Train Hard, Study Hard

*Julia checking in

Summer term at Dartmouth has been really busy, between training a lot and taking hard classes. We have a great group of girls training together and working hard which has been really fun. Even though our group is great, I was missing my SMS teammates so I was excited to be able to miss a little class to join the camp in Lake Placid for 4 days and train with the team again!

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Back to mixing it up with the team which was so fun! (PC: Matt)
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Catching up with Ko on a run at camp 🙂
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Goofing off while slacklining with Jessie one evening. 

This summer I have been focused on trying doing everything in moderation, balancing training, school, and time with family and friends. The long sunny summer days have made it easier to get up early for 7am practice everyday and fit training twice a day in between classes.

A typical day at school for me looks something like this:

6:35 am- Wake up, yawn a little, eat overnight oats for breakfast (so you can sleep 10 minutes longer instead of having to make breakfast)

7:05-9:05am- Workout

9:30am- Second breakfast and coffee, the best part about 7am training!

9:30am-12:00pm- Do homework and meet study group before class

12:00-12:45- Physical Therapy/ Body Care

12:45pm-2:00pm- Class

2:00pm- 3:30pm – Workout

3:30-6:30pm- Class

6:30pm – TBD: Dinner, homework, swim in the river, and hopefully go to bed at a reasonable time…?

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There have been a lot of early alarms this summer. Earliest alarm so far was 3:30am to sunrise run up Moosilauke, which was totally worth it!

One of my favorite things about sophomore summer at Dartmouth is our long OD run/hikes in the White Mountains! It is really fun to run a different trail every weekend, hitting the most scenic trails and ridges in the east…and we have been really lucky with weather which has been an added bonus. I have also tried to get out on my mountain bike when I can since there are so many fun places to ride straight from school or very close to school and it is a great way to mix up the modes of training.

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Southern presidential traverse, my favorite!
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Our awesome training group at Dartmouth this summer!
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As a Little Bellas ambassador, KO and I helped out with one of their mountain bike rides in Hanover!

I am looking forward to the second half of summer since there are many adventures I still want to do. I am really excited that at the end of the term I will be able to head to New Zealand to join up with SMS T2 and USST for a training camp between terms!

 

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Lake Placid Camp Update

*KO (Katharine Ogden) checking in

I have been told that blogging is not my strong suit. And by that I mean I have a tendency to forget to do it – so much so that this is my first update on the sms blog, despite having been on the team for two years (I know, I know, you guys have been desperate to hear all my spicy takes, but never fear: the time has come)… Ultimately, please bear with my lack of blogging experience!

At this point, we’ve been in Lake Placid for about 6 and a half days. Time flies when you’re hanging with some cool girls. (Time also flies when you spend the whole midsection of the day napping, pro tip.) Thus far, the highlight of the camp has been meeting the chubbiest Maine coon cat I’ve ever seen. The jury is still out on what his/her name is but he/she is currently referred to as Fat Roy, fondly named after the Caldwell’s cat, Leroy. Here is a pic of him.

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Most importantly, though, it’s been a blast training with a big group of really cool women. We have all of the east coast national team girls here as well as Steffi Boehler from Germany, the Craftsbury GRP girls and the SMS T2 team. We have been terrorizing the Lake Placid pavement, clad in neon in a long line. It has been pretty great!

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After begging Pat for the whole camp we finally got to go mountain biking. Not sure there is anything better than ripping some single track in a train of badass women. For real. It is the GREATEST.

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Some other important updates:  

  1. We have eaten 4 family size bags of peanut m&ms so far with no sign of slowing down.
  2. Popular opinion is split on whether Fat Roy is pregnant or not.
  3. Kelsey, Sophie and I are all sleeping in a row in beds separated by about a foot of space. No one has migrated in the night so far but it is not out of the realm of possibility.
  4. I got to be partners with Ida Sargent in a team sprint. #fangirling
  5. At the preschool daycare camp I work at the 3-4 year olds eat frozen Chobani gogurts for snack. Turns out olympians eat those too – our freezer is full of them!

Whelp, guess you all can go ahead and call me a blogger at this point!

Sincerely,

ko

Switching It Up

When I found out our teammate, Erik’s wedding was in France in early July, I decided to make a little trip of it and head over for a couple weeks before our camp in Lake Placid. I wanted to visit the Salomon headquarters, my good friend and French skier Anouk, and have time to explore the area of Villard where the wedding was. I was able to do all of these things, get in some good training, spend time with friends, and return psyched to hop into camp with my teammates!

