With the last race on my schedule, the TC 10 Mile, approaching on Sunday, I've been sneaking in a couple new activities, one that I think I will grow to love. Last Christmas, my husband gave me these:
I had tried cross country skate skiing the winter before and just couldn't do it very well. I thought that roller skiing would be good cross training for running and would help me learn to ski. I asked Chad, a fantastic runner who recently had a blog post about roller skiing, for some advice. His advice was to learn to ski on snow first since snow is a lot softer than pavement. This is very sensible advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.
Did I listen? No. I've been waiting for the tri season to end to give roller skiing a try and I just couldn't resist. It took me a while to gather everything that I needed: skate ski boots, poles, helmet, and knee pads. I had to stop by Gear West for some help putting the right tips on the poles. It's no fun to start a new activity unless you can do a little shopping, so I got a pair of XC ski gloves so I wouldn't get blisters. I also asked the experts for some advice on getting started. The advice was: Go to a very flat, newly paved parking lot for a very, very long time.
Luckily, the schools right by my house just had all of their parking lots repaved and, with today being Sunday, were empty. As I parked in the biggest of the lots, I noticed a young couple getting out of their car with a little girl and a bike. Apparently this was also a good place to learn to ride a bike. The little girl and I are in similar situations: learning to stay upright on a new set of wheels. I moved to a smaller lot across the street to give us both some space and privacy.
The good news is that I didn't fall down. I took my time and am sure that I looked ridiculous wobbling around on the skis. Right away I noticed the my shins were getting tired. I guess I am flexing up my toes so that I don't catch the tip of the ski. After about 20 minutes, I was getting around the parking lot pretty well. I decided to quit for the day while I was still upright and before my shins started to really hurt. Shin splints is something I don't need right now. Hopefully some short sessions on the skis will help with my form and get the right muscles in shape so that I don't get hurt.
Starting skiing today reminded me so much of when I started to run. I only made it 20 minutes today and I'm sure I didn't make it even 20 minutes the first time that I ran. I don't know how long it will take me to be able to negotiate an uphill or make it down a hill safely, but I think what I've learned from running will help me along. I know Chad is right and that I will fall down many times, but maybe by the time the snow flies I will be ready for some real skiing.