Thursday, November 7, 2013

Solden and Fundraising

I am back to my usual blog format for the time being. 
This year, in between camps, I have been able to head home to Ontario and visit with family and friends. 
The day before I left for Solden I had the honour of being awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal! 
"Created in 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, this commemorative medal served to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. During the year of celebrations, 60 000 deserving Canadians were recognized." - http://www.gg.ca

Next I headed to Piztal, Austria to begin my prep for Solden. I have made some significant changes to my GS this summer, and I went to Solden for a few reasons, to get a race under my belt before Levi, to get a few extra days of GS training under my belt and because this year I felt that I had a chance. 

We had a fun photoshoot with MP's new line for "I GOT SWAGG". 

MP and I always listen to Hugues, but Jenny isn't impressed by what is being said...

Thanks Audi for our sponsorship! 

Mitch the lizard.... 

Who reminds me of... the lizard in "How Animals Eat Their Food".


I love my teammates and physio! And the new line of... http://www.teamigotswagg.com

I was excited when we moved to Solden because the forest is always so beautiful. I brought my big camera on this short trip for the sole purpose of taking pictures of the trees. I slung my camera over my shoulder, bush wacked up the trail and got my camera ready. Only to realize that my battery was dead. I resorted back to my good old iPhone,

Silence

I woke up the next morning ready to race. 

I didn't ski the way that I wanted to in the race. Many of the changes that I made in GS are not yet good habits and fell apart under the difficulty of Solden and the pressure of the race. The outcome of the race was a bit of a nightmare, and I was disappointed. However, I got many of the things accomplished that I went to Solden for. I felt calm in the start, I trained in many difficult situations and my warm up went according to plan.

However, I still felt like this after the race.

I headed home to get myself ready for my preparation for Levi. This break at home was extremely busy, filled with fundraisers, inspirational days and working out.
The first thing on the schedule was a couple of interviews and then heading to a school in Toronto for a kids' inspirational lunch. It was amazing to see the kids open up to us, get comfortable and be inspired. I am so happy that Ontario decided to add this to their gala day.
After the kids lunch we headed to the Miele centre for our Ontario gala. It was amazing to meet new families from Ontario and see the support from our province.

Next on the schedule was the HBC launch for the Olympic clothing. It was exciting to see our Olympic gear for this coming season! I am excited to put on these clothes and become part of team Canada!

Our amazing hair stylists.

Jan and Brad helped us launch the clothing in style!


After the launch and a few interviews, I headed to the Gold Medal Plates dinner. This is a dinner where chefs from some of the best restaurants in Toronto come to have a cook off. Tom Cochran and Jim Cuddy performed during the event (and let us come up on stage and sing with them!). The proceeds of this events go to our Canadian Olympians and the chef that wins moves onto the culinary finals in Kelowna, BC.
The week at home was incredibly busy, but it was simply incredible too. I was able to meet many other Olympians, and I am excited to watch them all compete in Sochi. These events are busy, colourful and they inspire us to...



Saturday, October 5, 2013

Twitter Questions: Part 2- Team Camaraderie/Living in Canmore


Team Camaraderie
Our Canadian Women’s Ski Team is a truly incredible team. This team includes the athletes (and a few other ladies that will always be part of our Team), our coaches, our physio, our techs, our trainers, and all of the behind the scenes people that make this happen such as sponsors, presidents, board members, Alpine Canada employees, etc.


            First of all, our coaches and technicians make our team run as a unit. My relationship with my coaches/technitions is an open dialogue. I can rely on them through thick and thin, skiing related or otherwise. I truly believe that they want what is best for us, even if it is not related to skiing. I had one coach come up to me after a particularly bad day and tell me, “Erin, you know that your skiing doesn’t define you. I know today wasn’t what you wanted, but we are proud of who you are and what you have become.”
            Our physio is one of our greatest assets. She keeps us happy, healthy and mentally sounds. Not to mention that she is an absolutely fantastic driver, in some of the worst cars! And her yell out of the start has me pushing hard for the first gate. She knows exactly what we need, and goes out of her way to make it happen.


            Now on to my teammates, my teammates are my extended family. They are adopted sisters, confidants, de-stressers and rocks. Most people would think that with a group of about 7 girls travelling together, training together, and living together this would be a recipe for disaster, and in the past I would have thought so to, however this is not the case. Every single person on our team brings our team something special, whether it is Britt the encourager, 

Madi as our story teller,

Elli as our scholar,

Mikaela keeping us young, 


MP giving us fashion advice, 

or Mitch keeping us on our toes, making sure we are fired up and always ready to laugh. 


