Jessie: Riding the Line

There’s been all sorts of balancing acts going on around here lately. Finding the sweet spot during L3 where you can keep that pace for an hour, but are working hard and skiing with good technique. Getting in some tough workouts and lots of volume, but finding the right amount of rest to go with it. Hanging out with friends and still finding some quiet time every day so I can recover. And our fearless leader Pat has been literally riding the yellow line as he bikes along getting footage on our roller skis so we can look at our technique!

Iz and Dave at the pond

Of course, training a lot and training hard is one of the important parts of this job. It’s something that I love to do, and it feels really good to finish up a big week of training. However, it’s so easy, especially when training with a big group of people, to overdo it and end up overtrained or injured. Anyone can put their nose to the grindstone, but eventually you’re going to get hurt if you don’t know when to pull back.

That’s why I have more respect for the person that recognizes that the pace isn’t right for them and drops back, than for the person who keeps chugging along at a near race pace even when it’s supposed to be an easy workout. And goodness knows it’s not easy to do! I freely admit that there have been many workouts where I should have been more committed to doing what my body needed, but I ignored it. There were interval sets where I was desperately tired and should have cut the last few out and kept it at a higher level of quality, but I stubbornly wanted to complete the set. Funny enough, it’s learning to do less in the right circumstances that has been the biggest challenge with the highest reward.

That’s why one of the biggest roles of the coaches I work with (Cork, Whitcomb, all the USST coaches actually, and now Pat) has always been to pull me back when I get too excited and start digging myself into a hole. The last 6 years my yearly training volume has gone up by about 20-30 hours a year, which amounts to right around an extra 5 minutes of training a day. And it doesn’t seem (or feel) like a lot. But it’s really amazing how those sessions where I feel good so I tack on an extra 15 minutes start to add up, and it’s not always a good thing. After looking back over my training logs from past years, the summers and falls when I regularly went over my weekly plan were the years when I performed the worst in distance races. So clearly, it’s  important to find and then ride the fine line between training hard and just getting crazy with it! One of my goals for the summer training season is to be better at listening to my body and training smart, not just training hard.

This past month I’m pretty psyched because training has gone well and while we’ve had some good hard quality sessions, we’ve been able to rest well in between and have some fun as well!

Warming up in front of the gym before strength with the SMS juniors (photo by Sverre Caldwell)


Our long distance session last week ended at Little Rock Pond, where there’s some great 30-ish ft cliffs to jump off of.

Finally! A chance to cool off after a long ski/run combo (photo by Ian Torchilla)

We also checked out Wanderlust, a yoga festival that comes to Stratton Mountain every year. The people watching was fabulous.

Well gosh, isn't that just creative!

The Lululemon tent had a crazy nice lounging area

There was a lot of yoga going on, and a lot of booths selling everything from extra filtered water to high end yoga clothes.

Diving into the pond (photo by Sophie Caldwell)

On our day off, we hung out at the snowmaking pond, which is one of my favorite places to be. Simi was doing all sorts of crazy rolls and tricks in his kayak, and he started teaching me to roll. I spent a lot of time upside down underwater, and except for that one time when Ipanicked decided to pull the cord and get out, it was really awesome. I’m hoping I can roll a kayak by the end of the summer!

Soph watches as Simi does a front flip

I’ve also been helping Anne with her weekly cooking blog, in which we take some fresh produce from Earth Sky Time Farm and make something delicious featuring the item. I am her official “sous chef and sous photographer”! This week we used fresh picked zucchini in a zucchini lemon-glazed cake, only…it didn’t quite come out of the pan like we wanted it to. It still tasted amazing, just didn’t look quite as professional. Whoopsy-daisy.

"Where did we go wrong?? why?" Anne bemoans the fate of the zucchini cake

But, to redeem myself, look at the photo I took of the beautiful bars we made last week featuring fresh lemon balm from the herb garden! Much better, right? Right. If you want to follow along on this particular adventure, visit Anne’s page:

Lemon balm bars! I was actually quite proud of this shot.


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