Vakava Team Photo
Friday, July 16, 2010
Overall I had a great time paddling with Kathleen. She's amazingly strong in the boat and I think if we did a couple more races we could hang with some of the regular racing women. So if any other Vakers are looking for some awesome cross training, try canoing. Kathleen might even take the stern with you. Just watch out for that 6' muskie lurking on the west end of Lake of the Isles.
I’ve really worked hard on improving my technique and have made great strides, but there’s always something more to work on and tweaks to make. I think I’m on the verge of a breakthrough. Last week at the V2 video session, Ahvo told me that I need to get my hip just a bit further over and pole longer on the one ski before shifting my weight to the other side. I’ve heard this many times from various sources and know what he’s talking about. I can see it on the video and feel it when I ski, but just haven’t been able to make the change. So earlier this week I tried some balance drills with my eyes closed. I’ve read that having the eyes closed is important for improving balance. I think doing balance drills with eyes open helps strengthen the muscles used for balance, but doing them with the eyes closed helps train the brain and other systems involved somehow. Anyway, I was doing the V2 motion with my eyes closed and found that I couldn’t step back and forth without putting a foot down unless I did it a certain way. After thinking about it I came to the conclusion that that motion was what I had been trying to do but couldn’t quite get. Doing it with eyes closed forced me to do it right. So tonight at practice I tried doing the same thing on roller skis (with eyes open this time!). I was finally able to make it work. It feels deliberate and inefficient since it’s new, but I think once I commit it to muscle memory and practice it a lot it will feel good and be more powerful.
Friday, July 9, 2010
I started about 30 seconds after Eugene did, and made it my goal to try and catch him. Eugene is one of the new skiers to Vakava this year, and he is also relatively new to skiing in general. His technique is quite raw (although it has improved quite a bit already this summer), but he has a huge engine, and I think he is going to be much improved by this winter. I was probably a bit to excited to chase him down too quickly, and I started out quite hard. I made up 75% of the distance between us by the half way mark, but by then the 90 degree heat and my fast start was starting to get to me, and I spent most of the last lap just trying to keep the gap from getting bigger. On the last stretch of rolling hills I made a final push to catch him, and I think Eugene was starting to fade a bit as I was closing in. About 30m from the finish I was still 10m behind, but then with a ill-placed pole between the skis Eugene was sprawled out on the ground and I glided past over the finish line, completely drained. Eugene got up quickly, and with bloody knees and left elbow was not far behind.
In between the skate and classic TT's I was doing by best to recover and prepare to go hard again, but I was really feeling the heat. I don't think I have ever felt as light headed or jello-legged at the start of a time trial as I did in the classic portion. I never felt like I was able to give an all out effort or get any snap in my arms and abs, but I could go no faster. I think everyone was just happy to have stayed on their feet during the classic portion. Eugene, after bandaging himself up, gamely put in a great classic TT and he finished in the same time that I did. All in all a good start to the year, and some times to improve upon when we do it again in a month or two.Skate TT:
A couple of notes about the results:
1. Both Bonnie and Eugene fell during the skate TT.
2. Jason is brand new to classic skiing and this TT was his first classic "race" ever.
3. We brought along the MN skinnyski series team trophy that we won last winter. We figured that if Peter brought it all across the country to take pictures with it after his team won, the least we could do is to take an occational picture with it too (and send it in to be on the front page of skinnyski.com).
Kathleen and Dave
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Afton Trail Run is basically the biggest, baddest trail run around the Twin Cities each summer, and this year it served as the USATF MN state championship for the 25k and 50k distances. The race is held (appropriately) at Afton State Park, and covers as much elevation change as they can cram into the trails out there. Most of the course is on 3 or 4 foot wide grass or dirt trails through the woods and fields of the park, but part of the course is also on the gravel road, and the last 2 miles is on some very winding single track.
Last year was my first year doing this race, and I went out hard and paid dearly for it. Up the first hill I had wondered to myself, "I know it's steep, but why are people walking already?" only to have an epic bonk and spend the last 4 miles stumbling in (In the last 5 miles I lost 10+ minutes to coach Mark, and ultimately ended with a 8:30 per mile pace). This year I was determined to pace myself and be able to run much more consistently. I also filled the water bottles in my fuel belt with Gatorade Endurance Formula (last year I had water in the bottles and took gels during the race, this year had the Gatorade and skipped the gels).
For the start of the race I placed myself in the middle part of the field and took it easy at the gun. This year I was one of the people walking up part of the first big hill, and I settled into a comfortable pace. Up ahead I could see coach Mark in his Finn Sisu jersey, and over the next few miles I worked to slowly reel him in. I was able to maintain my even tempo, and spent the entire race gaining, catching, and dropping people on the course. Unlike last year, after the first hill I was not caught and passed by anyone during the entire race.
I was still pretty shot by the end, but I only came away from the race with a couple of small blisters (my Inov8 Roclites worked great - much better than my Vasque Aether Techs worked last year) and some chafing that was very painful during my post-race shower (I don't know how people do the 50k!). My time was over 6 minutes faster than last year, and I beat coach Mark by almost 5 minutes (he was pacing himself for Voyager marathon this weekend).
Finn Sisu had some good results:
4th- Evgeny (aka: Eugene - one of our new Vakava skiers)
22nd- Mark (the 4th masters runner)