I have never been on a team like this. Day after day I watch teammates put their needs aside to help one another. We are young, we are growing together, and as we build this fabulous castle of our careers, each team member acts as the foundation. No matter what this year bring, I know that we will get through it, because we are lucky, we have all we need, and together, we can conquer anything. 

Living in Canmore
(I had to do my research for this one)
Mr Lawrence Grassi was an Italian man that moved to Canmore in 1912. Mr Grassi started working in the mines in Canmore, but also became well known for his skills as a climbing guide. It is said that on one of his tours a man broke his leg and Lawrence, who was small in stature, carried the man 2miles down the trail because he didn’t want to leave him behind.

Lawrence Grassi took it upon himself to set off into the woods with an axe on his shoulder to make trails. “…It was a labour of love. He loved the mountains but enjoyed having others share their beauty. So day by day he pushed through the bush discovering the best ways of approach -blazing a trail, cutting out the underbrush, grubbing out stones and rocks, bridging little mountain streams…

The world needs Grassis... men who will seek new paths; make the rough places smooth; bridge the chasms that now prevent human progress; point the way to higher levels and loftier achievements." -Dr. Woodsworth (www.peakfinder.com)


Now to the question of why I chose to spend my summers in Canmore. Well, the funny thing is that it wasn’t a choice… well not really. In February 2011, our coaches told us that we would now be required to move to Calgary or Canmore in the summers for the foreseeable future. To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to move. My friends and family were in Ontario, not to mention that I really didn’t have many funds to rent a place in Canmore, find a car, buy myself food, etc. I had lived at home my whole life, and I was being uprooted. My mom and I decided to drive across the country in a standard car, and I thought that stalling so many times that I missed a green light was proof that I really wasn’t prepared for what was in store for me that summer.

However, that was one of the best decisions that our coaches made. I was able to realize the importance of training and more specifically the importance of rest. 


I was able to balance out my training, with having fun, resting, sleeping, eating the right foods, etc. Yet, even as I realized this, I didn’t realize the full extent that I would fall in love with Canmore. 

Over the past few years Canmore had become our home away from home. I have met so many incredible people; hiking up some brilliant mountains; swam in some cold, yet inspiringly clear water; and rediscovered biking again. There are so many hidden gems by the three sisters, that I was able to discover because I had time during dryland or during my rest period; such as the standing wave at the Kananaskis river or the cliff to climb near Cougar Creek. 

I told the girls the other day that I miss Canmore. I miss it because I know where to find things in Canmore, I have friends that I can call up to go for a coffee and Canmore is the place that our team truly came together.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any more questions. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Twitter Questions Answered Part 1: Diet and Europe


Diet
There are a few unspoken rules that I lean towards when considering my diet:
1) FOOD IS FUEL
Food is truly your fuel. What you put into your body, and when is exactly like filling up a car. If you want your body to run like a Ferrari or Porsche, you have to put premium gas in the tank; and you should never let the tank run empty for fear of damaging the car. If you would never put low grade gas in a good car, why would you put poor fuel into your body. 
As athletes our engines are constantly running. I am one of the biggest eaters on my team, and I listen to my body when it tells me that it is hungry. I bring snacks on the hill and sometimes eat them on the tbar just to get the nutrients in my body because some days I actually feel like I need the food, which gives me a boost in energy to finish my runs. I eat a lot. I eat many times during the day and I eat a lot of calories, but that is okay. Calories have received this stigma that they are bad, however calories are what makes our bodies run. Too many calories and our bodies can't process them, too few calories and we are running on empty. When you are using many calories throughout the day, you have to eat these calories. 
                                                                                 http://www.stepawayfromthechocolate.com

I know that at times we all cheat. I love fresh baked cookies and ice cream, but this is a general rule that I follow. When I do indulge, or at times over indulge, I never substitute my good food for the bad food. I usually eat both.
                                                                  bellaxthree.wordpress.com 

Our bodies are our machines, we have to keep them fuelled well, oiled up and ready to go. This is why it is important to know what foods are good and why. For example, avocados are a source of good fat that can balance your cholesterol, cranberries have been associated with kidney health and paprika is said to be good for your eyes.

