Saturday, December 15, 2007

Intermediate intermediate

Well, here I am at ski camp, and let me tell you it is *nothing* like band camp. or math camp. Not that I've ever been to either, but I was in band for many years, and also on the math team. Yes, there was a math team (in high school) and I was on it. I think I stunk, but I can't quite remember. So back to Methow Valley, Sun Mountain, Washington. Firstly, it is stunning here. I mean jaw-droppingly beautiful at all times. If only skiing weren't so hard I could better appreciate the surroundings.

The first morning you do a ski "sort" they like to call it (instead of ski "test" - you can see the psychological difference), where you ski for a bit in front of professional sorters who will tell you what group you belong to - beginner (3), intermediate (2) or advanced(1). There was no part of me who thought I would be in the advanced group, but I was really hoping to NOT be in the beginner group. I like to think of myself as an intermediate skater, and my ego would have been crushed otherwise. Lucky for me they yelled out "solid 2!" which is the intermediate group. It wasn't nearly as cold as it had been the week before, although I froze my butt off anyway - my own poor gear decisions. I had the necessary clothing, I just wasn't wearing it. So I fell into group 2b. Intermediate intermediate. Perfect! It also wasn't a big deal that I hadn't been on skis since March - it really takes no time to get back into it. What was a big deal was my lack of conditioning. I mean, I am in better shape now than I've been in a long time - weight training, running, rock climbing... well, let's just say it is not enough.

It turned out I had the best technique in my group of 8 which was very cool, but was by *far* in the worst shape. Granted, I was amongst triathletes and telemarkers and pro bikers and rowers, but still. It was a wake-up call! I actually wasn't the slowest, but the two slow people in my group dropped to lower groups after lunch, so then I became the slowest, which was not my desired position. In fact I said to Chris many times - just so long as I'm not the slowest. Oh well. At least I made it through the day in one piece! It was hard - really hard. 5 hours of cross country ski skating is no joke.

Day 2: classic (or striding) skiing. I was sorted into intermediate again which I was somewhat surprised by since I haven't strided in at least 15 years. It was great. Warmer - around 30 degrees, and our coach was amazing. I learned so much and really improved by the end of the day.

Every afternoon they videotape your group for 20 minutes doing various skills and drills and I must say there's nothing quite like watching yourself ski. It's really fun - and really embarrassing. I looked pretty good overall though, despite wearing about 3 times more layers than these cold weather folks, and being about 5 times poofier. It is quite nice to be able to laugh at yourself with a group of people though. Especially when you're skiing backwards across a field.

Day 3 - well, that's tomorrow. Another skating day! We'll see how long I last for, but it promises to be fun at any rate.

I have been kicking myself for at least not bringing my point and shoot camera. That and my down jacket which I rejected from my Africa trip and I rejected again for this trip even though it folds into its own pocket! Please if I ever ask you if I should bring my down jacket somewhere the answer is YES. YES YOU SHOULD.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Off the list

I was just reading my friends blog, when I noticed I was no longer in the list of blogs she likes. Sigh. Could it be that I haven't written in 3 months? Nah. Okay, maybe. Writing about motivation and desire and the battle between. Tonight was my weekly track workout with my cross country ski team - at least those of us who live in the city. Every Tuesday I try to think of every possible reason to not go. None of them are ever enough to keep me from going, but I really don't want to go after a long stressful day at work. All I really want to do is go home and sit on my couch - or go climbing. It's the same with the trainer I see on Mondays - battle. I told him on Monday that I almost call him every Monday morning to cancel (I never have canceled thus far). He said nearly everyone he works out with feels the same way, and it made me feel a lot better. It's just so strange that the high you feel afterwards and the good, positive, confident post-workout self does not eclipse the desire to bail on workouts.

I am leaving tomorrow for ski camp, and I am petrified. Two reasons really: 1. I was sick last week with a sinus infection and feel my cardio has suffered and 2. I haven't yet skied this season. Oh - and 3. it has been 0 degrees in the morning, "warming" to a balmy 18 degree high. Yikes. That's how it was when we were in Alaska in March, and it was painful. PAINFUL. I'm really looking forward to being taught by their professional skiers, and of course I'm hoping that I'm not the worst one there. Chris assures me there will be beginners, but I can't help but be worried about that.

The nice thing about the track workout this evening was that I was able to do a lot more than last year, and it felt really good seeing my progress. Also feeling confident and not dreading any of the parts of the workout. I see the people who intentionally come late to miss the jogging warm-up (only 3/4 of a mile usually). I see the people who do everything they can to avoid fully committing to the real cardio section. I used to be one of those people! I completely understand jogging anxiety. It's so nice to actually want to do the hard parts of the workout. It took me 35 years to get there! Of course it doesn't stop me from not wanting to go at all - but at least once I'm there I'm in it.