The 100 Kilometer Ski (we did it!)

I’ve spent a good deal of the morning trying to come up with the best way to relay my 100 Kilometer experience. At first I had a schedule format planned (at 7:00 AM this happened…at 8:00 AM this happened). Then I considered comparing my mental state at various points of the day to different animals (think an Ostrich with it’s head in the sand, or a very angry raccoon).

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I instead decided to narrate the day through a series of pictures (a HUGE thanks to Annie’s boyfriend Will for taking them all!).  A picture is worth a thousand words, and I think most of them speak for themselves.  But just to make sure, I’ve added some captions.  Check ‘em out!

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We started the ski at 9:15 in the morning. In the past we’ve started earlier, but because we are doing the ski in September instead of August, we decided to delay the start. It was even a little cold! I started the day in long sleeves, but quickly switched into our new SMS T2 tank tops (Thanks Podium Wear!). Little did we know we had 6 hours and 15 minutes of roller skiing ahead of us.

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I actually felt pretty good for the first half of the ski. The reasons are two fold: One, it was the first half. Two, we started classicing (my preferred distance technique). Classic skiing is faster on flat terrain, and the first 50K is filled with gradual ups and downs. Everyone was chatty and happy, and the Kilometers were simply flying by.

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Some of the downhills on the ski are a little sketchy-especially when you get really tired legs. So in order to go down the hills safely, we would hold on to the side of the van. It is actually pretty fun, and we still get to count the kilometers.

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Confession- we didn’t actually drop the boys. The boys skied their 100 Kilometers about 45 minutes faster than us, but in order to keep the group more or less together they did a bunch of little out and backs. One of the hardest parts of the ski was when the girls still had 11 Kilometers to go, and the boys were finished (and celebrating) on the side of the road.

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One of the best parts of the 100K ski is the “secret skier.” We all drew names out of a trophy (how fitting!), and throughout the ski were surprised with little gifts from our personal secret skier. Andy picked my name, and at about 40K he gave me a box of good and plentys (my favorite candy). At the end of the ski he gave me a cold seltzer water and a giant piece of coffee cake (both of which were consumed immediatley).

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More inventive down hill techinques. This was a short steep little hill into a stop sign, so Sverre held on to our poles to keep us from going too fast. One of my rare smiles during the second half of the ski (skating is much harder for me to do for a long sustained pace)

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There isn’t much more for me to add to this picture. You can see the skepticism in my eyes, but what you can’t see is how close I was to tears. Kilometers 50-65 were not good for me. I just kept reminding myself it isn’t about winning all of the battles, but instead about winning the war.

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The way I survived the 50 Kilometers of skating was to stay in the back, and work the draft as much as possible. I’m not doing that in this picture, which is really silly. I’m thankful for my teammates for taking some big pulls and getting me to the end.

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20 Kilometers to go. I think my mental state is clear.

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We made it! 100 Kilometers, 3,754 Calories, Average heart rate of 149, and 6 hours and 15 minutes of skiing later. I think we are probably a little delirious at this point, and the line between crying and laughing is thin.

All in all, it was an epic day.  I can’t say I enjoyed every minute of it, but I am so proud of everyone for getting the job done.  Pat, Sverre, and Jason Cork (USST men’s coach) did a great job supporting, we had a huge cheering contingency, and there is no other group of people I would rather suffer alongside.  Also a huge thank you to everyone who donated, and to those of you who haven’t it is never too late!  My support page is ready for clicking 24/7, and I really appreciate any and all donations.

Up next we have a big week of training, time to get recovered!