Thursday, February 23, 2012

Health and fitness and planning update...

I've been sick for almost a month, with a brief two day respite between horrible icky colds. The worst part is, my kids haven't even been sick this year! Im wondering if I'm not more susceptible to it because my body is still healing from the surgery in my neck. Whatever it is, I feel like I'm becoming an expert at working while sick, healing slowly, and then restarting my fitness regime. It's time to just take the right number of days off and heal all the way, for heavens sake!

I'm so grateful for Kurt for that reason, he is my leverage in the reality corner. His pragmatism, combined with his own understanding of nutrition and fitness and rest and recovery helps me to push myself harder than I otherwise would, and make sure at the same time that im not over training. He helps me keep my schedule as a plan, which is mutable should my body need more rest. I'm learning to not need a motivator other than myself, to work so hard with accountability only to me, no workout partner, just people I run into when I am working out. I feel so much more connected to myself, my motivations and my understanding than I ever have.

It used to be a scary chore to train by myself, and it took six years of practice and the guidance of this string, opinionated, super smart man who I respect so much to teach me to do it on my own, by me, for me, with critical thinking and foresight for consequence guiding me.

So here I am, mostly healed and getting healthier every day. I still have a minor cough and a sore throat, and my energy is a bit lower than normal, but I'm 90% healed and I need to get back at it. It was really hard to take the extra five days or so of total rest that I needed to get to this point, I just wanted to get back to Crossfit in a way that was making me feel crazy. And my neck hurts if I don't go to Bikram yoga regularly.

So here we are, I started up slowly. Back to yoga day 1, and a day of easy skiing with a client. Which was good, because I still don't have good endurance back. Day 2, 8am Crossfit another day of easy skiing, swimming with the kids at the arc, and then a couple of hours with Mark Rolfus working on a boot issue.

Today, rest day again, took the kids to Glennwood hot springs to soak my Super Intense Super Spreness out of my body and encourage them to swim laps by accident. They both can swim twice across the pool with no rest! That's an improvement! Back home for dinner (kale, beets, onions and asparagus, goji and coconut for desert) and then an hour of trampoline class! (so fun, more on that coming).

Tonight, I feel healthy, rested, and not exhausted, which feels great. I feel like things are starting to click into place, and I am finally feeling healthy, and stronger. I feel positive.

So I'm looking forward to building up to the level of activity that I would have liked to have been doing since September, but because of life, I'm getting to now. I'm happy and grateful to have the use of my hand and to be healthy, so while it would have been nice to start earlier, it's really nice to be starting now!!

Here's the plan im working up to for the next 56 days:

Mondays: Crossfit, ski, run, Bikram

Tuesdays: Skin, First Tracks One ski drills, ski, Bikram

Wednesday: Crossfit, ski, Bikram, tune, Run,

Thursday: skin, first tracks no poles drills, ski, Trampoline class

Friday: Crossfit, ski, Bikram, Run

Saturday: ski, Bikram, tune

Rest day (except for ski with client) massage, maybe Bikram

Food: no alcohol, no sugar (except from some fruit but not much and no juice other than coconut), reduced carbs (ESP breads), lots and lots of nutrient dense vegis, fiber, and so on. Lots of water, almost a gallon a day. Fish 3x per week. About 4700 calories a day.

Maintenance: keep gear in good shape, in bed by 9 asleep by 10 (whoops missing that one tonight), weekly massage to keep neck healthy with new load on it. Good healthy food and lots of water. As much sleep as possible. If I'm still sore or fatigued, no workout that day. The last thing to go off the daily schedule is Bikram as I eliminate things to fit with the health picture of the day. Epsom salt baths have become a nightly experience. 14 hours of sleep on Sundays.

Game on, let's play!



Aspen Ski School Flash MOB!! So cool!

Its official, we work for the coolest ski school on the planet!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rocky Mountain Trainer Results and National Team Selection Results!!

Taking work very seriously...

It has been an incredible week. On Saturday, we wrapped filming for Go With a Pro, four days of shooting ski tips for National TV, shot by PSIA. That was a fun, exciting experience, and a great pressure situation to put myself in. I got to practice standing around and then performing to my potential, while staying in a good, happy, easy frame of mind. It was a really wonderful experience!

