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.
Professional skier, traveling the world, exploring the culture, racing my heart out.