Following The Track

For the past 2 winters, my attempts to cross country ski had been thwarted by circumstance or coincidence. On the few occasions when there was decent snow – a rarity the past few winters – I was in the middle of marathon training or out of town.

So, last year, I skipped the 2 possible weekends to avoid injury before a race. Then in early March, the heavy, wet snow didn’t stick around long enough for me to get out on the trails.

And the Bemidji area has amazing trails – for skiing, mountain biking, running and cycling. If you want to get moving and enjoy time in nature, there’s a nearby trail that can make it a peaceful, serene experience.

So when we had a big snow a week ago – about a foot at my house – I kept my eye on the weekend. And when it arrived, I knew that I’d have to snap on the skis, round up Riley and head out cross country.

It wasn’t a long afternoon on the trails, but it was a blast following the ski tracks. Nearly 2 years had passed since I last skied, and I’m not very good at it. But I was happy to head down a couple of the downhills and manage to stay upright.

Earlier in the day, I logged a half mile in the pool, and a brisk 7-plus mile run on the treadmill. My goal was 12 miles running, but I felt a bonk coming on. It reinforced the importance of fueling properly – in advance – of workouts to have the best results. It’s a focus I’ll continue to emphasize in my adventure and experiment of one.

Looking back, it shaped into a good weekend: 2 trips to the pool, nearly 2 hours on the bike, a solid if not short treadmill run and some time out on the ski trails.

And since I woke up with my legs feeling surprisingly fresh and rested, I followed it up with a 10-mile effort indoors on the track to start my week. While going around in circles, I thought back to exactly one year and what a difference a year can make: I feel healthier, and I’m not injured.

With triathlon training my main focus outside of work, one thing I’ve tried to figure out is the schedule and timing of it all. An accidental scheduling mishap last week helped me figure out something about timing of my workouts that will make Ironman Wisconsin training easier to schedule. A warm-up in temperatures this week should also mean more time outside – running with Riley and if I’m lucky, more time on the ski trails.