For once, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking! Here’s what we’ve been up to in Park City the past few days:
For once, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking! Here’s what we’ve been up to in Park City the past few days:
First of all, I’m noticing a pretty direct correlation between the amount of class work I do and the lack of posts I write. But I’m fixing this! I don’t do a whole lot of Q&A on my blog, but when I get a lot of the same questions emailed to me I figure there’s something people want to know. And this time, the questions are all basically “so what do professional skiers eat, anyways?” I don’t feel like any part of my training is a big secret, so I don’t mind sharing what I think.
Keep in mind, I’m not a Registered Dietician, and kind of like when you watch a movie with the commentary: the opinions expressed here are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the whole USST. That said, I’ve spent enough time asking questions of RD’s that I feel I know what I need to know when it comes to refueling. And a lot of this is really personalized. For example, I am mildly lactose intolerant and growing worse every year. So I avoid milk and go for the soymilk instead, and take a LOT of calcium pills to supplement. I’m not saying that everyone should turn their backs on cows and only drink soy and almond milk, I’m just saying that’s what works for me. So when you’re reading this, think about what parts can apply to you and your life and what parts you might not need.
I don’t follow any sort of a strict diet; basically, I eat when I am hungry, and I try to get a good balance of all the food groups. Shockingly simple, right? Gotta love it. For example, here’s the meal we had the other night: Simi cooked us up a ham, pepper, goat cheese and basil frittata, served with fresh bread and a salad with cut up apples and avocadoes in it. It was delicious, in case you’re wondering. It tasted fresh, and it had all the food groups in there: grains, protein, fruit, veggies, fat, and dairy (or as I like to think of it…calcium, since goat cheese is lactose free). Basically, there are no “bad” foods, and everything fits…in moderation, of course. Even carrots will make you feel super sick if you eat too many (and you’ll probably turn orange).
For a skier, often training twice a day, it can be a little challenging to make sure you stay fueled up and don’t “bonk” or “hit the wall” during a long session. That’s why I usually have a snack in the afternoon and/or right before I go to bed, to top off glycogen stores. I carry sports drink with me on workouts, and usually a bar. This is where being sponsored by Power Bar totally ROCKS. But lets be real…during a long ski, what you need is quick-absorbing glucose, or sugars. And while sport gummies taste awesome and often have a shot of caffeine in them (WHOO) regular Haribo gummies do the same thing. Your body doesn’t know the difference. The sports drink thing is a big deal though, especially if you sweat a lot. If you just drink water, you’re not replacing the electrolytes you lost. So drink up!
And the timing of food matters a lot. After a workout, you have a 30 minute window where, if you get a snack and hydrate well right away, your muscles can repair faster with that fuel then if you wait. I try to get a mix of carbohydrates and protein right afterwards, so that might look like a Power Bar, or an apple with peanut butter, or half a turkey sandwich, or bread with any sort of nut butter, or anything really. You get the idea.
Dessert? Yes, of course! I’m in this sport for the long run and not having dessert for 15-20 years would be downright depressing. Seriously. Again - there is a place for everything, in moderation. Fast food? Yes, when I’m in a hurry and actually need the food FAST. But I actually enjoy the process of cooking a delicious meal; I tend to appreciate and enjoy a well-cooked meal more than something a stranger flipped onto the fryer. And possibly got their hair into. But whatever. There’s nothing technically wrong with fast food, as long as you can get a balanced meal…which, depending on where you go, can be possible.
Last but not least, lets talk iron. This is especially directed towards girls, but guys can have really low iron stores as well. If you’re an athlete and have never gotten your iron checked, you should, and ask for your Ferritin (a number showing your stored iron), not just your Hemoglobin. If your iron is too low, you might already know because you’ll be feeling really tired for no apparent reason. But you can take iron pills or liquid iron to get your levels up, and it’s definitely something not worth overlooking. Personally, I’ve been struggling for years to get my iron levels up and keep them up. So I look for iron-rich foods and take iron pills or liquid iron every night. Yum (just kidding…it tastes foul).
