One of the nicest parts of being a professional student is the breaks. This August I got what will probably be the last month long break until I retire (wow... sad). I am making pretty good use of my time. I'm working on finding a job for when I graduate next spring (anyone want to hire a dentist?), studying a bit for board exams, and getting in some good training. Nichole actually has a job, but she took last week off and we went up north for some "relaxation". Most of our vacations consist of some form of beating our bodies, and this year we decided to have a go at backpacking. I have a bit of experience backpacking, having been on a number of such trips during my boy scout days, but Nichole had never experienced the joys of carrying everything you need to survive on your back while hiking from place to place. Although our plan had been to camp for 3 days, by day two we had decided that backpacking was too slow, and that cars had been invented for a reason. So we got ourselves out to a road, ditched our packs in the woods, and did what we are more comfortable doing on vacation -run (all the way to our car). We picked up our packs, drove to the next state park, took some pics at the waterfalls, and then drove to my parent's cabin near Hayward, WI. It was a great decision. We spent the rest of the week running, kayaking, and rollerskiing around Hayward (I had a black bear cross the road in front of me when I was out rollerskiing. That was a first!). It was my first 15+ hour week of training since last year's summer vacation with Nichole :)
Nichole saying "what am I doing out here?"
Feeling much better after the run back to the car (and the pack off).
Lesson of trip: exploring without backpacks > exploring with backpacks.
Overall my training has been going very well. This has been my best summer ever - even better than my summers during college. My goal at the beginning of the year was to train one hour a week more that what I had done the year before, and so far 26 weeks into the training year I am already 42 hours ahead of last year. A lot of that has been on rollerskis (I have nearly doubled my hours on rollerskis this year compared to last year), but I have also increased my running (100 miles more this year than this point last year).
Hopefully the training will show up in the ski races this winter, but it already has been showing in running races this summer (my PR in the half marathon has come down 2 minutes), and our rollerski time trials this summer. Yesterday was our second Afton 2 x 5k time trail. It is 5k skate followed by ~20 minutes of recovery followed by a 5k classic time trial. We do this 2 or 3 times a summer, and it allows for pretty good comparison from year to year and at different points in the season. Yesterday I did not feel really great in either the skate or the classic, but I did feel strong. My times were really fast. I set new personal bests in both skate and classic by almost 30 seconds (and I have done this course a number of times over the last couple of years). Conditions were ideal yesterday, so that was probably worth a couple of seconds, but it is a good indication that I am in much better shape than I have been at any point in the last 2 years. Bring on the snow!
I should have full results from the TT later today.