Tag Archives: humor

Ice to meet you

In the course of events in this thing I call my life, I need to mix things up. I’m not the kinda guy that you can expect to sit still for more than a few minutes at a clip, at least with my pants on…

REVEALED: This is how I cop so much time on SkateLog Speed Skating Forum.

I need to be busy. Need to be doing something. And no matter what it is, if I really find it interesting, I can become very disciplined, very quickly and develop routines that I’ll adhere to, religiously, for years without interruption. But once I start getting bored, the routines get hard to maintain, and I need to find something to spice things up, or I’ll start getting lazy and I’ll start relying on anything I can find to use as an excuse to get distracted from that thing I was so engrossed with that it became a part of my daily life and part of the definition of…me.

My career as Skatey Spice was short lived...I just couldn't bring myself to shave my legs.

I’ll admit it…I started getting bored with this thing of ours. That’s right. I started to become a slacker skater. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ve seen the ups and downs. What I’ve published here really only scratches the surface. And yes, my posts do tend to exaggerate the state of things, and go more for a cheap fart joke than any real substance, but that aside it’s a pretty honest portrayal of my skating life. I’ve added emphasis there because my skating life is truly more than roller skating, or, you know, inline speed skating. Ice has become a part of this thing I do. To the extent that I should really just say I’m a skater, as opposed to an inline skater, because the latter implies a singularity of purpose that just isn’t in my make up anymore. It’s like saying “I’m a road-skater,” or “I’m a trail-skater,” or “I’m an indoor speed skater,” or “I’m a marathon skater.” The label “inline skater” has become too restrictive. And since freedom is so much of what I love about this sport, I think saying “I’m a skater” is about as liberating as I can get. That said, inline is really my core so I’m not dumping the label. I’m just more open-minded about this thing I do.

We're just not coming at this from the same place.

Being one of such open mind, I decided that since nude speed skating is flat-out too dangerous and just wrong (God knows the view would be hanus trying to catch a draft,) 2011 is the year of doing things differently. By that I mean setting new goals, tackling new challenges and stretching past my comfort zone. It’s one thing to try to break a personal best time, whether it’s for 100m or 26.2 miles. It’s another to try to become somewhat competent in another discipline, and that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on. I’ve moved to ice. Not in the epic sense of a Jondon Trevena or Derek Parra or Chad Hedrick. No. Just in the sense of being me and trying something new. And it’s been a humbling experience, one that’s done the ego some good.

Taking a similar track to what I did my first year on inlines, I jumped right into the deep end of training and competing. Honestly, the main reason I haven’t been updating these pages all that much lately is that I’ve been using all the spare time I can find to get me some quality ice time on my new Marchese One boots and Marchese Zero blades. (Full disclosure…CadoMotus makes these Marchese’s, and CadoMotus is a sponsor of First Loser.)

These skates kick butt.

Yep…I’ve become a short track slut, puttin’ out on the ice as much as I can, and gettin’ my money’s worth out of the Ice Center Super Pass I bought in February. But I digress…

To really kick up the excitement a notch, I competed in my first ice meet earlier this season, The 2011 Colorado Speed Skating Championships. The meet was organized by Colorado Gold Speedskating, and they’re just awesome! anyway…this meet was a quick test of my ego-resiliency. Considering that my only real competition was a self-described “old lady” and some guys that have been doing short track for all of maybe eight months to a year, I was thinking I was on my way to gold, or at least the claim of having my First Loser status carry over in my ice debut. That wasn’t to be the case. I did pretty well, in that I got the entry fee’s worth out of the event by placing in my heats and skating all the finals, but the podium was a bit further away than I thought it would be.

Turns out I was competing in the masters division. So even though I was on the ice with the Bony Pony’s, or whatever we were being called, I was skating against those guys I was watching and going “Holy S#!t look at that!” So needless to say I didn’t come home with any medals (not even a freaking participation award or a chocolate bar) but I did skate away having had a great time and really falling for this new discipline. (Father’s pride: Freezy Weezy took third in his division!)

Freezy Weezy takes Bronze!

