Back in Vermont
I’ve been back in Stratton, VT for three weeks now but I feel like I’ve been here for so much longer. In a good way! Training has been fun, work is going well and I’ve been able to find fun ways to get my east coast life going again. I feel like last year all socializing and activities were put on pause. I forgot how much can be going on when the world is open again!
Before I could unpack my belongings and fully move into a condo with my teammates, Julia and Lina, I hit the road again. This time, just for 24 hours. Teammate, Katharine Ogden, proposed the idea of running the Presidential Traverse in early June and although this probably wasn’t the best athletic decision after sitting in a car for two days, I couldn’t resist the adventure. Last year, I ran the Presi Traverse for the first time. I went into it with so much hype built up in my head about how long and technical it would be and that the challenge would leave me very beat up after. This was pretty accurate last year. The 19 mile point to point in the heart of the White Mountains contains almost 8,000 ft of scrambling vert and is no easy feat. Yet, I somehow felt more prepared for the effort both mentally and physically this year, knowing how to fuel during/after, recover later and feeling excited to catch up with my teammates during the 6.5 hour run. This growth is something that's really cool to see as I develop as an athlete!
The weather wasn’t the most ideal, with 45-50 mph gusts of wind on top of Mt. Washington. This couldn’t bring down our spirits though as we just kept chugging along, taking breaks to top off our water and purchase snacks from the White Mountain huts.
Back in Stratton, I finally unpacked everything and got started with more ‘normal’ training. The smooth pavement and hilly roads around here are always so much fun to train on! I was also very excited to help celebrate three of my teammates as they graduated from college. Lina Sutro was a teammate of mine at UVM and graduated this spring. I’ve been counting down the days until we could finally be teammates once again! Meanwhile, Katharine and Julia both plowed through their degrees at Dartmouth in an impressive fashion as they navigated through various terms of skiing, school and breaks.
In just my second week in Vermont, the team packed up again for a mini training camp at Green Woodlands in Lyme, NH. I had never been to Greens before but was absolutely blown away by the 23,000 acres of wilderness and miles and miles of mountain biking and running trails at our disposal. Typically, it’s rather challenging for our entire SMS team to coordinate schedules and all come together in one place. As soon as the idea of a Greens camp was mentioned though, we all made sure to be there. Bob Green was the most welcoming host and invited us to stay in cabins in the middle of the property, with a gorgeous, self-sustainable, renovated barn right on the lakefront.
For 3.5 days, the team skied, ran, biked, swam and kayaked as we unplugged from our digital devices and tuned into our beautiful surroundings and each other’s company.
After some big days at camp and a lot of training for the first two weeks being back in Vermont, I was pretty ready for an easy week! I used to dread easy weeks or days off from training. I would get restless and bored and feel lazy for not doing anything. I’ve always recognized that they’re important if you want to absorb any of the hard work you’ve done, but have never had a great outlook on them. More recently though, I get just as excited about the easy periods! In part, it’s a time that I can catch up on work. Sometimes it’s hard to train 20+ hours a week and work 20 hrs, while also prioritizing recovery, nutrition and body care. Luckily, my work is flexible enough that I can transfer around some of my hours from week to week. Also during easy weeks, I try to get away from Stratton to either visit friends/family or plan a fun day in the mountains. After spending a couple of down days around Stratton, hanging out at the regional U14/U16 camp, and putting my feet up, I made a trip north!
This past weekend I raced in the Catamount Ultra 25k running race in Stowe, VT. I’ve always been a skier AND runner, and love incorporating more running into my training. In previous years, I jumped into a lot of running races whenever I could, but last year this wasn’t super easy. Being back in a starting gate with so many runners and feeling that type of adrenaline and excitement in the middle of the summer was something I really missed. Although the race course was BRUTAL and slightly longer than what I’m used to, I had so much fun being back in that setting and I’m really looking forward to more opportunities like this.
Aside from all of the training and work I’ve done the last few weeks, I’ve also been able to celebrate and spend quality time with friends and teammates. We’ve had three graduations, three birthdays and Swedish Midsummer festivities. My teammates went as far as throwing me a surprise birthday party, which I was so oblivious of leading up to the reveal, I’m almost embarrassed. How did I not see all of the clues? Regardless, we’ve had cake, flowers, balloons and many, many laughs.
It’s only been three weeks in Stratton, yet I feel like it’s been a whole summer! Things are going well in Vermont and I can’t wait to see what other shenanigans I can get up to the next few months.
6/28/2021 09:42:49 pm
If you're going to have to train, it may as well be made to be fun and with friends. May you reach your goals this season.
7/23/2021 11:23:08 am
Good luck this year Alayna!!
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Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.