For one month now, I have been preparing. Preparing for racing, preparing to leaving, preparing for my graduation, and preparing to spend another five months away from home.
Sad to say goodbye to my favorite little buddies!
Preparing for racing is the fun part! This is the time of year that snow starts falling and training starts feeling fresh after letting our bodies rest from a hard summer of training. This is the time of year that I start waking up in the night with racing dreams….. “I am running for the start, only five minutes until I take off, and I have grabbed one skate and one classic pole. I spin around and run back for the cabins in fear, counting down the seconds until I start”. These dreams occasionally come in the middle of the summer, but most the time they are a sign that the racing season is coming. Preparing for racing also means changing up the training. It means shorter and easier training sessions matched with some good quality shorter intervals and time trials. 
Doing some sprinting when the snow was still around
Back to roller skiing
Preparing for leaving is the “less fun” part. Preparing for leaving entails trying to find time for all my friends to say goodbye, finding a storage unit to park my car in, sending early christmas presents, organizing my room so that if I need someone to bring something I forgot, I know exactly where to find it. Most importantly though, it entails packing. I decided this year that I need to make a master packing list…. because each year I spend the month leading into my departure writing little notes in my phone, reminding myself things to bring. This is what one of my checklist notes would look like:
Parking the beauty blue.
-Hand Sanitizer (this is how we attempt to stay healthy eating at buffet’s for all of our meals)
-Shampoo and Conditioner (I really don’t like the Euro stuff, I much prefer US Herbal Essence)
– Peanut Butter (A staple of race morning breakfast)
– American Coffee
– American Gum
– Powerbars
– Hot mug
– Water bottle holder
– Wax for Meribel (when I go visit Jo, I am waxing on my own, so I have slowly gathered enough wax there to take care of myself)
– Head Lamp (for our first month in the dark north, north lands)
– Nook
– Triple A batteries
– Flecter patches (in case my bone spurs flare up again)
– Bjorn Daehlie shorts and T-shirt for working out in the gym
– Christmas Pajama pants- this helps when I am getting super home sick and dreaming of being home with my family
– Harddrive
– Something for the Fischer boot maker that made me four custom boots before I was totally satisfied. This guy is awesome!
– Cold Medication (if I buy it in the US, then I know it passes the US anti-doping regulations. Better safe than sorry!!)
– Earplugs (Having a roommate for five months means you have to find your own ways to take care of your sleeping needs)
– L.L. Bean rain suit (for those days that Global Warming strikes and for some reason it rains rather than snows)
Packing party with the girls team
So that is just a list of the few things that came to my mind as I was traveling, or away from home, and felt like if I didn’t jot them down I was going to forget. As I said, it seems it should be time to simply create a master list. Some of these staple items like peanut butter, and gum and coffee…. you can find them all in Europe, but I have just found it makes me happier to enjoy the US products for as long as possible. The importance of this whole “spend the winter racing in Europe” is to find what makes me happy. For me, Christmas means a lot to me! So I have to take a few things that will make me feel at home and festive. Being happy means enjoying the experience, enjoying the racing, and enjoying my job!
Preparing for graduating means meeting with all of my professors, making sure they are satisfied, making sure they understand where I will be the next month, just keeping them in the loop. Next, it means checking in at the registers office, auditing my transcript and files, making sure I have all my credits to be done. Part of this preparation means setting up my senior project presentation. For all that would like to listen, I will post a link on my blog to the online portal where you can log on and listen to me give my thesis presentation. It is scheduled for December 2nd, my first day in Norway, where I will be preparing for the Lillehammer World Cup’s. 
Preparing for spending another five months away from home is the final preparation. This means making my bed for when I arrive back home, this means making calls to all my closest family and friends telling them goodbye, and this means reflecting on what a fun and successful training season I have had. Now it is time to get this party started! I am really looking forward to this coming season. I will be racing the full World Cup Season for the second time now, hopefully spending more time racing this year, and less time sitting on the sidelines getting over sickness. I will also be starting the Tour de Ski for the first time after Christmas!!
Period 1 racing schedule:
November 29: Kuusamo, Finland Claassic Sprint
November 30: Kuusamo, Finland 10k Skate
December 5: Lillehammer, Norway Skate Sprint
December 6: Lillehammer, Norway 10k Skate
December 7: Lillehammer, Norway 10k Pursuit
December 13: Davos, Switzerland 15k Classic
December 14: Davos. Switzerland Skate Sprint
December 20: La Clusaz, France Skiathlon
December 21: La Clusaz, France 4x5km Relay
Huge thanks to Salthcuk for signing on with me this year and partnering with me to support my ski racing this winter! Another huge thanks to Alaska Pacific University for making an awesome training season. I am going to miss you guys! Can’t wait to see how well everyone does on the domestic circuit!! I am sure I will have some more APU teammates joining me mid season!
Judy Patrick photo
APU girls enjoying some training
Becca getting some serious air time in jumps.
Now, it’s off to Finland we go!!