Monday, February 23, 2015

The Pro Athlete Personality Spectrum

My parents, Jojo, and I were having a discussion tonight about the pro athlete lifestyle.  We, pro athletes, come in all different shapes, sizes, and have varying personalities.  Human differences are what makes the world go around, right?

I have developed my own rating system that analyzes the spectrum of organization, personality, and precision in athletes.  I'm prefacing it with this.  This rating system is NOT a judgement.  It's just a spectrum.  We all have to do things a certain way to try our best and gain confidence.  At one end of the spectrum, there's triple type A (AAA).  This is hyper organized and uptight about everything.  A triple type A has everything completely precise and dialed.  If I were to walk into AAA's house, it would probably be neat.  AAA probably wakes up and goes to bed at the same time to the minute.  AAA maybe weighs his or her food and is calculating the numbers on the back of the box.  AAA may not do well with the constant flux and fluidity of traveling and racing, but they probably have adapted.

Then, the scale ranges down from triple type A (AAA) to double type A (AA) to type A.  I probably make up the other end of that spectrum.  Maybe I am a type C.  When it comes to goals and things I am passionate about, I have more of a AAA approach.  With training, I am hyper focused and very precise.  Training is the priority, and I get it done.  Simple as that.  I very rarely don't get the workout in.  I work extremely hard and pour everything I have into training because I believe hard work pays off.  Anything to do with training or improving is dialed in my life.  When we moved into our new townhouse, the kitchen was the first room to be moved into and functional.  Eating is crucial to everything, recovering and being properly fueled.  Plus, I love cooking and eating good food.  The second room to be dialed was the  basement because it's our gym.  Anything outside the training scope tends to be sent into chaos. I tend to have a more triple type C (CCC) approach. For example, I'm still working on unpacking some office boxes…two years later.  If you haven't received an email reply from me in a a little while, it means I haven't had a proper rest day in a while.  I should just set up an automatic response that says, "If I haven't replied to you for seven days, you can email my coach here and tell him I need a rest day".  I am usually late.  It's because I chronically over schedule because there's just too much fun to be had in one day.  If you walk into our house, thanks to Jojo, you can probably make it through the front door without tripping over something.  But, when Sabe, my sister, and I are here alone, and both training hard, it gets dicey.  Proceed into the house with caution.

So, it may come with some surprise for those who know me, that I was early the other night.  I was ready before Jojo and waiting at the bottom of the stairs for her.  I was really ready, with my jacket and shoes on and everything.  I yelled to Jojo, "Jojo, I'm ready to go…It's really weird".   I didn't even know what to do with myself.  I wasn't running around the house frantically grabbing things.   I am getting a bit more organized so packing for trips will be easier. It's shocking for a type C like myself.  My mom's jaw dropped when I told her.

We travel to so many different locations, and train and race in so many situations, I find it's easier for me to be on the Type C end of the spectrum.  It's just more fun to revel in the adventure of it all then just get bogged down in the details.  Racing in Malyasia and you usually eat pasta with red sauce the night before a race? Well, it looks like you'll be having curry with rice instead because it's the only option.  But isn't it so cool that I get to eat curry in Malaysia?

Where do you fall on the scale?  It's okay if you are a AAA.  You are definitely not alone.  You would have the company of two time Olympic Time Trail Gold Medalist, Kristin Armstrong, who proclaimed herself a AAA to my face.

In other news, here's what I've been up to.  There's been a great mixture of fat biking, training riding, skate skiing, and strength training.  I'm aiming my sights on the Lake Placid Loppet next weekend and then I head out to California at the beginning of March to get on my bike and start racing. It's going to be hard to leave this amazing winter.  I love snow.  But, I also love single track and Santa Cruz so the transition should be pretty seamless. I am psyched.  Life is good.

