One little fact that I had long forgotten when I decided to do this fundraising project is that Nordic skiing is HARD, REALLY FLIPPIN’ HARD.

It looks peaceful, slow moving, almost like a meditative experience in nature. Imagine lingering in wintery forests and watching small winter creatures make tracks while you quietly slide by.

But, NO, that’s not how it is, at least the type of skiing I’m doing and will be doing in Norway. That reality set in on my first training sessions in Colorado this past December.

In Norway, I will have approximately 24 km that I have to finish each day, and I can’t move slowly or linger to watch small wintery creatures. My lungs will be working. It will require strength, some speed, and major endurance, and it will be COLD, wind-in-your-face-cold skiing west across Norway. Dan Weiland, my Nordic ski coach in Vail, shared this humbling reality with me when I trained with him in December.

It’s worth mentioning here that when people are in shape in Vail or Colorado, they are talking a whole super human form of “in shape”. They go out and run up mountains and bike for hours in a way that us sea level dwellers don’t. When he asked if I was fit, the answer was, well yah, I live in DC and I get to my Soul Cycle class and jog some and you know….but no, that’s not fit in Vail, that’s nothing, and that’s not going to cut it for Norway.

Day 1:

Dan started me out on the groomed Vail golf course to work on basics. Soft knees, relaxed arms, totally unstable skis compared to downhill, I took two major falls going down two steep hills.

I only traveled 11 Km in two hours. That was his calculation. “We’ll need to work on that a bit to make sure you can go all of your average 24 km per day in Norway as you don’t have your pack on yet.”

OMG, of course, this will be about calculations. How did I not consciously know that or admit that to myself!? My guide and I will have to set a pace and meet it in order to finish the whole expedition on time!

Full on sweat covered, I was relieved to see the Vail Nordic Center coming up ahead and realized day 1 was behind me. The backs of my arms, my legs…holy Moses this kicked my ass.