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The company I work for (Adecco) made a video on me and the athlete career program!

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Updates around the blog

Just some small housekeeping being done around the site.  Be sure to check out some of these changes.

Take a look at the Donors & Sponsors page. These are the lovely people and companies that support me day in and day out. They believe in me, help to fund my season and I could not do it without them.

Or maybe head over to the Results page to take a look at how I have done so far this season. So many races this season and so many results!

Summer Training

This is what my summer training has consisted of:

Just kidding. It’s been more of this:

Ok, not really that either. The first video is filmed by my strength coach Ambrose and with Olympian Nick Cunningham USA 2 for men’s Bobsled. Nick’s a cowboy and I was procrastinating on some sprints so he ended up attempting to teach me how to throw a lasso. I’m only showing you the good one, because the other is pretty hard to watch.

The second video is from Calgary in January. We were doing some short sprints inside and decided to try and touch the backboard. As a former jumper, I shouldn’t be this excited to do this.

In reality it has been a lot of work. I’ve been lifting and sprinting like crazy. On top of that, I’ve been working for The Adecco Group in their Win4Youth Fundraiser. I’ve also picked up a few side jobs like personal training and blogging for various companies. It’s been a strange summer of travel, but I’ve enjoyed my time away from the track.


5 sets of 10 reps in squats all at 185lb/84kg. This is from May. Yesterday I did 3×3 squats at 95, 100, 104 kg (209, 220, 230lbs). The 104 was a huge PR for me… by 4 kilos! Great day of lifting!

Here are a couple of short sprints I’ve been doing on the bike trail behind my newly found gym, Crossfit North Vienna The gym is amazing. The trainers are really helpful and they pretty much let me do my own thing. I lift and train in their facility and do the sprints on the bike trail right behind the gym. It’s a much better set up from where I was working out last summer.

20m Sprint

Fly-in

70m sprint

That’s all for now. I’ll be sure to post more! Crossfit North Vienna made a little commercial about me. I’ll post it up here as soon as it’s done. In addition, I am fundraising for next season… yep it’s that time of year again. Stay tuned!

I’m Back!

Yes, yes… it’s been a while since my last post. Like, a whole season. I’m so sorry! I spent a ton of time last season travelling and I couldn’t seem to find the time to post. I promise I’ll do a better job of updating for you guys.

To give you quick summary of last season:
-I won National Push Championship

-After National Team Trials, I raced in a few races on the North America Cup.

-I won the Western Regional in Park City, UT. I had a lot of problems with this track in the beginning of the season, but I really think it started to click after spending a solid month there before the race. By winning this race, I have guaranteed myself National Team Trials in October.

-I went on the longest road trip of my life. My teammate and I drove my Honda Civic… In JANUARY from Virginia to Calgary, Canada… roughly 3,000 miles. We trained in Calgary at the site of the 1988 Olympics and then drove 1,000 south to Park City, Utah and trained there for a month and a half. Following training in Park City, we drove back to Lake Placid to finish out the season. I know, it seems crazy to drive that much, but we were out west for 2 months. My car gets good mileage and we wouldn’t have to pay for a car rental, which are outrageously priced.

Yeah, I can pretty much drive through anything now. What did I learn? South Dakota is a terrifying state during a blizzard. Adrienne and I took video and documented the whole thing. Gracie (another one of my teammates) drove back with me to Lake Placid and together we’re working on making a road trip video.

Here’s a quick summary of the trip:
-Leave Virginia, drive to Long Island and pick up Adrienne.
-Drive from Long Island to Chicago, spend 2 days with Erik (a former teammate in the windy city)
-Drive to Wall, South Dakota during a blizzard. South Dakota is the most desolate place I’ve ever visited. There were 50 mph winds and it was -30 degrees at night while we were driving. During the day it was -10 degrees. We drove through the Badlands, which I’ve posted some pictures of below.

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-We saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy horse which are both nestled in the Black Hills.
Mount_Rushmore_National_Memorial

crazyhorse1

-We drove to Billings, Montana and spent the night there.
-We drove to Calgary and stayed with my friend from college, Phil. Phil happens to live about 2 minutes from the top of the track in Calgary. Amazing visit, and a great learning experience for Adrienne and I. We traveled there alone, and trained with the Koreans. No other Americans or Canadians were there.
-I saw 2 Bald Eagles on the drive. America!!

