When training is going well, it’s hard to justify taking some down time. Most skiers want to keep pushing themselves and working hard until their body breaks, but I’ve recently found myself feeling more burnt out mentally than I am physically. That’s why I was really appreciative of Coach Pat including a mid-summer break in our training schedule so that my teammates and I could travel if necessary.
With Covid, traveling becomes really tricky and it requires much more time before and after to quarantine, get tested, etc. Add to that the paranoia of a bunch of athletes worried about exposing themselves and their loved ones to something dangerous… there are a lot of hoops to jump through! A few weeks ago, some of us experienced flying during a pandemic for the first time and I traveled out to Colorado to meet my family for a one-week vacation. I didn’t pack roller skis and I actually forgot to pack my heart rate monitor *gasp*. I had just finished one of my biggest volume weeks ever and suddenly I felt free to relax!
I went on walks with my mom, 10-mile bike rides with my 80-year-old grandpa, and hikes with my aunt, uncle and cousins. No longer was I worried about getting in enough volume or keeping my heart rate high enough (or low enough ehem, altitude…) and just appreciated the people and nature that I was around.
Somedays, we hiked for 8-10 hours. Other days, I went for a 30 minute jog with my sister. My mom, sister and I sat by the pool in the afternoon and cooked up a storm in the evenings. By the end of the week, my siblings and I decided it wouldn't be a family vacation without a Sonnesyn team race. We were in Vail, CO and somehow found one of the only running races that was actually happening this summer: a 4.5 mile run up the mountain. Of course! We wore face coverings at the start/finish line and with the steep grade the crowd spread out pretty quickly.
I came in last place out of the sibling race, but it was still really fun to do some hard run/hiking with my sister for a few miles before she dropped me. The night before the 7am race my uncle had challenged us by betting that the last sibling to cross the finish line had to shot gun a beer at the top of the mountain. We really had no idea which sibling this might be! The one requirement was that my uncle beat us at the top on his bike before we finish the race. Thankfully, he got a later start that morning that he anticipated so I was in the clear. Just some great family competition!
With my heart feeling full and happy again, I parted ways with my family and made the trip back east. I quarantined in a separate condo for a week and did all of my training alone. Normally, I would be bummed about this, but with all of the activities and excitement with my family the week before I was feeling okay with a little down time. Also, with such a long break from roller skiing and hard workouts, I was suddenly so excited to do roller ski intervals again and get back into working on my weaknesses.
After a negative Covid test and lots of hand sanitizer, I rejoined my teammates for training sessions in Stratton. We've been able to pick it up right where we left off with plenty of intervals and lots of volume. However, I think the most important thing to realize is that I wouldn't have been able to do this without a week away. Reflecting on summer training in previous years, the high amount of intervals that we do as a team can be really hard for me to keep up with. I've tried just pushing through the summer, attending all of the team camps and jumping into every workout without realizing how much stress my body has been under. This year, I'm feeling grateful for the break I've given myself both physically and mentally!
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.