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Wild Rumpus Sports
 

Speed Dating a Skier

I apologize for the mid-season radio silence but I have some exciting news to share…my blog is now being featured on Cross Country Skier Magazine, the journal of cross-country skiing!!! Check out their site for my most recent blog posts and weekly musings on everything from racing and training to the real life challenges of peeing in a onesie ski suit. I will no longer be posting here as often but will be posting regularly to the new blog, Life on the Tracks over at www.crosscountryskier.com.

For now a quick update…think of this as the speed-dating version of blogging with 12 things in 12 minutes to cover the last 12 weeks (!!!) of racing.

1. 9,200+ Push-Ups!

I owe a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported the November Project Fundraiser. With your help I was able to surpass my goal of 5,000 push-ups and now have over 9,000 push-ups in my future along with a funded ski season. I could not do what I do without your support and cannot tell you how much I appreciate the many individuals and organizations who help make this dream possible to pursue. Also my arms are going to be huge by the springtime when I finally finish these things. Pictures to come…


2. Turned 27 years old

Birthday ski with Natalie, my little sis!

3. Earned 6 podiums in 9 races

Podium after a type II fun skate race

Sprint podium in West Yellowstone, MT

I had an awesome start to my season this year in West Yellowstone, Montana and managed to land on the podium in 6 of my first 9 races. After two back to back weekends racing in Montana, I traveled to SilverStar Canada for combined SuperTour/NorAm races and suffered through a painful 10km for one of my best ever skate races. Andy joined me the next weekend for a Canadian 3-race mini-tour in Rossland, B.C. before heading back to Bozeman for Christmas!

Ski adventures in Bozeman with Andy!

4. Frostbit my toes

Tall trees and cold feet in SilverStar

5. Found the perfect Christmas tree with my favorite person

My most favorite Christmastime activity

6. Sent it for all the marbles at U.S. Nationals. Earned my first yellow card.

Deep in the pain cave at U.S. Nationals where I skied to a somewhat disappointing but hard fought 8th place

7. Tackled the rain at Soldier Hollow for a best ever classic finish at U.S. Nationals

Papa Flow made it down to Soho for the races! Thanks for cheering pops!

8. Played in the snow…a LOT

Perfect tracks in Park City

9. Found that California sunshine for SuperTour #3

Oh hello sunshine!

10. Then found that California snow.

Went into survival mode for snowmageddon 2017 in Truckee, CA and our first cancelled race of the season due to an overabundance of snow

Embracing the snowiest of storms

11. Entered my first Boulder Mountain Tour.

Beat the mouthy master blasters who tried to bring down our mojo.

Podium pic with Nat!

Women’s podium (Mary Rose, Caitlin Gregg and me)

12. Traveled to the midwest for SuperTour #4 in Ishpeming, MI

Food trucks after the race=winning

Check out the new blog at www.crosscountryskier.com to continue following along!

5,000 Push-Ups

About this time last year I was lying face down on the shag carpet of the upstairs hallway in our West Yellowstone rental having been knocked out by an aggressive fever-inducing head cold. Below me I could hear the chatter of my teammates and family preparing a Thanksgiving Feast/birthday dinner to celebrate the holiday and my 26th year of life. Although I couldn’t smell a thing, I imagined the aromas of turkey and apple pie wafting up the staircase while I blew my nose into a nearby tissue. I was incredibly grateful that, despite my inability to contribute anything productive to the celebratory dinner, my family and teammates made a drool-worthy feast complete with pie AND birthday cake and I was surrounded by some of my most favorite humans. Plus my elbow was nearly healed and I knew good things were in store for the next year. Enjoying West Yellowstone…

The Fall Freight Train

   (Matt Whitcomb photo) And then it was November. Fall for a skier seems to speed by like a freight train, barreling its way towards the start of the season and mocking the longer, slow days of summer left handily in the distance. Short, fast intervals largely replace the lengthy distance sessions of July and August and the gym looks like a field of bunnies, athletes literally hopping through workouts to build explosiveness and quickness. Fall came and went and in the last eight weeks I wrote exactly zero blogs. So what did you miss? A quick re-cap of all the things that got me to November… Erika embraces all things pumpkin spice Erika goes to NYC Erika makes a magazine for women! Erika skis on snow Erika becomes a strength coach Erika can’t breathe Erika makes gains Erika gets published Erika says yes to the dress Erika returns to…

Bonking the Noggin’