 Perspective, this is all I could do in the snow last year.  This winter is way better. 
 Check out my new L.L Bean hat!  It's my favorite!
 Jojo made me a nutella snowflake for Valentine's Day.  It was delicious and gone in about four hours
 Cold feet are my limiting factor on the Fat Bike.  Until I get the Specialized winter shoes, the Defrost, plastic bags in the shoes do the trick

 I won the most amazingly delicious pie at the biathlon on Thursday night.  It was awesome.  It's the little things. 
 Here's the women's elite wave on the American Birkiebeiner.  Sabe had a front row call up and had a great race placing 14th.  So awesome sister! 
 This is the truth.  Sunday morning local, handmade doughnuts are awesome. 
Taken from the driver's seat of my 3.5 hr skate ski at Craftsbury.  It was ten times more glorious than this photo looks

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Vermont Winter: A Clif Shot for the Soul

The Specialized Fat Boy in all its glory
Now this is what I'm talking about!  It's been an amazing two weeks in Vermont so far with winter in full swing.  It just keeps snowing.  It makes me so happy.  My friend, Michela, gave me her used back country skis and boots, and now I am completely set up to go AT.  Last year, I didn't really get an opportunity at all to play in the snow, barring the two times that Jojo pulled me around in a sled (once to watch my sister's nordic race and the other time for fun around the park) because I was recovering from hip surgery.  This year, I am making up for some lost time and really loving every moment out there on skis and on fat tires.  

It's been brutally cold, yes, but it just means that it keeps snowing.  This is what winter is supposed to be like.  I don't mind braving the cold temperatures, but, I do have to admit that I was a bit scared of the single digits when I first came returned back from Kauai.  I am a chronic over dresser, but this fear really sent me into overdrive.  The first time my sister, Sabe, and I went backcountry skiing on Mt. Mansfield, I wore about five layers on top and three layers on the bottom.  This set up was topped off with a down coat and heavy pants.  I underestimated the fact that backcountry skiing includes a weighted hike to the top with skis on.  I was a walking sauna.  Literally, it was disgusting.  I've been slowly dialing in the layer set up for the last week, and today I finally nailed it.  I wasn't steaming out of my coat on the way up.

Despite the unexpected overheating, the skiing has been amazing.  I've had to shut off this part of my brain for about four years.  After the recovery from the first and second surgery, skiing wasn't really part of the plan.  I grew up downhill ski racing, and it's one of my favorite activities in the world.  The fact that I get to ski mixed with fresh powder has really reignited my passion for skiing.  A flood gate of love for skiing has broke loose.  After Sabe and I went once, I was so excited to go skiing the next day, I couldn't sleep that night.  This is real.  I can get in a great workout earning my turns and then float in fresh powder on the way down.  It really doesn't get any better than this.

I've been loving mixing back country skiing with strength training, nordic skiing, and fat biking.  This weekend, I not only cheered on Sabe in her Super Tour ski race at Craftsbury, but I jumped in the 10 km skate race myself.  Nordic ski racing is one of the hardest sports out there.  This amount of suffering really prepares me for the deepest of pain caves in the summer.  This is exactly why I signed up for the Gattineau Loppet, a 50 KM skate marathon race in Ottawa, Canada, the night before this ten kilometer race just in case the suffering was too overwhelming.  Jojo has returned back to Vermont from Kauai and now officially takes the title of tannest human in Vermont.  She tried split boarding today, and we went for an amazingly fun back country ski.  Specialized also sent me the Fat Boy, and it's been phenomenal to have a fat bike to ride around in the snow.  My instagram feed has been filled with pro cyclists putting in the base miles in very warm locations.  That's great.  It's amazing to observe how differently all of my competitors prepare for the upcoming season.  I know, for me, this kind of fun, love, and snow is enough to fuel me for awhile.  It's like a double caffeinated Clif Shot for the soul, and that is really good preparation.

Think snow!


 The Sun Sets on a Cold Trapp Family Lodge
 Skiing Selfie!
 Backcountry with my Sister!
 This is my happy place

 I won a bet with Ed Dombroski about Cyclocross Worlds and he made me an apple pie
Ed also makes a mean breakfast.  Perfect fuel for a good day of training