as well as the crossover with the ski community, come together for an epic day. The pacing from Marit made sure I didn’t blow my chances in the first three miles of the race. On the flip side, cheering from the crowd as I ran the final stretch into Duluth motivated me to keep turning over the legs even though they wanted a break. This perfect storm brought me to the finish line with a new PR in the half marathon in 1:16:13, by far exceeding my hopeful expectations of running sub-1:18:00.
The little adventure of mine was exciting but I had my teammates calling me back to Stratton for more ski specific training. I traveled back to Vermont for four days of roller skiing and a wonderful birthday celebration.
The small birthday bbq with the team was everything I wanted and made it bittersweet to say goodbye to my teammates and friends. But I have some more excited adventures coming up, this time to a whole new part of the world for me. I am currently in route to Argentina to join Thomas and his family for camping in the mountains, city exploring in Buenos Aires, and cultural exploration on a ranch. My Spanish is pretty rusty since I last used it my Junior year of high school so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all goes smoothly.
Two weeks of intense training on snow followed by two weeks at home; summer has arrived and I’m here for it! I kicked off the training year with my SMS teammates and new head coach, Perry Thomas, in Bend, OR to ski at Mt. Bachelor. I love heading to Bend every spring. I spent three summers in college training in Bend and have great memories from the town, people and adventures there, so it’s always special to be back.
Lina, Lauren and I stayed with a host family, the McColgan family. They were so generous to allow us to stay in the apartment above their garage and enjoy the peace and tranquility of life just outside of Bend. Although we had to drive a decent way to Mt. Bachelor each morning, it was nice to feel at home with their warm hospitality and fun to feel more like a local.
The training at Mt. Bachelor was incredible, although much colder than we’re used to for Spring skiing. Temps were getting down down to 20 degrees at night and we frequently found ourselves skiing in fresh snow. This was great for keeping consistent, high quality conditions for the camp, but also had us feeling a little bummed not to experience the spring skiing we were looking for.
Luckily, the Bend weather gods didn’t punish us too hard and treated us to a couple of sunny, warm days. We even made it out for a crust ski around Broken Top mountain. I’ve done a decent amount of crust skiing in my days, but this had to have been the best ski in terms of crust conditions, company, weather and views. I was on cloud nine!
Back on the groomed trails, we filled our training time with lots of volume, a few threshold sessions, speeds, and technique work. I also spent a good chunk of my energy toward testing my new Salomon skis. I’m very excited to be working with Salomon this year! I had been racing on Rossi skis for almost a decade, so I’m also feeling a bit nervous about the change, but overall believe it will be worth it in the long run. It’s extra fun to be able to ski around and test skis with my teammate Jessie. She’s already been so helpful with all of my questions as I learn the new skis.
The afternoons in Bend seemed to fly by with busy hours spent working on my computer. In the evenings we enjoyed the trails around town with lots of trail running, mountain biking and strength sessions. To top it all off, we were able to visit almost all of my favorite restaurants and breweries in Bend.
Mid-way through the camp I jumped into the Pole Pedal Paddle - a race that includes downhill skiing, nordic, road biking, running and kayaking. In 2019 I participated in the race as an individual. Although it was a fun experience I decided it could be fun to try it with partners. I raced in not one, but two different relay teams. On a coed team I raced the nordic event, then zipped down the mountain in time to race the running leg for a full female team. It was such a great way to be part of the Bend outdoor community and embrace the craziness of such a wild event.
By the end of the camp I was definitely feeling tired and ready to head home for a little down time. In theory, I always think that time at home is going to be relaxing but I seem to fill every minute of my days when in Minneapolis. I kicked off the weekend with Women Run the Cities 10 Mile running race with my sister, then went back to her house to help her with a big landscape project. Finally, I topped off my first day home with the wedding of my good friends Vivian Hett and KJ Johnson. The wedding was such a fun evening celebrating the couple that I introduced to each other 10 years ago and it was great to see so many friends from high school skiing.
We made our way down to Red Wing, MN for a beautiful weekend along the Mississippi River celebrating Jessie and Wade. Again, it was a perfect opportunity to see so many friends come together to celebrate the love of our two friends. The venue, flowers, dresses, food, drinks, dancing and company were all amazing!
I finished off my time at home with a few extra days around the house supporting my mom’s knee replacement surgery and squeezing in as many Minnesota things as possible. This included a very special evening at Gear West with my friend Abby Drach launching her women’s athletic clothing brand, Indura, in the shop. Abby designs and sews herself some really impressive products. Her cute, form-fitting sports bras and stay-put shorts can now be browsed on the racks at Gear West so you can try them on and pick your favorite pattern. I can’t speak highly enough of her Stay-Put shorts that have an elastic grip around the leg holes to prevent from riding up, pockets on the side, longer on the in-seam and mid or high rise options to make you feel comfortable, fashionable, and fast! Even Outside Magazine had praise for the shorts as they were included in their summer guide.
After all the time running around the city, I was feeling ready to get back to a slower pace of life in Vermont. Last week, I drove from Minnesota to Vermont and kicked off the first week of summer training with my team in Stratton. We hit intervals at Ball Mountain Dam, lots of biking, classic speeds, and more intervals bounding up Stratton Mountain. It feeIs good to feel back and I'm ready to keep the busy summer rolling. It should be a good one!
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.