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