Category Archives: Training Log

Happy New Year

It’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions drive the gluttonous masses to get off their asses and into a fitness routine that they’ll maintain for about as long as The Kardashians could keep up with Snookie Polizzi in an all-or-nothing Qwirkle match. Not being one with the patience or intestinal fortitude to watch grossly gelatinous glutes strain against new “form-fitting, not tight” $80 Under Armour in the mad January rush to get ready for “the big Valentine’s 1k,” I work out at home, in a private gym at my place of employment, at the rink, in the street or on the trail.

What the hell can I possibly add to this?

In order to keep my training program on track, I’ve added a new page called…Training Log. The training log helps keep me focused, and it keeps me honest about how hard I’m really working. When I think back on 2010, it was a year where I eased up in a lot of areas. I stopped taking some things too damn seriously. Admittedly I was pretty anal when it came to the amount of skating I do, so easing back some was a good idea. But since I’d stopped tracking my training, somewhere around mid-summer, my skating and attitude suffered. I think I was missing the accountability that a training log affords me. There’s something to be said for having documentation of your effort. To be able to review it compared to your performance, to know what’s working and what’s not. Tracking the time, effort and motivation for each workout is something I need to do, and that’s what this new page is all about. Consider it this inline skaters reality show. It is what it is. So I hope you don’t get all unpositive on me and don’t even see the work I put in, ’cause you know what, you know what? I’ll be like “I’m done with this.” That’s The Situation…I hope yous gets something out of it.

Cuckin Fold

Cold weather skating never used to bother me but I guess ol’ fart syndrome is catching up with me, cause as I’ve gotten another year older my tolerance for the cold has shriveled up quicker than George Costanza’s manhood in a cold pool. I want to roll on up inside a warm cavity and stay neatly snuggled beneath a warm downy blanket, only to be coaxed out of hiding by a warm shower or a vigorous rub down. (The later with the former being the ideal of course…)

They didn't tell me the skates came with the latest bluefoot technology.

This is my first winter in boots that were built exclusively for speed. Having ordered my boots 1/2 size smaller than my true shoe size, and after heat-molding them to my feet, I can’t wear them comfortably with socks. Yesterday I figured out just how much I’m going to miss the extra padding and warmth when I’m heading out to trail skate this winter…Mmmm, yeah, looks like I’ll be putting in even more time indoors this winter than I did last year. Could be worse, right?

As a lot of you know, indoor inline speed skating is a lot different than skating outdoors. Almost everything I’ve learned indoors has helped me become a more efficient technical skater outdoors, and that’s the primary reason I love it so much. I don’t leave it all in the rink. The knowledge is portable and adaptable. It works when you work it, no matter where you’re using it. But, of course, you’ve got to think it through, find your strengths and improve on your weaknesses if you want to get faster. Since that’s what I want, that’s what I’ve been doing…thinking about the basics and also doing a lot of foundational drills.

This year’s been great, in that I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress, both indoor and out. Indoor, this was the first year where I’d set and achieved a personal speed goal. Getting that out of the way toward the end of what I’d call the regular indoor season, it was hard not to immediately set a new speed goal and go for it once I hit the one I was shooting for. But I’ve purposely resisted the temptation to push it further before the year is out, opting to simply stop, claim some progress, and set myself up to have something to shoot for in 2011. I’ve still got a lot to work on, that’s for sure, and that’s the reason I’m sticking to the basics for the rest of the year.

I’ve been concentrating on balance, body position and simple mechanics. I’ve also been stretching more cause I’m just not very flexible. Never have been. But anyway…Over the last few weeks, I’ve been getting some great tips from my coach on how to position my shoulders, use my arms and feather step into turns at high speed. It’s been paying off, but it’s a lot of work. It’s required me to break things down a bit and work on my stride in small pieces, rebuilding from the ground up. I’ll admit, it’s easier for me to actually do this because I teach the Rink Rabbits class, and we’re hammering on the basics all the time. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today if it weren’t for the Rink Rabbits.

Here’s a video of one of the drills that’s been very helpful in attacking a lot of my problem areas. Both Speedy Weezy and I watched and listened and tried to do what Mantia was telling us at the Technical Clinic we had with him and his friends back in September

As you can see, I was all over the place with my arms, swinging and turning my upper body. I was also rushing into the crossover, not really getting my weight distributed properly, ending up with a weak under-push. Speedy Weezy was setting up in an A-frame, and bobbing up and down. Having all this pointed out has helped me help us both, and I’ve been able to in turn help the rest of the Rink Rabbits with their problem areas. We’ve all been working hard at fixing these foundational pieces, and for a lot of the team, the work has really been paying off. Young and old, experienced and noob alike, these simple foundational type drills are really proving to be just what the speed doctor ordered. We’re becoming better skaters from the ground up, especially Speedy Weezy, Speed Demon, The Brothers Speed and Speed Lord. They’ve been much more determined to do things right since the clinic. They’ve become very purposeful. It’s been great to watch and be a part of their growth.

So, not wanting to deal with the cold and the wind anymore, I got up at the crack of sanity and went to Rollerland to “treat” myself to a private practice this morning. Armed with a big cup of Starbucks and an iPod full of instructional video clips that Mantia gave us, I set out to prove to myself just how much I want to be a better technical skater. Seriously, my goal is to do these early morning rink runs at least once or twice a week now through the rest of the year.We’ll see how that goes…

Here’s what my workout looked like this morning:

– 100 Laps Warm Up

– Right Leg / Left Leg Balance – 3x each leg

– Base Position Roll – 6x total

– Right / Left Leg Rolling Leaps – 3x each leg

– Large Circle Drill (Video Above) – 1 minute, 3x total

– Right / Left Leg Glide – 3 laps (6 corners each leg)

– Crossover Glide – 6x total

– Right / Left Leg Push – 1 minute, 3x each leg

That took an hour, and I was back to the house well before I needed to be to work. I wonder if I can get the survailance video to see what my form looks like? Or maybe just ask the coach to review it and give me some pointers. In any event, it was a great way to start the day, and I’m really going to make an effort to get more of this training in.

Or…hell, I could suck it up, get used to the bluefoot sensation and give ice a try, but that’s something I swore I’d never do…just like the rest of this stuff.

Happy Thanksgiving – Gobble, Gobble HEY!

When you think no one is looking…

Stardate 8/23/10

There are lots of things I’ve done when I thought no one was looking, just to discover later that enquirering minds were lurking beyond my peripheral vision, watching my every move. It’s led to some awkward denials and having a few invitations rescinded. All I can say is let those without sin flick the first boog.

$5 says the Windsor kid eats it.

