Small Victories – a report from the back
To quote Gunther Kern, “at our age, any season you are not injured is a good season.” For years I have battled with wrist tendonitis from spending orders of magnitude more time on a keyboard than on skis. This always limited my ability to use my upper body and I would always make sure my kick wax was perhaps more than solid so I could us my legs more. Of course my glide always suffered. One season I almost completely missed because I strained my back very badly and DNSed Craftsbury. The next year, I tore my rotator cuff, thanks roller skis, and dropped back to the 25k on my second attempt to do a 50k by the time I was 50 years old. I have battled with tennis elbow and inflamed bursas. At this point, I stretch for a half to an hour almost every day and do light weights several times a week to deal with all my issues. I have all sorts of therabars and stretch devices and lots of light weights. I have a cartilage tear in my right knee. Skiing never really bothers it but running anything other than uphill does, which limits some of my off season training options. Discovering elliptical in the last two years has helped. Last year when I thought everything was good some ankle inflammation occurred, loosening my skate boot slightly has seemed to help. This year everything is good.
Last year, I did my first 50k. I felt like I was out there forever. I had to pee three times during the race. This year, I decided to drop back to the 25k and focus on speed. To me doing the 25k in under two hours has been an elusive goal. To me the 2 hours to 2:05 is a dividing line over 2:05 that is a 5+ minute a kilometer pace. That 2 at the beginning of your time is a different first digit than the top racers in the field. The best I had ever done was 2:11 at the Burt Kettle.
I talked to John and Jamie and other CSUers for wax advice. I went out and tested. I had some slip back, but decided not to add another layer or lengthen the kick zone. I decided that my problems were with the skier and not the skis and to tough it out.
I had to get out of the track a lot on the uphill which exhausted my aerobic capacity, but my glide was good on the downhill. At the end of my 25k I see 1:56 on the clock. Same hour as the winner. Small victories.