COVER ERM_JanFeb14_Cover_Page_01

I am honored to be selected for the winter issue of Endurance Sports Magazine to represent women in endurance sports and also help the sport of ski mountaineering grow to new heights.     As we are nearly into the 2nd month of the year already I am blown away how fast time is moving.   I have been racing so much the past 5 years it has been a big transition for me to move from the World Cup Ski Mo world to an area where ski mountaineering is  just a seedling.  Fortunately there are great trails to run and nordic ski on, and many new places to discover.
As I enter into 2014 one of my continued goals is to keep my love and passion for  sports alive and fresh, learning new things and how they can be applied to my own life skills, in essence what I am trying to teach and inspire as an educator and coach. Below is a link to a video presentation I gave schools on my ski mountaineering career and how it connects with personal  life skills. I drew on the “Future Skills Report by the National Association for Independent Schools”  

It is these skills that universities and future employers are looking for in their applications and just what we are trying to teach to students. But just how do we teach these skills?
  • Persistence
  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Courage
  • Grit
A big transition for me is to be not only back in the very busy working world as a boarding school teacher, coach and residential house parent, but also moving away from the Alps, a place where my heart is and I find my peace in the mountains.  2013 was an amazing year for me as an athlete, one that I would never have imagined 10 years ago when I really started the sport. I had my career best at age 40 after starting the sport after my children were born. In 2013, I was the first North American to win a medal at World Championships, the silver in the sprint event and for the season and career finale, I  won a gold again in the final World Cup in Tromso, Norway. This transition  has not been easy but I am embracing the challenge, finding true
grit, courage, persistence, resilience and patience.
It makes me smile to see the sport of ski mountaineering growing worldwide. I am excited to try a few races here in New England and have aspirations to create a sprint night event locally to help bring in more people to the sport. I am so excited to watch the Olympics at Sochi the US Nordic Team on fire.This is a sport that has grown tremendously over the past 10 years and to watch someone like Kikkan Randal keep after it and have it pay off after 10 years has been incredible to watch. I love the Olympic Buz  and only wish the US coverage was more on the nordic sports. It would be amazing to have skimo in the Olympics in 2022. I hope to build a team of young people that will be competitors in the sport in 2022.
 It’s been since 2005 that I did my last big ski marathon in France the Transjurassienne and the Engadine Ski Marathon in 2005. Both of these are the World Loppet Series and I hope to tick off these on my life long list all over the world.  I hope to try my hand at some  New England nordic marathon distance races as well as my favorite,  the sprints. It has been really fun helping grow the Dublin School Nordic Team and be back in New England trails.
This summer I have my sites on some local trail marathons and 50kms on the east coast. I would like to get more of a sense of the trail races here in Northern East coast, discovering new trails and terrain. We are working hard  to be in the Alps this summer leading bike tours and trail running trips so if you are interested in joining, get in touch. I have my sights on some ultra trails in the Alps and the USA. Spring will be a time to discover some new trails and run up Mt Monandnock as much as possible!!
Please read Chris Carmichaels New Year’s post of goal setting for the new year words which resonated with me.
January brings optimism and new beginnings, especially for athletes looking forward to another exciting year of training and spectacular performances! If you’ve been waiting to set a goal for yourself, now’s the time to do it. Whether this is the year you swing for the fences with an audacious goal or keep it a bit more low-key, I want to see you succeed!
Skip the New Year’s resolution, though. More often than not they encourage radical – and therefore unsustainable – changes in a person’s behavior. I prefer to have athletes set goals rather than make resolutions, because a goal is something you’re working toward. Achieving a goal is a process that involves gradual changes and persistent attention, and in my experience people have more success at achieving goals than sticking with resolutions.
 
To be valuable and provide the motivation necessary for you to follow through, your goals need to be personal. The only person they need to matter to is you. They don’t need to impress the neighbors or the guys at the local group ride; setting goals based on other people’s expectations is a bad idea.
 
There is a ton of literature out there on goal setting, and I don’t think I need to rehash the basic ideas of setting specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-based goals. (The SMART acronym was developed originally by George Doran, I believe, and it’s a good, basic framework for project management and athlete development.) After many years of helping athletes refine their goals, here are a few guidelines I think you should consider for 2014:
 
#1 Commit to an event: I mean register for it. Now. Put your money where your mouth is and sign up for an event. It could be “your first ultra trail, ski marathon, big hike” your first century, your 12th Ironman, a CTS Camp, or the Amgen Tour of  the important thing is to commit to it now and get it on the calendar. We’re all busy and free time will get scheduled for other things if you don’t claim it.
 
#2 Seek Consistency: Athletes who make the most progress are not the ones who train harder, but rather the ones who achieve the greatest consistency. Training hard but haphazardly is just a lot of suffering for small rewards. But even if you can only train 3-4 times a week, sticking with those 3-4 sessions each week for 4-6 months will do wonders for your fitness and performance!
 
#3 Reduce Stress: Some of your goals for 2014 should revolve around reducing the stress in your life, because all stress – lifestyle, anxiety, training, etc. – impacts performance. When there’s additional stress on top of training stress, it becomes more difficult to achieve your sports performance goals. Consider getting more sleep – even by setting a bedtime if need be. Simply your lifestyle where you can; it is important to prioritize your training when you’ve set your sights on an important, time-consuming, and energy-intensive goal.
 
#4 Simplify your eating: The path to both optimal weight and superior performance is by going simpler rather than more complex. Fewer supplements and more real food. Fewer animal products and more plants. Even sports nutrition should be simpler, 
 
#5 Get help: You’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ve probably been training for even longer, and maybe you are or have worked with a coach. But many of you haven’t. Give it a try. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I know coaching improves an athlete’s performance. The greatest value isn’t the training plan and the data; it’s everything else. It’s the relationship, communication, support, experience, expertise, encouragement, inspiration, and problem solving
 
 Here are a few races I am looking at for 2014
Jan.
Berkshire East Rando
Feb.
Stowe Eastern Cup Sprints
Mad River Glen Rando
Sprint Super Series Craftsbury
NE Winter Wild Pats Peak
March.
Mt. Greylock Rando
Jay Peak Rando
Owls Head Rando
Maine Huts & Trails Marathon
Mt. Greylock Rando
Bromley Mt. Rando
April
May 2014
June
North Face Endurance Challenge DC
Trip to the Alps for some trail running and cycling adventures with the family.
August: 
OCC- North Face Ultra Trail Orsieres, Champex, Chamonix