Hopefully this post was informative for those of you asking questions! Now it’s time for me to go back to writing a paper on the developmental milestones of babies. Hmm.
When making plans for the summer, I hadn’t exactly planned on taking any online classes. I mean, I took a General Psychology class last summer and liked it, except for the stress of trying to take exams while traveling to Sweden, Alaskan Glaciers (not great internet up there), and across the country. I thought I’d go for the less-stressed approach this summer since lately my days have been pretty packed with skiing and life in general! I’m also the type where if I start something, I’m pretty invested in it, and I want to give it 100%. That’s why I didn’t go to college in the first place – because I didn’t want to take classes if I wasn’t going to be able to really apply myself and fully be there.
But when I got to Park City I found out that since the US Ski Team’s free college deal with Westminster University in Utah was changing, I needed to take a class this summer to preserve my eligibility. I figured the Developmental Psychology class was the one online class I was really interested in, and then realized the class was starting the next day. Whew! Don’t worry, I was able to appreciate the irony of me not thinking through my decision to sign up for a class focusing on cognitive development through life.
However, I’m now pretty psyched about it (yeah, pun totally intended). I think it’s going to be really good for me to have something important going on besides training…and not at all related to the ski world. So after some scrambling to order a textbook and get registered hours before the first class started, I’m in!
I wish this was the turning part of the blog post where I offered some insightful comments about the life of the Nordic skier, training, or other sweet stuff. But lets get real. I’m afraid I’m about to tell another one of my dumb stories. And it starts with me not remembering something important (as usual)!
Earlier today I’d been sitting at the counter trying to sort through classwork and get organized, when Simi gave me a good scare by climbing over the deck railing. He’d been out rock climbing and finished the day off by scaling 3 stories up the side of our condo building. I couldn’t believe he’d actually just climbed the rock wall, but he just wiped the chalk off his hands and got on with his day, no big deal.
I decided to get outside and enjoy the sunset with a nice hike, and waltzed out the door without a second thought. The second thought should have been the numbers of the entry code for the locked building. But hey, it was a beautiful sunset! I came back and could not for the life of me remember the code for the door. I circled the condo, trying different combinations at every door, finally standing under our balcony and shouting “Sophie…Simi…Andy…Anybody….????” Needless to say, I felt really, really stupid.
The wall Simi had climbed earlier was starting to look like a better and better option. So I took it. I could see the marks where the chalk came off his hands, so I kept rubbing my fingers on the rocks, picking up chalk and dust as I went. Me and my pink running shoes. Yep…pretty dumb looking, all right. When I finally hauled myself over the railing, I could barely stop laughing long enough to tell Andy and Sophie why I was so late!
Besides that, life has been pretty good…after we finished up our testing at the Center of Excellence, we’ve settled back into a usual training routine. Matt had his Birthday the other day, and Sophie and I had fun making him crazy chocolate frosted chocolate cake inside a cookie-dough-crust. We had some great intervals up the back of East Canyon, where you can ski up for an hour without stopping and just get picked up at the top by the coaches. There are fantastic single track running trails all over the place where we live up by Guardsman Pass, so the running has been great. Strength training has been really fun, although everyone’s pretty sore right now! Tomorrow we’re headed out to rally some speeds and then hit the weights again. And in between, I’ll be studying.
So here we are…back in testing mode – the “lab rat mentality”. I seriously feel a lot like a hamster spinning on a wheel when I’m roller skiing on a treadmill. The sensation of working so hard and going NOWHERE is really hard for me to get my head around! But luckily for me, we only do these tests twice a year, so I can’t complain too much.
The classic max test went well (I think…I never really look at the data, but it felt pretty good). Basically, I went till I couldn’t hold on any longer and swung from the back of the treadmill. I have this weird quirk where I can’t stand to have things touching my neck when I’m training hard, so every time I fall from the treadmill and the harness catches me, I have a mini panic attack, thinking the rope is choking me. It’s not. But that aside, all went well.
