Monday, February 14, 2011

2011 Eastern Canadian Championships

I have just wrapped up my latest weekend of racing at the 2011 Eastern Canadian Championships at Nakkertok in Ottawa. The Academy and I flew out to Ottawa last Wednesday, and spent the next 36 hours hours preparing for the first race on Friday. Eastern's this year was in the race format of a mini-tour. So what that means is, it was 3 races over the course of 3 days, and your times from each race were added together and dictated your starting position for the last race. This meant that whoever crossed the finish line yesterday first, won the overall tour.

The first race was a 3km skate prologue, and was my first ever prologue. So I wasn't entirely sure how to go about it, but with a very big climb about 1km into the race, I decided it would probably be best to go out a little conservatively and then slowly wind it up, so that I didn't blow up at the 1km mark and have nothing left for the last 2km. So I went with this plan, and actually managed to execute it perfectly, but unfortunately this was not the best course of action. I ended up losing too much time in the beginning, and ended up finishing 7th Junior. So lesson learned, in prologues it's best to just giv'er from the start and hope that you don't start really bonking until you can see the finish line.

Saturdays race was a 1.4km skate sprint. This was a very up and down day for me. My qualifier was a pretty mediocre race for me, it was anything special, but I felt pretty good for it. I ended up qualifying 8th Junior, which was definitely further back than I had hoped, but I knew anything could happen in th heats, so I wasn't too discouraged. My quarterfinal went amazing well, I managed to get to the front after the first 100m and stayed there. I felt great and skied it tactically perfect, and ended up having enough of a lead coming into the finish to just ski easy for the last 100m. Sadly, this high in energy did not last much longer. The first half of my semi-final felt OK, but then I started hitting the wall and finished that heat in 5th spot. So my last race of the day was the B final, which was just brutal. The energy that I had had in my quarter was completely gone, and I skied in to the line to finish 12th on the day.

Going into the last race of the weekend, I was not feeling good. Having not had a proper nights sleep since I returned to Canada 2 weeks ago, I figured the fatigue from that was really starting to catch up with me. And with the next race being my first ever 30km, it's safe to say that I was pretty concerned, and wasn't even sure if I'd be able to finish the race. But, it just goes to show that everyday is a new day, because I ended up starting the race yesterday and moving my way up through the field to finish as the 3rd Overall Junior for the weekend. Considering my mentality before I started the race, I was quite pleased with my performance.

The 30km was a very cool new experience for me. I hadn't really thought, going into the race, that it would be any different than all of my other races (aside from just being longer, obviously). But at the 10km mark I thought to myself, "I'm going really hard, and I still have another 20km of racing to do...I don't know if I can hold this pace." But after a couple minutes that thought subsided and I just put my head down and kept pushing through the pain, and before I knew it the race was over. So these greater distances are way more of a mental game than I thought, and you really just have to trust your body and all the training you put in leading up to it to get yourself through. I thought that was pretty cool. A little nerve racking haha, but cool.

So all in all, it was a bit of a disappointing weekend for me. But, in the end I managed to pull through and get on the podium for my 5th straight Eastern Canadian Championships, so I'm pretty happy about that. I'm now back in Penetang for the week, before flying out to Halifax on Saturday for the 2011 Canada Winter Games. I got to try on all my new Team Ontario clothing last night, made me a little more excited :). So the goal for this week is to try to get my sleeping patterns back in check before I leave, because I really don't want to be going into the Games with a massive amount of fatigue building up in me. So with the help of my own bed, and my magical bedtime shake, I'm hoping to get back to sleeping normally and be ready to go by Saturday.

Until next time, happy skiing!

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