Ya sure yabetcha!

After spending three weeks back in the grand old “Land of the Bland” I figure you all deserve a little insight to the homeland.  The great Northern MidWest.

So here you are, my observations.  Enjoy.

If you do not play Hockey there might be something wrong with you.  Seriously wrong with you.

You are allowed to cheer for the Vikings, Bears, or the Packers.  But you will be a passionate super fan, it is all or nothing.  No fair weather fans.  This includes owning anything and everything with your favorite team on it… clothing, vanity plates, furniture, christmas lights, lawn ornaments, speciality foods, and so on.  Oh and it is encouraged to ridicule and tease ( any time any place) anyone who supports another team.

For instance:
You:  “Did you hear about the tornado in the twin cities?”
Them:  “No what?”
You:  “Yeah everyone sought shelter in the Vikings’ end zone!  There hasn’t been a touch down there in years!”

Or.
You: “Did you hear Chicago just became the murder capital of the US!?”
Them: “No way!?!!?”
You:  “Yeah!  The Bears get slaughtered there every week!”

Bad.  I know.

They just love to idle their cars.  Its not even that cold out!

Function comes before fashion. Always.  You are going to earn more compliments on your carhartt jacket.  Thank goodness for fleece lined jeans and bogs (yes those insulated waterproof boots that come in pretty colors).

You bring your ‘food list’ to the ‘food store’. duh.

Your brother gets a rifle for Christmas.  He is the last one in the family to own a rifle.

Ice fishing (or occasionally spearing).  But not out in the cold of course.  No no you fish from the comfort of your ice fishing shack.  Some complete with carpeting and couches.  Decked out with christmas lights and lawn chairs. Tis the season.

Midwest skiers are not ashamed of their poor spandex choices.  Man are there some bold skiers!  Oh and let me tell you, they still snowplow with the best of them!  Great form.

Trucks.  And if you drive one normal parking rules just do not apply to you.

Oh and shorts over your spandex?  Really!?  Just wear pants if you aren’t bold enough to wear your spanx proudly.  You bring bad memories of awkward high school male cross country runners.

Saying the G’s at the ends of words is completely optional.  It’s all huntin and fishin.  It’s all the same.

But seriously…. I love all of it.  Sometimes it makes me laugh.  Sometimes I can’t help but roll my eyes, just a little.  But its been home for so long, and has a very special place in my heart.

And its true.  We are just the gosh darn nicest people you’ll ever meet!

Happy New Year!!!

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Double Birkie

I’ve been sneaking my skis into the earlier hours of the morning this week.  I’m a bit of a morning person.   Mornings are quite.  Personal.  I like my mornings that way.

And so I head out to the trails early.  And they are quite.  And I like my trails that way.

Atleast they start that way.  I spent a good part of yesterday’s ski dodging Minnesota high school skiers who apparently have never skied on a two-way trail ever… And although traffic flow was a foreign concept to them it was really cool to see so many kids out enjoying some wobbly kilometers on snow.

Every day when I arrive at the trail head parking lot its empty.  (Apparently 10am is the normal ski time these days)  However, this morning was different!   I arrived at OO to find an assortment of skibarus and wagons.   I had happened upon the annual ‘Double Birkie’.  Yes that’s right, Double.  And it’s exactly that, go out, grin and ski the whole Birkie trail twice.   It’s not exactly an official event but it happens every year no matter how good or how bad the snow may be.  This year it was truly a core group of diehard master skiers from around the area.  I skied up ready to explore the southern Birkie trails and found myself in great company.  We skied south until we ran out of snow and then headed back north towards Telemark.  I didn’t stick around for the whole thing but having their company for 3 hours was great.

So even though I didn’t have the trails to myself this morning I didn’t mind the company.  Let’s just say I practiced a little pack skiing this morning, avoided any wipe outs, and met some really wonderful people.

Thanks Guys!

Breathing Space

For those of us racing domestically or internationally Christmas time offers up a great little break after the start of the season.   And although my season has infact hardly started I was grateful for the opportunity to catch my breath.  Mostly I needed some time to quite my mind.  To relax.  To gather and then quickly dismiss my thoughts.  And it was pretty perfect.

Its a rare thing to have the Malcolm Siblings all in the same place, and having all three of us home was both exciting and maybe overwhelming for our parents.  But its been alot of fun.  I haven’t seen any of them for more than 7months.  And although living far from my family is no new gig for me its always a little hard (that never really goes away).

Another great thing about being home is getting to ski with all my old team mates.  These girls are pretty awesome.  And although we all were in different grades going through school it dawned on me this morning how much our lives over lapped.  Soccer, Logrolling, Figure skating, Music, Running, and finally… (magically?) we all settled on skiing.  We are all, in our ways, clawing tooth and nail to scrap our ways onto the international circuits in cross country skiing and/or biathlon.  Our high school coach much just be ecstatic right?  I’ll answer this one for him. Yes. obviously.

We’ve been training altogether the past week here in Hayward (our old stomping grounds, the town’s darlings who could do no wrong).  And even though we are working with a meager 3 inches of snow here in the northland the trail coverage is impressive.  The trail still needs to fill in and level out a bit, but aside from that its some grade A rock skiing.  The groomers are working it!

The sun joined us for a wonderful ski on Christmas eve as we covered the freshly groomed Birkie trail.  Goodness I’m spoiled.

(L to R: Coach Pierce, Erica, Jenny, Me, Molly, Elizabeth, Emily, Jon, Mrs. Pierce)

Today I reached the point of exhaustion.  Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.  By the time I made it home this afternoon I felt like lead.  My mind was heavy and slow and my body was not far behind.  I managed to shower and then my emotional bonk set in.