Some don’t like spending the whole day at the COE, and while it can get a little boring when the place is empty, it’s been pretty fun lately. There’s tons of Alpine, Snowboard, Freestyle, and Snowboard cross athletes all over the gym, lifting like mad and playing guitar hero. They’re actually playing right now and they aren’t half bad!
This afternoon we’ve got strength testing, hemoglobin mass testing, and tomorrow morning we’ll do a double pole max test. Then we’re back to the usual schedule! I’m living up at Empire Pass, in a condo with Sophie, Simi, Andy and Erik, and the other girls are in a condo across the lift. It’s fairly high altitude up there, over 8,000 ft, so sleeping up there gives us a chance to maximize our altitude training block and hopefully our bodies will produce more red blood cells to cope with the atmosphere change.
I also feel pretty spoiled at the COE with all these motivated and talented athletes from all different sports wandering around, with good coaches ready to help and a kitchen with healthy food for afterwards. It’s a great place to be!
And in between workouts we’ve been soaking up the Park City atmosphere and doing some shopping, hair cutting, hanging out round a fire, team dinners, and we’ll probably get to a baseball game soon. I’m excited for a couple weeks here!
I’m always surprised by how fast camp seems to go…it feels like we’ve only been here a couple days but here we are taking out the trash, locking the doors and moving out. Almost the entire team is headed to Park City, Utah for our spring testing (Liz is flying to Norway to join the National team in a on-snow camp – you go, girl!).
I promised in my last post that I’d talk a little more about strength, so here we go. I AM SO SO SO SORE RIGHT NOW! In spring when we haven’t done any lifting for a while and suddenly get back into it, it hurts a lot. But it’s also a fun kind of sore – because you know your shredded muscles are rebuilding themselves and you’ll be able to lift more next time.
I usually really enjoy going to strength sessions, because it’s such a change of pace from usual “skier” workouts. We tend to lift hard, with Olympic lifts as well as your typical pull-ups, dips, planks, ect. And as totally awesome as lifting in the Center of Excellence is (the US Ski Team headquarters in Park City), it’s also fun sometimes to go to local gyms because of the people watching.
There’s your typical focused lifters, the people who show up with a plan and stick to it. I put us squarely into that category. But from there things get more exciting. There’s the “kettle bell people”, who really get into the alternative weights, doing kettle bells, TRX, bosu balls, and generally fun stuff. Another category is the “machine people”, who go from one machine to the next, basically circling the entire gym. They usually have water bottles and towels that they tote along with them.
Then you have the “big dudes”, the ones who lift the biggest weights possible, are super loud about it, and don’t always have great technique even though they’re always looking at the mirror. Hey, it’s hard to look at your muscles and focus at technique at the same time, people!
There’s also the “juicy mamas”, who wear the full velvet workout suit and stick to the elliptical. I have no idea how they don’t manage to get soaked in sweat, but they always emerge from the gym looking well polished. I love watching all the different people and it takes all kinds to keep a gym interesting!
Another thing we’ve been pretty diligent about is mobility and stretching. It sounds redundant, but when you are tired and hungry and ready to get out of the gym it’s sometimes hard to take a minute to stretch out and make sure you won’t wake up stuck in a little ball the next morning. So we do a lot of mobility exercises (basically active moving stretches) as part of our warm up for strength. These get us a lot of funny looks sometimes, but hey – nobody said every part of this job was glamorous, right?
Bend Camp is well underway – and it’s been some really great training! Every morning we drive up to Mt. Bachelor for a ski session (and lately, there’s been tons of new snow so the tracks have been stellar) and in the afternoons we’re running, doing strength, or biking. Doing strength at this time of year is particularly painful for me, but we’ll talk about that later.
This post is about something a little more meaningful than being sore, and I actually got onto the idea because of the French National Ski Team. Because of the success that our team had last season, all while making ridiculous music videos and having fun living on the road, some of the other ski teams started paying more attention to us. Especially the French coaches – they wanted to know what the big ”secret” was behind our breakout season. So they sent a coach with a camera to our camp here in Bend, and our coaches welcomed him with open arms…we don’t have anything to hide, as we don’t do weird crazy training. We just train HARD. While some may scratch their heads and wonder why we would train with other countries and let other national team coaches watch us train…it’s because we don’t have secrets. Besides one very important one: team chemistry.