Mind-blowingly beautiful About halfway through a set of thrusters in the gym last week, I bonked myself on the noggin. Somewhere between a deep squat and an explosive overhead press, my head got in the way of the bar. I managed to throw the full strength of my body plus about 75 pounds of moving deadweight squarely into the bottom of my chin. After the initial shock of slamming a bar into my face wore off and the subsequent tears had subsided, I shuffled back to the bar to the finish the set. This time, I spent an extra few seconds double checking my form. I focused on tightening my core, placing my feet squarely below my shoulders, taking an extra step back from the squat rack and breathing deeply before launching into a series of squat thrust combos. Ten minutes later I had completed my sets and moved on…

On Trying

If you’ve ever watched my teammate Jessie Diggins race, then you know that she has this incredible ability to push herself to her absolute limit, ride the line of pain and maximal physical exertion and then just blow right by it. She finishes nearly every race with nothing left to give, leaving every ounce of energy, strength and sweat on the race course. I’ve always admired this about her and fantasized about what it would be like to race like that. It’s not that I don’t push myself or suffer my own version of pain during races, but I rarely come face to face with that line of absolute effort where the body has two choices: move forward faster or fall down trying. Testing blood lactates during a hard interval session Although updates to my blog haven’t changed much in the last month (whoops!) my relationship with pain has. It…

The Sweat Life

Sweaty, salty and sweet. Also shoutout to Salomon for making summer training clothes all in my favorite color 🙂 While our U.S. teammates headed north to Alaska, the rest of the SMS crew stayed in Stratton just in time to welcome mid-summer heat and a whole lot of humidity. After the cool nights and mid-70 degree dry days of June, we started to wonder if summer in the East might actually be the new West. We were wrong. But there is something strangely satisfying about suffering through the sticky days of July. You finish workouts drenched in salt and sweat, party disgusted and partly proud of the fact that your shirt is now a complete shade darker than when you started. Annie embracing the sweaty gym sessions (Reese Brown photo) Despite the heat, or maybe because of it, we’ve had some great sessions here working through big volume training. Here’s…

Days of the Week: A Definitive Ranking

And on Sundays…we adventure run! Unconfined by the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-5 grind, the “workweek” takes on a whole new meaning for skiers. A regular training schedule offers a certain flexibility and freedom many office dwellers envy. However, we are never “not working.” Unlike a more traditional occupation, where work stops at the door, nearly everything we do is a part of our job from the actual training to sleeping and even eating. Fridays mark the beginning of a mini training block rather than the end of a week and Mondays bring a welcome day of rest. Sundays and Mondays become the best fishing days By the end of June in Stratton, the entire team is in full-on training mode. The line between weekends and weekdays blur and training “blocks” define our “workweek.” The days of the week take on different personalities and Friday no longer reigns as the crowd favorite….

Spring Cleaning

Spring marks the official start of the new training year. Like old shoes, we throw out the worn down muscles and memories of seasons past and start anew with fresh bodies and minds. The month of May offers a clean slate etched with bigger and better goals and a plan to try and reach them. My spring cleaning this year included some much needed rest and active recovery both in Montana and at the beach with Andy along with some exciting new changes to training. 1. Making Muscles Excited to be trying a slightly different type of muscle making this year Making muscles has never come easily to me and after a few years of marginal results I decided to make some changes. Although strength has been one of my big goals for the past two years, I have a lot of room to grow (literally) and decided that I…

Top 12 List: A Retrospective

2016…that’s a wrap (Reese Brown photo) Three years ago, I made it my goal to qualify for the Canadian World Cup Tour in 2016. I followed the goal planning process shared by ski mentors and champions before me and took to heart the advice that “you can do anything you set your mind to.” That’s how goals work right? You set big ones, make a plan to achieve them, tick off all of the training and racing boxes and three years later you bask in the glory of representing the U.S. in your first World Cup races. Turns out ski racing is a little more complicated than that. Unexpected injuries or setbacks, changes in training or coaching, experiments that don’t work out as planned, not to mention the social and emotional side of racing can interfere with the straightforward goal planning and execution. Even a perfectly laid out plan may…

6 Hacks to OPA Cup Racing

  Toblach, Italy also known as one of the most photogenic places in the world With momentum on my side following a string of strong domestic results and 3 years of OPA experience under my belt, I traveled to Europe this year ready for BIG things. Although I missed my goal of qualifying for the Canadian World Cups this year, I was excited for the opportunity to race in Europe and intended to make the most of it. I envisioned myself posting personal best finishes, breaking into the top 5 and maybe even fighting for a podium spot at OPA Cup Finals. Excited and ready to race in Italy and Germany for OPA Cup Finals (Julia Kern photo) Well, not to spoil things, but none of that happened. In two weeks of OPA cup racing, I broke the top 20 exactly twice. On one occasion I finished within 4 seconds…