Sunday, August 23, 2015

Man Camp

Post Intervals with the boys: Me, Andy Brown, Joe Dubay and Matt Liebsch
The last two weeks have been Man camp.  Caitlin has been training in Norway with the US Ski Team leaving Lahti and I calling the shots.  My first week at home I had a planned recovery week which worked out well as halfway through it I also caught a cold.   It is a bit odd to get sick after taking two days off, but I tend to load my recovery days up with a fair amount of non-training activities including travel.  
Team Red: Me and Lahti
One of the home projects that I had the chance to work on has been installing new cabinet doors and hardware to give our kitchen a new and updated look.  Our friend Paul built us some beautiful cabinet doors since our lower cabinets were missing theirs when we bought the house.  I should really say Paul installed them, but he did a great job teaching me the process and I did a fair amount of chiseling as we did our best to make everything square in a 90 year old house.

Our kitchen never looked so good
After taking another two days off from training my health returned and I headed up north to Cresthill Resort in Hayward, WI to join the a group of Canadian skiers from Thunder Bay.  The Thunder Bay crew based their camp out of Cabin A and B where I lived and training with the CXC team for 5 years.  The roller skiing from Cresthill is fantastic and it was great to see Scott and Kay while revisiting many of my favorite training routes.

Back at Cresthill Resort

We put in a solid week of training including my longest ever roller ski of 100 km which took 5 hours and 20 minutes
The rust spots on the car ready for bondo, primer and paint
Another project of man camp came in patching the rust holes in our Subarau.  Scott showed me how to use a rivet gun, bondo and prime,  We had a bit of a mix up at the auto parts store and I received the wrong color pain but I will be sure to post a photo of the finished job.  Scott and I also installed a new plastic spray pan after the original one got crunched last winter.

Lots of Marwe Rollerskis in the van
I really enjoyed training in a big group of strong guys although I didn't do a great job of taking photos.  I enjoyed the challenge of doing several workouts which were new to me and the team ran a professional operation.  Thank you again to Scott and Kay for hosting me yet again.  It is now time to make sure that I have the house picked up and the laundry done before I pick Caitlin up at the airport.  I am also looking forward to the Boys and Girls Club reopening this week with our regular after school hours.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Truckee Training Camp

In the summer of 2013 Caitlin and I came out to Truckee, CA for a training camp, Uncle Kelly and Fran's wedding and a Compton family reunion.  We had a great time, trained well and went on to a great ski season including making the 2014 Olympic Team.  Last year, only Caitlin came out to Truckee for a training camp and well, she had a great year last year with the bronze at World Championships.  This year we both made the Truckee camp a priority.

Team Madshus on our first training day in Truckee: Me, Caitlin and Welly Ramsey
Truckee, California is a beautiful area; however what makes this camp special is the support from Kelly and Fran.  Not only do Fran and Kelly host us at their house but they come out to help with many of our workouts.  Coach Kelly took a ton of video for us and the two of them really help us pursue the excellence that we are looking for. 

A lot of energy in this group: Caitlin, Kelly and Fran 
Truckee is home to a number of great training groups too.  We had fun connecting with the Sugar Bowl Academy, Auburn Ski Club and Unleashed crews for some workouts.
Running the Tahoe Rim Trail, hard to believe we just ran 19 miles

Harvesting watermelon with only a spoon and a set of car keys
The Olympic Rings at Squaw Mountain Resort
These last 2 weeks concluded a 4 week block of over 90 hours at altitude.  Although I have trained similar volumes in the past, this round has included a heavy focus on recovery and the absorption of the training.  I didn't feel like I started the training season in May with a lot of fitness but I can feel everything coming together now.   I enjoyed two running races here in Truckee, CA and am pleased to have cut nearly a minute and a half from my time on the Squaw Mountain Run.  

Coming in to the home stretch during the Drifter Time Trial. 
A few days after the Squaw Mountain run we joined the local training groups for the Drifter Time Trial.  A 2 km uphill running time trial that has accurate times going back over 20 years.  Patrick Johnson has the course record at 10:06 and I started with the goal of breaking 10 minutes.  I will need to come back though as I finished in 10:10.  In addition to Patrick's record I am kept humble by Noah Hoffman's junior record of 10:07.