The French coach took pictures of us training together, asked our coaches questions, and had us fill out questionnaires about what made our team click together and have success. And the questions they asked, like “what, in your opinion, made the women’s team have success last season?”, got me thinking. So if you’ll forgive my ramblings, I’m getting to my point. I think we did well last year for a ton of reasons, all fitting together like pieces of a puzzle. Training, recovery, being able to adapt to crazy travel schedules, learning to handle stress and the pressure of racing are all pieces of the puzzle, for sure. But one huge piece is team chemistry, and being committed to being a part of something larger than yourself. And this is something a lot of teams overlook.
I’ve been a part of a number of different teams, camps, and training groups in the last 10 years. And the ones I loved best, the ones I got the most out of, were also the ones that everyone involved put the most into. I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though you cross the finish line alone, this is NOT an individual sport. Cross country skiing is very much a team effort, and it takes a lot of people working together to make any progress. You need coaches, wax techs, teammates, and supporters. But you also need all these people to be fully committed to each other and the team. Especially if the team is on the road for months at a time.
What makes the US team so successful is that every single member is committed to being a team player, and working hard at it. It isn’t always easy – a team is made up of a bunch of people from all over the country, and everyone has a different background. So yes, we work hard at it. But it’s so worth it. Because we are a family on the road. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s absolutely true! I know that if I’m ever in trouble, sad, happy, or whatever, I have a great group of people to share it with. I know that any one of my teammates will stick up for me and have my back, just like I have theirs. But that kind of team chemistry doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without conscious thought. Or in our case, coaches realizing the importance of a great team and taking care to work on team “fun strategies” (thanks guys!)
Coaches always talk about the high level of commitment involved in being a professional athlete – commitment to training, taking care of yourself, racing, etc. But they rarely speak of the commitment involved in joining a team. When you’re fully invested in being a good teammate, there will be times when you have to bite your tongue and swallow your pride for the sake of the group. There will be times when you had a horrible race but need to just get over it so you don’t bring other people down with you. There will be times when you had an awesome race but need to shut up about it because someone else just had a really bad day. There will be times when you need to either talk to someone about their weird habit that’s driving you nuts or learn to ignore it. There will be times when you need to admit you’re being grumpy and annoying and just take 5. But there will also be times when you are bummed out and all your teammates rally and cheer you up. There are countless times when your teammates come to your rescue and help you out. There will be many, many times when you feel so loved and appreciated for exactly who you are, surrounded by people you are proud to be on a team with. And you get to share in the team successes and celebrate each victory as if it was your own, because in a sense every good result that any one of us gets belongs to the entire group.
So yes, you do need to work at it to be a good teammate, but the result is that you get to travel around with a second family and have a great time, and it’s so, so worth it.
I went back through some of my pictures from the last year, and threw in a bunch of memorable team moments. Starting with this camp, in Bend:
Every morning there’s a big rally to get skis and equipment ready by 8am. Everyone’s helping each other out and it moves much more quickly when people share ski and waxing ideas. It sounds almost silly to write that (of course a team would share what the wax of the day is…right?!??) but I know there are teams where every athlete and tech is on their own.
One of my favorite memories of last season was our relay race in Gallivare, Sweden. We were so psyched to have accomplished a big goal together that we couldn’t stop hugging each other, and spectators might have though we straight up won the Olympics, we were so happy! But my favorite part was how everyone shared the moment and was an equal part of the race, whether cheering, skiing, coaching or waxing.
Another thing I think we do well as a team is cheer each other on. Of course, if you have a race the next day it doesn’t work to be standing outside cheering for hours, but when we get an opportunity we jump at it! This picture is from the men’s 50km in Val di Fiemme, where all the girls were out cheering our boys on.
We also do a lot of hanging out as a team; going to concerts, movies, playing charades, and just chilling together, like the picture below from the beach at Lake Tahoe during Spring Series.
