April 26, 2009: Vicious Cycle

Sunshine Mountain, Banff, Canada – I went into today’s day of slalom training refreshed and ready for a good day of training. I read an article last night about a woman who races marathons while still maintaining her full-time job and family life of two kids. Her workouts are half of what her competitors do, and when questioned how she does it she replied that she makes ever single run count with full intensity and purpose. So that’s what I intended for the day.

Despite taking yesterday completely off (didn’t do anything physical really) my first run was surprisingly exhausting. There was about 5 cm of new snow on top of hard crust so there was a little bit of powder to move around but it wasn’t too tracked out yet and was pretty fun going through. But after that first run my front quad was tired. And all the runs after continued to really tax it.

Maybe my body wasn’t fully recovered? Or doing nothing yesterday was not the best idea?

As the day went on and the runs got chopped up my performance steadily declined. It really was a test of my confidence – bumpy runs and flat light. I was getting so annoyed with myself because I was letting the difficult conditions (and my tired legs) get to me and that caused my form to falter and bad habits returned. My coach kept stressing to us to just slice through the bumps and really drive forward but it seemed like everytime I did that I’d hit a bump, get a little air and get thrown off with my arms flailing. I was just getting tossed.

I know it was a difficult day for most of the team; no one looked as strong and confident riding that stuff as they normally do on nice groomed runs or even in the course. My frustration turned into tension that I held up in my shoulders which reflected in my riding. My coach said I needed ride with my weight in my hips and not in my shoulders, and starting in a lower position (bending more in the knees) would help. That fatigued my legs even more causing me to then stand taller to give them a little bit of a break which heightened my center of gravity making it easier to get off balanced when I hit the bumps and my arms would flail and I’d almost fall. So I’d stop and then repeat that cycle all over again. On one turn I made the mistake of putting my arm down and I felt a scary jolt to my weaker shoulder. It was a brutal day.

Unfortunately unlike before I wasn’t able to really turn the day around. I got progressively worse and I was actually happy when I heard last run. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the desire or intensity – it just felt like there was a huge disconnect between my brain (and desire) and my body. It wasn’t working in sync. And it still baffles me the reason behind it. It could be fatigue from the past couple weeks of intense training or the difficult snow conditions leading to low confidence. I’m not sure. I’ll see how the next session goes and hopefully that’ll shed some light on it.

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