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Conquering the Swamp
By:  Alana Thomas   (2009/05/20)

Now that it's mid-May training is once again well under way for most cross-country skiers, something I was reminded of when I got an e-mail from Sheila this morning detailing what the team workouts would be this week. Tire dragging at Mooney's Bay starts Thursday night. The new training season has officially begun!

This is a time of year I find particularly exciting as there are so many kinds of training I've been away from during the winter and as a result so many things to do that leave me waking up sore the next morning! Getting back into running and going to the gym a few days a week is both challenging and invigorating. As natural as skiing may feel some days in the winter it's rare for me to have a run that feels that effortless, ever. I do take some comfort in believing that anything this hard must be good for me, so I've signed myself up to run the 10k in the National Capital race weekend. The gym on the other hand feels like a little athlete wonderland with endless apparatus that may be used to make skiing all that much more fun in the winter. I'm extra pumped to do strength after doing my first strength test of the season last weekend. I was happy to manage 10 pull ups but definitely think my dips need some practice! Too bad my training plan doesn't call for strength every day... I guess I'll keep running and start to rollerski more soon.

Another element of summer training that has been warmly welcomed back is mountain biking (and some road biking too). Although road biking is alright I really believe that mountain biking is THE MOST fun you can have training off of skis and snow. I zipped home to the cottage near Hardwood for the long weekend and enjoyed a few glorious days of riding the trails there and reveled in riding my favourite section of trail called "The Swamp". For those familiar to Hardwood it is found on the outer section of "Gnarly" and is a series of hand-built wood bridges that snake back and forth across a swampy area. I find find myself nervously anticipating the swamp in the ten minutes of riding before actually getting there, I think due to a small fear of actually falling off one particular bridge into the swamp below, as I've seen happen to other riders before. This year I was extra nervous for the first pass but made it over quite smoothly, much to my delight. I rode the long snaking climb out of the swamp with a big dorky grin on my face.

Overall, spring and the start of summer has been going pretty great. I'm nearly over waking up stiff and sore every morning although as I said tire dragging starts Thursday and I'm running the Nordion 10k on Saturday, so it looks like I will only be cutting back to every other day.

Oh the joys of summer!

Alana looking strong in the Ottawa Race Weekend 10km
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