We psych each other up for races and training, encouraging each other and bringing the energy level up. Witness below a van ride (although we don’t always end up singing country music, like we did that day)!
And yes, we sometime literally carry our friends on our shoulders when they need help. Like when Jordan’s shoes were stolen at spring series and Skyler had to carry him over the snow. True teammates at work.
Whew! I realize this was a longer post, but I guess you can tell that I feel pretty strongly about this. Whatever team your on, be it your family, you ski team, your work team, your track/swimming/running/cycling/dance/soccer/ninja/rugby/weightlifting/gymnastics/football/basketball team…commit to it, all the way.
The last week, I’ve been doing a lot of running around – errands, and literally running in circles for training. Running in the park. Running my sister to school. Running the face painting station for Girls On The Run. Running a half marathon race. Running to the vet. Running to Finn Sisu to pick up ski poles. Running to the dentist and eye doctor, because goodness knows when I’ll be home next! It’s been busy, but at the moment time has stopped and the only thing that determines when it starts again is when the plane is cleared for takeoff. It’s kind of a sad moment when you realize how truly powerless you are in an airport.
Because of all the thunderstorms, my flight was delayed, and so after getting bored with my tour de Twin Cities airport posters…I finally settled in a corner to blog, thinking I’d finish up and get on the plane and be in Bend by 10:30pm. Turns out, the delayed flight made me miss the next one, and same for Sophie, so we crashed at Parker and Hannah’s house. They were so nice, letting us stay and this morning there wasn’t any standby room on the flight, but instead of spending another 12 hours in an airport (gah!) Hannah picked me up and we went to the mall where I bought a set of clean clothes and shoes, and then went for a run. Hopefully I’ll make my flight tonight to Bend, where I can see the rest of my team and get back into regular training life! But enough whining – nobody said this job was glamorous! Let me explain what’s been going on the past week at home.
The Girls On The Run event last week was really neat. I’d heard a lot about them and wanted to see for myself if anything in the world could possibly be as fun and PINK as a Fast and Female event. And….this fit right in! I volunteered my time and ended up in the face painting station, which I was thrilled with. Good thing my awfully limited artistic skills weren’t tested, as most of the girls wanted mustaches in various colores curling across their faces. I hope I’m not the only one to find some irony in the fact that this event centered around girl’s empowerment through sport…and all the girls wanted mustaches. It’s cool though, I love Steve Prefontaine as much as the next girl.
Sadly, the next story isn’t as good as girls in pink running around. My dog, Sally, was 13 years old and died while I was home. She had been slowing down and we knew it was going to happen soon, but it was still really, really hard to lose a member of the family. I had to include this picture of her as a puppy with my sister, because everyone’s allowed to get a little sentimental on their own blogs, right?
Yesterday morning, my family ran in the Apple Blossom Races. My Mom walked the 5km because she is recovering from a concussion she got in Florida. She fell off the stand up paddleboard, and hit her forehead, and at the time she felt ok and we all thought nothing more of it. But when she got back home, she was feeling bad and got it checked out…and it turns out she had gotten a concussion, which totally sucks! She’s starting to feel better but is taking it really easy right now. My sister and Dad ran the 10km, and I ran the half marathon. I was supposed to stay in L2 or lower the whole time (so not really “race”) but I couldn’t help myself the last half mile. I mean, running 13 miles and not getting the full endorphin buzz?!? What a ripoff!
And last but not least, the USST girls team won one of the very prestigious “Johnny 5 Awards”. Our award is to “Liz Diggins”, the write up is very nice and I wanted to share my 1/7 of the award! Here’s the link: http://johnnyklister.com/2013/05/the-2013-johnny5-liz-diggins-the-power-of-team/
I’m back from an awesome 5 day vacation in Florida with my Mom and sister, and back to regular training. I did a lot of running in Florida and some swimming, but it was mostly a chance to enjoy the last bit of the spring break! We packed a ton into the 5 days we were there, and I have some fun pictures to share.
