Vasaloppet


What a great event! I love the home-town feel of this race.

The race didn't go great for me. Nate told me to start farther up than I normally would (2 rows, he said). So that's what I did. Except that still put me really far back after the gun... I don't think it's as much where I start as my inability to get around people. There's so much going on: poles, skis, people falling! The girl next to me was able to find a hole & ski ahead. Note to self: practice this (but how do you??)

Anyway, the first 25k was a similar story. I'd find myself at the back of a train without any way to pass. I talked to someone afterwards and they said, "yes! you absolutely can ask people in a train to move over!". During the race, though, it didn't seem like I could... even if I did, there wasn't really an extra shoulder to move to so I could pass. There's the classic tracks, but my double pole is really weak...

Sooo... at 25k I finally decided that I had to GO. I'm not even breathing at this point. I found Peter Bauer and asked him if he was up for a 10k pickup :). He was, so off we went. The field was more broken up by this point and the trails wider at times, so it was a little easier to pass. I tried to use my legs as best as I could. I'm still not feeling anything in my arms or abs. Hmm, another thing I need to learn/practice. At least I'm passing people pretty quickly now.

I fell a lot during the race as well. My knees and hip are nice and blue :) Gee, if I fall during the Mora -- what about the Birkie? I need to learn how to go fast while staying relaxed, I think that's the issue. I'm falling forward on the uphills, and there were a few step turns where I couldn't move my feet fast enough.

One more question: How do you pass people at the top of a hill? At the top of the Mora hill, I caught up to a group of 3-4 skiers. They were DEAD at the top. This is where my fitness comes in... but wait, I can't pass!! They're 2 wide and not skiing straight... argh, guess fitness doesn't mean anything if you can't take advantage of it. I ended up catching a nice break behind these guys for the next 5k :(

Anyway, I finished with an OK place/time. I won a 3rd place age group horse, which Nathan tells me is really good. Except that I feel I should be able to do much better. I don't really care about the trophy, I'd just like to feel like I've raced after a race. I checked my HR after the race: averaged 182. Really? That's just above long run effort. Hmm. That's not acceptible. So, guess I need to focus more on the technical things (passing people, learning to move quick so I can accelerate to pass, transitions, etc) -- except those are all the things I hate working on becuase I feel so awkward and slow...

Argh, my love/hate relationship with skiing continues...

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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