Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Friday, September 4, 2020

Long-Term Goals

In this year of unknowns thanks to COVID-19, it’s hard to know for what I’m training. Sure, there is the ski season, but we don’t know if that will be normal or not. As time progresses, it’s getting more likely that events will be more like individual time trials.

I’ve been thinking about my goals as I run 200s on the track, thinking about breaking a 6-minute mile while also tinkering with the idea of running an ultra-marathon in the fall, and then there is always skiing. So I started to think about my training in general and came up with this list of long-term (if not life-long) goals.

1. I want to be able to walk fast, run, squat, jump, ski, climb mountains, canoe, and still do some pull-ups when I’m in my 70s. And I want to be able to do this mostly pain-free. While this may not be at my current level, I still want to be able to do these things.

There are lots of exemplary people I know who are able to do these activities into their 50s, 60s, and 70s. I wish I could be as spry as Ahvo is in his 70s, but I don’t think I was that spry at age 3 so he may not be a good example- but maybe I can still jump and run in my 70s. To achieve this goal, it’s important to look at what I’m doing now. Simply being active and doing these things now can help me maintain this goal in the future. I need to continue doing these things to maintain a good fitness base and strength throughout my life. This means paying attention to what is hurting me now and doing physical therapy to prevent the minor things from turning into major things. It also means not overdoing it to cause injuries.

Ahvo, sporting his Yoko get-up in Finland's Border-to-Border tour

But I also need to consider agility and balance. These are things that are not natural for me. I try to do some stretching but always think about doing yoga. People tell me this is good to do. Maybe one of these years (when I stop working so much), I’ll start getting in the habit of doing yoga. For now, I’ll at least keep doing crow pose.


2. I want to ski fast for many years to come, whether it’s racing a sprint or a marathon. I don’t have a specific age for this. It used to seem 50 was the end age, but then there’s local women like Jan and Kate and my teammates Marybeth and Bonnie who are proving this is possible until at least age 60. Then there’s Dave, he just turned 70 and man, but is he ever fast and still hungry to push himself. With climate change it’s impossible to know if we’ll still be ski racing in 35 years, but I do hope I can still push my body and be brave then. Dave is a great example of the “use it or lose it” principle. I don’t think I’ll be roller skiing in the dark when I’m 70 (I largely try to avoid this now). Of course, with global warming, it’s possible that may define my age limit.

Kate kicking [my] butt at the Mora Vasaloppet in 2017
Bonnie skiing so fast at this year's Birkie.
Arguably not Dave's best moment- but I've put in this picture because he's willing to take risks to be competitive now into his 70s! He doesn't ski like he's 70.

So I keep up the roller skiing, strength, and general ski training. I’m not satisfied yet with my previous ski results. I want to see if I can crack into that top 10 in the Birkie Classic, keep up with Josie in the Mora Vasaloppet, and get a PR on our 1 km double pole roller ski time trial course. It’s also important for me to make some changes to my training given it seems my ski performance has been relatively flat the past few years. I’ve made some changes to my strength training (more to come soon) and am thinking more about planned periodization (maybe more to come at some point). Of course, I’m always working on my technique as well. While I may never achieve the above specific goals, it’s even more unlikely that I would achieve them if I didn’t have them.

Still skiing with Josie early on in the Mora Vasaloppet in 2016. Maybe some year I can stay with her!


3.  I want to run fast. Specifically, I still want to sprint, I still want to break a 6-minute mile, and I still want to race a fast half marathon. Last year I took a hiatus from running races after I got injured in the midst of training for a 5 K and focused more on ski training. This year I was determined to train again to break a 6-minute mile. I did a baseline mile in 6:44. Then I started doing intervals but will admit I was discouraged when I could barely hit 200s at 6-minute pace. This has taught me I need to go back to basics and work on running form and even sprinting. I’m also interested in trying another PR 5 K. To some extent, mentally I can only handle so many really fast running intervals, especially on early weekend mornings. Then there is running fast at longer distances which is more my forte. I’ve never even ran a road half marathon! I don’t have much desire to try for another marathon PR, but I do need to get after that half marathon at some point. I don’t necessarily have a goal time in mind for a half marathon, but I do know my pace should be faster than 7:56 which is what I did for a 16.7 mile race three years ago that seemed to push me to my absolute limit. So for these different distances, I need to set a goal race, train for the goal race, and then get a PR. 

With these future running goals in mind, I’ve done everything from 200s to 15 minute tempo/L3 runs so far this year. It’s good ski training and will keep my legs fast for those future goal running races.

I've been chasing the 6-minute mile for 19 years now- training on two continents and lots of different states!


If there’s anything that I’ve learned over the years, it’s to celebrate achieving goals! This is especially true because it can be daunting to set a goal I can’t achieve until I’m 70. Some goals are really small, like daily to-do lists, some take months, and some take years. So I’m going to celebrate my recent completed goals:

At age 35, I’ve finally learned how to french braid hair!

After a couple months of french braiding my own hair, this was my first go-round on someone else's...and I think it's pretty darn good for a first try!

I’m ridiculously proud of this pot that I planted this spring. It’s partner (on the other side of the door stoop) didn’t turn out quite so good. But this one is perfection!

The front planter that turned out perfect!


drum roll please…I’m launching my own website featuring a new blog about all my adventures!!!