I raced yesterday and I wanted to give an update.
This was a regular weekend time trial at Milwaukee’s Pettit Center. There were about 50 skaters ranging in age from early teens to about 60. The majority are in their late teens and early twenties. Most are local skaters from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. There were a few masters like me that just love to skate, train and validate with racing.
Up at 4:30am. Out the door by 5:20. Arriving at the rink after a 75 mile drive at 6:45am. Off ice warmup with stationary bike, dynamic stretching, static stretching, slide board, and imitation skating. Then changing into my skin suit for an on ice warmup. I start slow and finish with some standing starts at 8am. The Zamboni is back on to resurface before racing starts at 8:30 am sharp. I check in at the officials table for my two races today.
Then I am back to resting and stretching. I am the 21 st pair. I start planning for when I will change into my racing skin and do a final warm up bike. I want to be on the ice about 10 minutes before my race. I need to do a couple of practice starts again and keep loose.
I make my way to the 500 meter start line and take off my warm ups. I wish my competitor in the inner lane good luck. We are called to the start. “To the start” is announced by the starter. We take our positions and place our skate blades. I am in the outer lane, Michael Hubbs is on the inner lane. “Ready”. We take our ready positions. 2 seconds still. Whistle by the starter for a false start. We both back off the line. Michael is called for a false start due to his blade touching the start line. The process is started over again. We get the gun and it is a clean start. I feel very solid, getting down low quickly. After about 30 meters I pull away from Michael. My 100 meter opener is 11.04. The last time I raced was September 29th. My opener then was 11.06. The ice is a little slower today due to a few factors beyond anyones control. Outside weather was raining and humid. That can leave some extra frost on the ice and slow it down. I enter the first outer turn at nice speed and building. Half way through the turn I slip and lose about three strokes. I stay on my feet though, regroup and come out of the turn just behind Michael. I cross over to the inner with a nice stretch of straight strokes, feeling very solid. I set up the next inner turn. Half way through this turn at max speed I had difficulty again missing about 3 strokes. Then settling down as I exit the turn. Nice connection with my last straightaway strokes and solid finish, feeling heavy lactate in the legs at this point after about 65 strokes in this race. Lap time was 28.97. It was .04 slower than September. Considering coming off my over-training 7 week ago and slower ice. With virtually the same time as my last race (39.99), I consider this nice progress.
Next is the 1000 meter race. I have about an hour. The officials resurface after the 500 then set up the electronic timing for the 1000. I am the 7th pair this time starting on the outer lane in the middle of the backstretch. I talk to my coach Nancy Swider-Peltz, Sr. She asks me what I expect for my first lap time after the opener. I say 29. She agrees. There had been some scratches and jumbling around of skaters. I show up for my race and end up skating alone. Start procedure as last time. This time the gun does not fire and I am released from my starting position. Back again, down to start, clean one this time. I get down quickly. I have 50 meters before the turn to accelerate smoothly. Then entering the turn and beginning to use turn strokes with out a lot of speed. I concentrate on getting as low as possible. I come out if the turn and cross the finish line and have 800 meters to go. Opening 200 meter time is 18.73. Last time it was 18.99. Nice tempo calmer now, very fast turn, great pressure into the ice. First lap 29.05, right on. Gutting it out, breathing hard, lots of lactate, legs tying up. I know this feeling, I train for it, I have been here before many times. Last lap 31.23. Total time 1:19.05. 1.24 seconds better than last time. This is a great race, seasons best. I am only 1.13 slower than my fastest time ever at this rink. I needed to settle down and skate like I know I can. This is real progress. This has been a very good day.