Me and the couch took a good hard nap.  That… and some vanilla ice cream are slowly healing this overwhelming fatigue that has crept in deep and swiftly.

A team mate of mine just started up a blog recently, and her most recent post really resonated with me this weekend.  Give it a read.  anneliescook.wordpress.com

Another Day Another Race

Or so it would seem.  And you guessed it.  I have another one tomorrow.

Today. Oh today….  Today went a baby step better than yesterday.  So I guess you could say it went as planned?  I managed to properly loose the race in a matter of seconds.  Awesome yes?  Thats biathlon for you.  You can go from a solid 15 seconds up to a minute back in a matter of seconds.  As my coach would say, “Corrine, you have fallen in love with the most amazingly frustrating sport on the planet.”  And I think that is a perfectly accurate picture.

So as my love affair with biathlon rages on I only hope I can put together better and better days.

Fun Fact:  After the race tomorrow I will have successfully doubled my time on snow this season!  Wild, right?

Although I am not where I would like to be right now and not where I know I could be right now. I’m ok with it.  (ok obviously I want much much more, but to keep me from ripping my hair out with shear frustration…. I am ok with it, I am ok with it, I am ok with it. has become my mantra)

So its not ideal.  But here’s the thing.  Even with all the nonsense of the last few months I’m further ahead than I was at this point last season.  And even though my racing form is far from right on and I’m far from 100%… I’m happy.  Mostly because for the first time since August I am able to ski with out being in constant pain.  And I will take that over great races right now!  Because being able to ski without every single pole plant shooting searing pain through my arm and shoulder is something that I am so truly grateful for.

 

 

So thats what racing feels like

So this morning was the first race of the season.  And let me tell you… it was every bit as rusty as I expected.

I know I’ve only been on my skis for a whopping 7 hours.

I know I haven’t skied a single race since last…. March?  Really?!

I know a week ago I was doing rollerski intervals on a treadmill.  …Talk about desperate!

I know that I am unfortunately in better cycling and running shape right now than anything else.  Duathlon maybe?  Too bad.

Now that I’ve rehashed all that.  If not for you but for me, lets move on.  And so instead of the string of expletives I would rather type lets do a little race recap instead.

Nerves aside I was ready to have a little fun this morning.  Do what I know how to do.  And if need be… be that kid sticking her tongue out at the people counting my penalty loops. (thank you for humoring my antics as I skied around and around the ‘bad place’)   For my limited time on skis I was actually pretty happy with how skiing felt today.  I don’t remember flailing about… sure it might have happened but in my mind atleast I felt like I was doing a really good job skiing controlled.

Its taken me a long time to realize that moving my limbs faster does not directly translate to moving any faster on my skis.  Because of this enlightening revelation I’ve been focusing on skiing bigger and more powerfully and hey maybe actually utilizing my assets.  I’m not built like a fairy so why ski like one.

So for not being a terrible day on skis I really just had to mess it up on the range. (if its not one thing its another right?)  Making all sorts of really awesome rookie mistakes.  The wind had picked up since we zeroed.  I did take the time to acknowledge this as I skied into the range to shoot prone.  I even double checked the wind flags.  Heck I even thought to myself, “Self, those wind flags are DEFINITELY blowing harder than before we should take two or three clicks left.”  Genius self!  Genius!  And then for whatever reason I decided to NOT do that.  Yep.  I really have no explanation for it.  Wind flag denial maybe?  I don’t know.  But I was lucky I got any targets to go down.  With three penalties in prone, that was very much the end of my race as far as results are concerned.

I faired better in standing with only two penalties.  But lets face it… 50% shooting is bad.  If it was an exam, I wouldn’t have passed.

The good news?  I have another race tomorrow.  And then another race after that.

I never gave up on my skis.  I never cursed out loud.  And most importantly… although it was far from ideal it was better than I did this time last year.  I know I’m coming from behind.  I know it won’t be easy.  and I know I’m ok with that.  Today was a jumping off point.  Baby steps. One day… one race at a time.

 

Screaming-Barfies

The screaming-barfies.  Known also as the ‘hot ache’.  Is a horrible sensation supposedly most frequently felt by ice climbers (no sheeze you are basically cuddling a wall of ice).  But as a connoisseur of cold weather torture I can tell you first hand, “Owww Ow! Ow! Ow!”

My first experience with the burn was when I was just a wee figure skater.  I distinctly remember coming off the ice after a 4 hour ice-show session taking my skates off, putting my fleece mittens on my feet, curling up in [the go to] fetal position and bawling.  It was awful.  But you got to the point when you knew once it stopped surging a painful fire through your lifeless feet that you would be ok.  I remember it so vividly….they were on fire.

As a skier I still go through the same awful episodes.  More often in my hands than in my feet.  There are days that my hands will start to warm up during my ski.  Sometimes its just a soft burn… but other times they burn so hot they ache.  A nauseating deep ache.  I drop my poles. Swing my arm wildly.  I use some choice (and often strong) language.  The only comfort comes in the form of experience….  Knowing they will feel better shortly.  And then your hands ease to a soft warm.  So comfortably warm.  You just have to tough it out I guess.

Maybe today was so bad because it was my first big freeze of the season?  But man it was distinctly painful.  I was very much screaming…while simeltaneously contemplating barfing.  My hands hadn’t felt too cold until I came inside to grab a pair of skis.  It hit me hard and fast.  Clumsy.  Nearly doubled over.  Looking for an escape route if needed.  (no one likes puke in their ski bags)  Eventually it passed.  And I was thankful to look at the end of my sleeves and see that my hands had not actually imploded.

Needless to say tomorrow I’m bringing my mittens… and hopefully another ounce of composure.