Monthly Archives: November 2009

Every breath you take

Ever have a bruised rib? It hurts. I mean, cry like a baby wearing a soggy diapy, who’s hungry and has a stray hair wrapped tightly around his pecker kinda cry.

No skating for 2 weeks?!?! WAAAHHHHH

I fell at indoor practice a couple of Sundays ago. At the time it didn’t seem that bad and I was skating again by Tuesday. I was actually feeling a lot better later in the week. My knee and shoulder were healing well, and the pain in my side was decreasing.

Didn’t skate again till Friday, and even then I just did an easy 8 miles with Speedy Weazy & some of the other Speed Weasels. Didn’t push it – wouldn’t by prudent. Not gonna do it. My rib was getting better. I was able to take deeper breaths without too much discomfort and the skating was smooth.

Went to indoor practice on Saturday morning and was able to hit near top speed. Didn’t want to over do it though, because it still hurt as soon as I started breathing heavy. But I felt OK after and didn’t push it too far. Still, I was sore so I asked the coach and some other guys what I should do for it. They all said the same thing – tape it and drink heavily for the next few days…

Ho! Ho! Ho! Drinkin' & Rinkin' don't mix.

What did me in was getting down the Christmas decorations Saturday afternoon, then putting up the lights outside. The artificial tree and boxes of decorations were all stored overhead on the high shelf in our garage, and the box with the tree is oddly shaped and flippin’ heavy. Actually, a lot heavier when you’re favoring your weak left on a ladder. Big mistake taking that down by myself. I immediately knew I’d blundered when I found myself scrambling down the ladder with this massive box hoping to get to the ground before it did – didn’t want anyone to see this…I’d reinjured myself and dropped the Christmas tree.

I’ve been wincing ever since. Every breath, every twist, every lift of the right arm, every cough (oh my God, kill me now!!!) and forget about rolling over in bed. Pain baby, pure pain. Lord – imagine if I’d broken something. I’m such a wuss…

HorseyPants had had enough of the man-baby schtick by Sunday morning. She went online and dispelled the coaches advice in 2 clicks. Turns out, taping a rib isn’t recommended anymore. It can shrink your lungs and promote shallow breathing. Doing so would hurt recovery in the long run and undo all I’ve done to actually increase the depth of the breaths I take while skating long distances. And the prescription calls for ibuprofen & ice. Oh, and rest – no excercise.

With that, it was straight to the couch for an ice pack and some quality time with Sherlock Holmes (my daughter made a comfy spot for me with a blanket, pillow and book.) Sunday was to be a no-skate day. So with all of my new-found free-time, the kids and I got creative and made some custom boots…

Custom Luiginos - Mini Challenge, Victory & Attitude. (click image to enlarge)

Both of my kids and I skate Luigino indoor (Rollerblade outdoor.) Luigino makes a great skate – and they’re very stylish. You don’t realize exactly how stylish until you try to paint them in miniature. Trust me, they pay attention to detail! I’m going to get the custom Luigino/Rollerblade next year…I think.

Rollerblade / Luigino 2009 Racemachine LE

My bud Titanium Tone is going to let me try out a set of Pilot frames sometime soon, and I bet they’d look and feel great together. Anyway, it’ll be easier to paint in miniature.

Ibuprofen & ice. Every morning, noon, evening and night. And no excercise. Which is killing me. That weight always finds a way to get back on. But my side is starting to feel a lot better thanks to HorseyPants. She’s my hero. That said, I absolutely hate seeing the weight creeping up every morning. I need to so something tomorrow. ANYTHING to get the heart rate up for an hour.

Maybe the elliptical – just a little…

11/27/09 Training: Light 8 miles on the bike path with Speedy Weazy, John, Titanium Tone & Skram. The guys took it easy on us, what with my broke-ass rib and Speedy Weazy just getting back into outdoors. Great skate, beautiful afternoon.

11/28/09 Training: Took it easy at indoor practice and the rest is what it is…

11/29/09 Day Off…11/30/09 Day Off…

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for polyurethane, aluminum, carbon fiber, leather, asphalt, concrete, tight-coat, family and friends to skate with and a wife that understands. 

Looks like he's pronating.