Saturday afternoon, Kurt and I got together to train a bit and refocus toward the upcoming Rocky Mountain Trainer Exam, which began on Monday. We made some big leaps in my understanding, and I had something really specific to focus on.

Sunday, we got up early and went in to tune the two pairs of identical skis I have for tryouts and selections this year. We worked hard on them, and then I went and met Dennis Handley and Cindy Lou to test the tune and do a couple of runs. It was great to ski with both of them, Cindy is such an outstanding skier and she has this wonderful energy that keeps me honest and focused. Dennis gave me a great picture in the bumps and we worked on the crud skiing portion.
Dancing on the job...

My kids hooked up with us about 1pm and we went and played in the Sherwood Forest, a super fun black tree run which is now Bodhi's favorite. After that on the way down, we pulled up at MAC 6, a short double black, and I asked Bodhi what he thought.

"I can ski that", he said, and dropped right in. He skied it like a champ with Ethan and Tom cheering him on, and we called it a day.

Monday morning, I woke up with a fever of 102. The walk to the bathroom from bed was exhausting. I laid down on the floor and thought, Uh-oh. This doesn't feel a lot like high performance skiing... but they only give the RMT exam once a year, and I really wanted to participate, so off I went. I made the last load for the chair at 8:28, four minutes late, and we were off and running.

The RMT group was skiing very strong, and it was great to get out there and focus, even with this horrific cold, which was turning into full blown super sick quickly. I was trying to keep it under wraps as much as I could, but I was feeling so crappy that over the course of the day, I had to lay down in between manouvers to recover some energy before the next chair ride.

I wasn't the only one suffering, two other candidates were sick, one was recovering from a severe concussion, and we all soldiered on, supporting each other. By the end of the day, it was all I could do to keep my eyes open as my skin broke out in goose bumps and my body ached in rushing flashes. I was exhausted and I felt like if I could just straight run to the bottom, that would be better than having to turn my skis.

On day 2, we had our indoor MA session. I laid down in an office before my session and promptly fell deeply asleep. I was dreaming. I woke up suddenly and didn't know where I was or what was going on. It was my turn to go in. I was pretty incoherent in my MA session, they said that technically the information I gave was accurate, but it was really hard to follow. (I'm not at all surprised.)

I went home to Kurt's and fell asleep. When I woke up around 6 that night, I had no idea what I had said in MA.

On Wednesday, I had a feeling I was skiing just below the bar, but I was happy to participate. I wanted to give it my best and get the feedback, and I knew that if I did get invited to Nationals, I would probably be skiing at 60-70 %, like I was now, and I needed to know where that would score.

Wednesday was also the day that the candidates would be announced who had been selected to go to the National Tryouts. I turned off my phone. I didn't want to be distracted. About 10:30 I turned it back on on the chairlift to send a text, and there was an email from PSIA.
Erik and Colby demonstrate bootfitting at the RMT exam...

I was terrified. If I looked at it and I wasn't invited, how would I perform for the rest of the day for RMT? But now that I knew it was there, I couldn't not look. Here's what I saw:

Dear Katheryne:

We are pleased to inform you that you are invited to the on-snow portion of the PSIA-AASI 2012 Alpine Team Selection.

The application review team has reviewed your application packet, and evaluated your writing samples and video. Based upon this review and your experience in the field, we feel you possess many of the qualities that are vital to being a successful team member.

To continue in the selection process, you are required to attend the on-snow selection event at Snowbird, UT, beginning the evening of April 22nd through April 26th. The on-snow event will provide you the opportunity to further demonstrate additional skills and abilities that team members exhibit daily as inspirational educators, lifelong learners, and inspirational athletes. Additional details and information regarding particulars of the selection event are below. 

I let out the hugest whoop and holler... I had made it! I was invited to go! This feeling of incredible elation filled me up, and I wanted to share it. I immediately texted my friends who had also applied, urging them, check your email!! The invitations are out!!

Exams and selections are always hard because it is a competition against yourself. You either have put together what the selectors need to pass or hire you, or you haven't. We have all been in situations where people that we train with, people who have trained us, have not been selected, or we haven't' and they have. Balancing your joy with the sadness of watching team mates and training partners not pass is really hard.

