Alice’s Back to School Check-List

September 8th, the day after Labor Day and my very first day of school!

Ok, so it’s not actually my first day of school… but it is for thousands of students across the country! Attending new classes, preparing themselves for the wonderful opportunities that await them. For me this is no different, it is going to be an awesome year of adapting to changes.

As many of my friends and co-workers know, I am a huge fan of lists. Lists allow me to organize my life, keep promises, and most importantly lay out responsibilities in a manageable way.  This year I have once again implemented a List of Lists to organize my life; however this year I’ve added an important “Sanity Items” section.  This is intended to keep my commitments realistic. In the past I have started allegorical forest fires from all my two ended burning candles. That is not a sustainable juggling act.  Everything was always so rushed I rarely had time to enjoy what wonderful things are right outside my back door.  By setting up a schedule that matches a typical 40-hr/week job, I am hoping to create benchmarks at which I can reward myself in the form of “Free Time.”

With the conclusion of the first week of classes, so far so good. My homework assignments are done days in advance and my training log is finally getting back on track with my goals. It feels like it’s going to be a good year, hopefully the lists can keep up the good work!

To-Do:

SKIING

  • Pull high vis fall training clothes out from 
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    Feeling like a champ at the top of Brockway Mountain Next Step: Ride down and climb back up!

    the depths of the closet
  • Get training calendar from the Michigan Tech Nordic Team
    • Confirm with coaches that I can join their workouts
  • Update training log
    • Share new entries with coaches
    • Input anticipated workouts for the week
  • Work on new blog posts (yay!)
  • Do awesome workouts each day
    • Share pictures with CXC
  • Morning strength
    • Complete with post-workout sunrise viewing!
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Feeling accomplished and its only 7:45, let the day begin!

SCHOOL

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    Fresh cinnamon rolls and muffins each morning for breakfast? YES PLEASE!

    Meet with Graduate Adviser to confirm graduation requirements
  • Order textbooks and building codes
    • Perform the world record 100yd dash to the mailbox upon delivery confirmation
  • Find leftover notebooks/binders from last year
    • Go office supplies shopping for any remaining items
  • Meticulously color code, highlight and tab out class notes
  • Make food for the week
    • Bread
    • Cinnamon Rolls
    • Pretzels
    • Ice Cream
  • Do some studying with a view

    Studying along the canal and getting distracted by the sunset

    Studying along the canal and getting distracted by the sunset

SANITY ITEMS

  • Balance the equation: Skiing+School+Work+Life=Happiness
    • Develop a schedule that includes free time
    • Try not to procrastinate
    • Don’t overbook yourself!
  • Go Fly Fishing!
  • Start a Kitchen Dance Party
  • Sleep in a tent

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Relaxing on the riverbank successfully fly fishing with Ruth!

Being a student-athlete is a huge time commitment and a ton of fun; but it can be far too easy to get caught up in a over-restrictive schedule. For me, high stress generally corresponds to poor performance in the classroom or on the trails.  By blocking off specific time each week to turn off my cell-phone, to watch the fish swim by, tromp through the woods, or sleep under the stars, I am hoping that the stresses from graduate school and ski training will be negated. Even if momentarily. Finding the balance won’t be easy, but that’s a challenge I’m looking forward to this season and throughout the school year.

Happiness is Paramount.

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I Spy

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Turning To-Do Lists into To-Done Lists

The results are in and the season has come to a close. Looking back, it has been a wonderful year. Heck, It’s been a wonderful five years! NCAA’s marked the end of my college racing and I couldn’t be more excited and surprised about everything that has happened.

Flipping back through my planner, reflecting on the season, I was surprised to count that since we first left for the West Yellowstone Ski Festival in Wyoming 18 weeks ago, 17 of those weekends our team has either been traveling to races or racing at home. (17 /18 weekends?!? Holy Crap. No wonder my friends think I’ve disappeared.) Ski season always feels like a huge whirlwind, one that leaves all of the participants extremely exhausted and ready for some warm weather and sunshine. Looking back at the all of the accomplishments during the season is super exciting, however looking around and realizing all of the things that have been put off because of ski racing is quite terrifying. This realization generally results in a daunting to-do list that typically starts with doing laundry.

First up: A look at my post-season bedroom.
My parents have always called me “Hurricane Alice” and it’s easy to see why.  Fortunately this year’s disaster zone did not require a shovel for clean up.  Here’s a quick game of I Spy:

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I Spy a ski boot, an airport luggage tag, an Easter basket, Three Textbooks, a coffee mug, sunglasses, a US ski team sticker and one slipper.

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Taking advantage of the last day on snow at Mont Ripley. Feels weird riding the lift to the top…

Four loads of laundry, a Saturday Morning of power cleaning and half a bag of Lindt Chocolates later, the hurricane region has been deemed safe for human occupancy.

One by one the items on the To-Do list have been crossed off. It feels really good to finally be able to spend the proper amount of time on homework assignments and have “free time” to go play in the sun (when it’s around).  We have had a lot of really nice days in the Keweenaw lately, although every Bluebird day seems to be followed by snowfall. It’s really nice during the day (totally Chaco weather!) and still gets below freezing at night. I can’t wait to have an open morning to go crust skiing through the trees! These temperature conditions also mark the maple sap harvesting season. After 4 years of looking out my bedroom window at one of the most beautiful Maple trees around, I have finally remembered to place a spile and collect sap. Get your pancakes ready!

 

Making sure to take the time off to do fun things is super important. Every year, after the last race of the season, the last thing I want to see are my skis, boots and poles. Races are over, I’m D.O.N.E.  During the winter, we are required to be moving forward at lightning pace. Keeping up with the training, racing, and school work is exhausting and doesn’t leave much time for anything else. The off season is important because it reminds us who we are outside of ski racing. We finally have time to spend with our friends, have hobbies, and catch up on all of the things we may have missed during the winter. It feels good.

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Maple Syrup! Fresh from the Backyard

In the past it has taken months after the last race for me to get excited about skiing again. This year, it only took a week. I’m not sure if this is because such a huge chapter of my life is coming to a close, or because this season was so much fun, or if it’s the sun, but whatever the reason maybe I’m excited to see what next year has to offer. Training for next season won’t start until May, so for now I’ll enjoy every minute of the off-season freedom and let every stride be a reminder of how much I love this sport.

Happy Spring!

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Taking Sassy for a spin! Is it biking season yet?