Between Obscurity and Oblivion
Yellowstone Training Camp
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AM Workout: Skate Distance 2:30
kind of funny. I have been on-snow for a month now, two weeks in
Fairbanks and two more weeks in Park City, but it's not until I
got into West Yellwstone last night that I really felt like winter
was here. Everyone comes to West for Thanksgiving Week to ring in
the ski season with a bang. U.S. Ski Team members, the Fischer/Salomon
Factory Factory team, college teams, ski reps for every major company,
and hundreds of other skiers ranging from teenagers to masters join
in what is probably the biggest skiing "scene" in the country. The
ski season really hasn't started until you've experienced West Yellowstone.
It was snowing when I got up this morning and didn't stop all day.
Supposedly, the skiing was marginal before today but this morning
it was beautiful. I skated for two and a half hours. After going
around and around a single five kilometer loop in Park City for
the part two weeks, it was nice to ski for over two hours and not
retrace my steps once. For those of you who have been here before,
they have cut a new trails behind the biathlon range that is a lot
of fun. It's not very tough, but it's great for cruising during
a distance workout.
PM Workout: Classical Speed 1:30
have been fighting a sickness for the past week and I think I am
finally on the verge of kicking it. It's still got me a little run
down and so I took great pleasure in having nothing better to do
this afternoon than take a nap. I woke just in time to head out
for a p.m. session before it got dark. I did an hour of distance
and twenty minutes of speed, varying the time for each sprint from
15 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on the terrain.
AM Workout: Skate Intervals 2:20
might have spoken a bit early about winter being here. The weather
has been crazy. It has been above freezing since I got here. In
the past 24 hours, I've seen snow, sleet , rain, and plenty of wind.
The net result is that we have about a foot of snow on the ground
and beautiful skiing. I was supposed to do classic intervals, but
I chickened out on the tricky waxing conditions and decided to skate.
I did 4 x 12 minutes at level three to four. I felt pretty good
and was cruising along pretty well. 48 minutes of interval time
is a long workout, but I was just as strong at the end as I did
when I started. I was very tired after the workout was over, but
encouraged that I have finally kicked my cold. Now I am ready to
pick up where I left off in Fairbanks.
PM Workout: Classic Distance 1:40
was extremely tired this afternoon from the intervals. It's nothing
to be concerned about - if you don't feel tired after intervals,
then you should be concerned that you didn't go hard enough! I sat
in bed and watched football for a few hours. I had quite a headache
and didn't really feel like training this afternoon. I eventually
got out the door and felt better the longer I skied. The fresh air
and the water I drank along the way really helped the headache and
I skied easy for a bit longer than I had planned. I will sleep well
AM Workout: Classic OD 3:00
been sick for the past week, I've gotten lots of advice and unsolicited
philosphies on sickness and staying healthly. I was thinking about
this as I skied today, because a number of other skiers are taking
the day off due to sickness. In any endurance sport, health is critical.
In cross country skiing, it is even more critical due to the fact
that you spend hours outside in the cold weather - sweating, getting
chilled, etc. As a result, health is always on a skier's mind. Unfortunately,
I think many skiers worry too much and are actually paranoid about
falling ill. Sure, it's a good idea to eat well, get plenty of sleep
and wear proper clothing for skiing, but some people take it too
far. I believe that sickness is mostly mental. Those who won't train
because their heartrate is a couple beats above normal, or won't
go to a movie or get in a hot tub because they are afraid of other
people's germs are paranoid. I strongly believe that these people
make themselves sick by worrying so much. If you constantly say
to yourself, "I'm going to get sick," you certainly will. The term
"worried sick" is more than just an expression, it's a real disease.
If you remain positive you will stay healthier. You might be thinking,
"Why should I listen to a kid tell me how to stay healthy, when
he was just sick?" Well, everyone will get sick once in a while.
I'm saying that how you handle the sickness will go a long ways
towards how often you get sick and how quick you recover. I caught
this cold from my roommate in Park City, who had it for almost a
month. He said that most people he talked to who were sick had the
bug for three weeks or so. I think I recovered in only a few days
due to the fact that I remained positive and convinced myself that
I was getting better. As with most things in life, it all comes
back to a positve attitude. That's a long enough harangue for today,
but that's what I thought about for my three hours of skiing today
so I thought I would share.
PM Workout: Circuits 1:30
are one workout that is easy to forget once the snow flies. When
I am at a training camp, I want to ski, not stay inside and do situps.
