Since our first races in Minneapolis, an impending doom cloud has been slowly forming and following me around. These doom clouds are filled up with stressful situations that you know are coming, but can’t do anything to prevent except hope you can find your umbrella when it actually hits. Sometimes they are filled with negative situations, and sometimes they are filled with exciting opportunities. Regardless the effect is usually the same. About a week of way too little sleep, way too much time spent on campus and not nearly enough exercise. This Spring my doom cloud hit on Wednesday February 18th at 2:25 when I got home from school. Due to the build up, this cloud has caused my brain to supernova, releasing energy in all directions, creating more new career opportunities, developing connections with people I didn’t know before, testing my limits, leaving me exhausted and picking up the pieces.
Week 1: We finally have a weekend off from racing! Hallelujah. It is so nice to have a weekend at home to try and contain the messes of everyday life. Like laundry.
This weekend our team had a beautiful (but cold) ski at the Swedetown trails in Calumet. It’s not very often that we get to practice anywhere other than the Michigan Tech Trails, so this was a real treat. The twisting trails, snow covered trees and squeaking snow instantly brought me back to the Gunflint Trail where I learned to ski. I needed this moment to slow down and remember the reasons why I love skiing, the reasons that provide a base for the motivation needed to race every weekend from Thanksgiving until Spring Break.
Week 2: Preparing for the CCSA Sprint Championships has been the main focus for this week. Unfortunately the trail reports about the snow in Duluth are pretty grim ranging from “Don’t bring your best race skis” to “You might as well bring rock skis.” Naturally, this makes me really excited to race on my mixed pair of non-broken partners to my broken race skis. Together they are probably the fastest pair of rock skis a person could ask for. I was most excited about my old RS11s that have been mounted on the wall since their accident last spring.
It felt so good to ski on my original race ski again. It was happy to be on snow again too. At times it seemed to quiver with excitement begging to go faster, begging to race. It must be really boring to hang on a wall all day, staring out the window at all of our snow knowing that you’ll never be able to race again. I could tell that the other ski was still mourning the loss of it’s partner. It wasn’t nearly as excited for the snow.
At the last minute I decided to go with one of my current pairs of race skis and helped our relay team (Ulrika-1st, Lisa-2nd, Me-3rd) achieve a second place finish for the 3×7.5k CCSA Skate Relay.
This was also the week of Winter Carnival. Together, Jacq and I were finally able to convince a couple of our friends from high school to come visit us during the week. It was a blast to have them around, to show off this beautiful place we call home, and to share the All-Nighter experience. There aren’t many places that celebrate winter by building functional “air-hockey” tables out of ice, ski-ball lanes out of packed snow, put giant speakers into snowbanks and host a dance party, or drive a truck around all night giving out free chili. Winter Carnival is a magical time and it’s always a treat for us to be in town rather than traveling to races.
Week 3: Every month our student union (MUB Board) hosts cool events for students to participate in. Every year right around Valentines day they host “Stuff-a-Husky.” Given my love for wolf (or wolf-like) stuffed animals, it’s pretty amazing that this was the first year I was able to attend. After waiting in the longest line I have ever seen in Houghton (even longer than the one for The Hunger Games premier!) Carolyn and I finally received and stuffed our Huskies! Please welcome Adephagia (mine) and Thor (Carolyn’s) to the world.
Wednesday the storm hit.
Our team was scheduled to race in the Twin Cities Friday Saturday and Sunday this week. Since I am still looking for an internship for the summer, my plan was to drive down a day early so that I could tour some civil engineering firms. The plan was to then meet up with the team when they got to the venue and proceed according to our itinerary for the rest of the weekend.