But this post isn’t about my private predilections and deviations from societal norms, it’s about the definition of character and dedication to our sport. And, in breaking with my inner narcissist, it’s not even about me, it’s about some new Rink Rabbits we took into the club this weekend…

The 2010 Rink Rabbits World Team

We were honored to have Joey Mantia and his friends & team mates Michael Cheek, Sara Sayasane and Wouter Hebbrecht to do a technical clinic with The Rink Rabbits here at our home rink, Rollerland Skate Center, in Fort Collins, CO! Not only is this one powerfully talented group of World Class achievement, they’re all genuinely nice people who truly love inline speedskating. Their love of the sport comes through in many ways.

The clinic itself was custom tailored to be an event open to all of our skaters, from the youngest, least experienced on through The Fast Kid, who’d just returned from Outdoor Nationals with 2 Gold Medals. Everyone skated away with something they could use to make them better, faster, stronger and smarter skaters.

Case in point…Horseypants.

My better half has been a recreational skater for just about as long as I’ve been skating. This year, she’s going with me to Duluth, Minnesota to skate her first half marathon at the 15th Annual Northshore Inline Marathon. We upgraded her to 100mm “race cuff” fitness skates (Rollerblade Speedmachine) a month ago, (which I’ve since bumped up to 110’s with the CadoMotus 4×110 Dual Box) and she’s been training regularly to increase her mileage and improve her time each week. She was at the clinic with us but she didn’t skate. She took all of the pictures and video attached to this post so we could document and remember the day for the club.

Horseypants on wheels.

Well, this morning (day after the clinic) she had already skated 5 miles around the neighborhood before I dragged my old, sorry and sore butt from bed. By the time I’d strapped my skates on and caught up with her, she was rolling and preaching the Gospel According to Mantia. She even started to recognize the elements of my stride that need work. Freakin’ know it all…but admittedly, she was 100% spot-on. And I didn’t need a Garmin to tell me she was already faster and more efficient then she was the day before, it was obvious in the speed I needed to catch up with her, and her ability to recover quickly from her burst activity. And to top it off, when we got back to the house, she asked to try my Pro M1’s. She took them for a two mile roll and declared, “OK, I want a pair.” She’d graduated from recreational to speed skater in less than 24 hours.

She doesn't wear pads anymore...

Like any good predatory drug dealer who can spot the future junkie in their recreational customer pool, I quickly moved in for the kill by rushing to my supplier and ordering her a pair of her own. Alas, that was a bit like trying to convert a toker to a tweaker overnight. Too much too soon. She’s in, but it’s going to take some time before she’s ready for the stiffness of a semi-custom speed boot. Nonetheless, she herself will be joining us in the rink this winter, and she’s encouraged other Rink Rabbit moms to join the team too! Welcome to The Rink Rabbits, baby!

So, you ask in your speed-weenie whine, why all this about her, what about Joey?

So much about her because this transformation, from Horseypants to Horseypower, happened…just by watching the Mantia clinic.

It’s powerful, trans-formative stuff, and you, First Loser Reader, you’re in for a treat…

I’m going to share what we’ve learned with you, as much as I can. Over a series of posts, we’ll share in the Gospel According to Mantia, until we’re all converts to his Stride. Yes – Stride is capitalized. As it should be. Mantia is a Skating God…(and hell, I’m no dummy…the longer I can milk this Mantia story, the more readers I’ll get, the higher my unique and repeat traffic will be, and world domination won’t be far off…and all those Ivy League schmucks I grew up with can suck my knee cap!)

Getting it together

Working with Mantia to set this up was smooth from beginning to end, just like his Stride.  We were able to coordinate the event by email, and didn’t really even speak until about a day or two beforehand. He was really easy to work with, to the point where all I really had to do was let people know he was coming and show up to unlock the doors and turn on the lights.

Even volunteer coordination was a snap. One of the great things about a small club is that it was super-easy to get folks to pitch in and do things like clean the floor, set the lunch counter, cook the food, watch the little kids and clean up. The jobs were gone within a half hour of sending out the email call for help. Rink Rabbits Parents ROCK!

The Rink Bunnies - the real backbone of the 2010 Rink Rabbits.

For such a busy guy Joey was amazingly responsive. I got a real kick out of seeing his name appear in my text message in-box. I was in a business meeting when I got a text from him and leaned over to show the name to a colleague…she smiled politely and shifted uncomfortably, not really sure why I was giggling like a 12 year old. Anyway…

No introductions necessary

Our schedule called for check-in and warm ups between 9 and 10 am. Mantia and Michael showed up on schedule at about 10 to 10 and came in with a couple of extended family members in tow…Sara Saysane & Wouter Hebbrecht from Simmons Racing / Team USA & Team Belgium! Two more world champs to make this the second such surprise Mantia pulled on me…the first was when he emailed and asked if I’d mind Cheex coming along with him. I think that was the day or two after Cheex had run an 8.4 flying 100m and taken the 2010 award for Grand Indoor Champion at National Speedskating Circuit. Cha, do I mind? As if…

For the most part they showed up without being noticed, which was great because Mantia just strapped on his skates and rolled out the floor while the kids were all open skating and warning up. You should have seen their faces as they began to realize who that new guy was…it was a classic entrance!

Moreover, it was more revealing of his character than anything he could have said. With his easy nonchalance and good nature, Mantia makes you feel like you’re on the same team. When we were going back and forth by email setting this up, he more than once said he wanted to help our club and was happy to be able to whatever he could to make the clinic happen. Seeing him roll right out there and mix it up with the kids made him the most accessible, everyday skater super-star in the world. He was really right in his element and looked immediately at home with them. Cheex followed closely after him and by that point to gig was up, the guys were in the house and running the show. Mantia took the wireless mic, called everyone the middle and got the clinic rolling.

Jason was just about to say "Over!"

He got the skaters going building their foundations. He got the MILF’s in the room going with his “fluid grace and power.” (That’s a quote.) Facebook was alight the following day with snapshots of the kids with Mantia & Co., and one drooling comment after another about Mantia’s legs…and the obligatory, “and little Johnny looks like he had a good time too. But really, are his legs THAT BIG in person?!? OMG!!!”

This is a picture of Jason...right.

In retrospect, I should have emailed around a pic of the guys in their skin suits with the event announcement. I could have charged for spectator admission and all the local moms would have funded the club for the next three years.

Where the learning begins – the basics

Ah, back to the clinic…bending your knees and getting low. Weight distribution and edges. They covered a lot of ground quickly and made sure all of the skaters got through the drills with individual attention and moral support when it was needed.

We spent lots of time on our skates doing drills that we normally do as dry-land (skates off) drills. Being on skates for drills like these adds a whole new dimension to the workout, and shows you pretty quickly why these drills are important to get right.

No one was left behind or made to feel “less than.” Rink Rabbit spirit was in the air. As our in-house Olympian and head coach pointed out, they covered a lot of the stuff we been working with the kids on for the past year, but Wow! How responsive they become when the current Champ of Everything Speedskating is teaching!

