Updates around the blog

Just some small housekeeping being done around the site.  Be sure to check out some of these changes.

Take a look at the Donors & Sponsors page. These are the lovely people and companies that support me day in and day out. They believe in me, help to fund my season and I could not do it without them.

Or maybe head over to the Results page to take a look at how I have done so far this season. So many races this season and so many results!

Small Update!

I’m currently in New York City for work and thought i’d share an interview that I just did with US News! Check it out!

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/10/04/meet-a-skeleton-slider-veronica-day

Plenty more to talk about as the season on ice starts next Wednesday! I’ve finished the bulk of my fundraising, push championships are over, combine has concluded and team trials start soon! Thank you to everyone who contributed and shared! I will be sending out emails shortly requesting t-shirt sizes and (of course) thank yous! This season would not have been possible without your support.

Funding Next Season

Hey there everyone! I just started fundraising for the upcoming skeleton season again. I have a huge favor to ask of anyone who frequents my blog!

I am a self funded athlete and the equipment for skeleton is pretty pricey. I started an online fundraiser again on a website called rallyme, which aims to raise about $8000 to support my upcoming season. Equipment, travel expenses, baggage fees (we check our 70 lb sleds) and track fees… the list just keeps going! I’ve been working full time this summer, but it wont be enough to cover 6 months worth of travel.

So I started an online fundraiser:
https://www.rallyme.com/rallies/184

The gym I work out at (Crossfit North Vienna) is even offering to match ANY donation up to $1000. So, any donation (large OR small) you make directly supports my quest. I would not ask for your help if I really didn’t think it was possible. Last year I set the push track record en route to winning the National Push Championship. I also won the Western Regional in Park City, UT which has guaranteed me admission to the Trials in October.

And if you can’t donate, it’s really ok! You can forward this to friends, family… whoever! Thanks again. It’ll be going on for the next 45 days.

Summer Training

This is what my summer training has consisted of:

Just kidding. It’s been more of this:

Ok, not really that either. The first video is filmed by my strength coach Ambrose and with Olympian Nick Cunningham USA 2 for men’s Bobsled. Nick’s a cowboy and I was procrastinating on some sprints so he ended up attempting to teach me how to throw a lasso. I’m only showing you the good one, because the other is pretty hard to watch.

The second video is from Calgary in January. We were doing some short sprints inside and decided to try and touch the backboard. As a former jumper, I shouldn’t be this excited to do this.

In reality it has been a lot of work. I’ve been lifting and sprinting like crazy. On top of that, I’ve been working for The Adecco Group in their Win4Youth Fundraiser. I’ve also picked up a few side jobs like personal training and blogging for various companies. It’s been a strange summer of travel, but I’ve enjoyed my time away from the track.

5 sets of 10 reps in squats all at 185lb/84kg. This is from May. Yesterday I did 3×3 squats at 95, 100, 104 kg (209, 220, 230lbs). The 104 was a huge PR for me… by 4 kilos! Great day of lifting!

Here are a couple of short sprints I’ve been doing on the bike trail behind my newly found gym, Crossfit North Vienna The gym is amazing. The trainers are really helpful and they pretty much let me do my own thing. I lift and train in their facility and do the sprints on the bike trail right behind the gym. It’s a much better set up from where I was working out last summer.

20m Sprint

Fly-in

70m sprint

That’s all for now. I’ll be sure to post more! Crossfit North Vienna made a little commercial about me. I’ll post it up here as soon as it’s done. In addition, I am fundraising for next season… yep it’s that time of year again. Stay tuned!

I’m Back!

Yes, yes… it’s been a while since my last post. Like, a whole season. I’m so sorry! I spent a ton of time last season travelling and I couldn’t seem to find the time to post. I promise I’ll do a better job of updating for you guys.

To give you quick summary of last season:
-I won National Push Championship

-After National Team Trials, I raced in a few races on the North America Cup.

-I won the Western Regional in Park City, UT. I had a lot of problems with this track in the beginning of the season, but I really think it started to click after spending a solid month there before the race. By winning this race, I have guaranteed myself National Team Trials in October.

-I went on the longest road trip of my life. My teammate and I drove my Honda Civic… In JANUARY from Virginia to Calgary, Canada… roughly 3,000 miles. We trained in Calgary at the site of the 1988 Olympics and then drove 1,000 south to Park City, Utah and trained there for a month and a half. Following training in Park City, we drove back to Lake Placid to finish out the season. I know, it seems crazy to drive that much, but we were out west for 2 months. My car gets good mileage and we wouldn’t have to pay for a car rental, which are outrageously priced.

