Sunday, January 31, 2010

Good day everyone!  And good luck to those racing Pia's Classic today at Kincaid!  Things are starting to ramp up at the Canmore Nordic Center...... more and more teams every day, different languages overheard on the trails.  It's sweet! 

Cross-Country World Cup 2010
This is a picture of Chandra Crawford, the Canmore "hometown" girl - also the sprint Gold medalist from Torino.  It must be sweet to have the world's best skiers come to YOU to race!  How sweet would a World Cup in Anchorage be?! 

Canmore truly seems to be a nordic-oriented town.  There are poster advertisements every 5 feet downtown, even in vacant store front building.  

If you squint your eyes you may even be able to pick out Kikkan and her mom, Deb, complete with pink hat and scarf!  I took a picture of one - sorry for the glare.

Training went really well today.  I've been feeling pretty junky the last couple of days due to a hard week of training, followed by three days off (I NEVER take three days off!), long travel, and then arriving at altitude.  Today I did 6x45-60 seconds at 10k race pace on the race course and felt great once I got up to speed.  I've had that sensation a lot this year - feeling bad at low speeds and distance pace, and feeling awesome at Level 3, 4, and 5.  Erik says that it's beacuse my "high end race muscles" are in shape.  I suppose that's a good thing! It's funny because I think that a lot of ski racers want to feel really good all the time.  One thing I've learned this year is that you don't have to feel good to race well.

If you are curious about following Friday and Saturday's World Cup races (I'm starting both) you can find links to startlists and results on the Alberta World Cup Academy website here:

Here are just a couple more fun pictures to end the post with....

The media is starting to show up...

Can you see the venue in the reflection of my glasses!?

This is my women's only group that had to put up with having a male coach for the second time this year last Wednesday. Sorry girls.... and thanks Casey for leading. (Thanks to Gail French for the pic and thanks to Gail French and Gail Hoefler for the beautiful leis!) 

More to come including pictures from the venue... 
Enjoy your day! 
Holly :) 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day Three - Recovery

Check out this sweet picture that my uncle Dennis sent over email. This is me and my dad skiing when I was 8 1/2 months old! My dad looks like he came straight from Woodstock and what do you know.... I have an Olympic hat on?!

Our approach coming to altitude is to take day 3 off from training.  The third day at altitude is notoriously one of the hardest with low levels of oxygen in the blood.  It can make a person from sea level feel extremely out of shape!  Starting tomorrow, our bodies will start to re-adjust to our new environment and acclimate a bit more each day.  I'm excited to have the day to get caught up on paperwork and emails. Yes, ski racers have "paperwork!"

I wanted to start the day with a couple of thoughts. First is to thank my husband Rob for being such a huge help through this whole process.

Rob has been working his tail off making "Go Holly" stickers, communicating with friends and family, helping with logistics, acting as my personal assistant, etc, etc. He's the best husband that anyone could ask for. Thanks Babe!

Next, good luck to my APU junior skiers that have a high school race today! Ski hard and have fun you guys, I will be thinking of you!

I'll write more soon.  The coffee is calling me from downstairs....

Friday, January 29, 2010

Two year ago, Sep 23rd, and Today!

My first trip to Canmore was two years ago.  I came here to watch the race, learn as much as I could, and cheer on the 8 or so APU athletes that would be competing in the event. It was a blast!  We wrote Kikkan's name on our stomachs, carried around ALASKA flags, and had a great time.  Two years ago I never envisioned that I would be here as an athlete....

On September 23rd, 2009 I published an article on a blog that I write for:

In the article, I vocalized my Olympic goal and what had been "my little secret" was on the internet and available for ANYONE to read. It's fun to go back and re-read this piece from 5 (short) months ago!  I faced my fear and it paid off! Now, not only will I be starting my first World Cup in a couple of days but I will be walking into the opening ceremonys as an athlete in T-14 days! 

I Want To Be An Olympian

Holly Brooks • Sep 23rd, 2009 • Category: Featured Athlete StorySkiing
Training with Skate SkisThere, I said it. I’ve been avoiding the “O” word for such a long time. It’s taken me months to come out and say it but there it is, plain, clear, and simple for all the Internet universe to see.
As a professional full-time coach for a private program, my personal racing has always taken a backseat to my job. This year, as I prepare to make the 2010 Winter Olympic Cross Country Ski team, I plan to step up my personal training while maintaining a high level of commitment to the athletes that I coach. (If anything is going to take a hit, it will be my social life or lack thereof!)
During the past year when people have asked me if I’ve thought about “trying out” for the Olympics or training to make the team, I’ve always been non-committal in my answer. My response usually followed the lines of, “I’m going to train like usual and see what happens” or, “we’ll see how things go.” The truth is, or course I’ve thought about it and “YES!” I want to try. This time when someone asks me about the Olympics I plan on being clear and committal in my response.
Why has it been so hard for me to admit my goal? To put it simply, I’m afraid of not making the team — of failing. “What will people think if I don’t make it?” But, if I wasn’t “trying” in the first place it would be a shock to everyone if I was named to the team. If I didn’t make it they would say, “You weren’t really trying — imagine what you could have done if you tried!” There is a fair amount of safety in hiding my goal or being “laissez-faire about it.” I am not going to hide behind the mask of being a coach anymore.
Training with Skate SkisVocalizing goals holds you accountable in more ways than one. It holds you responsible for your hard work: On a rainy, cold day where you don’t feel like training, perhaps you’ll think of your mom who will come to watch you race. Or, encouragement from your local community, family, and friends can provide inspiration or emotional, logistical, or even financial support.
By failing to vocalize my goal I realize I have only been short-changing myself. When people would inquire about my plans and I was blowing it off, I realize that the attitude was permeating my training efforts, my planning, and my ability to be a whole athlete. When you are trying to make an Olympic team there is no room for three-quarter effort. Undoubtedly there are other skiers out there who have vocalized their Olympic goals for years and are doing everything they possibly can to ensure they are on that team!
My hope, now that I have admitted to chasing the Olympic dream, is to have the ability to pursue my goal to the fullest: To receive support and encouragement from those around me; and last but not least, to inspire others to acknowledge, confront, and vocalize their dreams without fear of failure.