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On an adventure with Anouk!

When I arrived in France, Anouk picked me up at the airport and we had an awesome visit to the Salomon headquarters in Annecy together. After that, we went to Chamonix for the weekend, which is where her boyfriend’s family lives. We jumped in the 10km running race of the Mt. Blanc Marathon weekend and went on a beautiful running adventure in the mountains. After a couple days in Chamonix, we made the beautiful drive to her hometown of Pontarlier, which is practically on the Swiss border. Pontarlier was equally as beautiful in its own way and reminded me a lot more of Vermont with its rolling green hills and farm fields. We ate delicious French food, logged some easy volume training, and spent our downtime playing with her 15 month old son Even. After four days in Pontarlier, Simi picked me up and we headed to Villard for the wedding. Villard was yet another beautiful French town and the training there is incredible. They have a top of the line rollerski track and the mountain running is unbeatable. The morning of the wedding Simi and I went for the most beautiful run I’ve ever been on in my life.

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All smiles 🙂

I hung out with the boys for the first few days of boys’ camp in Villard before flying back to our women’s camp in Lake Placid. It was an amazing trip, but I’m happy to be back training hard with my teammates and looking forward to a productive week in Lake Placid!

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Simi on the ridge.

 

Work, and work… and more work

*Alayna checking in

It’s almost been one full month since I arrived in Stratton and so far I’m loving it! I’ve settled into a new home, a new team, and a new schedule. There has been a lot of change for me but it excites me to be doing something so different. One of the biggest hurdles for me as I take on the world of professional skiing is funding. I am working hard on finding sponsors and support from the Minnesota and Vermont community, but in the meantime I’ve been continuing my juggling act by getting not one, but two jobs in the Stratton area.

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Training with some speedy new teammates in the Town of Stratton.

On Mondays I get to work in a ski shop located in the Stratton Village, close enough that I could walk or bike to. As there isn’t much downhill skiing going on at the Mountain these days, things have been pretty quiet. So I get to spend most of my day sitting and reading my book, while occasionally selling a water bottle or two. Then I get to focus completely on my own skiing the following three days of the week until Friday rolls around and I head to the J.J. Hapgood General Store three nights in a row. Although, not your typical general store, they also have a full restaurant where I work as a server… among other things.

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Just your average counter girl/store clerk/barista/bartender/server.

Working two jobs on top of training full-time is not the most ideal situation when it comes to scheduling workouts and recovery. Fortunately, the team has been very supportive of my decision and they even come to visit me while I’m at work!

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We had a huge BBQ/Pizza Party with Live music last week and whole gang came out for some dancing.

Running around the store can be a little tiring from time to time, but the fast-pace business keeps me on my toes, entertained, and time flies by! I just need to be sure I head straight to bed after work and keep off my feet whenever I’m not training or working. So far it’s all going well and I’m happy to be getting more acquainted with the Stratton community!

Epic France Adventures

France! What a country. I arrived here in the alps about two weeks ago, flying over a bit earlier than most of the rest of the team to explore the Mediterranean coast with a group of guys for Erik Bjornsen’s bachelor party. We found incredible limestone sport climbing in the Calanques National Park and plenty of swimming in some of the most beautiful water I’ve ever swam in, which was a welcome reprieve from the 110°F temperatures. After a few days on the coast, I headed up to Chamonix for two days to do a bit of high alpine climbing and to explore some of the valley’s famous mountain running trails. My short time there was incredible as I was able to fit in one of the coolest runs I’ve ever done as well as get in a 6 pitch 5.10 route on the famous Le Brevent high above the town of Chamonix with Matt Gelso.

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High above Chamonix towards the end of my 13 mile, 7,000’ vert run. Mt. Blanc in the clouds in the distance.
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Le Brévent tram with Mt. Blanc in the background.
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On the third pitch of the Voie Frison-Roche on Le Brévent. 

After navigating the chaos of Chamonix, I headed north to pick Soph up where she was hanging with our friends Anouk Faivre-Picon, her soon to be husband Matthias, and their 16 month old son Even. These guys are some of the nicest people we know, and it was so cool seeing their home in Pontarlier in the Jura region of France (and the rain drops were very welcome after a string of 10 days of 80°F+ and dry weather).