                                                                     www.premierfitnesscamp.com

2) EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

My mom always told me to eat everything in moderation. Of course most of us think of that joke where the woman says, "Drink in moderation? Why I only have one glass of wine a day," but of course the glass of wine might as well be as big as a fish tank. Others might think of a slice of cake or an ice cream sandwich made with fresh cookies with the chocolate still melting filled with cookie dough ice cream (now you know my weakness). And of course these things ring true. I try to eat my "bad foods" or foods with no real purpose, in moderation. Of course, as an alpine athlete I indulge, and a piece of chocolate on a bad day seems to fix everything, however I try to do this in moderation, maybe a few times a week.
However, this rings true for all types of food. Of course eggs are good for you, but too many eggs can be harmful to you or cause an egg intolerance. Avacados are a great source of good fat, however you don't want an excessive amount of fat in your diet and also, why not try a flax seed oil or good nuts from time to time. I love dairy and yogurt, but I recently found out that I am intolerant to almost every type of dairy you can think of. I think this is because I thought that most dairy was good for me, so I never used moderation. Now that I have had to cut this out of my diet, I wish that I had lean sausages some mornings instead of yogurt every morning. 

3) THE MORE COLOURFUL THE BETTER


As a rule, the more colourful the food, the better. When I am at home I am able to cook/bake/blend whatever I want. I try to use types of food that I have never tried before. Sometimes it tastes great, while other times... it really doesn't. 
This is a recipe for my favourite smoothie- kale, carrots, banana, cucumber, pure coconut water, bosc pear, and ginger. Sometimes I add beats for a little more colour. 


4) THE SIMPLER THE BETTER
(I always buy natural peanut butter, with no salt added, but this is a good example)
                                                           www.whistlepighollow.com

Another general rule to go by is, the simpler the better. In North America we usually can’t understand half of the ingredients in our food. This is what is tough to avoid, but if you try to make things yourself they are usually healthier. This is a huge reason why I love being at home. I can make a quinoa salad with cucumber, peppers, carrots, mangos, chicken, and lentils, with my own dressing on top.

** However, with all of that said, I spend the majority of the year in Europe eating off of a fixed menu. When they serve us schnitzel and fries, we eat schnitzel and fries or else we don’t get a meal, and an unhealthy meal is better than no meal at all after 4h of training. In Europe we try to be as healthy as possible, but we also have to eat what is served to us. I usually bring oatmeal to breakfast to try to avoid the white breads with jam. Yet, Europe has a different quality of food than we do. The dairy is fresher, the bread has less gluten and the pasta in Italy is par to none. I prefer to cook for myself and experiment with new foods such as matcha, chia seeds and kale, but in Europe we eat what we can to fuel our bodies. We also of course chow down on a lava cake now and then, but I always remember… “everything in moderation”, and you must admit when you haven’t had cake in a while it tastes even better when you have that first bite.  **

Love and Hate about Europe
Europe is a double-edged sword for me. Here are a few things that I like and dislike about Europe:
Like: I love the old buildings and sloping sidewalks in Europe. 


The castles high up on the cliffs offer a distraction during our long drives. I love when the cows walk through the streets when their farmers walk after them, or when there is a pasture at the bottom of a ski hill. It is amazing how huge skiing is in Europe. 



There are ski hills everywhere! Skiing in Europe is like hockey in Canada, and it is amazing seeing people get off the train in Innsbruck and walk through the city with skis on their shoulders. 



I think it is smart when the toilet has it’s own room. I love that every hotel has a duvet. I love that there are places on the Autobahn with no speed limits. This makes every long drive go by much faster, and it is much more exciting!

Dislike: I really hate that it is hard to find laundry in Europe, and when you do it is usually between $20-$40 for a grocery bag of laundry. 

A “double room” in Europe is usually defined as a room with one bed with two mattresses stuck together and two duvets. As a sleeper that moves around a lot, this is not my favourite part about Europe. The thing that I find the hardest about Europe is that I am away from my family. I recently got a cell phone in Europe, so that my family can call me, but there is nothing like picking up the phone in Canada to call my grandparents whenever I want to. It is also very hard to get used to the hours of stores in Europe. After 6 years I finally realize that stores are usually closed on Sundays (although I forget at times), however many stores close for lunch at 12:30 and reopen at 2pm, or at an odd hour around these times. We rarely ever make it to a store at a time that it is open. 


Thank you to my twitter followers for your questions. I will get to the rest in my next blog. If anyone has any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask and I will try to get to them.