Not only is it sweet to accomplish my goal but it's super nice to have friends who make really cool signs! 

Thanks Inger!  You totally ROCK! 

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Finally in Canmore!

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in posting..... The travel here was long but seamless.  No broken skis or lost luggage!  The last 24 hours has been great - first of all, Rob and Buggz (yep, a cat that LOVES the car!) dropped me off at the Anchorage Airport:

(One of those funny hold your arm out as long as you can self shots right before I went through security)

The plane ride was funny because many people on the plane were reading the newspaper and I was on the cover.  People kept recognizing me and congratulating me - I even autographed some newspapers!  (This is a very surreal experience for someone that isn't used to this kind of attention) Thanks to Mike Campbell for writing a really nice story and Erik Hill for the pictures. If you want to read the article, here is a link:

We had a short layover in Seattle and my parents drove to the airport to give me a hug... my mom brought her co-workers Olympic flag to greet me at the airport. My parents are excited and proud as you can imagine.  I appreciate that they have always supported me doing whatever it is that I want to do!

After two flights, luggage, customs, the drive, and getting some food we checked into our temporary condo and went to sleep around 11:30pm - EXHUASTED!

But today, we woke up for our am training session to this.....

Canmore is awesome... the Rockies surround the venue

Flags of all the ski countries

PERFECT grooming

Team APU going to the Olympics! James Southam, Holly Brooks, Kikkan Randall, and Coach Erik Flora (the only non-US Ski Team coach coaching at the Games!) 

This afternoon we got some groceries and are going on a short run here in town.  My legs and arms felt really junky this morning in training but that is to be expected after a super hard training week followed by three days off and long travel.  I'm ecstatic to be here - thanks so much everyone for your emails, facebook messages, and voicemails, and kind words.  

More to come soon! 
Holly :) 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What a CRAZY day!

First of all, THANK YOU everyone for your support through the tough times and the good - today was one of those good days - really, really good!  I missed a phone call around 8am this morning while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth.  When I viewed the missed call I saw that it was "435", the Park City area code.   It was either going to be a really good call, or a really bad call. It was good!  Pete (Head US Ski Team coach) told me to pack my bags!

From there it's been a whirl-wind day of calling and texting family and friends, talking to the media, doing my JOB!  I was great to attend both my Noon Masters session and a practice with my junior athletes to share the news with them!

Erica came to practice with a Go Holly! Headband and foam hand... a couple of the juniors boys lost "the bet" and have to die their hair a color of my chosing.  I got a phone message from Lisa Murkowski personally congratulating me!  When I pulled into my driveway this sign was on my front window:

I'm not sure who made it but I have my suspicions!  (Thanks!)

I wish I had time to relax, to return phone calls, to get a long night of sleep but that's all far from the truth! I fly out tomorrow morning at 7:30am which means I have to be at the airport at 5:45, up at 4:45, etc, etc. Kikkan, James, Erik and I are headed to Canmore early for an altitude camp prior to the pre-Olympic World Cup in Canmore.  Most people don't have their first International racing experience a couple days before competing in the Olympics.  It's not ideal but I'll take it!

Thanks Everyone!

Got the call!!!!!!!

Hi Everyone,

Holly got 'the call' this morning at 8 AM from the US Ski Team coaches.   This is what we've been waiting for!    Huge thanks to everyone for all your support along the way, cheers, hugs, and good vibes.  Holly will be updating this blog daily over the next 5 weeks, so stay tuned for all kinds of good stuff!


Rob (holly's husband)

We thought it would be fun to do a small fundraiser or two to help offset some of the costs of chasing the Olympic dream.   If you would like to donate through the PayPal link, we'll send you a GO HOLLY sticker.   We also have some 'OIA:  still awesome patches'  as well.    In case you were wondering what OIA stands for, it means "only in alaska.'   It epitomizes what being an Alaskan stands for and the opportunities that we are presented with while living here. 

**Note**  The PayPal link is set up in Rob's name (Holly's Husband) as he is helping her out with some management stuff for her.  If you donate, you will receive an email confirmation that has Rob's name on it.  Rest assured, these funds will be transferred into Holly's account immediately following.   Holly is just swamped with a ba-zillion things going on, and she asked that I (Rob) manage this account for her.  Thanks!!!!of stic

kers and patches are at the top of the blog)


Rob Whitney (Holly's husband)

PS. "OIA" stands for "Only In Alaska!"  OIA epitomizes the Alaskan spirit and celebrates unique opportunities granted to those who live here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My First Blog Post!

Finally, I too, will have a blog. Am I the last one to start writing about my daily occurrences - sharing them with the world.

Will blog more soon!!!! The Olympic team will be named 1/19/2010! Cross your fingers for me!