Since US nationals I have been laying low and keeping things simple. After a big week of stressful racing like nationals its nice to spend some time at home where I can focus on training and recovery. This semester I decided to not take any classes for school knowing how many weeks I would be missing for racing. With no school and and no racing I was able to completely unwind this past month.
Having a semester with no school or work has removed all excuses and ensured that I have optimal training sessions and recovery, which means sleeping nearly ten hours every night. In addition to sleep, I have been taking the nutrition aspect of recovery more seriously. My biggest issue when it comes to nutrition is having good quality snacks to appease the constant hunger that comes with my training volume. My solution has been to start baking easy carbs like banana bread and blueberry muffins.
After a couple weeks of training I was ready to do some more racing and headed up North to Fairbanks to compete in some college races. Fairbanks is notoriously cold this time of year and this race week was no different with temperatures hovering around the race limit, (-4 F). Fortunately only one of the four races had to be canceled for cold weather.
The first race in Fairbanks was a team start five kilometer classic race. Team starts are unique to the NCAA circuit, making them a fun special occasion. Having my teammates pull me along the course proved beneficial as I finished sixth overall and first for juniors.
The next race was a ten kilometer skate pursuit which happened to occur on the coldest race day. A pursuit race is a rare type of race where the winner of the previous day starts first and everyone else starts the amount of time back they finished the previous day. I did not feel like I truly got into the race mindset because I was too concerned with the cold and body parts going numb. Fortunately I only dropped into seventh place overall and second for juniors.
The final race was another skate ten kilometer but this time it was a normal interval start and the temperature was above zero. I was excited to truly race the course and not worry about temperature and felt like I put in a good effort and moved well. Unfortunately the result did not reflect my efforts as I finished 15th overall and 4th for juniors. Can't have good days without bad days.
I had another short week at home after the Fairbanks races before heading off to Norway for Junior World Championships where I will be racing a 30k skate, a skate sprint, and most likely part of a relay. The races will be happening on February 22nd, 23rd, and 25th.