On Sunday another unusual opportunity to ski came up late in the day. To get the most out of the short time slot I used skating skis.
Skating isn't really harder than classical, but it uses the skiing muscles differently, which can feel harder when you're out of shape. In classical the skis stay together, parallel, so when you're reduced to trudging it feels more natural. The same plod on skating skis really feels like a pathetic waddle. So I went harder than I should, to try to stay in a speed range that flowed smoothly.
Almost the same distance I skied on Friday using classical skis took only two-thirds as long.
I was already stiff from the classical skiing. It tormented muscles that had been unmolested for more than a year. At my age the pain ramps up over a couple of days, so I was peaking when I went out to skate. Interestingly, the pain of skating decided not to wait. It detected the pain I was feeling from the classical outing and said, "hey! Me too!"
In spite of my stiffness, muscle memory provided accurate technique, as it had on Friday. I went through the motions. Fatigue made me sloppy, but I had no doubt about what I was trying to do.
Experience hurts at a time like this, because the body remembers moving at a certain speed. I wasn't trying for race pace, but I'm so deteriorated that even an easy pace was shredding me. I never had much patience for dry-land training. Back when I got out regularly I could fudge the dry-land phase and make it up in the early season. Now that I can't count on getting out there at all, let alone early, I would have to choke down a much longer period of dry-land alternatives to be almost ready for my chance at real skiing.
A longer period on classic skis would help. If more opportunities come along I will try to use the classic skis to regain some sort of fitness base. Skiing is absolutely the best exercise to get ready for skiing. Everything else you might do is simply to get you to the snow again.