As it stands right now, I’m on the fence about NSIM this year. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to go. It’s a lot of effort for a little better than an hour’s worth of skating time. Yes, it’s the premiere event for me, no doubt. But I’m not excited about the idea anywhere near as much as I’m stoked to go to a short track clinic at the Oval in SLC in June, and compete here in Fort Collins at our first ice meet in October. I’m truly excited and I’m working hard to try to improve my technique so that I can show improvement versus what I did down there at the World Arena in April. That’s got me fired up man. Honestly, I miss that about inline. That same fire just ain’t there anymore.

DON’T GET ME WRONG DAMNIT! I still love inline skating more than any other sport. And now that the weather is somewhat improving here in NoCo I’ve been able to hit the trails with gusto again (94 miles logged last week!) and I’m truly amazed every time I skate in my Pro M1’s on the trail and feel truly in command of every facet of my stride, but it’s that, I don’t know, maybe it’s the novelty of new-found passion that I just don’t have for inline anymore. With inline, it’s like I have something to maintain. I’ve achieved a little something. With ice, I ain’t done s#!t, so I’ve got the world before me. And with a 1:07 500m time, I’ve got nowhere to go but up…at least I hope.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

Crazy F’in Glenn is at it again! Just to make things nice and tidy, he’s offered up a really schweet deal on Bont Patriot Short Track boots and Bont ice blades. Check it speed freaks:

Any in-stock Bont Patriot short track boots, normally $225, this month only, $175. 

Any  in-stock Bont Platinum blades (top-of-the-line!), normally $450, this month only, $375.

NEW – full custom Bont Patriot boots and Platinum blades, $1000!  Note that the blades alone normally retail for $450.  Shipping and applicable taxes extra, please.

Email Glenn today: glenn916@yahoo.com to get this crazy azz deal before it’s too late. Sorry Rick! (Inside joke.)

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Bite it

Epic phrases. You know them…they’re those eulogy predicates that are usually uttered in glory-seeking moments leading up to really unfortunate attempts at immortality. In my experience, rarely have I seen anything good follow the exclamation, “Hey guys, watch this!” In the annals of famous last words, these are typically the one’s that take generations to scrub from a family legacy, because the ribbon of shame awarded for stupidity has a longer half-life these days, due in most part to the ascendancy of YouEpicFailTube.

My inline track & field career fizzled pretty quickly. I just couldn't get low enough.

Likewise, when you hear someone shout, “Oh, s#*t!”, the next moments are usually the stuff of legend. These are a little less reputation tarnishing then the former phrase, but only because the disasters they precede are typically not the result of a deliberate attempt at earning a Darwin Award.

Last Sunday, I pulled a move that would have landed me in the opener of Wide World of Sports under the agony of defeat voice over. I’ve never crashed and laughed so hard at a skating practice. If only there were video…

It was the last epic lap of a mini Pyramid of Pain. Up to the “point of critical failure” we’d endured a healthy workout…warm-up laps, speed plyo’s (the heavy set), some speed cornering drills and by the time I’d bitten it, we’d skated through the pyramid, climbing twice. For my non-skating friends that read this to laugh at my stupidity, the Pyramid of Pain is a sprinting and endurance drill. The order for this one (follow along at home) was sprint one lap, rest one lap, sprint two, rest two, sprint three, rest two, sprint two, rest two, sprint one, rest one, sprint two, rest two, sprint three, rest two, sprint two, rest two, sprint one. Follow that? It might seem daunting, but he was actually going easy on us, because we’re just now at the point in our training where we’re starting the speed work. Anyway…if you do the math, that’s 17 sprint laps in quick succession. Pretty intense for most of us mortals, (despite how long some of us have been doing this…)

Going into lap 15 my legs were already toast. I’d made some poor decisions the night before and earlier that morning, choosing to stay up too late and skipping breakfast. And we’ve had some guys skating with us that have been racing all season and can really throw down, so I’ve been trying to step it up. It’s funny because my ego can handle getting my doors blown off by a 13 year old girl, (The Fast Kid) but bring in a senior (Slayer) and masters (The New Guy) guys and I’m all about not wanting to be last across that line.

