Friday, 31 August 2012

Whitefish, Montana: Hot times training for winter

I'm just back in Canmore after a fun training camp in Whitefish, Montana. Whitefish is a really cute town in northern Montana that offers quite a few nice quiet roads for rollerskiing and a few big hills to climb on the skis or on foot.

Girls train skiing up Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park
Our team was training down there for 10 days and had the good fortune to be joined by National Ski teamers Perianne Jones, Chandra Craword, coach Eric De Nys as well as generally awesome speed girl Amanda Ammar. It was totally fun to shred intervals with 14 other girls and we even did a pursuit-style rollerski race. The pursuit was fun since we started all together and raced through about 5k of classic rollerskiing then did a high speed switch into our skate rskis before heading out onto the 4ish k skate course. The classic course was all flat and the skate course had quite a bit of climb to it so there was a great variety of terrain to work with. I got dropped a bit on the classic half by the main pack (still working on that double pole!) but had a good skate leg to make up a bit of time. There a video from the race below if you want to see what that's all about, unfortunately no video of how sketchy a rollerski transition can be!

Aside from lots of fun workouts, the camp was special because we got to stay right on Whitefish lake. With daytime temps in the mid to high 20s it was wonderful to get some real deal summer training done and then have the luxury of jumping in the lake and having lunch on the dock right afterwards. Hot workouts with swimming afterwards are summer training essentials in my eastern mind so it felt like home - awesome!

Patrick does flips for recovery after workouts, unfortunately he was too fast for my camera.

Other training highlights included: skiing 4x10 min classic intervals up Big Mountain Road in the hot, hot heat; doing a 3.5h combo ski/run workout in Glacier National Park, climbing Going to the Sun road and then going for an alpine run atop Logan's Pass; running up to the top of Big Mountain and then enjoying a gondola ride down; skiing a skate sprint prologue and then doing more intervals up big mountain skating; and of course, highlight of all highlights, the pursuit race!

Long combo workouts mean a team van fulllll of gear.  

More action on going to the sun road

 We also did a swim across Whitefish Lake and back as an afternoon workout one day, 1.05km each way. I was totally stoked at how many of us girls did the big swim, thanks to Coach Jeffries and Scott Edmunds for lifeguarding the swim on stand up paddleboards too!

The end of August is already here and it's only 6 more weeks until "Frozen Thunder" will be open for real skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre. The team gets a slightly easier training week to re-group after the Whitefish camp and then it's back to work. There's always more fitness to harness and technique to improve before winter. 

Working the double pole, isn't Montana pretty?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Eastern Vacay: Relaxed, Recovered and Rollin' Along


I believe my last blog post was a training update between camps on the Haig Glacier so I'll do a little catch up from there.

Good news: I survived the glacier camps! We actually cut our second trip to the Haig short by one day since the groomer had broken down. I was fairly happy to escape early and totally pumped to finish the volume block of training with a nice hot rollerski from Canmore through Banff and up Norquay to finish off. I felt like I was melting and my legs were so tired I had to take a few breaks from one skate to double pole up the hill but overall I mostly just happy to know I would get to go home and have lunch in my own kitchen and nap in my own bed afterwards.

The very next day I caught a flight to Montreal to meet my parents, brother and some extended family for my cousin Lindsay's wedding. With a big training block behind me and some time to rest and relax I had an absolute blast catching up with the gang and celebrating at Lindsay and Stephan's wedding. It isn't too often we all get together so it's pretty darn fun when we do!

My brother James gets out-styled by our Dad Graham, look how skinny that tie is!
While the big part of the training block was finished I did still have one tough interval workout to complete before really kicking back, which is kind of a funny story. I opted to do the 7x2 minute workout running at our hotel near the airport. My original intention was to warm up on the treadmill then run the 10 flights of stairs as the intervals but my plan was thwarted by a hotel security guard who informed me that I was making too much noise and setting off alarms every time I opened the door at the bottom on the stairwell for fresh air. After getting booted from the stairwell I was forced back onto the treadmill and so simply jacked up the incline to run my set. Luckily the Tour de France was on TV so I really had no trouble running a full hour and a half with intervals on the treadmill. It felt good even!

Cousins Lucy, Anna, Maggie and I enjoyed lots of dancing and some modelling of our high heels at the wedding
After the wedding and a lovely family bbq in Pointe Claire my parents and I headed back to Brockville where my parents had left their sailboat docked while in Montreal. Phase 2 of my Eastern vacation was to spend 4 days hanging out and sailing with my parents in the Thousand Islands.

Big cousins and little cousins all hanging out at the Deakin's place in Point Claire

 I spent loads of time swimming, eating, swimming, sleeping, playing games and just generally having a fun time. My dad and I also contested what must have been our 10th annual Alana vs. Dad 1000 Islands trail running championship. I won, again. I should mention though, that he won the King of the Mountains (overpass) competition during our race back from the car rental place on Dahon folding bikes. I really wish I had a video of this badass breakaway!

Lunchtime spread on the Heart of Gold
The third and final leg of my adventure took me back home to Ottawa to spend a few days seeing friends and getting in some classic Ottawa workouts. The ski scene in Ottawa is second to none in Canada so it definitely helped get me pumped to get back to work! I did all of my favourite Ottawa things; from doing intervals on penguin, to having sushi on Somerset, to an Olympic theme party, to visiting Fresh Air, to swimming at Meech lake, to rollerskiing in Gatineau Park and simply spending time with friends that I love, I really couldn't have had a better end to my eastern vacation.

I've been back in Canmore for almost two weeks now and have felt the most energized and happy that I have all summer. I'm well back into full training and feel great about the gains being made and the work to be done in the coming weeks and months.

It was so great to hang with my two biggest and favourite supporters, Mom & Dad!

Next stop: Training Camp in Whitefish, Montana!

Stay tuned and thanks for reading :)