Sunday, January 13, 2008

Nordork

Sundays are a great time to blog. There's no hurry and I am not attempting the difficult stealthy blog during work. And it's a good time to reflect on the week and see what got done. I haven't written much about my workouts and to be honest those are mostly a mystery, even to me. You see, I don't have a log or a plan. I love to read about Olga and her annual log and even more impressive is Anton Krupicka and his 5000 mile 2007 (what?). I read his blog for shear shame's sake because everyone of his training runs is faster than I could ever complete in competition. And don't discount shame as a good motivator to get out there and train. I use the entire arsenal of emotions to motivate.

But I digress. Monday was an early morning run on the treadmill while watching our local (not Jackson) Today show. I have grown to love those early morning kids and their stories about the mall walking, getting your blood pressure checked and the local can-a-thon. So I probably put in 45 minutes at 10-8 minute per mile pace. Tuesday, I did a skate up Cache (more on that later). Three lung busting miles up followed by three gleeful miles down with my new adopted stray, Sophie whose nickname is Scoobie's sister in pursuit. She's a lumbering thing but does her best to keep up. Wednesday saw an after work run on the treadmill with some mile repeats on the hill option (bout an hour) watching a fascinating medical show on lymphoedema (love medical mysteries) and I followed by alternating push ups and crunches on the Bosu until I couldn't roll over anymore. Thursday was nite skating at the only flat place in Jackson, the high school track. Great option for getting some exercise, getting your dog out and having some social time with others. The weather was less than desirable with needle-like snow to the eyeballs but everyone out was in great spirits. Friday was rest day.

Saturday I had great intentions of a long skate (20 miles maybe) in the park (GTNP)which is about 30 minutes from my house. I saw a friend at the start of the supposed groomed section of the road but she said they didn't groom which is disaster for skating. So I slogged through 5 inches of powder for a little over 2 miles and then turned around. I got Scoobie's sister out on the skijoring leash and she had some fun. She tires easily and that's what I like about her.

Today is a 10k skate race at the Jackson Hole Nordic Center. The race starts at 11, love late starts. Now, if you have never nordic skied, I will fill you in on a few of the finer points of it (IMO). First, it's hard, really, really hard. The technique is hard, like chess, seems that you never really get it, there's always fine tuning and adjustments to do. When you think you got it, they change it. The potential to fall is high (esp. me), one pole in between your skis and you're down. When you see someone good do it, it's beautiful. When you see someone new to the sport do it, you want turn away. The second hard part about it is you reach your lactic threshold in about the first 14 seconds of starting and you stay there (okay, I stay there). It's the mouth opened, snot hanging, chin whiskers frosty (ladies be aware of this coming into the finish line photo or else you will look like your Greek grandmother in snowstorm) exhaustion that allows none of your body parts to rest at any point. I equated the fatigue to swimming, you can't not use your arms or legs. They say to "rest on the downhills" and so okay I pose this to you. When you are trying to find a resting position, is it ever a squat?

I love reading about people saying how graceful and simpatico it is when you are out there skating and I think "Am I doing it all wrong?". Me, I am making deals with the devil out there. I am thinking that if I go a little further, I can have one more beer at dinner. Not to mention that the perfect wax job on skate ski is only accomplished by the brightest scientist-type people dedicated to the glide. Get your wax wrong and you, my friend, are on velcro for the day. BUT with that said, it has to be one of the perfect counter-sport to running. It keeps up the aerobic level and let's your poor legs rest from the pounding running gives us (minus the shins). AND there are times when I have met with nirvana during skates. It usually happens in the spring with an amazing phenomenon called crust cruising. In the Spring, the snow melts during the day and freezes at nite, so if you head out in the morning, you can ski on top of the snow and it's great. You can get going about 15 miles an hour and feel like you are flying. That's effortless and in tuned.

So....back from the race. It wasn't a 10k, but a 15k. You could do an optional 7.5k but what's the point? I have a rule that my race time has to be longer than the travel time, so I opted for the 15k, two loops. As always with any Jackson race, there was at least one olympian there, this time Erich Wilbrecht, a wicked nice guy who was in the 92 Olympics in biathalon. I looked over the girls there and seeing they were all in racing suits and I was wearing my normal loose fitting, mismatched, entirely overdressed uniform, I knew exactly where I was going to fall in the mix. I hung back with Heinz Walter, a 70 year old guy who regularly kicks my ass in nordic.

The first lap was good but I felt fatigued. The track was in good shape. I hit the moraines (hills) and did fairly well getting up them, counting my strides and trying to ignore the lactic acid build-up in both my legs and my arms. No sign of Heinz sneaking up on me like he does, he's got a hell of finishing kick for someone collecting Social Security. I have never been an alpine skier (such a good secret living in Jackson) so my downhill ability is probably at the level of a 4 year old with strap-on clown skis. I bleed all my speed trying not to fall possibly taking some guy with me. The guy behind me was skiing without poles (extra credit) and I could only get some distance from him on the uphill but he passed me starting the second lap and I never saw him again. I tried to not make that the crushing ego blow that it could have been. It's kinda like getting passed by the 8 year old in the local 10k. First lap - 31:10.

I was a bit worried about the second lap seeing the first one drained me. I started out trying to smooth things out and just take my time. After "no-poles" passed me, I was alone (and possibly in last place, another point to ignore). So I just worked on form and got through the moraines in better shape. The stride counting became a bit louder to overwhelm the sound of blood flood in my head, tasting pennies. But I came up and over the last hill, Little Thunder and was done. No idea of the second lap time but i would be pleased with something around 36 mintes.

The BMTis February 2nd in Sun Valley. Last year, I improved my time so I think I will move up a wave. That race is 32k and that's a bit daunting seeing today's race was 15k and whipped me, but isn't that always the case? You get humbled one day and do better than you think the next. Glad I did the local race, it is a beautiful blue bird day, warm in the sun and everyone is smiling.

Now it's time to walk Scoobie's sister (real name Sophie) and then there might be some quality couch time in my future, something I live for.

3 comments:

olga said...

Lorie, you really are hilarious! Don't worry, if I ever join you for the Nordic ski, I'll cover your butt for been a last finisher (thus the secret of been Russian and supposedly skiing since 3 yo). Sophie is adorable!!!

Eric Taft said...

Hello Lori,
Just found the blog, via another's. Love the writing, just like talking to you, always makes me smile. Skate ski races, will you now get a race suit? Super Fast! I bet you could give 'no poles' a run for his money then. Take care, Eric.

jorjep said...

Love your story Miss Lori-You are a good writer and you think like me.Keep me entertained..I could never never skate ski-I took one lesson and the people who tryed to teach me laughed so hard they peeed in their pants.I never went back. But its a great workout.Tele and stride for me. GPV