May 21st, 2013
The last week, I’ve been doing a lot of running around – errands, and literally running in circles for training. Running in the park. Running my sister to school. Running the face painting station for Girls On The Run. Running a half marathon race. Running to the vet. Running to Finn Sisu to pick up ski poles. Running to the dentist and eye doctor, because goodness knows when I’ll be home next! It’s been busy, but at the moment time has stopped and the only thing that determines when it starts again is when the plane is cleared for takeoff. It’s kind of a sad moment when you realize how truly powerless you are in an airport.
Because of all the thunderstorms, my flight was delayed, and so after getting bored with my tour de Twin Cities airport posters…I finally settled in a corner to blog, thinking I’d finish up and get on the plane and be in Bend by 10:30pm. Turns out, the delayed flight made me miss the next one, and same for Sophie, so we crashed at Parker and Hannah’s house. They were so nice, letting us stay and this morning there wasn’t any standby room on the flight, but instead of spending another 12 hours in an airport (gah!) Hannah picked me up and we went to the mall where I bought a set of clean clothes and shoes, and then went for a run. Hopefully I’ll make my flight tonight to Bend, where I can see the rest of my team and get back into regular training life! But enough whining – nobody said this job was glamorous! Let me explain what’s been going on the past week at home.
The Girls On The Run event last week was really neat. I’d heard a lot about them and wanted to see for myself if anything in the world could possibly be as fun and PINK as a Fast and Female event. And….this fit right in! I volunteered my time and ended up in the face painting station, which I was thrilled with. Good thing my awfully limited artistic skills weren’t tested, as most of the girls wanted mustaches in various colores curling across their faces. I hope I’m not the only one to find some irony in the fact that this event centered around girl’s empowerment through sport…and all the girls wanted mustaches. It’s cool though, I love Steve Prefontaine as much as the next girl.
Sadly, the next story isn’t as good as girls in pink running around. My dog, Sally, was 13 years old and died while I was home. She had been slowing down and we knew it was going to happen soon, but it was still really, really hard to lose a member of the family. I had to include this picture of her as a puppy with my sister, because everyone’s allowed to get a little sentimental on their own blogs, right?
Yesterday morning, my family ran in the Apple Blossom Races. My Mom walked the 5km because she is recovering from a concussion she got in Florida. She fell off the stand up paddleboard, and hit her forehead, and at the time she felt ok and we all thought nothing more of it. But when she got back home, she was feeling bad and got it checked out…and it turns out she had gotten a concussion, which totally sucks! She’s starting to feel better but is taking it really easy right now. My sister and Dad ran the 10km, and I ran the half marathon. I was supposed to stay in L2 or lower the whole time (so not really “race”) but I couldn’t help myself the last half mile. I mean, running 13 miles and not getting the full endorphin buzz?!? What a ripoff!
And last but not least, the USST girls team won one of the very prestigious “Johnny 5 Awards”. Our award is to “Liz Diggins”, the write up is very nice and I wanted to share my 1/7 of the award! Here’s the link: http://johnnyklister.com/2013/05/the-2013-johnny5-liz-diggins-the-power-of-team/
May 15th, 2013
I’m back from an awesome 5 day vacation in Florida with my Mom and sister, and back to regular training. I did a lot of running in Florida and some swimming, but it was mostly a chance to enjoy the last bit of the spring break! We packed a ton into the 5 days we were there, and I have some fun pictures to share.
Vacation started with a day at the beach. We went surfing in the morning, and although the waves were pretty small there were a lot of them, and after a few hours both Mackenzie and I were standing up and riding them! I absolutely loved it.
In the afternoon we rented stand up paddleboards, which was fun but challenging as the wind picked up and the water got choppy. I won’t pretend to be good at surfing on either a board or stand up paddleboard, but wow I sure love learning!
Ok, before I write any more, I’m going to begin by first calling myself a dork. Now that I’ve said it before you can think it, I can continue writing about the rest of my vacation. :) Because the next place we went was Universal Studios, and my absolute favorite thing was….Harry Potter World. I loved how they got all the details from the book just right, and the rollercoasters were pretty awesome since half the ride was upside down. That night, we went to Cirque de Soleil, la Nouba. It was an incredible performance!
