Here we are, back at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center for our annual fall camp. I think this is arguably one of the toughest training camps of the year, because it’s when we start transitioning to more intensity and harder L4 workouts. It’s the camp with the legendary and infamous “Climb to the Castle” uphill 8 mile race, which seems to be accompanied each year by monster winds, rain and fog. It’s the camp with 6x10min L3 intervals, hard bounding intervals up Whiteface mountain, and classic sprint time trials.
Despite the voluntary torture, it’s also always a lot of fun, because so many skiers are all living and training together here at the center, and we get to see a lot of other sports training, too! My favorites are watching the bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes train on the push track outside. They go from a standstill to rocketing fast in no time at all, and I swear one of these days I’m going to pluck up my courage and ask for a ride on the bobsled. No, really, I will. Tomorrow. Maybe. Or the day after that. I may need to find a helmet and body armor first.
While there are the loops and roads we ski each year, we keep finding some fun new sections, and there are always beautiful routes through the Adirondacks. We’re almost in prime leaf-peeping season, so the roads aren’t totally filled with tourists yet, but I know they’re coming!
Another sweet thing about the OTC is their recovery room. Foam rollers of all shapes and sizes, and hot/cold baths for speeding up recovery after particularly tough sessions. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and guitar playing in the afternoons, and a couple times a week we’ll go into town and wander around the coffee shops and see a movie at the old school theatre.
While the roads are beautiful, they are so twisty that unless I sit up front and focus really hard on the road, I start each session a little carsick. I’m working on strategies for dealing with this.
The group has been really good about getting on recovery as soon as each workout is over. The faster we can recover and rest, the better the following workout! So stretching, food and drink and dry clothes are in order as soon as the roller skis are unclipped.
Yesterday we had a fantastic over-distance running and hiking adventure. Every year we do a big run in the Adirondack Mountains, and this year we tried a new route over Big Slide, Brothers and Yard mountains. After a couple wrong turns but mostly running on the proper trails, we found this really sweet natural waterslide in the stream. You have to go head-first because when you drop into the pool at the end, it can push you backwards if you don’t sort of dive in. I thought it was super awesome, and at this point we’d been running for about 3 hours. It was supposed to be only 3 miles or so back to the cars, so it didn’t matter that we were soaking wet. But in the waterslide I somehow lost one of my contacts, so on the run back I felt like I was hallucinating or something since my depth perception was really wacked out and I was squinting at all the rocks and roots. Eventually, the inevitable happened and I tripped headlong over some roots. I used to have a impressive record of at least one bloody fall per camp, and I guess I’m getting back to my roots!
That afternoon, we had a Fast and Female event here at the Olympic Training Center! I absolutely love these events, and it was awesome organizing this one with Abby Weissman, who is an event-organizing-goddess. We had about 40 girls show up, and many parents stayed for a presentation on coaching elite women while the girls decorated headbands, had inspirational talks from the ambassadors, made goal pyramids, stretched out with yoga and got posters autographed. It was a great event and it really made my day to see so many young girls excited about sports and fired up about reaching their goals.
We have one week left of camp, and I know it’ll be a good one with all the workouts carefully planned by our coaches and good food and recovery centers in between!