This morning when I was busy speculating on just how much a 30km might possibly hurt, I got a text from my family wishing me and the team luck and saying “Kenzie says 35km was a blast ;)”. Kenzie is my 14 year old sister. And she raced 35km before I’ve even raced 30! So THAT threw all my plans of complaining out the window…and got me motivated to suck it up and get tough. And it was a beautiful day, which always helps!
I went into the race with these goals in mind:
1. DON’T break a pole. And don’t fall down.
2. If you do fall, fall where nobody can see you.
3. Don’t give yourself a gatorade facial again. Take at least one feed the RIGHT way. (In Oslo I managed to disgrace myself in front of coaches from around the world by first dropping a feed, and then slooshing the next one all over yet still not getting a drop in my mouth. Sooooo embarrassing).
And believe it or not, I managed to accomplish all three (although I got ridiculously close to going down face first on the largest downhill a few times). And I’ve decided I need to start figuring out which feeds to take when during a distance race, because my stomach was doing some curious flip-flops in that last lap. But hey, it’s all a learning experience, right?
And wow, did I learn a lot today. It was such an honor to ski with more experienced girls who know how to pace and navigate a pack without wasting energy. After the second lap, I was in a small group with Kikkan, Maria, Morgan and Holly. During the third lap, we lost Holly and Morgan, and I tried my hardest to hang onto Kikkan and Maria but the long climb at the end of the lap was more than I could handle. So I skied the final lap alone, always within sight of Kikkan and Maria but never quite able to bridge the gap. On that final hill, I knew Morgan was putting in a huge effort to catch me and I was totally dying, but our coaches (Gus and Cork) gave the CXC girls such fantastic skis that I knew I just had to make it over the top with a tiny gap and I could stay in 3rd place. Although I’m not going to comment on my technique in the last few km of the race because if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. 🙂
Lap splits and results can be seen HERE.
One of these days I’ll remember to bring a camera to the race, but for now I think the words “sunny”, “picturesque mountains” and “totally enthusiastic cheering crowd” ought to do it!