Monday, December 29, 2008

Rochester Photographs 2008

A photograph of me was featured in the Rochester newspaper's Top 10 Photographs of 2008. It was taken by Jay Caper for article published in February of last year. You can see the photo here by finding "Jay Caper," the second photographer from the top, and clicking on my picture on the right-hand side of the page.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weird Rochester Weather

After getting slammed last weekend with two back-to back storms and over a foot of snow, we had a nice couple days of normal winter weather. But, starting yesterday, it's been 60 degrees and rainy. All the snow is gone, and the creek is thawed.

To add to the weirdness, at 7am this morning it was warm, calm, and the sunrise was eerily red. (red sky at morning!) Now, 3 hours later, the temperature has plummeted, the sky is black, and the winds are up to 60mph.

Eesh. Make up your mind already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Watch Out World

I am 21 years old today.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My New Bench Pull

Problem: utilizing the bench pull is paramount to my lifting program, and I didn't have access to one at home. (And of course, given my steadfast desire to get stronger by executing my strength & conditioning program to the best of my ability, this seemed like a real pickle.) Solution: commission my dad to help me build one!

It was fairly simple: a bunch of 2x4's, cut them down to the correct length, and insert many screws. The top is padded with foam making the grand total cost of the products only $17!!

Lastly, I found 250lbs worth of old Olympic weights on craigslist for $50. I set up my new bench pull and weights right smack in the middle of my 15 year-old brother's recording studio, for which, in my defense, he claimed the basement as soon as I moved out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blizzard, Part One

Well, the snow started falling at about 9am. I spent all morning knitting mittens, aka procrastinating from the job I have been putting off for 3 days: prepping the skis. Between me and my sister, there are 10 pairs of skis, then another 8 pairs from my mom, dad, and brother. That doesn't count any of our downhill skis (1 pair each) and my brother's snowboards (2, I think). There is a LOT of waxing to be done. I really enjoy waxing skis, but the pile of 18 pairs I want to get done before Saturday is rather daunting.

Oh well; make hay while the sun shines!! I am snowed in so I might as well be up to my elbows in CH8 shavings.

If the roads are passable in a few hours, I'm going skiing!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snowshoe Running is REALLY HARD

With a particular emphasis on the really hard part. I have basically two speeds: walk, or feel-like-my-heart-is-exploding-from-my-chest.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Things That Rochester Is

Lovely!! tehe

The roads are salty and the trees are barren. The buildings are grey, the sky is grey... even the trees look grey. It seems like the whole town is just quietly waiting for the snow to come liven things up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy December!

I had a good two weeks of training post- Thanksgiving adventure, although I did manage to hurt my back somewhere along the way. X-rays showed my spine as normal, so it's definitely just something muscular that needs rest and recovery. I find that the older and more experienced I get, the easier it is for me to take the time off that I know I need (or stop the workout before the point of injury!) It feels really good to be in control like that, especially when my body feels better as a result.

I took a redeye back to Rochester last night and arrived today!! Of course, all of yesterday's snow melted while I was en route, and now all I see is grass. Oh well. Let the finger-crossing and pajama-inside-out-wearing and hoping-wishing-praying for snow begin!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tecolote 5k

We [the senior kayak team] attended San Diego Canoe/Kayak Club's 5k race this weekend. I personally did not race, due to my apparent back injury, but I did take photos and freeze my butt off. (It was rainy, windy, choppy, and 50 degrees. No one was really prepared for this.)

Mickle and Jen in the foreground duking it out with Maggie and Vinson

My team! Well, 75% of us, anyway: Emily Mickle, Jen Burke, me, Katie Hagler

Thursday, December 11, 2008

1000- Arrow Challenge

The resident archers here at the Olympic Training Center do an event every December called the "1000 arrow challenge." This involves shooting 1000 arrows in a row. It takes between 6-13 hours, depending on how fast the athlete can shoot.

On a normal day (over the course of 8 hours), the archers might shoot between 200-300 arrows. 1000 arrows is over three times the normal training load. To put things into perspective, that would be like us kayakers taking our normal 2-3 hours on the water daily and multiplying it into a 9-hour continuous paddle Yikes. Talk about over-distance training.

Anyway, I spent a good portion of my day watching these audacious athletes and taking pictures of their suffering. Everyone needs good support, you know?

Tyler shooting late into the evening

If you've unfamiliar with Olympic archery, I'd highly recommend checking it out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More about Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree

I don't think you can say you've really seen a sunrise until you've climbed up on some tall, cold rock in the middle of the desert and looked East until you were totally bathed in rosy light.

This landscape is beautiful, and totally foreign to me. I got up before dawn every day to catch the sunrise, and we spent all daylight hours rock-climbing.

Lauren Austin, my dear paddling friend who is currently studying geology at UC Davis, taught me the ins and outs of outdoor climbing (along with Eric, pictured below!).

Learning how to make a rope-backpack

Lauren also taught me a lot about the rocks themselves. They are volcanic, and have very large, rough crystals ("the cheese grater", we called it, when we were up on the rocks, hoping not to fall on exposed skin). They fracture at 90-degree angles and erode in straight lines, creating these really interesting angular rock towers all over the park: a rock climber's fantasy.

There are rocks just everywhere. Milions of rocks. Billions of rocks!! Each person in the world could have his very own rock.. probbly even his very own rock tower.

We met all sorts of interesting climbing nuts (get it? Climbing nuts!!?) We also ate delicious food for Thanksgiving: instant mashed potatoes, vegetables, and chicken... all thrown into the same pot and cooked on a backpacking stove. There's no water in the park, so we definitely didn't shower for 5 days. It was chilly and windy and the surrounding mountains were covered in snow. I loved every bit of it.

This was my first time climbing outdoors, and I have a newfound respect for people who do this. It's admittedly freaky when you get up on the wall on your second pitch and you're the last one to come up, the wind is blowing all over the place, you're not entirely certain how to do your next move, and all you can think about is that #3 cam in a crack five feet above your head that's totally saving your life right now. But I made it to the top, thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am hopeful that my next go of it won't be quite so unnerving.

Eric and Lauren watching me ascend the pitch

What is a Joshua Tree?

I spent my Thanksgiving climbing in Joshua Tree National Park, just three hours Northeast of San Diego. A year ago, I'd never heard of a Joshua Tree, but now, having spent ample time in the desert, I find them fascinating.

Joshua Trees are trees native to California, Nevada, and Arizona, confined mostly to the Mojave Desert area. They are slow-growing trees with long, sharp, cactus-like "leaves" that grow in a spiral pattern. As the story goes, they got their name from Mormon settlers, who thought that the trees' up-stretched arms looked like the praying prophet Joshua.

Joshua Trees always remind me of the Truffala trees in Dr. Suess' The Lorax!