Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blue skies and high altitude in Park City!

It is weird to wake up in the morning and not look out the window to see what the weather is like outside.  Every morning I got up knowing it was sunny and blue skies outside because that is how summer is in Utah every day. I spent the last week at NTG (National Training Group) camp in Park City, Utah. I was fortunate enough to be able to be coached by many high level coaches such as Matt Witcomb (Women’s USST Coach), Bryan Fish and many more! Not only were there great coaches; we had the opportunity to train and test in the COE (Center of Excellence) and meet top athletes like Kikkan, Liz, many APU athletes and even athletes from other sports such as Bode Miller.
            We started off the camp with various types of testing. It was interesting to learn what the results of our tests meant and the feedback we got on what we need to work on based on the results. After the testing, we headed out for some agility practice; consisting of multiple 180 degree jumps and many other new challenges I haven’t seen yet. On the third day of camp, we did an OD combo of a classic ski followed by a run/hike. It was really cool to be able to stride uphill for a straight hour and 40 minutes. Due to the fact that we have no hills longer than 5 minutes at home, I got some pretty nice blisters on my heels, but it was totally worth it! Following the ski, we ran/hiked up the backside of Canyon Mountain and took the Gondola down, completing our OD combo workout. Later on in the week, we did some L3 threshold intervals, making all the sea level athletes feel the effects of altitude since we were training at around 8,000ft. One of my favorite workouts of this week was our OD double pole workout near the end of the week. We headed down to Provo on a newly paved bike path for a very scenic workout. With all of our new technique pointers given to us earlier by Matt during our video review session, all of us girls were double poling so fast that we were practically going at the same pace as the boys. It was pretty funny seeing the boy’s reaction when we hit the turn around point shortly after they did. We ended up skiing 22 miles along the bike path in 2 hours! For recovery, we spent the afternoon rafting/tubing down a scenic river, soaking up sun and team bonding. On our second to last day, we had a classic sprint simulation lined up. It was really fun to watch and participate in all head-on-head competition.
            Throughout the week, we had many awesome workouts and presentations where I learned a lot of new things about altitude, test results, strength training, technique and many other subjects. We also were able to have dinner with Kikkan and have Q&A session with her, allowing us to ask her anything, even things as goofy as where the pink hair came from and how the sock ritual came to be. Kikkan was so open to us and loved the many questions we had for her. We were also able to meet some key people in the COE and work with them. One thing I thought was really cool to try out was contrast bathing after workouts, helping my body recover quicker during a hard week of training. Not only did we have great workouts, I was able to make a lot of new friends and meet a lot of new people who are so supportive. You could tell it was the sixth day of camp when everyone knew each other well and the only conversation at the dinner table was giggling because of how much fun we were having with each other and how tired we were. A good team atmosphere is a key thing to have, which we had at camp, making it such a great camp. Kikkan and Matt Witcomb also talked a lot about how important it is to have a good team, which made me very grateful to have such an awesome and supportive team like CSU.

Girls team picture!

A view from our OD combo ski/run into Canyon Mountain

At the finish of our OD ski/run in front of the gondola

On our OD ski/run with an 1:40 of striding

Indian sprints on our DP OD in Provo

On our last day of camp on our run looking down into Park City!

Doing some 180 degree jumps during agility 

My superman pose off the trampoline at the COE

A goofy team picture!

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