Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Picking up the pace!

Hello from Drammen everyone! 

I’ve just arrived in this new city to prepare for the upcoming weekend’s World Cup races.  This is the first time that the whole Cross Country World Championships team has been together and we are quite the Crew

The past week in Sjujsoen absolutely flew by and I have to say, it was a wonderful introduction to the country and a very, very restful place to become accustomed to the 10-hour time difference. I’m happy to report that I only had one fitful night of “sleep” that involved waking up at 3am and staying up through the entire next day.  I continue to be impressed with Kikkan’s ability to sleep anywhere – and to sleep long hours.  (She’s good at this!)

Skiing in Sjujsoen at sunset

As far as a training camp environment goes, you basically couldn’t beat the hotel we were staying at. Every day we walked out the door to over 200 kilometers of perfectly groomed trails that were great for easy and/or recovery training.  The downside of being an athlete in training (preparing for upcoming races) is that you must be careful to not “over do it” with training too many hours or skiing to hard.  I miss that about being a coach when there was absolutely no downside to skiing 6 hours per day if I felt like it and not caring if I was so tired at the end of the day to even put my head on the pillow. (However, life as an athlete has many, many benefits – for example, I wouldn’t be here otherwise!)

For our hard interval sessions we would drive 15 minutes down the hill to the Birkebeiner Stadium that was used in the 1994 Winter Olympic games in Lillehammer. Last night Kikkan and I even watched a documentary about the men’s 4x10k relay about the most famous ski race in history between Norway and Italy for the Gold medal… Norway expected to win the race by minutes with plenty of time to carry the country’s flag down the finish stretch but Italy, the underdog, hung with each skier, each lap of the race and Silvio Fauner beat Bjorn Daehlie in a sprint to the line in front of 100,000 Norwegians.  (In the interview he described how the crowd literally went silent when he lost.)  It was sweet to recognize the trails  - the hills, bridges, and terrain that we had done our intervals on the day before. It was SWEET!  The whole Olympic venue is still alive and thriving – bustling with energy and people skiing everywhere. 

Fauner and Daehlie in the final stretch '94

Me in the Olympic Stadium.... 

Now that I’m in Drammen it’s time to switch gears and the pace of life is fast forwarding quickly!  I haven’t raced in over a month which makes me a bit anxious about this weekend’s competitions but it will be good to get some starts before Worlds the following week.  It’s funny to think that I’m using World Cups as my “warm up races” for Worlds but I really value the hard training camp I had at home – which will hopefully set me up for a peak here soon.  I theoretically have fifteen races in the next month and a half and I can’t wait for the wild ride to come!

I'll leave you all with a few pictures from the last couple of days.  A special thanks to Deb, Kikkan's Mom, who supplied us with AMPLE Valentine's Day card making supplies. We had a busy afternoon celebrating eventhough our husbands were thousands of miles away! 

Our beds, AKA "craft tables"

13 Valentines in all!

This is the Valentine that I received from Rob. For those of you that know him, this is one of the best compliments I can receive! :) 

We made Valentines for all the guys in our group.  I think that Kikkan and I enjoyed making them slightly more than the guys appreciated receiving them! (A look of pure excitement from Erik Flora)

Holding up our creations in the country side, complete with Fast and Female Valentine's Day ware! 

We also skied to the store... just because we could. It's sweet to leave your skis lined up against the side of the store with the other skier-patrons! 

Here I am excited about an El Paso enchilada dinner kit 

And here's Kikkan biting into a huge chunk of the famous brown cheese!

More soon/thanks for reading,