Zen and the art of speedskating

Like a chronic wanker with Parkinson’s, I often find amusement and get sidetracked for hours…inadvertently. I don’t mean to, but when something piques my interest, I grab hold and shake it for all it’s worth, squeezing every last drop of fun out of it before moving on. Blessing or curse? You decide. I can do the same within the realm of thought, and sometimes, that endeavor proves more productive…

The Thinker, 2011. I got nothin' but time (and a case of silver bullet long necks.)

This ice fascination has really taken tenacious hold of me, and it’s making me do things I once thought…improbable. Like even entertaining the idea of blowing off inline speed skating practice to get some time in at the public ice skating sessions at our local ice rink. Because when I’m out there, I get lost in another zone, where hours speed by like minutes, and the experience leads to a higher level of enlightenment every time.

When skating, I just skate.

It’s deep…I’ve been focused on the sound of silence. That state where you’re no longer toe-pushing and hearing that horrible crunching sound at the end of your stride. For me, it was truly a Zen experience the first time I made it around the entire oval without making a sound. It took three solo practice sessions and three regular classes, but I’ve finally got it. Worked on the straightaways first for a week, then the corners. It was time well spent.

I’m continually amazed at how easy it is to get lost in thought while I’m on the ice. The time goes whizzing by when I’m out there. Well…it’s not like I’m really “lost” in thought, because I’m very aware of what’s going on around me. Rather, it’s that I’m elevated above what’s happening by the thoughts going through my head. Does that make sense? It’s not like I can see myself, but it is a whole lot easier for me to visualize my form when I’m on ice.

I think it’s because I’m so much more into my form. I’m becoming very aware of the subtly of the art of speedskating on ice. It’s really a perfect mix of science and art. I’ve become a mad physicist, conducting experiments, tests and proofs on each lap. I’ll take one stiff-shouldered, then another loose. I’ll push my knees way forward on one lap, and sit back into my heel in the next. It’s so much fun making mental notes of the results. With these notes, I’m kinda coming into my own, referring to them often when I get tired or hear that familiar crunch. Taking instruction from the coaching staff becomes so much more meaningful for me when I’m able to spend more time playing with this stuff on my own. Having their guidance and my own notes, I’m able to make corrections easier when my form starts to break down. I’m able to pinpoint what was wrong, and for me, it’s more apparent and easy to see on the ice than it is on inlines.

That said, WOW! Has the ice ever helped my inline speed skating form. And honestly, I’m back to a place where that’s REALLY got me fired up about inline. And as it turns out, I haven’t actually gotten to a place where I’ve blown off inline practice for ice. Not yet at least. For as any Zen master would ask, “What am I?” And deep down, I know that answer as it relates to skating. I skate, therefore I am.

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5 responses to “Zen and the art of speedskating

  1. Pingback: Blogger Award for Guys « Horseypants

  2. now that is definitely a red-neck photo. 🙂 I can’t remember where I first came across the original of that picture… and it still disturbs me when I see it now.

  3. Pingback: February 17th 2011- Short Track Speed Skating News

  4. Hee, I like the sszen jpg, and the red-neck made me laugh.

    I think you described the enchantment of ice really well though. It’s magic how you can be moving fast enough to break the teeth right out of your head if you fall, but not make a sound at all…

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