So…I was doing well with drill. I usually do well with endurance drills because I’m essentially an outdoor, point-to-point ultra-distance skater (that’s a freaking haughty mouthful, eh?) The New Guy was doing well too. We were alternating between 2nd and 3rd on the sprints. As we were coming down the backside of the last pyramid, I was holding onto the two spot, chasing Slayer but not really gaining on him. So anyway…we get to lap 16 and our coach starts screaming at us to crank it up, he wants to see maximum effort, hawking at the line, bawlz to the wall skating. Well, that got The New Guy fired up and I could tell he was right on my backside. Going into that last turn I was gunning to take that cone “clams-azz” tight.

Well…that’s when my left ankle gave out. I tried to recover quickly on the right, but my right gave way too. I landed in an A-frame careening directly for the steel cabinets lining the walls of the rink. I knew they didn’t have much support in the doors and that they’d stop me. That wouldn’t be so bad…the only problem was, Lionheart’s Mom was standing there, like a deer caught in the headlights, right in my path.

In the time that’s transpired between then and now, I’d like to think I had enough time to at least point in the right direction and shout, “RUNFERYERLIFE!!!” or maybe just “MOVE!” But no…in those precious few seconds, when I could clearly envision breaking both of her knee-caps, all I could say was, “Oh S#&T!” Just before I hit the carpet I went down on my hip, but I was going fast enough to get spun around when I hit the carpet and continued sliding backward right toward Lionheart’s Mom. In the blink of an eye she pulled a Diamond David Lee Roth flying split with her back up against the locker…and I crashed into the door, back first, directly between her legs. I stopped, she landed. I looked up and there she was, looking down, straddling my head…uninjured.

Might as well JUMP! Damn that was close.

Full recovery took about two minutes…not because I was in pain but because I was laughing so hard. There are many more jokes I can make…but this is a family blog. (As if…) No. I just wanted to give much respect to my fast-thinking friend, who’s cat-like reflexes and perfect timing have earned her a new name here at FirstLoser…Leeza Lee Fastfeet. I just hope she’s not a Van Hagar fan.

Carry that weight

Last week I noticed we’re spending more on groceries lately. Innocently enough, I asked Horseypants where all the grocery money is going. She says, “Take a side-long look in the mirror!” So it goes…but I thought this skating thing took care of those details. These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like a guy I once knew,  a guy I’ll call Crossfire. He would consume cubic tons of Bolivian marching powder, in all it’s forms, on a daily basis, all the while cutting and maintaining a figure that would make Jackie Gleason slim by comparison. If you know anything about the physiological effects of nose candy, you’re thinking this is nothing short of impossible. But it is possible and it’s exactly how I feel…despite how much I skate, I need a wheel barrow to cart around ma belly.

"I'm gonna eat your pace line."

I’m just back from a week in Pasadena, California. I was there on business, but my only carry-on was my CadoMotus Travel Bag stuffed with a week’s worth of corporate casual work-wear and spandex. Seriously, I didn’t even bring a brief case, but that’s because I’ve become a simpering, Angry Bird playing, App wetting iPad devotee and no longer feel the need to travel with my “adult viewer,” er, I mean, laptop computer. (We’ve been SO over-sold on technology…but I digress.)

It's quite the tidy bowl I tell you.

3 out of 5 days I was lucky enough to get in a sunrise skate at The Rose Bowl loop (big UP to R (O) (O) (O) (O) GER for the tip!) There’s a great 3 mile loop around the perimeter of the world famous complex.

East side stretch along the golf course.

Along the east side, (I think it’s the east side, as it was closest to the mountains. Might be north…) a 3/4 mile long hill. It’s the gradual kind, it had me crying about half way through. Tree-lined but not too much debris, it was a welcome challenge after having spent much of the winter indoor on flat tracks in Colorado. The West is just the opposite, and I was hitting speeds of 28mph, which got scary on the approach to the parking lots.

The west side...see the cars? They stop for walkers...skaters, not so much.

The first day there I was clearly pissing off the locals by going to the left. The looks said it all. Several of them shouted something, but I couldn’t hear them over the sound of my squealing bearings. I don’t think the hand gestures had anything to do with looking up, despite where their fingers were pointing.

Coming around to the west side (I think).

