Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The working athlete

This summer, I was priviledged enough to go to two training camps up at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center. Priviledged not just in the sense of being invited there, but also because I work at a job where I can take off for a week to pursue my passion, because I had the funds available to pay for the camp and the travel to the camp, and because of the quality of coaching, training, and recovery available while I was there. Being at a ski camp makes you feel like a pro, because everything you do is planned out specifically to make you a faster skier. Its a relief to have a change from the usual grind, but camps are not quite like vacation, because there is no beer and your tan lines don't look too good in a bikini afterwards. There is also this sense of FOCUS, even when you're just sitting around with your feet up.

Despite loving ski camps, I don't think I could live that life, day-in, day-out, eat-train-eat-sleep-eat-train-eat-sleep repeat. I live a busy life down here, but I like it that way, it keeps my minimal attention span amused. This is not an ideal lifestyle for being the fastest skier I can be, though, and camps serve to remind me of that. Training as a working athlete is something that master athletes do everywhere, and while I didn't think it would be that difficult as I was graduating college, I've come to realize its no joke - there is a reason why we don't see many senior skiers living a master skier lifestyle, we aren't tough enough! They're right when they say "job, family, ski training, choose two". As Ilke mentioned after one of the Jericho rollerski races, she and Jess were the only people there with real jobs. Most pro skiers don't have time for a real job, because they are just that - pro skiers.

When I'm at a camp, pretending to be a pro, my schedule looks somewhat like this:
6:55 wake up
7:00-7:30 easy jog or spin on the stationary bike to loosen up, stretching or yoga
7:30-8 breakfast
8-9 pack food for training, get ready etc
9-12 training session 1
12-1 lunch
1-1:30 nap
1:30-2:30 ice bath or physical therapy for various overuse injuries
3-6 training session 2
6-7 dinner
7-9 shower, chill out with my feet up, browse the web, watch tv, be a waste of space.
9pm bed

rinse, lather, and repeat...

When I'm home in Boston, a day in the life looks something like this:
5:25 wake up
5:30-8:00 training session 1
8-8:15 rushed breakfast, pack lunch, change clothes, run out the door
8:15-8:45 ride to work (nice weather), or
8:15-9 bus to work (feeling wimpy)
8:45-9 shower
9-4:30 work
4:30-5:15 bike home (it takes longer in the afternoon, theres always wind)
5:30-7:30 training session 2
7:30-8 make dinner
8-9 finally sit down/eat dinner
9-11 make lunch for tomorrow/other random chores that always need doing (sharpen rollerski tips, fix bikes, achilles pt, maybe read a book to unwind... )
11 bed

yeah, double workouts suck. Anyway, the lack of a nap is clearly my limiting factor. If I could nap everyday, I would totally be an olympian...

This is what happens to wannabe pros when they meet the real pros:


Jess said...

I get a lot more sleep than you do.

Alex said...

I don't do double workouts every morning. That would kill me. I probably only get up before 6:30 three times a week or so? But yeah, you getting more sleep = way more pro than me.

Jess said...

The sleeping part really cuts into the keeping the apartment clean part though...

Anonymous said...

Interesting point about how the majority of the field at Jericho didn't have "real" jobs. On the men's side, there was a small group of competitors with "real" jobs, and you could find us all at the bottom of the results list!

Jamie said...

Your drawing skills are getting better!