I’m really doing my best to collect as much dust and dirt and enjoy the bug-free dry heat while I can! This past week I’ve been hanging out in Park City, spending a lot of time at the Center of Excellence catching up with the strength coaches and sports science staff, and doing spring testing to get a baseline that I can (hopefully) improve upon when we test again in the fall. I’ve also been lucky enough to get to catch up with friends in the area, and it seems like every day we had lunch or dinner with friends, which I loved.
I had hoped to post a bunch of photos with this, but my computer and I are on the outs right now, and it’s crashing. Right as my online Philosophy course at Westminster is starting, by the way. Sooo…..if a girl writes an essay on philosophy but her computer crashes and she can’t turn it in…did she even write it at all?
I’ve explained our testing before, but for new readers I’ll give you the 30-second need-to-know details on just what we’re up to when we’re sweating away on those treadmills. It’s actually pretty sweet. This year instead of doing a Max test, where I ski until I literally collapse and fall off the treadmill to find my VO2 Max, I did something a little different. I did an economy test, which basically looks to see how efficient I am in that technique. Since I’ve been putting in a lot of work to improve my classic striding and double poling, those were the two things we tested! If I can stride at the same set speed and distance in the fall while dropping my heartrate lower and using less overall effort than I did this spring, I’ll have gotten more efficient at my distance race-pace, which should translate to better on-snow results. We also test functional mobility, where they check and make sure all our joints are working properly and that we have a full range of motion. If not, they know which mobility exercises to add into our strength routine! We test strength to see if we are getting stronger and more explosive, which correlates to better on-snow performance. So for those of you still thinking you don’t need to lift weights to get faster…you do. We test to make sure we’re not iron or calcium deficient, and we test to see how our bodies are responding to and adapting to higher altitude. It sounds like a lot, but it’s only a couple hours of testing, made exponentially more fun by the coaches and staff running the tests!
What I really love about the COE is the atmosphere in it. The staff is so hardworking, enthusiastic and positive, and they always push me to do my best while handing out high-fives. I also think it’s so neat to watch the other sports training, and learn from them. It’s a cool dynamic because all the athletes are so different, yet fundamentally the same in our drive and passion for what we do. So, while an Alpine skier’s longest race is the same length of time as my shortest sprint, and while the fastest speed I’ll ever reach on a downhill is the slowest they’ll ever go, it’s so inspiring to me to watch them work out in the gym and pick up tricks. If I’m struggling with my downhills I’ll try to get into the mindset of a slalom skier. If I’m uncomfortable on my rollerskis, I’ll think more like a freestyle skier and find the edges of the skis, and try and learn some tricks and agility. If I’m struggling with my balance I’ll make like a snowboarder and spend some time on the trampolines or slacklines to learn spatial awareness.
The moment you think you’ve nailed it and have nothing left to learn is the only moment you truly fail, because there’s ALWAYS something to work on, something new to learn, something new to try. So in the spirit of pushing our limits of being uncomfortable, we did some agility drills in an abandoned parking lot. We were jumping up and down the curb, weaving in and out of cones on two feet, then one leg, working on 180 degree jumps and backwards skiing and cornering at speed. Watching Andy go through these drills made it look so incredibly easy! I hope on day I can be as fearless and sure on my feet as he and Simi are.
One cool announcement that I’m psyched to shout out to the world is that I’ve re-signed with all my sponsors from last year! So Slumberland Furniture will be proudly displayed on my headgear, Fastenal as my silver sponsor and the T2 Foundation as my bronze sponsor. I’ve re-signed with Salomon for my skis, boots and bindings, One Way for my poles, and Podiumwear for my super-cool active training gear! It’s really important to me to have sponsors that I feel great about and equipment that I can rely on, and I’m happy to say that I’ve found that in all my sponsors. What a lucky girl I am! To check out more, go to my “Sponsors and Support” page (found at the top of my website) and follow the links to see the webpages for each sponsor.