Nonetheless, I got in a few really incredible workouts. My schedule was such that I skated Tuesday & Wednesday. I rested on Thursday, and by Friday, I was eating that hill on the east side for breakfast.

But it was what I was eating the rest of the time that did me in. Since my wife has scored so well with finding great restaurants in strange cities using TripAdviser.com, I decided to do the same, and man, did I end up packing on the pounds.

If you’re ever in Pasadena, you’ll want to check these spots out:

Lovebirds Cafe: Incredible breakfast burrito. I bought one and it was breakfast one day, lunch the next.

Saladang & Saladang Song: Simply some of the best Thai food in the US. Seriously, the food and atmosphere (particularly Saladang Song) are out of this world and deserving of their Zagat’s ratings.

Smitty’s Grill: this is the one that killed me. I’m still skating off the filet mignon burger. The Chicken Pot Pie is the size of a manhole cover and truly to die for.

Cafe 140: Great food, great atmosphere, with a signature Blue Corn Salad.

Wolfe Burgers: You know it’s good when the entire Pasadena police force is taking shifts on the front dining room and there’s a big guy named Fat Al sleeping at the center table in the back dining room. Another belly bomber of a breakfast burrito, made to order.

And of course you’ve got your Starbucks, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and Apple Store all within easy skating distance. But thanks to these restaurants, I’ve now got some work to do. Time to bust out the fitness skates, crank up Something/Anything? on the iPod, and hit the trails here at home. Ah…it’s winter coat shedding time. 12 pounds to go. Let’s see how quickly I can do this. I’ve got a feeling it won’t be such a long time…gotta love inline skating.

Do the namaste

Roll out your stinky mat, light the incense, rub some coriander oil into your pecs and get ready to get downward D-O-Double-G. This is another one of those things I said I’d never do. But here I sit…and I think…they say change comes from within, so the next time I break one off I want to pass a Grant, two Jackson’s and a Hamilton, with interest, ’cause I’ve been holding this exploration for a long time. That’s right Boo-boo…bang a gong and strike a pose as we endure initiation into the world of Yoga. Who’s your Yogi, baby?

A few more inches and I'll never have to leave the house again...

It started innocently enough…Horseypants invited me to attend what her friend Mrs. Needle Pusher (SpeedLord’s Mom) sucked her into…Core Power Yoga. I’d done a Yoga class with her a few years before, so I knew what I was getting into. And since I’m down a few sizes since my Jabba-The-Hutt Mu-Mu wearing days, and I’ve been told that I need to get more flexible, I decided it was time to try again.

My first observation: Yoga isn’t just for unbathed hippies, flatulent vegans or chicks that like their partners hung like a doughnut anymore…not only is my own MILF regularly going, but there were plenty of would-be yogis in what Mr. Needle Pusher calls “distracting” outfits. The talent has really come along since the last time I tried this 10 years ago. But other than the influx of Cougars and Co-eds, not much more has changed, particularly the smell of sweat steeped patchouli and the heat.

The ambient music helped create a mood that allowed me to drop my cynicism just long enough to relax and flow with the experience. We start in Balasana, or Child pose, which I imagine is a very familiar posture for your average practicing Muslim, but instead of chanting prayers toward Mecca you’re silent on your knees, driving your hips and weight down over your heels at the same time pushing your forehead into the mat under you and stretching out your arms on the floor over your head. It creates an expansive cavity for you to focus on your breath and release tension in all of your major muscle groups. It’s very effective as a warm up all by itself.

Child pose...don't eat pork and beans the night before class.

As I’ve come to learn, the practice is centered on synchronization of timing and motion. Timing the motion of your body to be synchronous with your breath. With focused practice, Yoga becomes a moving meditation. In the first few weeks I was moving with nothing like what you’d call Swiss accuracy, but by the third week I began to get just a slight feel for the fluidity that the instructors move with. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but it’s just like those first few times you nail a good double push. You know this can only get better the more you practice, and you start to think about it obsessively, living in anticipation of your next training session to do it again. At least, that’s how I know it’s right for me.

