Keep the Dream Alive: January

2018 is upon us and my goals for athletics are high. I’ve always enjoyed the beginning of the year – a time to reflect on what was accomplished in the past year and set new bars for the coming. It’s a clean slate. Every year, Christie and I write out massive lists of goals for the upcoming year, share them with each other, and then post them on our fridge. We usually separate our goals into categories: spiritual, professional, athletic, and “bucket list.”

After the success of the marathon in the fall, a part of me wanted to try and train hard in the winter, supplementing running with nordic skiing, and focus on a spring marathon like Boston, Fargo, or Colfax (in Denver).  I wanted to not let myself fall into the trap from the previous spring of not signing up for anything, training high volumes, and having nothing to show for it, so I signed up, spur of the moment, for two marathon skate ski races: the Alley Loop in Crested Butte and the Leadville Loppett. And just like that, I had something to be accountable for.

For the previous two years, I had sporadically used rollerskiing as a form of cross training. I hadn’t been on snow, however, since 2015 – three years prior. In my first session on snow, a trip to Breckenridge Nordic center – the only place making snow and thus having any to use at that time of year – I would discover the catastrophic effects this would have on my form. Let me take you to that day:

It was December. I got up, drove three hours to Breck, got out of the car, and hopped onto skis for the first time in, as I said, three years. They felt so slippery I actually fell right on my backside in the first 20 seconds. I felt like I was on ice skates. Slipping and sliding horizontally and vertically, every muscle in my body at an uneasy tense flex, ready to brace itself for a sudden crash. I was able to eventually get a general skate going, but it felt as though every time I pushed off of one ski, that ski would slip – like I wasn’t getting an edge in the ground. It felt like I was losing 40% of my push in each slip. I figured my weight must not be over the right part of the ski. Looking back, I think my problem was that I had too forward of a lean, causing my weight to be on the front part of the ski instead of right underfoot, and I maybe was not as committed in shifting my weight (a problem I was aware of as being common), and thus was in the “flailing in the middle of both skis” for most of the session. This became especially evident when I decided, after an hour of skiing, to do some no-pole skiing.

I followed behind an older lady, probably in her 70’s, who was doing no pole skiing down a straight slope, and then double poling in the classic tracks on the way up. Seemed like a good drill, and she was making both look very easy. I started in behind her. Wow! It was not. I couldn’t balance on one ski, I was still slipping, and whenever I got any speed going, which I’m sure was only the product of gravity since I was going down a slope, I felt like even the slightest groove in the snow was capable of throwing me down. I looked around at other skaters. It seemed like they weren’t even thinking about the skis below them. It seemed like most of my energy was focused on every intricate action in skating. I wasn’t even tired because I wasn’t good enough at skating to push myself aerobically. It didn’t seem like that was the case for anyone else.

I stayed persistent, following the lady and emulating her form for a good 30 minutes. Then, I went back out for a few more loops. I repeated the process again, finding pretty much no improvement. I then went out on a gradual uphill and tried the same thing. I noticed that I had an incredibly natural V1 alternate. That was probably due to my rollerski training, as I had taught myself that from scratch on pavement. I found it fun to go uphill because I finally felt like I was working and I felt my skis edge into the snow (this once again sort of confirmed my forward lean, as the uphill nature masked that to some degree).

I then tried to go uphill without poles – wasn’t happening.

Frustrated, exhausted, but having put in what I figured was a satisfactory day – almost three hours of exercise – I got back in the car and drove straight home. 6 hours of driving for half that time of exercising. It didn’t really seem logical. Then again, the DREAM wasn’t totally logical either. I would later read in memoirs by Pete Vordenberg and Luke Bodensteiner about the life of a skier growing up, and how long road trips to races and training grounds was sort of part of the right of passage (afterall, Alaska is a long ways away from anywhere…and so is West Yellowstone). That day was the start, and it would be interesting to see the growth.

