The Sub-Minute Club

Yes, I am now part of the most sought-after club with new sliders!

Thanks to the introduction of my “new” sled, and a little bit more confidence on the track, I’ve now slid the 1,455meter track in under 60 seconds…five times.

These five times have also been consistent, so since I slid my first sub-60 second (59.99 sec) on Thursday, I’ve slid each following run under a minute.

As you will soon find out, we have lots to talk about since my last post!

The excitement started during my first run (of three) on Thursday, where I skidded (and also got the living daylights hit out of me by Curve 18) to my first sub-60 second run. I was extremely excited, and even though my start was awful, I managed to PR.

The hit I got from 18/exit 19 managed to be directly on top of the same bruise I had received on Tuesday. Needless to say, it hurt. Even going that fast, the hit was the only thing I was thinking about on the final curve.

The rest of my sliding on Thursday was fine. The middle run was just as exciting as I PRed again (59.81) and this time, I did’t skid as much. My final run of the night was a 59.97.

Friday morning, I worked my second shift ever at the Crowne Plaza Resort and Golf Club of Lake Placid. I’m a server, but I’ve been starting as the “floater” and a busser.

After the adventure of GETTING to the hotel (located on top of a very steep hill with a very steep street leading up to it…in the snow…on the ice…in a Honda Civic) I was able to settle in better today.

I finally got my “code” that enables me to put in orders, so I served for the first time. Well, I served for a bit in high school. But by a bit, I mean for two weeks. I only served about 5 tables today, but it was still kind of crazy! Hopefully this weekend I can do better!

The upside of working is, of course, money. It’s not as much as I’m used to (the whole tip thing throws it off, since breakfast doesn’t tip as well and I only had the five tables) but still, it’s valuable funds that will go mostly towards skeleton, the rest towards my car.

The downside is being on my feet for 5-6 hours straight in the morning, then coming back to the OTC and having to work out, then slide later that night. I will be honest, I did not do a workout yesterday or today, since I was pretty exhausted and my feet hurt, but I need to tough it up and get to my normal workouts.

Friday was another busy day at work, but I left at noon. Since I hadn’t had much to eat since 5:30am, I stopped immediately in the cafeteria at the OTC to scoff some lunch before I donned my spandex shorts for a dip in the ice bath.

Let me tell ya, sitting for 14 minutes in sub-50 degree water might sound miserable, but it’s glorious on the legs! I took a hot shower immediately after, which helped immensely with getting my core temperature back up, and also helped to relax my muscles again.

I had to finish sanding my runners, since I only sanded two grits the night before, but as I was starting, not only did I notice a painful hotspot on my palm from the rubbing, but Leisl (my roommate, should you recall) reminded me that the Freestyle Skiing World Cup was going on in Placid, and the Aerials competition was finishing this afternoon.

It’s not an opportunity one should miss. For those who don’t know, Aerials is like gymnastics, but instead of running across a floor and doing some leaps and bounds, the athletes ski down an extremely steep hill, get launched into the air by their own momentum, and then perform a series of twists, flips and turns before landing on both their skis, hopefully solidly.

It was a cold afternoon, but about 8 of us went to event, which was taking place just a short ways away from the OTC. We stood at the bottom of the hill, looking up at the ramps the skiers jump off of, and watched as athlete after athlete did their stunt. The women started it off, but we arrived to see only the last 5.

Ashley Caldwell, a 17-year-old Olympian (she was 16 at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and made the finals in that competition) was third jumper from last, meaning she was ranked in 3rd entering that final heat. I can’t describe her jump. So you’ll just have to watch it (below).

With that amazing jump, she held off the last couple athletes and finished first, her first World Cup title of her career. It was a pretty sick competition. There was great pump-up music blaring the whole time athletes were jumping, and announcers were shouting into their microphones. We were very close to our fellow athletes as they finished too. This is a great event to watch on TV, and even more fun to watch in person!

After returning to the OTC to grab our sliding gear, we headed to the track for our first race of the season.

Throughout our training, we’ll be competing in the “Lake Placid Series,” basically a competition between the development team. But the marks we gain from these races will rank us nationally, leading to the National Championships, and the America’s Cup in the coming months.

I started my warm-up with about 30 minutes to track time, before I was told that the women were competing first. I had looked at the start list and saw that I was the second slider of the women, but neglected to see that the women were going first. Oops!

Luckily, I had timed my warmup perfectly. I was warm and my muscles were (surprisingly) loose when I took my place at the starting line, dressed in my super swank, one-piece speedsuit. As I shed my jacket and warm-up pants, Don reminded me to explode from the blocks, and relax on the sled (sounds kind of oxy-moronish, right?) and helped me to brush my spikes clear of snow to get more traction on the ice.

Finally, I got my start off, and jumped on the sled, a little too far forward. As a result, I skidded a little bit, but not badly. My run was very clean, compared to what I’ve been doing recently. I went straight through the Chicane, hugging the right wall (I remember being astonished I wasn’t skidding over to the left, like I usually do) and slid cleanly through Curves 18 and 19 (the ones responsible for my bruised leg). I looked up upon sliding the out run (the finish straight-away that goes uphill so we can stop our sleds) and saw my time flash across the clock: 59.4?. Woo! PR by almost a half-second!

I was psyched! I returned to the start house, and then winced when I found out my start time. But, I was pumped and ready for the next heat! I warmed up again (shorter warmup than the first, but the same elements were involved), stretched, and was ready at the starting line when my name is called.

I pulled off a quicker start this time, though it was still not nearly my best, and slid another clean run. I wrote this in my sliding journal: “You know it was a good run when you “WOOHOO!” at the end!”

When I looked up at the end of the out run, I saw 1:58.something, which was my combined time of the two runs. I knew I had run another sub-60 second, I waited outside of the (heated) finish house to hear my time: 59.2! Another PR, another clean run!

This race day went very well for me. I got some good words from Don, and left the track very happy.

Awards are presented on Monday, so I’ll see where I ranked with my fellow athletes! If I placed in the top-three, I’ll be getting an award (don’t know if it’s a medal or what!).

Finally, I photographed my other two good bruises for your enjoyment, all from the last couple of days of sliding. I know it’s the last couple days because I got them when I started using my new sled!

This weekend, I will be working tomorrow and Sunday mornings (6am-noonish), then recovering. Actually, today I’m taking a Canadian “teammate” back to the border so she can go home, THEN I’m relaxing. Sunday I’m thinking of heading to Whiteface Mountain to watch the Moguls finals (another freestyle skiing event!)

More to come, as usual! Have a great weekend!

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