How To Spend An "Off Season" (7/3/13)

BY JESSICA SCHULTZ

One of many Twins games to come this summer!
My interval training partner
Therapy gym at work
Good times with good friends

Having an “off season” can be compared to the feeling you get when school first gets out for the summer. It feels good to have some free time and a break from the grind, but a couple weeks later you start missing your classmates and go a little stir crazy. The thirst for competition returns and the excitement for the new season begins to build.

Since our team is so spread out, we try to maintain weekly contact mostly via emails and conference calls. (Deb lives in Madison, Wis., Ann in Chicago, and Erika in Oakville, Ont.) We usually plan the upcoming season this way. It’s important for us to be in touch over the summer months to keep focused on our goals and maintain the relationship that forms during our competitive season.

After a plan is set in place for the Trials season, we like to process what is going to help drive us forward to the next level and achieve our goal of winning the Olympic Trials. I think what we do off the ice is just as important as what we do on the ice. Whether it’s training in the gym, catching up with friends and family, house projects, or practicing mental focus, it’s important to take a break and it can affect how we feel leading into our first competition of the season.

I have been taking full advantage of the time off. The days are flying by and I have successfully filled every moment with activity.

During the week I work full-time as a physical therapist assistant for Twin Cities Orthopedics. I have the privilege in working with some amazing people and help patients to rehab from injuries. The strength and determination of some of our patients is an inspiration in itself, and demonstrates the power of the human spirit on a daily basis.

Catching up with friends and family takes precedence and we have made a point to find new adventures throughout the city. The Twins Cities has a lot to offer and the festivities seem endless. We have been to festivals, farmers markets, concerts, fun runs and Twins games! My love for MN sports teams has been gradually increasing through the years, and you can’t beat the outdoor baseball games on a beautiful night.  :-)

Off ice training has included gym and ice time. I started subbing in a curling league on Wednesday nights with other Olympic hopefuls. The Four Seasons Curling Club is the only facility in the U.S. that will have dedicated curling ice year-round, and it’s conveniently located on the outskirts of the Twin Cities area. As we get closer to the start of our season, it will become my second home. For now, I spend one-two hours in the gym, four-five times a week. A friend and I have developed a workout plan focusing on what the demands are on the body during a curling game. It’s been fun to come up with new challenges and switch gears from a normal squat or bench press. I also work on interval training outside of the gym with my four-legged trainer who sets his own definitions on what an interval may be.

Now it’s time to get out and enjoy the sun! It’s had a rare showing this spring and the rain has slowed down my gardening and outdoor house projects. I love growing my own veggies and fruits. Every year I try to plant something a little different and come up with recipes that include that produce. This year I planted Swiss chard and I have no idea what it tastes like. So if you have any good recipes that include it, be sure to tweet to @Jess_Curls and let me know!

Get out and enjoy the day.