Unfortunately, Colorado weather was making it as hard as possible to ski in the winter of 2017-2018. At Christmas time, my total days on snow was around 4 or 5 – still my one day at Breck – and I had started to look towards the cycling season. I had even inquired about joining the Adams STate University Cycling team. The thought of getting to be an official athlete competing in an organized sport gave me a lot of excitement. It’s crazy how much of a motivating factor it became as well. In the early weeks of January, I would wake up in the frigid, dark, Alamosa mornings and hop in the car to drive to the Rex Center and hop on the stationary bike for a ride before school. If I got there early enough, I could ride for about 75 minutes before rushing back, putting the oatmeal in my container (it would heat up while I changed my clothes) and make it to school in time for work. It was exciting! Power meters on the bike to monitor my efforts – all the while thinking about competing against collegians, of which, technically I was one – albeit a 27 year old, full time teacher, married one….but hey. I would be the Chris Weinke of collegiate cycling. I maintained the running as well – about 55-65 miles, usually done in 6 to 7 runs. I threw in a fartlek of some sort maybe once a week – twice if I felt really good. No long runs, which I knew I probably should do.

The weather outside was nice for cycling, too. When my brother came over Christmas/New Year’s to visit, I did a 30 mile bike ride to the sand dunes wearing my short sleeve singlet. As a lifelong Minnesotan, it felt so wrong…and yet….so right!

While most of the daydreaming was spent envisioning more hours on the bike, a slew of potential races, rides, hill climbs, gran fondos, and other challenges to take me into August, I still had those two nordic races that I had scheduled on the calendar. I had gotten on snow enough right away in January to feel confident enough to actually ski the distance – though I was a little nervous about other elements of ski racing etiquette.

Below is the training from the end of December and into January, which was titled as the base building/off-season for my “Nordic Ski” season. It would eventually become the base building for “bike” season and then go back to a nordic focus. This was due finding out that I would be ineligible to race for the cycling team because I was only taking 3 credits (a bummer because the previous semester I was taking 6, which would have allowed me to compete in the mountain biking league – talk about a different experience!).

Wk1

S – am = 90 min rollerski

pm = 7.5 mile run + weightlifting

M – am = 7.5 miles

pm = 60 min rollerski

Tu – am = 8.5 miles

pm – rollerski intervals 2×1 mile hard HR = 152-160/double pole 20sec on 20 sec off/1k hard at cole park

70 min total – BAD wipeout right at end of ride

W – am – off

pm – 70 min rollerski Hr – 129-148

Th –  am – 9 mile run

pm – 50 min rollerski in the dark

Fr – am – 9 mile run

pm – 60 min rollerski

Sat – am – 9 mile run (taught all day)

pm – 65 min rollerski

Totals – RS – 7.75 hrs/ running – 50 miles in 6 days / total hours = 14

Wk 2 –

S – am – 9 miles

pm – r.s 19 miles in 93 minutes/ Hr 132-145

M – am = 9 miles

pm – concerts all afternoon and evening; no time for pm workout

T – am – 9 miles running

pm – 70 min rollerski (squeezed in after school and before evening concerts)

W – am – 6 miles

pm – 90 min rollersk (last night of crazy concerts at school)

TH – am – off

pm – 9 miles running

F – 9 miles

pm – 70 min rollerski

S – AM – 2.5 hr ski at Breck

pm – off

Totals – running – 51 miles in 6 days/RS – 5.5 hrs/ Nordic – 2.5 hrs/ total hours = 14

Wk 3

S – am – 7 mile run

pm – 70 min rollerski

M – am – 9 mile run

pm – 55 min rollerski

T – am – 9 mile run

pm – 60 min rollerski

W – am – off

pm – 9 mile run

TH – am – 9 miles run

pm – 60 min rollerski

F – am – 9 mile run

pm – 90 min ski @ wolf creek

S – am – 8 mile run

pm – 85 min rollerski with 2×1 mile hard intervals

Totals – running – 60 miles/ RS – 5 hr, 40 min/ nordic – 1.5 hrs/ total hours = 14 hrs 15 min

Wk 4 (start of Christmas break)

S – am – 9 miles running 3x(4H/2E), 3x(2H/2E), 2x(1H/2E), 15-30 sec sprints x3-4

pm – 75 min rollerski

M – AM – 6 mile run + 4 hrs downhill skiing

pm – 60 min rollerski

Tu – am – 8.5 miles easy

pm – 75 min rollerski

W – am – 10x 1H/1E @ Cole Park on grass – 9 miles running total

pm – 70 min rollerski

Th – am – 8.5 easy

pm – 1hr 45 min skiing @ Mt Massive golf course

Fr – am – 9 miles running

pm – 35 mile bike ride to Ft. Garland – about  2 hours

S – am – 9 miles running

pm – 35 min rollerski – wheel popped….70 min bike – fast with 9x(2H/2E) intervals

