Hollow on a less crowded day back in early July.
Today I did a skate rollerski
at Soldier Hollow. For the past few months, I have heard rumors
about all the international teams that are supposedly coming to
Utah to train at the venue this summer and fall. In my previous
visits, there have always been a number of people training there
but they have all been American: the national Biathlon team, the
National Guard Biathlon program, the US Ski Team development group,
etc. But today the place was crawling with people all over and many
of them did not look American. FYI: In my opinion, the way to tell
the difference between American athletes and Europeans is the length
and tightness of their shorts. European athletes, men and women
alike, have a fondness for short, tight training shorts made of
spandex. Americans, on the other hand, go for the baggier, nylon
short look. Just thought you'd like to know. Anyway, I heard the
other day that the Ukrainian team was here and either they had about
20 athletes or there were other teams there as well. Combine those
people with all the American teams and the place was packed. As
I rollerskied around the 3K loop, I began counting athletes. There
were about 15 people on the rollerski loop at any given time. Another
20 or so were either running or ski walking with poles on the rest
of the trails, and another 15 biathletes were in the range shooting.
It was almost crowded, but in a motivating sort of way.
Now, as an individual athlete, you can't just walk up and join their
workouts, but just being on the same course as so many top skiers
is inspiring and educational. You get to see the kind of workouts
they are doing and can watch and learn. I skied 2-3 loops about 50
meters behind a Ukrainian man. Close enough that I could watch his
technique and imitate his workout, but far enough away that I didn't
upset or annoy him. I also found that I ended up training longer,
just because I felt guilty stopping when others are still out there,
even if they started after I did.
stadium and race center. The day lodge and wax trailers in the
A few words about the venue
for summer training. There are about 4K of rollerski trails, which
is essentially a 3K loop with a short loop through the biathlon
stadium and couple very short connector trails. No this is not much,
but the trails connect with the access roads and you can make a
loop that will take 25-30 minutes. Besides, the loop on the trails
is pretty difficult and you wouldn't want to do something that hard
on a 2 hour distance ski anyway. It works well for intervals, races,
specific strength, or no poles skiing, as I did today. But bring
your helmet. You must wear a helmet at all times while rollerskiing
and sign a waiver stating that its your own fault if you fall. The
other trails are a mixture of dirt and grass and are mowed fairly
regularly which makes for great running. If they weren't mowed,
I don't think I could run there, for fear of rattlesnakes in the
grass (two of my friends have seen them, but I, thankfully, have
not had the pleasure yet). There are about 20K of good running trails.
The venue is only going to
get busier as fall approaches. The Norwegians will be coming to
uses their altitude house in Midway. The US and Canadian teams will
be having a camp in mid-September. The Finns, what's left of their
team anyway. have been here already. Many other teams are also on
their way to check out the most important courses for this winter.
So if your training is lacking spark, come on out to Utah and train
with the world's best on some of the world's best courses.
In my Bike Ride of Death notes, I mentioned that my knees hurt tremendously.
At the time, the fear of doing permanent damage was in my mind the
whole time, but I refused to stop and admit defeat. Now I am paying
for it. For the past month, whenever I run up steep hills for an
extended period or do a lot of skating without poles my knees begin
to hurt - basically any time I put a lot of stress on a bended knee.
They hurt just above the kneecap on the outside of the knee. They
had gradually been getting better. So today I decided I would try
biking for the first time since the Bike Ride Of Death. To my dismay,
my knees did still hurt, though not nearly with the same severity
as the BROD. Sometimes its an ache, sometimes a sharp pain. It scares
me to think that I may have damaged this crucial joint, but at the
same time I am afraid to consult a doctor for fear that he will
say to rest my legs for a few weeks. That may be what they need,
but I don't think I can afford to lose that training time. It is
a decision I agonize over everyday. Do I rest now and preserve my
legs for what I hope will be many years of running, hiking, biking
and skiing while compromising my goals that I have worked towards
for the past 10 years? Or do I continue to train, back off only
when it hurts and hope for the best? I have been going with the
second option and the knees seem to be getting better, but very
gradually. I just hope I don't regret it later.
This week will probably be one of the biggest of the summer in terms
of training volume. Doing a week like this requires a lot of organization
and focus. I thought I would take you through my week, blow by blow,
to see what its like. One note: I usually train quite a bit with
the National Development team, but they are out of town this week
(on Eagle Glacier in Alaska) so most of my training will be alone.
7:20 AM - Get up. Eat breakfast
while watching Spongebob Squarepants.
7:50 am - Head out the door to train. This morning I went for a
run for 1:30 then went to the weight room for an hour. Near the
end, I had to cut the weight workout short because I pulled a muscle
in my neck doing triceps presses. I tired to continue, but I could
hardly lift my head, never mind lift weights. Not a great way to
start the week.
10:45 am - 11:45 - go home, shower, grab something to eat, drive
30 minutes to work.
11:45 am - 6:00 pm - Work. Sit at a computer typing code. Try to
loosen up my neck which is tightening up.
6:00 pm - 6:30 pm - Drive from Salt Lake to Park City, listening
to my Poison CD to get ready for the concert next week.
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm - Skate rollerski intervals with Erik Stange while
Torbjorn looks on from the car. I still couldn't lift my head, so
Erik had to lead and I just followed his feet.
8:30-10:00 - cook and eat dinner, do some laundry, watch 10 minutes
of the Simpsons.