The training group in Aspen has been working closely together for years. For many years before I moved here and for the three years since I've been here we have been a tightly knit group, supporting each other and cheering each other on, being willing to speak frankly with each other, being willing to say what is real and hard to hear in order to grow.

Yeah, Kolby has this in the bag. RMT exam nerves...
Many of the group from Aspen were invited, and some people were not. It was more difficult that day to finish RMT wondering who of my team mates had been selected, and hoping that they all had been, and worrying what it would be like if they weren't.

I screwed my head back on and got back in the game after a couple of wobbly pivot slips, and refocused. Celebrate National Invite later, (oh my god, I'm going To the Show!), finish this exam first.

One good thing that came from looking at the email was that I got a big burst of energy which sustained me almost through the crud skiing section. By the time we got down for indoor presentations, I was wiped out.

Then came the long wait for results.

Results for National Invites came trickling in. I was wondering who had been invited from other divisions who I've trained with and chatted with and dreamed with.

Every single person who applied that I know has dedicated their lives to being a professional ski instructor. These are people who work back to back seasons year round, who uproot their families, who live on shoe string budgets to help people learn to love this sport. These are people who are examiners in multipule divisions, who spend their entire paycheck on certification and travel to gain the qualifications and depth of knowledge that they need to be the best that they can be.

I sat on the stool in Out of Bounds bar, with Tom and the boys, Kurt, and my friends all around. People came to support the candidates on their day off, and sat, waiting for results. Schanzy was their with the kids, Will was there, Alex came, just to be there and say good luck.

Finally, results came. I had missed the skiing by 9/10 of a point. I did really well in the teach. My indoor MA score was low. The feedback was really positive, and I was so happy it was over. Now I could go to bed for the next two days before I get to get back to the business of actually teaching a client.

Two of my teammates in training did not get invited, and it was really heartbreaking to find that out. Two more of the RMT candidates, who killed it and who passed their trainer's accred, did not get selected for Nationals. It was a bittersweet night.

We rounded up the kids, Kurt got on his bike and rode home, and I crawled into my bed and passed out. I slept around the clock except for the odd coughing fit until the next evening. I'm finally out of bed today, and the bathroom doesn't feel like such an arduous journey to get to.

Its a bit unreal this morning. I'm going to tryouts. I have six weeks to dial my skiing. I'd love to be hired for the job of team member, but the point of this whole experiment was to go to the tryout. I feel hugely grateful for the community of friends, and family, and sponsors, and benefactors that have made this possible. I get to go live my dream and ski at the Nationals in April!

Thank you for helping make it possible.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Go With a Pro filming in Aspen!

Megan Harvey works the boom while Jonathan Ballou talks about bump skiing

It has been another amazing week! This week, PSIA National came to Aspen to film an hour long TV segment called Go With a Pro. I was SUPER excited and flattered and honored and TERRIFIED to be invited to join the group for filming.

Andy Docken and I film our tip on carving
On Tuesday night, we all got together to hear what it was we'd be doing for the next four days, and to brainstorm on ski tips. The group was Kevin Jordan, Katie Ertl, Megan Harvey, Andy Docken, Jim Schanzenbaker, Charlie Macarthur, Jonathan Ballou and myself.

Andy Hawk works the boom while Katie, Kevin and Charlie kick it.
The meeting was fun, and exciting and inspiring, and I knew the next four days would be challenging, but really exciting!  I was looking forward to it as a great training opportunity as well, standing around and then being put on the spot, on camera, and having to get it right the first time with an authentic smile on your face is a challenge for sure!

Andy Docken shows how the ski slices through the snow
And, of course, I was honored to be asked to join, so I really wanted to represent and bring my best for the ski school. The bad part about that is that you put a lot of pressure on yourself. The good part about that is that our ski school is SO AWESOME that

We have filmed everything from early morning clinics, to Josh Fogg's outstanding MA session, to ski tips, indoor interviews about the training culture in Aspen, the town itself, and they also filmed a talk I gave on building trust. We also filmed Trainer Passport day, which was really fun, I ran into a bunch of folks I haven't got to ski with yet this year, and we got to rip up some laps together in 5" of fresh snow!!

The days have been long and the feet have been cold, but the experience is really relaxing, enjoyable and fun. Its awesome to watch my fellow pros shine, to see how they perform under pressure, and to hear how they think about skiing, and watch them explain it to the national tv audience.