The rollers skiing in Truckee is decent, but the running is fantastic!

Finishing off a great block of training with one of my favorite runs ever.  Donner Summit to Squaw Mountain Resort on the PCT.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Altitude Camp Round 2

I am back in Park City, Utah for my second block of altitude training. Although I wasn't so sure about how effective my first block at altitude training went, my performance on my benchmarks upon returning home to sea level in Minneapolis gave me a lot of confidence.  A huge benefit of being able to go to and from altitude during the training season is that it is allowing us to really dial in our acclimatization plan.  We have been keeping a diary to determine how many days it takes us to feel good at altitude and how long the 'boost' from altitude seems to last.  We are dialing this in as we both felt that our altitude camp in Colorado last year played a big role in Caitlin's bronze medal at World championships and my 35th at the Holmenkollen world cup.

The Run Club Boys
I sure do miss the kids at the Club when I am away at training camp, but the weather started to get pretty warm and humid in Minneapolis and I certainly don't miss that.  Ever since I was hospitalized with heat exhaustion in high school I have found that the heat really adds a big load on to my training.

Technique work with Coach Bill of the Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy
One of the things Caitlin and I really try to incorporate in to our training is working with and learning from other training groups.  It has been great to train with the US Ski Team Nordic Combined crew as well as the Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy.  Coach Bill has been awesome in sharing with us his technique philosophy and observations as well as taking video of multiple sessions.  I have also really enjoyed skiing behind his older athletes who I honestly think are better technical skiers than myself.

Focusing on getting forward and relaxing at speed
One of my bucket list line items has been to hike Mt. Timpanogas and we had a perfect day for it.  Caitlin made it a double date with our friends Noah and Marta which worked out perfect.  We took the more gradual route which allowed us to run most of the way.

Caitlin, Me, Noah and Marta at the saddle on the way to the Summit
Enjoying my LL Bean Gear
A special thanks to LL Bean who sponsors In The Arena and our community service project with the Boys and Girls Club.  I am a big fan of quality gear that is built to last whether it is my new shirt in the photo above or my LL Bean vest which is older than me.  .  

Monday, July 13, 2015

Minneapolis Training Block

Four weeks at home sure went quickly and it is hard to leave to head back to altitude.  The weather in Minneapolis has been fantastic which for me is not too humid and on the cooler side of things.  It has been nice to train on my favorite local loops and see where my fitness stacks up this year.  Training in Utah this spring has been good, but since many of the routes and interval loops are different it is hard to compare my fitness to past years.  My time at home included another volume week of 30 hours of training, a recovery week and an intensity week.

Enjoying Loppet Adventures night with the Loppet Foundation members.
One of the values of the Loppet Foundation is 'adventure', with believe that living an inspired life requires taking paths with uncertain outcomes.  I enjoy and good adventure and the loppet Adventure group meets up once a month for a different activity encouraging experience veterans and first timers to come enjoy an evening together.  I have been getting more comfortable in the canoe and had a great time enjoying the solstice on the chain of lakes my college teammate and friend Brent Knight and our new friend Atan-wa.  A great way to recover after a big week of training.

Perfect summer training weather
Summer session is in at the Club which brings more kids and several new faces to Run Club.  A huge thanks to Kim, Will, and Gwen for running practice while we have been out of town.
Several runners are off the charts at Run Club including Gregory and Avis
Updated Run Club training logs

Plank Off  as we wait for a thunderstorm to roll through before Run Club

Enjoying some rest and an organic apple from Fruitshare after running our  3 mile goal for the day.
A great start to my intensity week, shaving off  over a minute from my 10 km Rollerski Time Trial in Tyrol and pacing pretty darn even splits.  Only 16 seconds of PR from October before Sochi.
Training with the US Ski Team crew out in Park City in May has been a bit of a humbling experience as the guys train hard and fast.  I often felt like I was getting my butt kicked.  One of the nice things about training at home is I could see how I compare in some of my regular benchmarks.   I think it is good to get your butt kicked as an athlete as it can help expose your weaknesses and encourages you to raise your level and standards.  A shout out to my neighbor Gerald for coming out and taking splits for me.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Live High Train Low

