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E Load/E Mend Marathon Race Report: Canadian Championship Long Distance Mass Start.
By:  Karl Saidla   (2009/03/20)


Thank you to our Marathon Article Series sponsor, e load, who provides XC Ottawa athletes with what we believe is the best sport and electrolyte replacement drink available. Check it out at www.eload.net.

There tend to be more “rituals”, if you can call them that, associated with the longer races than with shorter ones. Looking at it analytically, this is probably because things like nutrition and waxing tend to be more difficult for these races, and also the fact that, like in marathon running, you only get a handful of cracks at the longer distances in a season. My theory is that having rituals might be a way of dealing with the uneasiness that these factors create.

You know, for instance, that what you eat leading up to and during a 30 or 50km race has more impact than it would before a 10km. This has been known to lead to behaviors of excess by some, such as the “full meal on a full stomach” which has been claimed to be 100% required for success long races. You also know that if you wind up with a poor wax job or slow skis, you're going to have a LONG time to contemplate it as you struggle around, say, your sixth loop of a 7.5k course. In the worst case scenario, you mess up both things and the result can be some very ugly skiing which goes on long after the winner has already put on his/her warm ups and is eating donuts in the chalet.

For this article, I have tried to capture, in pictures a few key “rituals” that members of XC Ottawa employed to keep the uneasiness at bay last weekend.

Some light sarcasm from John “The Slavedriver” Suuronen at our night-before team meeting:

The mixing of E Load and Fly for a team of 10 skiers

The obsessive checking of the weather channel

The table tennis tournament to relieve unnecessary tension

The bowl of oatmeal

The banana

The coffee

Waiting in the chalet, T minus 60 minutes-conserving energy by delaying the warm up

Whatever you call them, these were some of the things our team members did or ate leading up to Sunday's long distance races, 30km for women, and 50km for men ( see my article from earlier this season for speculation as to why we race different distances).

Of course, we would all claim that these rituals paid off. Despite a pretty serious guessing game about how quickly the race course would get soft and mushy given the temperature going from -1 to plus 5 during the race, we all wound up on skis that allowed us to be competitive. Thanks to John, our fantastic assistants Frank Demers and Ed McCarthy, and Vauhti for that! In addition, nobody suffered from dehydration or low energy levels brought on by poor nutrition. Thanks to E Load for that!

How did we do? Well, in the women's 30k event Megan was 7th Canadian, Alana was 8th and Sheila was 14th. In the men's 50km event, Karl was 14th Canadian. Congratulations to the winners of both these tough races, Gord Jewett and Rebecca Dussault. We should also mention that given that Rebecca is from the US, Brooke Gosling is now the Canadian champion in this event.

The younger members of our team raced in the junior men's and women's 30 and 15km distances. There were some very good results here as well, in particular Colin, who came 7th in his best race of the week. Zoe was 16th, Adele was 21st and Mathias was 25th.

Now that the race season is bascially over for us, it's time to get some easy skiing on some warm, sunny days before the snow is gone. The Slavedriver also pointed out in my ilog account that "now is the time to start builidng basic strength for next year". Oh yeah, next year is already starting....

Zoe, racing hard!

Adele in the mix.

Adele, skiing strong.

Danielle skiing strong.

John watching the action, with a bag full of eLoad.
Interesting Reading. . .
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