Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fulltime..... squared.

On Monday I had my first day of school in a year.  A good friend texted jokingly, "Do you have your first day of school outfit planned out?"  I replied, yes..... at least in theory. How about a hoodie and my favorite pair of black Lulu pants thrown over some dried sweat? This fall is bound to be busy considering the fact that I've chosen to get back on the education band wagon - all while still training full time. I realize that my plans, both academically and athletically haven't been widely publicized. It's not for lack of commitment or any uncertainty for that matter. Rather, simply waiting for me to wrap my own mind around the next year physically, mentally and emotionally.

I know that some of you were taken aback this spring with my decision to withdraw my name from the US Ski Team re-nomination pool.  Why would someone essentially "opt out" after I worked tooth and nail to get "in?"  While last season was a bit of a struggle at times I did have some bright moments and yes, two years ago there were those World Cup top tens that are oh-so-hard to reach. Sport and careers in sport are bound to have their natural ups and downs and rebounds do happen.

That said, this year after following the last Olympic cycle I knew that I was ready for a change - for a new challenge. My goal is to finish on the overall podium of the FIS World Loppet Marathon Series. To my knowledge no North American has pursued this path and I'm looking forward to taking on the task and sharing my pursuit.

While it's hard at times to think of not being at World Championships in Falun Sweden (not counting myself completely out...)  it's exciting to think about racing in new places, new formats, and against new competition. I absolutely LOVE distance skiing and in many ways, the longer the better in my book.  The racing not to mention the training required for this style of pursuit is right up my alley.  I was always disappointed the last couple of years when I couldn't ski as much as I wanted too for fear of getting too tired. When you're racing the World Cup full time for five straight months, often two races each weekend you cannot afford the time to get big training hours in. Hence, less time on snow and less skiing.  My new revised racing plan will condense my racing schedule, allowing for a longer training period and more time on snow without a necessary taper before Thanksgiving.

Also, for the first time in years I'm looking forward to holidays at home!!!!! What?! Waking up Christmas morning in my own bed? Unheard of! Shortly after the holiday I will jet-set over to Europe to race my first marathon. Right now that's planned to be the Dolomitenlauf in Austria January 18th. (Check out my proposed racing schedule under the "schedule" tab.  More on my racing calendar and the challenges I will face later.... )

Regarding my academic plans... A few years back I began a Masters of Counseling program at APU. I've been dabbling in classes the past couple of years and last year, I took the entire year off in preparation for Sochi. After my recent hiatus I'm ready to get back on the horse and pursue my education. Through my personal trials and tribulations I've discovered that I'd like to go into the field of sports psychology. I've worked with one myself the past year and it's been a really cool experience. In the pursuit of sports there is the physical training and preparation that we're all very familiar with but there is also a huge mental & emotional component that is often over-looked and in my opinion under-trained.

The best athletes that I've been exposed to are the people that have a combination of natural talent, work ethic and grit, and the mental game to survive the challenges sports through at us.  Much of psychology and counseling focuses on the "disease state" and works to help those with problems return to "normalcy."  However, my area of interest is how do we take someone who functions at a normal level and make them great? How can I help them achieve excellence? How can we use a mental edge to create champions, be it literally or figuratively?


 Now that I'm beginning my routine, spending lots of time in front of a computer and will face regular deadline I promise to be more informative about my whereabouts, my plans, my training, and my aspirations. I look forward to sharing my new challenge with you, my readers, family and friends. Thanks so much to everyone whose supported me in the past and those who continue to do so. While it's scary to break away from the US team with a coach, my personal wax tech, a traditional racing schedule and the funding it provides I have an unblinding faith that my new challenge will come together.

 Long days in the saddle, on my feet equate to good marathon training :) 

Always inspired to train in new places and thankful for my fitness which allows me to get there!
Kulane National Park & Reserve - Yukon, Canada. 

In the meantime Rob and I finally took the chance to get away a bit this summer and enjoy a training camp out of town in preparation for the grind of the next few months. We packed the truck and took our bikes, running shoes and (my) roller skis to the Yukon. We biked in Kulane National Preserve, Carcross and Whitehorse. I had hoped to run the Chilkoot Pass Klondike Gold Rush Trail but flood conditions kept me from doing so. Instead I settled on a great roller ski from Skagway 3300 up to the top of White Pass. One workout, two countries, passport required.

With the exception that my body is one large bruise from numerous mountain bike falls my bones are in tact and I'm happy and healthy. I'm excited to study, excited to train, and excited to be involved giving back to my community without over extending myself. Kikkan, Sadie and I are midst planning for our fifth annual Fast and Female event in Anchorage Sunday September 28th.  If you're a local check it out and please help us spread the word!

Enough from me. Happy Labor Day everyone. Have fun, be safe and take time each day to reflect on the numerous things you have to be thankful for.

Holly :) 

Nothing like a good 12-hour day bike/hiking the "Cottonwood Loop" with our good friends Katie and Justin.
A portrait of Rob.... 

1 comment:

  1. You are such an inspiration, Holly!! All the best in your pursuits athletically AND academically! Cannot wait to see you on the overall podium of the FIS World Loppet Marathon Series! And, can I donate my daughter in the event you need subjects to study for sports psychology?? Thanks for all you do for the community! It means so very much!