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Archive for July, 2008

Glacier Camp Photos

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Just got down from the third glacier camp of the summer.  Weather conditions varied from bright sun, to wind and fog, and even 4 inches of fresh snow.  Very good practice for European winter conditions and Callaghan Valley-esc variety!

This camp was focused on intensity and moderate volume.  I trained 21 hours with two L5 sprint sessions, two strength sessions, two L3 threshold pace sessions and one set of L4 skate intervals.

The varied snow conditions gave me a good chance to test skis.  Together with coach Erik Flora and APUNSC ski tech Casey Fagerquist, we experimented with different binding placements and played with the kick zones on my classic skis.

We’ll be back up at the TTC on Eagle Glacier in two weeks.


Glacier skiing and playin’ it safe

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

I just got down off of Eagle Glacier for our second APU on-snow camp of the summer. It hardly seemed like summer up there, with night-time temperatures below freezing, fresh snow flurries and powder snow conditions. We didn’t quite get away with hard wax this camp, but it pretty close. The skiing was awesome!

The camp started out on Thursday with an early morning check-in at 7:45am. The weather was not flyable for the helicopter so we did a roller ski workout on our own in town, hoping that the weather would be better later on. Next check-in was at 11am. Still not flyable, check in at 3pm.

By 3pm the weather didn’t seem to be getting any better, so the call was made to hike in. The team assembled at the school campus, jumped into the team van, and headed down to Girdwood. By 5pm we were on the trail, upward

The hike was scenic and smooth, and team was in good spirits. Within 3 hours, we were at the training center having dinner and settling in.

Day one on snow started off with a level 5 sprint pace workout. We broke the intensity into three sections and did repeats of 5x1min on varying terrain. The legs burned, and it was a good simulation of a real sprint day. In the afternoon we rounded out the balance of the day with a classic distance ski.

Day two was another sprint pace workout, this time classic. We started off on skate gear and completed 5 loops of a 500m oval. Men and women started together and it was fun to rub elbows with the guys! For the second set of intervals, we remained on our skate gear and looped through a specially groomed figure 8 course working on cornering. With each pass, the snow got a little deeper, once I went down. For the third set, we switched back to our classic gear. The course went across a gradual up, turned a hard right and charged up a big climb. It was hard! On the fifth and final interval, I made it three-quarters up the hill before the lactic acid got to me and I lost my momentum 15m before the finish. My teammates went charging by as I hung on my poles. Disgusted with myself to have stopped prematurely, I went back down to the bottom and did another full interval. At the three-quarters mark, I almost stopped again, but was able to push the last bit this time. When I finally crossed, Erik announced that I just skied my fastest split. I laid on the snow, chest heaving and my body burning from the effort. After a couple minutes I pulled myself up and skied a short cool down. Then the team met up again for a little herring-bone practice.

We lined up side by side for 5 repeats of 10-second bursts. It was a fun challenge to see who could herring-bone the fastest. After the third repeat however, I was having trouble catching my breath. The team went down and did another repeat while I tried to get my breathing under control. Then I realized my heart was racing as well. My heart rate monitor read 195. (My highest observed max heart rate is 191). The feelings were very uncomfortable and I tried to stay relaxed. It took several minutes to bring my breathing and heart rate back in control. Erik gave me his jacket and Dylan gave me his snow pants to stay warm. Then Erik drove me back up to the training center to check my pulse and blood pressure.

My blood pressure was high at first, but then slowly came back to normal. We called some of the doctors I’ve been working with to try and figure out what had happened. Erik suspected dehydration combined with the altitude and the hard efforts, but because I’m still on the anti-coagulant for clot prevention and only two months post blood clot, we wanted to make sure there wasn’t something dangerous going on. The weather was clearing and the sky was open for the helicopter to fly in.

We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to fly out just to be on the safe side. While it was likely that this was an isolated incident, it wasn’t worth risking my health or my life in case something serious happened and medical attention wasn’t available. So I flew down and finished the week of training from home in town.

I got hold of a couple of the doctors I’ve been working with and they both concurred that the incident was mostly likely due to the dehydration/altitude/hard effort combo. I continued training to finish out the week with no more problems.  Roller skiing just didn’t feel as nice as skiing on snow.

Now I get to enjoy my first real recovery week of the ’09 training year.