It was an interesting August up here in Alaska. I spent the first week of the month up on Eagle Glacier for my final camp of the season. It was by far one of the wettest camps I have had up there. Thank god I have a rain suit to keep me dry enough to train as much as I wanted. When you become soaked to the core in the first twenty minutes of your ski, and then the wind starts blowing… it is tough to stay warm. So, I went out every day, put my hood up, my rain pants on, and chipped away at my training, even having some laughs sometimes how crazy the weather was. While the sun wasn't shining, I did finish the week having accomplished some of my goals for the summer. 75 hours of training on Eagle Glacier over the course of June, July and August meant I got to spend lots of time on some of the technical side of skiing in addition to building my base!
After that week of wet, I assumed the sunshine would come back. With such an awesome summer so far, the sun never disappeared for too long. Turned out, he needed a little time out. For six weeks straight, the rain came down day after day! When people say "when it rains, it pours"… that felt like the truth! Every morning I would wake up to the familiar noise of rain falling on the roof, and my hopes would die down. I would wake up, turn on my "sun lamp", layer up for the wet, and go puddle hopping on my skis…. again!
Amongst this rainy block, I have also been battling a little overuse knee injury. Similar to the sunshine, I was maybe getting just a little bit too excited with my running this summer. Living in the mountains, and being a cross country ski racer means that running is one of the best forms of training. It is free, it requires no equipment, and it is relatively safe compared to dodging the cars on the road. Unfortunately, my "too excited" has left my a bit sidelined for the month.
The combination of the rain, and the frustration of injury took me on a pretty good roller coaster ride this past month. So, I made a rule for myself… something that would seem pretty obvious, but hard to do. Every day, I was going to find something positive. One summer when Swedish star, Anna Haag, came to train with the APU Team, she told me something that I will never forget. "If you are never injured at this level, you are never pushing yourself hard enough". Learning your limits is part of being an athlete. Learning to deal with adversity and find positive ways to get through it comes with the territory. With that on my mind each day, I could either go home and eat an entire bottle of Vitamin D, go into hibernation, and wait for the storm to pass… or I could find the sunshine!
Training differently has not only kept things a little more fresh, but it has gotten my "motivation" back into a high gear. As I am patiently waiting for my tendons to be bomb proof again, I am working on some of my weakness's, something I may not have focused on otherwise. And when I get to head back out in the mountains for a run, I can tell you it will be for more than just the training value…. it will be an overly happy Sadie leaping along!
And guess what?! Just when I thought the rain would never stop, the sun came out to play this week! Already I can see smiles popping up on everyone! So if anyone ever tells you "when it rains… it pours", don't believe them! The sun will always come!
On to September!