29 June 2012

Looking back on 5 Weeks of Training in LA (5/1-6/6)

Those were five weeks that DID NOT fly by! 4 hours skating and dryland in the morning, a long nap and a couple more hours of beach runs or weights after that. Plus stretching, rolling, sharpening skates and riding a bike everywhere I went because that's all I had. That schedule seems to stretch out the days pretty long but I loved it. Just the change in location and atmosphere was refreshing and I'm super excited for the season because I continue to improve a lot in strength and technique. As for the cut in my shin, it's healed really well but has left enough of a scar to look a little gnarly.

2 things. I can't thank Wilma Boomstra (my coach in LA) enough for pushing my limits technically, physically and mentally. The best thing about her is that the more you push yourself and invest in every practice, the more she will push you to get better. And she was constantly on me to stick out the laps or fix technical issues. I also can't thank Larry and Laura Robinson enough for being such a great host family and having one of the best showers in LA. I couldn't have trained this summer in California without you.

Miss you coach Wil

I feel like an ant trying to pull a brick or something.

Admiring our dryland technique in front of the ice rink's reflective windows

Rest during a morning skate

20 June 2012

World Sports Chicago -Olympic Sports Day

Willie Banks, my mom, Jeffrey and I
This past Saturday Jeffrey, my mom (Nancy Sr.) and I participated in the World Sport Chicago Family Sports Festival and the Walk to London 2012 down at Armour Square Park along with numerous other Olympians and Paralympians including U.S. Olympians President Willie Banks (athletics, 1980, 1984, 1988), World Sport Chicago Executive Director Scott Myers, 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member Bob Willis, Athletics Throws Coach Tom Pukstys (athletics, 1992, 1996), World Sport Chicago President and fellow Olympian Bill Scherr (wrestling, 1988), Steve Gregg (VP, swimming, 1976), Tony Brooks (rowing, 1972, 1976), U.S. Olympians Association Vice President Carol Brown (rowing, 1976, 1980, 1984), and Diane Simpson-Bundy (gymnastics, 1988). Sorry for those names I missed (remembering names is not my forte), but who were also there representing the Olympians and giving up their morning for a great event! World Sports Chicago did a wonderful job at hosting this event and they need to be recognized for their hard work!

Photo credit: Marc Monaghan
Although a ton of us Olympians, Paralympians, and Olympic hopefuls were present, all the staff of World Sports Chicago and the volunteers that helped make this day possible were the backbone of this entire event and are those who really should be thanked. Thank you!!! They sacrificed hours of their time setting up and then cleaning up and want them to know that their hard work didn't go unnoticed :) This event was completely free for those who attended, giving families and kids a chance to have a day exploring more than 25 different sports and discovering sports they probably would never have know of until this day. These families and kids were able to gain information about the programs and places where they can get active in Chicago along with enjoy fun entertainment, music and for those 18 and under, enjoy a free healthy lunch. In the picture above, Jeffrey, who demonstrated at his station how to slide on the sideboard, you can see a little girl thoroughly enjoying skating on the sideboard. Apparently, and I was told, adults and kids flocked to be around Jeffrey and his teaching, haha...but seriously, if Jeffrey alone attracted that many people, who knows how many more we could bring on board and eventually introduce them to Speedskating with events like this! Speedskating, being a stagnant (in growth) sport, we need all the help we can get :) 

Signing autographs with Willie, Diane, my mom and other Olympians
Walk to London 2012, mom with Bob, the 2012 Olympian!
(Photo credits for the two pictures above go to Marc Monaghan)

This World Sports Chicago Family Festival had a great turnout, supposedly 5,000 people overall...and I got to thinking (along with growing the sport of speedskating), that though there are plenty of enthusiastic people and great organizations involved in spreading the significance of sports, we need more types of these festivals to involve kids and get information to them on all the different sports out there; there were 25+ sports demonstrated at this festival (but I know...there is a TON of work to pull off something like this and can't be done all the time). Not that they would take their sport to the Olympic level, but I believe when kids are growing up, if they were exposed to more unique/different sports, there would be an increase in sport involvement and it could also bring kids off the streets and encourage activity every day, teaching them healthier lifestyles and great skills/lessons for life. Sports have taught me so many life lessons and have forced me to develop skills that apply so well to everyday life that I'm fully convinced that being involved in a sport or many sports is vital for every child growing up.

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

14 June 2012

Spring Training...May/June

Spring Training...May/June

Devon, my fierce merciless (haha) trainer
my awesome view of Chicago from CoreFitness
Stairs at Wheaton College stadium
Season 2012-2013 is underway! While Jeffrey was out in California (he is back now), my spring training consisted mainly of lifting and running (including our brutal stair workouts and speed/agility). My lifting is done in downtown Chicago at CoreFitness, where Dusten and Devon kick my butt every time, ha. I do, literally, walk out of their gym a little disjointed because my nervous system was smoked. BUT, I have to thank Devon and Dusten so much for their investment in my life, they've pushed me to my limits (wisely). For my agility/speed workout, I drive up to Northbrook, IL for a session with Tommy at TCBoost where I'm developing my speed and power, which I have felt to be my weakness in the past. I highly recommend TCBoost. What they have done for me has been high-quality training that any athlete looking for an increase in power should check out! The rest of the time I am based at home in Wheaton and with the amazing weather we've been having, I've been able to do all the workouts outside! Such a blessing..

Just yesterday was my first skating session on the short track ice in Park Ridge with the club there (where my mom began her skating career herself). Now Jeffrey has been skating short track the last month in California, but I have not jumped to skate quite yet in order to develop brute strength as well as keeping skating fresh, for we will have a long season on the ice soon enough. So with the first ice practice comes technical drills...and only technical drills. Solidifying technique when we first step on that ice is important, so yesterday's practice was nothing fast, just controlled skating drills. 

In the picture below, you see Jeffrey showing us some thoughts on technique he learned while out in California as we began the first summer ice practice. And for the first time, I actually felt strong and in control skating for the first short track practice. If I recall correctly, usually my first practice consists of frustration because my feet cramp and I hurt after just a couple drills, but this session was different. Maybe this is a sign that this year will be a breakout year :) Although there is still plenty of training that is going to go down between now and our first national race, I was ecstatic yesterday and could not stop smiling being on the ice again and feeling amazing. Speedskating is what I do...and it is what I love. Here is to what will be my best skating season yet!!!

First Park Ridge summer ice session, Jeffrey demonstrating
God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

Thanks always to all our (team swiderpeltz) sponsors and those who have personally invested in our lives and our career goals! Please check them out and if you'd like, follow them on twitter: Extreme Endurance @Xendurance, Ochsner InternationalCoreFitness @corechicago, Dr. Stuart Yoss at Bannockburn ART, Major Chiropractic Sports Science, TCBoost @TCBoost, Oakley @oakleysports, Under Armour @UAWomen...

P.S. A couple weeks ago I joined Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana and Wiesbrook Elementary School in fundraising a Tiger Trot that raised over $6,000! I'm so proud of all who came out to run that morning as well as their hearts were in a place of serving others and that is worth a huge recognition! I want to thank all those who participated for letting me be a part of the Tiger Trot and though I am from the North side of Wheaton, more important issues in life were being addressed and caring about those who need it the most and that is honorable :)

Ronald McDonald, myself, Tiger, and Principal Turyna