Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Being in a winter sport means that fall is for the final preparations. Suddenly the race season is in sight, and the nightly "racing dreams" begin. Since fall came a little earlier than usual in Alaska, that meant that I have been in the "pumpkin please" mood since August. Fortunately, in Alaska, grocery stores started stocking the shelves with pumpkin in August… so I know I am not the only one who got the fall fever early.
Since I haven't really checked in for a while, I have to go back in time a bit. September was a month that I decided to do a "training camp at home. " What that meant is that for three weeks, I put my whole head and heart into training. Since I was working on a three week intensity block, I quickly learned that I needed every last ounce of energy I had, in order to make it through. It was pretty fun to test my mind a bit, and see how hard I could push myself. In one of the photos I posted online of an uphill running race, a fan commented, "paying the tax on the road to the podium". That pretty much sums up the mental state of this block. I have never really been healthy enough to push myself to this level, so it was fun to feel like I finally learned to take one more step!
With work, comes recovery if you want to absorb the effort. Following my three weeks of working hard, I took a week to recover from it all, and prepare for my final camp of the season, with my US Teammates in Park City, Utah. On my way down to the camp, I made a short but important stop in Seattle, where I got to meet my amazing new nephew, Carter. It was special to share some time with my sister and brother-in-law, and see how happy they are! It truly melted my heart!
Shortly after arriving in Park City, I unfortunately got taken down by a cold. I am a strong believer in illnesses during the training season being a "blessing in disguise." I always believe that my body is smarter than my brain… so if I am not quite resting as much as I should, I pick up little bugs. Trying to remain patient throughout the training camp was not exactly easy. Since I struggled with injuries during the other two US training camps of the season, I was so excited to finally jump in for some good training with my teammates. But, as it went, I took some more time to rest and recover, and slowly build back to being healthy. The last three days of camp, I finally got to jump in and participate, which was enough to fuel my mind and soul.
Following the Park City Camp, I had planned a final "mental break" before the season. This included two days in Los Angeles, where I had to go visit the Austrian Embassy to get an Austrian Residence Visa in order to spend all winter overseas racing the World Cup. I planned this break before I knew I was going to get sick, so I found some ways to get active in the city. It turns out, the mountains above LA are pretty fun!
Luckily, upon arriving home in Alaska, where the seasons are a little off, I jumped back into winter. It was a bit of an extreme entrance from 90 degrees in California to three degrees in Alaska. But, I much prefer this cold weather, with snow, and my cozy home. It has been so fun to get back on snow, and remember the amazing feeling of gliding across snow. While roller skiing is a pretty darn amazing "off-season" training method… it just doesn't have that same great feeling of gliding across the snow.
I now have three more weeks here in town to enjoy every last bit of my cozy home, the beautiful cold clear days, and the 9 am sunrises. Now is the time to get lots of extra hugs from Jo, enjoy wearing a different outfit out of my closet every day, appreciate being able to drive my own car around town, and make the most of being able to call all my friends and family at reasonable hours of the day. Following these three weeks, we are shipping off for the season, starting in Finland. After enjoying all these last treasures in town, I can't wait to get this season started!