Monday, July 18, 2011


Thing have been going alright in my prep for WOC, recently. Not great, because ski coaching does not equal time in the woods, but not too badly. Boris came up to town the other day, and we got to run in the woods, where he noted that I frequently divert from my planned line because vegetation pushes me around. So, it was determined that I must be more forceful about bashing through thick vegetation, and to do this, I was going to practice running in a straight line from one point to the next, regardless of what was in my way. With a few exceptions for things like cliffs, deep lakes, etc. This seemed like a fine exercise to me, I mean, what is the point of running through the woods if you aren't going to bash through vegetation and swim through marshes? I finally got around to it on Saturday, when my brother was visiting, so he came along, intrigued by this bashing practice I was planning.

We headed to Hammond Pond, and the bashing was going pretty well, I was starting to really get into it, when I hopped over a log, landed with my foot twisted on a side-hill, and felt the crunching that immediately precipitates a sprained ankle. This was my "good" ankle, the one that hasn't been FUBARed by multiple twists and sprains and torn ligaments like the other, and it's remarkable how much it hurts to sprain an ankle for the first time. Compounding the pain are all the negative thoughts that immediately flood your brain when you injure yourself in a traumatic way, as opposed to those ever-present overuse injuries. The realization that you've totaled your ankle four weeks before the World Championships, and you still have a good bit of work to do to be ready for those World Championships, is a hard one. I think that's most of what drives the emotion after an ankle sprain. The straight-up ANGER at your body for letting you down when you really aren't in the mood to be let down, the frustration at events you can't control. It all rages through my head for a few seconds as I think that the world is coming to an end.

But I stood up, and after a couple limping steps, I could put some weight on it. Not full weight, but there was no sharp pain, just a throbbing ache that wouldn't leave. After about five minutes, I could walk, not normally, but enough to get back towards the car, that Christophe had gone to retrieve. Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit DAMMIT! (I may have used stronger words at the time). Time to RIICE: Rest, Ice, Ibuprofen, Compress, and Elevate. That second I is an important one!

Things seem to be coming around, now. Still a bunch of swelling, but I have most of my mobility back, and the pain is mostly gone. I can walk normally, and will probably be taping it up and attempting to run pretty soon... I've never been good at resting.

We'll call these girls the enablers... not that orienteering is an addiction or anything.

Luckily, last weekend involved most of my mom's family being in town for a funeral/reunion, so my chances to go abuse myself even more were scarce. Three generations of women in the photo below, so great that my grandmother could make it up here!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CSU Ski camp

The CSU Ski camp just wrapped up, in Winchendon MA. This is the third year we've been there, and we're still super psyched to have this perfect location for camp. There's a pool on campus, dorm rooms, good rollerskiing, hills, and a great view.

The dining services apparently have a new manager now, with some different tastes than what nordies tend to eat during training camps, but we've learned our lesson there, and we'll be calling ahead to request some "special" meals of pasta before next year. Who knew that pasta was a special meal.

After two weeks of ski coaching, I'm feeling a little on the tired side. Mostly from rollerskiing; I haven't rolled this much since last fall, but the good news is that my elbow hasn't fallen apart yet. Other bits of my body seem to be cracking off, but that's just par for the course. Who really needs achilles tendons, anyway?

My favorite day of camp is the long hike along the Wapack trail. Here's a classic Alex-selfie, with the heads cut off of Hannah and Zoe.

One of the reasons I love this hike is for the blueberries. It's a mandatory stop along the ridge to stuff our faces with them. So good.

We had a lot of obligatory fun at camp, including tie-dying, minigolf, ice cream, ultimate frisbee, and orienteering. With five junior counselors to whom we could delegate tasks, it was actually almost relaxing for the so called "grown up" staff. That's in quotes because I count as one of them, and god knows I'm not a grownup yet. Anyway, Hannah organized the tie dying, and got headbands for everyone. I learned an important lesson about rinsing out your headband before wearing it on a long hike... check out the blue forehead!

The orienteering was a 30-minute score course, and the skiers were paired off. Different controls were worth different amounts of points, and there was only one team that got all the controls in the time limit. Two more got all the controls, but were over the limit. More importantly, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Handing out the maps.

After the orienteering, I had set up a 20-station circuit, that we ran through twice. That's a bit on the large size for a circuit, but, with 40 groups of 2, you needed that many stations. Rob couldn't handle the supermans, and demonstrates his best gopher face, which we've since determined is the face he makes any time he's really concentrating. Jamie snapped this photo just before I totally lost it convulsing with laughter.

Overall, it was a really fun camp. Great team spirit, and a great work ethic by all the kids. I'm ready to not do any more 6:45am morning runs, though... or any more rollerskiing, for that matter.

This is usually how I feel by the end of ski camps... it's hard work, no matter how much you delegate!

(Any photo with me in it is courtesy of Jamie Doucett)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh hey New England

I clearly don't feel that I know New England well enough, so I've been doing my part to travel to every single bit of it. At least, that's what it feels like. What happened to that plan to do less traveling?

Two weeks ago, we had the park-o run-off on Thursday; basically a chase sprint based on the results from during the season, where runners with lower points started first, and the faster runners tried to catch them. It was a really fun way to run a race, and it came down to sprint finish between Ari and Dean, through the rain across a muddy field, and Ari tripped right at the finish, sliding across the line on his belly, through the mud. Maybe it was planned, either way, it was a spectacular finish to the Park-o season. The picnic afterward was just icing on the cake.

Saturday I headed out to Baldwin Hill with our new Lithuanian recruit, Minda, and Jordan from West Point. We met Ali and played in the woods for an hour or two, and then went to Ross and Sam's goodbye/engagement party. They're headed for Sweden soon, that'll be sad.

Sunday I headed up north to Craftsbury, VT, with Rob, the head CSU coach. We had eight athletes at the Regional Elite Group camp, and we were on coaching duty, along with a bunch of other coaches from the northeast. Bryan Fish was leading the camp; he's the new USST development coach. It was a nice camp, if a bit rustic. Not sure I can deal with another week of phone-less internet-less seclusion... This is the only photo I have of the camp. Nice little accommodations, if a bit on the rustic side.

I made it back to Boston by Friday night, only to turn around and head back to VT at the crack o' dawn on Saturday. First stop was to put out some more temperature loggers, one of which required a 21km jog along the Appalachian trail, toward Stratton Mt. I managed to avoid any major climb, but my body was letting me know, in a very firm manner, that I needed a day off. My brain was in full agreement, and I was pretty grumpy by the time I got back to the car.That smile looks a little forced, eh? Nothing worse than running to a turn-around and realizing you still have to come back.

But, by that point, I was in VT, and Ed was there, so life was instantly a whole lot better. I managed to spend all of Sunday doing NOTHING work-related. Slept in 'til 10, took two naps, lit a mattress on fire (deliberately), watched a movie, drank some beers. Life is alright.

Hillbilly campfire.

The 4th of July happens at the Landgrove picnic. The fireworks were awesome, as always.

Now, it's frantically back to work for a day and a half, and then off to CSU's ski camp, in Winchendon. At least that one is close to civilization... but ski camps hold a lot less appeal when you don't really feel like rollerskiing. Bummer.