December 28, 2016

I'm Back

Welcome back to my blog!

I finished the 2015/16 season utterly exhausted having raced more and traveled more than ever before. As spring rolled around, I started to question how I could sustainably continue to race. I love racing and was not interested in quitting, but I did need to rethink how I approach training and racing and how I can make it as fulfilling as I want it to be. Many of my ideas are difficult to put words to and morphed quite a bit over the course of the summer, but in the end, I realized that I needed to be more present. It's exhausting just to think about all the races I have left or the number of training hours I need to do during a glacier camp so why think about them when the training session I'm currently doing is a great one? One aspect of this has been to essentially remove social media from my life. I have found it to be distracting and often cause stress about things that are completely out of context or out of my control. Unfortunately, the worth of a professional athlete today is too often defined by their social media presence so I still have accounts and do post (although it's rare). Not blogging was included under social media, hence the extended leave of absence. However, I have realized that I do enjoy writing very much and I like to share my journey with those that support me and cheer for me. So with that, I'm back to blogging!

I started the season with two not-what-I-was-hoping-for weekends, a weekend of sickness, and finally a weekend of two races in which I was happy with my feelings and proud of my results. Our entire team was ravaged by sickness over the last few weeks and I was lucky enough to get sick twice over the course of the last month. So, my Christmas break has been not so busy and not very filled with skiing or snow.

 I am lucky that my two roommates in Alaska happen to both be dating French people and that they were kind enough to let me tag along. I have been in the town of Villard de Lans, a nice town above the city of Grenoble. Snow has been non-existent throughout central Europe so we have been relying on little ribbons of man-made snow. It speaks highly about the passion Europeans have towards skiing when you see the measures they go to in making a skiable trail when there is only green grass. In La Clusaz, we raced on a 2k loop that was made from crushed ice they had taken from a lake! On the plus side, the sun has been shinning strong and the trails are great for running.

In France, Christmas Eve is a big evening that involves late nights, lots of wine, and a plethora of food. It was a real treat to have a family to take me in for the evening. We began about 8:00 with appetizers of all kinds. We then moved to the table for a seafood feast; a course of turkey, stuffing, and potatoes; a course of all kinds of cheese; and last but most important the dessert! We finished about 1:00 AM stuffed to the brim and then moved on to presents. I was happy to finally sit the sack and get some much needed rest.

With a 10 hour time change to Alaska, I was able to FaceTime my boyfriend Christmas morning so we could open presents together since I was staying by myself. My mom sent an amazing Christmas package full of goodies that I was able to share over the internet.

Still feeling sick, but needing some sunshine and fresh air, I headed to the mountains for a little hike. I have what my teammates call summit fury and I do not like to turn around when I start up a mountain so alas, my little hike turned into a bigger hike and I headed to the top of the mountains that sit behind Villard de Lans. It was absolutely stunning and just as I was taking in the views, a chamois poked over a rocked. As I climbed back down, he followed me, turning into a statue every time I turned around to look at him and then scampering behind me when I would continue on my way. Eventually, I thought I had lost him and sat down on a bench over looking Grenoble. I turned around and there he was right next to me. I screeched, he jumped, and we both hurried away in opposite directions having successfully startled each other.

Tomorrow, we hit the road again, driving all the way across Switzerland to begin the Tour de Ski, a 7 stage ski race through central Europe. The Tour is one of my favorite events and I am doing everything I can to make sure my health is good enough to make it through.

Climbing mountains in France! Mont Blanc is somewhere out there...

My friend following me down the mountain

Hello Christmas Friend

Hugging Mr. Snowman good luck in Ruka, Finland

Racing in Lillehammer

Every year the team does a secret santa event. This year we had to make a portrait of the person. I cut up a magazine to do make a collage of Bryan Fish, one of our coaches. 

Taking hikes in Davos, Switzerland

Taking in some sunshine

Finding my groove (and race face) in La Clusaz, France

Relay day, welcome back socks!

The cake I made for Christmas dinner!