-Following Calgary, we drove to Park City and trained there for a month. This was our backyard. Utah is a beautiful place. In addition, Adrienne and I got there in time to attend Sundance Film Festival. I’d love to go back. We saw 3 movies. photo1

Overall, the season was full of ups and downs. Sled problems, confidence in driving, stress… the usual. But honestly, I ultimately I felt like I came out on top and learned some great things. I feel great going into next season. I have more posts, to make so stay tuned!

National Push Champion!

Ok, so not the most eloquent title for this blog post, but that’s some pretty big news, right? It’s been about a month since I have updated and have stayed up in Lake Placid at the Olympic Training Center for most of the time. The next big event for me was the National Push Championships. I think I’ve showed you guys a few videos of the push track, but basically we have a sled on wheels that sits on top of some tracks. There are timers set up and we push the sled to see how fast we can get it moving. The championships were yesterday… and I won! Yay!

We took 2 pushes each and I had the fastest combined time. In addition, I set a women’s track record for fastest push at the push track. The men also had a track record with Mitch Danbe (on push 2) but the title was won by John Daly. Pretty sure this is his 4th or 5th title. They are building a new push track for us right behind the OTC which is where the bobsledders will have their push champs next Friday and Saturday.

Women’s
1) Veronica Day (Push 1) 5.35 (Push 2) 5.31 (Total) 10.66
2) Lauren Salter (Push 1) 5.41 (Push 2) 5.34 (Total) 10.75
3) Caitlin Carter (Push 1) 5.44 (Push 2) 5.41 (Total) 10.85

Men’s
1) John Daly (Push 1) 4.85 (Push 2) 4.85 (Total) 9.7
2) Mitch Danbe (Push 1) 4.88 (Push 2) 4.83 (Total) 9.71
3) Nathan Crumpton (Push1) 4.85 (Push 2) 4.88 (Total) 9.73

I’ve been out at the push track A LOT. I am glad it has paid off. Here are a few videos of practice sessions. I just got an iphone (my first smart phone… and I have no idea how to use it) and there are probably 15 videos of me at the push track. One of the first apps I downloaded was a slow-motion one. It’s called coachmyvideo, was free… and it is amazing for this kind of stuff.

A vid of the load:

Start Drills:

So what does this mean for the future? Nothing really, except that I have proved myself as a push athlete. Push championships for bobsled brakemen are super important since their sole job is to push the sled as fast as possible. They typically get picked up by drivers depending on how well they perform at push champs.

But since skeleton athletes are not on teams, the same individual pushing is also driving. While pushing is a very important variable, driving is a bigger one. I have begun doing video for Lake Placid since we get on the ice in 2 weeks. It is definitely going to be a shock to the system. It has been 6 months since I’ve been down on the ice and when I watch video it baffles me how fast we go. My eyes are going to need to adjust big time. I’m definitely a bit nervous but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. All I can do is study until we get back on the ice.

In the past month I also went to my sled maker’s house to give my sled a bit of a face lift. She’s got a shiny red pod now! In addition, I got a saddle (the part I lay in) custom made for my body. I need to re-pad the whole sled which is a huge pain in the butt, but I definitely think it’ll be worth it. I bought a sweet patterned yoga mat from yogamatic.com. My roommate (Kristina Hull) custom designed her last year for her sled and even though they are expensive, I definitely think it’ll be worth it. I used regular camping foam last year and ended up having to tape the whole top of the sled because the foam kept tearing. This yoga mat I bought is a bit stiff, so I don’t foresee it tearing as easy. Plus the tape is $65 a roll. Ouch.

I will leave you guys with a picture of the the new pod on my sled!

Combine? Check.

OK ok ok! So I know some of you have been asking how the combine went yesterday. Let me begin by explaining what the combine is. Basically it is 8 events, and each is scored on a 100 point scale. So the max score you can possibly receive is 800 points. In order to be eligible to slide as a new slider, you must score a minimum of 650 points. Last year I scored a total of 727 points. This year I scored…

767!!

Boom! I am so pumped and am really excited for the season to begin. It’s practically September and I can’t wait to get back on the ice.

Let me give you a play-by-play of the combine.

So the first 4 scores are from sprinting. It consists of a 15m, 30m, 45m, and a 30m fly. You get the 30m fly time by subtracting the 15m time from the 45m time. I am going to give the event, the result, how much of a PR from the last combine it was, and then the total points I received from that particular event.