Be safe. Eat lots. Skate tomorrow…

11/24/09 Training: Did maybe 75 laps in the rink. Still banged up from the fall on Sunday and getting low and deep breaths were a bit painful.

11/25/09 Training: Fun day with Speedy Weezy – we made puffball Pokemon, marshmallow AK-47’s and a salt-dough exploding volcano. Life is good. As we were prepping our “mad scientist” lab Paul ran upstairs to grab his matching Inline Fitness baseball cap so we could be twins.  

11/26/09 Eating: Lots of it.

100MM Cookies

It’s that time of the year when my “race weight” goes into its ugly-Elvis phase. I work in a place where it’s hard to avoid caloric overload on a daily basis. I could be broke as a joke but still get 3 hots just by taking a walk around the office at nine, noon and five. No joke. And God-forbid I get sick or sidelined from training, my waist line is wasted.

The New Rollerblade Calorie Machine 5000.

I cringe when I read other skate blogs where they talk about being the “fat kid” at heart, but I have to admit, I’m one too. I could eat crap all day long. I guess it’s incentive to keep skating, so I can eat what I want, when I want, with impunity. But I’m not twelve anymore and eating has consequences beyond the last meal. I wasn’t a “fat kid” but I did balloon when I left home. I definitely got fat before I got thin again, and I don’t want to go back.

This being the week of Thanksgiving, I need to have a plan for avoiding all of the temptation for sweet, baked-goodness. Guess I better put a zip-lock on my lips and keep skating.

11/23/09 Training: Day off. The fall on Sunday banged my stuff up good. I hope to be able to skate later today. Playing it by ear, and locking myself down at my desk so I can’t eat & run in the office.

Inspiration for this post – Frealz! This blog is ROTFLMAO bust-a-gut funny!

Skating in the digital age

Note to self: distractions during drills are dangerous. Even when they’re as benign as a stopwatch. Yesterday at practice, I went down harder than those nasty rumors about Lady GaGa’s true gender identity because I was looking at a stopwatch. Brilliant. I’m glad I didn’t have my iPod strapped to my arm or it would be toast – particularly since I didn’t buy that extended warranty…

She took "skin-suit" a little too literally.

As I was logging on this morning, I ran across a new-to-me blog with a freaking hilarious post on this digital age we live in. This combined with the  USARS ban on electronic devices got me to think about how digital my skating has become:

GPS – Garmin Forerunner: I’m always tracking my skate stats, everything from heart rate, pace, distance and total time to all of the cool stuff I can do with it on-line at It’s a part of nearly every training skate outdoors.

 iPod: A must for getting into the speed zone. I don’t think I could have done the big solo-skate without it.

LCD Helmet Light: Yes, I’m a dork. I don’t use it everyday, but it comes in handy when I’m too anxious to wait for first light in the winter months and I want to start rolling before the sun comes up.

Cell-Phone: I never skate without it. When you’re rolling long distance, you never know when you’ll need it. But be warned, you’ll want take it off your elastic waistband before using a Porto-San in your local park.

T-Mobile wouldn't take my phone back after the "incident."

Combine all of the on-board electronics with the web – this blog, other blogs, message boards, Facebook, Twitter and and I’d say I’m wired to roll. I’ve got navigation, sound, lights, communications, web-integration and socialization. All I need is a pine-tree air freshener for my skatebag and I’m all set.

11/21/09 Training: Did an hour on the elliptical before heading to the rink for Saturday Morning Speed Club. Wasn’t happy to be tipping the scale with what I’d say is an acceptable post-holiday weight a week BEFORE Thanksgiving. Did 6.6 miles on the elliptical, level 7; 50 laps and left/right drills at the rink. My buddy John came out to Saturday morning indoor. Always good to see and skate with him.

11/22/09 Training: 2 hours indoors. Not the greatest session. Cussed out a twelve year old for throwing a pass during a drill (apologized to her AND her father) and took a spill in the last 30 seconds of practice banging up my brow, jaw, shoulder, elbow, hip, a rib or two and knee. Freaking Brilliant.

Skate rage

Beware the blue-hairs! They’re everywhere around here, and they don’t like to share the road, their tax dollars, or their spot in line at the Wal-Mart Pharmacy. They’re an angry bunch, ready to pipe-off in the opinion column of the local rag about loud Harley pipes, arrogant cyclists, anything Obama, or the local sheriff who lies to the liberal media about Balloon Boy’s family.  And this being the wild west, they don’t hesitate to take matters into their own hands, particularly on the subject of who owns the road.

