A few weeks ago, my teammates and I traveled over to Lake Placid, NY for one final training camp with the US Ski Team before getting our respective seasons started. Lake Placid is a beautiful town located in the middle of the Adirondack mountains which provides access to some pretty sweet training right out the door. It’s really awesome that our SMS team can join the national team for training camps like this because it keeps things consistent for us. I’m already training with Jessie and Sophie for most of the year in Stratton, VT so it's great to continue workouts with them. The only change for us was location and housing. The national team stayed together in a house outside of town while I stayed with my non-national, Stratton teammates right downtown. As a result, I ended up living with six boys in a three-bedroom apartment for two weeks! I love my teammates, but this was A LOT to handle…
Luckily, we were training so much that it didn’t leave us much down time to be crowded in our small apartment. For me, this time of year offers some of the most fun training because we get a little bit of everything; we do anything from threshold to anaerobic intervals along with speed sets and time trials. Hitting one of these systems pretty much every other day really keeps things interesting and all of the athletes on our toes.
Unfortunately, after a few days at camp I came down with the slightest bit of a cold - hardly noticeable. I pulled back from a few of the easy distance workouts in hope of jumping in on the intensity days; but alas, this girl never seems to learn her lessons. Hindsight is always 20-20 and looking back on this I know that I should have taken a few days completely off in order to fully recover. Of course, I didn’t do this and I paid for it in the end by feeling pretty mediocre the rest of the two-week camp. You would think that by now in my ski career I would know how to handle these situations but I was afraid I was going to miss out on all of the fun!
Needless to say, it was still a fantastic camp that left me feeling tired, ready for a rest week and motivated for the final block of training to put all of the finishing touches on my fitness before the season begins. After traveling back to Stratton Mountain, the team prepared for our annual send-off dinner, a fundraiser that we host at the school every year for local friends and family to gather, mingle, say good-byes and bid on some exciting auction items before we start jet-setting off all over the world! This year the live auction was extremely successful and it was really humbling to see the community get behind our cause and show their excitement for our passions, dreams and goals! Thank you to everyone who attended such a fun, heartwarming event!
The money that we raised last weekend will go toward covering our team expenses including wax, travel arrangements for Coach Pat, van and tech support, and much more throughout the season! Unfortunately, this doesn't completely cover all of the expenses that a skier faces when first turning “pro.” There are still expensive international flights, hotel rooms, race entry fees, food, etc. that can really add up over a four to five month season. Luckily, I have some pretty amazing supporters back home in the Midwest who want to help see me succeed this winter. I am happy to announce that I have partnered with Gear West Ski and Bike shop again to host a fundraiser to help offset some of these expenses! The event will take place at the ski shop in Long Lake, MN on Thursday, November 21st 6-8pm and will include a silent auction, food/beverages provided by GORE Wear and Barley John’s Brewery and a presentation, “Birkie and Beyond” (all about my experience at the Birkie last year and how I’ve used that to make changes and motivate me for the upcoming season). Gear West and GORE Wear are both willing to match up to $1,000 in donations and we have some pretty sweet auction items this year: Birkie Weekend cabin, Birkie wave boost, Rossignol S2 Skis (fitted to the winner), a wine cork pull and so much more! The event is for all ages and even if you aren’t able to make a financial contribution it would be wonderful to see you there!
My teammates and I have been hitting the training pretty hard the past few weeks in preparation for a big US Ski Team camp in Lake Placid. We finished a two week intensity block, took a few days to recover from it and then scheduled another 10 days of hard work. We'll then get to spend some relaxing time celebrating Simi and Sophie's wedding this weekend. We are all so excited for Simi and Sophie to get married and for the gathering of so many friends!
In our 10 day Stratton-based training camp, we have planned 5-6 days of intensity along with a fair amount of volume filled in on the off days. The intervals are getting harder, but also more fun because it means we get to start moving faster!
My teammates and I balance our training lives in different ways. For example, Ian and Kyle have stocked up for the apocalypse and have since entered "hermit mode." It is my understanding that they have purchased 7 gallons of milk, 20 pounds of pasta, 60 bagels and 100 bananas. The science behind this is that they never have to leave Stratton Mountain except for training when we drive to find different roads to roller ski on or trails to run on. No grocery runs, few gas refills, just eat, sleep, breathe skiing!
As for my roommate Jessie and me, we've taken a slightly different approach. Although we have been prioritizing our recovery between hard training sessions, we're also okay with driving into town every once and a while. During the afternoons, we do work from our computers while sitting in a pair of Normatec pants (super fancy pants that squeeze your legs making them feel "refreshed") and planning our meals. Jessie and I have been CRUSHING the dinner scene on Stratton Mountain. So, I decided to give you a little look into what we've been cooking to help with recovery and to stay fueled through this intensity block.
I think the biggest takeaway from all of this, is realizing how delicious and nutritious a well-balanced meal can be. Jessie and I try to make sure that we include lots of fruits and veggies, carbohydrates and protein in all of our meals. We try to mix up the type of protein between red meat, seafood, and "boring" chicken. I'm no nutrition expert, but I think this insures that we get plenty of iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein to help our muscles recover from all of the training we've been doing.
Whether it's lunch or dinner, we make sure that each of our meals helps us recover and refuel. Also, that it tastes delicious! Some of our meals we just make up as we go along; a salad is pretty hard to screw up, throw some greens in a bowl and add whatever leftovers you've got in the fridge on top! Other meals, we find inspiration from yummy cookbooks or food blogs. Some of our favorite cookbooks are Run Fast Eat Slow and Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow (both written by runners Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky). We also have two books by Chrissy Teigen that include some pretty rich goodies. Our latest addition to this collection is The Birchwood Cafe cookbook. The Birchwood Cafe is a fun little joint in St. Paul, MN that always serves seasonal, farm-fresh food. I think that following the seasons and cooking with produce that is fresh helps add a lot of flavor, keeps the cost of buying food down and gets us excited about each new season.
Some days we really like to switch things up and get creative. One of Jessie's mottos is, "if we can make it at home, then why bother going out to dinner." So we've had a few pizza nights! These leftovers also make the BEST snack during a long run the next day ;)
When we're stuck between meals and afternoon training sessions, sometimes all we want is a little snack. Jessie and I take turns making fresh granola that we eat with yogurt and fresh fruit. I've also added a new hobby to my daily routine this year and have been taking care of a little sourdough baby. This starter has traveled all over the country with me the last few months and has caused some stress, but mostly it provides the best fresh sourdough loaves that make great breakfast or snack food.
Finally, the moment I look forward to all day... Dessert! I have quite the sweet tooth and strongly believe that everyone works hard enough during the day that they deserve to treat themselves. Whether it's a post-ski cookie to quickly refuel your glycogen stores or an evening crisp made with seasonal fruit, a little bit of sweetness is not going to hurt our athleticism but it can help with happiness :)
I hope this finds you feeling inspired to make some delicious fall meals that can help you stay fueled during training. In the meantime, I'll be eating wedding cake :)