Friday, June 27, 2008

An Easy Week

This week has been a recovery week following the conclusion of our most recent training camp with the National A Team. During last year's training camp in June it was all I could do to survive the high training hours and intensity. This year has been completely different so far. Last year's huge increase in training hours is paying off. Rather than struggling to just make it through the camp this year I was able to focus on getting the most out of strength, technique, and shooting sessions.

At the conclusion of last week Sara and I drove over to Dartmouth's Mt. Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for the wedding of two good friends from college. The rustic lodge sits about halfway up Moosilauke Mountain and serves as the end point for Dartmouth's first-year wilderness trips each fall and the start of the famed Moosilauke Ski Team time trial (a brutal 3.6 mile run to the summit) among other things. We attended the outdoor ceremony and then hiked with the bride and groom and a large group to the summit before returning to the lodge for dinner and dancing. Getting away from the Training Center for a couple of days was a fantastic way to start the easy week.

Sara and me at the summit of Moosilauke

Sara and I returned to Lake Placid Sunday evening. A friend had asked us to take care of his parent's home while they were out of town for a couple of days so Sara and I got to look after two great dogs and utilize their yard and kitchen. Both Sara and I share one room doubles at the OTC so it was a blast cheffing it up and kicking back on a porch with a great view for a couple of afternoons. Monday evening we were treated to a fantastic lightning storm that played itself out over the distant mountains. The following evening another storm rolled through and left a beautiful rainbow, which we enjoyed while cooking up gluten free crepes with fresh mint and strawberry yogurt fillings and a spinach salad with fresh strawberries from a small farm in VT. It's not often that we are able to slow down enough from training to take the time to cook so we really enjoyed the opportunity.

Storm remnants

Gluten free gourmet

I got back into the training routine for the second half of this week. There isn't much more to report other than that I'll begin a big block of training starting Monday morning. I'll be in Jericho, VT for the early part of next week training at the Ethan Allen Biathlon Range. A rollerskiing loop with a small firing range is being built here in Lake Placid, but until it's completion we'll probably make the trip to VT every week or two in order to do rollerski combos.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Camp - Week II

Today wrapped up the second week of a pretty intense camp with the National A Team and all of the coaching staff. We've been going non-stop now for nearly two weeks and it's time for a few days of rest. This week was a little lower in hours than last week, but the workload was still very high. Perhaps the most interesting and definitely the most painful workout was a max VO2 test on the treadmill.
During the test.
A VO2 max test, for those of you who aren't familiar with this terminology, is fairly simple. A lab technician hooks you up to a head apparatus that has a mouthpiece not unlike that of a snorkel and your nose is plugged so you can only breathe out of your mouth. With this setup the physiologist is able to analyze the air that is exhaled during exercise for oxygen content. This information along with other data collected at the same time can then be used to provide important information about how training is progressing and what, if anything, needs to be changed in order to maximize the potential for performing well later in the season. For the athlete, the max test is pretty simple - go until you can't go anymore. The speed on the treadmill is increased at regular intervals and at some point your muscles give out and you either get spit off the back of the treadmill or you grab the bar that's at the front of the treadmill. Check out the pictures for a little better idea of what the setup looks like.

Trying to breath right after the test.

Last week featured one of the toughest interval workouts I've ever done. I didn't have pictures or video for my last post, but you can check out a video by clicking on the link below. In this particular video I'm the skier at the front of the line.

This weekend Sara and I are driving over to the Dartmouth Outing Club's Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, a rustic lodge and cabins situated on the side of Mt. Moosilauke in the mountains of New Hampshire. Friends of ours from college are getting married so we're looking forward to getting away from the Training Center for a couple of days and helping our friends celebrate a special day. Next week is a much needed easy week so I'll spend a fair amount of time resting and will also get some hours in working on the traps at the golf course. Should be a blast.

Friday, June 13, 2008

National Team Camp

Tomorrow concludes the first week of our two-week National Team Camp. All of the coaches are here in Lake Placid to work with the National A and B Teams as well as the Junior National and Development groups. It is a great opportunity to train as a group and lets those of us here see how well our training is progressing this season. This past week has been challenging for sure, but I'm very happy with my training and preparation so far and feel like I'm on track to have another stellar season.

This past week has included a plethora of tough workouts, several of which were made even tougher by less than favorable weather conditions. Monday and Tuesday were exceptionally hot and it was all any of us could do to just stay marginally hydrated. In Monday's afternoon workout the combination of high temperatures and humidity was especially hard to handle because we were rollerskiing on a section of road that was in the direct sunlight and there was not a hint of wind. I had downed nearly a gallon of liquids in the first 45 minutes and was still overheating. Another of the guys on the team who suffered heat stroke last year in a similar situation spent a fair percentage of the workout running down to a nearby creek to dunk his head and wet his clothes in an effort to get through the drills. By the end of the session most of the team was making laps to the creek. Wednesday's workout, as I mentioned in my last post, was a 7+ hour combined run and bike ride and Thursday featured one of the toughest interval workouts of my career.
Strength Training in the OTC Weight Room

Despite the exhausting days that usually accompany training camps, I love being surrounded by a group of like minded athletes because we are able to push each other to achieve levels of performance that are often unattainable when training alone. It is our ability to train together that will allow us to continue building towards our goal of winning an Olympic medal in 2010. I was reminded today by the team Psychologist that the Olympic Games are only 20 months away. That seems like a long time, but it will go oh so quickly. There is much work to be done between now and then. Tomorrow promises to be another long day starting with dry-fire drills before 7 am with the coaches. That's less than 8 hours away so I've got to wrap this post up for now.