Meet Sophie Caldwell Hamilton!

+ Name/ Location/ Sport

Sophie Caldwell Hamilton/Vermont/Cross Country Skiing

+ Can you tell us what drew you to your sport in the first place, and what drew you to this level of performance?

I come from a family of skiers, so I learned how to ski at about the same time I learned to walk. My dad was a ski coach and my mom was a former ski racer, so they introduced my sister, brother, and me to skiing at a young age. I am from a tiny town in southern Vermont, but one thing the town does have is a cross country ski touring center called Wild Wings, so it was an activity my family enjoyed and we had trails in our backyard! I played a lot of different sports when I was young, but I decided to focus on skiing a little more in high school and then skied four years in college. After college, I was faced with the decision of pursuing skiing or joining the “real world” and it was honestly a pretty tough decision because I loved skiing, but I had also found other passions. Ultimately, I decided that I had the rest of my life to join the real world, but this was really my one shot to see how far I could take my skiing, so I went for it and I’m glad I did!

+ When I am not training specifically in either swimming, cycling or running, what’s your second favorite form of muuvment?

I love backcountry skiing! My husband is from Colorado and he introduced me to backcountry skiing when we started dating and I think it’s truly the best of both worlds (both worlds being uphill and downhill skiing). I also love that it can take you to some of the most beautiful places and you have them to yourself!

+ You Just finished a killer workout, what’s the first thing you’re grabbing from your fridge?

A smoothie with yogurt, blueberries from the garden, frozen banana, peanut butter, and whatever else looks like it wants to go in my smoothie that day. And a glass of water with Nuun Sport of course .

+ Early Bird or Afternuun Owl? Are you most likely to plan your workout in the morning or evening? Walk us through a day in your life.

I’m often training twice a day, but I usually do my bigger workout in the morning. I’m definitely more productive in the morning and if I only have one workout, it’s best for me to do it first thing otherwise I have a tendency to put it off until it’s almost dark out! During out big summer training weeks, I wake up about an hour before training and have my coffee, breakfast, and Nuun, then go to morning training for 2-3 hours, come back and have lunch, put my feet up, have a snack, head out to afternoon training for 1-2 hours, come home, make dinner, relax for a couple hours, snack again, and then head to bed. My days consist of a lot of training, eating, and resting!

+ Do you have any heroes/ idols/ mentors in your sport of choice?

Yes! I’ve been lucky to have teammates who I’ve always looked up to. Women’s cross country skiing in the U.S. has taken a huge jump in the last ten or fifteen years and we owe a lot of that to Kikkan Randall for paving the way for us. I feel so lucky to have had Kikkan as both my hero and my teammate and friend. She did an amazing job of lifting her teammates up with her to share in her success and make us believe we could get there too.

+What’s your favorite flavor & way to consume nuun?

Right now I’m loving the Nuun endurance Citrus Mango flavor. I put it in my water bottle for every workout and then I’m also usually using Nuun sport to hydrate throughout the day, Nuun rest before bed, and Nuun immunity and vitamins before and during travel. 

+ If we’re talking big dreams, how do you want to be remembered in your sport?

Like I said before, I am so grateful to have had amazing female role models throughout my skiing career. Now that I’m one of the veterans, I want to be remembered for forming connections with the younger girls on my team and setting an example of how to have a healthy balance between sport and life. While I love skiing, it’s always been important for me to balance my skiing and feel like I have other aspects of my life outside of skiing and I think that’s allowed me to stay quite happy throughout my career. If I can help younger teammates navigate that balance and inspire them to pursue skiing, I will be a happy old lady!

+ What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome – mental or physical?

I lost my mom to advanced stage cancer about a year ago and that was and continues to be the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My mom was my best friend and my biggest ski fan and there will always be a hole in my heart without her. There were a lot of things I learned through that process, but the two that stand out are 1. Hold the people you love close and 2. If you take care of yourself, you can be more resilient than you think. I was able to spend almost every day of my mom’s last 9 months with her and when I look back at that time, there is nothing I would have changed. Living with guilt or living with regret can be a really awful feeling and if someone is important to you, make the time to tell them and to show them. Sometimes we are faced with these obstacles that we think are insurmountable and our immediate reaction is to busy ourselves to keep our minds occupied or exercise ourselves into the ground, but I’ve discovered that if you take care of yourself and truly let your body and mind take the rest they deserve, you can be a lot more resilient than if you are trying to burn the candle at both ends. When I am going through something challenging, I try to recognize the toll emotional stress has on me and let myself rest, and when I do that, I find myself being able to find moments of happiness, even during some of the hardest times.

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