Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Monday, October 7, 2019

Fall 2019 Training Updates

My training this year feels a bit erratic. First, there were a couple injuries. Then there was an almost 3 week trip to Europe. Not that I didn’t train during both of these times, it just looked different than previous years. As I head into fall I’ll reflect on some of my training consistencies, “curve balls,” and my major time suck of the year.


Biking: I’ve still been doing my bike commuting to and from work and for errands on my retro super heavy road bike. This can hardly be considered training but at a 5+ mile commute it’s also not nothing.

My old bike with a big load after a Target shopping trip.
 Running: Since my awesome come back run in Ulm, Germany on July 31st, I’ve been running just about 4 times per week, averaging 20 something miles per week. I’ve even done a couple threshold runs, an L4 workout, and some fast 200s. In other words, my running training looks pretty similar to previous years.

Always running. Photo: Erik
Wednesday night Vakava practice: This has been consistent for me outside of our Europe trip. I think this is because I know I need to do some rollerski training and so I make it a point to go to practice where I can be pushed by my teammates during our intervals.

Strength training: I’m still regularly doing this 3 days per week. After my shoulder injury, I substituted one day of pull-ups for rows and other shoulder stabilization exercises. So I’m down to like 60 pulls up per week instead of 100. I’ve also gotten in a new routine with my leg strength. One workout focuses more on balance whereby I do all of my exercises one-legged. A second workout emphasizes one-legged squats and stair steps and a third workout is all about squats with weights. It’s been a good routine- now if I could just add to that! And of course I do an ab workout as part of each strength session.

Curve balls

This is perhaps too strong of a word to use to describe these curve balls but it was the word that most readily came to mind. Maybe because this training is on track. Sort of.

Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour: Somehow, when this flyer arrived in our mailbox in July, I decided we should do the Saint Paul Classic. Note, this is a tour; however, we planned to do the 45 mile course and since I prefer to ride my mountain bike, I decided a bit of training was in order. I found that I was substituting rollerskiing for biking. The tour was mostly fun, minus the rain near the end. I had trained well and since it was a “tour,” I felt like a pretty fast biker:) which I’m definitely not. Unfortunately, the pavement on my favorite rollerski loop in Saint Paul (you may have heard that the Saint Paul streets are terrible) has too many bad areas of pavement and it takes all the joy out of the loop so I found biking to be a good alternative.

Bike training! Photo: Erik

A training bike ride with Erik and my bro. Photo: Erik
Paddling: It hasn’t really been my intention to do paddling, but it just sort of happens. OK, I guess this has just happened twice, but both times we substituted rollerskiing for paddling. One time we were out in the Shakopee area and since we need to canoe that part of the Minnesota River, we decided to just do that. And it was fabulous. The second time, my coworker got married up by Willow River, MN. Given that we’ve been getting so much rain lately, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to paddle a river in the area. Well, you know me, I’d actually been planning this for months since I got the Save the Date. Especially because our autumns seem to be rainy and river levels have been high. The day after the wedding, on a nice fall Sunday, Erik and I packrafted 26.5 miles down the upper Snake River. It was amazing. Yeah, we could have gone rollerskiing but it just wouldn’t have been as magical.

A perfect fall day on the upper Snake River. That's our gear bag attached to the front of the packraft that's obstructing a bunch of the view.

Erik and some of the fast water in the Lower Snake Falls part. We put in just to the right of the pillow rock to Erik's right to ferry across to shoot the rapid below.

Orienteering race: I tried to do an orienteering race at Wisconsin’s Interstate State Park. The plan was to race and get in a threshold run. But the terrain dictated otherwise. Scampering around boulders wearing spikes isn’t exactly conducive to fast running. I was doing the hardest course, where all the controls are well off trails, it was cloudy and I didn’t have a compass and the “trails” marked on the map were deer trails at best. After worrying I was possibly actually lost and going into survival mode, I had to DNF as I was out of time. My only consolation was that Erik also took the DNF and we did the same number of controls.

Hiking at Interstate State Park after the rainstorm and orienteering meet. Photo: Erik

Watching the cruise boat on the St. Croix. Photo: Erik

Time suck

Here’s my confession: I’ve become completely addicted to ridding my yard of ivy. The problem with this, of course, is that this is impossible. I’ve spent hours and hours digging up the roots, trying to meticulously trace them back to their origin to try and get out every last piece of ivy. It’s overwhelming. And it’s kind of a workout. I mean, my back and hamstrings get really sore and with all the digging and pulling down deep, my upper body is getting at least some kind of workout in. There’s been more than a couple times I’ve passed up a rollerski in favor of this new obsession. Yes, I’m definitely a type A perfectionist. I’ve had dreams about this ivy. It’s kind of taken over my life, just like how it had taken over the garage and raspberries until I intervened.

Ivy on the house (and Erik replacing some woodwork last year) must go which means digging down deep to pull out all the roots.

Each week, as an entire week passes between Wednesday Vakava practices, I vow to do more rollerskiing. But then those curve balls come my way- so, here’s to next week!