But it is hard to maintain overall body strength just by skiing
alone. So, ciruits must be done. I did a series of sit-ups, bench
press, squats, leg press, dips, seated rows, and pull-downs (double
poling motion) for 45 minutes after a good warm-up. Not only is
this workout a good idea for maintaining strength, but it is also
a way of shaking out the muscles after a few days of skiing. Kind
of an "active recovery." Speaking of recovery, I came back to the
hotel and took a nice soak in the hot tub. Life is good.
AM Workout: Skate Distance & Specific Strength 2:20
weather here has been outrageous. Usually, Yellowstone weather is
all the same; cold with a lot of snow. In the past few days we have
seen everything. When I went to bed last night, it was about 38
degrees and the snow was melting fast. I fully expected the conditions
to be minimal this morning. I was pleasantly surprised to wake up
to six inches of new powder! This was great news, eventhough I was
planning on skating this morning and the trails hadn't been groomed
since last night. Due to some motivational miracle, I was the second
person out on the course today. It figures that the one day I get
out skiing early is the one day that the trail isn't packed. I gave
it a shot anyway and trodded through half a foot of fresh powder
for an hour or so. The best perk to breaking trail is that you get
to float through smooth tele-turns on the downhills. That makes
it all worth it. After an hour, I decided to do some specific strength
and double poled for the rest of the workout.
PM Workout: Classic Distance 2:15
ended up skiing in the dark tonight due to the fact that I got a
late start and I skied fairly long for a PM session. The only other
person crazy enough to be out there at that time was my coach, Torbjorn
Karlsen. I ran into him after about an hour and we skied together
the rest of the way. I don't really get the chance to ski with him
all that often, so it was nice to have him there to analyze (and
criticize) my technique. I finished at about six and then headed
to dinner. We are on a mealplan here and the cooks have obviously
been informed of the endurance athlete diet stereotype - lots of
carbos. This is not a good thing. When training 4 or 5 hours a day,
it is impossible to get enough energy from just pasta and rice.
You need to eat meats not only to get enough calories, but also
to get the protein you need to rebuild broken down muscles. Obviously,
vegetarians find other ways to get these nutrients, but for most
of us meat is essential. I have been getting post-workout headaches
this week and I am convinced it is because I am not getting the
total nutrition that I need. After walking into dinner tonight and
seeing a selction of rice, pasta and vegetarian lasagna, I couldn't
take it anymore. I walked out right back out and headed for McDonald's.
Admittedly, not the best source of meat and protein, but it's OK
by my standards. In fact, in college we would eat at McDonald's
after every race - but that's another story (and don't even get
me started about the donuts). I savored my burgers and fries and
went home very satisfied. Anyway, we'll see tomorrow if Cheeseburger
extra value meal does the trick.
AM Workout: Classic Intervals 2:30
tracks! I've been on snow for exactly 4 weeks now, but today was
the first time I was able to ski in bona fide classic tracks. The
tracks showed up at a perfect time since I was do to hard intervals
this morning. When you have tracks to ski in, it;s much easier to
concentrate on technique and going fast, rather than trying to keep
the skis going straight. I warmed up for 45 minutes and then dug
right in. I did four 5 minute intervals with 5 minutes of rest in
between. The first three minutes of each interval was in rolling
terrain, just up and down enough to get me tired out before I hit
the two minute climb to finish it off (or, more appropriately, finish
me off). After thoroughly exhausting myself on the 5 minute intervals,
I did ten 50 second intervals in varied terrain. 50 seconds is just
long enough to make it really hurt, but short enough that you recover
in time to think, "Hey, I feel pretty good, maybe I'll do a few
extra." Then you quickly correct your foolish thoughts when you
get 45 seconds into the next one. I was doing these by myself, so
it was hard to tell whether I was going relatively fast or not.
I felt strong and had decent technique, so I'll call it a successful
workout. In case you were wondering, I did not get a headache this
afternoon, even after a really hard workout. Maybe I'll write a
book - "Following the Golden Arches to Athletic Success."
PM Workout: Skate Distance 2:00
was my sixth day in a row of double sessions. I have trained 25
hours in the past six days. I'm a bit tired, but encouraged that
I was able to handle that volume and even do intervals on the last
day. This afternoon I was just cruising. I didn't get started until
4 pm, so the last hour of skiing was in the dark again. I am beginning
to think that after dark is the best time to ski. Everyone else
had gone in for the day, so I had the trails to myself. I saw an
incredible sunset and no matter how slow I was going I always felt
fast because I couldn't see more than 5 feet in front of me. It's
always a rush to go down a hill at 30 mph, just hoping that your
skis stay in the track. I am looking forward to a day off tomorrow.
Nothing but turkey and football for me. I feel like I could keep
training for a few more days, but I have a race on Saturday, so
it's time to start resting. Besides, it's always better to take
a day off before you really need it.