Tomorrow I head home to Minneapolis after nearly 5 weeks of living at 8,200 feet.  I have had some of my most focused training since the Olympics and it has been great.  I haven't been moving super quick since I have been training high but I have been absorbing the training well and I think it will set me up for a strong racing season this winter.  I have been able to push the volume and recover well with the ability to focus nearly 100% on training.  I am looking forward to coming home, but it sure is nice to be away from the many distractions of home.

Me, Blair and Caitlin after speaking at the ACIST sales meeting in Chicago
Caitlin and I took a quick trip to Chicago for our rest day to speak with the ACIST sales team.  We have shared our story often and incorporated goal setting, working hard, working smart and working consistently however this was our first presentation to a group of adult professionals.  We had a great time with Team ACIST and took advantage of a day at sea level for a hard track workout.  We were able to run to the track in 20 minutes on the crushed limestone path outside our hotel.
8 x 800 m at 2:30 pace
This trip is the first one we have taken in a long time without two 50-70lb bags each.  It sure is nice to travel with only a carry on.  

Leading the Team Soldier Hollow junior crew for their Saturday distance session
Last fall I did an open ski for juniors prior to the first Super Tour of the year in West Yellowstone, MT.  Many of the kids were from the Soldier Hollow ski team.  Caitlin and I led a distance ski walk session with the junior team on Saturday.  Their coach and our friend Morgan Smyth just had knee surgery and is recovering.  Morgan has been pretty creative with the kids, driving a golf cart to coach them on the roller ski workout and meeting us before the hike for some drills in the parking lot.

Enjoying the view from the top!
Where's the snow?
I am excited to see our dog Lahti tomorrow and return to the house.  Next week is my second super volume week of the year and it will be fun to explore my favorite routes around the Twin Cities.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Altitude Camp

Caitlin and I have had good luck with altitude training over the years.  Most recently with our altitude camp at 9,000 feet in Frisco, CO leading up to the 2015 World Championships.   We have received a lot of guidance and direction from personal experience, research, Randy Wilbur with the US Olympic Committee, and Olympic Champion Billy Demong.  Altitude training will be a key part of our training plan this year.  We are excited to be be living at 8,150 feet in Deer Valley, UT for a four week camp to kick off the ski season.  The last two weeks we have been training with the US Ski Team and it has been fantastic.  I have always been a fan of training with athletes who are faster than you and the entire US Ski Team A and B teams were in town for the camp.  
Noah Hoffman and I post 5*6 min L4
It is fantastic to train with the National Team crew and I found myself pushed in pretty much all of the workouts.  Last year I did not do a group training camp in May and it lead to a slow start to the training year.  It is great to get be back in full on training mode.  The first day of camp was actually my first day off of antibiotics and a nasty sore throat that kept me sidelined for the first two weeks of May.  A big focus for Caitlin and I is double pole this year.  This became a larger goal after getting destroyed in two different double pole interval sessions by the other guys.  I do look at this as a positive though, because it means I have a lot of room to improve in this area.
Enjoying a 4 year wedding anniversary ski on the roller ski track at Soldier Hollow
One of my favorite places to race is at Soldier Hollow, home of the 2002 Olympic Cross Country ski races.  There is a 5 km paved loop that follows the ski trails and flows just as if you were skiing on the trails with snow on them.

Nitrogen Bath
One of the big names in altitude training is Jim Stray Gunderson.  Many of the papers and studies on altitude training have been done by him and he lives here in Park City and works out of the USSA's Center of Excellence. I have really enjoyed talking with him about altitude training and look forward to dialing in our altitude plan with him.  He performed a hemoglobin mass base line test on us to help us see what kind of response our bodies have to the altitude during our weeks here.  He was helping a runner recover from a training session with what I can only describe as a nitrogen bath.  He asked if we wanted to give it a try.  You stand in this dunk tank and liquid nitrogen is pumped in making it super cold but only for a few minute burst.  I honestly had to google it when I returned home:  I felt great the next day for training, but I think an ice bath might be a bit easier.

