I make a hundred or more decisions everyday that affect my health, happiness, peace and serenity.  I know that because of all those decisions I am healthier, happier, more at peace and serene.  I do look for some external validation that I am on the right track.  I am human. I can admit that.

One of the ways I get feedback is through my speed skating performance.  Speed skating is a great mirror for my life.  Physical preparation is essential. Physical execution is necessary too.  Mental preparation is also important for execution.  I need to manage my emotional state to get the best results.  I also need to trust in my spiritual life.  This gives me the deep down trust that I am on the right track and that my priorities are right.  I feel very strongly that I am doing what I was put on this earth to do.

Saturday morning I arose at 4am. Drive 75 miles to Milwaukee to start my pre race warm up off ice at 6:45.  On ice warm up at 7:30 to 8am. Racing starts at 8:30.   I was in the 11th pair of the 500 meter race.  I have the inner lane with Brandon Molenda (14 years old) in the outer.  Clean start, he is in front for about the first 30 meters.  I am able to get low, lengthen my stroke and pass him.  I never saw him again.  I opened with a 11.06 first 100 meters.  I felt good on the first inner turn.  Crossed over on the backstrech feeling low and connecting to each stroke.  I was feeling some lactic acid at this point in my legs.  I set up the last outer turn.  I was a little unsteady early but settled in for some good pressure.  Exiting the turn, careful not to look too far down the final 100 meters and stay with each stroke.  I look up at the scoreboard after crossing the finish line, lap time was 28.93 and a final time of 39.99.  This was the best start to a season for me, ever.  My pair set a personal best, good for him.  I congratulate him on a fine effort. I suspect I gave him something to shoot for.

A couple of easy laps to start to flush the legs.  Warm ups back on and a short rest before the 1000 meter race.  The ice is being resurfaced, coaches and officials get to take a little break.  This is all a normal Saturday morning in Milwaukee.

Back on the stationary bike and some stretching to keep warm and loose.

I end up with about 40 minutes between races.  When I get back on the ice my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz Sr stops me to talk about the strategy for the 1000.

I am in the 7th pair with Bill Armstrong a fellow master, in the outer lane, and I am starting on the inner lane.

I open with a 18.99 first 200 meters, crank out a 29.90 next, then hang on for a 31.40 final lap and a time of 1:20.29.  Again, my best start to a season in the 1000, ever.  Physical validation that I am on the right track with my decisions and priorities.  I have set my goals as you have seen in my recent blog posts.  I am clearly on my way to achieving my goals.  I will get faster as the season progresses.  I am grateful for the support of my wife and support network I have constructed.

The principles I am talking about here are universal and can be applied to any endeavor sports or anything else.

I invite you to share any comments or stories that relate to my story.  Lets share our inspiration and information as enthusiastic motivated masters athletes!

500 Meters race start US Single Distance Championships January 2012, Milwaukee, Wi, Photo by Steve Penland

One thought on “Validation!

  1. Bruce, that is awesome! But I am not surprised. These last few weeks your mind and body have been in a very relaxed, very grounded place. Thinking, but not stressing about good effort and quality performance in workouts is so evident when you are on the ice. That particular workout 2 weeks ago was really an eye opener. I am going to take all of those positive mental markers to my next ice workout. Keep it up… hopefully I can post something decent in a few weeks, but my goal is to stay healthy and fit. Last year when I thought I did not make MAT 1 time, I realized it did not matter, then when I found out I did, it was just icing on the cake. The big picture is much more than fitness but wholeness and balance. I thank God for allowing me to stay fit through a non-contact sport which provides much more longevity. Cheers!

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