Sunday, October 4, 2015

Home Time

Late September is a wonderful time in Minnesota and it has been great to be home and enjoy it.  Our house really is a fantastic home base for training and recovery.  The cool nights certainly help to provide some great sleep too!  These last two weeks have been my first opportunity to work one on one with Coach Tom too.  It has been fantastic to have a fresh set of eyes analyzing my technique and facilitating the workouts.  One of the big takeaways from the US Ski Team's camp in Norway was on a progression for double pole.  Tom has been working with both Caitlin and I on the progression and we can feel the difference in our double pole.

Meeting up with the Endurance United (EU) Junior Team for some classic technique work and a distance ski
Alternating between high altitude training in Park City, UT and training at home in Minneapolis in blocks has allowed my regular training routes to be fresh routes every few weeks.  It has been fun to track my workouts and see the improvements over the course of the summer.  One of the new tools we have been using this year is a Polar V800 heart rate monitor watch.  The watch has all the bells and whistles making it easy to track distance and pace.  Being a bit of a data nerd I have enjoyed that additional information.  I have even had fun on my workouts setting different pace goals.  If nothing else this has taught me to drink on the downhills instead of stopping.

Lahti has been enjoying my habit of a daily recovery jog
Not only do I get faster in the Fall, but so does Lahti.  As a husky he doesn't do so well in the heat.  Often in the summer he can only run for 15-20 minutes.  When Fall comes he can show his true fitness.  He had no trouble doing 12 miles on Saturday
Loppet Adventure Group Paddle and Eclipse Viewing 
We have had a number of local community events in the neighborhood.  Including the Surly Trail Loppet half marathon.  The start is literally a 5 min down the trail from our house.  I love being able to do a race in my backyard.  My running intervals in Utah helped me in the race and I felt strong.  I finished 4th place with a personal best for the course in 1:22:03.  The course is a bit different each year so it is hard to compare.  I finished less than 30 seconds off of the win which I considered to be pretty good.  I still need to do a bit more fast running to have the legs for the final kick.  My regular training pace is about 10:00 min/mile so my race pace of 6:11 min/miles is a bit of a shock on my body.  The second event we had in the neighborhood was a Loppet Adventure Club paddle.  The evening couldn't have been nicer with warm temperatures and a clear sky.  We had a perfect view of the full moon and the eclipse.
Classic intervals with Liebsch
I have also had a number of interval sessions on my Tyrol 1km loop.  I really enjoy being able to compare my lap times and work on my pacing during my interval sessions.  A huge thank you to Matt Liebsch and Zak Ketterson for coming out and pushing me in intervals.  Matt is holding on to some strong fitness while still working 40+ hours each week.  Zak is a Senior in high school this year but has his first period of classes off and makes it up with an online course.  Zak is in great shape this year and I look forward to seeing his strong results at the Junior World Championships this year.  His goal is to be top 10, but I think he could go top 3.  I am looking forward to my 3rd 10 km skate time trial in tyrol on Tuesday.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gearing up for Winter: Hoigaards Tent Sale

I woke up to a dusting of snow on the peaks on my last day of training out in Utah.  The colors have been turning and although Fall is just beginning, winter is not far behind.  I am a huge fan of the mornings where you start your workout all bundled up and then drop layers as sun and training warm your body.  

Climbing up Big Cottonwood Canyon with Joe and Duncan
Of course snow up in the mountains means rain at lower elevations.  After two weeks of perfect weather, it is hard to complain about a little rain but I think all the sunny days with highs of 70 and lows of 50 did make us a bit soft. We wanted to end the camp with some harder intensity back to back.  After a day of classic intervals we headed down to the running track in Salt Lake City.  Dave Knoop came out and coached us into improving upon or skier running form and with some 100's, 300's, 800's and 400's.  He gave us some great tips and although we weren't running anywhere near the times of my ITA teammate Matt Elliott or ITA alumni Ben True, we made some good improvements.  It is fun to follow the really competitive runners and some time on the track just makes me realize what impressive athletes they are.  Joe and I cooled down in a downpour, with wrecked legs but a smile on our face as we had completed our training camp on a high note.  Plus it will be easy to date a big of recovery time now as my legs and body need at least the weekend to recover and absorb the training.

Me, Coach Dave and Joe
Saturday morning couldn't have been a nicer day
The color of the leaves and the crisper mornings has everyone thinking about the upcoming winter.   Hoigaards, one of our big sponsors and one of the big ski shops in the Twin Cities hosts their annual tent sale this weekend.  The tent sale is huge, with great prices, selection and service. Caitlin and I were at the shop for the sale to help fit equipment, sign posters and get people excited for winter.  It is fun to be around people who can hardly wait for it to snow.  I have just as much fun helping the elite racer to the first timer or the former high school skier who is coming back to the sport after a decade or so.

What better way to get excited to try out your new skis, boots and poles than meeting a world championship medalist?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Training Partners

Training partners can play a huge role in an athletes training and I am thankful to have some awesome ones.  Over the last three years I have done a 10 km freestyle roller ski solo time trial every few months to gauge my fitness, strength and weaknesses so that I can plan my training for the next few months.  I sent a few texts out to see if any of my training partners wanted to join for a time trial last Tuesday with the catch that the race started at 7 am (Our race timer had to go be at work at 8am).  
7am Start = No Problem
Our friend Josh even came out to take photos
I set a personal record time by two seconds in the time trial and beat my late August time from last year by over a minute.  I think having the other guys out there on course made a big difference. Sometimes when you wake up the snooze button can be tempting but setting a start time with your training partners can hold you both accountable and on time.

Lahti, always game to train
I try to match Lahti's enthusiasm to get out the door.  I am not sure I will ever meet his consistency, even when he ran for 3 hours earlier in the day he wants to go for the afternoon run, even if he can barely walk.

Speed Work on the Track
Some of my regular training partners have retired from full time ski racing and have moved on to other jobs and goals.  That certainly doesn't mean they can't push me.  I joined Doug and Zach for some 400 meter repeats as part of their marathon training.  Still can't come close to Doug when he goes all out.  Not to mention both Zach and Doug are excellent pacers on the track, which was super helpful considering the lines hadn't been painted yet on the new track.  
Loppet Nordic Racing Practice
Of course I also train a fair amount with Caitlin and my LNR teammates.   We make the trek to Afton for some longer hill work and have fun all starting the intervals together.  I have been training more with Zak Ketterson one of the LNR juniors and one of the top juniors in the country.  He has goals of being top 10 at World Juniors this year and I can tell he is right on track and I felt lucky to be able to hang on to him double poling.

Joe on top of Mt. Timpanogos
I am currently out in Utah for my 3rd altitude block of the season.  My friend Joe, who races for St. Scholastica is out here with me pushing me each day.  We had fun climbing his first real mountain today with a hike up Mt. Timpanogos.  The weather was perfect.

A mountain goal relaxing on one of the cliffs
Thankful for my LL Bean windbreaker on the summit

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.