One of Mantia’s gifts for the in-house coaching staff was complete validation.

It was great that our skaters were somewhat prepared to do some of the drills through muscle memory and the basic knowledge we’d passed along up to this point.  They’ve been working hard all year. But there was a lot of new stuff too, which was just awesome…how to “lock in,” and what locking in will do to help you become more stable and unmovable when you’re in a tight pack and particularly into your corners. Not only did he run us through a drill, but he explained the whys of importance too.

One of the Brothers Speed getting a tip on his form.

A constant theme of the day quickly became “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Performance.” We were shown how World-Class achievement starts with low-level attention to detail. Mantia is very purposeful when he’s training. He’s very precise with his movements, and it was amazing to watch him break down his Stride into smaller parts that he then practiced with a patient determination to get the motion and muscle response as perfect as he could see it in his mind.

Side to side, side to side...can I get an Amen?!

Breaking down the elements of “a skate” or “a race” into smaller, more digestible parts, Mantia worked us slowly through drills that took us from the start, down the straightaway, in on the cone, through the corner and out to the finish line. It’s all in your technique and how you breakdown your form. Wouter said it best when asked to share what it is he knows now that he wishes he’d known when he 14. He told us it’s technique. Form and function are the most crucial things to focus on and get right when you’re just starting out.

What was great about all of these on-skate and dry-land drills was that the kids were familiar with some of them, excited by the new ones, and all of them were endorsed by Mantia & Co. They will now associate “perfect practice” with their visit, and understand that Mantia’s secret isn’t so secret after all – he’s not doing anything they can’t do themselves. He started skating when he was 9 too, so it’s not unthinkable that if they listen to what he said and start doing what he does, they too can be World Champ someday. It’s not out of reach.

We spent a lot of time on starts. Each participant got personal attention and pointed critique and correction of their starts. There’s not really a better example of why this clinic was so worthwhile.

When it comes to starts, opinions vary. As an instructor with the Rink Rabbits, I’ve got an Olympian coach and his method, I’ve got a coaching manual (or two) with methods that aren’t exactly the same but very similar. When you’re teaching a group, you want to be able to get the idea across to everyone in a way that speaks to all, leaving no one behind. Some people progress quicker than others, and eventually someone gets to a place where it’s time they tailor the “art” to their own style. What’s great was having World Champs share their foundational points, but then give the students the freedom to find their own form based on sound principal. They showed the students why the “science” elements (for example, loading up on your front leg in a side start) are important, then they helped the students understand how “feel” (art) takes the sport and makes a custom fit.

Even The Fast Kid showed that active learning is key to future success.

It was during the time that we were going over side starts…which no one except The Fast Kid had ever even tried (we focused on down starts all year)…it was during this time that I spied Cheex, Sara and Wouter being themselves. I looked off to the far side of the rink, and there they all were, discussing the things Mantia was going over with us, over there on there own. They were talking about side starts and running through them by themselves, thinking no one was paying much attention to them. That, for me, was why they were here, and made their dedication resonate with me. I mean, here they were, all Champions in their own right, hanging out at a clinic that their buddy dragged them along to on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and there they were, “behind closed doors” as it were, talking shop, running drills, laughing out loud and being just as engaged as if they were among the student population. What that revealed was that they all have something in common – they possess an athletic character that’s crystallized in the phrase “pure skating.”

That was a huge take-away for me, and what I think is a good lesson for us all. If you want to make it and stay at the top of your game…the game that’s yours alone, your form…then you’ve got to be a life-long learner, and it’s got to be fun. To keep it pure, you’ve got to enjoy it, genuinely. You’ve got to have an open mind, be ready to take someone’s advice and give it a try. Being able to hang out with Mantia & Co. for a day made it pretty clear to me…their dedication and interest in the sport isn’t different than mine at all. Is their training more intense? Sure it is. But their hearts are in the same place as mine. It’s Pure Skating. When no one is looking, you’ll find us all in that same mental place, where Stride & Glide are all that matter, and that’s pretty cool, to know I have that in common with the greats.

Training log

Now that the outdoor season is done for me, I’ve put the Garmin away. It’s back to the rink, and time to slow it down. Break it all down to build it up again. This training season is going to be more intense, I look forward it…bring it on! More soon…

I’m a freak, this I know…

In a world where it’s news that Mariska Hargitay is proud to be a size 8 – a news story that actually warranted an update 2 hours after it was originally published – I’m declaring my freakdom. I’m a skate spaz, the kind you don’t bring home to mother. I’m a skate-tweaker if there ever was one. When it comes to skating, I think I think too much.

Funkin' up your pace line, b!@#$!

It’s taken me forever to decide which skates to roll in the upcoming Northshore Inline Marathon. It’s a big deal for me. It’s the only race I’ll skate this year. Wanting to beat my time from 2009 and finish with the lead pack becomes a tall order when you consider the field I’m rolling in is filled with the best skaters in the country in this age class – Norm Kirby, Tony Muse, Ryan Chrisler, Richard Cassube, the list goes on…including my bud Noel Creager – we came up together this year! I’m truly excited to have the opportunity to start with these guys. I’ve been visualizing the pace lines, breakaways and speed all year. I’ve watched several of these guys break a few records and win a race or two this season. They’re inspiring to watch. Hell, my coach skated with and against a lot of these guys back in the day…they know how to skate. They’re truly a different class of skater. If you’d have asked me a few years ago if I thought I’d be in the same wave with any of these guys, the answer would be…ah, no.

I’ve been training hard. All with a mind to be able to grab onto that pack and hold on till the finish, just to beat my time from last year. All things being equal in terms of weather and road conditions, that’s my goal. I’ve trained religiously on my Rollerblade Racemachines modified with a CadoMotus 4×110 DualBox frame and Road War Reds (thanks to CadoMotus.) The coach downgrade my wheel size about a month and a half ago, then we ruined a perfectly good pair of Buck Bearings by loading them with axle grease. To top it off, we added in a few extra pounds of weight per ankle with some strap-on weight bands. We came to call this “Beat Feet.” It was brutal, but I did what I was told to do.

I've been training on these all year. Great training skate, at 3 lb, 02 oz.

Hills in the heat. Intervals and sprints. Tabata and Super-slow, 5-6 days a week. In Beat Feet mode my goal was to get my speed back up to where it was before Beat Feeting it. Talk about tough. But I’ve heard through the grapevine that these guys I’ll be on the line with work harder than that. Thus, I’m super obsessed with the idea of doing my best.

When I start thinking about this stuff too much, my mind is a dangerous place. I become my own worst enemy. Like Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant, I go places I know I shouldn’t, thinking things unspeakable, and smoking way to much crack…

How'd I turn my skinsuit inside out?!

Not quite OCD, it’s disturbing nonetheless. I lose sight of the original goal. It gets perverted into something Nick Cage will try to remake 20 years from now, and it’s ugly.