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Heading back into Pontarlier after a very pleasant run in the rain.
But we couldn’t stay for long as we were due back in Villard for Erik and Marine’s wedding on Saturday. The morning of the ceremony, Soph and I headed out for a run in the high peaks above the quiet streets of Villard. I knew it was going to be a cool run since I had explored the trail system a bit when I first arrived in France. What I didn’t know was that it was going to be one of the coolest runs I have ever been on in my life. And the fact that I got to share it with my best friend and person who I love most on this planet made it that much more special. I’ll let the photos tell the story:
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Soph demonstrating her “this is the coolest run I’ve ever been on” technique.
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Goofing off on the Col de l’arc, high above Villard.
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Checking out the view towards Grenoble. 
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Soph silhouetted. 
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Trying to walk on air. 

Attending a beautiful wedding with great friends at the end of the day was just an amazing bonus to the day. Everything about the wedding was amazing and it was incredible to see how much love there is in our ski community and international community of friends. I will stay in France for 10 more days for a men’s national team camp before I head back to Vermont. The forecast looks great, our men’s team is healthy and motivated to crush some miles on the rollerski track and on the mountain trails, and we all couldn’t be more psyched that we get to spend a bit more time here in paradise. That’s all for now, thanks for checking in!

Train hard, rest hard.

*Kelsey checking in
I hope everyone had a great fourth of July! Here in Stratton, we are settling into the rhythm of summer training. We finished up a great three week block of solid training and are now in the middle of a rest week. Besides learning how to handle the heat and humidity, it has been awesome to be back in Vermont. The energy of team is so positive that it has been remarkably easy to get through hard days of training. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know more of the juniors during the workouts we do with the SMS group as well as getting to lead afternoon agility sessions. It feels good to be more a part of the team and the community!
A couple pictures from the last block of training:
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(Taking a pull in the wind. Photo: Reese Brown)
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(Getting to know the SMS Juniors with afternoon agility).
And now a haiku about the rest week!
Enjoy the stillness
Read a book, paint a picture
Rest well to train hard
But seriously, while hard training is great, it is also important to take the easy weeks easy. When you get used to big hours, the easier weeks can make you feel restless. But that is exactly how you’re supposed to feel! The easy weeks help us absorb the big weeks and let us feel mentally prepared for the next block of training.
I’m working on a podcast project about Parkinson’s disease so I’ve taken the time during this easy week to get some work done with that. It’s funny how difficult working on creative projects can be when I’m tired from training, so it’s good to have enough energy to fuel the creative fires every now and then! Outside of that I’ve tried to get in some swimming time with this heat wave as well as testing out some new recipes for homemade energy bars. And if I’m being completely honest, Alayna and I have been re-watching some early seasons of Gossip Girl as well.
If you’re in the East – I hope you’re all making it through the heat wave, sounds like rain is on the way.

June Training Block

*Paddy checking in

June is flying by! We are heading into our final day of a big training block here in Stratton. It has been an awesome few weeks with the whole team here in one place working together to kick off summer training. This time of year we have a wide variety of modes and intensities worked into our training plan ranging from all out time trial efforts to four-hour runs on the Long Trail. As we move later into the training year we will have more and more ski specific workouts but for now our main goals are to work on base fitness and keep things fresh and fun. After this training block we have an easier week of training then the team splits off to one of two US Ski Team training camps. One in Villard, France the other in Lake Placid, New York. Stay tuned for updates from the road!

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The SMST2 Team lined up with the SMS Junior team for the first uphill run test of the year. The time-trial features a two-mile uphill course with a nice mix of steep and gradual terrain. Simi and Kyle threw down impressive times and are close to taking down the course record set by Silas Talbot a few years ago!

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Lots of fresh pavement around Stratton right now. Here’s the guys group heading out on Bacon Hollow Road.

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Celebrating Alayna’s 22ndBirthday at Honey Pie! 

Support System

After I wrapped up spring term at Dartmouth, I immediately headed to Stratton to join the team for training again. The past two weeks have been absolutely amazing, reuniting with my old teammates and getting to know my new ones. My two week “vacation” between spring and summer term has been the perfect time to get excited and focused for the new training year ahead. The team vibe has made me eager to jump out of bed every morning and train hard as one unit, pushing and supporting each other every step and pole plant along the way.

