thoughts on skating
I had a profound thought today. (at least it was profound to me). I was looking back at inline marathon race results - I've had some interesting times over the years completely dependent on my fitness level for that particular year.
The first year I ever did a marathon was 2000. It was EXCRUCIATING. 2.5+hours of absolute agony. But I was going to finish come hell or high water. The only thing that got me through the last 10km was singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall". I'd count down to 86 or so and then lose my place and start again. I didn't even know the really sad part was yet to come. I struggled with non-stop leg cramps for a good 45 minutes after the finish as I was completely dehydrated. I popped a couple of my mother-in-law's anti-inflammatory's and eventually was able to move again.
Since 2000 I've skated at least one marathon a year (except 2005, building that house just took all my energy/time/money!!!). 2004 was a low point - I crashed out at mile 19 or so in Duluth with big brother landing on top of me - that sucked. To this day the thing I regret the most is not getting up and finishing the race. Taking the "sweep" van back to the finish line made me feel like such a failure. It took me till 2007 to do that race again and the course still causes me huge anxiety. But, every time I skate it, the monster recedes a little bit more. Wiping out skating is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.
Most race times over the last nine years were an improvement on the one before. That feels pretty good. Today I was looking back at times, getting a little obsessive about what place I came in, how I did that year compared to the others in my age group that kind of thing. As an aside - I look at the Duluth info mostly because RSM historical data is lost prior to 2006. How lame is that. They switched web providers, lost a tonne of info and for whatever reason the office did not keep hard copies of any results. For an OCD type like myself that is so painful. Anyway, I was really examining the data from 2002 thinking WOW - I was in the 30-34 age group at the time. I was 34 years old. I looked at the time I came in, looked at the top 20 and kept checking the other years, comparing myself to others. Then something occurred to me. I realized that I have a historical progress chart that tells a story. I thought if I only knew then what I know now, I could have done "this or that" different or better. I'll never be 34 again. Well guess what - I'll never be 41 again either. When I look back in 10 years at the updated chart - I still want to see progress. I want to see fitness appropriate goals that match what I'm trying to achieve. I'm not saying I have to be the best. Or get a personal best each time. I look at my personal best for our BHP marathon and realize that it wasn't this year, it was last. Doesn't matter if it was last year - it's still MY personal best. I recognize this skating thing is something I really like to do, just for me.
I'm obsessing a little bit about this year's Duluth marathon. But that is nothing new - I obsess every year. Truly any race where I come across the line with no road rash is a good race.