Monthly Archives: October 2009

10/25/09 – A New First Loser in the House

Morning: We went to a schooling show at the Fort Collins Equestrian Center to watch Horsey Pants do her Dressage. After taking her lumps like a champ in the first class, she came back strong to place 2nd in her last class!

Horsey Pants & Odie bringing it.

Horsey Pants & Odie bringing it.

The kids ended up getting first place in the lead-line walk class, which earned them a ribbon plus a $20 movie pass! (More than I got in St. Paul in 2007!)

Helen of Troy (On her Torjan Horse Chipper) and a Trojan Foot Soldier.

Helen of Troy (On her Trojan Horse Chipper) and a Trojan Foot Soldier.

It was a fun morning, and I’m very proud of the effort Horsey Pants has made this year to get serious about her equitation. It’s paying off!

Afternoon: Sing it with me…Ply-O-metrics, Ply-O-metrics, Ply-O-metrics, Ply-O-metrics, PLY-O-ME-TRICS! Ramped up to 10 reps each excercise, did the full set, paying for it today.

10/24/09 – Training

Morning: Did 150 laps indoor at Rollerland with Team Puz. My kids and I are Team Puz. We have our own chant – AhYay, AhYo, AhYay, AhYo, Patzo, Patzo, Patzo, Puz, Puz, Puz! If you’ve skated with me in Duluth, chances are you’ve heard me uttering this to myself. No, not speaking in tongues, just kicking it into high-gear Puz style! Our friends David, Pauline & Ethan were also there with a new little girl whose just taking up skating.

We had a new guy show up at practice this morning, his name is Jeff. He’s in his 50’s. When we pulled up to the rink, he was sitting in his truck smoking a cigarette. I thought he was there to work on the new soft-play playground they’re installing at the rink. He didn’t come in with the rest of the skaters that were there, so I was pretty sure I had him pegged properly.

As it turns out, he came strolling in and said, “Hi, I’m here to do the speed skating.” Well, I laughed, but quickly realized I was wrong. Turns out he had come earlier in the week and had been doing some laps on quad speed skates. Saw the sign for the Speed Club, and decided to come out for the excercise. Well, Jeff’s got a history. He was a quad speed skater back in the 70’s. Skated Nationals. Did a lot of training with the Los Angeles Thunderbirds. (Found a link talking about the history of Roller Derby with ref. to the Thunderbirds.) Apparently, quad speed skating and Roller Derby was “da bomb” back in the day.

So. we’re watching him go around the rink, and it’s very apparent he’s got a strong foundation. Nothing we can teach him, he just needs to spend some time back on skates. At the end of the practice, he rolls over and says, “I’m going to have to get me a pair of those Rollerblades if I want to keep up with you guys!” I hope he does, looks like a natural! You’d never be able to tell he hadn’t skated in 30 years!

Afternoon: Here’s how I spend the early evening, photo courtesy of my daughter.

Mucking the stalls at the barn.

Mucking the stalls at the barn.

That’s me helping my wife muck horse poop…so ends the day!

10/23/09 – Digger

Morning: Took a camera with me on a loop around the office I work in. (It’s three floors, about 25,000 sq. feet of office with about 225-250 workers.) If you thought I was kidding about the sweets & treats…

Tell me where Hot Wings fit into the picture at 8:30 in the morning?

Tell me where Hot Wings fit into the picture at 8:30 in the morning?

This was the jump off point – 3rd floor, NW corner.

This is where my bag of Smarties ended up.

This is where my bag of Smarties ended up.

Stop two – remember this is a descending loop I’m running here. NE corner 3rd floor.

So far, I’ve shown you the doughnuts and Smarties I spoke of the other day. Folks – this is two days after that post, and all of the foodstuffs are FRESH!

A brownie plate already clobbered before 9 a.m.

A brownie plate already clobbered before 9 a.m.

Floor 2, SE corner…

The creps must have been real flakey good - they were already gone!

The crepes must have been real flakey good - they were already gone!

The sausages were on the SW corner of the 2nd floor. At this point, I had to get back to my desk. If I had gone to the 1st floor, you would have been in our cafe. Yes, we have a cafe in the building. A full cafe – it’s Loveland’s Favorite Place to Eat Lunch

Don't forget the homemade banana bread!

Don't forget the homemade banana bread!

