2nd Race- 5k Individual Start
I believe you can always find something good in a disappointing race.
Today was a very challenging race, and several factors played into this. As much as I do not like to admit this to myself, the Auburn Ski Club is just below 8 thousand feet, and compared to the Twin Cities's 700 feet, it's been a bit of a challenge getting into top notch form. Not impossible, but a challenge. The weather has also played a part. Monday's long hot day really drained me and I believe that played a part in the toughness of today. Also today's weather made a difficult race day. After raining most of the night, and after suffering the hot sun all week, the trail was pretty worn down, and after the U16 boys went through it was pretty slushy. The Midwest wax techs were up to the venue before 5:00 trying to work with the dirty slushy snow we have, and the Midwest athletes owe them so much for the hard work they have put in all week making sure we have the fastest skis out on the course.
|Climbing the steep hill, lap one|
With the limited snow that we have, warming up was hard today, with a 1k trail so after a bit of skiing I changed into my running shoes and then did some plyometrics warm-ups. I felt good heading into the gate, and I was trying to stay positive about the conditions.
Also because of limited snow, the race course is a 2.5k. The U16s and U18 girls really luck out because we only have to ski 2 laps but some of the guys ended up skiing 6 laps. My plan was to not hammer it out of the gate, but still get out fast enough so I could be in a competitive spot. Gliding out of the gate felt good, but around the 1k, I started breathing harder than I normally would at that point of the course at the speed I was going. I ignored it and tried to stay consistent throughout the rest of the lap, but I could already feel the pain in my chest from the breathing. I was trying to increase the tempo because at that point my arms and legs felt okay, but my breathing kind of restricted that. I maintained a positive attitude and went into the flat stadium with quick tempo after recovering on the downhill run. I decided to save some energy for the 2 steeper hills on the course, and when I got to the first one on the second lap, I picked up the speed a little bit and tried to get a good split off of my coaches. They said I was 10 seconds out of the lead at that point so I flew over the crest of the hill and spun around the corner. And that was probably the hardest part of the race. It took a lot of brain power to keep on moving over the top of the hill, it was a slight up hill that I probably should've been V2-ing (for slight uphills and quick flats) but was really V1-ing (for uphills). I just managed to stay on my feet over around the 3rd to last turn and climbed the last hill before the finish. On the first lap, I had slowly made it over the top, but on the 2nd lap I got to the right side where it was a bit more icy and cranked it over the hill. I used every drop of energy I had to get around the last corners into the finish. This time, I managed to stay on my feet, but I felt like even though I had used an enormous amount of energy, I hadn't made it around the course as fast as I could. I had finished in 3rd place, but once all of the skiers had come through, I ended up being in 13th place.
Not exactly where I wanted to be, but I felt like I had given in a good strong effort. It definitely made the top 5 hardest races I have ever done and I gained experience on how to race at altitude, how to race in the rain, and how to race in extreme pain (not that I didn't know how to race in pain). I made sure that started hydrating and eating as soon as I could so I can be in top peak for Friday's mass start.
|2nd lap- steep hill|
|Heading around into the stadium|
|Midweek Award Ceremony- Monday's Sprint Race Podium|