Hi. This is Ben and Sarah Olson. We have been involved in MYSL since the ages of three and four. We love to nordic ski, and we also love to run, play soccer, hockey, and many other sports. We are lucky because all of our cousins and some of our friends like the same sports as us, and we get to ski and run with them a lot. Every now and then we travel to a new place because of our sports, and we love it.
We just returned home from a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the 2012 Junior Olympic National Cross Country meet. We qualified to run there by racing at a meet at Valleywood golf course in Apple Valley, Minnesota. There are thousands of athletes here from ages 7 to 18, and many are familiar to us from other races we have participated in. We have made some friends from all over the country racing, and some we even keep in touch with throughout the year by e-mail.
When we travel for a meet, we go as a family and make a vacation of it. We love to road trip, so my parents agreed to fly to Denver, CO, and drive the rest of the way to New Mexico. We arrived in Denver on Wednesday, December 5th. On our way to New Mexico, we toured the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It was so cool. Our guide was a gold medalist Paralympic swimmer. It was awesome to see the places where Olympians and Olympic hopefuls train, sleep and eat. We also hiked at the Garden of the Gods, which is ranked in the top 10 of American public spaces. We highly recommend it if you ever visit Colorado. We caught our first rainbow trout ever in Trinidad, CO. We also visited some national monuments and parks, learned some interesting facts about the civil war history of the area, and visited some ancient ruins and petroglyphs.
When we arrived in New Mexico on Friday, December 7th, we went directly to Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, which was the site of the cross-country meet. We jogged the course, checked in to receive our race bibs and race information, and bought souvenir sweatshirts. Here is a picture from the course. It was beautiful.
That evening, we went to Old Town Albuquerque for Christmas festivities, dinner, and shopping. The area was beautiful with Christmas lights, luminaries and carolers.
Saturday, December 8th was the day of our races. We both planned to run a 3k. We both hoped to medal in our event, but the day didn’t exactly go as planned:
Sarah: I felt a little ill during my warm up. Things did not seem much better by the start of my race, but I decided to run anyway. I did not feel like myself, I vomited during and after my race. My time was much slower than usual. After my race, I met my parents. I usually cheer my brother on during his race, but I was tired and felt like waiting until they came back. So I missed his race.
Ben: I felt great at the start and went out with the front group, but things got bad pretty quickly. I could tell I wasn’t feeling right, and I eventually felt light headed and dizzy. I remember falling down and getting back up. I only went a small distance when I fell again. The medics helped me up, and brought me to the medical tent. I spent the next two hours there recovering there with the help of oxygen and energy drinks. I felt awful, and was sick for several days after. I was disappointed that I didn’t finish, and also that I missed out on the rest of the vacation recuperating in the hotel bed.
Even though it wasn’t the trip we planned, we love Colorado and New Mexico. We hope to go back sometime and visit more of the area. We would definitely take more precautionary measures before exercising at altitude! I think that was a big lesson we learned from our races.
Arriving home to a foot of snow to ski on and play in was awesome! We are happy to be home.
See you on the trails,
Ben and Sarah Olson