Friday, February 19, 2016

Ugh, So Behind. Quick Race Report and a Movie Review!

I meant to keep up on this fast paced racing I am doing, but time does slip by.

Last weekend was another great bit of speed skate racing on Sunday. Well great to race but the conditions were crazy. High cross winds and freezing cold temps (-15C or less) made things tricky.

I signed up for the 500m and the 1500m races, Olympic style. This mean a 2 person battle and then all times are tallied at the end.

I had been working on my cross overs the week leading up to this and had made some good progress. I also found some fault in my form that was slowing me down, so that was nice to also work on (I am slamming my foot down too early).

The 500m was always going to be fast. My start was great and as I was on the inside lane I manged to hold the lead til the back straight, when I was passed just before the final corner. As the 500m is all about pushing hard, my form fell apart a little. I managed my cross overs in the first corner into the wind, but didn't feel safe on the second corner with the huge wind gusts at my back. I pushed through to the finish in a time of 65 seconds. That was second in my heat, 13th overall out of 23 skaters. The fastest skater, Cooper, was awesome to watch.

I had not raced the 1500m before so this was going to be a test of speed and endurance for me. I had a great start and hit the first corner fast. Too fast as a wind gust made me almost fall and I lost a lot of momentum regaining my balance. The 1500m is 3 laps long and I was already quite behind by the end of lap 1. The next corner wasn't so bad and I made it to the back straight in good form. But finally my endurance failed on the last lap and I was just happy to stay upright as I pushed to the finish line.  I finished second in my heat and 11th out of 11 skaters overall. My time was 3:27. Yeah, not very fast, but still fun.

Last night I was privileged to get into a sneak preview of the movie Race, the story of Jessie Owens' race towards getting into the Olympics and his success at the Berlin Olympics.

First off, how this has not been a major movie before now, I will never know. It is one of those stories that has everything Hollywood loves. Underdog, natural but rough around the edges kind of guy, raise to glory, some stumbles and then success. The story is fairly well known (at least you can easily look it up) so as is usually the case in these biopics, it is all about a well crafted script keeping you on edge.

I think this is a must see story. It is well told and extremely well filmed. The acting is great and I was impressed with the fact that the lead actor managed to capture Jessie's running style so well.  Now as is always the case in a biopic that is a 2 hour glimpse into a person's life, the focus is on the highs and lows, and I am sure some things were missed, others combined and others exaggerated. But the feeling is there and the important aspects are there.

As a runner, you want to see more of the athletics, but I understand the need to temper that with the side stories.  But I just suggest if you see it, pay close attention when Jessie arrives at the Olympic track and field venue. For me, that was so well done and was the building point I had been waiting for.

Back to it, I'll post again soon as I have a race this Sunday on the Oval!

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