by Thomas O’Harra
So, in the past week, I’ve gone from living alone on a bunk in a hostel to having the best bed in a house with a bunch of my teammates from Team AK. We have a pretty good situation, although to get to meals we have to walk almost a mile, which gets old when we are walking two or three miles every day. Other than that, the food is really good, and everyone is really pumped to be here.
Yesterday, we had the first race of the championships—a skate sprint. For the qualifying round I started first, because I am the highest seeded sprinter here. It was kind of cool, because I started off the races, being the first skier starting for this year’s Junior Nationals. I had a decent qualifier, and I ended up in 4th for my age group. In the heats, I managed to win my quarterfinal, and then in my semifinal I finished 3rd. This was nerve-wracking, because only the top two skiers from each heat advance automatically. I ended up advancing as lucky loser, because my time was fast enough.
In the final, I had a good start and was skiing well through about 0.5km. I started to fade as the pace increased, and I let three skiers slip past me. However, I did hold on for 4th in the end. While I wasn’t super pumped about this, I think that I know why I wasn’t feeling my 100% best. I think that the next race, a 10km skate interval start, will be better. Today I skied easy and tested different skis a little bit, so I think that tomorrow I will have the best skis that I can within my fleet.
I’m really excited to participate in the distance race tomorrow, mainly because a lot of my friends are going to be out there, and I would really like to see them do well. That being said, I would also really like to beat them. It will be a fun race!
Thanks for reading, and I will post again soon!
Thomas O’Harra is a full time student-athlete at Alaska Pacific University. Growing up in Anchorage, he spent a lot of time outside and in the mountains—hiking, skiing, and generally having fun. He now races and trains with the APU Nordic Ski Center while taking a full course load at the university. Currently, Thomas is on a two-month trip for racing, starting in Kazakhstan, then traveling to races in Czech Republic and Switzerland before returning to the U.S. to race at Junior Nationals in Truckee, CA and SuperTour Finals and Spring Series in Sun Valley, ID at the end of March.