Favorite Things

My Favorite things…the work out edition.

What is my favorite workout?  Uphill intervals.   Uphill intervals, especially ones at threshold!  I mean really, they might just be my favorite thing in the world. (okay ice cream is up there too)

Looking at the plan for the week I knew most of my training would be flexible and allow me to really do whatever I please.  There were a few guidelines of course.  So when my coach said, “Try to find a place to fit in 30-45mins of L3″  I thought…”Whiteface!”

I don’t know what it is about doing intervals up the access road.  I just really love it.  After warming up around the base  and lower trails I  take off.  The only goal.  Keep moving towards the top.   Its a combination of running, ski bounding, and ski walking.  But steadily I make my way up the hill and into the fog.

Maybe I’m crazy but I think I love these workouts so much because they are so easy.  They’re really simple.  Go uphill. Hard.  Just me and the mountain.  I really like it that way, just me and the mountain.

Slowly I move my way into the fog.  The visibility getting worse and worse. Today I’m not following the sound of my team mates skis poles.  I’m sweaty and gross and slipping on mud and rocks…and I’m loving it.  …But soon enough I run out of hill and my work is done for the day.  Slowly making my way back down to the base of the mountain and my car I couldn’t be happier!

It was a good morning. Just me and the mountain.

 

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Alive

Alive, yes we are. Alive and well!

We made it.  After a little over 7 hours of pedaling Annelise, Sara, Susan and I rolled into the OTC parking lots and promptly laid down.  I just knew I didn’t want to be standing or much less sitting any longer.  And I so laid on the sidewalk with my helmet on and didn’t move. It was wonderful.

It was terribly hot yesterday.  …and yes at points it was miserably hot.  I found myself missing the head wind when ever it would disappear briefly.  Patrick and Jonne were great.  They kept hoping ahead of us with the cars and were always there to refill our water bottles right when we are were running out.  They provided great encouragement for us all the way up keene hill.  And trust me, I needed it, and it worked.

100 miles, 8 water bottles, two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a snickers bar later I was back in Lake Placid.  Back to air conditioning. Back to a comfy bed. Back home?  maybe.  I’m happy to be back, and happy to be in one piece.  I’m a little sore and a little tired…but very pleased. happy. and content.

Mission impossible?

If you don’t hear from me in a few days…call the authorities.  search and rescue. my mom.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but tomorrow the women’s team will be biking back from Jericho VT via back roads to Lake Placid NY. …and its suppose to be the hottest day of the week!  Just our luck.  The boys did the same ride on monday.  It took them 7 hours in the saddle.  For now I’ve got my heart set on 9.  calling it safe.  playing it safe?

Our camp is coming to a close here in Vermont.  Its about that time.  Living in the army barracks seems to lose its allure after the first humid night or so.  I have to say…we’ve had a really great camp.  Some good, some not so good.  Yesterday the whole team struggled a little bit, fatigue was setting in, tired limbs, tired minds.  Shooting was not going well all around.  But after a good nights  sleep we were all back at it again this morning, and things went really well.  Days like today make you feel like you are improving.  That you are taking those strides forward.

So for now (since I might feel differently during and after the bike ride tomorrow) camp has been wonderful and productive.  The national guard men and women (but mostly men) we’ve shared the ethan allen base with this past week have all been super nice.  We’ve taken over a little coffee shop down the road to get our internet fix and caffeine injection almost every day we’ve been here.  The Village Cup, or “athlete” cup, has been wonderful…although its good we are leaving…their baked goods are much to tasty and far too bad for me.   One can, or rather should, only eat so many mocha brownies.

I’m looking forward to getting back to lake placid. Yes the air conditioning is a plus alright.  Time to catch up with some people.  Catch my breath. Take some really good naps.  I’m prepared to have my body completely quit on me tomorrow, but I’ve got my fingers crossed nothing goes too wrong.  See you on the other side, mission implausable….I mean mission super fun bike butt is just around the corner.  But first….Bear for dinner!!!!

 

 

Taking up the Challenge

Got a little something special for you!!!  The US women’s biathlon team took up the US  Women’s ski team video challenge over the past week and put together a little something.  Its got a lot of fun things from training and racing over the past year.  Please check it out!

Finished up our second day of time trials this morning.  It was another good effort.  Looking forward to a little soccer and ultimate with the mens team this afternoon!

Into the Black Hole

In years past Jericho has been just that.  A black hole.  As you approach the Ethan Allen training center your cell phone service dwindles down to nothing.  You can get internet if you sit just right on the steps of the public library and there aren’t more than three computers fighting over the signal.  It was always that dark place that we would journey to once a summer to meet up with fellow biathletes from all over the country.  You camp out on your bunk bed.  You battle the heat and the humidity.  Its a standard I’ve learned to accept and expect.

This year it isn’t much different… its not the annual flocking of athletes quite yet, that will be in a few weeks still.  For now its just the national team.  We aren’t staying in the traditional barracks either.  We are in a different building that is a little more dormitory styled with two or three of us to a room.  There is carpeting!  You know…the essentials.  I was surprised however when I went upstairs to our little kitchen last night and found a TV.  …that works!  Not that we spend all our free time glued to it.  It just seems so out of place compared to the picture of a “Jericho experience”.  Caught a little golf.  A little news.  Who knows, maybe we will even catch some of the USA vs. Japan game this weekend!!!

