Monday, May 14, 2012

On. The. TEAM!

So, I can finally talk about it, it's official. As is everything on the Internet, right? I'm officially a member of the 2012-2013 US Ski Team!  While I trained and traveled with the squad last year and all winter, I was a guest. Everyone made me feel extremely welcomed but I am pumped to be there all the way!  It's a pretty sweet team to be a part of; a bunch of girls fired up to preform and motivated to do everything possible to bring home a USA medal in individual events and RELAYS!!!! 

Pretty pumped on the day I found out! 

 Our season kick-off 4x5 relay in Sjujsoen, Norway

Celebrating the USA's best 4x5 relay ever in the Czech Republic!

Not a relay but a great team shot from Rogla, Slovenia!

To Val di Fiemme 2013 & Sochi 2014! Thanks so much to everyone that helped make this possible!  

More on teams & plans another day. I just finished day one of testing at the COE (Center of Excellence) and have another full day tomorrow. Then, it's onto Bend Camp where we'll get back on snow and ski with the entire US Team, Canadian Team, and US Biathletes!  Should be great! Ciao :) 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tuna Salad Anyone?

So, for the past couple of years I've been wanting to write some blog posts about food and nutrition; what works, what doesn't work, what I eat before and after training, etc. I even have a large un-used folder with things like pictures of fresh Alaskan caribou, Rob cleaning fish after dip netting, me making smoothies with AK tundra blues.... more of that to come, for sure. 

Before I start, I just want to clarify that I am no expert. I have no background in nutrition other than being a hungry athlete.  I take on a what I believe is a practical approach to nutrition - I eat smart and don't deny myself of eating the things I love.  My approach is to focus primarily on eating whole foods, ie, foods that have ingredients that you can pronounce as opposed to the Big Mac from the science experiment that looked the same after sitting out in the open for 20 years. (Did you see those pictures on Facebook?)  


Anyone that knows me well will tell you that my favorite food is peanut butter and I love a nice glass of wine at the end of the night.  But, I also absolutely love vegetables and would be happy to make a meal with brussel sprouts being the central focus.  I do eat meat (mostly wild game from Alaska) because as Justin Wadsworth, the head coach for the Canadian National team says, "In order to ski like an animal you have to eat like one."  I'll admit that I'm horrible with vitamins.  I'll go through phases where I take supplements in the am and pm, and have the little pill jar organized with rows of Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, etc. Then, for no reason at all, I'll stop, cold turkey.  

Now that I've self-disclosed a bit I'll get on with it & share a recipe for the day if you will.  As an athlete I am usually hungry and on the go quite a bit. I admittedly spend a lot of time preparing healthy food and make it my goal to always have something healthy and nutritious within reach.  (This keeps me from stopping at the gas station and gorging on potato chips!)  I usually have a Costco case of granola bars in my car for "emergencies" as well.  As many athletes know, the window 20 minutes post workout is the best time to get something into your body that will aid in recovery.  

Anyways, I've been on a tuna salad kick lately.  I know that not everyone is a tuna fan and no worries if you think it's gross but I happen to really like it.  I've also found that since Tuna is canned, I always have it in my cupboard. Plus, I can add almost ANYTHING to it and it usually turns out tasty and nutritious.  

A couple weeks ago in Hawaii I was cooking with my friend, Sarahlee - (or at least watching her cook for us - thanks Sarah!) and she liked to make what she calls, "huevos basuras."  If you know Spanish it translates to, "Garbage Eggs."  That doesn't sound appetizing but the whole concept behind it is that she puts whatever she has in the fridge into her eggs and it always turned out really good. So, that's exactly what I did with my tuna salad this afternoon. I put some stuff in, mixed it up, and had it on crackers and a whole wheat tortilla.  I don't really like measuring stuff so this really suits my style. Here what my ingredient list for the day: 

  • Tuna
  • Nancy's plain yogurt
  • White wine vinegar
  • Diced Apple
  • Diced red onion & diced green onion
  • Yellow pepper
  • Salt
  • Lemon pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • The end of a mustard bottle 
  • Wasabi horse radish
This took less than 10 minutes and I had a great lunch!  Now, the above ingredients have virtually no fat..... If you're looking for this meal to carry you a while longer, make a tuna melt and add cheese! 

