Friday, March 21, 2008

Nationals - Race Report #3

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.

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.

Quatchi: $26.95
Sumi:  $26.95
Miga:  $26.95

Seeing your children obsessed with the Olympics (well, at least the mascots):  Priceless

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