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Welcome! My name is Michael Somppi and I'm a competitive cross-country skier. I developed this blog so sponsors, family, friends and fans can keep up to date with my life as a full-time athlete. You can expect regular blog posts about racing, training, and life in general. Check out other sections of my blog by clicking on the tabs above.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

2008 Summer Rendition, Episode 3: Post-Haig Fever

So right now I am currently on the Autobahn in Germany heading to Schladming, Austria. At first it was everything I could have dreamed of: fast cars, more refined “Euro” vehicles, 130km/h speed limit, lots of farm land and lush forested areas... Then came the traffic jam. We are now currently driving 40km/h. High speeds on the autobahn today. So while our team gradually makes our way to Schladming with our German guide, Hans (short for Yohan…don’t ask me?) I will continue with my summer rendition series.

The day after running down from the Haig, I crawled out of bed with heavy legs and mixed feelings of dread and eager anticipation. “Today I will make my body suffer”, I thought. “Today I will conquer the infamous 5x 1min full-out striding intervals”. And that’s exactly what I did. An excessively long warm-up, due to Harry forgetting his training shoes at the house, brought the nerves a little closer to the surface until I could not bear to wait any longer to get the workout started. The first interval up the massive hill wasn’t quite what I expected. In my head I wasn’t really planning on going completely full out on the first interval, even though that is the idea of the workout, but Harry screwed up that plan by taking off like a rocket ship and of course, my competitive spirit took over and I attempted to follow him. I did my best, but Harry went up that hill like a bat out of hell. He rounded the corner, crested the top of the hill and kept going before Eric screamed “STOP!”. I have only done this specific interval workout at this location twice, but that was definitely the furthest I have ever seen anyone get up that hill in 1 minute.

I executed the rest of the intervals in a very textbook manner; I made it a little bit shorter every time. Harry and Luke had a somewhat different pattern however. After lighting up the first interval, Harry bonked hard, then recovered and finished strong on the final interval. Luke kept it consistent and then killed the last interval. Jesse did not join us for the interval session as he did not come up to the Haig with us and this interval session is a specific post-Haig workout used to maximize the affects of recently coming down from altitude. I find it very interesting seeing the different styles each person brings to workouts like this. Despite the fact that we are supposed to be going all out on each interval, it seems everyone, whether it be a subconscious or conscious decision, has a set plan on which specific interval(s) they will save some energy on and which one(s) they will hold nothing back on. Either way the workout was executed, I can say I was impressed with the effort our entire team put into it. It is meant to push your mental barriers and I can confidently say we all did just that. I know Christina was certainly surprised by how painful these intervals were. The short 5 minutes of work time can certainly be deceiving.

With the concept of taking full advantage of recently coming down from altitude, our team tackled zone 3 skate rollerskiing intervals two days later. I know, a bold move, back to back intervals post-Haig. Despite being quite exhausted, I personally believe it was an excellent decision. Using the Canmore Nordic Center’s paved trails made the zone 3 intervals even better. I actually felt like I was racing on snow because of the terrain and nature surrounding the trails. Unfortunately the entire workout didn’t go entirely smoothly. While doing some sprints to warm-up Luke took a spill and Jesse’s knee collided with Luke’s pole tip. 2 months later, Jesse still has the scab to show for the wound. Bunch of jitbag rollerskiers if you ask me.

These two hard intensities wrapped up our team’s summer training in Canmore. Overall it was a great time, as to be expected, and my fitness made substantial improvements. Now it is time for me to end this post because I am getting distracted by the spectacular scenery as we head into the mountains of Austria. More to come shortly.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Michael


A castle on the side of the Autobahn.


The Kunterbunt Apartment where we are residing for the next 3 weeks.


The view out our front window.


Outside the Schladminger Brewery. Do you think they have enough kegs?

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