My stint back in Alaska was short. I wish I could say that I had time to properly recover from the races, catch up on much-needed sleep, and relax but that wasn’t the case at all. While at home I had just enough time to coach a couple of sessions, give some presentations about my experience at the Olympics, conduct some pre-Tour of Anchorage wax clinics (good luck today everyone!) see my cat, and buy my next plane ticket. I didn’t have time to pay my bills (they are currently stuffed in my carry on waiting to be paid) fill out my training log (next on the agenda) or spend any quality time with my husband. L I didn’t even unpack my bags from the Olympics – I just “re-packed.”
My departure yesterday wasn’t supposed to be quite as hectic as it turned out. It begun with a HEAVY knock on the front door at 6:45am Saturday morning. My body or my mind must have been anticipating it because I jumped out of bed and peered out the window to see who was at the door. Sure enough, they flashed their badges – it was USADA – United States Anti-Doping Association. I had been tested on three separate occasions at the Olympics but it was only a matter of time before they found me at home.
For those that are unfamiliar with the process, as Olympic-level athletes (even when I was a “hopeful”) we have to fill out “where-about forms” that include information of where we are going to be EVERY DAY of the year. Each day, we have to provide a 60-minute “time window” and guarantee that we will be and STAY there so that anti-doping officials can show up unannounced and take blood and/or urine to ensure that we are “clean athletes.” You can imagine that this is a time intensive process, especially for people that travel a lot.
Their arrival was bad news because I had a big agenda for the day and I had gotten up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Nonetheless, I invited them in and we exchanged pleasantries while I drank 4 pints of water in hopes of providing the necessary sample they were there to collect. Between waiting to pee and all the paperwork, the process took two hours that I had not planned into my day.
After they left, I had to hurry out the door to try and fit in my training before a 12-noon meeting. I no longer had time to drive to Hillside or Kincaid so I skied from my house on the Tour of Anchorage trail. This usually isn’t a problem but Saturday also coincided with the start of the Iditarod and my ski home was largely interrupted by giving the dog teams right-of-way on the trail……. This was truly an “OIA” (Only in Alaska) problem to have. As frustrated as I was, I had to laugh at my situation.
I ate a power bar for lunch during my meeting and hustled home to “re-pack” with only an hour and a half before we needed to leave the house. Packing was stressful because my mind was clouded and it was difficult to anticipate what I would need for the next three-week trip.
Rob hustled me to the airport and I checked in for my trip to Presque Isle, Maine. If anyone is wondering, I don’t think there is a place in the United States FURTHER away from Alaska. I am currently on my FOURTH flight of the two-day (no sleep) trip but will be arriving in time to help coach for the first race, the classic sprint, will be well worth the trip.
Now I just have to hope that my luggage made the four-flight and multiple carriers jump to meet me in the “County.” I packed my still-sweaty classic boots into my carry on just in case it didn’t arrive in time to test wax. If it comes down to it, I will test wax for them in my sweatpants, hoodie, and reading glasses JThis past month there has been a lot of cheering for me…… I am excited to reciprocate the efforts and share my experiences across the pond.
Here is the view when you step out of the airplane in Presque Isle:
The town may not be impressive but I have reason to believe that the event and the organization around it will be awesome.
More to come/thanks for checking in,