I had a fabulous interval session the other day. It was hard, but enjoyably hard, what we call threshold. When I do threshold I get to stretch out the body and use proper race technique but stay out of the lungs-on-fire pain zone. Threshold is the interval type that makes me appreciate my fitness without questioning my sanity for deciding to be a cross country ski racer. (To quote Newell from the other day, “cross country skiing is really fun when you stop.”)
We started in Wilmington and skied up the road toward Whiteface. It was the same road that was used for the Race to the Castle rollerski race last week but we started lower and never made it as far as the start of the rollerski race. From the four corners intersection there’s still a fair amount of elevation gain to play with before you hit the race course.
We started staggered as we came in from our warm-up and Kristina Strandberg jumped in right behind me. We had a nice headwind and since I was leading and knew Strandberg was behind me I went just a little harder than I would have if I had been by myself so she wouldn’t get bored. She came around and led the second interval. It was much easier to follow and draft and be able to relax into Strandberg’s rhythm.
After two intervals we got in the van and drove back to the bottom of the hill where we changed into our skate gear and did two more intervals up the hill. Strandberg led the first & I led the second. It was almost like doing two intervals instead of four. There’s a huge benefit in being able to ski with someone in a hard workout like that. It’s been really nice to be out in Lake Placid working with a lot of different coaches & athletes and see how other people are skiing and training.
And despite how much we make fun of the tourists up here looking at the leaves turning to reds and oranges and yellows, it really is beautiful when we get a sunny afternoon.
p.s. We switched to skate halfway through the workout to simulate the stress of a duathlon race although I don’t recall thinking I had to do any duathlon races this winter.