Mammoth Magic

I’m sitting at Beamers in Canmore right now, taking advantage of my rest day to catch up on homework and emails. The past few days have been quite busy because we just had our first on-snow races on Frozen Thunder (the man-made snow track set up at the Canmore Nordic Centre). But before that, I was in California at our NST October camp! 

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Enjoying the brief snowy week in Canmore before heading to California
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California!

In the fall, our national team usually does a big high-altitude camp in the USA to finish off the training season. The past few years we’ve gone to Park City, Utah, but this year we followed our para-nordic team’s lead and headed to Mammoth, California. Turns out ‘mammoth magic’ the para crew have told us all about is real– Mammoth was beautiful and an ideal setting for a training camp. We were sleeping at 2750m, we only had short drives to get to rollerskiing roads, and we could run right from the door– nothing more I could ask for! 

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Matching evening runs

Our women’s team was rooming all together in one of the condo units of our hotel. This meant we got to cook meals as a group and it made for a really fun team atmosphere. We’re also all taking university courses which made for a very productive team environment– it’s hard to procrastinate with your own homework when you see your teammates studying every afternoon. As an added bonus, since we were fairly evenly split with those who spoke French as a first language and those who spoke English as a first language, we tried to speak French as much as possible in the condo and English at training, which was awesome practice for me.

Training at the camp was consistent and fun, with lots of long easy z1 workouts and some intensity sessions sprinkled in. The high altitude made for some pretty interesting heart rates during intervals; during a z3-4 session, I hit a new yearly max heart rate of 200bpm (I was really excited about this because I wasn’t sure until then if my HR could still hit 200 or not).

The training highlight of the camp for me was a beautiful long hike on the last day up by June Lake. The non-training highlight was definitely going to see the natural hot springs down by Bishop on our rest day! 

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Didn’t go to the beach but we did find hot springs 

Since getting back to Canmore, I’ve been putting in lots of intensity, and I just wrapped up an intensity block with the two Frozen Thunder pre-season races. I was disappointed with how my body was feeling in the races, but things have been improving with every intensity session which is a good sign moving forward. I’m excited to sharpen up my race shape with more hard work these next few weeks as we lead up to the races at the end of November.

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Frozen Thunder racing ft. our new RMR club suit!! Photo: the talented Anna Sellers
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Ski testing time

Outside of training, I got to attend my first Fast and Female Summit in Calgary as an ambassador. (For those who don’t know, Fast and Female is an organization dedicated to empowering young women and girls through sport). I got to hang out with an awesome group of 8-9-year-olds all day, and their enthusiasm for sports left me so excited about Canada’s up and coming female athletes.

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Fast and Female

I also recently started a new psychology course with AU that covers several gender-related topics from a feminist perspective (shout out to Em Nish for the course recommendation). It’s so far been an awesome and eye-opening course and has made for some super fun discussions with my teammates during long z1 workouts. 

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Mid-week canoe dates with my teammates

Up next I’ve got my final mini training block before the back to back racing starts. I’m getting excited and nervous for winter!

Happy Halloween,

–Maya 


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