I think we totally lucked out with the weather, because it was sunny and warm the whole time except the one hour it rained. And by “rained”, I mean a crazy downpour where the water came down in sheets. But that afternoon we were at the waterpark anyways, so we were already wet and didn’t care! However, when the rain became classified as a thunderstorm, the park managers DID care and shut down the park, so we spent the evening at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
I dug up this old picture from 13 years ago…when my little sister met Cinderella for the first time and was so happy she became speechless!
This time around, we wandered around going on rides and marveling at whoever designed the park, because they sure got every last detail right, from the towers on the castles down to the cobblestones.
The next day we spent at Epcot, which was so neat for me to walk around the lake where they have a little piece of different countries from around the world set up. Having been to a bunch of them over the winter, it was cool to be able to step right back in. Italy was probably the easiest – it felt and looked like I was back in Predazzo, where we spent about a month over January/February.
They also had the flower festival going, and it fun running around seeing all the character topiaries, and the flowers blooming all over the park.
Before we left, we spent some time hanging out at the hotel pool. We were staying at these condos that were on the edge of a lake, with a beautiful boardwalk and a nice big pool.
Although we had a kitchen and did a lot of cooking for ourselves, there was also great dining in the area. My favorite was a café called Tu Tu Tango, where they only served appetizers so you could order a bunch for the table to share, and there were surprise performances by artists. There were people painting throughout the café and dancers would randomly start to salsa dance to the music.
So now I’m back home! But not for long – this Sunday, I’m leaving for Bend, Oregon, for our first US Ski Team camp. I’m so excited to see everyone again, although there have been some changes to the team roster, both on the US team and my club team, SMST2. While it’ll be a bummer not to see Kris, Skyler and Tad at the US camp, I’m sure the guys will still get to train with them some. However, I’m so excited that Sophie, my SMS teammate, is now also on the USST! And we got some fresh faces added to SMST2 this year – Annie Pokorny, Simi Hamilton, and Ben Saxton (he’ll be PG’ing, I believe). I can’t wait to train with them!
May 3rd, 2013
Ok, what is UP with snow on May 2nd? And not just a dusting of it – 6.5 inches in my backyard! A half hours drive North of Afton there wasn’t any snow at all, and down by Redwing they got about a foot. This is weird.
I went out to the park today (the Afton State Park, where they don’t groom but you can break your own trail and poach the dowhill slopes of Afton Alps) and had a really fun ski. It was slow going and the snow brought down more than a few trees, so there was a lot of ducking going on while cruising downhill.
I was debating whether or not to post about my “car troubles”, but since no real lasting damage was done, I decided….why not? I already write about most everything else going on in my life.
This was two spring snowstorms ago, on April 18th. It started out as icy rain, which quickly froze and started turning to snow. I wasn’t psyched about driving in it in the first place, but I needed to get my little sister from the bus stop, so I decided I’d be fine if I just drove slow. So I got my sister and headed home.
But we weren’t fine. Neither was the car.
The annoying this is, I thought I was doing everything right. I had both hands on the wheel, was going super slow, wasn’t on my phone, ect. But at the top of a hill about a mile and a half from home, I drove under some trees where the rain had frozen and must have tapped my brakes at exactly the wrong time. The car started to skid, and I panicked, and probably made it worse by overadjusting.
We went off the road and hit a tree going sideways, scraping along before coasting into a cornfield. The windshield cracked, the two left windows shattered, the side airbags deployed and the frame bent inwards. If we had gone off the road three feet later, we wouldn’t have hit anything and been fine, but if we had gone off the side three feet earlier, we would have been seriously hurt. As it was, Mackenzie’s side of the car was completely pristine and she was shaken up but fine, and although my side looked wrecked I was also untouched except for a few small cuts from the glass all over me.
I was actually able to drive the car out of the ditch, but since the airbags went off and all, it was decided that the car was totalled. Luckily, our insurance was great and we were able to get a new car. The only lasting damage is this: the song “Radioactive” was playing when we hit the tree and now everytime I’m driving and the song comes on the radio, I get a sudden wave a panic and have to change the station. Super weird and annoying, because I loved that song. But life goes on!