Last year it was all about form. Early in the season I read 10 Minute Toughness and I crafted a performance statement that I repeated as my skate-mantra (Get Low, Down in the Heel, Full Blade to the Side, Fall Forward.) It served me well.

This year it’s been form and function. Function of form and function of equipment. For me, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to focus on function of form. I’d even say it’s more beneficial in the long run. But you know as well as I do that any skate-gear-head will ultimately come around to, (ah-hem,) evaluating his equipment. And when it comes to playing with it, (my equipment,) I have a lot to learn.

One of the things I’ve learned this year…if you’re going to put 110 frames & wheels on your boots, it’s best if the boot was actually designed to be used with 110mm wheels. The Racemachines I’ve been working with were designed for a max 104mm wheel. Since everyone and their Grandma will be on 110’s this year, it’s really where I needed to be. So I got the 110 set-up and discovered that the second wheel wasn’t spinning freely under the mounting block. So, I made a simple retro-fit using slices of credit cards for shims to jack up the front deck height to get the second wheel to clear the bottom of the boot. Easy, peesy…

For most of the training season I was skating just fine with the front of my boot about 1/4 inch higher than the heel. It really helped me get “Down in the Heel” with my push. I was hitting record times! Then, I got the CadoMotus Pro 110’s and immediately learned that being able to “feel the blade” under my entire foot, from ball to heel, made a big difference in the amount of power being generated by my stride. But my heel and toes were level. This was a great discovery, but as fate would have it I would end up trashing the CadoMotus boots before having the chance to really skate in them. Bummer…but great learning experience & knowledge gained.

Shortly after this discovery, Joey Mantia put up a video blog talking about foot pressure. Another validation point along this path to discovery of a new push.

Then, to my horror, my wife and kids accosted me on my birthday…freaking held me down on the ground by my throat, burned me with a crack pipe and forced a new pair of Simmons Pro M1’s on me for my big 4-0. I took it like a man, but in my shock and confusion over their grotesquely violent presentation of this milestone birthday gift I made a retreat to the internet and did a lot of reading about about how the Pro M1 boot was made. Putting aside my PTSD over the gift giving smack-up, I came to learn something new about the power-points that we should all be focused on if we want maximum control and power transfer. It all dovetailed with what I’d learned on my own with the CadoMotus boots, so I knew I was onto something important. I put the trauma of my birthday behind me and moved on.

With all of this knowledge (and a seven week wait for the Pro M1’s) I resumed my attack on the Racemachines. I was steadfastly determined to wear these skates in this years NSIM as a way of saying thanks to Rollerblade for all of the support they’ve given me and Speedy Weezy this past year. So, the next mod was designed to correct the lop-sided deck height.  It was another simple one…I raised my heel with another 1/4 inch of shim. This was too easy!

My wife was very happy to see such a productive use of my credit cards.

Well, the saggy trumpet began playing because I immediately noticed a significant loss of power transfer in my stride. Having the frame separated from the boot by 1/4 inch of credit card at both mounting points pretty much opened the door to have the energy I was creating just swoosh right through the mounting screws and into thin air, leaving very little to be passed through to my push and roll. I also started getting hot spots on my ankles and insole that hadn’t been there before. I had to work a lot harder to make the skate responsive and I started going through a lot of band-aid donuts and eZeeFits (I cut holes in a thick pair of eZeeFits hoping that would relieve pressure on my ankle bone…it didn’t.) All this because I was trying to wear a boot that I was forcing to do something it’s not really designed for…

After Beat Feeting it for the last six weeks, I’d become painfully aware of how much the weight of your skate, deck height and the design of the foot bed impact you ability to achieve top speed. There was no going back on this stuff. Knowledge gained makes half-assed efforts fall even shorter, because you become aware of your massive half-assed-ness and lose ground you once held through ignorance. To make matters even worse, my Pro M1’s arrived, but they were clearly going to need to be broken in before attempting any serious distance in them. And again, being determined to make the Rollerblade’s work, I didn’t really even consider that I’d wear the M1’s in Duluth this year. Sooo…

Changing the frame .05 oz per boot.

With a firm sense of purpose, I next set out to see if I could improve my situation with the Rollerblade’s through chop-shop methodology. The first thing I did was try and shave some weight by swapping out the frames. I took the Simmons 411’s that came on my Pro M1’s and put them on. Not only did that shave some weight, it lowered the deck height and corrected some of the power transfer issues. Wow – that was easy!

Um, yeahhh…not quite. Try as I might, I couldn’t keep my foot down in the bed (the RB boot is a half size too big, which was never an issue till there was a frame under them that fit the boot without shimming) and now my heel was actually rising because of the new method of pushing I’ve been practicing. What to do…

Give in. And that’s what I’ve done. The itty-bitty committee in my head went on way too long, got too far down in the weeds and ultimately lost sight of the goal. Instead of trying to do my best and beat last years time, it became all about trying to “do the right thing” by Rollerblade. And I know that’s not how they’d want me thinking. They want me focused on achieving a skating goal, not a political goal. So here we go…ready or not, I’m rolling my Pro M1’s in Saturday’s race. The Rollerblade Racemachine’s have been an excellent training tool, and they’ll remain in the feet-fleet. But this weekend I need free my mind of the clutter I tend to create and focus on my goal. To give it my best this weekend you’ll see me on the starting line in these…

All that to get to this...Simply The Best choice I could make.

The Pro M1’s are a skate fiend’s dream. Happy birthday to me.

It's how I roll, run and tell that, homeboy.

See you in Duluth. May you achieve your goal, whatever that is!

Training Log: It’s been a lot of the same you’ve come to expect…I skate a lot. Tapering this week has been made easier by all of the smoke in the air due to the wild fire burning down in Boulder. Lot’s of folks out of homes and lots of destruction. All this skating stuff is somewhat meaningless in comparison. Hoping and praying that the fire is contained as quickly as possible and that no one gets hurt.

The loneliness of the long distance skater

On Friday, June 28, 2010 I set out to skate 140 continuous miles in 10 hours or less in celebration of my 40th birthday. I chose 140 because for the last two years I’ve taken part in 100 mile skate events, so doing the classic “40 for 40” just seemed…anti-climatic. 140 felt like it would be a challenge.

It was. I didn’t finish 140 miles.