Yeah, I can pretty much drive through anything now. What did I learn? South Dakota is a terrifying state during a blizzard. Adrienne and I took video and documented the whole thing. Gracie (another one of my teammates) drove back with me to Lake Placid and together we’re working on making a road trip video.

Here’s a quick summary of the trip:
-Leave Virginia, drive to Long Island and pick up Adrienne.
-Drive from Long Island to Chicago, spend 2 days with Erik (a former teammate in the windy city)
-Drive to Wall, South Dakota during a blizzard. South Dakota is the most desolate place I’ve ever visited. There were 50 mph winds and it was -30 degrees at night while we were driving. During the day it was -10 degrees. We drove through the Badlands, which I’ve posted some pictures of below.

photo2

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-We saw Mount Rushmore and Crazy horse which are both nestled in the Black Hills.
Mount_Rushmore_National_Memorial

crazyhorse1

-We drove to Billings, Montana and spent the night there.
-We drove to Calgary and stayed with my friend from college, Phil. Phil happens to live about 2 minutes from the top of the track in Calgary. Amazing visit, and a great learning experience for Adrienne and I. We traveled there alone, and trained with the Koreans. No other Americans or Canadians were there.
-I saw 2 Bald Eagles on the drive. America!!

-Following Calgary, we drove to Park City and trained there for a month. This was our backyard. Utah is a beautiful place. In addition, Adrienne and I got there in time to attend Sundance Film Festival. I’d love to go back. We saw 3 movies. photo1

Overall, the season was full of ups and downs. Sled problems, confidence in driving, stress… the usual. But honestly, I ultimately I felt like I came out on top and learned some great things. I feel great going into next season. I have more posts, to make so stay tuned!

National Push Champion!

Ok, so not the most eloquent title for this blog post, but that’s some pretty big news, right? It’s been about a month since I have updated and have stayed up in Lake Placid at the Olympic Training Center for most of the time. The next big event for me was the National Push Championships. I think I’ve showed you guys a few videos of the push track, but basically we have a sled on wheels that sits on top of some tracks. There are timers set up and we push the sled to see how fast we can get it moving. The championships were yesterday… and I won! Yay!

We took 2 pushes each and I had the fastest combined time. In addition, I set a women’s track record for fastest push at the push track. The men also had a track record with Mitch Danbe (on push 2) but the title was won by John Daly. Pretty sure this is his 4th or 5th title. They are building a new push track for us right behind the OTC which is where the bobsledders will have their push champs next Friday and Saturday.

Women’s
1) Veronica Day (Push 1) 5.35 (Push 2) 5.31 (Total) 10.66
2) Lauren Salter (Push 1) 5.41 (Push 2) 5.34 (Total) 10.75
3) Caitlin Carter (Push 1) 5.44 (Push 2) 5.41 (Total) 10.85

Men’s
1) John Daly (Push 1) 4.85 (Push 2) 4.85 (Total) 9.7
2) Mitch Danbe (Push 1) 4.88 (Push 2) 4.83 (Total) 9.71
3) Nathan Crumpton (Push1) 4.85 (Push 2) 4.88 (Total) 9.73

I’ve been out at the push track A LOT. I am glad it has paid off. Here are a few videos of practice sessions. I just got an iphone (my first smart phone… and I have no idea how to use it) and there are probably 15 videos of me at the push track. One of the first apps I downloaded was a slow-motion one. It’s called coachmyvideo, was free… and it is amazing for this kind of stuff.

A vid of the load:

Start Drills:

So what does this mean for the future? Nothing really, except that I have proved myself as a push athlete. Push championships for bobsled brakemen are super important since their sole job is to push the sled as fast as possible. They typically get picked up by drivers depending on how well they perform at push champs.

But since skeleton athletes are not on teams, the same individual pushing is also driving. While pushing is a very important variable, driving is a bigger one. I have begun doing video for Lake Placid since we get on the ice in 2 weeks. It is definitely going to be a shock to the system. It has been 6 months since I’ve been down on the ice and when I watch video it baffles me how fast we go. My eyes are going to need to adjust big time. I’m definitely a bit nervous but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. All I can do is study until we get back on the ice.