I guest coached the strength workout today for Loppet Nordic Racing, which was fun. They were a really motivated group and it was cool to share new ideas and have everyone try them out.
Visiting Podiumwear in the cities was a real treat – I got to see what new fabrics and designs are coming out soon! Luckily I’m writing, not talking, so I don’t accidentally spill the secrets
I also got to kayak in a pool as part of a relay – the YMCA challenge games in Red Wing, MN. I was part of the Red Wing Slumberland Furniture team, and it was suprisingly challenging to navigate a turn around a buoy in a narrow lane!
April 29th, 2013
Alright everyone, spring break is over…at least, for me, the non-training part of it is. But that doesn’t mean I’m locked into “serious training” mode! I still get to have fun and this time of year, there’s a lot of cross training going on (running, roller skiing, biking, swimming, ect.). And I still have my official spring vacation with my Mom and Sister coming up next week. We’re going to Florida, and I’m SUPER excited to spend time on the beach, go to a couple water parks, and of course visit Harry Potter World. For those of you rolling your eyes…get a life and a reality check!!! You’re never too old for Harry Potter world.
Just to spite my coach, I signed up for the Ironman Minnesota Bike Ride…the day before my official training plan started. Just kidding! I didn’t know I was screwing up the plan! Either way, it was a really fun ride. I lamented in earlier blog posts how extremely awkward I am on a bike, and how much biking really scares me. So the goal of the ride was to not only finish the 75 mile route, but to get more comfortable on a bike as I did. Turns out, 5.5 hours DOES make you a little more comfortable riding in a large group (go figure) and I also tried out clip-less pedals for the first time in my life.
A small footnote…I may have tried out said clip-less pedals the day before the ride, not the actual ride. I did the Ironman ride on a mountain bike. I know, I know! The whole point was to get on a road bike! But the totally awesome (and super cute) bike I was borrowing from Kris, my high school coach, didn’t work out because I wasn’t able to make it quite short enough, and I would have needed to tip-toe every stroke. But I tried it out first, and when I used the clip-less pedals, at least someone was there to watch me crash – my Dad. “You’re supposed to twist your foot out before you stop! Now quit lying there, get up”. Although if you asked him, he’d tell you that putting me on the mountain bike was all a brilliant part of his strategy for the day.
Besides the small detail of the mountain bike, the ride was exactly what I was hoping for and really, really fun. There were thousands of bikers, and ability levels and experience ranged from professionals to little kids. The last hour of the ride, I was in a bit of a time crunch, because I had to be home in time to go to my sister’s voice recital. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and I wanted so badly to finish the planned route, so the last 15 miles I felt like I was in race mode! It didn’t help that we were biking directly into the wind, either – and at one point I looked back and saw a chain of guys on road bikes drafting me. In my fuzzy brain state, I could only think “SHAME ON YOU!!! Drafting a chick on a mountain bike!” But later I had to laugh about it. In case you’re wondering, I made it home with exactly 10 minutes to shower and change
Later that evening, I went to the Red Wing Nordic Club’s end of year party. It was really cool to meet the members of the club started two years ago by coach David Asp, and everyone had a fun year and learned a lot.
April 21st, 2013
After last year’s suprise party (I nearly jumped out of my skin, I was so suprised!) and getting to see all my friends when I came home from the ski season, I thought there was no way any welcome home party could possibly top that. But yesterday at the Lake Elmo ski center, Kris Hansen and Ahvo Taipale organized such an awesome Nordic event that I was blown away! Around 140 people showed up and I got to see so many friends and meet new people. It always makes my day when I meet a young skier who tells me that they want to go to the Olympics one day. Even better – when they say that they are GOING to get to the Olympics!
I learned that the Stillwater City Council declared April 20th “Jessie Diggins Day”, and at first I thought it was a really well planned and elaborate joke, because there was no way they could actually do that! But nope, it really happened. I was overwhelmed! We raffled off some fantastic prizes from my sponsors including a pair of Salmon skate and classic skis, a One Way pole tube and poles, and Marwe rollerskis. And my favorite part was handing out posters to the kids and hearing what clubs they skied with!
