Wednesday Workout: Opportunistic Training with Santi Ocariz

BrainspiralJanuary 15, 2014
Santi and Carolyn Ocariz on one of their first skis with their then-newborn daughter Sonia last season.
Santi and Carolyn Ocariz on their first family ski with their then-newborn daughter Sonia, three weeks after she was born last winter. Santi is currently in an accelerated nursing program, training and jumping in races when he can. (Courtesy photo)

Let’s face it, if you don’t ski professionally for a living, aren’t on some kind of elite team aspiring to reach that level, or don’t quite have the luxury retired folks have — chances are it’s not always easy to find time to train (or even exercise).

Former Central Cross Country (CXC) skier Santi Ocariz, 27, has the same problem. Currently in  an accelerated nursing program in Minnesota, he’s also the father of a 10 month old — so yeah, getting out for long skis is tough.

But he makes it happen, and last weekend on Jan. 11, he nearly won the 42-kilometer classic SISU Marathon in Ironwood, Mich.

Doug DeBold (r) and Santi Ocariz after placing first and second, respectively, in the 42 k classic SISU Marathon on Jan. 11 in Ironwood, Minn. (Courtesy photo)
Doug DeBold (r) and Santi Ocariz after going all-out to place first and second, respectively, in the 42 k classic SISU Marathon on Jan. 11 in Ironwood, Minn. (Courtesy photo)

“I had a great time, but am abnormally sore now!” Ocariz wrote in an email on Monday.

“I haven’t gotten much of any training in this year,” he continued. “On average I have only been able to get out skiing once a week, and this race was my longest ski of the year by about an hour and a half.”

So is muscle memory our only hope? Not necessarily.

For Ocariz, family, school and work take priority over ski training, and training in general, so he’s relied on what he calls “opportunistic training.”

“If everything else is done, then I treat myself to some exercise,” he explained. “In the summer and fall (weather permitting) I was able to get out a bit for short runs pushing Sonia in a stroller.”

  • Option 1: Short runs pushing the kid in a baby jogger.
  • Option 2: Get a bicycle trailer and ride or stride with the kid in tow.

Ocariz wrote that their friends at New Moon Ski Shop pooled together and bought he and his wife, Carolyn, a Burley.

“This has allowed me to get out about once a week rollersking or skiing,” he explained.

  • Disclaimer: Don’t take your child out in dangerously low sub-zero temps. The recent cold snap in the Midwest put a damper on Ocariz’s training.

“Basically, when I do find 20 minutes or half an hour to work out, I just go as hard as I can from start to finish,” he wrote. “We jumped into a few 5k races on the weekends this fall and I pushed Sonia in the stroller.  Sonia even won a couple races 😉

“Again, I would describe my exercising as opportunistic.  Sometimes this means 2 or 3 hard sessions in a row, followed by a complete dry spell of 2 or 3 days. Obviously not the most beneficial way to train, but it burns off energy and helps me sleep better at night.”

In the end, isn’t that why we do all these crazy activities? So keep it in perspective, schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day when possible, and know that greater flexibility and more training time will (eventually) come.

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