BY TIM BURKE
With the passing of May 1st, we have officially started training for the 2013-14 season and the Sochi Olympic Winter Games. While May 1st traditionally marks the beginning of the training year, this does not mean that we are allowed to be too lazy during April! In fact, I did some type of training nearly every day during April, but I did not have to follow any strict training schedule.
I stayed quite busy during our “off season” with lots of alpine skiing, a vacation to the Bahamas, a short trip to LA and of course the annual spring home improvement projects. While it's important to have some type of physical recovery in April, I find it almost more crucial to have a solid mental break during this time. After 11 months on a detailed day-to-day schedule, it’s vital for me to have a relaxing break where I can recharge the batteries for the coming season.
Every spring I try to do some type of adventure vacation where I can truly get away from sport for at least a week. After spending the previous months on snow, I normally look for someplace warm where skiing will not even be an option. In the past I have explored Puerto Rico, sailed in the British Virgin Islands and this year I decided on the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas. I always thought of the Bahamas as a more overdeveloped tourist destination, but that Abacos definitely proved my wrong. I spent nine days exploring the different islands of the Abacos and I was pleasantly surprised just how remote and quiet these islands were. They proved to be the perfect location for me to relax and recover for the training year ahead. My other reason for choosing the Abacos was for the famed fly-fishing opportunities. Unfortunately, I caught more sunburns than fish, but I did manage to at least catch a few!
I returned home for a few days after my vacation and then headed out to LA for a NBC/USOC media shoot. This was my second time at this event and it proved just as memorable as the first. The day is filled with various television interviews and photo/video shoots that will be used in the buildup to and during the Sochi Olympics. In case I had forgotten, I was quickly reminded that it is an Olympic year when I arrived in LA and was forced to go through hair and makeup before the interviews. The last time that I was subjected to this was before the Vancouver Games! After my initial trauma from the makeup room wore off, I enjoyed the rest of my day in LA. It's always interesting for me to get a chance to do something that is so totally different than what I normally do in my day-to-day life. I was shocked to find myself nearly more fatigued after 10 hours of interviews than a normal day of training.
I am currently in Lake Placid getting back into my normal training routine. No matter how fit I try and stay during April, I am always surprised at how sore I get after the first few days back on the normal training schedule. After another week of training here, the team will head out to Bend, Ore. for the first official training camp of the year. We go to Bend to take advantage of the great spring skiing conditions on Mt. Bachelor. This year in Bend we will also put a big emphasis on testing equipment for next season. Spring conditions at Mt. Bachelor can vary from cold, compact snow to wet and deep. These varying conditions will give us a valuable opportunity to test in some of the different conditions that we might encounter in Sochi.
Now I'm headed back to the ice bath to try and recover for my next workout! Thanks for checking in.