Springtime in Chicago

FasterSkierApril 22, 2004

Ah yes, spring in the Midwest; glorious days filled with high winds, cloudy skies and rain on a fairly consistent basis, not to mention, temperatures ranging from 30 — 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Waiting for the onslaught of hot, humid summer days, spring here in the Chicago suburbs is a great time to do a little cross-training and relax.


Sipping coffee on the day after Easter I read Torbjorn’s account of how he spent his Easter. As I read I thought this could be a scene being played out in many homes throughout the world; homes with skiers and homes without. The glaring difference however was in the “non-skier” homes the Easter egg hunt would have been the extent of physical activity for the day. Not true amongst us physical fitness fanatics. Torbjorn made clear that after inhaling a large chocolate Easter egg it was time to get a solid workout in. Did that make me feel guilty because I chose to take Easter off? No, but it certainly reminded me that staying in shape is a full-time job and something we must constantly monitor.


Now I am sure you are all thinking that certainly Torbjorn does not need to worry about consuming a few sweets here and there, and I would agree with you. The point is that even though the next ski season is not for many months, the training begins today. We as skiers have committed to a certain lifestyle; a lifestyle of physical fitness. Although the vast majority of us are in the recovery phase of our training calendar that does not give us carte blanche to lie on the couch all day and watch television. Even with the Midwestern weather as bad as it has been lately, this is still a great time of year to get in those first few miles on the bike,  take in a new trail that you have been thinking about running on, or even go in the back yard and play soccer with your kids. Those activities might not SPECIFICALLY help you to move up a wave or two in the American Birkebeiner but the fact that you are staying active will set you up for when it is time to really start training.


The change of seasons is also a good time to look back and reflect on what was and what could have been during the past ski season. Sit down and really assess how your season went; did you meet your goals both in training and racing? If not, what could you have done differently? Did you set your goals too high or maybe even too low? What aspects of your training were most beneficial to you? These are all questions that if answered honestly will help you to become a better skier next year, whether you are an elite racer or a middle of the packer. When you do this analysis however, do not leave out the most important question of all; did you have fun skiing last year? The answer to this question must be a resounding YES, if the sport is not fun, you are doing something wrong.


As is quite common in the Midwest, the weather has drastically changed from when I began writing this until I finished. The wind has picked up significantly and the temperature has plummeted. It makes me feel good that it was cozy warm at 5:45 this morning when we went for a 40 minute run to talk about what is wrong with the Cubs pitching staff. We might not have solved their bullpen woes but I have a workout in the bank already today and am one step closer to my best ski season ever in 2004/2005.


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