I had to laugh. My internal monologue was so earnest and predictable. I was about 20k into a 33k ski race up at Boulder Lake yesterday. As usual, I was getting passed by women in their 60’s and men in their mid-70’s. My ab was starting to cramp up. That isn’t a typo. You may have abs, plural. I have one big ab. You may have a six pack. I have a one pack.
I was going to get serious about my training. Right in the middle of the pain cave is where I decide I’m going to be committed. Bad timing, dummy.
It reminded me of the time that my buddy Dean Haviland and I were driving back from Circle Hot Springs in Alaska. Our whole squadron had spent a -50F weekend there drinking and…drinking. We drove over Eagle Summit back to Fairbanks. We were silent for 20 minutes or so, letting the hangovers blossom. Then one of us said we were going to treat ourselves better. Eat better. Go to the gym. We really meant it. Then five minutes later, we looked at each other and laughed and laughed. Kind of like being in a foxhole and promising to go to church if you can just get out of this thing alive.
I pondered this last night as I polished off a post-race growler of Bent Paddle Black. And a pizza. Well, I can still get serious now, and it might pay off in six months time at Grandma’s Marathon.
The Fun Dome was also active at the Marshall Sprints this weekend. A well run event put on by Dave Johnson at Marshall. Really world class organization and venue. Pristine grooming and organization. Really looked like a world cup race, including introducing each skier as they took their sprint lane at the start. Impressive.
About 30 or forty junior high kids lined up for the 3.3k race. Not a sprint. The younger kids would ski one race and that’s it, unlike the older sprinters. The sprinters that make it to the finals race four times. Qualify, Quarters, Semis, and then the Final. Brutal.
We talked basic mass start tactics on the drive up that morning. You’re truly racing the other skiers vs. doing a time trial. Step lively and pay attention during the mass start. Don’t step on the guy in front of you. Make short poling strokes in the crowd so you don’t get stepped on yourself. Stay under control for the first two-thirds, and then throw down to pass people when they are fading.
My son lined up. He started and went out of sight into the woods. He went up Sunbeam, the big hill, in 5th place. I watched from a half-mile away as he threw down with 1k to go and picked up the bronze. I watched from the hillside with the sun shining down from the bright blue sky. 18F, the perfect winter temperature. It was an out of body experience for me. I felt like a supernova. I wasn’t just watching him ski. I was him skiing. It was surreal.
I don’t know what I’ll do if he wins.