Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Final Speed Skating Race of the Year - The 10 km Marathon v2

The final long track speed skating race of the year (for me) took place last weekend. I signed up for one race in the 2 day event, the 10km skate marathon. I had done this event a few weekends ago and wanted to see if I had made any progress from then to now.  Back then I finished with a time of 29:26, on a very cold day with a heavy crosswind.

This day was different. Warm temps, heavy wind down the back stretch and fresh, soft ice was probably far worse, at least for skating. But you skate with the conditions that exist, so off we went.

As this was more of an official event, compared to last time, we started in rows of 7 and the first lap was neutral, which means you take it "easy" and hold your position, hitting the start/finish line at speed (though that lap counts for distance and time).

Like any marathon event, this is all about pacing. And with the really harsh head wind on the back straight, it was about not over cooking things fighting to move forward.

I was amazed at the speed of the fastest skaters as they coudl easily form a train for the early part of the race and work together. it was quite good to watch, even as they eventually lapped me a couple of times. But even that train fell apart as the end of their race approached.

By the halfway mark, my lower back was starting to ache, but I tried my hardest to keep low and work on technique. With a few laps to go I was just praying for the finish as i soldiered on alone. I assumed with the wind and poor ice that my time wasn't going to be that great (for me) but I still hoped to keep it under 30 minutes. Somehow I managed to not only go a little faster than last time but crush it by almost 2 minutes overall with a time of 27:42. Wowza. (the winner did it in a little over 18 minutes by the way).

Of the 20 skaters I was 18th, so yeah, not some leap of perfection by any stretch, but it is progress and that is nice to see.

Overall speed skating reminds me a lot of swimming. Both are highly technical and form plays such a key role in speed for both. The worse your form, the more effort you need to put in to get any where and that wears you out. On the plus side, I burn more calories than those efficient fast skates and swimmers, ha ha.

With the crazy warm winter we are having, the long track oval may be pretty much done for the year, so who knows if I will get out for another skate or not. Regardless what a great winter it has been and I really am looking for more skating next year. Joining the Nova Scotia Masters Speed Skating Club was a great idea for me.

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