Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Revenge of the Nerd

The little experiment with an N of 1 and just 1 rep was a success. I managed to finish 3.4 or 3.5K of skating in a race without blowing out the knee. In fact, I went out for a 3 mile run later Saturday afternoon, skied 2 hr classic on Sunday morning and against all better judgment went downhill skiing with the kids (well they tolerated me from a safe distance because they were with their friends) for a couple of hours on Sunday.

After all that abuse, my knee was hanging pretty solid Sunday night, and by Monday fine, almost as good as new.

But what about the race? I wish it had been 5K instead of 3.5K. The snow was good enough on Saturday, but I guess they had to make the call on the course by Friday when conditions were still uncertain. At 10 degrees with a few inches of fresh snow on top of that ice rink, things were fast yet there was no problem with sliding out or balancing. But imagine if all that rain earlier in the week had been snow! Oh well.

As if I needed any firing up--what with the first skate race in 20 months, and a return to the Turkey Day Relays, one of the better local races of the season--but I've been getting a moderate amount of flak and trash talking from a few individuals in town, saying "you're washed up, old and fat, ruined...." So on Friday a well known shall we say loudie, who won't be named (rhymes with bark!) burst in to the UAF ski hut boasting about his team for a few minutes and as he was leaving said, "Huh, Roger, we don't even think about you anymore, you're history!"

Dissed, dismissed, and even ditched. It all happened.

But I can take it. Give me some more. I like to be motivated.

The end result, I felt good, albeit very alone, until half way up the White Bear Hill (probably 2.2K in), when I saw my son Mikko up ahead about 20 seconds. I thought I'd catch him, but rig set in pretty soon after that, and I struggled in on Warm Up and into the stadium.

Bruce and Karl skied strong in their legs (11:10 and 11:02) and we held on to 13th place, 2nd in our division by about a minute, and all significantly faster than the guy who rhymes with bark. My split of 10:11, 2nd best for 50+ for the day.

And did I say it didn't hurt bad the next day?

It'll do just fine for now! Looking forward to the season, and yes, next year's TD Relays. A fun community event.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkey Day Relays, it's a go!

Weird weather week, with an inch of rain over some 50 hours, rendering everything (sidewalks, driveways, roads, sidewalks, ski trails...you name it) to Zamboni quality ice slicks. It seemed like we were touch and go for Turkey Day Relays but they're on, and only a day late.

Likewise, I wasn't sure how the knee would do after last weekend's 10K classic, but lo! it has held up pretty well. I even skated for an hour on Thanksgiving (not at Birch Hill, which remains closed until race day). And then went for a 30 min run. No knee pain to speak of, although I must admit that it feels a bit hollow or fragile, like it's lined with glass instead of cartilage and bone. But no pain is no pain.

Bob and Dave are going to be pissed because I signed on with another team, I'll be racing with the Free Radicals.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10K classic, a pass and maybe a bit better

First caveat, in four tries I've never done all that well on the "3 Hills" course at Birch Hill. The combination of climbing out of Blue Loop for 3 min, a short 20 sec rest, and then 3+ min of Tower Direct, a 2 min rest, and another 2 or 2.5 min of climbing on White Bear Access, twice, for a total of 1,000 ft of vertical is just to anaerobic.

Would have been fun to do 20 or 25 years ago. For classic I prefer something like all of Tower and White Bear, like the Gundeloppet skate course.

38:01, no great shakes, when you see Dylan Watts go 29:40 and lead 5 guys under 30 min. But then again they're 25 or 30 years younger and national class skiers.

My time age graded to a 32:40s, which back in the day when these guys were toddlers or babies, this would have been a decent to good early season ski for me. So I'll take it, despite melting down both times on White Bear Access, just at the cutoff, where I was reduced to a walk. Two or three Level 3 workouts and one Level 4 just doesn't cut it. Best news is that the knee held up and two days later still feels pretty good.

It was a great racing weekend, and the kids all did fantastic. Kuba and Erich dominated the J2s on Friday and Saturday, and Mikko put together two nice races to put himself on West Valley's Varsity and was 5th J2 both days. And on Saturday the three J3s all showed strong effort and placing in the 2K, with a 2nd, 4th, and 5th.

Now rain!? Three days of it? What's up with that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healthier, yet still not wealthy, maybe a little wise

The asthma abated, thanks to the meds, and I'm a little more careful this week with warm ups and training. For example, on Wednesday I tried a Level 3 session. It was -4, so I wore a mask, warmed up 25 minutes and tried not to ski myself into the ground. I've also been taking a couple puffs from the inhaler before every workout, not just race days. Even though I ended up gasping and ripping off the mask after 2X 11 min it wasn't too bad.

My days of racing at -18 or -20 F are over, and maybe even -5 or -10. Likewise, as a coach I'm not going to change the team tradition of holding skiers out even when it's -10 or -12, well above the NSCF's cutoff of -20. At more moderate levels of cold, say -6 or -8, we'll see.

Hoping to ramp up training, but with this hectic schedule it isn't easy. I am getting a lot of hours on the skis, just not big training hours. Working on getting in one long ski (2+ hr) and one threshold or V02 type session per week.

Wealth, or lack thereof, hmmm. Maybe another day, huh?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

'Roid Rage

I'm on drugs.

Been waiting for three weeks for insurance approval for some stronger than over the counter anti-inflammatories for the knee, but to no avail. Meanwhile, however, I had a severe asthma attack over the weekend with one really bad episode on Sunday morning that lasted for 5 minutes or so with gagging, gasping, and not being able to get in much air. Another 5 minutes and it would have been 911. Got that settled down but it took another half hour. Two days later I was still having a rough time.

So I'm now juiced up on steroids for the week, which should have a beneficial side effect for the knee.

Darn though I was looking forward to this evening's 5K Wednesday Night Series event. Will have to wait a few weeks until the next one. Provided that I'm still breathing.

Snow is good finally, and I enjoyed testing out the new skis (Atomic World Cup 201 cm, medium flex). Incredibly light and manueverable, and I got a good kick. We'll see how fast they are.