Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Northern Girl

From Left: Hailey Thompson, Camber Sannes, Brooke Bougie

In the summer, my lower half seems to be a boat. In the winter, it's becoming skis.

I've been training hard...not only for paddling, now I'm working on my skiing technique. And it's finally paying off! Thanks to my incredible coaches out at the Iola-Scandinavia Ski Club.

My last race was on home turf, on the Iola trails.

Unfortunately, I had fallen fairly hard on my hip the day before (darn ice) and had an unpleasant cold...despite this, I decided to race.

And I'm so glad I did! The race was four kilometers (fairly short) on difficult terrain...but I was familiar with it, and as soon as I began skating, I could feel my rhythm. I took a good place, about mid-front in the group in the first kilometer or so, only to more firmly establish my position towards the middle of the race, when I was holding second. I hung on to second until the very last half-kilometer of the race when a girl passed me going downhill. Still, 3rd was an exceptionally satisfying placement for me, and I can't wait until my next race!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Looking Back

As 2008 drew to a close, I found myself recollecting all of the amazing experiences I've had this year! What a lucky person, I keep thinking, to have met the people I have, to have been the places I've been...
The crazy thing is, even though it's the off season, time seems just as scarce for me to come by as it is in the on season! Fall flashed by before my eyes...after the World Series race in Maryland, I hurried home, only to leave a week later for a training block in Denver, Colorado, where I worked with Christopher Weigand for a solid week on slalom, even getting a chance to run a creek up in the mountains...where the water is as cold as the ice in the eddies and the mountain goats leap from one precarious boulder to the next.

Denver was an exceptional training camp, with the help of Coach Weigand, my entire off-side stroke was rebuilt, and became far more efficient!

Soon after, I journeyed down south to Charlotte, NC, where it was schockingly colder than Wisconsin for once. This was over the course of Thanksgiving.

I worked with Coach Cathy Hearn, on Charlotte's incredibly chalenging man-made course...someday I hope to be in complete control on that course. The week was very challenging, both mentally and physically for me, but I felt like I overcame a lot of bariers, and became a much stronger paddler through sessions in the freezing rain and over big drops. It truly was a great expirience.

As I type this, I look out of my window onto four solid feet of snow, and snuggle closer to the crackling days are now filled with hours of cross country and downhill skiing, both of wich are now becoming just as much passions as they were a way of cross-training. Only three short months now remain before I'll be back in the saddle---or shall I say boat? again.