This summer will definitely be one for the memory books. All team training camps were cancelled, flying on planes has gone from a monthly occurrence for me to almost zero, and interprovincial/territorial travel has become a maze of hoops and hurdles.
Despite the added complications, summer 2020 has been great from a training standpoint. I spent all of June and July in the Bow Valley training with my pod of teammates and taking advantage of the amazing training the surrounding mountains and valley has to offer. This may very well be the first time I have spent over two consecutive months training in one location, no travel days. More time to just train well and recover well. There was something very comforting and motivating about settling into my routine, properly rooting myself and having a good combination of both group training and the opportunity for solo workouts, building up weaknesses & exploring new local training locations.
As the summer progressed, we were able to work more and more in person with our coaches and staff. Since August we have been back in the gym in small groups and able to get in some sessions on the roller ski treadmill.
This spring I did not get the chance to go home and spend April in the Yukon with my family like I usually do. Needless to say, by the time July came around I was missing my family a lot. During the pandemic the Yukon closed its borders to the other provinces and territories. In July they reopened so that people in British Colombia could enter the territory without isolating for 14 days. Initially I was hopefully that the Yukon would soon open to Alberta as well, but when that did not happen, I decided to pack up for a month and follow the maze of rules and guidelines so that I could spend time with my parents and sister at home.
After 10 weeks in Canmore, I put my two bikes, my roller skis, poles, training gear, some kitchen supplies, a bunch of closes and a planter of lettuce in my Honda Fit and I drove to my boyfriend’s condo in BC. Essentially, I had an embarrassing amount of stuff for one person, but hey if it fits in the Fit, you might as well bring it, right?! I’m not sure my boyfriend agreed with that thought process when I took over his condo with all my gear upon arrival.
In order to enter the Yukon without having to isolate, I needed to spend at least 14 days in BC before traveling north. This meant a full month away from my coaches and the structured training environment of Canmore. Although we were just starting to be able to work more with our coaches again and use the indoor training facilities in Canmore, I knew that it was a must for me to get home and visit my family and logically August was the best time to do that.
During my two weeks in BC, I spent most of my time training in Kelowna and Penticton with some awesome teammates and ski loving friends. The change of training location gave me a great opportunity to focus on sustained classic striding intervals. Sustained striding is hard to do in Canmore because we lack long paved roads that are steep enough. I also worked really hard on my beach training, spending at least one hour a day at the beach and of course swam multiple times per day.
When mid-August rolled around it was finally time to head home and see the fam! My time at home was great. It consisted of delicious family meals; hikes, runs and intervals with Dad, horseback rides, hot tubs and sofa snuggles with Dess and berry picking, dog walks and life chats with Mom. I went for river walk and mountain bike rides to catch up with friends and made sure to give our dog Ozzy all the snuggles he was willing to endure. The time passed too quickly but I am so glad I made the effort to prioritize family time in my training plan. At the end of the month I boarded my flight and headed back south to rejoin my team and start up fall training. Flying to Whitehorse and back were the only two flights I took this summer and I won’t be on another plane now until we (hopefully) travel to Europe for the beginning of race season mid-November. For a kid who had frequent flyer status by age 15, this summer has been a change. Not a bad change, just different. It has forced me to truly appreciate many things I have taken for granted over the years and it has made me so grateful for the time I do get to spend with the people I love, even if it has been few and far between this summer.
Looking ahead, training has been planned for the fall and I am feeling confident in the plan and where I am at. Now we just have to wait and see how the race season unfolds. That might mean seeing my family at Christmas, that might mean not seeing them until the spring once the season is over and we return for Europe. The mottos of the summer have been “stay flexible” and “hope for the best but plan for the worst”. I feel truly lucky to have such awesome teammates that I love spending time with. I know that whatever the winter has in store for us, we will be ready to race our hearts out for Canada.
I hope everyone is enjoying the fall colours as much as I am!
Thanks for reading,
4 Replies to “Grounded: Maximizing Summer Training in the Absence of Team Camps & Navigating my way Home for Family Time.”
Great report Dahria. I love reading you. Fingers crossed for the coming season… All the best to you ! Guy
Love reading about how you’re doing in these crazy times. I especially loved seeing the photos of you and the family – I have such fond memories of all of you!
Stay well, enjoy your training, and good luck in all your races!
Thank you Jan! I hope you are doing well too!