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Monday, July 17, 2017

Greetings from Tahoe

Everyone back at home kept telling me how large of a winter I had missed. The phrases it is snowing again or there is too much snow became the mantras that I would hear whenever talking about Tahoe. The bottom line is it was an anomaly to be mentioned alongside the big years of 1990's and 1980's. The first month I was home I was able to ski groomed trails and when they stopped grooming (not do to lack of snow but rather cost of operation) I went up to Bend continuing to chase the snow.

Peter Holmes sending it 


Flash forward to Mid July and the snow is still defying the summer heat at higher elevations 

A long hike section with about 15 feet of standing snow

Julien and Lena posing up above Marlett Lake and Lake Tahoe 

A view from the Flume Trail

Happy Summer


Salutations from Sun Valley

Hello purple cow nation!

This summer I am lucky to be living with the wonderful Lucy Alexander in Sun Valley, Idaho. We've been having some awesome Idaho training adventures with The Real Braden Becker and the rest of the SVSEF summer training program. I've been spending much of my time learning to mountain bike, reading Hemingway (who spent the last few years of his life here), and working on my internship with Snow Sports Industries, a non-profit based in Park City which focuses on increasing participation in snowsports.

Here are some of the lessons I have learned so far from Sun Valley:

1. Idaho might just be America's best kept secret. Don't tell your friends but there is waaayyy more out here than just potatoes.

                              A fresh bouquet I gathered for my summer bae Lucy Alexander

2. Mountain biking is both an immensely terrifying and incredibly exhilarating sport.
                                          The views may be worth all of the falls... maybe

3. Sun Valley is a low-key a mecca for writers. Lucy and I were lucky enough to be out here during the Sun Valley Writer's Conference, and got to listen to really cool speakers like Lindsey Addario, Abraham Verghese, and BJ. Miller. We also recently listened to author Sherman Alexie give a lecture on Ernest Hemingway!

                               Lucy and I paid a visit to Hemmingway's grave the other day

4. I now fully understand the phrase "This ain't my first rodeo" after  Lucy and I went to our first was quite the experience.
                         Lucy and I rodeoing with our friends Laura and Julia, some fellow Ephs!

5. Idaho potatoes taste very similar to normal potatoes, but Idaho boysenberries are INCREDIBLE. Also just boysenberries in general, because you expect them to taste like blackberries, but then you are surprised by a truly unique taste experience.
                       Lucy and I exploring the Pioneers Mountains (I don't have a picture of boysenberries because they are just too mysterious)

6. Listening to your own body is key to summer training. After jumping into the Sun Valley training program with perhaps a bit too much exuberance, I realized that I was still injured from a certain steeplechase fall this spring. I finally listened to the signs that told me I needed some more recovery time, and and now have a great modified training regimen to get me back and at em'.
                                                   A photo from my lovely bike ride today 

7.  There is a lot of cool wildlife around here. So far I've seen many snakes, deer, chipmunks (I swear the chipmunks here are a different species than back east, they are so so tiny) and Lucy saw a bear on her run the other day!

Couldn't find a photo of an Idaho chipmunk but honestly there are probably a couple lurking in this photo of a sunset if you look real closely

8. Time apart from the team has made us miss everyone so much.
                                                      Skype sesh with Ingrid and Ivy

9. Last but not least, Lucy Shepard Alexander is the absolute best. But you all already knew that ;)
                                                                           whatta gem
In other news, I have been preparing myself all day for the Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere tonight...winter is finally coming my friends.

Update from Nantucket

Hi everyone!

Looks like summer is off to a roaring start for the Williams Nordic family. It was great showing Braden around the old Central NY stomping grounds on his trip West at the beginning of the summer, but I was bummed to have missed Nick and Elowyn's trip to Minnesota. I've been spending most of my time the last few weeks on Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard biking around with a bunch of middle schoolers as a leader for Overland! I'm currently posting from the computer at a cool little hostel on Nantucket. A few short breaks back in Williamstown between bike trips has allowed me to run into a few teammates, including Sonya and Jack Schrupp, plus a couple alums (Luke and Jordan) trying to figure out the real world.

Here's the Overland crew mid-ride rolling into Provincetown.

Stoked to be able to team up for the summer with Princeton swimming's finest, Izzy Reis,
and learn some sweet new core exercises too! Go Tigers!

Here's an action shot.

Woah, we can also do planks on the beach!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer in Williamstown

Greetings from Williamstown!  I am spending my summer in the Berkshires doing ecology research with Professor Morales.  This means that I spend time outside counting treehoppers in Hopkins Forest.  I am also helping Perry coach Berkshire Nordic Ski Club.