And like skating, you’ve got to start slowly and build a foundation. I’ve chosen to spend time with the breathing, as breath control is something I always struggle with. In Yoga practice, the breath work starts right in Balsana. In pose, it’s simply a matter of taking purposeful long, slow breaths, and timing them so that as you enter a new posture, you lengthen your musculature on the inward breath, and find depth upon the breath release. In some postures, that’s lengthening your spine by lifting your chest to the ceiling as you’re breathing in, and going deeper into a twist or a stretch on release.

A number of these postures were familiar due to the inordinate amount of time I spend being down low as a speed skater or sitting on the crapper. With inline speed skating I’ve built a pretty solid core, so to get down and hold Utkatasana, or Chair pose, isn’t a problem for my quads, but man, it takes on a whole new dimension when you raise your arms over your head and straighten your spine.

Let's see Cheney do this! Heh, heh...

We also use runner’s stretch, and a lot of the Warrior poses put you into a forward lunge that’s familiar. I was surprised at how hard it was to find balance in some of these poses considering the amount of time I spend doing one-legged drills, both on inlines and ice, but I found that as I focused more on my breathing, it was easier to achieve the balance I was looking for. One of the coolest poses is Eagle pose, where you move from the Chair pose to this pose shown below:

Eagle pose: what I usually look like on the floor after attempting a Hawk. To pull this off while standing is a bird of a different feather.

My problem with Eagle is that I can’t seem to get my foot wrapped around by calf, because my blood is tiger’s milk and I have the legs of Adonis. But I digress…The dude in the pic above isn’t fully there, as this one also requires you to get your elbows up to shoulder level. Talk about brutal, but that’s not the worst of it. There’s this inversion pose called Crow pose…

Seriously, WTF am I doing here?

In Crow, you’ve got to balance yourself on the shelf you create with your triceps after you’ve been doing this in a hot room for 45 minutes. This gets slippery…and the danger of face plant is high. Go ahead and try and do this one, naked in front of a mirror (just for added kicks.) Oh, and hold it for a minimum of 5 deep breath cycles. Yeah…Charlie Sheen couldn’t even hang with that s#&t, boyee! It’s Epic!

There are many other poses that skaters can benefit from. And with the Core Power program, they run you through other core building exercises like bicycle crunches. A lot of the poses really stretch out your hammies. After an hour, I’m spent, dripping wet and smelling of rotten feet (but that’s because I hit the Yoga class after having spent an hour on the ice. The chicks really dig the aroma.)

If anything, I’m thinking Yoga will allow me to get deeper in my seat, and improve my core strength, stacked alignment and balance when I’m skating, both inline and on the ice. Am I more flexible? Hard to say at this point. I do know this…I feel a lot more vulnerable, and sometimes really dirty, like I need to take a shower to wash off the ugliness…

I got worried when the instructor introduced herself as Yogi Strap-On Sally.

This might have something to do with Happy Baby pose.

Drink till ya stink

When he’s not out generously donating his time helping local co-eds master their competitive Octabong skills, Crazy Glenn is cooking up deals just for First Loser readers…

"No honey, c'mon...bend your elbow, head back further, wider gullet. You can do this."

And man, oh man, this one’s better than a campus panty raid…8 new 110mm wheels for less than the price of 4!

LIMITED SUPPLY: 2 sets of indoor Hypers: 1 set bright green Intensity wheels (for slick floors) and 1 set of pink Havoc wheels (harder, more roll.) Your choice, ONLY $55 per set PLUS free shipping…

Get them while they last!

Once they’re gone, that’s it! I almost didn’t share this one, but I just got new wheels so you’re in luck!

EMAIL GLENN TODAY: glenn916@yahoo.com

So rather than waking up the next day under a pile of empty tall-boys with your face in an ashtray, take your beer bong money and feed your need for speed, cause this deal won’t be here for long!

Crazy Glenn – his skate gear prices are INSANE!!!!!!!

Suave blogger award…cha!

