Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
The view of Cresthill from Lake Placid. Thanks to Jan Gregg for taking these great photos!
The floating dock I like to stretch on.
Me, Bryan Fish and Brian Gregg eating dinner on our screened in porch/kuzzy's bedroom.
Cooking dinner in our kitchen.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Several people have asked me what I do all day. They start out the question a little hesitantly, as if trying to decide how to ask without risk of offending me or appearing not to support my decision to spend my time and energy on becoming a better skier. Which, really, in the grand scheme of saving the world doesn't seem to be the most straightforward strategy. So here's my yesterday through now.
8:30 Wake up. Since it's a light day of training after our triathlon on Saturday, Brian and I decide to sleep in. First thing in the morning we pull the freshly made bread from the bread machine and have a thick slice with yoghurt butter and creamed honey. I made this bread and added oatmeal and quinoa to the dough and some of the quinoa emerged on the crust to form light yellow polka dots. I like it.
9:30 Breakfast. Brian decides today is a good day for pancakes and makes them. We have breakfast on the screened-in porch.
10:00 Brian Gregg, Garrott Kuzzy and I live at Cresthill Resort which is run by Scott & Kay Wilson, who are great people and wonderful supporters of cross country skiing but Kuzzy is out on the East Coast so it's just Brian and I this week. Scott stops by when we're finishing breakfast and says he thinks that one of our appliances is interferring with the TV reception. We experiment and figure out that it's Brian's computer.
11:30 Brian and I walk down to the beach and I swim before joining him out on the floating dock to stretch and do yoga. We compete to see who can balance on one leg the longest on the rocking dock, I lose. I take another short swim before going in.
1:00 After my swim I come in and Brian has made a salad for lunch. Kay stopped by and gave us cucumbers and tomatoes from a friend's garden and so we get cherry tomatoes in our salad. We get so involved with our Gjetost brown goat cheese on the quinoa bread that we almost burn the granola that Brian made and put in the oven before lunch. At some point I read about a third of "Raising the Bar, the story of clif bar."
3:00 Brian and I pack bags and rollerski about 2 hours over to Seeley where our weight room is and lift weights before showering at our coach's house, also in Seeley, and getting picked up by Scott and Kay to go to Dennis Kruse's house for dinner. During the ski/weights we only speak Spanish.
7:00 Yuri Gusev and Irene are staying at Dennis' house so we all enjoy dinner together and spend a long evening out on the back porch around the table. Yuri brought me a box of Candinas truffles which I have secreted away for future review.
10:30 Bed time. But Brian and I are meeting Dennis, Yuri, & Irene to go waterskiing tomorrow, our day off.
7:30am Wake up.
8:30 I just took the cranberry scones out of the oven and am wondering if I should wait for Brian to wake up for breakfast. Decide not to...
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Thanks to New Moon Bike and Ski shop for loaning me this sweet mountain bike to race on.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Chequamegon Fat Tire Tri quotes
I did a local Triathlon today- 3/4 mile swim, 19 mile mtn bike, 7 mile trail run and ended up winning, not on purpose, but these things just happen sometimes. My leg rankings were 8th in the swim, 1st in the bike by about 6 minutes and 3rd in the run. Maybe I should try this mountain biking thing.
Me to Brian during breakfast at 6:15, it's a 35 min drive to the venue: "so when I said I wanted to get there at 7:30, I somehow thought that was an hour and a half before our race, not half an hour."
Bryan Fish to me, on the starting beach: "what distances are the legs?"
me throughout the entire bike leg: "oh-no, oh-no, eek!"
Announcer to me, post race: "I've never heard of you before, who are you, where did you come from?"
(what's a good response to that, I couldn't come up with one.)
The woman who got second is really well known athlete in the midwest, role model, really involved with the sports community. In the course of talking with another racer at the dinner/awards saturday night he expressed surprise that I had beaten her and then: "Jan's actually a nordic skier."
me: "oh, yeah, I'll probably get to race her again this winter then."
other athlete: "I mean she's REALLY good, seventh in the birkie."
The birkie is a big deal around here, I'm starting to feel like I'm hardly a ski racer since I haven't raced the birkie.
It was a really well organized race- good volunteers, good trail markings, good food & free beer at dinner. The entry fee was a little steep, $70, and the lake water was murky, but those are my only complaints.