I was almost taken down by one of them yesterday while road skating near work. It’s a road I skate all the time, and I’m very familiar with it. Maybe too familiar.

These are the long, gradual hills not unlike what we skate on Highway 61 in Duluth.

I was at the top of the hill, and because of the recent snow, the bike lane and shoulder were full of debris. I stayed as far left in the cycle lane as I could so as not to be over the line and in the road as I traversed the hazard, just to be very nearly clipped by a blue-hair in a silver Chevy. She was staying as far right (pun intended) as she could so as to be as close to the bike land line as she could. And when I turned to look, she was looking right at me. And she looked spiteful. Zoinks!

Bloody bladers. Blast 'em.

A lot of cyclists have been injured or died on our local roads this year. More than usual. And it’s situations like this, where the road is wide and the bike lane is dirty, when we who share the shoulder need to be more careful. It would be nice if we could just assume that the person passing in a car would leave a little room between us and them, but it leaves room to be maimed or killed with any such assumption.

So starting tomorrow, I’m going to take a new approach on the road:

A set-up like this would come in so handy on the trail. No more courtesy shouts. “Passing on the left!” turns into a genial “meep, meep.” Like Roadrunner. And if you pretend to not have heard me the first, second and even third time, I can zip right up behind you and trail gate while riding the horn and flashing my high beams with abandon. Wouldn’t need to say a word! With this rig, I’d feel empowered. I wouldn’t need to skate at sunrise to own the trail. Think about how free you’d be to roll in confidence, knowing tha you can give and Lance-wannabe a friendly “toot” as you pass him!

With regard to the road however, when you live here long enough you come to find out that these long-timer’s  are really just ticked-off about all of the local growth that’s turned their once sleepy bedroom and retirement community into a bustling suburbia. But that’s where my empathy stops. You want to take these issues up with your quilting group or your sober friends at The Village Inn, not on the roads. Share the road, leave us some room, or have really, really good insurance.

11/19/09 Training: Skated 14 miles at lunch. It wasn’t as cold as it’s been and I was only about 9 minutes off peak-season training times. I wasn’t trying to get back into peak season shape, but it’s good to know it’s not far off, considering I wasn’t really putting much gusto into my strides. 

P.S. Thanks to Wanderlost for turning me onto Chasers!

Snuggie Skate

News Flash – It’s cold here in Colorado. OK, not such big news, but knowing that winter is pretty well here, it’s getting harder and harder to keep that motivation for outdoor skating up. (See previous blog entries.)

When I was actively losing weight through inline skating, there was nothing that would stop me from skating once the mercury dipped below 32 degrees. But for the past two years now, it’s getting harder and harder mentally to gear up and head out with gloves and a mask on.

I read a great blog this morning that inspired me to jump into the Cult of Snuggie

Crossovers are cumbersome unless you're wearing a modified Snuggie, as prototyped here.

When they come up with a Snuggie I can use my legs in, I’m all over it. Until then, I think I’ll ask HorseyPants to get me one of the Original Snuggie’s for Christmas. New Years is going to be a lot more fun this year…

11/18/09 Training: Did an hour on the elliptical. The weather at lunch was perfect, but I had an old friend stop by the office for lunch. On the elliptical – Level 9, 6.6 miles. My legs are feeling the familiar burn today. It’s been a while.

Thunderbird Rising

A few weeks ago I wrote about Jeff, our LA Thunderbird. After 30 years he’s getting back into skating, but away from Rollerderby and quads and into inline speed skating and blades. Which makes me feel more comfortable skating with him, cause the first time he came at me low and fast I had visions of Rollerball and quickly made a line for the bench!

Rollerderby ain't what it used to be...

What a movie! Blood & Blades on the Rink Floor! With outfits that actually made Rebecca Romijn-Stamos look like a Russian transvestite, LL Cool Jay look like MC Hammer, and Chris Kline look like – um, Charlie Sheen?

