Thursday, March 03, 2011
My Take on the Upcoming Tour
While Zoya is excited about the upcoming race I'm VERY nervous. This year I have not gotten sick or injured, and we have had plenty of snow all winter long. I have no excuses - If I have a slow race it means I'm just getting OLD and slow. Last winter I'd only gotten in 38 total days on XC skiis (both skate and classic) before the tour. This year I've gotten in 74. Last year I trained on downhill gear 63 times while this year I only had to resort to it 34 times. So all and all I SHOULD be better prepared. And yet, .. ... I wish I wasn't so nervous! Last year it was kind of relaxing to just race without high expectations - it might have even been an advantage. ... .
And yes my race philosophy is different from Zoya's. I do go as fast as I can all the time. But I have to be careful not to go anaerobic too much or the lactic acid can build up and I can totally physically crash. This happened one year and I blacked out the last 10K of the race. I was slurring at the finish and still looking for the finish line even after I had finished. They had to wrap me up in blankets and put me in the boiler room. That experience always niggles at me during races and I sort of just know where the line I DO NOT CROSS is in terms of pace.
Another small worry is my old skin suit (see photo from 1998 top and 2002 where I am posing with Zoya and Ella). Zoya and I have been a little worried that it is too old and might suddenly catastrophically burst mid race. It is over 15 years old! So today I put it on and tried it out for a ski. It is a cold windy day, and at first I could not believe that I actually wear the thing with nothing on underneath in 0 degree temperatures. But it was sort of unbelievable, after about 5 minutes of skiing I was warm. And best of all the suit still seems to fit and it does not appear to be coming apart at the seams. So I guess it'll do for another year.
Sadly I do think I am getting old and slow. I look at my old race times and know there is no going back to the glory years of just 10 years ago. My fastest time was in my late 30's. I do not think I can duplicate those times anymore - but I'll be happy with a time that is 10 minutes slower. I used to break 2:30 - so this year my goal is to break 2:40. I also want to finish in the top 50. But goals are just goals. I already have accomplished the whole reason I try to do the tour every year. It has forced me to get in shape! And I know that no matter what I will still have a good time. And that beer and pizza after the race is done will taste so GOOD. ... .. Patrick