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Nationals Wrap-up

Kris Freeman

Sun, Jan  6, 2008 - By Zach Caldwell

After the classic race in Houghton Kris asked me to take down the web-page. He was angry and embarrassed by his performance in the two distance races, and didn’t want any explanation offered. I haven’t got his permission to write this post, but I figure he’s probably simmered down enough by now that he won’t fire me for writing it. As a concession to his preferences I won’t offer anything that can be construed as an excuse for his performance in Houghton.

Kris went to Nationals planning to train through the races - even planning on putting an OD between the two race days. He hadn’t been feeling healthy very long, but the idea was to crank the training load back up for a while in preparation for a taper toward the Canmore World Cups. It’s now apparent that he wasn’t ready for the racing, and that he still isn’t 100% healthy.

The skate race was bad. His plan was to go out conservatively and to try to negative-split the race. He did go out conservatively, but he didn’t manage to pick the pace up in spite of increasing the effort. Nobody in the race did actually manage to negative split the thing, suggesting that conditions may have slowed a bit through the day. But Kris even lost time compared to the people near him toward the end of the race. That was not in the plan.

After the skate race we scrapped the planned OD between the races, and rescheduled for after the classic race. Kris was upset with the skate race, but fired up to do some damage in the classic. As it transpired, the only damage he did was to himself. He went out conservatively again, and this time he really blew up and lost a huge amount of time in the last five K or so.

If Kris had been well enough recovered for Nationals he would have been able to execute his race plan, and he would have been better in the second race. It’s clear from his sensations that something wasn’t happening. While he was in Houghton his sinuses got increasingly irritated, and while he’s not producing a lot of mucus he’s definitely not feeling healthy.

The original plan had been to head straight to Canmore from Houghton. After the classic race Kris just wanted to go home and sleep in his own bed. He flew back today, and will spend the next two weeks making sure that his feet are squarely under him and that he’s fully healthy. At this point the plan with regards to Canmore is to ensure that he’s healthy. That will have to be enough under the circumstances. He’ll be skiing daily unless he starts to get bad symptoms of illness (something more than sinus irritation), but his training load will not be high until he’s had three or four days of improving sensations. If there is time to fit in a bit of intensity prior to Canmore then he’ll fit it in. If there’s not time, then there’s not time. He’ll travel to Canmore on the 19th - the first race is the 22nd.

It’s very difficult for Kris to be philosophical about circumstances like this. This is his job, and he’s not doing it to the standard that he expects. He’s conscientious - he’s taking appropriate actions to address the situation as it unfolds - and things just haven’t been unfolding in a good way. What he knows is that he’s trained over 650 hours in the last 8 months, and that the last month of inconsistency and frustration is not sufficient to permanently undermine the foundation that he’s built for success. There are three more months of ski racing coming up, and Kris will be racing at a high level again this season.

Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman

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