Vacation started with a day at the beach. We went surfing in the morning, and although the waves were pretty small there were a lot of them, and after a few hours both Mackenzie and I were standing up and riding them! I absolutely loved it.
In the afternoon we rented stand up paddleboards, which was fun but challenging as the wind picked up and the water got choppy. I won’t pretend to be good at surfing on either a board or stand up paddleboard, but wow I sure love learning!
Ok, before I write any more, I’m going to begin by first calling myself a dork. Now that I’ve said it before you can think it, I can continue writing about the rest of my vacation. :) Because the next place we went was Universal Studios, and my absolute favorite thing was….Harry Potter World. I loved how they got all the details from the book just right, and the rollercoasters were pretty awesome since half the ride was upside down. That night, we went to Cirque de Soleil, la Nouba. It was an incredible performance!
I think we totally lucked out with the weather, because it was sunny and warm the whole time except the one hour it rained. And by “rained”, I mean a crazy downpour where the water came down in sheets. But that afternoon we were at the waterpark anyways, so we were already wet and didn’t care! However, when the rain became classified as a thunderstorm, the park managers DID care and shut down the park, so we spent the evening at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
I dug up this old picture from 13 years ago…when my little sister met Cinderella for the first time and was so happy she became speechless!
This time around, we wandered around going on rides and marveling at whoever designed the park, because they sure got every last detail right, from the towers on the castles down to the cobblestones.
The next day we spent at Epcot, which was so neat for me to walk around the lake where they have a little piece of different countries from around the world set up. Having been to a bunch of them over the winter, it was cool to be able to step right back in. Italy was probably the easiest – it felt and looked like I was back in Predazzo, where we spent about a month over January/February.
They also had the flower festival going, and it fun running around seeing all the character topiaries, and the flowers blooming all over the park.
Before we left, we spent some time hanging out at the hotel pool. We were staying at these condos that were on the edge of a lake, with a beautiful boardwalk and a nice big pool.
Although we had a kitchen and did a lot of cooking for ourselves, there was also great dining in the area. My favorite was a café called Tu Tu Tango, where they only served appetizers so you could order a bunch for the table to share, and there were surprise performances by artists. There were people painting throughout the café and dancers would randomly start to salsa dance to the music.
So now I’m back home! But not for long – this Sunday, I’m leaving for Bend, Oregon, for our first US Ski Team camp. I’m so excited to see everyone again, although there have been some changes to the team roster, both on the US team and my club team, SMST2. While it’ll be a bummer not to see Kris, Skyler and Tad at the US camp, I’m sure the guys will still get to train with them some. However, I’m so excited that Sophie, my SMS teammate, is now also on the USST! And we got some fresh faces added to SMST2 this year – Annie Pokorny, Simi Hamilton, and Ben Saxton (he’ll be PG’ing, I believe). I can’t wait to train with them!
Ok, what is UP with snow on May 2nd? And not just a dusting of it – 6.5 inches in my backyard! A half hours drive North of Afton there wasn’t any snow at all, and down by Redwing they got about a foot. This is weird.
I went out to the park today (the Afton State Park, where they don’t groom but you can break your own trail and poach the dowhill slopes of Afton Alps) and had a really fun ski. It was slow going and the snow brought down more than a few trees, so there was a lot of ducking going on while cruising downhill.
I was debating whether or not to post about my “car troubles”, but since no real lasting damage was done, I decided….why not? I already write about most everything else going on in my life.
This was two spring snowstorms ago, on April 18th. It started out as icy rain, which quickly froze and started turning to snow. I wasn’t psyched about driving in it in the first place, but I needed to get my little sister from the bus stop, so I decided I’d be fine if I just drove slow. So I got my sister and headed home.
But we weren’t fine. Neither was the car.
The annoying this is, I thought I was doing everything right. I had both hands on the wheel, was going super slow, wasn’t on my phone, ect. But at the top of a hill about a mile and a half from home, I drove under some trees where the rain had frozen and must have tapped my brakes at exactly the wrong time. The car started to skid, and I panicked, and probably made it worse by overadjusting.