15m – 2.33 seconds (PR by .04) — 91 points
30m – 3.96 seconds (PR by .16) — 98 points
45m – 5.68 seconds (PR by .18) — 99 points
30m fly – 3.32 seconds (PR by .18) — 100 points

The 30m time is considered to be the most looked at mark of the sprinting events, and I was told that the team’s record for it from a skeleton female was previously 3.99 seconds. That’s a .03 improvement! And the 30m fly time is also almost a full .10 seconds off the score chart. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sprinting times, these increases are good. To PR by over a tenth in anything this short of a sprint is great. We had done some testing earlier in the summer and the times were marginally better. I felt pretty solid going into yesterday, but haven’t tested too much so I didn’t know exactly where I would be at. I can’t be more happy with the improvements.

Onto the next events:

Broad Jump — 2.62 meters/ 8’7″ (PR by .12 meters) — 90 points
Shot Toss — 13.74 meters/ 45’1″ (PR by… 1.84 meters) — 98 points

It is a bit funny to me that the broad jump is my worst event of the combine and I was actually jumper. But you know what? I’ll take it. It is not nearly as bad as it was last year. I enlisted a bit of help last week and that seemed to do the trick. But the shot toss… I have no idea where that came from. Seriously. No. idea. I mean, I just whaled it out there on the 3rd toss. Perfect trajectory. Did the trick.

Vid of a broad jump from last week:

After a brief hiatus, we took off to the weight room to partake in the last events. Power Clean and a 3-repetition squat max.

Power Clean — 80kg / 176 lbs (PR by 8kg) — 94 points
3-rep Squat — 100kg / 220 lbs (PR by 5kg) — 97 points

Vid for 79 kg from last week:

This was a PR last week (I know I posted a vid of 78 kg from last spring) but I just barely managed to get 80 kg up yesterday. On this vid, I irritated something in my right thumb, and the cleaning from yesterday inflamed the muscles quit a bit. I mean, the rep from yesterday could have been the messiest clean I have ever done in my life. But you know what? I ended up getting it. All that matters.

Finally the squats. I was pretty much beat at this point. I did 100kg because last week I did 95kg pretty easily. I thought I might be able to go a bit higher, but in order to get any more points, you had to jump up to 107kg. I picked it up off the rack, went down on the first rep and then began to ascend only to fall victim to 236 lbs and gravity. Ambrose (a strength coach) helped me hoist it back onto the rack and viola. I was done.

With a grand total of 767 points. I feel great. I can’t wait to get to sliding. I gave my sled to Don and will be getting a new saddle (the part I lay in) and pod (the plastic part on the bottom). I am going to have to re-pad it, but I will give her a nice tune up in a few weeks and get going on the ice as soon as it gets cold enough. As soon as that pod gets added, I will be able to add the names of Mark Armour and the Chang/Salmon family to the bottom of the sled for their generous donation a few months ago.

I will leave you with some push track vids:

And a second one with a better view of the load. There is definitely still work to be done here, but I do feel more comfortable now.

I will keep you guys posted with some more push track vids as they come! Thank you everyone for the support and good luck yesterday. It was an amazing way to get started.

New purchases

I have recently begun to purchase new items which are needed for next season! The best purchase so far has been a pair of weightlifting shoes. I bought the Nike Romaleos online recently and they have made a huge difference in my weightlifting. I had lifted in college for track, but I would say the split from running to lifting was about 75/25. Now that I have switched to skeleton, it is about 50/50. This means that the lifting portion of my program has become much more important. I used running shoes all last season which was fine, because you know… they’re shoes. But there certainly is a big difference with

Buying these shoes has made an immediate impact for me, especially in squats. It increases stability, and because the base is solid and not squishy like my running shoes, the power I am exerting is not being wasted in the shoes.

I also bought a new pair of running shoes. Saucony Kinvaras, which I have only taken for a few test runs but am a big fan of. Not only are they AWESOME looking, but they are incredibly light and exactly what I am looking for. I’ve got a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders which are nearing the end of their life. I decided to switch it up and get these guys.

This is a big thing for me! I bet you since high school I have purchased at least 10 pairs of Wave Riders. I periodically try another brand but I always regret it. So far, so good with these Sauconys.

2 more big purchases I have made recently: A Uvex helmet, which is used and I got from a former skeleton slider for a great deal. The visor is a bit cracked in the corner, but I think it will be fine for the time being. I am planning on purchasing a new visor, but there is no guarantee the new visor will fit this model since this helmet is a few years old. But we will see. It is worth a shot. I think the helmet will be good for this season. I also purchased a set of runners from a friend of mine who made the switch to bobsled. It will be nice having more than 1 set of runners to choose from when the ice changes. I will not be testing them out until October, but they are in great condition and am looking forward to it.

