The XC-ski season has begun for me as well! It felt good to do all the race preparations the day before and on the race day, and finally get the bib on my chest again, then everything kind of changed…
Doing my race prep session on Saturday I felt that I had control over my technique and nerves, but my body felt kind of heavy. However, that didn’t stress me out right there and then, because I have had heavy days just before a race earlier and had such a good feeling an performance on the race day.
I ate well and slept well the whole week, except for the day before the race when I had all kinds of weird dreams. Guess I was a little nervous after all! Everything went according to plan except for this one crucial thing: THE RACE!
A rude surprise
Starting on the hills out from the Gålå stadium was okay and focused. The snow conditions were good in general, but a bit tricky here and there. Let’s just say the work economy also needs work, so I am not blaming anyone other than my self for the fact that I felt I used an unusual amount of force even in the easy terrain. I had to calm my pace in order to ski properly, but doing that you are not skiing fast and you are not using all you have got, which I also registered on my heart rate curve later.
So there I was working my way around the challenging Gålå-course, trying really hard to keep my cool and focus. Now, this course has a couple of semi-scary turns at the bottom of the hills. If you ski early and the conditions are good they are not scary at all and I had practiced them the two days before. Therefore it came as a rude surprise in the trickiest turn at the far end of the 5k round, when I stepped on my own ski trying to fight the G-forces that drag you to the side. I had A LOT of speed an I knew a skier was coming behind me so I tried to organize my skis and poles as to not break anything and get out of the way. That was the only thing I succeeded with. With speed lost I hurried and poled a long, while 3-4 skiers just flew past in the speed that should have been mine. “No way this is happening on the next round!”, I thought to my self, and it didn’t.
Focus and solutions
Being out there I tried super-hard to keep focused, but thoughts of why an I even bothering to to this came creeping. I pushed them away, because the conditions demanded my full attention, not to mention that the second round was busy with a lot of skiers and staying alert is key!
It felt like a crap start to the season, but after a bit of much needed evaluation I have concluded that I have to test more skis and do an even better job there. What I thought was good enough clearly wasn’t. I have also been training hard lately and I am not de-loading for a while, so this being the 4 hard session last week (if you count the race prep of 4 x 3 minutes intervals) I am not expecting to feel like a milion dollars out there and I need more specific training, namely training on skis, on snow! I have all the solutions to my own problems, and I find this is often the case in other challenging situations too.
Of course it sucks with an off-start, but it was kind of the same last year and then the shape became great as planned in February. One less than optimal race is no reason to be digging yourself down, thus my advice is: Get over it! So now I have taken my own advice and pushed all negative thoughts a side, because I am just super happy to have skied a race and started the season!
Thankful is the word.