Standing On My Two Feet

This fall has been an adjustment in a few regards. 

First, we suddenly went from the most fantastically sunny summer ever in Alaska, into a cold, chilly, and wet fall. We shifted straight from training in shorts and tank tops to full length tights and jackets… jumping over that middle ground. 

Erik preparing for a swim.. nice way to break up the rain training.

Second, as fall hits, life becomes busier than ever. With sponsor events, team functions, Fast and Female planning, and school starting up again… the day becomes full on “game mode” from 7AM until 8PM. iCalendar becomes my best friend as I try to keep track of all ten separate places I must be throughout the day. 

Saltchuk Family Day- potato sack races and all! 

Third, training becomes even more intense than normal. We shift from lots of base training throughout the summer, to lots of base training combined with lots of intervals! Sleeping and resting becomes evermore important.

Taking advantage of recovery training with buddies.

And finally, after my most successful year of “injury-free” training, I took a little turn. Mid July I had a big fall when I was rollerskiing and banged up my hand pretty bad. X-rays didn’t show any major breaks, but there was a fair amount of ligament damage. I was put in a hard-brace for an eight week recovery, but the future was still plenty bright. I was forced to do some one pole skiing, avoid biking, and be extra cautious for my usual and frequent little tumbles I seem take. Six weeks into my recovery, I was flying down one of the hills on the rollerski path into a blind corner,  and as I came around it I came face to face with a mom and baby moose. My immediate reaction was “stop as quick as you can.” Having seen an angry momma moose stomp one of my teammates a few years back… I wasn’t interested in partaking in that sort of activity. So… I sat down on the side of the trail as quick as I could… hitting my tailbone at full force and unfortunately bending my fingers backwards around my hard cast that was protecting my hand injury. I stood up as quickly as I could, racing the opposite direction, back up the hill, and immediately felt I had done something very wrong to my bum that was screaming in pain, and my fingers that were quickly puffing up into balloons. 

Double brace syndrome
Going to the doctors office for x-rays becomes a lot less scary when this guy is guarding the room! Thanks AFOC and Greg Schumacher for taking good care of me!
ouch!

And that is how I went on to break my ring finger and do some quality ligament damage in the opposite direction just as I had six weeks before! It turns out pavement is more dangerous than expected… especially with no brakes! Standing on my two feet has just not been working out so well for me this fall.

So, it was time to head home… back to my roots… maybe learn how to stand on my two feet again. Last week I got to spend an awesome week in the Methow enjoying my last bits of warm weather, my last bits of family time with my sister and granny before the winter approaches, and my last bits of parental spoiling that I really miss! I haven’t been home during the month of September since I was living there, so I forgot how awesome fall is. Temperatures were a little warmer than normal, but I got to see some changing leaves, smell some familiar fall smells, and have some flash back memories from the start of school.

A little warmer than AK..!!
Family-time
Surprise birthday parties with Granny!
Not too bad!!
A little change in scenery.

I also got to spend a day with the local cross country running team and ski club. We talked goals, talked dreams, talked training, and talked about the path I took. It was super fun to see some serious talent coming together back home. There are certainly champions in the making back there!

Rollerski Speeds
Ella Hall
Agility training
Nordic Team Crew

My final day I got to do a four hour run in the mountains with my mom and dad. The North Cascades are a seriously amazing place… I always forget how amazing those mountains are. They are different than anything I see in AK, so I am like a kid in a candy shop when I go back! As we were heading down the final 30 minutes with both my mom and dad… I realized how lucky I am. No wonder I learned to love this sport, and learned to love this goal of mine. I learned how to stand on my two feet chasing my parents around in the mountains with my brother and sister. To this day, I still get to do that (not often enough)! I couldn’t be more thankful to my parents for teaching me this passion, and reminding me why I am doing this! It is nice to have little reminders periodically, it keeps me excited about what I am doing every day.

Still getting my butt kicked by mom.
Cutthroat Pass.
Beauty Places!

So now I am back in AK for the next three weeks, back on the pavement, and crossing my fingers that I stay on those two feet of mine!