This was my first Birkie as a college graduate, and let me tell you it was VERY different from my previous experiences. For me, the biggest difference between being a college student athlete and a working girl is as follows - while in school I had all the time in the world and no money, now that I'm working (and coaching) I finally have money, but no time! Previously any free time I had was spent on training for skiing. Upon graduation in May I decided that a year off from training was necessary to recharge myself (both mentally and physically) after 4 years of very intense training, and to acclimate myself to being a full-time employee at Gear West.
I've always been a much stronger classic skier so I registered for my second classic Birkie (I've completed 3 races in total). Unfortunately, I signed up so late that I lost my normal wave seeding and had to start in wave 5. I also worked a grand total of 24 hours at the expo in the 2 days leading up to the race. Needless to say I woke up race morning feeling as if I had already raced 54 kilometers. At this point I was VERY happy to be starting in wave 5.
When I saw Luke (my boyfriend who doubles as my personal race support) for the first time at 21 kilometers into the race I said something along the lines of "I'm so dead right now - I should've done the Korte." Nevertheless I persevered, hip flexors and triceps on fire the entire way through. My skis were absolute rockets with perfect kick throughout the whole race - thanks to Gear West Waxing Crew of Brandan, Kyle, Nate, and Ben for doing such an awesome job! I set myself up for disaster and wound up finishing as the 26th woman overall - not too shabby! I can tell you two things:
1) I will NOT be taking another summer off and
2) I will be registering as soon as I can in June!