I forget where this one was taken, but it was on the same run through, on the way back to my desk.

I gained 5 lbs. on the walk, so I decided I needed to skate at lunchtime. No, I didn’t eat any of it, I gained weight just by looking at it all!

The weather cooperated, so I went to skate…

Noon: Just a simple 1 hour skate in and around the neighborhood where I work. I do this loop all the time. There are some really good, long, gradual hills. I’ll post pics sometime. Anyway, there was a slight headwind, so being in my fitness boots I got an extra good workout. Which, after having fought off all that temptation earlier, felt extra rewarding! But on the way back my right front nub of a wheel caught a crack and I went down in the street. I was wearing full armor, so my hands, elbows and knees were fine, but I twisted going down and caught a nice case of road rash on my right hip. I was wearing my tights so it wasn’t that bad, but it’s burning this morning. Need to go put more triple-antibiotic (boo-boo stuff) on it.

Where was this boo-boo stuff when I was growing up? I NEVER remember my mother using it on me. I don’t even think I knew it existed before I became a parent. In any event, I keep tubes of it everywhere. Boo-boo stuff is the best!

10/22/09 – Training

GOAL ACHIEVED: I work in an office where candy and treats are abundant. You could quite literally go into work having had nothing to eat and find enough free food on any given day to end up quite full, fat & happy.

I’ve been doing a good job of avoiding the sweets lately. It’s definitely an effort. I have a sweet tooth. I was doing fine till Monday, when a friend who works with me brought in a 1 lb. bag of Smarties.

Snorting them has crossed my mind.

Snorting them has crossed my mind.

Something about the Dextrose fueled goodness of that little tube of sugar drives me wild, to the point where I’ll eat so many in one sitting (open one end, slide the entire pack onto my tongue) that my upper lip will sweat and my tongue will burn. And once the sugar demon is loose, I crave more.

Breakfast of Champions...NOT!

Breakfast of Champions...NOT!

On Tuesday it drove me to seek additional sweets and treats around the office and I found myself having consumed 15 rolls of Smarties, a doughnut and 2 Pennsylvania Dutch, home-made moon pies by 11:30 IN THE MORNING! Out of control. Gained 3 lbs. since Monday.

So yesterday I took the bag of Smarties and gave them to someone else. I set a goal for myself: just for today, I won’t have any sweets or treats. I then went about my day. I walked right on by every candy bowl and open box of Krispy Kreams. I was able to get through the entire day without indulging! But don’t you know it – at 5 pm I was thinking “Great job…maybe you could have just one!” WHACK – back to reality…but I didn’t have it. For me, one is too many and a thousand not enough.

Noon: Went for an hour-long skate in my fitness skates. Kept the cuffs loose so I could get more freedom of movement and it felt great. Nice to get another day to skate outside in CO. And the 3lbs. gain wasn’t permanent, and I’m already feeling better. Whew – dodged a bullet, but its a daily struggle.
One day at a time…let it roll.

FWIW: Chad Hedrick is an official First Loser of 2009 as a result of the 5,000 meters 2010 Olympic time trials last night, second to Shani Davis by two-hundredths of a second. I guess I’m in good company.

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10/21/09 – Training

Evening: Just finished 25 minutes on the slideboard. It’s hard trying to get back into using this thing regularly. It means that winter training is OFFICIALLY here. I was somehow hoping the weather in CO would hold out longer this year, despite being told over and over that the Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a bad winter here.

Anyway – the hour was well spent. Worked on really keeping low in a proper seat, sitting in the heel, strong arm swings and precise recovery. Had to mix it up a bit, my back was getting a little tight. Good workout. Can’t wait to go skating in Florida next week!

10/19/09 – Slyderblades

Took the day off today. The weather looked like it was going to hold out, but it hasn’t. And the opportunity to spend some quality time with Horsey Pants has me bailing on indoor too. Uh oh – I’m already getting into vacation mode, and it’s still a week away. But hey – that said – vacation is only a week away! By this time next week I’ll be in FL. Today I got a referral for a good skate trail in the town we’ll be in from Barbie Bont. Note to self: need to start de-funk-i-fying my skates to be packed for the trip! In their own vacuum sealed bag. Because that reminds me…

This year, we left Duluth the evening of the race. We hung out at the DECC till about 1 then drove down to Saint Paul for the flight back to CO. My skates were so ripe, you couldn’t pick them up without a slick, smelly little residue being left on your fingers. NASTY!