Friday, August 25, 2006
I took my first fall of the season warming up for our skate time trial last Saturday. I am impressed that I've only fallen once this summer, but it was a pretty pathetic fall so I'm a little embarassed about that part. I turned around in the road to ski back to the start, miss-stepped onto a ski, and tipped over onto my hands and one knee. But now I have a scab to moniter the progress of and blood spots on my boots. Exciting stuff, I tell you.
Our camp up on the North Shore of Lake Superior was fun. Piotr made us really good food everyday. My only complaint was that he didn't buy us any chocolate in any form. But the rest of the food was quality. The trails that we got to run on were really pretty with nice overlooks of lake Superior. I liked getting to meet more of the Midwest juniors and get to train and hang out with them.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
After freezing in the lake nothing sounds better than lounging on the warm rocks on the shore.
After a four hour trail run nothing sounds better than the frigid waters of Lake Superior.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Thank you to the Whitman Womens cycling team for the T-shirt! I'm holding the reins wrong in this photo but I fixed that. Majordomo was a good riding horse for me while I was visiting Whitney and I'll miss him.
Susan Heyvaert, my driving instructor, and me in the carriage.
Doc and Major share a kiss after Whitney and I get back from a ride.
I drive the carriage around the warmup fields at the polo match.
The view from the kitchen window (more or less): Whitney walks Doc back to the barn while I ride Major.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Bareback on Major, yeah he's short, but it was still hard to leap up on him with no stirrup, I need to practice that.
Friday, August 18, 2006
The no skiing Game
Fish and I did our general distance workout this morning together on the bike while everyone else went running. (whenever it's an option I don't run.) We meandered through the friendly, tree-lined roads near Cresthill, chatting and enjoying the scenery. When we started I instigated the No Skiing Game. This is a version of a game Rj and I would play, except that game was called the No Cycling Game. Rj and I would get together for breakfast and ban cycling from the conversation otherwise we would only talk about cycling. It's a pretty tough game but it makes the conversation less predictable and, thus, more invigorating. So Fish and I banned ski-talk from our 2 hour ride let the conversation range over other odd topics. If this was a win/lose game we would have tied since we each used the "s" word twice.
Tomorrow we are leaving for the North shore of Lake Superior where we are joining Piotr Bednarski's training group for a camp. We will be staying in cabins without running water or electricity which I think also implies no wireless internet so I'll get a hiatus from blogging until Wednesday (& you'll get a hiatus from reading my blogs). I promise to take at least one picture while I'm away; I know one of my shortcomings is not taking pictures ever.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Slow Skis/Fast Skis
For this morning's poling workout Fish had me use a pair of his fast rollerskis. Brian Gregg and I have commiserated about slow skis since our classic skis are about the same speed so when I got on a fast pair today the first thing I did was ski next to Brian gloating about how nice it was not to have to work as hard to keep up and how easy double poling was. Throughout the workout I continued to show off my fast skis to him. On the last downhill of our cooldown, Brian came by me in a tight tuck. He gave me a shifty eyed look and I could tell he didn't want to come out of his tuck but he wanted to make sure I realized he was schooling me on the downhill. I laughed. And then I caught him.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I'm starting to adjust to swimming in lakes instead of in pools. It's been a tough adjustment to make. At the beginning I was too scared to look into the water to use goggles but couldn't open my eyes without stopping to wipe away the water so I would only breaststroke with my head above water, I can't swim in a straight line without guidance from lane lines or painted tiles, The weeds freaks me out, so do the fish, so do the lake monsters that I imagine slipping through the water beneath me. Where is the wall every 25 or 50m? How can I count laps or measure distance? I like swimming in straight lines, I feel lost in the middle of a big lake, there's no logical point to turn around and swim back or buoys to mark out a course.
I realized today that I don't have to swim in a straight line. Make fun of my epiphany if you want to. I could close my eyes and just swim wherever without aiming for a particular point. I'm still avoiding the weeds but I'm conquering my straight line obsession.
Monday, August 14, 2006
(at least I didn't try to write a poem)
I fell asleep last night to the sound of rain drumming outside my open window and the calls of the loons. There's a restful beauty out here; the land feels old, the birches are unfettered, and the animals seem confident in their belonging. Nothing seems out of place here (invasives NOT included). Even when it is stormy, life is calm. Neither do I feel out of place, running along winding single-track or swimming across a lake. I feel that any area, any section of forest, is accesible to me.