I have learned SO MUCH in the last few days! Look for the ski tips on YouTube off the website, and watch for the full show on the Outdoor Network starting next fall!

Katie and Kevin do their tip together

Matt from Rival Films captures the action

Katie and Kevin talk about smearing the ski

Jonathan Ballou films his tip while Kevin works the boom

Schanzy films his tip on Aspen Highlands today

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knowing, Believing, Guessing, Wondering, Being Unsure

What a wild ride this is becoming. Its interesting to watch myself ping pong every couple of hours back and forth between:

This is insane, I am so far away from where I need to be with my feet that I have bitten off WAY more than I can chew, what was I even THINKING?


Wow, that was a big change, that is sticking, and my understanding is unfolding, too, so maybe if I stay with it, over the next 70 days, what I have will be enough. (Should I get invited.)


Holy shit, I need to re read every technical skiing book I own for the sixth time, so that I can read it from this place, and understand it better.


Now that I've bitten this off, I guess I'd better chew. Humble pie for dinner again.


out right fear

excitement for the process and the journey

periods of calm and good focus that feel good, sane, and in line with where i am now, rather than worrying about where I'd like to get to

holy crap, where I'd like to get to is reaaaaallllllyyyyyy far away.

who knows? stranger things have happened. (I hope)

And I think that this is just kind of part of the journey. I think its good to check in with reality and then live in possibility. If I only lived in possibility, I would have no concept of where the ground really was, and where I was working from. If I only live in the reality of where I am or was, I will never believe change is possible.

So its become this strange blend of beating the crap out of myself only to come up for air and go, well, this place is nice, too, lets work here and believe in the future.

Sometimes, I'm overwhelmed with a sense of calm that I'm moving smoothly in the right direction, regardless of whether I get there or not, that's not the point. That's a nice place to live, its really productive.

In the midst of all of that is just the simple, repetitive process of getting out there on the snow, and turning my feet again and again and again.

Which leaves me here: Just keep working. Work is prayer. Each turn is an opportunity to learn. I will either arrive in one destination or another, regardless, the journey is tremendous.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Ritual of the Boot

About 40 hours of work over 19 days on these
Today, I got up late after sleeping about 14 hours. I'm trying to kick this cold that I've had for two weeks. Its not awful, but it is definitely slowing me down. I came out in my jammies, to find the boys, who are also sick, on the couch playing a game together.

I made french toast for breakfast, and the coffee was ready finally, and I sat down with the boys. We started talking about being able to laugh at yourself (Bodhi got his feelings hurt when we were teasing), and I told them the story of the day that Josh Spuhler and Joe Krakker took me up the ridge for the first time.

It was a good story, and the boys were laughing, and asking questions, and calling me a gaper, and it was great. Liat came over, ready to go, and I pulled myself together to go train. Liat had offered to film me for the day so I can do some diagnostics and hone my on snow training.

Twice a day all season. Not good.
It was an incredibly beautiful day, the sun was shining, we had got about 2" of fresh snow the night before, and it was chilly but beautiful. We went into the locker room and said hi to Weems and Meesh, and I unzipped my boot bag and got to work.

As I was going through my ritual, I realized that I had this incredibly content feeling going through me. I started sort of watching what I was doing, and I realized that I was happy to put my boots on. They feel so good now, and I take good care of them.

After cooking in the boot bag all night, they are warm and soft in the morning. The liners are snug to my foot, they fill every space around the bones, holding my foot against the shell without any hard pressure on my foot. If I twitch my foot, the boot moves. I move the tongue of the boot around, and push it down into the crease of my foot.

I kick the heel of the boot into the floor twice, forward once, and down onto the heel once more. I pull on the tongue and re-seat it.

I buckle the bottom buckle one, the next one is hard to close, even on its furthest setting. I buckle it down for the moment, but I will come back and unbuckle it once the top two are done.

I buckle the third on one, and then the top on two. I unbuckle the second buckle. I buckle the third on two and the top on three. I do up the built in power strap. I reach back into my bag, into the mesh pocket on the inside and pull out a booster strap. This I wrap around the liner of the boot and pull it snug, so that the liner is tight to my leg.