10:00-10:30 - get ready for bed and go to sleep in order to get
my full nine hours.
7:20 am - get up, eat, watch Spongebob. Its not quite as good as
watching the Tour De France during breakfast, but its a lot funnier.
8:00 am - Drop my truck off to have the oil changed. Tell them I
will pick it up in 2 and a half hours when I am done my workout.
8:05 am - Grab my rollerski stuff from the truck and head out to
ski. Lots of times I have to combine my workouts with errands like
this in order to fit it all in. For the first hour I skate without
poles. My neck feels better but still a little tight. I then pick
up my poles that I had stashed in the woods and skate for another
hour. At the two hour mark, I stumble on uneven pavement, ski right
through my pole and break it. I curse a bit, then ski back to the
truck, another 30 minutes without poles.
10:45 am - Pick up my truck, head to work.
11:15 am - Get to work, shower, eat, and start typing.
12:34 pm - Receive email saying that the Poison, Warrant, Quiet
Riot concert is canceled! #$%!@!!!! I am depressed for the rest
of the day.
6:20 pm - leave work, head back to Park City to do a specific strength
7:00 pm - Start skiing. I double pole for 30 minutes, then start
doing one minute repeats up a steep hill. After twenty minutes of
exercises, I pull a muscle in my back. What is going on? I hardly
ever pull muscles, what is going on this week? I can no longer double
pole, so I stride 30 minutes back to the car and make sure to stretch
out good afterwards
8:45 pm - 10:20 pm - Make and eat dinner. Talk to my girlfriend
on the phone for 30 minutes.
10:30 pm - Go to bed.
7:20 am - The Usual - Get up, breakfast, Spongebob.
8:00 am - Drive to Soldier Hollow with Erik.
8:30 am - Start a 2.5 hour run/ski walk with poles workout on the
Soldier Hollow trails. Most of it is level I, but I am still tired
by the end. No pulled muscles today!
11:00 am - Drive home, shower, drive to work.
12:00 pm -6:30 pm - Work
7:00 pm - Head out for a run, then hit the weight room. Total time:
8:40 pm - Too tired to make dinner, pick up a Chicken Taco Salad
on the way home.
9:20 pm - Update my training log, do an hour of work on the XCSkiWorld
10:30 pm - Go to bed.
7:20 am - Get up, go through the routine, drive 25 minutes to Wanship
8:30 am - Double pole rollerski for 1:45, then break a pole while
trying to deal with a bee that flew up my shorts. Unbelievable.
It has been a rough week, both for my body and my equipment. Ski
back the last 45 minutes without poles.
11:45 - Get to work, shower, and email Exel to get new poles.
8:30 pm - Leave work. No PM session today, so I use the extra time
to catch up on stuff at work.
9:00 pm - Dinner and work on the XCSkiWorld website for an hour
and a half.
10:30 pm - Bed. Think about how I've had about 45 minutes to relax
all week, then fall asleep.
7:00 am - Get up a little early in order to be in Salt Lake by 8:00.
Miss Spongebob as a result. Throws off my whole day.
8:00 am - Agony Hill time trial. The most painful 15 minutes in
sports. A steep, uphill time trial that gains about 1500 feet. I
did this workout with Torbjorn, Erik, and a Nordic Combined development
group. I was pushed the whole way, but I ended up winning in 15:55.
This was quite a bit off my best time of 15:04, but everyone was
slow today, probably due to the headwind and the thick pollution
from wildfires to the west. It was the first time I had done this
workout this year, but most of the others had done it in July, and
they were all about 30 seconds to a minute slower than they had
been a month earlier. So conditions this time were definitely slow.
Plus my best was run in October and today was after a big week of
training. So no need to panic about my time, but I hope to be faster
in a month or so. Which I guess is the whole idea of this training
10:15 am - get to work early. I spend the rest of the day sneezing
from whatever crap I inhaled during the time trial. I won't be doing
that again in hazy/smoggy weather.
6:30 pm - Easy run (1:30) to recover from this morning. Explored
some trails right behind my house.
8:00 pm - Make dinner, relax in the hot tub and pool. Ahhh - a whole
hour to myself!
10:30 pm - Bed.
7:40 am - slept in a whole 20 minutes because I wasn't leaving for
the workout until 8:15.
9:00 am - Run/Hike up Mount Timpanogos, elevation: 11,700 feet (starting
at 6800 feet - thank you Suunto Advizor!). Eric Maas joined me for
this 20-25 mile loop. It is an incredible hike that I try to do
at least once a summer. We had a pretty good pace going on the way
up and down and at the 4:20 mark, Eric couldn't go any further.
The heat and lack of water and food had gotten to him. Fortunately,
by now we were near a road, so I continued on, got the car and drove
back up to get him. Total Hike time: 5:10.
3:00 pm - Stop for lunch on the way home because we are both too
hungry to make it all the way home.
4:30 pm - Spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on things
I haven't done all week: Clean my room, more laundry, pay bills.
7:00 pm - Go out to dinner with friends. The big training week is
over and I can relax. Nice work by me. I had a number of obstacles
to overcome to get in the whole week of training (total time for
week: 23:40), but I kept focused and did it. Now I have a day to
enjoy it before starting the whole cycle over again.
Day off. Today is
my day to sleep in, and generally recover so that I can be ready
to go tomorrow. I work on my website, go to the pool, go on a light
hike with friends, and of course, plan the next week of training.
An XC ski racer's work is never done.