In other news, the Southern Conference released a promo for a new series they are making and I have a little snippit in it! No idea what it is about, but the series looks interesting and it brought me back to the good old track days. Man, they seem like forever ago.

The Starting Line

All of the Olympics hype has got me so pumped up watching track and field!! I seriously cannot explain how much I LOVE track being on TV. I mean, swimming is cool and all but track is where it is at. Other random sports I have enjoyed watching: handball, fencing and (oddly enough) archery. I mean I spent 3 hours watching archery one day. How?!? I’m telling you, it’s intense.

I was at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid to watch the opening ceremony, and it was pretty awesome. The next morning everyone was in the weight room working their butts off and of course… cheering on Team USA. It has been a great motivation for me to get in some quality workouts these past 2 weeks. These people were once where I was- a relative newcomer and hopeful. And look at them now, doing big things!

I am currently at home, getting everything together for the move up to Placid on Sunday. Damn, I hate this drive (from Virginia to Lake Placid). It is a killer. I don’t really know when I am going to be back in VA so even though it is August, I have got to pack winter clothing. The thought of bundling up again makes me cringe a little… but at least I have another month of warm weather.

Only a month?! This makes me so sad 😦 I have so many cute summer clothes I have yet to wear.

I’ve got some testing in Placid on Monday morning. So I will be sure to update on how it goes.

Summer is winding down… which means skeleton season starts soon!

Check out my Donors and Sponsors! A big thanks to these guys and EVERYONE else that donated on my indiegogo account. It was a huge success. I went in with a goal of $3,333 and came out well ahead at $4555. If you missed it but still want to contribute… don’t worry. Head over to the donate page and you are good to go.

But…. summer is just about over! Which means I actually have stuff to update you all with! I stopped work and and getting ready to head up to Lake Placid indefinitely. I have had some real highs and lows working out this summer, but I do think I am at a better place physically for the start of the season.

To summarize my summer workouts… Lift 4 days a week, sprint 3 days a week, 2 days of active recovery and absolutely NOTHING on Sundays. Oh how I look forward to Sundays… But here is a quick recap:

April: took the entire month off.
May: Great
1st half of June: Crap
2nd half of June: Great
1st half of July: Crap
2nd half of July: Great
August: Great so Far… lets hope it stays this way.

And by my eloquent “crap” I mean, workouts were much harder than they should have been. I have a combine coming up in a few weeks. I did a summary of the combine in the last post. But basically, this is my first big test and I am hoping to just blow it out of the water. But anything can happen so I’m just going to have to put my head down and grind out these last few weeks.

At the end of June I did some testing in sprinting, and it went pretty well. Improvements, which is good. So hopefully by this combine I will have even more. And at some point in July I did 3×5 squat at 93, 95, 95 KG. At the combine last year I maxed out 1×3 at 95. Hopefully this means I will be right around 100kg for a 3 rep squat max! But the squat is the last event for the combine, so I think fatigue will certainly play a roll. I really need to work on my shot toss and broad jump. I feel like these 2 events can be much better than they are right now if I work on my technique a little. I will be seeking some help in this matter once I get back up to Lake Placid.

I had my brother film a few of these awkward sled pushes today during my workout. I don’t have all the equipment/facilities that I need at home so sometimes I make up weird drills like this.

What else happened this summer? OH. Weight has been a big issue for me. I came home from Lake Placid in April at 142 lbs, the heaviest I have ever been in my life. But the time May was over I was at 126. Sure awesome if I didn’t do skeleton, where weight wasn’t such a huge factor! I’m back up to 132 which I feel really fast and fit at. I’m just trying to maintain this weight through my combine and then just start to put more on through Push Champs and Team Trials (I will go over what these are in another post). Lighter=faster sprints. But it also equals less momentum on the ice track for sliding. Big no-no. I feel pretty good about it right now, and I think long-term goals are reasonable.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I am going to start to update more frequently, but have the posts be smaller. I think that will be a good approach to the upcoming season. We will see if I stick to it.

Summertime Training

Well it has certainly been a while.  My season ended at the beginning of April with 2 America’s Cup races in Lake Placid.  They could have gone better, but it is certainly a learning experience and I value every run that I take down the track- good or bad.  It seems like so long ago since those runs and some big changes have been made since then.  I am currently living at home in my native Virginia in the off season. Doing what?  Well everyday is pretty much the same.  Let me break it down for you.  Also let me preface this by saying that I have never been a morning person.  Track practice from 9th grade through 4 years of college was always right around 3pm.  I’m conditioned to enjoy working out way later than I should.