More to come! Thanks for reading, 
Holly :) 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

XC Ski Girl

A friend and avid skier from Seattle, "XC Ski Girl" asked me if I would do a guest post 1x per month on her blog, the idea being to give folks some ideas of what my training goals for the next month is, etc.  Here is a link to her blog and my post....... Unlike me, she posts all the time including lots of great stuff from friends in the Northwest (where I grew up) and all over the world. 

Good luck with your training XC Ski Girl & Everyone else out there!  

In other news, I just completed a challenging week of training with the APU team for "Start up camp" which included 15 hours of on-snow skiing including three interval sessions!!!!  Today, Sunday, is our "recovery" day as well as our third annual APUNSC Spring Fundraiser. 

More on life, training & such later! Thanks for reading, 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Back at it!

Like everyone else, I had huge intentions of writing a huge blog post (almost a month ago now) reviewing my season, talking about the highs and lows in detail - and covering everything in between. However, in reality, I needed time to rest - both my body and my mind and that included taking a short hiatus from blogging and telling the world about my exploits :)

Now that I've had that time to rest, here is how it went, in a nutshell:
  • A delayed departure for Europe due to no snow.... got my first taste of tunnel skiing in Torsby
  • An awesome streak of World Cup performances - better than I had ever imagined... scoring WC points in 6 of 9 individual start races.  I almost made the distance red group after one period alone!  This was certainly a break through for me mentally, physically & emotionally.  It also gave me the green light to extend my season in Europe and join the Tour de Ski USA crew!  This meant spending Christmas in Europe. 
  • Christmas night: fell on icy road and broke my wrist 4 days before Tour de Ski. (Nice timing, right?) 
  • Proceeded to race the Tour de Ski with my wrist - didn't find out it was broken until half way through the Tour when I got x-rays and an MRI en route to Italy. 
Late night orthopedic clinic visit - Oberstdorf, Germany
  • Stubbornly finished the Tour with the help of pain killers and tape jobs (thanks Steph!)  Was ecstatic to reach the top of the Alps Cermis, even if my performance took a huge tumble. 
  • Proceeded to take some much needed rest in Italy at the home of Bill and Kathy Estes - thanks Guys!  
  • Continued onto Ramsau, Austria, SOLO for a one-pole ski camp... often in a blizzard. 
  • Got back into World Cup racing in time to come down with the weird stomach bug that took almost everyone out at one point or another. Dropped out of a race in Czech (Heck, I didn't even drop out of races when I had a broken wrist!) and then the next day summoned all my courage and energy to help the USA ladies to our best 4x5k relay result ever.  Certainly a HIGHLIGHT of the season! 
  • Just the day before I had purchased a ticket home for a 2-week recovery trip.  My wrist episode combined with the stomach bug took a bigger toll on me than I'd thought. I traveled back to the states, 30 pairs of skis and all; knowing that I wanted to come back but not knowing if I could come back. 
  • Raced the American Birkebeiner and WON!  That one had been on my list for a while ever since loosing my an inch in 2009! 
  • Returned to Europe for the Lahti World Cups but skied poorly.  Perhaps 20,000 + miles in an airplane, a 50k and jumping 4 time zones doesn't work.... 
  • Skied and WON OPA cup finals in Toblach, Italy!  It wasn't WC Finals but it certainly felt good to stand on TOP of a podium. I won countless pounds of cheese and meat for my efforts. 
  • From Italy I continued onto Craftsbury Vermont where I met my APU teammates. It was close to 80 degrees so we had to get tanks and shorts at thrift stores.... I continued to have what I felt were mediocre races at spring series. 
In all, the season was a huge break through for me.  Going into it, I had no idea that I would be spending almost five straight months overseas.  I didn't anticipate a 13th place in Davos, just missing the distance red group at the end of December, or even starting the Tour de Ski. Injuring myself was a huge bummer, especially with the momentum that I had created..... but on the bright side, it wasn't an Olympic year, right? I raced in 26 different World Cup races in countries and venues all over Europe. In all, I raced 51 times last year, summer events included.  I learned a lot, as you'd hope I would in that period of time. But perhaps the most important lessons when it comes to International performances are that 1 - I can do it; we can do it. We have the tools to succeed, let alone WIN against the Europeans. 2 - Next season I will need a planned break to come home to AK 3 - Diversify racing venues and level of competition - I didn't race my first non-World Cup race until the American Birkie in February!  As hard as it is to miss World Cups, standing on a podium and being in the hunt for the win is important and not to be under estimated.