I never have to worry about theft leaving this in the lockerroom with my skates and EZ Fits in it.

I never have to worry about theft leaving this in the locker room with my skates and EZ Fits in it.

Anyway – I packed them in a Sherpa ventilated bag, and carried them on the plane. With all of the other stuff going on, no one really noticed the smell. I stuffed the bag in the overhead (a few rows ahead of me – heh, heh) and sat down. A guy, musta weighed 350, got onboard with a freshy-fresh case of White Castle slyders and tucked them in right next to my bag in the overhead, stuffed his bag in there too and closed it up.

Ever driven through Staten Island NY in August? Rendering plants also smell similar.

Ever driven through Staten Island NY in August? Rendering plants also smell similar.

Imagine…30 steaming hot sliders marinating in the skate-funk of 26.2 marathon miles for an hour and a half in a pressurized cabin. You should have seen his face when he opened the overhead upon touchdown in DIA.

You want fries with dat?

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10/18/09 – Training

Morning: Skated for about an hour on a fresh stretch of black top that was due to open to the public later today.

New Road

Touched for the very first time...

Here in Fort Collins, we’ve been enjoying a pretty consistent flow of road-works stimulus projects. The particular stretch I hit today was a little over a mile of hills between Harmony Road and Trilby Road.

Mine, All Mine

Mine, All Mine

As it happened, my coach caught sight of me and came down to have a look-see at the virgin road. (We live in the same neighborhood, which proves to be very convenient for having a truck to race early in the morning as I’m working out and he’s taking his kids to school.) Anyway, I handed him the camera and hammed it up on a couple of the hills. I don’t have a tele-photo lens, so you won’t see my pretty Sunday-morning, 2-day-growth mug, but you’ll get the idea of just what kind of hills I’m talking about from this shot:

I bet a luge would have been fun too.

I bet a luge would have been fun too.

It ain’t the alps, but it’s fun nonetheless!

The hills were a bit of a challenge, both up and down, because if you’ve never skated on FRESH asphalt, let me tell you – its oily. Black ice. I tried to t-stop and kicked up an oil-slick! Seriously.

I was just noticing the other day that even the roads in my neighborhood have been stained black because of all the road work leading to our sub-division. And I’ve noticed that they’re slick too. So combine the slickness with harder durometer Matter Yellow’s (made even harder by the cold) and I feel like I’m slipping a lot. Good practice for double pushing, I guess.

Late Morning: I got to lead indoor speed practice this morning, which was fun. Got to put the team through 100 laps, 13 plyo exercises, low walks, alternating leg push drill, and some quick relays. Two of the kids on our team will be competing at Mid-America in Wichita next weekend, so we were sure to work it, even though the coach wasn’t there today.

My hips are sore tonight. Kids are in bed early, Horsey Pants and I are going to watch a French movie. Tomorrow is rest day!

Why am I blogging?

I’m given to wordiness. You could say I’m verbose (and redundant!) in person. I’ve always known it, but I was watching a video that a friend and team mate shot of the Speed Weasels at the finish line area in Duluth and, my God, I was just blah, blah, blah motor-mouthing for what seemed like an eternity. It was painful to watch, probably harder to listen to, and I’m sure it was all about the race. I just love to talk about inline skating. So why not blog about it?

And have fun with it too. Cause that’s what it’s all about for me. Let’s face it, there’s no Pot’O’Gold (or even a box of Lucky Charms) at the end of the inline rainbow, unless you’re Joey or plan on going to ice (then on to Ice Capades!) So I’m just going to talk about my experience and poke fun at myself when I start taking this skating thing too seriously. Because at the end of the day, win or lose, it is what it is. When I skate, if I’m on the trail, in my neighborhood, at the rink or on the race course, I’m putting out my level best attempt for that moment. I just want to be an athlete who gives it his all. (This after years of, well, not.)

I’ll never start in the back of the pack, and always skate my heart out. Cause that’s me and what I like to do. So what that I’ve missed 1st Overall in the open division in 2007 in Saint Paul, and again here in 2009 in Duluth. (I placed first loser in both instances due to chip timing. Start first, finish first, place second.) I’m not that bitter – really (BS). The truth is, I love skating, and I believe in skating my best, every time. If that lands me 2nd, or 7th or 459th I don’t care. I always want to feel good about my skate. Cause when it stops being fun, I’ll stop doing it.

