About Me

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Boulder, CO, United States
From Minnesota to Maine to the sunny land of Boulder, CO, I have been competing as an athlete all my life and been working as massage therapist for six years now. Helping athletes with greater recovery, bounce back from injury faster, and helping one's body perform at it's best is what I aim to do. My love for sport, training and helping a body feel good and perform at it's best has driven me into a career in massage therapy. I strive for nothing less than the best...let me help you reach greater heights.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A quick rewind...to some amazing athletes!

The snow maybe mostly gone for the season but I still have a few stories to share about my adventures this past winter.  Bare with me as I play a bit of catch up...

Spring series in the North American Nordic world is usually about the last racing event for the year.  Traditionally it has been held out West in higher elevations, where the snow tends to stick around a bit longer.  This year it was in the East, at Craftsbury.  Being in the East already,  I was happy to participate in the events, not only as a racer but helping out with another team as well.   I know I updated a few times already on this event but this time it isn't about my racing but of my opportunity to help out other racers.  
The Adaptive skiing and biathlon programs have seen an amazing amount of growth in the last couple years.  The  U.S. hosted two World Cup in the Midwest this past season.  Both of which were a great success.  Our National team is growing stronger by the minute and programs across the country are calling in new recruits left and right.  It only seemed natural that Spring Series to add an adaptive category to the mix.   And somehow in the organization of this event I was asked if I had interest in helping out with the adaptive races to be held at Spring Series. I obviously said yes,  and I am so very glad I did. 

The Adaptive event at Spring series was a mini-tour, much like the other races.  This means that there area  number of races in a row, where the results are added cumulatively in the end creating an overall winner.  This event consisted of three races; a prolog, a distance race and a sprint.  Among many other things, I learned quickly while helping out that organizing an event for these athletes has you take a lot of additional factors into consideration.  Creating a course that is challenging yet safe and doable for those in both a sit ski and the stand up skiers is not an easy task, especially when you are limited to a very small loop to begin with.  Despite this challenge we were able to come up with a different course for the athletes each day.  And, for the most part, I think they were all happy about it. 
The Nordic world in the U.S. is fairly small.  You don't have to be involved in it for too long before most faces and names become familiar.  Working with the Adaptive athletes gave me an opportunity to work with athletes with totally different backgrounds, which was a really cool experience.  Each athlete has his or her own unique challenges to overcome, adding another huge task to each athletes already full plate  of simply competing at their very best.  The specifics of each sit skiers "bucket", (a new term I learned  for what I called their sit ski), has to be just right and fit just for them.  I relate this to fitting a rifle for a biathlete, also a very specific fit that often takes years to get just right.  Much of what is fairly streamlined for stand up skiing is still very much a work in progress  for those racing in the sit ski division. This includes everything from finding the best length of pole, ski technique, flex of ski, and binding system.  My mind is spinning just thinking about all of this!

One of the things that amazed me most about these athletes during this event is that when they faced with questions about equipment and technique, last minute changes in race course and distance and additional challenges with equipment, took it all in stride.  They kept their focus and worked hard racing and even had huge grins on after their races.  Well, maybe not immediately after, but soon after they had recovered! :)  It was a great reminder to me what sport is all about.  Learning how to best work with your body to have the best performance you are capable of, no matter what the circumstances around you may be.  This group of athletes racing were working hard to do just that and I was inspired by watching it.  Many thanks to them and the organizers and program directors for giving me the opportunity to do so.  Hope to help out again sometime. 

More to come. Until then... think spring!  Because there isn't any snow left and 40 degrees and rain doesn't make for fun outdoor activities!  Bring it on sunshine!!! I'm ready!



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The season's end

Every racing season has it's ups and downs.  This year was no exception.  A few too many missed targets early on and sickness smack in the middle of it, threw my original game plan off for the year.  This is not to say that there weren't some successful moments or that I didn't enjoy my winter.  Things can always be a little bit better, right? That is what keeps us going, keeps us working hard?
The end of March came and I had one more race that I had signed up for.  My motivation going into it was not especially high. I was feeling a little tired, not in the best racing shape and my focus lacking slightly.  Thoughts of just passing on the last race of the year, the 30km U.S. Distance Nationals race, did pass through my mind a time or two. Finally, after giving myself a good kick in the pant,  I came to my senses and realized that I had the opportunity to race with an amazing group of skiers.  I was already at the venue and had already registered for it.  Of course I was going to race.
Now onto the weather.  Eighty degrees in March is not something I am use to.  Nor is it something that race organizers are planning for when hosting a ski event at the end of March.  After a year with limited snow, or snow followed by days of rain, a week of  nearly 80 F weather was not what any of the skiers or event organizers were hoping for.  This is where I take my hat off to all of the MANY volunteers and organizers at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.  They did what I thought was impossible.  They held all the races of spring series, including the women's 30km and men's 50km race.  It was all done on a 1.5km loop, but they did it.  I never thought they would be able to make it happen.
Having committed to helping with the Adaptive races earlier in the week, (which I will report more on very soon),  I was left with only one race to choose from.  The 30km skate race.  A skate race, which is much more in my favor than classic, and a longer distance.  Not a bad event for me to sign up for.  So I did.

It wasn't my best race of the year.  But it was an experience like no other I have ever had in Nordic or biathlon racing.   A mass start 30km race, twenty laps on a 1.5km loop  in warm and pretty sloppy conditions.  The conditions ended up being the most challenging part for me.  Hard and fast conditions always favor my kind of skiing.  Slow and sloppy conditions are a bit more challenging, which was what I found during the race.  The small loop made for great cheering the entire way and easy to take multiple feeds.  I had a crew counting laps for me, which turned out to be priceless.  I think I might still be out there if it wasn't for them.
I finished 29th place.  A bit behind where I would have liked to have been but in tough conditions in a very competitive field, not terrible.  This race turned into a mental battle for me.  Even though the loop was very small I found myself alone on the trail for good portions of the race.  Keeping my pace up during these times was a tough struggle, especially since it was a 30km, where the pace isn't crazy fast, but you still need to be moving at a good clip.  Knowing that I wasn't having my best race and that nothing was really on the line, as far as where I finished, made it hard to just keep going at time.  But I did.  I was proud to win that mental fight with myself.  I stayed in the game and crossed the finish line.  It is a race that I will remember, not because of my place or time, but because of what I overcame inside of myself to finish it.  You really do learn something new every time you put that race bib on.

Oh so tired...
Just keep skiing.....just keep skiing....