Ca-ching! Ca-chow! Check it out…First Loser has been awarded the soon to be investigated “Suave Blogger Award” for stylish male bloggers. I’m honored and incredulous in the same breath. Did the members of the Academy who develop these awards not bother to read First Loser before conferring this great distinction upon its (using the term very loosely) author? Let’s illuminate the definition of Suave and see how this blog’s content fares in this light, shall we? (Don’t worry, it’s not fluorescent, which makes us all look as pale and sickly as Michael Jackson does these days…)

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

Suave, as defined by The Free Dictionary: (adj.) Smoothly agreeable and courteous, (esp of a man) displaying smoothness and sophistication in manner or attitude; urbane [from Latin suāvis sweet]; having a sophisticated charm; “a debonair gentleman”…hmmm. I don’t know. Scratching my chin, I look in the fractured mirror of self-effacement and say, “Self, let’s explore this.”

I land on digging into some synonyms. Let’s see if that helps bring some clarity…

Smooth

Smooth: Chop goes the weasel.

Charming

Charming: Less than a week off skates and I'm singing in Vegas.

Worldly

Worldly: The high-collar look updated with mantyhose. HUGE in France.

Urbane

Urbane: "Swing me out wide and I'll clear that ice patch at the trailhead."

Affable

Affable: My design for the 2011 Speed Weasels Skin Suit. Unleash your Speedo Weasel...

Sophisticated

Sophisticated: It's getting HOTT out HERRE...I don't feel so good, but I look devine.

Mon Dieu!

OK…I’m convinced. They’re right! I deserve this award on all counts. If ever there was a blogger that met all of the criteria in spades, it’s yours truly. I mean c’mon…I make this look easy.

On behalf of the group (me, myself and I) I’d like to thank the Academy for this most notable of recognitions. But, as is always the case when it comes to anything I do, nothin’s for nothin’ and nothin’ is free…there are always some strings attached. For me to accept this award, I actually have to work a little. So in the spirit of “I’ll do anything for an award,” here’s the full list of things I need to do to ensure the eyeball milking effects of this award will bang up my site stats:

  • A link back to the person who awarded it to me: www.SumpinSumpin.com
  • 7 things about me…1. I like to inline skate outdoors on paved, multi-use recreation trails 2. I really enjoy a good inline skating session on the road too 3. I like to inline speed skate on the USARS sanctioned 100m track 4. I like to inline speed skate on the NIRA 100m oval track too 5. I like to inline skate in inline skating marathons 6. I like to inline skate ultra-distance events at least once a year too 7. I like to participate in short track ice speed skating. And because I’m an overachiever…8. I’ve got the best spouse in the world, I love spending my free time with my family, I’m best friends with a pretty great dog, I’m a direct response consultant, think Aaron Burr got a raw deal, play guitar, and I’m learning Japanese.

OK – so the last couple of bits have been a challenge and made me miss my self-imposed Tuesday publishing deadline. Well…that’s a lie. I missed my deadline because I’ve been ice skating like mad, getting in all of the ice time I can. That and, in the interest of future blog fodder, took up yoga this week. (That’s a story for another post, so I don’t want to hear anything from Bean Town Frenchie – you know who you are – until I’ve posted on it!)

Image courtesy of Bean Town Frenchie...everybody wants to get in on the act.

Anyway…here’s where this gets tough: I’m supposed to issue this award to 15 other blogs. Crikey! I’m thinking that the award giver will allow for equal opportunity award distribution, meaning I’m not limited to giving awards to Dudes. So, since I know there is a female equivalent for this honor, I’m going to award to some women as well…

For the ladies...

Blogs By Chicks:

1. Highly Irritable

2. CS – She publishes by email only, so no link – sorry!

3. No Appropriate Behavior

4. The Clothes That Got Me Laid

5. Blog-Blond

For the boyz...

Blogs by Dudes

1. Just Rolling Through Life

2. Zen and the Art of Speedskating

3. Failbook

4. Stuff White People Like

5. The Art of Trolling

6. This is Photobomb

7. There, I Fixed It

8. After 12

9. Failblog

10. The Daily What

I’m assuming some of these are done by Dudes, given the subject matter. I don’t know how I’d react if I’m wrong with that assumption on some of them…Oi!

You’ll no doubt note some high-profile names that didn’t make this list. This isn’t a “favs” list, just a list of discoveries that you may not have heard of.

So…there you have it. Now, for the final task on the acceptance list: I’m off to write each award recipient and tell them I’ve bestowed this high praise on them (and hope they don’t think I’m some freak stalker…)

Enjoy!

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.