I love citizen races. After a long winter of high pressure, high intensity racing, stepping to the start line next to the local mom’s club truly makes me happy. I can’t help but smile as I mill around the start finish area, listening to people discuss pacing, 5K feeding strategy, and when to get in the port-a-potty line (sooner, I promise, is always better). I love the local singer belting out the star spangled banner. I love everyone clapping when the announcer gives the 30 second warning. I even love the person who proudly places himself at the front of the group on the start line, even though he’ll eventually finish near the back.
Because of this love, I’ve done my very best to enter as many local races as possible. I thought I’d seen it all when it came to citizen’s races. But in my most recent, the Stillwater Half-Marathon and 5K, I had an entirely new experience all together. After being ushered to the start line and giving us our final instructions, the starter handed the microphone over to the local Pastor. After his initial introduction and thank you, he left the field with this message:
“May God grant you the ability to go slow and take it easy. May He grant you the ability to go hard and push yourself. Finally, may He grant you the wisdom to know when.”
And with that he said, “Amen,” the gun went off, and the fun began.
I had a great race. I ran my best 5K time ever by about 30 seconds, worked on my pacing (I am getting better, although I will never lose the tendency to hammer a little too hard off the start, sorry Pat), and then got a latte with my mom. Despite the great success of the race itself, I think the biggest take away really is the words of the Pastor 10 seconds before the race.
Skiing and racing–really everything about living–is all about knowing when to take it back a notch, and when to go full throttle. So much of the professional skier’s year is spent trying to piece together a million different moving parts, that a couple months of unstructured time to focus on a few simple things (rest, recovery, and refocusing) could not be better. This is exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve taken the months of April and May to figure out what I need to do to keep improving. I’ve been working on some fundraising, catching up with high school friends, and spending a lot of time just being home.
I haven’t done a ton of ski specific training (although recently roller skiing has been sneaking its way into my routine), but instead focused on finding alternative ways to maintain and increase my fitness and strength (not only so the first weeks of official SMS training don’t leave me crawling to the kitchen, but also for my own sanity- turns out I like being active- shocking!). I helped out with my sister’s track team, did some learn/remember how to roller ski sessions with Endurance United, and spent a lot of time learning how to lift and getting strong at the PowerHouse at Highland.
It has been an awesome Spring. I’ve had the most wonderful time, and I’m savoring this last week of Minnesota Nice. I’ve had my cruise-control time, and now I’m ready to kick it into gear.
P.S. Shout out to my number one blog fan, Erika Flowers. I’m sorry I haven’t posted in two months. I’ve actually written eight different blogs, but they all seemed forced, boring, and worth nobody’s time. But the ninth blog was the charm, and after my blog-hiatus I feel like I have the blogging brain back. So check back in every week for updates as I head into the 2015-2016 season alongside my SMS T2 teammates!