I miss the West Coast. I miss Washington. I miss scrambling up a mountainside and regarding the few other friends who also survive on the rocky face as I rest on a sun warmed rock. Those friends are the twisted tamarack tree and lowland flowers in miniature who struggle daily to suck nutrients from the thin layer of rocky soil and the algae and fungi who form a symbiotic relationship so each can survive on bare rock in the form of hardy lichens. I miss the craggy coastline where sea anenomes resist the pounding waves and cling tenaciously to the jagged ground like jewel drops of blood being wrenched from the rock. These things also are beautiful. Instead of a peaceful beauty, however, theirs is a painful, desperate beauty.
Northern Wisconsin has lillies, which I love. They grow wild in marshes alongside the road as well as in well tended gardens showing their big, brightly orange, curling petals. Flowers you would pick for a vase on the dinner table. In contrast, one almost misses entirely the alpine flower high on a cliff face. They are only a small cry of color, some shouting out in bright hues, others merely whispering their presence. A stubby, unadorned five petal flower cows from the wind in the crevice of a cliff. I would never put such an ungraceful flower on my dinner table; nor would I pick a flower that had fought so desperately for its place on the rock, its few grains of soil. Its beauty lies in its struggle for life. I am enchanted by the sounds of the loons, sounds I had never heard before coming to this place. They are fitting sounds to be rolling across the calm lake in the peaceful dusks and dawns. My small alpine flower? Its beauty lies in its dissonance with its environment, its struggle for life, and, ultimately, its triumph.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Congrats Beth and Dan!
Congratulations to my cousin Beth and her new husband Dan on their marriage today! They got to have their ceremony at the lovely Mountain Springs Lodge in Plain, WA, and I'm sad to have missed it.
Why I am Sore -OR- Thank you, Bryan Fish
I don't know what Fish was thinking when he drew up Friday's schedule.
6:45am- freshly baked bread with honey for a pre-breakfast breakfast (Friday wasn't all bad)
7am- short run and isometric strength. Isometric is static bbalance/strength positions.
8am- a real breakfast, oatmeal, more fresh bread.
9am- singlestick, double pole and core only double pole repeats up a hill: A strength workout masquerading as a classic ski.
noon-5pm- lunch, errands, nap, afternoon snack.
5pm- traditional strength workout, with plyometrics.
8-10pm- moving our strength room out of our basement and into the downstairs of the Lenroot Lodge in Seeley. That's a lot of carrying things.
Fish basically made us do 4 (four) strength workouts on Friday... But I can't be too mad at him since he bought us ice cream after our over distance classic ski this morning.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Minus ten points for being untimely. I had an article posted of FasterSkier.com a couple of days ago. Check it out, um, it's titled "The Abyss." Yeah, I fail at titling my papers, always have. FasterSkier.com is a great site and covers all the cross country skiing related news, so when I want to know what the latest is on, say, the potential banning of altitude training, I go there. Also thanks for all the comments on my article, the great thing about internet publications is the ability to receive feedback from your readers!
We moved out of the stinky house today and are now residing at Scott and Kay Wilson's place, Cresthill Resort
! And I have closets! I haven't had closets since I was in school. Brian Gregg, Garrott Kuzzy and I are living in one side of the duplex. We have an upstairs with two bedrooms and a large porch and a downstairs with a small kitchen, bathroom, sitting area and a screened in porch. We also have a lake. Hurray! I will be storing my clothes in closets and drawers instead of backpacks and duffel bags.
Now it is after 11 and I really should have been in bed more than an hour ago. But we went to the Birkie board dinner and afterwards Brian and I arranged our kitchen and I really want to get my stuff organized in my new bedroom... but it will wait until tomorrow.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Our house is starting to mold
I am not living a glamorous lifestyle right now. Tomorrow we are moving to Cresthill and leaving our little house in Cable behind. Which is good because between our stinky ski boots and the dripping kitchen sink it is starting to smell of mold. And when I say smell I mean REEK. I also don't have a bed. Luckily I stole one of my parents thick therm-a-rests and I have my cozy sleeping bag and pillow so it's not too uncomfortable. Only when I roll into the spare lumber that also shares my bedroom/closet. Furthermore, there's no internet and my phone doesn't work. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just pointing out that it's not all roses out here. More like a big pile of garbage.
ps-The horse pictures will be posted when Alan gets back from Brasil.
