And here we are at the end of summer: the nights are frosty, trees turning yellow, skiers are salivating at snow on the peaks, and I've started putting pumpkin in my oatmeal again...It must be time to transition to that autumn mindset. 💛
For me, that means a LOT of joy and energy. I love living in a country where we have distinct seasons; I think the rhythmical changes throughout the year keep us on our toes and better engaged with the natural world around us. Autumn also means changes in skier's bodies and their training: we are pushing ourselves harder and harder during roller ski intervals, rehearsing smoother and faster range procedures, getting explosive and snappy in the gym, and saving our longer workouts for pockets of volume here and there (such as long meandering runs).
Since I last touched base, summer flew by in a whirlwind of training, staying (somewhat) on top of work for Fast and Female, and traveling to stay ahead of the smoky situation in the West. I rounded out July with some solid weeks of both intensity and volume in Canmore, and ended up training here at the Nordic Centre instead of going up to our second Glacier ski camp due to some stomach issues...I struggle to digest much of anything after hard workouts. In the spirit of not letting a lesson go to waste I learned a lot and have now tweaked my diet slightly and been very impressed with the increases in both energy and ease of digestion! I'm lucky to be able to run over to the Canmore Nutter's and stock up on probiotics, digestive enzymes, and kombucha to keep my gut happy even when I'm pushing myself hard twice a day. The stomach issue timing was serendipitous, as that same week the smoke from BC Forest Fires rolled into Canmore, and I thus decided to head to Ontario a week early to train in clean air.
I ended up staying East for a glorious, albeit humid, three weeks of training and recovery with my family. Along with being able to train properly outdoors (most of the athletes here in town had to do a lot of indoor workouts during this time period, sadly), I think the break from routine was good for me, as I returned to Canmore refreshed, very "running fit" (thanks Madeline and Tristan), and setting PBs in every workout we did the week I got back! #thelonglakefitnessisreal
While in Ontario, I was able to attend my Grandparent's 60th Wedding Anniversary (I now have two sets of Grandparents that have reached this milestone; wow!), spend two weeks in the Ottawa Valley with my immediate family training hard on the infamous Motherhill and enjoying lots of Long Lake time, and was blown away yet again by the support at the Fundraising Shoot at the Listowel Rifle and Revolver Club. Thank you so very much to everyone who came out to support me that day, espcially Cecil and the Payne family.. and all those who continue to encourage me year round. I truly could not chase this dream without each and every one of you.
Now I am back in Canmore enjoying an intensity block (hard interval training and strength workouts) before we head to the Okanagan Valley at the end of the month for some volume (long, slow distance workouts). Lately, Rocky Mountain Racers have been "enjoying" our badass SSS workouts: Ski Specific Strength. In workouts like these we roller ski sprint up hills, dragging our coaches behind us on a rope...they sit on a bike and squeeze the brakes, while we ski our hardest for 15seconds-1min, pulling them up a hill as fast as we can. We also do lots of long zone 3 (tempo work; just below race pace) on sustained climbs, such as two by 25-30minute tempos roller skiing continuously uphill on the Mount Norquay Road. I love workouts like these because I enjoy pushing myself past perceived limits, while trying to hang onto perfect technique and produce good power and glide...our sport is truly beautiful when you are in a state of flow, and I'm constantly chasing that mindset (well, that euphoric high!) of feeling unstoppable.
While I'm on that tangent, I read a number of good books while at the cottage that really got me thinking. There's no cell reception/wifi/etc up there, so I wasn't able to work much, and instead got in a solid non-fiction fix. I challenged myself to read Antifragile and Skin in the Game by the controversial Nassim Nicholas Taleb - thanks Mom for being my human thesaurus.
I love to make connections between seemingly random things in life, and pull learnings from many different places to apply to my pursuit of mastery in biathlon. Taleb created the spectrum of Fragile (easily broken or affected by adverse events) --> Resilient (unaffected by negativity) ---> Antifragile...stating that the antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shock and stay the same; meanwhile the antifragile gets BETTER and gains from chaos...they need it in order to survive and flourish. In other words, the volatility/constant change/turmoil in the world are what make the Antifragile succeed...whereas almost everything else needs stability/predictability/ideal scenarios to succeed. I have decided that even though I've overcome a lot of challenges in this sport, and people have called me resilient, I am now officially more than that. Somewhere along the road this spring, through all the chaos and change, I became far better than I was before: the surgery only made me wiser and stronger; it didn't break me down at all...even if it felt like it in the moment. Now it's time to apply that same Big Picture mindset to all the little areas of my athlete life I sometimes still stress about: sleeping well, coping with the unpredictabilities of sport, and how much/what I eat.
Taleb also talks about the concept of Skin in the Game. He introduces the spectrum of people who have invested nothing in life --> those with Skin in the Game (they've personally invested blood, sweat, and tears into something) ---> Soul in the Game (artisans who truly don't care what anyone thinks; all they want to do is perfect their craft). And I realized... the only reason I am able to continue investing my Soul in the Game of biathlon, and chasing this dream, is because I have so many amazing people in my life that have invested their Skin in MY Game and are along on this wild ride with me. So, thank you to every family member, friend, teammate, coach, IST member, sponsor, and supporter for literally and figuratively baring your skin (and your souls) to the world!
All the best - get the very most out of yourself this fall by keeping it simple. Enjoy the leaves; the frost; the apple pie...recognize that positive change and endless energy are at our fingertips, if only we choose to gain from the disorder around us.
“Now that she had nothing to lose, she was free." - Paulo Coehlo
Listening to: see playlist below
Dancing to: "I Like It" (Cardi B, Bad Bunny, and J Balvin); "Tempted to Touch" (Daddy Yankee ft. Rupee) for reggaetone warmup 🔥
Eating: no dairy, and less meat...using more whole grains and legumes to fuel up, such as in my favourite Moroccan Stew (quadruple, nah, quintuple, the peanut butter suggested... you won't be disappointed)