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Welcome! My name is Michael Somppi and I'm a competitive cross-country skier. I developed this blog so sponsors, family, friends and fans can keep up to date with my life as a full-time athlete. You can expect regular blog posts about racing, training, and life in general. Check out other sections of my blog by clicking on the tabs above.

Monday, 23 June 2008

A Fresh Season Brings Revamped Energy With It

A new season is upon us and it is high time I begin updating this blog at more regular intervals again. Much has happened since my previous blog post; an awesome spring skiing training block, final exams for my two winter courses followed by an entire computer programming spring course which I just wrote the exam for last week, many beach body building sessions with Butler and Timo, the 2008-09 NTDC team was selected, I purchased a new road bike (I still can’t take my eyes off it...), and I am now officially a modern man (I turned 20 on June 20th and I now own a cell phone!). Whew…that’s a lot of stuff!

So after a solid month of base off-season training in May with Timo, the entire team settled into Thunder Bay and began training together. The 2008-09 team is comprised of newcomers Luke Viljakainen (Big Thunder – Thunder Bay), Christina Groulx (Big Thunder – Thunder Bay), Harry Seaton (Hardwood – Orillia), and veterans Jesse Winter (North Bay Nordic – South River), and myself with coach Eric Bailey and assistant coaches Timo Purias and Lisa Patterson. Out-of-towners Harry and Jesse arrived in TBay on June 10th and immediately the day after we had our first test run of the season.

This run was new for NTDC, but for Lappe veterans Christina and I the familiarity of the test run’s location made it seem like we were still training with the Lappe Junior Racing Team. The run was a 10km out and back on Kamcurrent Road (the road Lappe Nordic Ski Center is situated on). I always seem to race well at Lappe whether it’s during the ski season or the off-season and this day was no exception. I took off at a quick pace wanting to test my bodies limits rather than play it cautious. I died a little in the last 2kms of the run, but finished in a very respectable time of 35:07. I surprised myself with how well I felt during this race especially because this was one of the first intensities I had done since the new season began. I could not have asked myself to run any better than I did.

June 17th marked the first day of the 2008 NTDC Boot Camp. This camp was filled with testing, team meetings, and big hours. It all began with the 2 sets of the strength test on Tuesday. I have made it my goal to break 300 for some time now and unfortunately last year I was unsuccessful in my attempts despite coming close many times. This year I came the closest I have ever come, but still came up short. My score for the 1st set was 298…ugh. I mean, I’m happy I managed to score a new PB this early in the season, but only 2 more points…one more pullup…two more situps…dang. Not to worry though, by August I should be breaking 300 with my hands tied behind my back...okay maybe not quite, but you get the picture.

The next two tests we did were the submax treadmill test and the incremental work/lactate profiling test to find our training zones. The tests went smoothly and I’m looking forward to seeing my results. Friday was critical speed testing on the 200m indoor track at Lakehead University and coming up just short seemed to be the theme of the week for me. Both the 4000m and 1000m tests went really well for me, but they just weren’t quite good enough to break any records. I ran a 13:16 in the 4000m which is one second slower than my PB and the NTDC record and a 2:50 in the 1000m which tied my PB, but is once again one second slower than the NTDC record (I’m coming for that record later this year Skeets!). The good news is, for this time of year running on par with my PBs is sick! Basically, it means if I improve at all over this summer’s training I should be able to break my PBs by the fall. A special mention goes out to Harry Seaton who ran a 2:49 in the 1000m, tying Skeets Morel’s NTDC record. Way to go brotha!

Directly after the critical speed testing we headed out to Nancy Viljakainen’s home on Lake Superior for lunch and a nap before we headed back out for our PM skate rollerski workout. This had to be the hardest day of the training camp as Timo worked me in the rollerski sesh with his noticeably quick bearings. Nothing a good sauna and swim in the Lake couldn’t fix though! That evening we met the revamped and superfantabulous NTDC board of directors at a dinner and social held at Nancy’s home. A big thanks to the board members for all the delicious food you brought and an extra big thank you to Nancy for hosting the dinner. And whoever it was who bought those tyrannosaurus size steaks for the team to eat, wow, thank you! Definitely the thickest and one the best steaks I have ever consumed.

The camp finished in tradition on Sunday with a long run at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Unfortunately Harry was attacked by ticks and was hospitalized with lime disease…just kidding! We’ve been joking with Harry all week about the terrible ticks that are invading Thunder Bay forests. The run went well and was a great way to cap off a fantastic 2008 Boot Camp.


2008-09 NTDC Team rocking our new NTDC training tops pre-Sibley run. From left: Jesse, Timo, Harry, Luke, Christina, Eric, and myself.


Timo is obsessed with his new Goliath of a watch, the Forerunner. Here's the map of our Sleeping Giant run thanks to the Forerunner and Timo.


I think I got confused when I put on my new Quick Step gear. Am I a skier or a road biker? Hmmm... Maybe I'm the new Paolo Bettini?


Lookin' sharp with my new steed.


The apple of my eye, my new steed, the Giant TCR C2.

Until next time, I'm Michael Somppi. Keep it classy...world.