Lake Placid and Home

by Jennie

I have been looking forward to this trip back East for awhile, and can’t believe it’s already come and gone. Between work and training, I only come home a couple times a year, but this time around I was home, aka in the East, for about three weeks. As much traveling and adventuring as I do, there is always an overall plan to the madness. It was planned it so that my first week was a volume week, the middle was a hard one due to being at camp, and my last was easy to prepare for going back to an intensity block in Montana.

The day after I arrived in Vermont, I hiked in to the Underhill campground at the base of Mt Mansfield and joined Fred Griffin’s Cross Country running teams annual five day hike/adventure extravaganza. They had already been there for three nights, and were quite soggy, but despite this knew how to stay in good spirits. Between daily hikes, games, and constant movement, everyone leaves camp pretty spent. After years of training with all sorts of groups, joining Fred adventures are still by far my favorite.



Apparently I have a thing for wearing backpacks on my front (see below).

After assuring my parents I would have some home time when I got back from the US Team camp, I packed up and went on a mini trip, which started out by going South to say hey to Zach and Amy Caldwell. These guys have always been a huge help, and are a big part of my support team. The visit was brief, but it was great to catch up. I got in a 2 hour classic ski, and stopped by a swimming hole near their house to wash off the copious amounts of east coast humidity that slapped me in the face.


Had to take a picture of my Kikkan sandwich. It gives me warm and fuzzys seeing my poster up on such a prestigious wall!


I left early the next morning to pick some blueberries in the rain close to the Caldwell’s house, as a treat to give away as part of my next mission . This is one East coast activity I have been looking forward to all summer. Not the rain part, but it’s fitting since the last time I did this was in Craftsbury in the rain many years ago.

Part two of my short Vermont exploration, was to find my buddy Katie along with others who had been thru hiking the Appalachain trail all summer. Ever since I hiked with them in May, they have been hiking and living as “hiker trash”, or how they are called every so often. I ran backwards on the trail near Hanover NH, and jumped out of the woods when I heard Katie and Jess (aka Voodoo and Jrex) approaching. It was an epic reunion, and I loved being Jennaayyy the hiker trash for a couple days again. Since I was counting this as part of my workout for the day, I offered to carry their packs for a bit as strength training, and to see if I could do it. I made it about an hour, when the front pack became a bit much, as well as I couldn’t handle the stink anymore haha. (After being in the woods for so long, your sense of smell intensifies, except you become immune to your own stink. It wasn’t so bad down South in the cooler weather, but the wet North definitely left its mark on this nomadic crew! They said they could smell my clean on their packs for days after.)  I brought them blueberries and VT apple cider donuts (one of my top foods I gotta get when I go home), and we roamed Hanover together for a bit.


We also ran into our buddies Global Leader and Nora V, who really wanted to try the roller skis chilling in the back of my car, so where there’s a will, there’s a way! Where there’s Duct tape, there’s a way! Yes, that’s Duct tape holding him on to my classic skis, so we took the terrain pretty easy, despite their ambition to rip around Dartmouth campus.


What I love about the thru hiker atmosphere, is how much life, generosity, and basic joy of the human spirit is appreciated. That night, we camped on some dudes porch. He is 80 something years old, yet had the soul of a 20 year old. (Which was apparent when he went for an ass grab during my departure hug.) He said the hikers keep him  young. He allows anyone to sleep on his porch, and gives them ice-cream when they show up, which is pretty much like staying at a Best Western when your other option is tenting in the rain. Other than having daddy long legs crawl on me all night, there is a simple freedom of sleeping on a wooden porch with a bunch of kindred heart strangers as rain drips off the roof. You only know what I mean, if you know what I mean.


The next day Voodoo and I hiked East from Hanover. I was going to hike 2 -3 hours with her then turn and jog back. However, because of this one known creepy dude on the trail who kept passing us and waiting, who already had multiple complaints against him on being a creeper towards women, I hiked with her to her evening destination (6-7 hour day total) and hitched a ride back to Hanover. One of those rare times when hitch hiking seemed safer than hiking in the woods alone. (Don’t worry Mom, I was with someone, and I had pepper spray. And my kick ass knife.) After a sad departure from my taste back on the trail, I headed three hours north, homeward bound.

While at home, I tend to ski at the Jericho Range quite a bit, which is by far one of the best roller ski tracks in the country. You have to be signed in specially to ski up there since it’s an army base, but it’s worth jumping through the hoops. I joined up with Mansfield Nordic for a practice, and we worked on some double pole and technique work. Since I’ve spent plenty of time trying to fix my bad habits, I have analyzed body movement quite a bit. Do as I say, not as I do. Not until this broken pony fixes her lingering injury issues. However, one of the most important factors I’ve learned, is that you are never too advanced to start from the beginning again. The Pros do their one leg tiny movement PT exercises, the Joes bull through and go straight to bench. Both are key in proper development.


I won’t get too much into the Lake Placid US Team camp that I attended, because there have been many blogs already re-capping the various workouts. I only stayed for part of the camp, because my middle sisters wedding was during the second week. However, I was pumped to join the girls for many workouts, and catch up with my winter buddies. Since the OTC was booked, I ended up staying at a closed hostel with the owner, who just happened to be back for that week and let me rent a room. Although a bit lonely, it was actually sweet being able to cook for myself and come and go as I pleased. Despite the perks of the free and ready made OTC dining hall, sometimes the food there can get a bit monotonous.


The ladies on an OD run to Avalanche lake in the Aderondacks.


I have seen this picture below blown up and used for various posts, and it makes me snort laugh every time.. #wellhellobutt #whopthereitis


Nothing like a double pole train!

Photo by Bryan Fish


When I headed back for a week of wedding events, I joined up with UVM for an OD skate ski. Time sure does fly. At least Weaver and Fred still look the same #ageless. It was kinda cool to be skiing the OD loop that I distinctly remember doing Freshman year, with a big group of current Freshman who were doing it for their first time.


Last and not least, my sister Kelly’s wedding was definitely awesome. It was great to see a lot of family, and meet many new friends and faces. My new brother -in-law and I now have a pending pull-up contest. He is certain he can beat me in anything sports related…one lap around the track….it’s still on Tom.



Game face. Wedding game face? Hopefully not.


Game face after some L4 bounding intervals up Bolton the day before I left.


Photo credit to Ross Saxton

Now back in Bozeman with a new Elite coach, new crew of MSU athletes who are skiing for BSF this winter, and a fresh energy for training all around.


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