Monday, August 07, 2006
I went to my first polo match on Sunday, a perfectly sunny day with a refreshing breeze. I even got to stomp the divits back in a la Julia Robert in Pretty Woman! Before the match we drove around the field in the Open Horse Parade. The carriages were supposed to carry the dignataries from the match sponsors, but there were more carriages than dignataries so I got to ride instead. I thought it was fun to get to dress up and lounge around at a polo match, but I probably would get bored with it after the initial excitement of everything being new. I did learn about polo, though. There's 4 riders on each team and they try to score goals by getting a ball through two posts using mallets. A game is six chukkars long and a chukkar is 7 minutes. There are 3 minutes between chukkars when the riders change horses. Each horse usually only plays for one chukkar since it is super hard and they tire out, so each player has 6-8 horses at the match.
Now I have said goodbye to the Heyvaerts and am back in Cable.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
It wasn't very graceful but I managed to leap up onto Major from the ground. Horses take a lot more spring to get up on whithout stirrups. It was afternoon, after our afternoon lap swim and Whitney was taking me for a short bareback ride under strict instructions from her mom to only walk so I didn't hurt myself. In the morning (afer, of course, our ski workout) we had gone over to Whitney's old trainer to watch her cut on Doc. Cutting is a judged event where the horse and rider single out a calf from the herd and prevent it from rejoining the herd, which it wants very much to do. The horse gets to show off its athleticism and agility as the calf dodges back and forth, trying to get around the horse. Now Whitney's mom was bidding over the phone for another Quarter horse to replace the one they had recently sold. They were considering three horses; the first two up for auction quickly got bid up so they were overpriced. That's when Whitney and I left for our ride. We stayed close to the house since we knew Dillon would be up for auction in about an hour, and Doc was tired from cutting this morning. I liked riding bareback, no saddle to bother with, just the bridle and the horse. And I managed to trot without falling off, or even feel as though I was in danger of falling off. I didn't try a lope... I wasn't about to push my luck that far!
We stopped back by the house where Doug and Susan were on the porch with the phone, but Dillon still wasn't up for auction yet so we went back out to ride aroun the field. About 10 minutes later we heard the dinner bell from the house. Figuring that someone had bought Dillon we trotted back (this would sound so much more epic if I had been comfortable galloping) to see what the outcome was. We returned to find the smiling new owners of Starlight Dillon, a buckskin Quarterhorse. It was exciting, I'm going to have to come back sometime to meet him. Tomorrow there is a charity pollo game down the road and I am going to go and see pollo for the first time... I suspect it will be a different social circle than I am used to, should be interesting.
Friday, August 04, 2006
I promise that I am still training for skiing, but since it is an off week I am getting in some more riding. I learned how to drive a carriage on Wednesday. I thought a carriage ride would be nice and relaxing, but I used such good posture that my back and core got tired quickly. Plus it takes a lot of attention on corners not to drive the side of the carriage into a tree. The Heyvaerts have lots of good riding trails and fields around their house which makes it very pleasant to ride; I like it. Tomorrow I think I am going to try riding bareback. Hopefully I will not get too bruised to ski train next week; it sounds like I will fall off easily without a saddle.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
The well rounded athletic education
Maybe I should just do ski specific training all the time... but I don't. I am visiting a friend from Whitman who lives near the twin cities, Whitney Heyvaert. Today she taught me how to ride a horse, well, she started to teach me, I still have a long way to go before I would consider myself a competent horsewoman. I rode Major, a Norwegian Fjord breed of horse and a horse who clearly knew much more about riding than I did and thus had no respect for my authority as his rider. Whitney had me practice in the arena before going for a trail ride. I managed to walk easily & could convince Major to turn right or left. Whitney explained posting to me in the arena but I didn't get it until I got to watch her more and practice on the trail and road. Posting is how you can choose to ride a trotting horse to make it less bumpy. Whitney also had me lope on her horse, Doc, on a lunge line in the arena. That is when the trainer, in this case, Whitney, stands in the middle with a whip to crack with the horse on a long rope and has the horse and rider run in a large circle. I did get a little dizzy because I had to concentrate so hard on how I was sitting and keeping my heels down and squeezing my legs that I only looked at the back of Doc's head and let the rest of the world spin around me.
This horse stuff is not all fun and riding though. After our ride we shoveled the horse manure out of their pens and fed them so they would produce more poop for us to shovel tomorrow.