Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ice Packs Are My Friend

This morning by nine am it was already getting too hot to train. Thankfully I was almost done my rollerski through down town Edmonton. Training early in the morning is painful, mostly because I miss my morning coffee and I feel sleepy for most of the session. But in a city like Edmonton there are perks to a Sunday morning dawn work out, sprinting down Jasper Ave on skis is not only doable but the cement is amazing.

Sadly, this has been my first work out since Wednesday. If you have been around my athletic pursuits for very long then you know I have the back of an 85 year old. Over the last few years I have struggled with a pretty major back injury but thanks to the hands of the amazing Steve(my physio) and some rest, it has been a non issue for a long while. Wednesday night I was rollerskiing with my kids and I stopped to pick up my water bottle and threw my back out. All I can think is YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!! I was pretty beaten up and couldn't really move Wednesday and most of Thursday, kind of heart breaking. I went to see my combination of superman/batman/any superhero with a British accent physiotherapist Steve who put me back together again and took me off training for a couple of days.

You can imagine how excited I was to get training again today. Well maybe it was because I missed my morning coffee or the sun was in my eyes but I ate it.... hard. I'm a little bruised up but should be fine and I have to give props to the runner who saw me crash and had a full first aid kit in his water belt. New respect for the running world.

Thats enough for the bad news, the good news is tomorrow is a new day and hopefully I can get back to work. I am starting a new strength phase this week and the email reads "Its ready, are you?" I think I'm supposed to be scared of this plan which will do plyos and power lifting in the same day split between morning and night. I'm actually pretty excited because it means that the Incredible Hulk gets to be used for speed and power instead of just bragging rights at practice. Providing my body cooperates, it should translate into some mad skills especially on the hill sections.

Taking a couple of days hasn't been too bad because I have been sharing them with the fam. My little sis and I met up in Edmonton on Friday morning and have been hanging at the farmers market, going climbing and watching Despicable Me (if you haven't seen it yet, get to it! ) The parents joined us Saturday afternoon and it has been really nice to get in some of that rare family time.

The next month of training continues on volume but adding in longer bouts of intensity, rollerski trials are less than seven weeks away and I am getting nervous. Summer is the perfect time to work on big weaknesses. Currently I am trying to master the left side offset. I am extremely right side dominant and have always climbed hills on my powerful right side. Switching sides feels like learning to ski again, I was awkward and clumsy at first but it is finally starting to settle into an action that wouldn't make my coaches cry. I'm also working on my power on hills. Last Monday Iaroslav the foothills coached tied us together to do sprints up the hills followed by piggy back climbs. Courtesy of the weight training plan its a punishment if you have to carry me.

Back to Calgary tomorrow hopefully with healthy body parts.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's July

But I am hoping that's not news

For me it means I am knee deep in summer training, 81 days to be exact. Its been a challenging summer so far. I started this year under a new coach's training plan. Hans and Joan Skinstad took over the Augustana program last fall but a few of us stayed on other training plans to continue the direction from our summer training. Sadly, Dave, who was writing my plans decided to quit move to France and have a kid.... it wasn't me was it?

The Skinstad program is a lot of work and right now volume is the name of the game. Most weeks are above fifteen hours of training and for the first time in my life I am doing multiple 2.5-3 hour runs in a week. This is supplemented by a power lifting style strength program that lately has been affectionately termed "the incredible hulk program". Needless to say, I'm tired.

I mentioned this to a coach/friend who asked, "are you supposed to be tired right now?" and the answer is definitely yes. Summer training is a challenge that's sometimes hard to explain. On one hand, I love summer training because we get to add in things like mountain biking, hikes and a lot of variety that doesn't exist in the winter. Also, in some ways the stress is off because its months before you will see on snow racing. But summer training is always a lot of volume and its said that a racers season can be made or broken in this period of training. No base, no victory. Feeling motivated to keep pushing yourself when the race season is so far away can be hard and you have to follow your program with the faith that it will pay off come winter time.

Despite the tired, I am really enjoying my summer training. Currently, I am splitting my time between Calgary and Canmore. I've been making a new friend doing some road rides and I live with one of my best friends are her crazy puppy (who is possibly the best training partner ever!) The strength program does make me feel like Incredible Hulk some days but every time I set foot in the gym I am setting personal bests, so something is working. I feel stronger this summer than ever before and I am excited to see what happens later in the year. I am enjoying a low week this week to catch my breath before what I am sure is a flurry of intensity work coming my way.

MTB ride with the Nukka (puppy) who gets mad if I go to slow

July means it's been awhile since I've been home north and I've been away from my team mates for awhile. My older sister, who I am closer to than anyone is in Africa working for the Lesotho Olympic Committee for a year. I am excited for this sweet opportunity for her but I miss her terribly and am shaking my fist at the eight hour time change. I am visiting with my parents and other siblings in Edmonton this weekend and couldn't be more excited!

Ella and I at Christmas before she started travelling

July also means that my contract with Foothills Biathlon is coming to an end. Since May I have been the assistant coach with their biathlon program. This is my second year with them and it's possibly the best job I have ever had. "My kids" are aged 13-20+ and I have a blast working with them almost every day they tease me badly if I fall behind and are all absolutely hilarious and passionate about training. When you work with people who enjoy training its pretty easy to enjoy it yourself.

Keep it real