On skiing with boys, speeds with girls, and turning 22

By August 29, 2013 No Comments

Back in my final years of high school, I did a fair amount of skiing with boys. It was a fun challenge to hop into intervals with them, and occasionally, get to hop in a race with them. Though it seemed a weird coincidence that the race I did with the boys happened to be the most times my poles were ever stepped on or knocked sideways during a race…till I made the world cup, anyways. Today I reverted back into my high school self, getting carried away (sort of) during intervals and jumping in behind the boys, to see what I could learn and to push myself just a little bit farther.

Warming up with the whole group of girls - SMST2 + SMS juniors (photo from Sverre)

Warming up with the whole group of girls – SMST2 + SMS juniors (photo from Sverre)

The team was doing 4 x 12 minute L3 intervals, with the last 30 seconds of each being an all-out sprint. It was a pretty cool workout. But it was just windy enough that if I slipped in behind the boys and rode in the draft, I was able to keep up for a while at the top of my L3 (and while the boys were comfortably in their zone). There’s a lot of useful things I’ve learned from skiing with boys. I can spit clear off the ski trail. I know how to blow a great snot rocket. And today I picked up on a couple of things I would do well to improve on. The guys ski really close together…like, really close, which is a good thing because that way you can actually get in the draft and use the people around you. Going along with that, they look around a lot more than I’m used to, checking out where everyone is. While I’m usually a big fan of the pick-your-line-and-don’t-look-back approach, this can be trouble in a sprint where people are always shifting positions in a pack. Checking out where everyone is and where their skis and poles are landing, particularly right before heading into the all-out sprint, is a really good habit to get into! So I’m really grateful to our boys for letting me huff and puff behind them today and pick up a few tips along the way.

At the end of our 100km ski: me, Soph, Erika, Annie, Eric, Ben and Skyler (photo from Sverre)

At the end of our 100km ski: me, Soph, Erika, Annie, Eric, Ben, Skyler and Annie H (photo from Sverre)

I realize this is a common theme in my posts, so you have full permission to roll your eyes, but it continues to amaze me how well the teams I’m lucky enough to be on work together. Everyone has something to contribute. Nobody is the best at everything, and everybody is the best at something. When we did a speed workout a couple days ago, I had a great time learning from the other girls. I did a lot of following Sophie around, as she is so smooth but quick in her classic pickups, and it was cool to watch Erika and Annie demonstrate beautiful running on skis after doing grass sprints. It was one of those workouts where everyone leaves with a couple things to work on, but knowing they made another step closer to their goals and got a little more comfortable skiing at high speeds. And it sure wouldn’t have happened that well if we were skiing alone!

In other big, BIG news…our team van now as SMST2 stickers! WHoo! I mean, as everyone knows, professional team = logo on van. Right? Ahem. Secondly to the van stickers, I turned 22 on Monday, and the team threw me a lovely birthday waffle breakfast and dinner at the Caldwells. We also hiked out to Little Rock Pond, where there is some awesome cliff jumping and swimming. Totally worth the 40 minute hike out! So naturally, now that I’m finally feeling 22, there’s a whole lot more of Taylor Swift’s song “22” playing around the house. FIS Cross Country was nice enough to write up an interview with me right after my birthday on what it’s like to be the youngest on a rising team: http://www.fiscrosscountry.com/news/cross-country-talk-jessie-diggins-usa,3990.html

The girls made me a totally delicious cake! (photo from Sophie)

The girls made me a totally delicious cake! (photo from Sophie)

Last but not least, there’s another Fast and Female Power Hour happening! ANOTHER ONE! It’s in Lake Placid, at the Olympic Training Center. So parents, if you have a sporty girl age 9-19, sign her up at: https://fastandfemalelakeplacid.eventbrite.ca/

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