When I got home from school I already had two office tours set up for Thursday afternoon but had contacted an additional two companies as well. While I was making lunch I missed a call (for the second time) from one of the two companies I had been waiting to hear from. Quickly I finished eating so that I could call them back, but just as I was about to start dialing, my phone began ringing. I answered, and it was the second company I had been waiting to hear from. We found a time that worked for both of us and as I was saying goodbye, an email popped up from a third company asking for me to come interview with them the day before our Regional Competition in Marquette. Woah. With my head starting to spin in circles, I called Joe to ask his advice. There was zero way I would be able to interview Friday afternoon and be ready to race 7.5 hours away the next morning. I hung up with Joe and immediately emailed the company back asking if I could re-schedule for a different day earlier in the week. I then called the first company back to confirm a meeting time for their office tour. With driving home, four office tours, course preview and race prep; it was going to be a busy next 24 hours.
All of the office tours were super informative and although exhausting it was really good to see the different office dynamics back to back. It was also amazing to see how many people in the offices were very passionate about their work and truly loved their jobs.
I enjoyed visiting the offices, however it felt really good to put on the ski clothes and preview the course. This was the first chance I had to try my brand new (replacement) skis. Clipping onto a new pair of skis is always thrilling and this time was no different. They swooshed and glided effortlessly over the icy snow telling me, “if we’re this fast now, imagine how much faster we’ll be when the snow is soft and new.” These skis are going to be rockstars.
Friday we raced a 15k Classic Mass start and it was definitely better than the last Classic race I had here. It was a lot of fun to see Ulrika battling it out for the win throughout the entire race. My goal was to be able to watch her finish, but she pushed the lead group forcing the rest of us to break apart fighting to hang on.
Saturday the Twin Cities’ weather lived up to its reputation once more. It was barely legal to race due to the cold and wind even after the two hour delay. Thanks to some heated convincing by our region’s coaches, the race officials announced that the college athletes would race even if the citizens and junior’s races were canceled. I was excited to be racing at Wirth again, this trail compliments my strengths very nicely and with the lapped course it’s fun to see the people you are racing against. Our wax techs did another phenomenal job with our skis and with their help I was able to sneak into the lead and be named CCSA 5k FS Champion! That is a huge honor and I’m very proud to represent our school this way.
Week 4: It’s Career Fair Week! Our teams (Cross Country, Nordic, Track and Field) help Career Services host the Career Fair every spring and fall. This past Tuesday we hosted our largest Spring Career Fair on record. Due to being one of the fundraising chairs for the Nordic team, it is my responsibility to help organize our three teams as we set up, tear down, introduce the companies to our school and treat them like royalty during the event. This is a huge task, one that puts the three of us Lead Students up at the venue for 28 hours with only a short break to go home and sleep after set-up is complete.
Career Fair Video (Interview starting at 0:20)
Being able to network with the companies while we bring them to their booths, show them our work-ethic first hand, and offer them any assistance they may need, is a wonderful advantage for our team as we begin searching for a career. It is a lot of work, but it’s worth it to hear how happy the recruiters are with their pool of applicants and their desire to return. This Career Fair was especially stressful since I was not only on-call for the event but also had to walk around handing out resumes hoping to receive interviews. At the end of the event I was very lucky to have two interviews scheduled for Wednesday. (That was more than I was expecting!) I still hadn’t been able to complete my homework assignments that were now over-due, but homework assignments come everyday and job opportunities do not, so the homework was going to have to wait.
To top it all off, I also had three Midterm Exams this week. By Wednesday night I was ready for life to install a “pause” button so I could take a nap or exercise.
This weekend our team was invited to Marquette to do a time-trial style event against NMU and Green Bay. We will be racing at the same venue next week for Regionals, so getting a chance to preview the course again was really nice. It will be fun to head back there after a week of real training and adequate sleep for the final NCAA qualifiers.
I have met a lot of really great people in the past month and am excited to meet more as the season continues and as I keep searching for summer employment. This is going to be a great week. Doom Clouds and Brain Supernovas can be pretty intimidating, but afterwards, with the weight of all that stress eliminated, it feels amazing to have survived.