All in all, I'm excited to train really hard this summer and take another stab at it next winter.  I'm crossing my fingers to stay injury free and be able to pick up where I left off!  

WHEW..... That wasn't supposed to be long winded but it was, sorry. Here are some pictures of my spring to make up for it:

First: A happy team - the 2011-2012 season is a WRAP!

Following the ski season I did what so happy skiers do after 5 months of traveling on the road, chasing snow; go to the beach!  This trip was actually planned as a college reunion some 8 months prior to going.  There was lots to celebrate and lots to catch up on including BIG birthdays.... (and some anxiety on my part for those that know me well!)  Time with my college girlfriends was awesome. We cooked amazing meals and talked for HOURS about all kinds of non-ski related things.  My friends are all amazingly accomplished and it was fun to hear about mobile butchers for Sarah's meat CSA, Al's trips on the Grand Canyon, Jayne's PhD in geophysics & Laura's teaching exploits from Oahu!

It was a tight turn around to get to Hawaii. I came into Alaska on a red eye and had less than 24 hours in AK to give my husband a hug, vote, pack, un-pack, lead a clinic & attend to all kinds of business and months of mail. Then, I departed on another red eye for the islands..... arriving 10 hours later; exhausted to say the least. (I'm NOT complaining though!) 

The girls also put up with my need to exercise - at least a bit. I've always wanted to bike on the islands and this time I was finally able too. Here I am at the 9,000 ft. lookout for Mauna Kea.

The view from the behind the handle bars..... we had more cloudy days than I would have wished!

A fern fiddlehead, I think?

Me and Jayne!

Walking through the Kona Coffee trees

Okay.... we did get a couple of good days at the beach :)

Al and her friend, Tortuga

The other super fun thing I did this spring was attend my good friend, Chrissy's bachlorette party.  Instead of a night on the town we took a water taxi across K-Bay in Homer to her family cabin. We brought skis, running shoes, and blow-up paddle boards - and used them all! 

I didn't go paddle boarding in Hawaii but I did in Alaska!  I wore a dry suit though :) 

In this photo we're trying to show that it's an "OIA or Only in Alaska" moment... 

Crescent Lake Back Country loop - not a bad place for a double pole workout with the husband! 

The spring is also a great time to participate in some awesome community programs.  
ARISE is a new program co-lead by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and Healthy Futures. It stands for Anchorage Runners Inspired to Succeed and Excel.  Basically, it brings local runners and health advocates into Title I schools in Anchorage to run with elementary school kids at recess.  The goal is to show that being active can be fun! This spring Tyson Elementary in Mountain View is the pilot program. 

The grades, K-5 are having a competition to see which class can run the most.  Mid-week last week, the Tyson kids had run 584 miles total!  Last Thursday we had a "speed gun" where kids did a full on sprint.  The school is going to take our mileage and overlay it across the state of Alaska.  The goal is run from Anchorage to the North Slope - at least! 

Running with the kids! 

Rob came out to help with ARISE too! 

In other news, training for 2012-2013 has started and we're hitting it hard with APU. Lucky for us, we can still ski in Anchorage so we're mixing some on-snow training in with running, lifting, etc. Should be fun (and sometimes sore) times!

3.5 hour crust ski May 1st 2012

More real soon..... 
Holly :)