MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY TREATS:
- Chocolate-covered almonds fresh from hometown growers, Minturn Nuts
- A pagan Swedish dessert that my grandmother made called “crème”
- Gravity Malbec wine
- Snacking on my friend Kathy Smith’s Swedish Tea Ring dessert
- Making chocolate-dipped pretzels with dear friends Alexandra and Grace
- Homemade hot chocolate that is made with choco whipped cream and warm milk (100% sinful!)
MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT ROWING:
- Winning World Cup, World Championship and Olympic medals
- Testing well on the Concept2 ergometer and setting personal records in the Winter months
- Looking good in my rowing unisuit—come on! Who doesn’t?
We all know that training does not take a break during the holidays. However, I’m sure you notice that my Holiday Treat List is substantially longer than my Rowing Favorites List. The holidays are tricky because I do not want to sabotage important (and fun!) traditions for rowing. As with everything, balance is key.
So, how have I combated the desire to eat and drink merrily during this past holiday week? Well, I have managed to hop on my parents’ Concept2 ergometer in the attic before family outings, I woke up early on Christmas morning and went for a 6-mile run on my favorite canal bank in Turlock, California (my hometown) with my Mom pacing me on her bike. And I fit in social-talking-time with old friends while speed walking, instead of chatting and snacking together. And of course, I am lucky that my US teammate Erin Cafaro’s hometown (Modesto, California) is only 10 miles up the road—so I can rely on her for weight lifting motivation and a spot.
As with everything important, discipline is required to successfully make it to January intact. Discipline is a common theme in my blog postings, as you all know, and discipline is not always the fun route. However, fitting into clothes and feeling good while hanging out with friends is often just as delicious as holiday chocolate. When I’m having a particularly difficult time motivating to erg in the attic or go for a run in the rain, I will take advantage of “oldie-but-goodie” clothes from high school that are hanging in my closet. Nothing says, “get off the couch and work out” like trying to squeeze into my Turlock High School Prom dress from 1997.
In a few days, I will be back in Princeton, New Jersey training full-time with the built-in motivation of my coaches, teammates and immediate 6K erg-test goals lurking all around me. But for now, while I have several precious days of individual training at home, I will rely on my senior prom dress, Mom’s encouragement and thoughts of my upcoming erg test.
I’m off to the grocery store to pick up some paleo specific foods…(while looking good, in case I run into an old high school boyfriend).
Stay strong and carry on —ALI