In case you haven’t heard from the tone of my last few posts – I’m loving being home. Picking my sister up from school, going sledding at Afton Alps, seeing my friends home from college. I had to include this last picture of Cass. He found a bird that hit the window and didn’t make it, and he was fiercely protective of it because he wanted to present it to my Dad. He wouldn’t let me take it from him, and I had to bribe him with treats!
About the Ironman Bike Ride – I’m still signed up, but now the distance has changed. I got my Dad to sign up for the ride with me, and he insisted that if we were going to do it, we might as well do the 75 mile ride. And heck…why not just ride out the front door, and bike to the starting line? And if it’s a particularly nice day out, we’ll ride as far as we possibly can.
When I was little, my Dad never talked about how to be tough. He never lectured on how important it was to be mentally in the game, to be able to ride out the aches and pains in a long race. Instead, he led by example. He simply went out and did it. I remember going to cheer him on in marathon races, and now it’ll be fun to do a long distance event with him.
So with that in mind, I went out for a ride today and did a little math. And it’ll probably take us about 5+ hours to do the whole thing. I’m actually pretty excited, because I know that we’ll make it, it’s just a question of how ridiculously sore I’ll be afterwards, having done very little biking beforehand. I guess we’ll find out!
April 16th, 2013
First off – Hi there Minnesotans! I’m really excited to see many of you this Friday at Lake Elmo Park Reserve chalet. We’re having an end-of-season party, and it’s free, open to everyone Nordic, and from 6-9pm. I’ll be sharing some stories and photos from the season, but only if you promise to share with me your best Birkie/Loppet/State Meet story. There will also be posters, and because my sponsors are super nice, a drawing for free Salomon skis, One Way poles, Marwe rollerskis, ect. Hope to see you there!
Alright. Now it’s time to tell you about the thing I signed myself up for! I decided to enter the Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride, and the plan is to do the 50 mile (yes, I realize that 50 is not the real ironman distance). Let me explain why this is a big deal for me: I don’t bike. At least, not seriously. I love biking to the park or the gym, but I have never used clipless pedals. I have ridden a road bike a handful of times, and only to the coffee shop in Bend camp because there wasn’t a car. I can count on half a hand the number of mountain bike rides I’ve attempted. I’m pretty sure every year I write something in my blog about how nervous the annual Bend Camp bike ride makes me. But I decided I really need to get better at biking, so I signed up. Totally logical, right? I’ll let you know how it goes!
I’m sitting here watching the sun melt the snow away, and I’m pretty pumped about it. I can’t wait for it to get warm here so I can finally start gardening and wearing shorts outside! I love snow, don’t get me wrong, just…..not in mid-April. Although I guess I need to wait until I feel better before I’m running around outside anyways. I got sick as soon as I got home – my body must have realized I wasn’t going to make it race anymore and decided to shut down. But I’m pretty ok with that, since this is the one time of year when I’m not stressing about staying healthy!
April 13th, 2013
Well…that’s that! It’s over. I am back home now, super excited to get some quality time with my family and friends in Minnesota! It was a long, long season, with so many awesome memories and experiences (see the “here’s what I think about the last 5 months” post for more information on a season-wrap up).
We ended the season with a crazy hard race – the 30km classic mass start, in sunny temps above 50 degrees F and slushy snow that got softer and slower each lap! And I’m famous for overheating in races, so although I wore only a t-shirt and had no hat or gloves, I had to get ice water sloshed on me to survive the last lap. In a way, it was very fitting to have such a tough race at the end of a long gritty season, just to end it right.
The race was made tactically challenging by having ski exchanges. You could change twice if you wanted/needed to, but the penalty was about a minute, because it was an extra loop to get to the pits. The podium finishers (Liz, Kikkan then Rosie) didn’t change, and skied away from the rest of the field in an impressive race! It would have been smarter not to change, but after two laps I felt like I didn’t have a choice as the kick was wearing down. So I made the exchange with 10km to go, getting dropped from the pack I was skiing with in the process. It took me the entire rest of the race to fully catch up, and in a sprint off I just barely snagged 4th place. So I suppose there may be hope for me as a classic sprinter…as long as there are 29km beforehand!
Then the next day us SMS ladies went out to cheer for the boys and man the feed station in the woods. We got a real kick out of how much thought our boys put into marking their feed bottles: either they wanted to make it REALLY easy for us, or they didn’t trust us to put the right mixture in. Hah!