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Only smiles here!
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Getting to know my new teammate Kelsey by being bounding buddies.
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Beautiful views from the SMS gym with Jessie.

These past two weeks reminded how lucky we are to be surrounded by such a supportive community and I am very thankful for that. For the most part, we have been getting positive cheers out the cars driving by, we have juniors hopping in right behind us during intervals, and to top if all off, we have some of the best coaches in the world writing our plans and supporting our incredible training group. I am fortunate enough to have a team that supports both my athletic and academic goals so that I am able to both be part of the SMS T2 team while attending classes at Dartmouth here and there. Even though I was only in Stratton for 2 weeks, these two weeks felt like I was at home and I am proud to call Stratton one of my homes. So thank you to everyone in our community who supports us and cheers us on!

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Intervals are more fun with friends.
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Wooden covered bridges…yup we are in Vermont! 

I am now headed to Dartmouth for my 6th term. Although I am bummed to leave the my SMS team for the summer, I am excited and lucky to be a part of the Dartmouth team!

Stepping Out Of My Comfort Zone

*Our new member Kyle Bratrud checks in

I will be the first to admit this is an extremely bland and overused title/theme for a Nordic skiers blog post, but it’s the best way I can describe my current circumstances. After seven great years living in Marquette, Michigan (4 as an NMU skier and 3 with CXC), I packed up everything I owned and moved out to Stratton, Vermont to join the SMST2 team. Anyone who knows me well knows I am not very good at change and that I am very set in my ways and routines. I had everything completely dialed in Marquette and was proud to live the hermit life, so the decision to move out here from a comfort perspective was not an easy one. That being said, I have lofty goals in this sport and over the last few years, I have not met them or felt like I was making the progress I knew I could make. In that regard, from a skiing perspective, this was an extremely easy decision. I have always respected SMS as one of the best clubs in the country and I am extremely excited to begin this new journey. This team is very well rounded, full of sprinters that can help me a great deal, but also strong distance skiers that can continue to push my distance skiing ability. I am super stoked to be apart of a “team” atmosphere again and can not wait to work my burr off every day with these talented men and women. Having been here only a week, I can already tell just how hard coach Pat works and how much he cares about me and that only strengthens the fire inside of me to achieve my goals as a skier. I am stoked to continue to burn that fire!

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Definitely no covered bridges in Marquette. 
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I can get used to this hilly terrain!
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How can you not be happy in a place this pretty?
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Marquette friends visiting. Fire tower views could have been better. 

The Transition

Hours after graduating from the University of Vermont I flew out to Bend, OR to meet my new teammates. I spent three of my college summers training in Bend and after learning I had the opportunity to join the US Ski Team for a camp there, I got really excited to get out west as soon as possible. So I left Vermont at 6:00 am the day after graduation. I’m not saying it was easy… I finished my last round of college finals, sold all of my furniture, completely moved out of my Burlington apartment, welcomed my parents and grandparents to town, sat through hours of commencement speeches in Vermont rain, and said goodbye to some of my closest friends, coaches, and professors, all in a matter of a few days. In the moment, I didn’t have much time to think about how big of a change this was. Now that I have plenty of time to recover after camp in my hometown of Plymouth, MN this transition is really starting to sink in for me.

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Thanks for all the support Mom and Dad!
I’ve never really been one to “sit still”. Throughout high school and college I juggled a heavy academic schedule, a job, volunteering, and participating in or leading multiple clubs. I always did my best to recover between workouts and get plenty of sleep before races, but the juggling required extreme time-management and productivity. All of that being said, my lifestyle is about to flip upside down. I’ve never been able to give 100% of my attention to just one thing before, and the Bend camp gave me a little taste of what’s to come. I’m not sure how things will go but I am excited to enter the unknown and ready to tackle new obstacles.
In the meantime, it has been so nice to spend a little extra time at home visiting with friends and family. My younger brother, Anders, just graduated from high school so a lot of relatives that I haven’t seen in years were in town to celebrate. Anders has competed in the MN State Track Meet the past four years and I had yet to see him race so I was really happy to finally be there for him. He absolutely crushed it getting a Personal Best time and placing 5th overall in the 800m!!
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Sister cheer squad!
Having had little time to spend at home the past four years I’ve decided to stick around for a while longer to catch up with some much needed sibling time. I can’t wait to get back East soon though to join the rest of the crew. I am sure I can learn a lot from them about adjusting to this new life.