Sunday, October 18, 2015

Community Time and Camp Time

As a professional ski racer I spend a lot of time racing, usually around 40 races each year. 
Sometimes it is nice to mix it up and volunteer at a race and support others.  I saw a post on Facebook that one of the big ski clubs in the cites Endurance United need some additional help for the Night Light Run.  The event is unique in that it starts at dusk and minutes in to the race it is dark.  Runners race with headlamps and glow sticks.  It is pretty fun to see their lights bobbing through the woods on the 5 km, 10 km, 3 x 5 km and half marathon course.  I only had a few hour shift for the race, but it is always a good reminder to see how much goes in to putting on a quality event.  A huge thank you to the many race volunteers out there.  I love racing and it would not be possible with out great race organizers and volunteers.

Endurance United 5 km Night Light Trail Run Start
Endurance United had a busy weekend with the race on Friday and a point to point 55 km community ski on Sunday.  The route followed bike paths from St. Paul to Elm Creek Park in the north west metro.  I have wanted to do this route for sometime and the chance to do it with over 70 other skiers was too good to pass up.  Endurance United hosted the event for free, with a donation for the bus transport.  They also set up aid stations along the course.

Over 70 rollerskiers at the start of the 55km ski
One of the things that I love about the Twin Cities is the number of people that roller ski.  We had skiers of all ages and abilities getting excited and fit for this coming winter.

A beautiful day on the bike paths

Hard to believe that temperatures reached over 80 in mid October
After a lower volume week at home in Minneapolis, I am now back in Park City, UT with the US Ski Team for my final training camp of the year.  We are again living at 8200 feet, but having come back and forth throughout the summer we have found that we have acclimatized quickly.  Although my oxygen saturation dipped to the high 80s upon arrival, I am already back up to 94 %.  More importantly than those numbers, I have been feeling good in workouts.

Climbing up the American Fork on a 3 hour distance ski with Olympians Erik Bjornsen and Simi Hamilton
Coach Tom is out here in Utah with us too.  This is our first camp with all of us together. It is fantastic to have a dedicated support person to find the highest quality in each workout.  Tom's technique cues have been a huge help.

Caitlin at the top of the pass

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.