I was able to knock down 100 before the sun got the better of me and I had to pack it in. Sun stroke wasn’t on my bucket list, but a personal best record for 100 miles could find its way to being a suitable outcome for the most challenging skate of my life…

The challenges didn’t just come in the form of many miles of trail to conquer. They started the night before. Like the lead up to the other two times I’ve done an ultra-distance skate, or a duraskate, I had a lot of nervous energy to burn that night before. So I did what I normally do…I prepared my skates, hydration pack, energy bars and got my clothes laid out and ready for pre-dawn departure. I was in the process of making a protein shake for my breakfast when Horseypants leaped out of her seat and did a Triple Lindy over the back of the couch. Our dog was having a seizure at her feet. This isn’t new for him, but it was outside of his normal seizure routine, which usually happens around midnight and in his bed upstairs. This was 9:30 in the evening and downstairs in the living room. We have a very specific protocol we run through when he’s having one of his moments. We clear the room, close the door and wait for him to snap out of it and come back to his senses before we approach him. He’s a big dog, and in the post-seizure confusion state he can become aggressive. Well, this time out there was nowhere to run. Horseypants high-tailed it for upstairs to close the kids’ doors and shut herself in our bedroom. I stuck it out downstairs and waited for him to come to. He finally did and his recovery was uneventful, but it was now going to be a long night, as the second half of our routine is for me to stay up with him on a leash to make sure nothing aggressive happens.  This usually means my sleep is shallow, and that I can be sure I’ll be up several times as he gets up and reorients himself. By the time I was able to lay down it was 11 p.m. I had planned on being up at 4:20 the next morning to get dressed and be at the trail head by 5 a.m…

5 a.m. came and I awoke, groggy from being woken up several times throughout the night.  I tied the dog’s leash to the bedpost, got dressed, sucked down some coffee and rolled out. (FWIW: I know coffee is a diuretic. It’s a necessary handicap.) Anyway…I got to the trailhead at about 5:40, a little late but I wasn’t too concerned. At this point I had already sucked down the protein shake and 4 cups of coffee, so I was feeling pretty awake and good to go.

Good to go…yep, thank goodness there was a Johnny-On-The-Spot at the trail head. I’d visit it 4 times before rolling out. Nerves of jelly and a peanut sized bladder will do that to you.

I parked my truck at a mid-way point on the course I’d be spending the day on. Figured this would be a good idea in case of any emergency, as I’d have to pass it at least a half dozen times throughout the day. What I didn’t anticipate was the epic battle of self preservation vs. will to succeed that this simple parking decision would spark as the day went on and the mercury climbed to year-to-date highs…we’ll get back to this.

BEFORE - Overconfidence is strong in this one.

This was a beautiful morning. With all of the final prep and gearing up, I was on the trail by 6 a.m. There had been earlier concern about this trail being flooded and obstructed by massive fallen trees, but fortunately all of that had been cleared up and out in the week prior. Fortune was shining brightly on this skater and his ambition to prove that life really begins at 40…

My plan was to establish a pace that was a little faster than 15 m.p.h. for the first 52.4 miles. After that I figured I’d be able to “coast” the rest of the 80+ miles at a leisurely 14 mph and I’d finish 140 in well under 10 hours. I’d seen the records for A2A and while I think I could probably maintain an average of 16+ mph in a small pack over this distance, this was solo so I didn’t want to over do it. Plus, I knew it was supposed to reach about 90 degrees around 2 pm, so I needed to be sure to have something in the tank to deal with the heat. Strategy firmly in place, I rolled out.

At mile 26.2 - not killing myself, having fun with the plastic wildlife.

The first 26.2 were a breeze. The temps were cool, the trail was clear and my spirits were elevated. This stuff gets me high. Like Alan Sillitoe’s Smith, I felt like the first man ever to be dropped in the world. I was King of the Daylight World. And while there wasn’t a soul or subject in sight, the trail was loyal and subservient, and I was in a benevolent mood. To the trail, my every stride was a gift…something to make its meager existence somehow part of a grander scheme and profoundly worthwhile. I knew that 140 miles were going to be a complete cake walk.  At one point I even stopped to have a “Mark Wahlberg Talks To The Animals” moment with a turtle. Indeed, tis good to be the King:

I had so much fun with him that I had to turn around, go back and get this photo:

No s#*t...the tortoise WAS doping after all!

By 10 a.m. I was done with 52.4 miles and still feeling great. I’d sucked down only about 16 oz. of H3O Hydration drink and had 1 protein bar on the trail for a morning snack. My right ankle was starting to get a little irritated from my un-molded boot, but other than that my legs were in good shape, my heart rate was a cool 60-70% max, and I was keeping a great pace. I spent a lot of time focused on foot pressure, forward knee bend and double pushing.

What became clear to me was that 110mm wheels are going to be a blessing at Duluth this year. For distance skating, big wheels and good form make the difference. It’s both, not one. But if it were one over the other, form rules. Focus on form and the rest will follow. These long skates are great for training!

For the next 8 miles I was totally in love with this sport. I resurrected an idea I had to publish an e-book to be called “Slow to Podium: Form, Flow, Power, Speed & Grace Through Inline Skating.” My iPod was blaring out all of my favorite songs, the sun was shining, a light breeze was blowing, the trail was smooth and my form felt right. I was enjoying the freedom and looking forward to telling everyone how surprised I was that the 140 were so easy to finish. I was thinking about all of the great races that I’d not gone to this year – the Planet Adventure series in Indiana, the Apostle Islands Marathon, the TX Road Rash, all of them. Even thought about A2A and how I’d be sure to do great there if I only went (despite what I know about the road surfaces!). For the past few years I’ve only done the Northshore Inline Marathon, but now I was ready to take my 2011 calendar and load it up! I was ready to get into the action full on…

Then, somewhere around mile 60, (adopting a Sean Connery Scottish brogue) it all went to shite quicker than BP’s stock price.

First it was the ankle, which was now more than a twinge. It was full-out pain. One unassuming stride around mile 59 and I felt a shooting pain go up the right side of my calf. Became a stabbing needle point with every stride after that. And my feet and calves were starting to feel the effects of being on firm wheels for 60 miles straight. It’s amazing was a few points in duometer will buy you in terms of comfort. I should have been on softer wheels for this. I won’t make that mistake again.

It was at this point I started to think that I couldn’t stop, even for a quick pee break, because it might be really, really hard to get rolling again. I was still keeping a good pace by ignoring the pain in my ankle, but I was standing up more now due to the tightness in my lower back. There would be no more rolling videos or still photos till this thing was over, because I wasn’t even at the mid-way point yet.

With that realization…that I wasn’t even half way there yet…the mental challenge grew exponentially and took on mythical proportions. It became the Seven-headed Hydra that I’d have to be Hercules to overcome. But there’d be no help, I was on my own. It seemed that for every mile I lopped off, another 2 would appear, and taunt me. It was as if the miles went on forever. I started to think that even at the halfway point I’d be counting down as many as I’d just come. And with each mile getting more difficult as the sun grew hotter; the pain becoming sharper with every few strides; the will to finish growing weaker by the moment, I was doomed. This was horrible. What a stupid idea. Why the hell was I doing this to myself?

