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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, 8 September 2008

2008 Summer Rendition, Episode 2: The Haig

Episode 2 coming at you! The Haig! This would mark my third time training on the Haig Glacier and man, was it good. Eric (head coach) had laid out a heavy schedule for me to tackle this week and although I didn’t quite manage to complete it all, I was pretty damn close.

In the afternoon on Monday, July 21st our team ran into the Haig Glacier camp. Eric had scheduled in 3 hours for me, but I knew the run up wouldn’t take nearly that long. Fortunately, Timo (assistant coach) and I took a wrong turn at Turbine, and found ourselves crossing over into British Columbia…hmmm…I think we might be in the wrong place… The past two times I had run up following other teammates, so when it came time for me to lead, well, I dropped the ball. In the end it worked out fabulously, as Timo and I made it back to Turbine, found the correct trail, and arrived at the Haig Glacier camp in just over 3 hours. I got my training in, and explored a new trail!

Tuesday brought with it the real beginning of the training camp. Time to ski! The conditions were fairly good all week. A few days the snow was a little soft and sloppy due to overcast weather, but we managed to avoid the rain. The rest of the days provided clear blue skies and brisk morning temperatures which allowed the snow to stay frozen and provide fast skiing conditions until the hot sun seized the day.


A beautiful day up on the glacier.

My body adapted much quicker than last year to the high altitude, which allowed me to increase my training volume and speed by a reasonable margin. After hearing some words of wisdom from National Team members Dave Nighbor, Sean Crooks, and Brent McMurtry, I decided to prioritize and put my focus first, on my skiing workouts, and second, on any PM workouts I may have. This was an important task for me this year, to ensure I maintained focus throughout the entire week and got the most out of skiing as possible. Looking back on the week, I felt that I completed this task very well. I made some positive gains in both classic and skate technique, and put in some solid volume, skiing a total of 213km. With the three PM workouts added in, a one hour run, strength circuits, and a core strength session, my total volume for the week added up to 28.25 hours, a 2 hour increase from the larger of the two previous Haig training camps I have done.

The best ski of the week for me had to be the final day. Two days before, I was starting to feel the exhaustion hit me and my morning rusko was high. After some talk with Eric about it, I dialed back my planned 4 hour ski to 3 hours. Saturday I was forced to do the same and cut my planned 2.25 hour ski 25 minutes short because I was simply too exhausted to get anything more out of skiing that day. It seems the decisions to dial back the training hours were the right ones to make because on Sunday, as Pauli Kaki would say, “I felt like I million bucks!” I polished off a 51.5km ski in 3 hours and 40 minutes with relative ease.


A big thumbs up after the big 51.5km ski.

Monday morning I reluctantly crawled out of bed and headed over to the main cabin for breakfast and chore sign up. At first I thought I had lucked out, “cleaning the barbeque, what could be easier?” I thought to myself. A few minutes later Jodi informed me the barbeque didn’t really need to be cleaned. Joel then promptly told me no one had picked the shower yet…great…I went for best chore to worst chore. I think I got played on that one because I later saw Mark Doble cleaning the barbeque. Oh well, I suppose it’s the least I could do. As our hosts for the week, Jodi and Joel did an amazing job, providing gourmet meals, excellent grooming, and all that jazz.

Once our chores were completed and the non-direct group (a.k.a. girls) was given a head start, the run down began. It’s funny how running down from the Haig often turns into some form of race. Last year after the second Haig camp, Jesse and I ran down in 1 hour 36 minutes after practically sprinting the last 3km. Afterwards, Eric got mad at us for going out of zone 1. This year, our entire group stayed together, including Eric, and our time was 1 hour 38 minutes. Let’s just say the final few kilometers were a shade out of zone 1. I suppose after doing so much slow, volume training on the Haig combined with the highly competitive nature of athletes, it’s not really surprising we’re all just itching to hammer.

Well, that was it! The 2008 Haig training camp was nothing short of a success.

Peace out,
Michael


Harry rockin' the skate ski.


C'est Jeux (a.k.a. Christina) enjoying her first Haig experience.


Luke...umm...yah, that's Luke for ya.


The coaches. I'm sure you can guess who is who.

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