A few weeks ago I had the privilege to tag along with the US Ski Team at their mid-summer Women’s Camp in Lake Placid, New York. Fellow SMS T2 skier, Kelsey Phinney, and I were able to live in the house with the National Team and use the facilities at the Olympic Training Center to optimize our recovery between hard workouts. It was a 10 day camp with intensity every other day and long distance workouts on the opposite days. The camp consisted of skate sprints, threshold bounding intervals, a skate sprint simulation, hard double pole intervals, and threshold skate intervals. In the middle of all that, Coach Pat helped me with a lactate test on a treadmill at the OTC to make sure I’ve been training well the past few weeks. 10 days later… I was ready for a nap!
Through the tired legs and sweaty mess though, I had a chance to reflect on all this work and be really proud of myself. Back when I was in high school I attended a US Camp in Lake Placid during the fall where we did many of these same workouts. I remember doing double pole intervals in the exact same location as we did this summer. The entire setup was replicated--starting location, intensity, length, most of the same girls. The only difference this time? I was able to keep up.
Sure, I’ve been training with some of these athletes all summer, but hanging on in a workout once a week versus sticking with them everyday for 10 days, that’s a big difference!
Other firsts for me at the camp: we ran to the highest peak in New York (Mt. Marcy), I received my first massage mid-week to help with recovery, I went mountain biking in New York, I went swimming in Lake Placid (the lake downtown is actually called Mirror Lake) with some old college teammates.
The USST Athletes and coaches have been so welcoming to guests like myself, as well as the Craftsbury Green Racing Project Team. Living in the same house as them and hanging out between workouts have made me feel really included and remind me that I am right where I belong, which I am so thankful for. A busy week at camp made me both exhausted and excited for more. Most of the team took advantage of a few days off to go visit family and friends after Lake Placid but now we’re building up to one last big blocks of training before we head to New Zealand in a few weeks!
It’s almost been one full month since I arrived in Stratton and so far I’m loving it! I’ve settled into a new home, a new team, and a new schedule. There has been a lot of change for me but it excites me to be doing something so different. One of the biggest hurdles for me as I take on the world of professional skiing is funding. I am working hard on finding sponsors and support from the Minnesota and Vermont community, but in the meantime I’ve been continuing my juggling act by getting not one, but two jobs in the Stratton area.
On Mondays I get to work in a ski shop located in the Stratton Village, close enough that I could walk or bike to. As there isn’t much downhill skiing going on at the Mountain these days, things have been pretty quiet. So I get to spend most of my day sitting and reading my book, while occasionally selling a water bottle or two. Then I get to focus completely on my own skiing the following three days of the week until Friday rolls around and I head to the J.J. Hapgood General Store three nights in a row. Although, not your most typical general store, they also have a full restaurant where I work as a server… among other things.
Working two jobs on top of training full-time is not the most ideal situation when it comes to scheduling workouts and recovery. Fortunately, the team has been very supportive of my decision and they even come to visit me while I’m at work!
Running around the store can be a little tiring from time to time, but the fast-pace business keeps me on my toes, entertained, and time flies by! I just need to be sure I head straight to bed after work and keep off my feet whenever I’m not training or working. So far it’s all going well and I’m happy to be getting more acquainted with the Stratton community!
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!
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.