Today was a good day. I had a good feeling about this race ever since I saw it on the Race Notice. Nordic Sprints are very cool... if you ever get the chance to watch a high level sprint like the one today you should make the time to check it out.... (there's a pretty good one coming in Feb. 2010...) Today we witnessed several Olympic gold medallists, several World Champions and many stars of the x-c world in the most exciting event of the week.
Friday, March 21, 2008
My approach to today's race was simple - apply copious A535 to my lower back, warm-up as much as possible to loosen the muscles... then grit my teeth and ignore the pain for 1200 metres. I was a bit worried that under the extra strain of a sprint it might hurt way more, but in fact I think the adrenaline of the sprint format helped a lot.
The qualification round is a time-trial from which the top four move on to the final. (The format changed from what I described yesterday because one skier from our category didn't start the race.)
9:03:15 - Starting Gate. I started 7th and despite my sore back I felt pretty positive. I enjoy the all-out nature of these sprints. When I got the green light I put the hammer down and went as hard as I could from start to finish. My back cooperated through the 4 minute effort - I felt it the whole way but I doubt it slowed me down too much. I was pretty excited to qualify for the final with the day's 3rd fastest time.
The final was set for 12:30pm and I approached it exactly the same way as I did the morning race... The final is far more exciting as racers take to the course together and the first to the line wins. To achieve fairness across the Para-Nordic category the organizers employ a "Hunter" start. This is too complex to go into, but essentially racers start at slightly different times (but within a few seconds of each other) to take into account different "disabilities" - this allows a "first to the line wins" scenario.
So, we headed off together and it wasn't long before all of us Canadians were admiring the caboose of the Bullet Train (Nitta - took home the win - again).
When the dust settled I had third place - 2nd place Canadian = silver medal! "Not too shabby" I thought to myself as I wheezed loudly at the finish line.
- Pay attention to attitude and routines on those days when you have a "good feeling" - try to re-create the same feelings and routines on days that don't set up as well from the outset.
- Sometimes injuries only require a straw to overcome (i.e. suck it up.) Just hope that it isn't the straw that breaks the camel's back though.... I was lucky today (and I did use a bit more than a straw... 2 massages, 2 hours of hot tub, 1 hour of hot bath, 1 tube of A535...)
Next Race: Sunday - 15km Classic, Mass Start. This one could be tough... to "suck it up" for 4 minutes is one thing - 15km is quite another.
Thanks for reading... I don't have any shots yet from the podium or the race - I hope to soon. So, instead I'll leave you with one that is way better.
Seeing your children obsessed with the Olympics (well, at least the mascots): PricelessTweet this!