Never Un­der­es­ti­mate the Strength You Have 8 RACES Two Days

SkiTrax - - Graves On Nordic - By Peter Graves

With the sea­son rapidly ap­proach­ing, at this time of year I am al­ways filled with ex­cite­ment and a bit of nos­tal­gia; ex­cite­ment for the ski sea­son and rac­ing ahead and nostalgic for the won­der­ful au­tumn days of the past that were filled with prepa­ra­tion and train­ing. I fondly re­call peat bogs redo­lent of pun­gent moss and the won­der­ful smell of the poplars and as­pens when run­ning in and around Du­rango, Colo. No mat­ter that more than 45 years have passed. Smells can be truly evoca­tive and take you back in­stantly.

The jour­ney of year-round train­ing is re­ally an ongoing jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery, and it changes with the aging process and with the goals you have for your own brand of ex­cel­lence. From elite sport to Masters rac­ing, it’s a no­ble pur­suit. Here are some ob­ser­va­tions and thoughts I’ve had over the years.

I love to watch the im­ages that our skiers share on so­cial me­dia be­cause they never fail to show pic­tures of the nat­u­ral world in which they are train­ing and trav­el­ing. It’s good to look up from the tracks. In fact, it’s es­sen­tial. We must en­joy the trea­sures that abound. Train­ing is too hard to not en­joy its beauty and the rhythms it cre­ates.

Of course, there are no short­cuts, and mak­ing train­ing a life­style is a won­der­ful pur­suit. It takes time to work to­ward build­ing that all-im­por­tant base. The harder you work, it seems the luck­ier you get.

Sick­ness or in­jury is a fact of life, which ath­letes – and the rest of us – can­not es­cape. How you deal with those set­backs mat­ters a lot. You have the strength to over­come those ob­sta­cles, and the pa­tience and wis­dom to un­der­stand that these things will pass. You can find ways of adapt­ing your train­ing to the needs of the mo­ment and the fu­ture.

There is, of course, the science of sport, and its re­al­i­ties must be faced – whether it be chronic, nag­ging in­juries or over­train­ing, but there’s also the soul and heart of sport that helps keep us fo­cused on and com­forted by the big pic­ture and the ul­ti­mate goal of press­ing on. I’ve long thought that learn­ing to be an ath­lete comes with its nat­u­ral ebbs and flows, the good times and the bad.

I have a num­ber of Masters rac­ing friends who truly in­spire me, for they have long ago heeded the words of Pi­casso: “It takes a long time to be­come young.” I agree. They have built their im­pres­sive re­sume through decades of train­ing, year-round. I call it sports play. And yet they re­de­fine their goals to meet the aging process and adapt. Per­haps they are no longer ski­ing the Birkie, but they are still at the Kor­tie and rel­ish­ing in it, still en­gaged in im­prov­ing tech­nique or in find­ing the ul­ti­mate new wax job or build­ing more core strength. We are al­ways evolv­ing and mov­ing for­ward.

As we set forth into the up­com­ing sea­son, I’m wish­ing that all your goals will be met this win­ter. You’ve worked hard and pre­pared. Some­times we may even be in com­pe­ti­tion with our pre­vi­ous selves, but the lessons and joy we at­tain through train­ing – at all ages – are time­less.

I see great beauty in that.

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