Saturday, December 26, 2015

December Doldrums: Continuing to ski train despite no natural snow

When we got back from Colorado we had about 4 days of “skiable” snow. I missed out on a couple of these days, electing to run instead, not really sure if the skiing would be any good. Then for Vakava practice we did some intervals and speed on an ungroomed Como Golf Course going through the slush. I learned from this practice it’s really hard to get any glide while skiing easy on slush but as soon as I ramp up the tempo the glide is good. I spent one morning classic skiing on crust on Summit Avenue, in the median. There was definitely a lot of bare spots necessitating some grass skiing. That afternoon I went rollerskiing.
Then the natural snow was all gone. I felt skiing on real snow in Colorado gave me a break from normal dryland training and actually felt a bit re-charged to resume dryland training rather than lamenting over the poor snow conditions. Also, after the winter we had 2 years ago, I really can’t complain about temperatures in the 30s and 40s. It’s nice to wear spandex, a headband, and thin gloves for every workout and not have to think too hard about what to wear because the answer is very little.
I’ve been making use of my husband’s guest passes to the Y and had a brief stint of attempting to max bench press. I made it to 100 pounds after racing Hoigaard’s Relays! That made me really excited to try to bench my weight but I tried to do so the next week and failed miserably. But I did do a Zumba class...I tried to move around a lot but am pretty bad at dancing and can’t say it is comparable to running in terms of cardio but it’s fun to try something different. Especially since Elm Creek and Hyland were both closed that day to make more snow.
I resumed running and biking to work. These workouts are all incredibly efficient as they don’t involve driving or waxing skis and quite frankly, I really needed that extra time right now (to deal with things like a squirrel in our basement and sending out those Christmas cards). 

The bike corral at work is pretty empty in December. In the summer it's hard to find a place to park.
 
Of course, I’m still spending plenty of time on man-made snow. I did a 2 hour 45 minute classic ski at Hyland at 40 plus degrees. My friend Andy Brown is a huge fan of Rex Brown klister but unfortunately I haven’t been able to achieve the same results. Some of my friends were skiing on waxless skis (the Salomon and Atomic skins) and had much better kick than me so I practiced the herringbone run and tried to double pole more. The next day I returned to Hyland for a 2 hour skate ski w/ 6 x 3 minute intervals. Even though the loop was only 1.8 km in length I really don’t get too bored- especially not when mixing in intervals and seeing so many friends. 

My klister ski! Every time I walk by my skis in the basement I get a good whiff of klister.

We had Vakava practice at Elm Creek and did more intervals and then the next day (I have Thursdays off from work) I went rollerskiing in a t-shirt. I think this is the first time I’ve worn a t-shirt rollerskiing in December (I’ve been rollerskiing in December plenty of times previously).
I had planned to do the Hoigaard’s Relays with my friend Emily Johnson and briefly thought I was off the hook for the early morning start but lo and behold, they were rescheduled for Afton Alps and so I set the alarm for 5 am. As usual, the competition is fierce and I was happy to not finish last, although we were a good 10 minutes off the male winners. The course was initially very icey which broke down quickly to deep slush due to the many skiers (high schoolers warming up). There were some hard hills with corners with slush conditions that seemed unpredictable. It seemed a bit ridiculous to work really hard on the uphills to just control my speed on the downhills. On the last hill I decided to tuck and took it fast but took it too far outside and almost fell over when my tip caught slush. It was one of those almost falls where I became really determined not to fall and I think that’s why I stayed up. Emily and I finished 5th of 9 women’s teams but we joke we won the real Master’s Race since we were the first (and only) finishers in the 30-40 year age class (we got beat by high school and college skiers). 

Emily and I as team Polka Dot Fun or Polking Fun (we couldn't really decide on what our name should be and the car ride to Afton Alps wasn't long enough to draw a conclusion) for Hoigaard's Relays.

I was planning to do the Fulton Team Race but that was postponed. Hopefully it will be rescheduled when we get some some more snow.
For the most part though, most of my best training has been skiing laps at Elm Creek and Hyland. Fortunately I am a rather good lap skier. I find it relaxing to not have to think about which trails to ski. Also, since there aren’t many trails to ski, every time I head out there are lots of friends on the trails. The time passes really fast when talking. Time also passes quickly when doing intervals or alternating laps with double pole only, legs only, etc. After living somewhere with less snow for four years, the man-made loops in the Twin Cities are really good.
After all that skiing on man-made snow though I actually hot scraped my skis for the first time in December because they were seriously dirty! One of my pairs of classic skis has become designated klister skis (with Rex Brown) because so many days have been in the 40s. 

Not skiing so much means having time to do other fun things like making gingerbread houses!

So although there hasn’t been much snow, I’ve been trying to make the most of things.

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