In the morning, I’ll be heading out to a strip of road that’s been freshly paved. I’ll post pics – virgin black top. And it’s mine, all mine!

10/17/09 – Training

Morning: Skated 5 miles outdoors in my neighborhood this morning. The cold makes me feel like I just can’t get out of my own way. Really have to focus to hit top speed. Off to indoor practice, nice and warmed up.

Noon: Actually, all of this is before noon…100 laps and cornering practice at Rollerland, and a BONUS 15 miles outdoors on the trail between Lee Martinez Park & LaPorte here in Fort Collins. The city recently renovated the trail replacing the worst 1/2 mile stretch in the city with 8ft wide, beautiful red concrete! What a great morning. Perfect Fall Skate day in Colorado.

As a consequence, I smell rather bad. Worse than Greeley.

It’s evening now, and I actually smell worse. Thanks to a discussion with Mike Cofrin, and encouragement from my wife (and Al Gore) I invested in a reel-mower a few years ago. A Brill. Top of the line. Stay fit, save gas and pollute less.

Brill Luxus

Brill Luxus

Most times I love it, but today isn’t one of those days. (Truly a love/hate relationship.) GREAT! If I missed a workout due to meetings. SUX if you’ve been skating all day. Anyway…Today was the day to take the lawn down for the winter. We’re talking putting green low. Now, granted, my little patches of grass would hardly qualify as a goatee let alone a lawn, but it’s grass that needs to be cut. Unfortunately, it’s long, flat blade grass, which ain’t exactly the easiest to cut with a self-sharpening rotary blade. (Should have researched that a little better before buying.)

Well, twelve passes later, I’m done. No shower after all that skating, and afternoon of @SpeedyWeezy’s soccer game. Not even the dog will sit near me. Time for a shower.

10/16/09 – Training

Morning: Skated in to work on my fitness skates. 5.5 miles of burn. Need to skate back to my truck at lunchtime, so I’ll have 11 miles in before the day is over. Less than usual, but at a high intensity level so I’m happy.

Wow!I forgot how much work it is to keep those 82mm wheels moving forward while you’re strapped into a high cuff! What a great burn. It was hard to stay low and make an active recovery at first, but like anything else, a few minutes on and it all came back. Even managed to get some exaggerated double pushing in. But what is that thing hanging off the back of the right boot?!

It’s only been maybe 2 months since I’ve been on my fitness skates. I don’t know why, but this time I was a lot more aware of how restrictive fitness skates are, and how much harder you have to work to achieve anything like proper racing form in them. Makes me pause to consider how much harder the guy in the picture had to work in Duluth this year.

Advanced Wave A in Fitness Skates

Advanced Wave A in Fitness Skates

We were in Advanced Wave A together. (He’s second from left mixed in with these elite women.) This dude tried to come screaming by me at the top of the off-ramp. I took one look down, saw his skates and kicked it into high gear! Granted, he’s on 100MM wheels, but he still had the cuff.  And now that I think a little more about it, unless you’re going to be out front pulling, or looking to take extended fliers throughout the race, you probably won’t worry so much about having you ankle movement restricted. The extra support may actually help you power through a little more in the paceline. For me, it’s pretty hard to maintain proper form when riding a draft. I tend to stand up more, can’t get down as low as I’d like without breaking the pace. Yeah, maybe he didn’t have to work all that hard during the race after all. But the sprint had to be difficult. Or so I’m guessing.

Today in my old fitness skates, I was very aware of the cuff. I was working a lot harder on “proper” form in these skates. And that’s always good. So I’ll definitely spend more time on my fitness skates this winter. My Rollerblade Aero 10’s with the 82MM wheels. But I won’t be skating casually, I’ll be working hard to exaggerate my form to get as close as possible to my racing form and speed. Why not at least try?

Noon: Another 5.5 miles to pick up the truck. The hills were particularly difficult, probably because I hadn’t eaten much in the morning. Was reminded that you shouldn’t just think you can roll over most debris on the smaller wheels. Oh, and low crossovers in high-cuff boots don’t mix so well unless you’re really, REALLY down in the heel!