Testing the new liners in Whistler
I reach into the bottom zipper pocket on my bag and pull out the batteries for my boots. I put one on the chair next to me, and I clip one onto the outside of my booster strap. I plug the end of the heater into the battery, and turn it on. I turn it up just one more, and wait for the light. I check it to make sure the connection is good and its on the right setting.

I reach back into the bag and get my boot gloves. I used to be embarrassed to wear them, because they are ugly and dorky. But my feet don't get cold anymore when I wear them, so now, I don't look dorky, I have warm feet.

I just read somewhere that with "cold" feet, athletes lose about 30% of their balancing skills. With frozen feet, athletes lose about 47% of their ability to balance. I was freezing, to waxy white, my feet twice a day. Not good.

Kipp comes up and we start to chat. I worry for just a moment, I don't want to miss a step, be rushed, or not concnetrate on my boots. But I like Kipp, I don't get to talk to him very often, and I don't know him well, so I want to take the opportunity to connect. I pay attention to the next step, and then give my attention to Kipp, knowing that the step will get completed correctly automatically. Putting on my boots has become like lacing up my skates. This weirdly hypnotic, meditative, repetitive motion with a life of its own, that always feels like I just did it five minutes ago. Its it really another, different day? It seems like I was just sitting here, doing this, only Montana was outside, and I was in the Level 3 prep clinic.

I reach back into my bag and pull out my other heavy, perfect, warm boot. I slide my foot inside and set the tongue. The whole process repeats, in exactly the same order, on the other side.

Kipp and I wrap up our conversation, and I finish up, listening to the familiar humm of the locker room. A ski school is an amazing place to work, and the Highlands has its own particular good vibe. Weems sets an easy tone, but the place is humming. People take a lot of pride in their jobs here, they are proud to work for Ski Co, proud to be good at what they do, and they are generally really happy to do what they do.

Listening to the teasing, and banter, putting on the boots just so sets me into motion, tells me I am about to go push myself in places that are exciting and scary and fun and sometimes dangerous. I'm going to go play in the snow just like my kids. And there's a chance I'll do something dumb like jump off the roof. And if I don't get in trouble, it might be really fun. And my feet are ready to play. They are well taken care of. They can feather and release and edge and stomp. I can feel them like I haven't before.

I look at Liat. I'm sick as a dog. But if we go train now, when I'm at 60%, I'll have an idea of what my skiing looks like under that kind of pressure. I'll see what my default looks like. That's what has to be above the line. Not my best skiing ever. But the skiing I can depend on when I'm tired, and sore, and don't feel good.

We head outside and get after it on Deception, SodBuster and Moment of Truth. The snow is chalky, the bumps are huge and spiney. I'm with my sister, who is smiling and hooting, and navigating these giant bumps on her snowboard with her camera in her hand.

We film for two hours, and my eyes are burning, and my skin is achy. But we have good footage to look at tonight, and I got to play with my sister in the snow.

Later that night, I'm on the couch with my boys, watching a ski movie. They are smiling and laughing while Cody West does a hand drag on a rail while talking to his mom on the phone. Bodhi falls asleep on me watching the movie mumbling about wanting to go camping at the hotsprings in the movie. I sneak out from under him and check my boot bag.

Happier feet, marked for punching.

Its in its usual place, at the end of the bench. I take out my socks, my coat, and re zip it. I unzip the plug from its pocket and plug it in. I double check the light on the switch is all the way on, that it's on "dry". I unzip the lowest outside pocket and take out my batteries. I take them over to the charger under my desk and plug them in. I double check the connections and check that the light is on.

I feel that same sensation of contentment, of rhythm, of ritual. I am soothed by knowing I am preparing for tomorrow, doing all the small things I can do to make tomorrow's training session go well, and smoothly. I am taking care of my feet so that they can feel everything tomorrow. Tomorrow, they need to be in good shape. Because tomorrow, I ski with Ethan and Bodhi.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Building Trust for Repeat Business: Encore Presentation!

I was asked to give my Building Trust for Repeat Business talk again this coming Thursday, Feb 9 at 4:30pm at the Highlands Conference room.

I'm excited to have this opportunity to share this information with folks in the ski school who might benefit from it and who may not have had the opportunity to participate at Pro Fair.

The presentation is about 40 minutes long, and pros can sign up on the training website under Global: Building Trust.