For the past several months I have taken a break from running. I told myself after my last race in 2014 that I would take a real off season: 2-3 months of low mileage and no long runs. I’ve never done this before and it’s been a struggle at times. I feel at home in the hills and my free time is spent exploring new trails (or planning new explorations). So I had to find a way to channel that energy.
I started by setting several goals for the off season: physical rest, mental rest, and strength training. I wanted a way to build strength and get outside so I focused on skiing. I got my first back country (alpine touring) set up and I’ve never had so much fun skiing. I went all over the front range: Cameron Pass, Berthod Pass, Butler Gulch, Loveland Pass, Vail Pass. I even got to ski a ton in Aspen (which was incredible).
Back country skiing is amazing! Not only does it feed my desire for exploration, but I can spend long days in the mountains with low impact activity. I’m still learning about snow conditions (took an avalanche 1 class) and got my essentials: probe, beacon and shovel, but despite the danger it’s so fun to explore new lines (especially through the trees, where I usually scream because I’m having so much fun).
I can’t wait to explore more backcountry areas and improve my skiing skills (uphill and downhill) It really does translate to running and help with confidence, especially in downhill running. And it’s great for building strength.
In addition to all the skiing, I started rock climbing! I’ve done it a little bit in the past, but was never very good. I’m super excited to build strength in new areas (very humbling) so I have yet another excuse to get outside and explore the mountains in different ways!
Another highlight of my off season came in December, when I accepted an offer to be a part of the National Team for The North Face in 2015. I’m beyond excited to be working with this incredible company and to have the support of such inspiring athletes. In addition to The North Face, Hammer Nutrition and Swiftwick will support me for 2015.
Photo credit Myke Hermsmeyer:http://instagram.com/mykehphoto
Although I wasn’t completely resting (I don’t think I could do that for more than a week at a time anyways), the new sports and exploration gave my body a break. It also gave my mind the chance to rest and plan out 2015. I gained something invaluable: motivation. Not only am I excited to train again, but i’m inspired and rested (this is what an off season is rumored to do!) I feel ready to take on new challenges, in races and in training. I’m super excited to work with Mike Aish, at Aish Interactions Coaching (http://aishinteractions.com/) a super speedy 5k and 10k Olympian, who now races ultras. He has me putting in the work to get strong, which I really do enjoy.
Photo Credit: Myke Hermsmeyer http://instagram.com/mykehphoto
I’m looking forward to some awesome races this year, including the Mont Blanc 80k which is the race I chose to compete in after winning the US Sky Running Ultra series in 2014. Here’s my tentative race schedule for 2015, with a lot of new challenges to surmount.
Way Too Cool 50k: March 7th
Quest for the Crest 50k: May 30th
Mont Blanc 80k: June 27th
Audi Power of 4 50k: July 19th
Run the Rut 50k: September 5th
Flagstaff Sky Race 55k: October 3rd
TNF 50 mile championships: December
I’m planning some exploration and route finding on the Nolan’s 14 route this summer, as well as some early spring adventures in the Dark Canyon in Utah, and Flagstaff area (perhaps the Grand Canyon). I’m excited for what 2015 has in store, and I’m beyond thrilled to represent The North Face, Hammer Nutrition, Swiftwick and Aish Interactions Coaching in my adventures around the US and abroad.