Week two of Park City camp has come to a close, and in a very stylish way. Liz and I hopped a flight to San Francisco and attended one of the US Ski Team’s Ski Balls! It was retro ski themed, and we really took it to heart and dressed up. I think it’s a real shame that I missed out on the 80’s. A real shame. Everyone was so generous and supportive of the Ski Team, and it was a blast meeting new people and getting to share ski stories!
After cocktail hour and a chance to mingle, make new friends and bid on some auction items, we had dinner and watched David Wise’s Gold medal winning run. He gave a wonderful and inspirational talk, and there was also a live auction on some ski getaways. Liz Stephen spoke about the incredible facilities and staff at the COE that the US team provides for us to train the way we need to train. I had a chance to speak about team and what it means to me, and how our team isn’t just the guys and girls in spandex with race bibs on. It includes coaches, wax techs, the US staff and everyone who supports the Ski Team. It takes really hard work and dedication from every single person involved!
The night ended with a live band, a disco ball and a crowded dance floor. There may have been some fairly incredible dance moves happening as well. John Travolta would have been PROUD.
The ski team fundraiser was a big hit, and now I get to tell you about my upcoming personal fundraiser! Every fall the Chilkoot Cafe in Stillwater, Minnesota hosts a wonderful dinner fundraiser for me. The money the community raises from this event goes directly to support my travel, lodging and training fees for the upcoming season. I am so extremely lucky to have the support of such a friendly community, and I couldn’t have taken those steps towards the Olympics without the local support! So thank you to those of you who have attended in years past, you have been a big part of my team. Nobody can ever achieve their goals alone, and it takes a mighty big team to get to the World Cups and Olympics!
This year’s dinner will be November 9th, at 6:00pm. At the dinner I am looking forward to being able to see friends and skiers from the community and get to say goodbye before heading to Europe for the next 5 months. I will also be able to share some fun photos and stories of how the summer training has gone, as well as my goals and plans for the upcoming season!
In a fun new twist for the evening, I will also be auctioning off some of my Olympic gear; items from the Opening/Closing Ceremony, and some of the specially made clothing items for Sochi Team USA. They money raised from the auction will go directly to supporting junior athletes who are taking that crucial next step towards international racing. Until we can (finally!) get some World Cups in the US of A, it’s necessary to get to Europe to race on the world’s biggest stage. It’s also important to me to help get these junior athletes there, because people were there to help me out when I was looking to make that jump! Time to pay it forward, people. That’s why I’m willing to part with some of the coolest swag you can get once every 4 years. 🙂
Here are the condensed details:
The Chilkoot Café and Cyclery in Stillwater is once again hosting a fund raiser dinner for Olympian, World Champion and US Ski Team member, Jessie Diggins, on November 9th at 6PM. The cost for dinner is $100, all proceeds of which go directly to Jessie to support training and racing expenses. In addition to an evening of wonderful food and great race stories from Jessie, Jessie will be auctioning off some Olympic gear. All proceeds form the auction will go to the National Nordic Foundation, to support junior skiers who qualify for international and national racing and training opportunities. Call for more information or to reserve your spot at the Chilkoot Café, 651-342-0429.
Back to training camp updates! That’s why you read this far, right?
The team had a 10km time trial in Soldier’s Hollow on the roller ski track, which was a good opportunity to practice pacing at altitude.
Like we did in the spring, Hans, one of the USST interns, got out on my roller skis and practiced his classic technique doing laps of the COE parking lot. The poles were too short for him but he was a great sport!
We did some really hard, hot and dusty bounding intervals down in Salt Lake with the entire crew – there must have been about 40 athletes sweating it out on the trails. I had a rough workout as it was dusty and getting hot, and right in the middle of the set I had an asthma attack. I’ve always had sports-induced asthma, and for whatever reason I have never struggled with it during races or on skis, but sometimes it flares up during hard summer training. I am smart about slowly warming up my lungs and using my rescue inhaler if I need it, but this one caught me off guard. I was suddenly panicked and fighting to breathe while feeling like I was trying to suck air through the tiniest of straws. I was making the worst sort of rasping sounds and then for a while there were no sounds because there was no air, either. I eventually got it under control, and after giving myself a couple extra minutes to slow my breathing down, I finished my interval set.
I’m not sharing this as a pity plea, and I don’t go around thinking “oooooo poor me”, but I’m sharing this because I know a couple young athletes who have asthma, struggle with it during summer training, and are looking for ways to work around it. Sometimes it’s just hard, because there will be workouts when you start to struggle with breathing and as soon as you panic, it’s game over. And it’s important to acknowledge that there will be workouts when it doesn’t go perfectly! But over time I’ve been working on ways to re-focus, keep my mind off my breathing and stay calm when I know I am inches away from not being able to breathe. Sometimes simply counting to 10 over and over during a hard workout or a race can help me stay right in the moment, break down the interval into small manageable parts. Anyone can do anything for the count of 10, right? I sometimes sing (in my head, not out loud) because skiing to the rhythm of a song I’m really into can help me think of that instead of my lungs or how my legs hurt. Yesterday morning I tried something new – I smiled once every minute during an interval. Coach Whitcomb suggested that little trick. Just the act of smiling can help me relax and remember why I’m out here skiing hard, and it’s another way to get my mind off of the sound of my lungs. The biggest thing has been to continue to see an asthma doctor and make sure I’m doing all the little things right – taking my inhaler with enough time before the workout starts, etc. Hopefully if you’re also working to figure out how to get through interval sets with less hassle, this is helpful!
The last workout for me of the Park City camp was 6×10 minute L3 intervals up East Canyon, and a couple hours afterwards Liz and I hopped on the plane to San Francisco!
The next stop for us is Canmore, Alberta, where we will be training on snow. Cross Country Canada does a fantastic job with “Frozen Thunder”, getting a great track prepared so that skiers can dial in their technique on real skis before heading into the season. I’m excited to see some Canadian friends and take down some laps!
Last but most certainly not least, we have one more important fundraiser coming in hot this fall. Stratton Mountain School is hosting a send-off party and fundraiser for the SMST2 team on November 15th. We also have some exciting news! A generous donor has offered to match all donations up to $25,000 to the SMS T2 team. All donations made to the team by November 15th, 2014 will be matched. Click here to donate or see more details…or to read up on the team’s latest escapades! http://smst2.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/sms-t2-receives-challenge-grant/