Before long, I was trapped - I found inline speed skating so interesting that skinny skiing was pretty much ignored for two full seasons. Instead, I attended skate practice four or five times a week and raced once a month. (Unfortunately, the team only practiced in Ann Arbor for a month. Then it was all over southeast Michigan for training at various rinks and outside locations).
During the fall before the third winter, I injured my back - over extension issues. That huge crash during a relay race didn't help any. I ended up taking the winter off to heal. My first winter I can ever remember as a coach potato.
The following summer (2000), my back was in much better shape. The skate team had fallen apart, so I mostly did distance skates - up to 48 miles. As winter rolled around, I started heading to the gym to run, bike, and lift a few weights. I also put the skis back on and - would you believe it? - realized what I had been missing. I probably put in a dozen days of skiing. By the end of the winter, I decided I wanted to be an XC ski racer again. I wanted the thrills and chills of racing on the Michigan Cup circuit.
Reality sets in. The spring of 2001 brought several realizations: Here I am, 43, almost no skiing over the past four years, no upper body strength (you don't use your arms in inline speed skating...), and here I want to race again. Not only that, I don't want to embarrass myself or the team (assuming Dick Fultz allows me back on the Cross Country Ski Shop Ski Team).
Time to be realistic. I only have so much time to train, maybe 6-8 hours a week. If I'm going to be serious about racing, I need to be serious about training.
Based on this background, here's the goals I decided upon:
There they are: the five goals that will get me into race shape. Hopefully this strategy will work. Read some of the other articles to see how I'm doing...