It was around mile 65 that I seriously considered calling Horseypants and asking her to, “just tell me I can do it!!!” I just needed to hear someone in my corner, cheering me on. I’d just come off a night of being pilloried on the SkateLog forum about a post on cycling. I started to feel like I didn’t have a friend in the world. I had become the last man in the world. It was a lonely place. Hell, I’d even considered a 911 prayer for a benevolent cyclist to come along and allow me to draft him! I was really starting to crumble under the pressure. What a f@#$%&g disgrace.

No more Skatey-My-Wanky, the Loser need moral support!

Alas, I knew that calling out for Horseypants’ reassuring voice would not only make me sound like a drama queen, but that I’d probably start bawling and yelling that I just couldn’t do it. It would be the thing that let me quit. I just couldn’t do it. So I pushed on…pushed those thoughts out and focused on form and music. Just pure skating. No grand plans, no love of the sport, no blog or message boards or new Simmons Pro M1’s on the way, just skating the best I could. That seemed to work for a while.

Then, around mile 75, I came up on my truck again. Each time I’d seen it earlier in the day, I was immune to it’s wily, cool charm. Sure, it was calling to me…”Come, have a little rest. Relax, no one will know.” But each time before I’d been able to shake it off. Being able to resist that temptation gave me power; made me stronger. It was a good boost that would last for at least a mile after the encounter.

This time though, the urge to throw my stupid goals to hell, get in the back seat, crawl into the fetal position and cry myself to sleep held very strong appeal. It was a battle I didn’t expect to have to fight, and one that nearly cost me the war…

I shook it off, but this time it left a bitter taste. There was nothing empowering in the stupidity of pushing on in this heat, through this pain, and into God knows what kind of fatigue or injury on the trail ahead. Each little pebble in the trail was now, for some reason, finding it’s way under my wheels on the interior push of my double push, nearly taking me down with what seemed like every single stride. I found myself muttering in the foulest of terms, very much akin to the way my Grandfather did when playing golf. (That’s where I acquired my command of the finer f@#$%&g points of our c@#ks$%^#ng language. Fine church going man that he was and all…) Seriously, at this point I threw it all away:

  1. I’m going to just stop and call it a day.
  2. I’ll take the rest of the year off – maybe next year too.
  3. F#$k it – I QUIT! QUIT SKATING FOR GOOD!
  4. My KIDS QUIT!!
  5. I’M GOING TO SELL ALL OF OUR CRAP ON NETTRACING!!!
  6. Screw this stupid blog!
  7. SkateLoggers can bite my REAR END!
  8. I’M GOING TO TAKE UP CYCLING!!!!!!!!!!

It’s rare, if ever, that I’ve been so completely convinced that a decision was right. I was near tears. All I needed to do was find the coordination to plow my way to a stop, turn around, go back to the truck and cry, cry, cry and then cry some more. I’d have to plow stop because my right ankle was at this point about to fall off, and I thought for sure I’d spin out if I tried a t-stop with the left. This s#%t was for the birds man, I was done. I started to see weird reflections of myself in the glossy finish of the Sequoia each time I passed it…

It's getting Hot Out Herre - I don't feel well but I look Divine!

Then, I don’t know how it occurred to me, but I realized I was going crazy from the heat. I thought about those guys that do those endurance races across the Sahara Desert. Surly this couldn’t be as bad as that. But wow, even with the way I was steadily hydrating, it would do nothing to stop the heat madness from creeping in to try and spoil the party. The survival instinct is not a friend when trying to face adversity.

I b-slapped myself…”SNAP OUT OF IT MAN!” I started negotiating with the itty-bitty committee in my head…here I was, 40 years old, everything to live for, and really nothing to prove. I was making good time, better than I had the last two times I’d skated this far in a single skate. If I could just hold out another 25 miles, I’d make a personal best record and be able to walk away having achieved something. I could justify stopping – the heat was to the point of being unbearable. It was about 12:45, so it was just about the peak of the afternoon heat. I had enough SmartWater to get through the rest of the course. And I could eliminate the hills and try and stay in the shade by doing the truck-to-east run just 2 more times.

This was the responsible thing to do and it felt good. I could be happy with the outcome. I’d be able to look my family, the Rink Rabbits, the Sunday Morning Speed Team, my co-workers, my Facebook friends, my friends at SkateLog and you, the FirstLoser reader, and know that I did the right thing. For the first time in a long time I knew “a moment of clarity.” It was exhilarating. There was absolutely nothing in this world and there’d be no one, including the man in the mirror or the Monday morning quarterback,that would ever be able to convince me I needed to do anything different. I’d never second guess this. I felt it through the core of my being. I knew the insatiable need to be completely satisfied had been met by one effortless sigh of relief knowing that I could walk away from this with what I’d already done and be proud. All this transpired over a 5 mile negotiation and settlement, followed by a 3 mile Roman orgy of back slapping, and congratulations. From here, it would just be another 17 miles to glory!

Then the phone rang…it was Horseypants. She was telling me that I needed to stop, that it was 102 degrees. I told her what I’d just decided, assured her I could finish and that I’d be done in a little over an hour. From here on out, I found a new purpose in each stride. Even though I wanted to gnaw off my right ankle, I pushed through. I knew I could finish this. I was afraid of what my ankle would look like, and was pretty sure I wouldn’t be skating again for a couple of weeks, but I was going to finish 100 miles in less than 7 hours, and that was a goal I felt really good about. I executed my revised plan and skated the “bunny course” two more times to round out an even 100 miles. I sprinted the last 1/2 mile and hit a 2:48 pace as I was finishing mile 100. That was a rush, but I’d overshot the truck by about a 1/4 mile, so I had to double back before I was truly done. In the euphoria that came in the moment after hitting the little red button on my Garmin to stop the clock, I dropped my right foot back into a t-stop and let out the loudest “AHHH FUDDDGGGEEEE” you’ve ever heard. I was sure I’d snapped my ankle. It was the exclamation mark that was the cap off of the day!

It's less than 7, that's all that matters!

In the end it was all about being prepared to do what was necessary to walk away from this event satisfied. I took from it what I gave it, 100% of all it was worth. It wasn’t about cunning, or brute strength of will, it was about passion. I was able to spend 7 hours outdoors doing what I love to do most. I was able to really focus on trail form and find a comfort zone with a new stride. I’ll never do another skate like this in the summer again, but to do it again, and go further, faster, is something that’s going to happen. It’s in my blood.

As much as I love skating indoors, I’ll never lose my passion for the trail. Outdoors is where I was smitten, and where I’ll forever be in passionate love with this sport.

As it turns out, my ankle was just responding to carbon fiber pressure on a pressure point. I didn’t even have a blister! I’d overcompensated with the padding around my ankle bone doing more harm than good. I was able to skate the next morning with the Rink Rabbits, and on Sunday I was timed doing 100m 2 /10th of a second off my personal best lap time. Hydration and recovery nutrition are key with something like this. I skated the rest of that week, and I really came to feel the power of that session. I call it “getting my 100 mile legs.”

