Tag Archives: training

La vie est courte et cruelle

25 Aug

Poor thing. She clearly wanted to make her mark or some kind of a difference. Idealistic spinning course instructor. For me the stationary bike is just training when it’s raining. And I was saving energy for my date with the SkiErg immediately afterwards.

When she came around shouting encouragement I simply avoided eye contact. Ditto when she asked imploringly for feedback, good or bad.

Easy to do in this country. You’re rarely put on the spot where you’re required to break the wall of silence. Even if somebody has a spectacular little breakdown. Just drop your gaze and walk on.

Way too fast

14 Aug

I had a lot of stress at work when I lived in France. Happily I stumbled upon a lecture by a doctor on meditation. There’s nothing magical or religious about it. Just by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes you put everything back into perspective. When I came out of the meditative state, usually while sitting on the bus, my shitty job and shambolic personal life suddenly seemed less weighty.

I still get into a meditative state almost about every day. The difference now is that I no longer do it while sitting still. Now I move my whole body in coordination.  But the focus still stays on my breathing. I usually keep a high enough tempo to breathe hard the whole way, however far I ski. The force behind every pole plant, every step is that cardiovascular motor. I stay in contact with it and advance by pushing off from its central point.

Before when I went too fast the whole apparatus would sputter to a halt. My legs would go weak and I’d hang on my poles grasping for breath. But now the motor has become stronger and I know my body better. In the midst of training pain, I hand the control over to the heart and lungs and and let myself go as fast as they’ve got power to burn. I center myself there and whatever little disappointments at work or in my personal life fade to the periphery.

A lot of people think that when you meditate you’re supposed to think about nothing. But that’s impossible. Rather you just acknowledge the thoughts that come and then let them go. Then you bring the focus back to your breathing. But now I don’t stop there. I  hit the gas.

Burying the variable

15 Jun

I’ve gone faster than ever on my last two rollerski trainings. First up Grefsenkollen and then along the valley floor in Maridalen. The only problem is figuring out why. On the one hand my experience in the Norges cup race in Askim gave me a new burst of inspiration. Getting slaughtered by 20 year-olds left me fluttering  between despair and renewed resolve. But the balance finally went resolutely toward the latter. And now I’ve got a new drive to work hard.

Moreover the weather has been chaotic which has pushed me to train in a more varied and probably more complete way. I’ve done a mix of spinning classes, Ski-Erg and short and long rollerski trips.

Finally there’s an equipment factor. I just got new wheels. Beautiful things. Each machined from a single block of aluminium. Lovely, shiny and precise. And they feel divine. They make fast comfortable.

So has my speed increased because of easier rolling wheels? Or is it just the extra training. Hard to say.  But for what it’s worth, my average speed on my Maridalen route has crept up from 15,8 to 19,2 km/h in a little less than a year’s time.

Fast wheels on Grefsenkollen

5 Jun

Sunday is a race day too I’ve decided. It’s a good day to practice going up Grefsenkollen all the way from Skeidbanen.  The cyclist in the video unfortunately only gives us half the climb. He starts at the intersection with the road he veers right onto at the end.

On graph below, the video starts and ends right at the 2km mark. As you can see, there’s some serious climbing to do beforehand:

In fact, the video only shows 50% in terms of both distance and elevation gain. But since the lower stretch gets a lot more car traffic, Sundays are the day to do it.

Today I went up with racing wheels, which I plan to use on future Sunday climbs. I initially held onto a pace about a minute faster than my personal record before blowing up at km 2,7. The same thing happened on my 1,3 km uphill sprint race yesterday. There in the last 300 meters I fell way off my initial pace making me lose a lot of time right in front of the crowd at the finish line.

Still, today’s blow-up was good practice. Much better to blow up in training than in a race. I think it’s good strategy to plan weekly practice in race like conditions with fast wheels. That way I can figure out where my limits lie, how much I can improve them and how far I can push them.

My ski season in numbers

30 Apr
  • Longest trip : 68km, 15 January, Kjelsås to Sørkedalen skole
  • Fastest average pace on snow : 18,9km/h, 31 March, 8,65km on my local
  • Max speed : 66,1 km/h, 23 January, coming back down from Søndre Hegglivann
  • Most elevation gained : 1,013m, 12 March, Birkenprøven from Rena to Lillehammer
  • Fastest average pace on slow rubber wheels : 18,3 km/h, 19 April, Maridalsveien/Gamle Maridalsveien
  • Fastest up Grefsenkollen from Skeidbanen (fast wheels) : 17:04, 10 October 2010
  • Kilometers training since May 2010 (a little lower than actual) : 4 890
  • Calories burned training since May 2010 : 344 555

Gym Sunday

17 Apr

Rollerskied to the gym as I often do in the snowless season. Sociologically interesting crowd in the spinning class this morning. Overwhelmingly female. Seemed like a lot were in the-weekend-wasn’t-as-I-hoped-and-now-I’m-going-to-do-something-about-it mode. For anyone into chubby Scandanavian girls with low self-esteem, this was your party.

As I tried to avoid looking at the painfully anorexic pedalling skeleton two bikes over, this crowd’s body issues gave me pause for reflection. I too have passed that way. Thinking of the body-as-enemy. It’s not doing what I want it to do, so I’ll punish the undeserving thing into submission. I’ll achieve my goals by force or maybe just get my supplementary jollies off masochism.

Happily I’ve made some progress. In the maso-mode my body found sneaky ways to confound me. But when I realised I could never fight past the end of the hurt, I decided I needed to take another tack. So, this past winter, it’s been the body-as-collaborator. The golden rule. Treat it nice and hope it will do the same for me. Eat nice, varied food. Push hard, but listen and back off when needed. Program rest.

So far, so good. Stay tuned.

Race against me and spring

21 Mar

Snow was still up over the little fence in my back yard last Saturday. That’s how I measure winter’s advance and retreat. However the tenuous little bridge of snow crossing the chain link barrier looks ready to fall away today.

This is the agonising period. But there is good is mixed in with the bad. My physical form and technique are still advancing. Have been regularly hitting new speed records on my usual routes. On my little classic round I finally started breaking the 16km/h barrier. Seems like technique is what is making the difference: stop slapping/klakking and the speed just comes. And it’s nicer to go through the woods with only the sound of my breathing.

While I’m a little worried about abandoning my ever improving classic now, skating is so good I can’t be bothered to deal with klister. Rest assured I’ve mastered my phobia of the stuff. It’s just that applying and, above all, removing klister is vastly more complicated than just grabbing my skate skis and going. But in the very late season when it gets too soft to skate pleasantly I’ll definitely pull out my gravel skis and go classic again with Red Aqua klister.

I’ve been breaking records with skating too. My times have been continually dropping on the trails on both sides of the valley. My average pace is up more than 2.5 km/h. Makes me wish I had a ticket for the Skarverennet.

Snow levels are high for this time of year. Today’s snow depth reading at Bjørnholt in the Oslo forest stood at 90cm. Even with warm weather forecast this week that bodes well for a long late season.