We had our first little time trial this morning.  It was hot and didn’t feel especially great, but I survived.  Cleaning my very last stage of the mass start might have been the only thing that got me through that last loop.  But I made it.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t perfect.  …it wasn’t awful either.  Another one tomorrow morning, so I’ll just keep plugging along.

Reality.

I was recently prompted by a fellow full-timer to really look at what I do.  To write about what happens behind the glorious trips to europe.  To dive bellow the surface of my rollerski rotted hands… To explore how I make my dream job happen.  To devuldge what its really all about.

So here I go.

I’m a biathlete.  Thats my job title.  Professional.  with a not so professional salary.  I dropped out of school to take a chance on a sport most Americans have never even heard of.  Someone said, “Hey you can ski, think you can shoot?”  That was it.  The first race I did was the summer running sister verison of the sport.  I missed 16 out of 20 targets.  Ran an extra 2.5 km’s in penalties.  But I was hooked. hooked on this red-headed step child of a sport.

I drove my beat up, green box on wheels across the country to Northern Maine to join Maine Winter Sports Center in hopes that I might play catch up to a sport I was already way behind in.  I spent the summer seeing more moose than people.  Living in spare office space in the upstairs of the ski lodge at the race venue.  A single room for four girls.  We affectionately called the room the second sauna of the building during the hot summer months.  When it got too hot to sleep upstairs we would drag cot mattresses to the basement of the lodge to sleep on the tile floor.  I spent a good month sleeping on the ground there, in a public building, spending mornings waking up to people coming to venue to get in a walk before work.  It was glamorous.

I spent the season wondering if I would do well enough to move up.  I had my heart set on making the national team.  There was NO plan B.  I guess you just have to believe right?  It was a stressful, anxious spring.

I knew I was lucky.  My parents supported my decision to put my education on hold and pursue my passion.  I’m still lucky.  Although after a year of no school work, exams, finals, papers part of me did miss it… and I knew I needed a little something to balance the athletics in my life.  So for now I’m taking one to two classes a term.  I was actually giddy when I ordered my text books a few weeks ago, and I’m thrilled to have work due!  Nerdy I know.

This spring I moved again.  This time to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York.  I’m currently a member of the US national biathlon team, and for this oppurtunity I am incredibly grateful.  Because I am a resident athlete here I have virtually no living expenses.  Its a life saver.  …because I have virtually no money.  I spent most of my bank account buying a new rifle this spring.  So we live frugiley.

My car has a rear brake light out…its been that way since christmas.  Yes I’m poor and a threat to society.

So for a post labeled reality… my life is anything but real.  I live in a very surreal world.  Back in bozeman at school I was one of the crazy student athletes that spent time running in the woods and skiing in the mountains.  Back in Wisconsin I’m that crazy girl who is always out training, always at a racing event, always somewhere else.  But here in Lake Placid…at the training center. I’m normal.  So very normal.  We all wake up, train crazy amounts of hours, eat odd quantities of food…its surreal.  Its home.  …even if it is far from the real world.  Its my world.

Greatest Job in the World?

The answer. Yes.  I have the world’s greatest job.  I might not be “finically stable”…but I get to do what I love, every day, and thats worth it!

After a long travel day back to the eastern portion of the country I was welcomed back to Lake Placid just in time to celebrate a beautiful 4th of July!  Town was buzzing.  The weather was beautiful.  After a semi-disasterous interval workout in the morning (tired tired travel legs) I spent the day soaking up the sun, listening to great music, eating tasty food.  Took part in the local parade, where we looked very patriotic, and listened to some more good music.  We watched the firework show over mirror lake from a “private” roof top perch…it took a boost from a hand rail and a shove to get up there but it was well worth it.

I’m transitioning back into training again after last weeks rest week at home.  My body is still a little lethargic but my mind is amped to be moving again.  This morning I headed out early to get in a little ascent and quick descent of mount marcy!  I was early enough headed out that I had to clear spider webs all the way to the dam.  However, I can now confirm that the “spider stick” works.  After a minor panic attack being covered in webs I ran with a stick and just sort of swatted them out of my way as I went.  Effective and only sort of silly looking…maybe?

I passed a lot of hikers on my way to the summit.  I would let out an “excuse me” followed by a “goodmorning” and in exchange would get “you’re running up the mountain? you’re crazy!”  It was even better on the return trip, “You’re still running!?”…and I would say, “Yep, its my job!” with a huge goofy grin on my face.

I made it back to my car.  Out of water for the last three miles.  Covered in mud despite several baby pit stops to splash in all the streams along the way but still grinning.  …and no worse for ware.

Four hours check.  Food. Shower. Power Nap. Afternoon coffee break (always a good thing). and then back out on the skis for two more hours of classic fun.

Six hours. check.  A satisfying days work.  Oh the perks of being a full time endurance athlete right?

I’m plum tuckered out.  My legs are questioning my need to punish them.  But I’m happy and stoked to get on my bike in the morning for another four hours before the rain rolls in!