Vakava Team Photo

Vakava Team Photo
Vakava Racers at the Mora Last Chance Race

Friday, January 4, 2019

November and December Ups and Downs

Now that we’re into the New Year, here’s a look back at some of my ups and downs over the past two months.

Up: The UP.

Unfortunately our Thanksgiving weekend ski trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) corresponded with a big warm front and rain. For our Friday afternoon ski at Wolverine conditions were slushy as it was sunny and in the 40s. It took me 26 minutes to ski my first 2.2 miles. I was moving the whole time, albeit easy. I had no idea I could ski that SLOWLY!

Yeah- that slowly; 6.57 miles in an hour and twenty minutes. I can almost walk faster!

We spent the next two days at ABR. I’d say the trail reports posted on Skinnyski were quite optimistic. To me the conditions were comically awful. Of course we didn’t stay on the best trails so we had plenty of rock dodging and skiing through puddles and over small streams.

Usually these conditions make me incredibly frustrated but for some reason I just went with the flow. Maybe this is because I’ve been treating my B skis more like rock skis lately. Maybe because I thought of it more as an adventure. Maybe because even though conditions weren’t great, I still got in lots of easy training and time on snow and as far as I know there’s no downside to going easy. Maybe because we’re just getting used to the crappy conditions all the time. Maybe because it was nice to not have to ski any trail more than once on a 3 hour ski! Maybe it’s because with age I’m chilling out a bit. I’ve been taking a more Type B approach to my whole training this year and my ability to adapt to the conditions.

Craig caught me having a Type B moment (he was quick w/ his camera) while we were in Florida for Bjorn Batdorf's wedding.

Down: The Season Grind.

It took exactly one week of two nights in a row of skiing after work for me to exclaim “Make it stop!” This is because by the time I get home from work, I spend all my time packing for work and skiing the next day and this sends me into a tizzy. I love skiing, but not all the packing/unpacking/driving/waxing.

Up: Man-made Skiing.

Wirth and Elm Creek opened up really early this year, albeit with small loops. I’ve written about this previously and I know others disagree, but I love the man-made loops for a number of reasons: great opportunity to ski with friends (this is probably my absolute favorite), just get in a groove and go, not think about where to go during intervals, and play on the snow with skid turns and skating corners. And there have been some jumps on the Wirth course as they work to smooth out all the enormous piles of man-made snow. OK, I still need to work on getting good air but just jumping a bit is a plus for me.

Down: Still getting my butt creamed on skate intervals at Vakava practice.

Up: Not flailing during the Hoigaard’s Relays.

Not flailing during the Hoigaard’s Relays because I only free skated without poles on the fast sections. Maybe someday my balance will be good enough for the high speed V-2!

Erik, my Hoigaard's Relay partner in the race. Another down: missing our first relay exchange; completely 100% my fault. Photo: Bruce Adelsman

Up: 10,000 hours

Malcolm Gladwell has a theory that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world class in any field.

I spent 2+ hours almost solely double poling on my Saturday workout at ABR including up some decent hills. I thought for sure I’d be sore on Sunday. At least, had I done this workout in high school I would have been super sore. But I wasn’t sore at all. It makes me feel just a little invincible at age 33 and realize that with good training, my body can stay strong (and even get stronger) as I age and this is a hopeful thing.

A couple weeks later I reflected on one of my training days. I ran 5 miles to work and then followed that with an easy skate ski at Wirth in the evening. At the end of the day I didn’t feel like I’d done any exercise. My body is just used to this and I can run and ski easy at reasonable paces.

I’ve arrived.

I’m a well trained athlete. I’ll never have world class performances but I can at least train near a world class level.

I’m taking it as a sign that I’m on the cusp of those 10,000 hours!

Down: Forgetting about the rubber glove trick to prevent my hands from getting cold. I wrote about this last year but there’s lots of warm months between March and November and so I forgot about how I started using rubber gloves to keep my gloves dry while skiing. Erik reminded me of this on one of my last December skis and I’ve been using rubber gloves ever since.

A very wet glove after skiing:)
Up: Our trip to Bemidji to visit family over New Years corresponded with a big snowfall and so we got to ski on lots of good snow and with my bro!

Skiing w/ my bro at Bemidji State Park on real snow! Photo: Erik

And a New Years Eve ski w/ the hubby at Movil Maze. Photo: Erik


  1. Cool seeing an update, Elspeth. Espec. the nod to Bjorn's wedding! Ski strong - Paul Nelson

  2. Great to hear from you! Were you the "alive Paul" or the "dead Paul?" We should get together for The Game and Mafia sometime:)