webmaster mike's blog

more KPBSD bloggery

A weekend spent staring at my feet.

Yes. I did exactly that. Well, not for the entire weekend, mind you, but I did spend significant time Saturday staring at my feet.

Why on earth would I be doing that on a perfectly good Saturday?

Good question.

As the time for the Tour of Anchorage draws nigh, I sought to do some Tour-specific exercise to gauge my fitness and ability level. To bring you up to speed, I am entering the Tour of Anchorage, which is the second-largest cross country ski race in the nation. I am doing the only classic skiing-only race – and it happens to be 25 kilometers. It happens March 4 – a Sunday. So, with a couple of short weeks, I talked to Coach Kjell and he said that a significant distance of the 25 k is on flat land, so the fastest stride in this case is double poling as opposed to diagonal skiing. Fortunately, double-poling might be the only aspect of cross country skiing that I’m even remotely good at.

So, on Saturday, I went to the Wildlife Refuge, and planted myself on Headquarters Lake. I was there to double pole exclusively, in order to run myself through a litmus test of where my strengths and weaknesses were. Turns out the list of strengths is breathtakingly short compared to my weaknesses.

Seven times around the lake I poled. At about 2 miles (maybe a little more?) per lap, this works out to just about 25k – the length of the Tour. The wild thing about double-poling is that legs aren’t really involved much. My feet actually started to fall asleep after the first hour. Meanwhile, my upper body was furiously at work. It was a beautiful day, but I hardly got to look up at all, as proper double-poling means exhaling and crunching your body down so your torso is parallel with the ground. Instead, I stared at my sleeping feet.

My goal was 90 minutes. I finished in 96, so I wasn’t too far off the mark. I learned I can push myself harder earlier without gassing out, and proper nutrition is very important. I was getting wildly hungry nearing the 5 lap mark. Luckily there were no fast food joints nearby.

Per Coach Kjell’s instructions (he acutally came in second place for the Tour in 2009 – a mere 4 seconds back from the winner, so he knows what he is talking about) I will work on speed drills and not endurance until the Tour.

I’m very excited. A 25 k ski tour through the city Anchorage will be quite an event. Unfortunately, I’ll spend all of it staring at my feet.


Leave a Reply