Tahoe Donner put on one last BBQ, and it was really bittersweet for me to see all my ski buddies one last time before going home. I was so darn ready for some chill time, but at the same time, these guys are my family too, and it’s going to be weird not having them around for the next month.
Good thing the next season training starts in only 4.5 weeks
April 9th, 2013
A bunch of Cross Country skiers crashed the Alpine slopes yesterday to preview the course for the hill climb. It was really fun to see everyone out there, and it was sunny and slushy.
The Classic Sprint races were an interesting thing for me…I realized that I had finally reached my point of being D.O.N.E. (Definitely Over the Nordic Experience). I was fully mentally and physically burned out from such a long and intense season. Unfortunately, racing without my head or heart invested in the outcome doesn’t produce great results, and I had this crazy guilt complex going for not wanting to race and feeling secretly relieved I was done after the semis. And it’s embarrassing for me to admit that I was so mentally done, because normally I’m always along for the ride. However, being burned out on racing doesn’t mean that I wasn’t still having a fun time being in Cali with my ski buddies and living with my team! So I decided I needed to find a way to get really excited about racing again so I could survive the final stage of the tour. More to come on this later.
Luckily, we had a chill day before the climb to rest up and recover from the last three days of racing. I got a massage from Sonja Harris, which felt amazing! If you’re ever in Truckee and need work done, I definitely recommend going to her: http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/Sonja.Harris.Massage.Therapy.530-587-0556
This morning, for the race it got colder, windy, and it snowed. Which was both good and bad, because the hill climb was SO HARD, and slush would have been a nightmare. But with the wind whipping snow sideways across the top, there were drifts to plow through and everyone’s poles kept getting blown around! To quote Sverre Caldwell: “After taking a quick poll of athletes and coaches after the race, I feel safe in saying that almost everyone would be happy if this event did not exist.”
I needed a lot of help getting psyched up for the race while still having fun…hence the crazy makeup. I think it’s really important to be able to laugh at yourself once in a while and not take things too seriously, so yesterday Erika and I tried to go thrift shopping for fun outfits. Turns out most places are closed on a Sunday afternoon. No suprises there. But we DID find some super loud makeup, so Sophie, Erika and I did the race with ridiculous eyeshadow, lipstick and glitter on. I definitely got a kick out of making people laugh all morning.
Once the race started, I started to feel excited because I recognized that my body had that good feeling again. And racing with good energy is pretty much a MILLION times more fun than racing on fumes. So then I had to calm down because I knew that at this crazy high altitude, pacing would matter a lot and blowing up in the middle of hill climb is just about the most painful thing you can do. I tried to be patient and slowly started reeling people in, working with Rosie a lot during the second half of the climb, which was sweet. I ended up crawling my way into 2nd place on the day and 5th in the mini-tour, and Liz won the Tour while also posting the fastest climbing time. On the boys side Erik Bjornsen won the Tour and Kris Freeman won the climb.
But although it’s always nice to have a good race, I found myself appreciating the effort of the climb more than any number on a sheet of paper, and celebrating other people’s great efforts much more than my own. Liz had a fantastic race, Sadie had a much better hill climb than last year, Erika was motoring up the slopes, Erik Bjornsen won the overall tour and had a great week in general. It’s been so fun to see people have PR’s and just good race experiences!
Wait a second! Getting to the top was hard enough, but getting back down the mountain was a crazy thing as well. It was so gosh darn windy and blowing snow everywhere, that I stood straight up while going downhill and almost came to a stop. I also fell down a couple times. Then I tried to snowplow a huge path through the drifts for the men (A hill climb is hard enough without deep snow, doncha think?) but with the wind I doubt my efforts to be helpful resulted in anything. So I settled for cheering near the base, and it looked like all the racers gave everything they had, which is always a cool thing to watch.
Last but definitely not least, Skyler Mullings has been putting together some really great videos of the races, so if you’re curious what the action and courses look like, here’s the link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6UB_sD5TdQ For all the videos, click the “Far West Nordic” channel. And a big thank-you to all the volunteers out there, rain, snow or sun, making this happen!