In the past month I also went to my sled maker’s house to give my sled a bit of a face lift. She’s got a shiny red pod now! In addition, I got a saddle (the part I lay in) custom made for my body. I need to re-pad the whole sled which is a huge pain in the butt, but I definitely think it’ll be worth it. I bought a sweet patterned yoga mat from yogamatic.com. My roommate (Kristina Hull) custom designed her last year for her sled and even though they are expensive, I definitely think it’ll be worth it. I used regular camping foam last year and ended up having to tape the whole top of the sled because the foam kept tearing. This yoga mat I bought is a bit stiff, so I don’t foresee it tearing as easy. Plus the tape is $65 a roll. Ouch.

I will leave you guys with a picture of the the new pod on my sled!

Combine? Check.

OK ok ok! So I know some of you have been asking how the combine went yesterday. Let me begin by explaining what the combine is. Basically it is 8 events, and each is scored on a 100 point scale. So the max score you can possibly receive is 800 points. In order to be eligible to slide as a new slider, you must score a minimum of 650 points. Last year I scored a total of 727 points. This year I scored…

767!!

Boom! I am so pumped and am really excited for the season to begin. It’s practically September and I can’t wait to get back on the ice.

Let me give you a play-by-play of the combine.

So the first 4 scores are from sprinting. It consists of a 15m, 30m, 45m, and a 30m fly. You get the 30m fly time by subtracting the 15m time from the 45m time. I am going to give the event, the result, how much of a PR from the last combine it was, and then the total points I received from that particular event.

15m – 2.33 seconds (PR by .04) — 91 points
30m – 3.96 seconds (PR by .16) — 98 points
45m – 5.68 seconds (PR by .18) — 99 points
30m fly – 3.32 seconds (PR by .18) — 100 points

The 30m time is considered to be the most looked at mark of the sprinting events, and I was told that the team’s record for it from a skeleton female was previously 3.99 seconds. That’s a .03 improvement! And the 30m fly time is also almost a full .10 seconds off the score chart. For those of you who are unfamiliar with sprinting times, these increases are good. To PR by over a tenth in anything this short of a sprint is great. We had done some testing earlier in the summer and the times were marginally better. I felt pretty solid going into yesterday, but haven’t tested too much so I didn’t know exactly where I would be at. I can’t be more happy with the improvements.

Onto the next events:

Broad Jump — 2.62 meters/ 8’7″ (PR by .12 meters) — 90 points
Shot Toss — 13.74 meters/ 45’1″ (PR by… 1.84 meters) — 98 points

It is a bit funny to me that the broad jump is my worst event of the combine and I was actually jumper. But you know what? I’ll take it. It is not nearly as bad as it was last year. I enlisted a bit of help last week and that seemed to do the trick. But the shot toss… I have no idea where that came from. Seriously. No. idea. I mean, I just whaled it out there on the 3rd toss. Perfect trajectory. Did the trick.

Vid of a broad jump from last week:

After a brief hiatus, we took off to the weight room to partake in the last events. Power Clean and a 3-repetition squat max.

Power Clean — 80kg / 176 lbs (PR by 8kg) — 94 points
3-rep Squat — 100kg / 220 lbs (PR by 5kg) — 97 points

Vid for 79 kg from last week:

This was a PR last week (I know I posted a vid of 78 kg from last spring) but I just barely managed to get 80 kg up yesterday. On this vid, I irritated something in my right thumb, and the cleaning from yesterday inflamed the muscles quit a bit. I mean, the rep from yesterday could have been the messiest clean I have ever done in my life. But you know what? I ended up getting it. All that matters.

Finally the squats. I was pretty much beat at this point. I did 100kg because last week I did 95kg pretty easily. I thought I might be able to go a bit higher, but in order to get any more points, you had to jump up to 107kg. I picked it up off the rack, went down on the first rep and then began to ascend only to fall victim to 236 lbs and gravity. Ambrose (a strength coach) helped me hoist it back onto the rack and viola. I was done.

With a grand total of 767 points. I feel great. I can’t wait to get to sliding. I gave my sled to Don and will be getting a new saddle (the part I lay in) and pod (the plastic part on the bottom). I am going to have to re-pad it, but I will give her a nice tune up in a few weeks and get going on the ice as soon as it gets cold enough. As soon as that pod gets added, I will be able to add the names of Mark Armour and the Chang/Salmon family to the bottom of the sled for their generous donation a few months ago.

I will leave you with some push track vids:

And a second one with a better view of the load. There is definitely still work to be done here, but I do feel more comfortable now.

I will keep you guys posted with some more push track vids as they come! Thank you everyone for the support and good luck yesterday. It was an amazing way to get started.