Anyway, to help speed his transition we outfitted him with a pair of Rollerblades – rec boots with the hybrid frames that expand. Well, that lasted all of 1 practice. Last night he tried out his first pair of inline speedskates for an hour. Looks like he’s a natural. He’s complaining about all of the right things – right foot wants to dominate, shins are getting tight, quads are burning, left foot doesn’t want to lead on it’s own. All signs that he’s hitting all of the right foundational points.

I can’t wait to see how long it takes till “it happens” – that day when he feels like he’s getting somewhere. The day he says something like “I’m getting the hang of this.” My bet is it won’t be two months before he’s hanging in the pace line on 5 lap drop backs for 100 laps.

11/16/09 Training: Indoor practice. 2 hours of torture. The 100 lap warm up was kept at a brisk pace, which was excellent. However, I made the unfortunate mistake of ramping it up with my 5 laps at 10 to go, not realizing that my former Olympian coach was the one behind me to take the last pull. I dropped at 1 lap to go. The pack pulled away and I lost step. Amazing. 1 mis-stride is all it takes to fall off the train. We also did the tough plyo set, lap the pack and some relays at the end. Great practice.

11/17/09 Training:  Day off sucka!!!

11/18/09 Training: Tuesday night practice, 100 laps and light laps talking to Jeff about his stride and going over some foundation building drills. This guys is going to be fast…

Oh Fudge…

Posted all this hot air the other day about not being ready to hang up my outdoor wheels for the season. That I was going to be on-call for that next outdoor skate no matter what. I was so inspired writing that last post, until I left for work and felt the bone-chill in the air. No one will know if I skip it today…

Yeah, well, so much for that idea. As I’m leisurely walking into the locker room to enjoy a lunchtime in the warmth of the company gym, I see a friend… “Hey man, if you’re gonna be a skate-pro, you’d better go skate this today!” as he’s pointing out the door at the brush weeds blowing over on the west side of our building. “Um, yeah, that’s what I was going to do.” Thus compelled to follow-through on so much hubris from the previous post.

The snow clouds were looming and the temperature just below freezing but clouds had been hanging around all morning and weren’t productive, so I bundled up, geared up and headed out. As I was standing at my tailgate in the parking lot in front of my office, with that day-glow green 2005 NSIM finisher sweatshirt over 3 other layers (I buy a new sweatshirt every year from the cheepster rack at the NSIM Expo) I felt like Ralphie’s little brother Randy from Christmas Story, on skates.


Wait up guys!

Lacing up I notice a few drops of rain hitting the ground, but nothing major. I roll out. The wind was brutal going up the lead hills, but I was just looking forward to a nice push on the way back.

About 6 miles from the office on my usual lunch loop and the rain/snow mixture materialized quickly. And the wind changed direction and intensified. I’m trapped. And the road is getting wetter by the second. I decide it’s not worth it and turn around, short-cutting the loop by 4 miles.

I’m flying back now, wind in my face. The wind seems like it’s coming from everywhere, at once a head, tail and cross wind. Amazing and disorienting. The freezing rain/snow makes it feel like I’m skating into the path of a sandblaster. My glasses are completely wet and I’m getting pelted in the eyes by these micro-needles of rain/snow every time I look over the rim. Seriously, my face is getting numb. And not in a good way.

I’m screaming down the hills I started out on. Literally screaming. I pass my friends Bob & Geoff screaming and they think it’s funny. Peckerheads…

The wind was in my face, and I’m thankful, because I hadn’t counted on the roads being wet coming back. The downhill in this section is a pretty steep grade. The wind is slowing me somewhat, but I’m having a hard time controlling my speed with T-stops. I think I’m actually accelerating when I’m trying to stop. At least there aren’t any cars…whoops, spoke too soon. Luckily, they let me slide in front of them to clear the lot they’re pulling into.

The road flattens just enough for me to gain control as I need to bank into the front parking lot at work. As I roll into the lot wiping my glasses with my gloved finger, I think maybe no one will see me…until I spot the damn NSIM sweatshirt reflection in the window. 

As I return to my tailgate, having cut the skate to a mere 9 miles, I start looking for a pole to stick my tongue to. I feel like I’ve gone through with a double-dog dare, but one only a jackass would have accepted…

I’ll still keep the skates in the trunk, but I put them away wet, so I might have a convenient excuse to stay inside next time and eat some turkey with Bumpas’ dogs.

