beige_alert: (skates)
In an ancient ritual that I made up myself six or seven years ago (plenty of time for it to seem like an ancient ritual) I did some ice skating to celebrate the winter solstice (as opposed to other random winter days when, most likely, I do some ice skating).  On Wednesday night at the Pettit Center our coach worked over the Wednesday workout group fairly hard, which was a combination of tiring and fun.  I'm getting less bad at skating in a group and maintaining a semi-stable gap behind the person in front of me, though, really, none of our group is all that good at it.  It's harder than it looks!  Thursday I was back at the oval on the speed skates after work for a while.  I timed some laps, did a 38.5 alone and not drafting anyone (just over 37 km/hr).  After that I went downtown to Red Arrow Park, across the street from City Hall and site of an outdoor refrigerated skating rink (and a Starbucks).  I thought it would be fun to mess around on the hockey skates.  Since vacation time is starting it was a lot busier than a typical Thursday night.  I've gotten used to being on clap skates on a 400 meter oval, and being on a tiny crowded rink is different.  Speed skaters are an attentive, organized sort of group, always aware that someone on the national team might be coming around at 50km/hr and you need to be out of the way or else on a predictable path.  I'm not used to the Brownian Motion chaos!  I am, finally, more or less used to the hockey skates.  The first time I put them on this year I pretty much fell over backwards immediately, not used to the tiny short blades with tons of rocker and the high, stiff boots.  You can lean way back on the long speed skate blades.

I'm also used to the ice on the Olympic training center's oval, finished to high standards by the skilled Zamboni drivers at the Pettit National Ice Center.  The ice has been really excellent lately and at the national meet this month an amazing number of competitors set new personal bests for the Pettit Center and a new track record for the 10,000m was set by Jonathan Kuck in an amazing effort.   Over at Red Arrow, not so much.  The ice was extremely rough when I showed up and then they cleared us off to resurface the ice.  I always thought of a Zamboni ice machine as an extremely low speed vehicle, but it turns out that they can be pushed to sufficient speed that even with the studded tires they will skid on the ice.  The driver actually had the thing in full drifts in every turn he made, aggressively cranking the steering into the skid as the machine slid sideways.  I had no idea that was even possible!  On the one hand, you have to admit the job went very very quickly.  On the other hand, I've never seen such a poor resurfacing job from a Zamboni that didn't have major mechanical problems.  It was hilarious!  I'd never even imagined such a thing!  So, overall, it was a wonderful amusing time at Red Arrow.  (But today I just went to the Pettit.  Where the ice was very nearly perfect.)  After the holiday vacation time is past I'll have to go back to Red Arrow, preferably on a nice cold night that discourages most of the normal people from showing up, because fast laps on the tiny space are fun when the rink is empty, as is being outdoors at night with the city all around lit up, and maybe a nice cold wind blowing. 

Today was, as you might imagine, a relatively uncrowded day at the oval during the speed skating session.  I always joke that you can't take the coaching out of the coach.  Bob shouted some advice to me as I practiced starts, though he's not normally coaching me.  He just can't resist being helpful, and since most of the elite competitors he's normally coaching weren't around I guess he figured he might as well give me advice. 
beige_alert: (skates)
I've joined the Wednesday evening workout group many of my speed skating friends are part of. I think clearly the best part of the interval workout (to the extent there is a best part of an interval workout) is the part where the coach lays out the plan. The plan is something along the general lines of "You'll skate 300 meters, rest 300, skate 300, rest 200, then 200 and 200, and twice 100 and 100, and..." and so on. And I'm thinking, dude, wait, I'm still just standing here and you haven't even finished explaining the workout and I've already forgotten most of what you said. We're going to get started and our brains will stop working due to lack of oxygen and we'll be reduced to doing what we always seem to do during the interval workouts, which is shout "Wait! Wait! What are we doing next?" to each other. Somewhere in the world I'm guessing there is a coach who is a former auctioneer. "Five five four hundred three hundred three hundred two hundred three hundred two hundred do I hear five hundred?"

Those skaters are just screwed.
beige_alert: (beigeland)
I've been learning to speed skate recently.

long... )
beige_alert: (frosty)
What is ice skating like during a “wind advisory?” Well, one quadrant of the rink is really, really fast, and the opposite quadrant is really, really slow! I did a frighteningly fast half-lap on the downwind side, and some really slow skating on the other side. Once, going backwards, the wind got so strong I came to a stop in spite of my best efforts to keep moving. The blowing snow added to the drama. Lots of fun. Lots of giggling while struggling in the wind.


Jan. 18th, 2006 10:08 pm
beige_alert: (Default)
There were not very many people at the ice rink tonight. It is amazing how much more exercise you can get when you have space to go fast. It’s also a lot easier to skate backwards with fewer people to avoid.
beige_alert: (frosty)
The ice skating was fun. Good music for high-speed ice skating includes the second allegro from Bach’s Concerto No. 2 in Am, BWV 593, which is a Vivaldi concerto for two violins that Bach stole borrowed and reworked for organ, and geBORGt’s “Stausong” and “Alea Iacta Est,” since anything sung reasonably rapidly in German is good go-fast music.

I also now have 1.6 kg of chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate covered hazelnuts, and just plain chocolate. I got the volume discount for buying lots at once!


beige_alert: (Default)

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