Driving the Gator in Hopkins Forest

Knee or chest deep in weeds!  I'm trying to avoid tics but this has proved difficult.

Last weekend, Hannah Cole and I went to visit Benson up at Lakes of the Clouds.  It was sweet, highly recommend!!

We saw a moose on our way up.  Now, Hannah Cole and I have seen the same two moose in our lives.

Off to a late start at the trailhead

Headlamp selfie!

Finally, our arrival at the hut after a quick dip at the Lake over 5,000 ft

We trekked to the top of Mt. Washington to watch and help Hannah pack the gear down.  She is ripped, as we know, carrying 70lbs!!

 Our hike down to the hut
Day two we hiked down the ridge to Mitzpah and into the valley

The Hannahs on top of Mt. Eisenhower.

Our wonderful guide taught us all about the White Mountains.  Here is the ridge we hiked earlier that day.

Sunset at Lakes of the Clouds

After our hike, Hannah and I visited my grandparents at Lake George.

Update on the tiny sweater that I knit this winter:  My grandmother decided she had to rip it out so we could fix it.  It's unclear whether I will have to redo the whole project.  It was very emotional but hopefully it will eventually fit.

A storm rolling in from Vermont.  

A big welcome to our new assistant coach!  I can't wait to train with my teammates and coaches in Williamstown and hopefully in less humidity.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Back to the West

    After a few days home from finals I managed to get off the couch and start driving west. I stopped to spend a few days in New York state and enjoy the amazing diversity it has to offer. Among the notable activities was a dinner date in Syracuse:

     From New York I drove west for a couple of days. I managed a stop at the Badlands for some crazy running and then in Jackson, Wyoming for a nice June ski at 10000':

PSA: skate & kick wax are both dead:
I will only be skiing on Twin Skins for the next two seasons.

     I finally made it out to Sun Valley and have dug into some much needed training. Lucy and Carmen also decided to make the trek out here so we have a solid Williams Skiing presence in the training group. This weekend we had a big day in the Pioneer Mountains just outside of town. Note the distinct lack of ticks, mud, and vegetation that obstructs views:

    Excited to see everyone in September!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hello all!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. I am enjoying being here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I got to start my summer with a nice little drive back to Minnesota with our friend Nick (see photos below). Once I got home I joined a group of college skier women who are all back for the summer, one of these people is Ingrid! (see photo below) I've been enjoying getting to see Ingrid everyday, and having the opportunity to train with a great group of women. It's been also nice to get to spend some quality time with my family.

For my work at the Conflict Resolution Center I went through a certified mediation training last week, and learned some really cool skills for conflict solving, and listening to people. I am learning a lot at work about restorative justice and mediation. Right now I am working on a project in collaboration with a lot of other organizations with the goal of keeping people housed in Minneapolis and using mediation as a tool to accomplish that through pre-eviction mediation.

Nick was feeling sleepy after a late arrival to the campsite so I went and skipped some rocks on Lake Erie alone.
Just walking in some sand dunes in Indiana.

And we made it back to Minnesota!
Before my friend Ingrid came back to ski with me, I found another training partner following me on my cool down.
Loving getting to hang out with Ingrid! Here we are feeling happy at the gas station.
Last week we did some running speeds. It's pretty sweet to have Minneapolis in the background and be able to be getting on some great trails!

Hoping everyone is enjoying some summer activities, some relaxing, and some nice summer sunsets.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grandma's Marathon

On June 17th I ran Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota.

Here I am before the race with a parent from my high school track team, Pete, who also ran.

Here I am mid race. I ran a screamin' fast first 22 miles at 2:42 pace feeling great, but the last 4 were unimaginably slow. Perhaps I flew too close to the sun, or at least some part of my preparation or nutrition was insufficient because at mile 22, I slowed to an 8:30 mile, then a 9:00, then two 10:00 miles to finish the race hobbling/shuffling to the finish. Even though I packed it in in a big way I still managed to run a 2:55:51, which is nothing to shake a stick at.

As long as a racer finished they got a complimentary beverage, which was not a bad way to finish the race. Here I am at the finish replenishing my electrolytes.

Here I am taking some five minutes to get down stairs to lake superior for a post race ice bath. It's three days later today and my legs still don't quite work normally.

Now it's off the feet and back to the wheels to put in big volume for this next winter, slated to be yet another historic season.

Rock the cow!