We went off the road and hit a tree going sideways, scraping along before coasting into a cornfield. The windshield cracked, the two left windows shattered, the side airbags deployed and the frame bent inwards. If we had gone off the road three feet later, we wouldn’t have hit anything and been fine, but if we had gone off the side three feet earlier, we would have been seriously hurt. As it was, Mackenzie’s side of the car was completely pristine and she was shaken up but fine, and although my side looked wrecked I was also untouched except for a few small cuts from the glass all over me.
I was actually able to drive the car out of the ditch, but since the airbags went off and all, it was decided that the car was totalled. Luckily, our insurance was great and we were able to get a new car. The only lasting damage is this: the song “Radioactive” was playing when we hit the tree and now everytime I’m driving and the song comes on the radio, I get a sudden wave a panic and have to change the station. Super weird and annoying, because I loved that song. But life goes on!
I guest coached the strength workout today for Loppet Nordic Racing, which was fun. They were a really motivated group and it was cool to share new ideas and have everyone try them out.
Visiting Podiumwear in the cities was a real treat – I got to see what new fabrics and designs are coming out soon! Luckily I’m writing, not talking, so I don’t accidentally spill the secrets
I also got to kayak in a pool as part of a relay – the YMCA challenge games in Red Wing, MN. I was part of the Red Wing Slumberland Furniture team, and it was suprisingly challenging to navigate a turn around a buoy in a narrow lane!
Alright everyone, spring break is over…at least, for me, the non-training part of it is. But that doesn’t mean I’m locked into “serious training” mode! I still get to have fun and this time of year, there’s a lot of cross training going on (running, roller skiing, biking, swimming, ect.). And I still have my official spring vacation with my Mom and Sister coming up next week. We’re going to Florida, and I’m SUPER excited to spend time on the beach, go to a couple water parks, and of course visit Harry Potter World. For those of you rolling your eyes…get a life and a reality check!!! You’re never too old for Harry Potter world.
Just to spite my coach, I signed up for the Ironman Minnesota Bike Ride…the day before my official training plan started. Just kidding! I didn’t know I was screwing up the plan! Either way, it was a really fun ride. I lamented in earlier blog posts how extremely awkward I am on a bike, and how much biking really scares me. So the goal of the ride was to not only finish the 75 mile route, but to get more comfortable on a bike as I did. Turns out, 5.5 hours DOES make you a little more comfortable riding in a large group (go figure) and I also tried out clip-less pedals for the first time in my life.
A small footnote…I may have tried out said clip-less pedals the day before the ride, not the actual ride. I did the Ironman ride on a mountain bike. I know, I know! The whole point was to get on a road bike! But the totally awesome (and super cute) bike I was borrowing from Kris, my high school coach, didn’t work out because I wasn’t able to make it quite short enough, and I would have needed to tip-toe every stroke. But I tried it out first, and when I used the clip-less pedals, at least someone was there to watch me crash – my Dad. “You’re supposed to twist your foot out before you stop! Now quit lying there, get up”. Although if you asked him, he’d tell you that putting me on the mountain bike was all a brilliant part of his strategy for the day.
Besides the small detail of the mountain bike, the ride was exactly what I was hoping for and really, really fun. There were thousands of bikers, and ability levels and experience ranged from professionals to little kids. The last hour of the ride, I was in a bit of a time crunch, because I had to be home in time to go to my sister’s voice recital. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and I wanted so badly to finish the planned route, so the last 15 miles I felt like I was in race mode! It didn’t help that we were biking directly into the wind, either – and at one point I looked back and saw a chain of guys on road bikes drafting me. In my fuzzy brain state, I could only think “SHAME ON YOU!!! Drafting a chick on a mountain bike!” But later I had to laugh about it. In case you’re wondering, I made it home with exactly 10 minutes to shower and change
Later that evening, I went to the Red Wing Nordic Club’s end of year party. It was really cool to meet the members of the club started two years ago by coach David Asp, and everyone had a fun year and learned a lot.