11/13/09 Training: 8.75 miles in the snow and rain. Forecast for weekend is coming true. (They;re getting better at predicting the snow!)

11/14/09 Training: 1.5 hours in the rink this morning. Did 100 laps, right/left leg pushes and worked on cornering technique. Really ramped up the pace on the 100 laps today. It felt good. Finished in about 20 minutes.

I Frown Upon The Forecast

A friend of mine posted this at Facebook about 12 hours ago: “Looks like tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday will all be “yucky” days…” Upon reading her post I was thankful my friend John and I were able to get a great 10 mile lunch skate in out at Boyd Lake St(k)ate Park earlier. And while not  typically a person known to look at a weather forecast (we live in Colorado where we say, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes it’ll change,”) I took what my friend’s Facebook post said and filed it away in my memory bank. Tomorrow as a sk8 day was a washout.

Sure enough, the usual waking hour rolled around and the eyes popped open. This is typically 2 hours before the sun comes up. In the time between waking and sunrise one can do many things: get juiced on java, poke around on Facebook, catch up or get ahead of a workload, workout, do some reading…lot’s of options. But not today. Today was a day of reflection and near defeat. The thought that the outdoor season might actually be coming to a close has started to become a reality. I hate this time of the year. Perish the thought – damn you, damn you miserable thought. I was ready to call it a season.

Winter training! Months of elliptical hell. Hours of slideboard and Gazelle gliding. The smell of the rink, which recalls thousands of sweaty feet, Lysol, spilled sodas, Teen Spirit and stale popcorn every time you walk through the door. All are poor substitutes for the fresh Colorado outdoors, and dampen my enthusiasm for our beloved sport. Mmmm, somewhat.


I bought my Gazelle Edge for $10. Best excercise equipment I've ever owned.

Similar I imagine to a  child with her blankie or the lord of the crack-house couch, a stubborn refusal to relinquish my outdoor skates takes hold and irrational thoughts of justifiable homicidal rage supplant sanity…


Indoor skates are my Methadone for these.

Hell no. I will not lie down. I will not go quietly into the bleakness of the winter night. I’ll  live for the next outdoor skate, with my eyes and hopes fixed on the heavens above. Pray Lord, keep the damn snow to yourself.

This is the time of year I’m most reminded of how spoiled we are here in Colorado the rest of the year. This is a perfect state for a sk8er. But thanks to my recent trip to Florida, I’m now somewhat resentful of the sunshine state. There are BETTER states to live in if you want to skate outdoors year-round. I guess that’s a discussion I’ll need to have with HorseyPants – where to retire. Until then, I’ll keep my outdoor skates in my trunk, ready to roll, waiting for that next perfect day. Call them my security blanket. Touch them and your toast!

11/12/09 Training: 10 miles outdoors at Boyd Lake with John. John is a runner who skates, and skates really well. He and I skated Duluth to our personal bests two years ago and he would have done the same again this year but he’d suffered through knee problems all season, so he took time off. He’d been skating on a certain brand of skates that have a 10 degree cant, and over long distances they created undue pressure on his knees, causing injuries that just wouldn’t heal. He’s on a pair of Powerslides now and the pain is gone. His skating is strong – he hasn’t missed a stride! But I’m bummed – he’s moving to California in March. Guess I’ll catch up with him in Duluth. If anyone knows of good skating spots around Mt. Shasta, please let me know.

You’ve heard the old joke…

When I see pictures of male inline skaters, like this one of me from my recent trip to Florida, I cringe.

Skating in FL

The hardest part of inline skating is telling your family you're gay.

Let’s face it – it’s not a “tough” looking sport. And the buffer you are, the more you look like the “lost” 7th Village People person.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I guess…

Anyway, the best chance we have of looking cool is a good action shot. But it’s really hard to be prepared for those cameras. But when they do catch you, and you’re in good form, it can make all the training worth it. At least it does for me. But man, we’ve all seen or been the subject of some pretty tragic action skating shots. It’s comical. I’d love to start collecting embarrassing skate shots. That would be fun.

11/10/09 Training: At lunch I did a full, extended plyo set; Evening went to the rink for 100 laps.

11/9/09 Training: Day off

Send your bad action shots to:! And when I see you in Duluth, maybe we can do the hand motions to YMCA together in a pace line!