26 Happy Thanksgiving!
is one of those days that it's hard to be a ski racer. Being on
the road away from my family for Thanksgiving is one of the sacrifices
that I have to make. I will have a good turkey dinner with the rest
of my ski club, The Utah Nordic Alliance, but it's not quite the
same as being home. This morning I had to videotape a teammate of
mine. He was supposed to do intervals yesterday with me but post-poned
because his AM heartrate was too high. He had the same problem today,
so he bagged the intervals altogether. But he videotaped me yesterday,
so I repaid the favor and taped him today. We try to do technique
video once a week or so. It lets our coach see how we are skiing,
and he critiques the tape and gives us tips. I skied very, very
easy out to the video spot, taped three reps up the hill, and then
waddled home. The rest of the day was spent watching bad football,
and eating good food.
AM Workout: Classic With Speed 1:30
tomorrow. I hope tomorrow is just like today. It was 25 degrees
and sunny at ten o'clock when I skied. I just slapped on some extra
blue and it worked like a charm. The worst part about classic races
is figuring out the kick wax. It's hard to test wax, warm up, and
wax race skis all within an hour before the race. At important races,
we have coaches to help with waxing, but tomorrow I am on my own.
The forecast I have heard says just like today, but a bit colder
which is perfect, simple waxing. I skied the course, doing 8 pick
up speeds on the last 4k loop. It is a rolling course with no killer
climbs and lots of double pole. Just the way I like it. I finished
skiing, did some stretching and headed back to the hotel to relax
for the rest of the day. I did go to see the IMAX movie "Everest"
this afternoon. It was spectacular, though I was a bit disappointed
that it was only 45 minutes. The one part that really hit home was
when one of the climbers was making the final push for the summit.
He was completely exhausted and barely able to stand up, but knowing
that he was so close to his lifelong dream, he kept saying to himself,
"Just a few more steps, then I can relax." I think along these same
lines when I am racing. I'm not exactly at the top of the world,
where one step is the difference between life and death, but it
is easy to motivate during a race if you think of all the hard work
you have invested just to get to that point.
AM Workout: 10 K Classic Race
so much for easy waxing. A cold front was supposed to move in last
night, but when I woke at 7 am this morning, it was 35 degrees and
raining. Over the next two hours, it changed from rain to snow and
back at least 3 times. I rewaxed my glide zones with Solda S-20
White and S-30 Violet and hoped for the best. We stopped by to see
Torbjorn after breakfast. He gave me a pair of skis with "hairies"
on them to test in case the snow kept falling. He also recommended
testing a couple types of red klister. The trailhead was a zoo today.
All sorts of ski reps trying to find the perfect wax concoction
for their skiers. I opened my wax box, took out tubes of red klister
and silver klister and applied them about 50/50. To my surprise,
it worked really well and after testing the hairies, decided to
race on my 5 minute klister job. By this time it was raining and
continued to rain throughout the whole race. Once I got racing,
I felt pretty tired. It was mostly a double pole course, usually
my specialty, but today it was extremely slow and my arms were feeling
a week's worth of training. I quickly caught up to Pat Weaver, who
started 30 seconds ahead of me and was doing the whole race without
kick wax. Even though I caught Pat, I knew I wasn't having a great
race. My arms were real tired and I was begging for more uphills,
so I could stride it out and use my legs. I muscled through ten
k's and was wet. cold and exhausted at the finish. I skipped a warm
down and headed straight for the hot-tub. I knew it wasn't a great
race, but I just hoped that everyone else had the same problem I
did. When I saw the results
later this afternoon, it was apparent that not everyone did. I am
disappointed that I was over two minutes out, but on a slow course
like this, things like that happen. The season is still young and
I am glad that I got in a lot of training this week, even if it
was at the expense of this race.
Workout: OD Classic 2:45
this last installmment is a little late, but after getting back
to Park City I had to do all the things I didn't do last week (pay
bills, write letters, work, floss, etc.) so I've been quite busy.
Anyway, before leaving Yellowstone, I skied for almost three hours
on beautiful snow that fell immediately after the race ended yesterday.
It was wonderful, and I enjoyed every last minute, since the weather
reports from Park City had been less that perfect (60 degrees and
raining). Sure enough, upon arriving home I saw people playing golf
where I had been skiing only days before. Surprisingly, it doesn't
bother me right now. I have been on snow training hard for over
a month and I am ready for a little break. This will give me a chance
to run and, more importantly, use my new mountain bike. But if we
don't have snow in a week or so, heads will roll. Stay tuned for
reports from upcoming races and news of note from Park City.