Saturday, December 8, 2007

First Day on Skinny Skis

Nothing like just jumping in....

The build up to this first day was nice and short. I like it that way - might as well just jump in and see what I'm up against. I just didn't expect to run into problems in front of the ticket booth.

The Scene: Sunny - Saturday, 9:45 am. Me in running tights and a long-sleeved cycling jersey carrying brand-new top-of-the-line skis to the ticket booth. The potential for embarrassment at this point is extremely HIGH and I am on full alert. This is not my element YET. (The "yet" part is what I keep telling myself....) At this point I feel a bit like a kid on the first day of High School.

Purchase ticket. Check watch - Tony not due for 15 minutes... perfect. Still have to get these skis on and I haven't done it before...

Begin ski attachment.... snow is jammed in my boots. No problem. Calmly try to get it out by whacking boot with pole. Works with downhill boots - does not work with xc boots. Proceed to try to pick it out with tip of pole (find out later this is normal). Embarrassment level - threatening but so far all good.

Get skis on. Nice. Look at watch. Time to chill and wait for Tony. Proceed to rest against front of boot as one would do on downhill skis when waiting in line.... pitch forward and lay out in a sprawl with poles and skis all over. Embarrassment level - Top 10 All-time for me.

GET-UP! Use poles, push yourself up right? These poles are like 12 feet long! (skate poles are really long - not really 12 feet, but WAY too long to plant from a sitting position and affixed to the hand by way of a tight velcro strap.) Flail. Embarrassment Level - Top 5 All-time (and I'm not up yet and not sure how I will get up....)

Commence deepest squat to standing position exercise ever and hope muscles will make it. They do (barely).

Shake it off. Shake it off. Heart rate: 185. Quick check for Tony... no sign. Maybe there is a god?

A few minutes later Tony arrives, he is a calm, friendly, comforting sort and I am pleased because I fear I may really suck. He says, "Can you make it to the top of that hill?"

Seeing no other option, I reply "I'll try."

And I did..... actually, things went very acceptably for my first outing. Later Tony showed me how to get up after falling - this is a key first lesson. (You roll forward into a crouch and just stand up... simple.)

All in all, after the initial crises I was quite pleased by my efforts, but mostly pleased with Tony's coaching. I believe I will be able to work well with him, and as long as that is true it doesn't really matter how good I am today.

I have learnt that coaching is a huge key to athletic success. It applied with my swimming, it applied with my strength and conditioning, and I'm sure it will apply with skiing. You can waste a whole lot of time ingraining terrible habits in an effort to improve through self-coaching.

Tony and I have a project now and I am as excited as ever.... we will be putting together a plan over the coming days. Stay tuned!

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