Do you remember the first time you did it? Where you were, who you were with? The racing of your heartbeat, the sweaty palms, the dry lips, the nervous anticipation, the rush, the stumble, the blur, the satisfaction? This isn’t the point where you cuddle and light a smoke, stud, but where you roll into the DECC, grab some water, cookies, and fresh bananas, take off your skates and start swapping race stories. It’s The Northshore Inline Marathon.
Northshore is my favorite event. It’s the only one I’ll do every year, rain or shine, freezing cold or MN tropical. Duluth is where I fell in love with inline skating and the people who love it like I do. From my first time to my last time, I remember what the air tastes like out there, the feeling of the cool lake air on my skin, the pre-race jitters and post-race laughs I share with my friends and fellow skaters. For me, going to Duluth every September has become ritual, but every time brings back the rush of the first time. It’s why I train all year long.
The folks at NSIM just posted a video out at YouTube from the 2009 race. I’ve already seen it more than my friend Linda has seen Avatar (she’s up to 10 paid times!) O.K. I haven’t watched this that many times yet, but getting close. The pack in this blog’s header is featured at our finish, about 3:57 into it…
NSIM2009 is where FirstLoser got his name. Stepher Charrier of Rollerblade USA is the man who gave it to me. It’s the race that defined this blog! This video is like capturing the book of Genesis on tape. How freaking cool is that?!
I’ve made lots of great friends at NSIM, but 2009 was a topper. Everything about the experience last year was F – U – N. That’s all I went there to do, just have a good time. I even left my Garmin Forerunner in the room. Something just told me to forget the stats, just get out there and skate. I do train all year for this one event, (even maxing out the memory on my Forerunner at least once a season,) and when I finally show up at the start out there in Two Harbors it’s to race against and beat just one guy…me. Just like Stephen is saying in the video, all I wanna do is do better than I did the year before. Placing is secondary and nice when it happens, but beating that schmuck who made me drive all that way for that 1 single race, who got me up at the crack of dawn and made me skate all of those miles all year long, he’s the one I want to leave in the dust. Then come back next year and do it again!
The timing of this video’s release is perfect. The weather’s getting better, and from what I see out at Facebook that’s not just here in CO. Many of us are getting back out on the trails and starting to get into the season. For me, Duluth is my season, and I can’t wait to get there.
If you haven’t registered for the race yet, they just posted the 2010 race details out at the NSIM site. Looks like another great time on wheels – I hope to see you there!
2/26/10 – 2/28/10 Training: No skating for me, it was all about Speedy Weezy at the 2010 Classic in Wichita. Recap still to come! Learned so much there, I’m having a hard time getting it into one post!
3/1/10 Training: 1 hour on the elliptical, level 9, 6.2 miles. Barely awake after the long ride back from Wichita. I should not be working out.
3/2/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits. They were all tested for their crossover technique and all achieved basic proficiency. Amazing to see how far they’ve come in the past 6 weeks. Foundational drills work! Also had a post-race pizza party and watched shaky video of the Wichita races on the wall. We had 6 kids competing, they all achieved their goals!
3/3/10 Training: 12 miles at lunch on the trail in Loveland. A little windy, but great to be back on wheels outside!
3/4/10 Training: See 3/3/10 – more of the same! Bring it on!
3/5/10 Training: See 3/3/10 & 3/4/10 – Lost Weight Now, Ask Me How – have a smooth delicious skate trail for lunch every day!
3/6/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits and did an hour skating around the tennis courts here in the hood. A little tight but great to be on an outside oval!
3/7/10 Training: We’ve got a few new guys, and I’ve moved back up front a few spots in the line. This is going to get very interesting! All I can say is…WOW – plyos and top speed are going to make for a hard Monday. The big news from this practice – things “clicked” for my daughter today, who just came alive at burn pace and came into her own as a speed skater. She’s now known as Speed Demon. More on this later!
3/8/10 Training: Pain…can’t…walk…down…stairs…1 hour on the elliptical, level 5, in tears. My daughter and “The Fast Kid” are in the same shape I am. We must be doing something right.
3/9/10 Training: Practice with the Rink Rabbits. MarkTheTrucker timed me and I was a full second below where I was on Sunday…still…very…stiff.
3/10/10 Training: 10 miles at Boyd Lake with my old buddy John, back from Mt. Shasta for the week! Lot’s of wind, a few snow squalls made for a good workout. Buttkicking good!