April 5th, 2013
Alright, I may have spoken a bit early in that last blog post. It rained ALL MORNING the day of the prologue race. Gah! But the thing that got my attention more than the rain (this is saying something because I was SOAKED) was how hard the coaches and volunteers were working, despite being cold and wet. The races went off without any problems, and people still showed up psyched to ring cowbells and be part of the action. I was actually pretty concerned about our coaches picking up pneumonia or something but they bounced back really fast once we got inside.
So maybe the rain wasn’t such a bad thing…although I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a ton of sun in the future, the bad weather from the get-go really showed how dedicated to making the race happen everyone was.
Personally, I was really happy with my race. I wasn’t sure how the pacing had gone because I was trying hard not to blow it on the big climb, as 7,500ft of altitude is not very forgiving! But I felt like there was a lot of energy still kicking around and I was able to get 2nd place, behind Kikkan, with Sadie coming in 3rd. It’s so nice when your head is ready to race and your body decided that it, too, wants to tear itself apart just for the challenge and endorphin rush. On the men’s side, Erik Bjornsen won with Knute Johnsgaard (CAN) in second and Mark Iverson and Mike Sinnot tied for third.
Here’s the link to the SuperTour Finals website: http://supertourfinals-tahoe2013.com/ and you can find results, course maps, latest news, ect. on it.
The other night we went to dinner at the Horn family’s house, where the rest of our team is staying. It was so nice of them to have us over!
When it was sunny one afternoon we ran down to the lake and Erika and I jumped in. Lake Tahoe is pretty chilly this time of year, just in case you were wondering. But I look forward to jumping in again when the sun comes back out!
So today’s race, the 10km mass start classic, was a pretty darn bad race for me. It wasn’t the worst of the season, but it was in the top-5 for sure. However, I’m actually not bothered by it! While in the middle of the season, a race like that would really shake my self-confidence and make me wonder if I’ve been doing all the right things with training and resting and picking skis…this is April. And I’m finally learning to put less pressure on myself, which frees me to just enjoy the day and the challenges of ski racing. So even though I bonked at about 4km (my body just didn’t have enough energy today at all) and my stomach cramped up so I was folding in half, I still had a great morning overall. Skiing in the sun with my friends, and getting to see people have great races, is all I really need this time of year. And for that matter, any time of year, but usually stress gets too high to fully appreciate it
A thought occured to me today…I haven’t skied in classic sprint rounds since last spring series! Goodness knows I haven’t qualified in World Cup classic sprints yet, so tomorrow will be a pretty sweet day if I can bust my way into and out of the quarterfinals (which would be pretty fun). We’ll have to see what my body has planned for me, but I’m hoping to get my striding mojo going!
April 3rd, 2013
Well, this is it: this skiing in the sun through slightly slushy snow, in a t-shirt, getting a sunburn (just kidding I put sunscreen on) is the perfect spring series. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
Our team is staying at a really nice house by the lake, at Kings Beach. It was given to us for the duration of Spring Series by Jill North – thanks a ton Jill! Below is the link, if you’re ever in the Tahoe/Truckee area:
Yesterday we had the first Fast and Female event in California at the Auburn Ski Club (where the first three races are hosted). It was a really fun event and all the girls left with posters, smiles, and tired legs from all the skiing and dancing they were doing!
What I think is especially cool about these events is that they work both ways; yes, the main goal is to inspire the girls to work towards their goals fearlessly and to keep sports in their life. Thus: “Spread the love, dominate the world!” But as an ambassador, I also leave every event feeling inspired. Seeing these girls challenge themselves, make new friends, and seeing my fellow ambassadors work so hard to make sure everyone has fun and the event is a success…I can’t help but walk away feeling good!
Tomorrow is the skate prologue, the first event of the mini-tour. I am actually pretty excited to see what my body has left me with, because a week ago I was sure I was done. I wasn’t mentally ready to race, and I was physically wrecked after a long season and then a lot of travel. But after taking a short break, and then getting back into skiing the last couple days, I’m psyched and suprised to find that I’m looking forward to racing again, and I hope my muscles feel the same way I guess the allure of a challenge (a mini-tour and then a 30km in slush? Only the Tour de Ski is harder)…it gets me every time.