It’s Dani again, I hope you’re all well?
I am doing great, especially since I finally got rid of my muscle soreness from last weekend… 😉
I have tackled a special challenge on Sunday, January 27th and would like to give you some insights about what I have been up to. A find a video about it here.
My first cross-country race: I’m getting nervous…
I took part in a 60k cross-country ski marathon in Tannheim. My very first race on ski and a big challenge for me. I really love to do cross-country skiing and feel that it definitely has a positive impact on my bike performance and my fitness in general. It is also a nice way to make training even more exciting than it already is with the three different disciplines. In skiing camps, I also swim, bike (on the turbo trainer) and run, but here I put a lot of focus on the skiing part.
When I was planning my camps, I read about the Tannheimer Ski-Trail and thought that it would be quite a fun thing to do and a big challenge at the same time. As athletes, we like to get out of our comfort zone, right? 😉
The days before the race were quite weird, as I had just got back from Lanzarote, where I had been on a training camp with my Erdinger Alkoholfrei teammates for some really specific triathlon training in the sun. Just two days before the ski marathon I did some performance testing with my coach and performance partner STAPS to check my level in running and cycling. So, not a normal race preparation at all… All of a sudden, I was picking up my bib number for a cross-country ski marathon… And to be honest: suddenly the 60k seemed to be pretty long, when I started to think about it the day before the race… 😉
A fast start and an abrupt break
There were no other expectations than having fun – it was a great start for me and I was enjoying the first really fast eight kilometers in a nice group, before I unfortunately crashed and broke one of my poles… I can tell you: this is at least as upsetting as a flat tire on the bike. I didn’t hurt myself though, which of course was the most important thing.
After one kilometer back to the last aid station and 17 long minutes of waiting, I was given replacement and was able to keep on going. Even though I was sad about the outcome of the race, I was happy that I was given the chance to finish. After the crash, I found myself in the very last position and I didn’t find back into race mode, but I told myself just to enjoy the rest of the day and to make the best out of it… In fact, I was looking at the photos the next day and realized that I was smiling on every single one. You can clearly tell that I was having fun out there, which was the biggest goal of the day!
I finished the race in 3:38 hours (including the 17 minutes “break”). I think for a triathlete who only skis for a very limited time, I can be quite happy with it and definitely had a great training effect and a lot of fun. I think I will give the race another shot when the opportunity arises… 😉
Recovery and analysis
I am staying with my best friend, who is my physio at the same time, which is great for several reasons: I just like to spend time with Nicky, she knows me better than most people and we always have something to talk and laugh about. After the race, we did have to laugh a lot – with some time lag, that is indeed possible… 😉 and she took great care of my body, especially my calves were really sore. The demands on the body are quite heavy and as I am still not really used to skiing for such a big distance, it took a while to fully recover… We’re staying in Austria (Leutasch) for another week of winter training: swim, bike (on the turbo), run and of course cross-country skiing.
Finally, to put cross-country skiing into perspective, let me give you some of the numbers I collected from my Garmin after the race: My average heart rate was 148bpm, which is about the same as on the bike in a middle-distance race. My max heart rate during the race was 165bpm. I think the physical effort comes closer to running as you are using your whole body. You also have to work really hard up the hills, which leads to peaks in your heart rate.
As you can see, there are some parallels between cross-country skiing and triathlon. It is an endurance sport, you use similar muscles and you have to face setbacks from time to time… If you overcome them, do your best and finish the race, you’ve achieved something great that you can be proud of.
If I was allowed to give you some advice, look for sports or events that complement your regular training to keep it fun and varied.
All the best with your upcoming training and see you soon! 🙂
Photo Credits: Isaak Papadopoulos