AFTER - Maybe just a little wiser.

My big take away from all this is really nothing new…don’t take any of this stuff too seriously. Be open-minded and flexible. Set reasonable goals, don’t back away from a challenge and be happy with your decisions. If you can look yourself in the mirror and say with 100% honesty that you gave it all you had, than that’s worth owning, no matter what it applies to.

Where do I go from here? I spent a lot of time thinking about why I do this, and I’ve come to some conclusions and I’ve revised some long terms goals. More on that in a future post. For the time being, I’ll keep training like I do, and get ready to meet up with all my friends on 9/11/10 in Duluth. Then, maybe next year, I’ll try A2A…

Training Log – I’ve been skating a lot. A whole lot. More than I care to detail here. It’s summer and this is what I do. Every morning, every lunch time, and now most evenings too. Taking rest days here and there, but mostly having a great time on wheels. I’ve been getting ready for Duluth. I’ve downgraded my wheels, put axle grease in my bearings, strapped weights on each leg, and do a lot of interval work on hills. My coach tells me this is going to help a lot. It hurts a lot, I can tell you that. But I want to beat my time from last year…that’s what it’s all about for me.

I’ve been going to races too. Spent some time at Outdoor Nationals…see if you can tell who SpeedyWeezy & I are hanging out with as we watch Jim Larson make a new record for the Master’s Mens 300m (5 legends, 3 you can spot):

One grenade would have taken out a whole lotta talent.

It’s a busy week…a couple of guys under that tent are coming to Fort Collins to give a clinic at Rollerland on Sunday. More to come…Jamaican style (so don’t hold your breath – “soon come, mon!”)

Out sk8ng

Sorry – I’ve been lax in the posting department this month. It’s actually been a huge skating month, and I rather be doing it than writing about it. Sorry to burst your bubble.

'09 Rollerblade Racemachine & Cado Motus 4x110 - Problade Updated

It’s all good…what a month! Indoor Nationals, 100 Mile Skate from Hell, Making heat molding work at Cado Motus’ expense, Reorganizing my skate bench (a major freaking accomplishment) and Sum, Sum Summertime skating in Colorado. I’ve got lot’s of material saved up. But the biggest “up” I’ve had…Horseypants is coming with me to Duluth this year to skate her first 1/2 marathon! Can you say “BOING?!?!” My skinsuit just got tighter in the pants. Her training started today…I’ll be working hard on her.

So, consider July a “build up” month. I’ll pop a writing laxative soon, and have lots of blither blather to dull your senses. Until then, I’ll just shut up and skate…

7/2/10 – 7/19/10 Training: I took the week of indoor nationals off and gained like 5 pounds from eating at Perkins & the Pershing Center concession stand every day. I was able to take all that weight back off in the first four days back home skating (7/10 – 7/13). I’ve basically been skating outside as much as I can, mixing up days between 16-18 mile or 10k morning skates and light mid-day skates. The afternoon sun has been intense. Just sk8, sk8, sk8!

Off to Lincoln

Skaters from across the nation are on the road this holiday weekend in search of gold and other precious medals in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s time for the 2010 Inline Speed Skating Indoor Nationals! I thought it only appropriate to pause for a moment and reflect on a word from the Most Interesting Man in the World, on Rollerblading:

Good luck to all of the competitors, may the best boy & girls, men & women make us all proud!

Be sure to watch all the action live starting on Sunday at SkatersPlace:

http://www.skatersplace.com/

SPECIAL OF THE MONTH!

And now…when you purchase any Bont skate package (boots, frames, wheels and bearings), stock or custom, you’ll get a free black Bont Skate Backpack, value $70!

The backpack everyone wants!

Not valid with any other specials or discounts and available exclusively from Glenn Koshi. Email him directly at glenn916@yahoo.com. Tell him you heard about it here at FirstLoser!

6/24/10 Training: Did a light 10k for breakfast. Promised Horseypants I wouldn’t skate in the afternoon due to tomorrow being “the big day.”

6/25/10 Training: 100 miles, 6:59:41:84…but who’s counting? War & Peace Post coming soon.

6/26/10 Training: 1 1/2 hours with the Rink Rabbits. Actually felt pretty good. Focus on Nationals.

6/27/10 Training: 2 hours with the big kids going round & round. One of the former Pro’s was timed at 9.3 on a fly-by for 100m. The rest of the fast crowd, including the coach, tied at 9.4. I was 2 1/10th of a second off my PBR, so I wasn’t complaining about that. Did spend plenty of time complaining about my ankle though. Tweaked from the 100 mile skate.

6/28/10 Training: Took a day off. So sue me.

6/29/10 Training: 10k for breakfast, Rink Rabbits for an afternoon snack!

6/30/10 Training: 17 miles for breakfast, getting my “100 mile legs” under me for a pretty good time. Did another 12 at lunch, but didn’t feel as good about it as I had in the morning.

7/1/10 Training: 12 miles for breakfast, another 13 for lunch. Finally fixed the ankle problem in my right skate and have been as giddy as a schoolboy all day as a result. DAMN – woulda, shoulda, coulda done that BEFORE the 100 mile thing…

National skate to work day…interrupted

Nothing like a National Day of “Boogie Flicking” (“insert sport/activity here”) to get a nation of weekend warriors off their collective duff and out on the roads and trails and in the way of those of us who’re out there everyday workin’ it.  Like so many couch-commandos that flock into the gym every January 2nd to stink up the place for three weeks of paying their resolutions lip service, these people are generally a menace to society, my senses and themselves.

"I SAID ON YOUR LEFT ASSCLOWN!!!"

I mean, come on, even most of of the regular recreational cycling crowd are a laughable lot. (Dramatic note: here I take on the role of elitist inline skater snob…the speed weenie.) Most of these guys, and unfortunately some gals too, cut an impressive Big Bad John figure in their phantastic spandex get-ups. They seriously believe that 2 hours a week spent pedaling around town clipped onto their $7,000 carbon-fiber, rolling 2nd mortgages with a long and firm leather saddle jammed up their crack is akin to a healthy, active lifestyle. God bless ’em, I don’t know how some of them do it…

Screw that biggest loser diet, I'm making progress with this bike, one mile at a time. Mmmm, is that Burger King I smell?

While it’s true that I foster a general disdain for cyclists of all sorts, it’s the “roadies” I’m speaking of here. It’s only because of their own arrogance, ineptitude and outright stupidity. I’ve witnessed Lance-wannabes doing some very dangerous stuff on the trails, and I’ve got friends who’ve met a few of these crank-wankers up close and personal-like, with blunt, traumatic force and righteous indignation.

