Woah what a weekend! This weekend was our home opener against NMU and boy was it a good way to start off the year! Saturday girls did a 5k skate (boys did 10k) and Sunday we did a 10k classic (boys did 15k). It feels so good to race back in the Midwest! There’s air to breath and the snow is actually white. Not to mention getting some extra practice races on the courses for US. Nationals is always a plus!
Saturday started out on a super positive note, with some major cleaning of my bedroom and dancing to music that could be heard throughout the entire house. It’s always hard for me to figure out what to do with myself when we don’t start our races until the afternoon. Although listening to pump-up music typically seems to win out over doing homework or anything else that’s actually productive. It was a beautiful blue-bird day in Houghton, and it seemed like everyone was outside soaking up as much Vitamin D as possible; we even had some spectators for our race!
It felt really weird to do such a short skate race. After doing so many 15k’s last year, I wasn’t sure I would remember how hard to push during a 5k. Although it felt fairly rusty at first, I’m super happy with the results (check out the press release here). I’m also super happy to have a list of things that I want to work on and fix in these weeks leading up to US. Nationals.
After the skate race on Saturday was over, the second race of the day began. The race to lunch! It’s a well known fact that I don’t really eat much the morning of races (it makes my stomach to flips), so after races food is almost always the first thing on my mind. Evidently this weekend I was thinking a little too much about lunch and not enough about which buttons I was pushing.
Of course, in my haste, I turned on the wrong burner and filled the entire kitchen with plastic scented smoke. Awesome. Luckily I caught my mistake before all of the pasta had turned into burnt-plastic-cheesy-chicken mess, it only ended up being a little crunchy. I guess you win some, you lose some.
The races on Sunday weren’t quite so sunny. Figuratively and actually. Houghton’s normal overcast and windy weather made a reappearance (much to our dismay). Due to the strong winds, the oak trees decided it was a great time to drop more of their leaves, filling the classic tracks with little brown hazards.
This was a really good learning race. Similar to how I couldn’t remember quite how to pace during a 5k skate on Saturday, the same holds true for remembering how to stay calm during the longer classic races. Last season I was able to improve my classic skiing a lot, a good part of that, because the races were so short. With the longer race at Nationals being a 20k classic and NCAA’s having a 15k classic, I have been focusing on making those changes in technique and application of power last for longer distances. It’s a hard switch, but there’s progress in there somewhere. The early season races have done their job, in that now I know what I need to continue to focus on moving forward.
Our entire team had kind of a rough day, at least, those of us who were racing. Our Cross Country teammates who were helped with timing rocked it and had race results up within minutes of the last person crossing the line. They even managed to write some impressive press releases that made all of us feel better. Thanks guys!
Sunday’s win came from the classroom, when I opened up my notes for my final lab report as an undergrad and realized that I had already done almost all of the calculations for the report a month ago. I love it when this happens.
On a separate note: I’m super happy to congratulate our teammate Sean Pengelly on his race at NCAA’s for cross country this weekend. Being a sophomore and only 18 seconds out of All-American is AWESOME! Sean, you are a rock star! Read about how awesome Sean did here.