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As many of you are probably now aware, I am not the biggest
fan of sitting down and studying. It’s bad for your health. Well that’s probably
not true, however I always get a sore back and I find I’m constantly fighting
the urge to go and do something different, and unluckily it was Maths that I
had to study this semester which means this urge was even stronger as staring at
the wall provides me with more entertainment.  Luckily the University of New South Wales supports
me so well that I am allowed to ease off the study to such an extent that I
only have to study 1 subject in the second semester meaning I can continue with
a full time training program. Even though I am able to complete the training
like a full time athlete, I am not living like a full time athlete as the ever
important faff time is eliminated and replaced with study. Now however I have
finished my exam and back to one of the best lifestyles I can think of.

A week and a half ago I finished my exam and then arrived in
Alaska the next day. I feel guilty as I wasn’t able to spend a relaxing couple
of days with my family before I left and everything was quite rushed, however I
believe it was extremely important to get into a good ski training pattern as
early as possible. I am living with Kikkan Randall and husband Jeff Ellis at
their home in Anchorage and wouldn’t wish to be in a different place in the
world right now. It has been so great living with Kikkan as it just goes to
show that the best in the World don’t really do anything drastically un-ordinary
to get to the level that they are at. It has made me realise even more now that
a relaxed, normal, healthy lifestyle combined with large amounts of motivation
and tough training will get you to the top and no outrageous sacrifices are
really necessary as some would have you believe.

It has been a fortunate occurrence that basically as soon as
I arrived, it has continued to snow large amounts on a regular basis meaning
the skiing here on the local trails is right up there with the best in the
world right now.  As you can see when you
make the comparison of where they will be holding next week’s opening World Cup
in Sjusjoen Norway;

Russian Team Training in Sjusjoen (sometimes to be the best you (and your skis) do have to make some sacrifices!)

Compared with the trails here;

Reece Hanneman and I enjoying the awesome conditions

We have it pretty good!

It has been awesome to be able to jump in with the APU
(Alaskan Pacific University) Team for a lot of the sessions over the last
10days, so I really must thank Erik Flora and the rest of the team as I have
already enjoyed it so much and really feel as though it will have a large
positive influence on my form. Last Thursday and Friday we completed 2
timetrials which were an awesome way to get my body and head used to the
faster, highly aerobically demanding sessions. Thursday’s Classic Sprint was
definitely one of those days were you really feel that it is your first really
highly intensive workout in a while. Fresh snow overnight meant that it was
tough conditions to keep a good rhythm and a constant challenge to set the skis
for the next grip and glide sequence. Although it felt horrible at the time, it
was definitely a great way to focus on keeping technique and realising the
differences that need to be made for those particular conditions. Friday’s 12km
Skate timetrial was much better. I had really good energy, however by not
having skied the course previously, my pacing may have been a little off. This
course has a very large hill climb and as a result of two angry moose on one
part of the course we decided doing the hill climb twice was probably better
than the possibility of a moose horn connecting with your left kidney. I was
therefore quite conservative on the first lap as I didn’t really know what to
expect. With plenty of energy left for the 2nd hill climb and the
flat section to follow, I then began making up some of the lost time to finish
56 seconds behind the fastest on the day on a course that took just under 33
minutes. This is a good result for me considering that the fastest of these
guys are top 10 in the US and have competed for USA in World Championship
events.

Plenty more stories to be told soon I’m sure, I’ll
keep you posted.

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