Totals – 61 miles running (with 2 speed sessions)/ RS – 5 hr, 15 min/ nordic – 1 hr, 45 min/ bike – 3 hrs/ total hours – 17 hrs

Week 5

S – am – 9 miles easy

pm – drove around Colorado with Tom and Turi; went on a short hike; no time for pm workout

M – am – Turquoise Lake XC skate loop – 18.2 miles/ 1,732 ft gain/ 2hr, 5 min/ HR – ave – 136, max – 158 + 30 min rest and then 45 min trail run in Buena Vista plus striders

T – am – trail run w/puppies @ Stone Quarry – 65 min

pm – 1 hr 45 min bike

W – am – 6 miles

Pm – Turquoise Lake loop + golf course – total of 2 hr 20 minutes skate ski

Th – am – Mineral Belt Trail skate ski – 2 hrs

pm – 1 hr 45 min bike

Fri – 9.5 mile run

pm 1 hr 40 min bike

S – 10.5 mile run Paine Rd/Ft Garland

Totals – Running – 51 miles (hills and striders for speed)/ nordic – 6.5 hours/ bike – 5 hr, 15 min. / total – 17 hrs, 45 min

Week 6

S – am – 9 miles

pm – 1.5 hr bike

M – am – 9 mile run

pm – downhill ski trip with middle school – got in 75 min skate ski @ Wolf Creek

T – am – off

pm – 9 mile run

W – am – off

pm – 9 miles with 6H/2E, 5H/2E, 4H/2E, 3H, 2E, 3x2H/2E

Th – am – off

pm – 8.5 easy run

Fr – am – 6 mile run

pm – 60 min bike trainer (4x5H (180-190W), 3x2H (220-240W) – rest @ 130-150W

S – am – 9 miles with 6x 1:20 H/1E, 5x 1:10H/1E, 2x 1H/1E – 5k race pace and faster – 2 minute jog between sets

12:30 pm – 50 mile bike ride – 2 hr 55 min – played at church that night

Totals – Run – 60 miles/ S – 1.25 hrs/ B – 5.5 hrs – total = 14 hrs

Week 7

S – 9 mile run

noon – 51 mile bike in 2 hr 52 min

M – am – off

pm – 9 mile progressive run – 6:10 – 5:40 pace for last 15 min.

T – am – 9 miles

pm – 9 miles with 2x(7H/2E, 3H/2E, 2H/2E)

W – am – off

pm – 9 miles easy

Th – am – 9 easy

pm – 90 min bike

F – 9 easy

pm – 90 min bike

S – am – 4x1H/1E

8x400meters hard/1E

2x 1H/1E – all at 3k-5k race pace

pm – 90 min skate ski @ Wolf Creek

Totals – R – 72 miles/ S – 1.5 hrs/ B – 6 hrs / Total = 15.5 hrs

Week 8

S – am – 9 miles

pm – powder day – downhill ski

M – am – 60 min stationary bike

15min – 140-160W, 3×3 @ 250W with 90RPM

overall average – 185W

pm – 65 min run

T – am – 60 min stationary bike

15 min @ 140-160W

2x (7min @205W/2min @170W, 3@240W/2 @150W, 1@300W

pm – 9 miles easy

W – am – off

noon – 10 miles running – 20 min 2.u., 20 min tempo run, 4x1H/1E, 10 min c.d.

pm – 70 min road bike

Th – am – off

pm – 9 easy

Fr – am 9 mile run

pm – 90 min stationary bike – last 30 min = HR 135-150

S – all state choir, 5 am departure; ran late morning in Springs – 65 minutes at Gold Camp road – lots of elevation gain

Totals – R – 65 miles/ S – 0 / Bike – 4.5 hrs/ Total – 12 hrs (good intensity on bike)

January training hrs (quest for 1000)

1 – 17

2 – 17.5

3 – 14

4 – 15.5

5 – 12

Total – 76 hrs/5wks

One thought on “Keep the Dream Alive: January

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s