I don’t deny the Rancor-like brute strength of the need for speed, but left unchecked by reasonable restraint in the hands of Johnny Sprockets and the Saddle Stains and it’s a recipe for rec-trail run-ins that you end up reading about in the police blotter. It’s the hot dogs who zig-zag in and out of everyone’s path going 30 miles an hour that are the single greatest cause of bad reputations, poor inter-sport relations, unenforceable trail speed limits and unnecessarily perforated colons. (Actually, that last one is a twisted revenge fantasy not unlike the NYPD/Abner Loima incident that I indulge every time I see a cyclist in full-moron mode.)

At this point, responsible adults would start to wonder about this public display of unbridled hostility…after all, I do coach a team of younglings. My skill at outsmarting nationwide criminal background checks with Force abilities that some would consider “unnatural” notwithstanding, I like to think of myself as a reasonable, safety-minded person. By that I mean that when I’m on a multi-use trail during high-instance of human encounter hours, I have a healthy respect for limits, personal space, common courtesy and trail etiquette.  I can’t say that for most of the Tony Trek-offs I see on a weekly basis. And today was the icing on the cake.

Can you say copyright infringement? Go get 'em Team Rollerblade Legal, LLC!

National Bike Your Slack Butt Into Work Day always brings out the fork-flakes. It’s bad enough when Schmucky Shimano thinks he owns the trail when you come up on him and he’s out there by himself, but put him out there with multiples of other pedal pushing pecker-heads that dust off their seats once a year for “the big two mile ride!” and you really see some amazing stuff. Really – these folks are driving cars the rest of the year, I think that’s an even scarier thought. It’s as if their IQ drops 40 full points just clipping one foot in. All knowledge of basic road safety and decency evaporate quicker than Lady Gaga’s popularity in the Seinfeld home. In the 6 measly miles I skated from my start point to my office I saw 2 stem-rods in Discovery Channel jerseys terrorizing young children and a new mom, a dog walker, a jogger and an elderly woman by flying by unannounced, then flipping the bird when one of the spazed-out victims had the unmitigated gall to call them on it. It’s pedal-power-tripping and it’s disgusting. Really fires up the ‘ol Irish in me. That’s why I enjoy dusting them when I can, every time I can, just because I can. I was able to get one chain-grease choker, and it felt good. Could have been the good Reverend Smedley out there for his morning 5 mile ride, I could give a rat’s tail. No more Mr. Nice Guy. From now on with all of these guys, you see me coming, you’d better move…over…as far right as you can. On your left, Louima!

(Editorial note: Please be sure to start flaming me when I begin posting that I’ve begun cycling cross-training later next month.)

6/12/10 Training: Just did indoor with the Rink Rabbits, helping a certain someone get ready for Nationals.

6/13/10 Training: Got my butt kicked by the kids for two hours in the morning. Set a personal best 100m lap time so I’m not complaining. 110 mm wheels and better technique are helping me level the field with some of the faster guys too.

6/14/10 Training: Day off from skating. Still one of the hardest things to do of all the training, but absolutely necessary!

6/15/10 Training: 19 miles in the hood in darn good time. Happy with the way these training skates are going. Spent the evening being filmed for a music video at Rollerland with Speedy Weezy, Speed Demon and Lionheart, and a few dozen friends from work. Will post it up here someday…

6/16/10 Training: Tabata Protocol for lunch, up the big hill in 85 degree heat. Had to rush back for a company meeting, at which I was sweating profusly, coughing uncontrollably and wondering aloud why the hell I’m doing this to myself…

6/17/10 Training: 10k for lunch, just to keep the blood flowing and the motivation up. Did a special make-up practice with the Rink Rabbits in the afternoon, working on foundational drills and this. If you’re smart, you’ll click that link.

6/18/10 Training: Day off from skating, but took a one hour power-walk at lunch. Sorry, power walking is for people who want to desperately convince themselves they’re working out. Brahahahaha – NOT!!! (Someone is gonna hate me for that one – can’t shake my cycle-rant character!)

6/19/10 Training: 19 miles at sunrise. Beautiful day but I wasn’t happy with my pace. Felt like I couldn’t get out of my own way. Rink Rabbits were awesome, these kids are flying! And the rink now has air conditioning! Wahoo!

6/20/10 Training: 20 miles at sunrise followed by 2 hours indoor with the fast kids. The Fast Kid and Smiley Sk8s are burning down the barn, but of course they don’t feel ready for IDN! Father’s Day was awesome, Dadioso had a very good day!

6/21/10 Training: 10k for breakfast,20k+ for lunch, could not stop eating! Nice sunburn on the back of my arms from wearing this jersey.

6/22/10 Training: Tabata Protocol for lunch. A little easier to breath afterward this time. Rink Rabbits in the afternoon, had fun playing chase the rabbit!

6/23/10 Training: 29 miles today total. Getting ready to skate 140 continuous miles this Friday…oy vey, what have I gotten myself into?

Inline hunters

Horseypants just emailed me links to one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen…Inline Hunters! “Finally a sport we can do together,” she said.

The bumber sticker on our Arabian...

I nearly fell out of my chair! Check this out…there’s finally a good sporting reason to own a pair of Rollerblade Coyotes!

Indoors…

or Outdoors…

Good Lord…I hope she didn’t let our son watch this $#!*. I can’t let him try this…at least till after Nationals.

6/11/10 Training: 12 miles in the morning, another 12 at lunch. The lunch routine included the Tabata Protocol going uphill. Seriously could not breath for a mile afterward.

CadoMotus Test Drive (Pure Skating)

My review of the CadoMotus Pro 110’s I’ve been testing has been posted to the CadoMotus site. You can read it here: http://www.pureskatingnews.com/2010/06/chris-howleys-pro-110-test-drive.html.

The FirstLoser story is in the works…

Smell The Skate: The New Album from FirstLoser

Suffice to say…I use *different*pictures in my story. And maybe more colorful language too.

Now…you can get the FirstLoser Special of the Month from Glenn Koshi before it rolls away…

Hyper Sidewinder 110mm (black hub) Green 86a or Yellow 84a, regular retail is $110 a set, First Loser readers SOM, $80 a set.  VERY limited quantites.  Shipping $7 per set. Sorry, no 100’s available.

Email Glenn directly to get the deal today! Click here: glenn916@yahoo.com

Glenn has been so busy he’s let me bring this back and hold this deal over a few more days. I’ve seen the posts at SkateLog…any stragglers are going to want to jump at this quickly! I’ve been using them for the last three weeks and can’t say enough good things about them…great wheels and a fantastic price!

6/9/10 Training: 18 miles around the hood. The last 4 minutes was the Tabata Protocol, which seems to make a lot more sense when it comes at the end of your skate. I’m already noticing an improvement in performance…

6/10/10 Training: Eating like a horse because today is a rest day. The weather this morning was of course…perfect. As always on an “off” day.