After coming back from New Zealand, there was apparently a week and a half until now but I’ve been stuck in a time warp and I’m pretty unaware of what day it is anymore! That happens more often than I’d like to admit. I had a day at home in Minnesota, then spent most of next the day at the Mall of America with Fast and Female. The events were spent dancing, jumping around, getting sweaty, talking about how it’s absolutely worth it to go after your biggest goals, and signing posters. It was really fun to see all these girls in the community come out and meet new people, ask some really thoughtful questions about how to achieve their goals, and dance up a storm!

Getting warmed up with some silly dancing and jumping around (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Getting warmed up with some silly dancing and jumping around (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

We started with some dancing to get warmed up, and I got to live my dream of someday being a dance teacher. It was a really glorious moment, so thanks to all the girls for indulging me.

We then followed Kikkan around and copied whatever she did, which included hopping, skipping, pushups, sit-ups and by the end I was definitely sweaty and tired!

Get strong! Push-up time (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Get strong! Push-up time (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Inspirational talks about our Olympic and World Championship experiences and what motivates us (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Inspirational talks about our Olympic and World Championship experiences and what motivates us (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Kiks, Caitlin and I then shared some stories about not giving up on your goals, about what it’s like to race at the Olympic level, and about how we got into sport and why it’s so important to us. My biggest points were that sometimes, things won’t seem to be working out the way you want them to but you can NEVER. GIVE. UP. Case in point, the day Kikkan and I won the World Champs team sprint, my pole got ripped out of my hand and I skied without a pole for a few hundred feet, then skied the rest of the race with a men’s ski pole. Conditions will never be ideal, and the situation isn’t always perfect, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to stop believing in your ability to achieve what you set out to do. So, guys and gals, GET AFTER IT! šŸ™‚

I also want to say a special thanks to our awesome volunteers and ambassadors, and especially the LL Bean Staff for organizing and hosting! The event ran smoothly with your help, and you are such awesome role models for the community!

Our famous wax techs get on the big screen in the MOA during a viewing of "Uptown Funk ala US Ski Team" (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

Our famous wax techs get on the big screen in the MOA during a viewing of “Uptown Funk ala US Ski Team” (photo from Bruce Adelsman)

After the Fast and Female events, I had a smaller group stick around and I gave a short talk about taking the next step forward in racing. Basically, I just gave everyone the tips and things I wish I’d known when I first decided I wanted to get serious about ski racing and become an Olympian one day. Things like how to have confidence testing your wax and your skis, how to get the most out of every training session, formulating your pre-race plan and dealing with those race day nerves.Ā Big thanks to Jenny Beckman and Salomon for organizing the event!

Thanks to Salomon for organizing the talk! (photo from Liz Arky)

Thanks to Salomon for organizing the talk! (photo from Liz Arky)

During my short stop at home, I got to spend some relaxing time with my family. Well, that’s sort of true- my family’s a pretty active one. My father-daughter time was spent running our dog in the Afton State Park and my mother-daughter time was spent gardening, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Mom foraging in the giant jungle of a tomato plant for the ripe ones

Mom foraging in the giant jungle of a tomato plant for the ripe ones

And then I came to my other home – Stratton! It was great to see my teammates after nearly a month apart, and get in some low key training during this rest week. Rest weeks are the hardest for me, because I always feel best when I’m training super hard. But the truth is, it’s no good to train a lot of hours if you don’t give yourself the breaks to fully absorb all of it and recover for the next block! So these weeks with less training are crucial, and arguably the most important part. Which is probably why they are the hardest. Luckily, I had a fun Summit Sisters hike to look forward to!

A nice shady hike up!

A nice shady hike up!

Summit Sisters (Erika Flower’s brainchild) is a girls team initiative to get women in the community together during the summer to meet new people and summit a new peak every month. It’s been really cool to see new active ladies in the area, and catch up with friends while enjoying the view from the top!

We're almost there! Hiking and catching up with my SMS Junior girls

We’re almost there! Hiking and catching up with the SMS Junior girls

This hike I got to catch up with the SMS junior girls, and they are just an awesome group. They’re working hard and doing great this summer, and it reminds me of my high school ski group. Oh my gosh, wait! I’m not old enough to get nostalgic yet, am I?!?

Summit Sisters. Enjoying the hard work.

Summit Sisters. Enjoying the hard work.

Group summit shot!

Group summit shot!

As you might imagine given my propensity for adrenaline, the whole way up I was looking forward to the alpine slides on the way back down! You could see the marks where people had gone too fast and gone right off the track, but don’t worry, I kept it in control on my slide down.

Now for the reward - a fast ride down on the alpine sleds!

Now for the reward – a fast ride down on the alpine sleds!

One last week here in Stratton before I leave for Norway! I’m headed to Trondheim with my US teammates for a camp before racing in the summer roller ski festival, Ā Toppidrettsveka. I always love going new places, and I’ve never been to Trondheim before. I’ve also never seen Norway in the summer. Should be pretty exciting!

Keepin' on the sunny side and enjoying being outside

Keepin’ on the sunny side and enjoying being outside