Regardless, I pull myself out of bed every morning and work out.  Once I get out there, it’s pretty easy to remember why I got up in the first place. I generally try to split up the 2-a day workouts  into 1 morning session and 1 evening session.  Sprinting is 3 to 4 days a week and lifting 3 days a week.  Tuesdays and Thurdsays are active recovery days and Sundays are my off-day.  Workouts started April 30 (I got 4 weeks off where I did nothing.  It was great, even though I was antsy to get back at it.)   I started off on the right foot, but had a week or 2 of some not-so-stellar workouts.  You know…  the kind where you finish, but it wasn’t pretty and certainly was waaaaay harder than it should have been.  I’ve felt pretty good the last 2 weeks, so hopefully I can keep this pace up.

After the workouts I go to work.  The company I work for has been nice enough to let me come in at 11.  The busiest hours for my job are from 2-4, so it works out pretty well for everyone.  I’m working at the same place I did last summer- Beautyscope.

And… yeah.  That’s about it.  It’s a pretty boring and redundant life for now.  Especially since I don’t work out with anyone.  My brother typically comes out and keeps me company for the hill sprints and my dad joins me for Saturday’s track workouts.  But the gym is a lone effort.  It is tough to stay motivated when the season is so far away.  But I think I have done a pretty good job thus far of giving it my all for each workout.

Before I left lake Placid, I maxed out in my Power Clean at 171lbs.  At the combine last year, I maxed out at 160lbs.  An 11lb improvement is pretty significant!  Ambrose (strength and conditioning coach) set up the camera to capture proof of success!  Here’s the video.  I didn’t want to get into another argument with Windows Movie Maker, so I didn’t bother editing it and cutting off the last minute of the video.

Anyway, so the other night I went to the gym around 11pm because I needed to blow off some steam and finish up a workout from the morning.  Plus if you go at night, no one is there.  It is great not having to share equipment.  Anyway, I haven’t done a full clean since this video but I decided to fiddle around with it and see what I could do.  I was just supposed to be doing shrug pulls from the floor, but I decided to finish the lift and clean it.  Managed to get up 165 pretty easily.  This is really good news for what the future holds.  We are in the base/volume building portion of the program and  I haven’t done a full clean since March.  I am hoping to clean 80kg (about 176lbs) for the combine in August which will be good for 96 points.

Oh yeah, I guess I need to explain what this combine is.  I took it last year before I made  my blog.  Anyway the combine is like this big physical fitness test with 8 events.  Each event is worth 100 points and the minimum # of points you can get to slide is 600points.  It includes a 15m, 30m, 45m, 30m fly, broad jump, shot toss, power clean and 3-rep squat max.  I score 727 points on it last year.  I want to be around 750 for this years combine.  The most important parts of the combine are the sprints since they encompass half of the overall combine.  I can use some help in that 15m sprint but I am confident my training now more directly translates to this combine/skeleton than my track & field training did last year.

I’m going up to Lake Placid at the end of the month for a few days and Ambrose said we can do a little time trial to see where I am at thus far.  I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Other changes in my life?  Um, I started drinking protein after workouts.  Protein is hella expensive!  But I do believe it is worth it.  Hopefully it isn’t some placebo effect and it it actually helping my recovery.  But half of working out is mind over matter.  So even if it doesn’t do anything but my head thinks it does, I’m ok with it.  I also stopped eating wheat.  What whaaaat??!  I decided to try it out after hearing the case for no wheat from some friends.  It’s been pretty good thus far.  I feel better for  workouts.  I dropped a good chunk of weight right from the get-go.  But I am slowly putting it back on (the right way).  It is pretty weird changing my weight mentality from track to skeleton.  For jumping I always wanted to make sure I was as light as possible.  I mean, we’d wear these 10lb weight vests for practice.  The thought of jumping with that weight on my body was a big deterrent to eating poorly for me.  But you move up to Lake Placid and they tell you to put on weight because it’ll make you faster sliding on the ice.  There is obviously a happy medium between putting of so much weight that you are slow at the start and fast down times.  I’ll figure it out eventually.

That’s all for now.  I’ll update if anything interesting happens.  But I wouldn’t don’t bank on it.