Caitlin and Antje Harvey with their World Championship Bronze Medals
Over the last 9 years, Caitlin and I have been sponsored by Toko gloves, wax and tools.  Ian Harvey is the US Brand manager for Toko and he and his wife Antje live in Heber, UT near Soldier Hollow.  We joined the Olympic duo for lunch between training sessions.  It was pretty fun to see Caitlin and Antje with the bronze medals.  The medals are identical designs, even though they were earned 30 years apart.  Both of the girls are a little shy about showing off their medals, but I find it hugely inspiring.  One of my goals here in Park City is to get to see Billy Demong's gold medal.  Naively I didn't even realize that Antje had 4 Olympic medals from the '92 and '94 Olympics in biathlon.  Caitlin knew her history though and Antje pulled out the box with them so we could admire them.  They are beautiful.

I am so excited for this season.  I have had a good last two weeks of training but it is clear to me that I am not in very good shape right now and have a lot of work to do this summer in training and recovery.  The good thing is that I am hungrier than ever to put in the the work and enjoy the rewards.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


I have had a lot of wonderful people and programs that have impacted my life.  My personal experiences are what have motivated me to pursue having a similar impact on others.  Effect and influence is a difficult thing to measure.  A few things happened this week that make me feel pretty good about the impact of my In The Arena projects.  

Gregory won the prize for running the most miles in Run Club this Spring.  Over the last six weeks he ran 43 miles.
This week marked my final week in Minneapolis for the school year as Caitlin and I are headed out to Park City, UT for her first US Ski Team camp.  Typically this would also mean the final week of Run Club.  New this year though, volunteer Kim has offered to continue running practices for the kids on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.  Kim called us two weeks ago to see if she could join her child at run club and for the 5 km race.  She has been awesome and a huge motivation to us and the kids.  Our friend Will has also offered to help with Run Club and it makes me so happy to see the program continue while we are away at training camp.

Caitlin and Kim
The second thing that really made me smile were the comments left on my last blog post by the kids in Kaktovik.  Due to some technical issues I am not able to publish the comments in the traditional sense but here they are:

Lydia K:
I had fun skiing with you out by the snow fences. I fell a few times,
but I liked going up and down the hill. It was nice to ski with twins
because I am a twin, too. Ms. Deb and Mr. V took us skiing on
Wednesday. I'm glad we have skis at the school. Are you planning to
come back to Kaktovik next year?

Lenora K.
Thank you for coming to Kaktovik to ski with us. You, Chad and Andrew
are all really good skiers. I miss you. I liked when Chad held my hand
and I was the secret weapon out by the snow fences. We still have snow
by the fences, but the tundra snow has melted behind teacher housing
and the school. I liked it when Officer Ben came and watched us ski.
Will you be coming back to Kaktovik next year? I hope so.

Michael L.
I really like cross-country skiing because you taught us new things
like going down low and through the poles. My favorite thing was going
downhill from side to side. Are you going to come visit again. Ms. Deb
took us out a few days ago and I won the race around the snow fence.
Thanks for teaching me how to ski.

Thank you, Brian, Chad, and Andrew for taking us out skiing. It was
super fun and awesome. I hope you can come back again. I really liked
it when you took us almost all the way to the dump. I'm glad you left
skis here for us to use. Ms. Deb took us out the last week of school.

Still skiing in Kaktovik in mid May.
It is great to see the familiar faces of the kids and to see that they are using and enjoying the equipment that SkiKu left for them at the school.  The smiles tell the story and the impact for the kids.

Spring has arrived to Kaktovik
To the kids in Kaktovik: Here is how we "roller ski" so that we can go skiing when there is no snow.  It is fun, but real snow is better!