We are in the midst of the holiday season which means that it is time to get on the rando race training. I have been out for a few training sessions on my race gear as well as an amazing day of backcountry skiing in Marble. Axel joined me for a recent training session and I think he enjoys skinning more than I do.
Monday can’t get here soon enough as I should be receiving in the mail a pair of the La Sportiva Stratos boots! I’m so excited to get out in these boots a few times this week to test them out before racing in them next weekend at the COSMIC Irwin race. I know skill has something to do with it but I have convinced myself that my descending skills in the race are going to be amazing this year from lighter, stiffer boots.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue training and sleeping. Axel has been allowing me to sleep more which is an amazing treat especially on the Embody by Sealy mattress with Polartec fabric. The new mattress continues to impress Ian and I with its comfort and healthy sleep.
Speaking of sleep…it’s time for me to rest for tomorrow morning’s early training session.
Early this morning I enjoyed my first skin and ski of the season. Thanks to Axel, I made it to Tiehack early enough to get in two laps. Despite being a balmy 3 degrees, I stayed dry and warm in multiple Polartec layers even after crashing on turn number one of the season. The moon was almost full and Venus was shining as bright as I’ve ever seen it as the sun rose and the sky blossomed pink. It was enough to convince me that I’m ready for winter and ski mountaineering race season.
Yesterday started me off on winter as I ventured out on a road run with the Chariot on super icy roads. At the last minute I changed into shoes fit with La Sportiva hobnails which is the only reason I didn’t land on the ground at the end of the driveway. The Chariot floated over the ice and I enjoyed a nice five mile run while most other people were forced into days off or into the gym.
Another blizzard is supposed to be on the way tonight and tomorrow so I guess it’s time for me to hang up the bike and get on the skis. Now I just need to get a pair of the new Sportiva race boots, skis and bindings to get me going faster.
If you like your sleep then you should submit a short video to the Embody By Sealy contest for a chance to win a mattress set. Sealy partnered with Polartec to make a healthier mattress to allow for better rest.
I can attest to this. We have been using one for a little over a month now and I no longer wake up sweating each night. Recently I spent a night on our old mattress with our baby and woke up wet in the morning. There is no way a sweaty mattress is clean.
Over the years I’ve worked with some terrific sponsors and had access to a lot of really cool gear. I’ve tried top of the line bikes, running shoes, lighting systems and even an awesome bike trailer. One of the coolest companies I’ve worked with recently is Polartec. As a member of the Polartec Athlete Advisory Board I get to test some of the most technically advanced fabrics in the world, before they’re available to the public. For example, I tested prototypes of the new Power Shield Pro fabric all last year and provided the team at Polartec with feedback about how breathable, wind and water resistant the fabric is (it does all those things really well, by the way).
Anyway, my involvement with Polartec has just landed me what is certainly the coolest piece of gear I’ve ever gotten. Yesterday, a delivery truck showed up at my house with a brand new mattress from Embody by Sealy. Now, a mattress may not seem like the most technical or advanced gear available to athletes, but to perform at your best, there’s really nothing more important than good nights sleep to allow your muscles to recover. And I’ve got to tell you, after just one night sleeping on my new mattress, it’s much more exciting than any bike, boat or clothing I’ve ever used. For the first time in months last night, I didn’t wake up sweaty.
As I learned on their website, the Embody latex mattress uses a proprietary design to allow air to flow through the foam. Polartec high performance fabrics move air in, out and around the mattress all night, regulating the temperature. Combined with the design of the foam, the mattress surface is up to five times more breathable than other latex foam mattresses. Like a good base layer, the Polartec fabric in the mattress also wicks away moisture, keeping the surface dry and in turn, healthy.
A few other bonus features:
- Embody latex foams are free of CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals.
- The mattresses is also anti-microbial and resist dust mites, allergens and microbes.
As I said, I’ve only had one night’s sleep on the new mattress, but I think its going to become one of the most important tools in my training arsenal.
In anticipation of actually getting internet at the house this evening after the lightening strike last Monday, I figured I’d get started updating what’s been happening for awhile.
The first week of June, I went up to Aspen to participate in the second meeting of the Polartec Athlete Advisory Board. We enjoyed great food and discussed product we have been testing (including Power Shield Pro and others I cannot discuss) as well as new ideas and future product. JustAZipper.com has a nice recap of the week if you’re interested otherwise all I can say is that I’m very excited about what’s to come from Polartec!
Axel and I left directly from Aspen and headed to Vail (I was a bit spoiled that week) for the Teva Mountain Games. Ian and Juniper had been there for a few days, Ian working and Juniper playing with some friends. The last two summers I have competed in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge consisting of four events in two days and the two years before that in the adventure race. With Ian working and Axel only eight weeks old, I had to skip the UMC and just race in the 10K trail run on Sunday morning. This 10K is unlike any other I have raced including trail races – it is brutal. Most of the climbing is so steep that even the leaders are relegated to fast hiking so I was happy to finish just a minute or so slower than my time from last year (even with a stop to dump the rocks from my shoes). I missed competing in it all but it just wasn’t possible this year.
Dropping some ounces before the mountain bike race.
Lindsay at Carmichael Training Systems has been working hard to get me faster after the pregnancy and had me doing hill repeats and intervals throughout the week with a mountain bike race mixed in. My legs were sufficiently tired after Saturday’s running repeats and then we headed to Boulder for the Newton Running Form Symposium and Clinic. Danny Abshire (Newton founder) and Ian Adamson (my old adventure race teammate) gave a great talk on the importance of proper running form to help prevent injuries and increase speed and efficiency. After an hour and a half run through Boulder and up Mt. Sanitas in the pouring rain on Sunday morning, I joined the Newton crew again for the form clinic. About thirty runners showed up to have their form critiqued and to practice what we had learned the night before. If you are able to get to one of these clinics, I highly suggest it! If you can’t make one, check out this video for some great tips.
Despite having missed two training sessions early in the week, I had an awesome twelve mile run with both kids in the Chariot this morning. With the temperature perfect, the wind still somewhat calm and not many people on the path, I was able to push my sixty pounds at an average 7 min. 50 sec. per mile pace. With all the foundation CTS has been having me build, I’m excited to get to the next phase of my training when I start to really prepare for racing again. I think I may be able to set some PRs and push the pace in some mountain bike races.