photo by Steve Penland

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hi, There!

So I think I’ll start a blog. Why? Well, (in addition to the fact that “everyone’s doing it”), there are a couple of reasons. I'm a speedskater, I love reading athlete blogs, and there just aren’t that many speedskater blogs. So I’m reduced to reading things like cyclist blogs and triathlete blogs which, while entertaining, don’t have a lot of relevance for me (for example, I discovered that apparently many triathletes have bowel issues while training—it certainly makes one appreciate the fact that one is participating in a sport that does not regularly result in one pooping oneself)…anyway, since I like reading about speedskaters, I figure there may be other skaters out there who do, as well, so this is my selfless attempt at entertaining them. Plus, I like to write about my training and racing—it’s a good way to help me remember exactly when that nagging pain first appeared or when I started skating like a slug in lycra, so that I can analyze and hopefully solve the problem. It’s also a good way to remember how the good times felt. That, and I need a place to whine on a regular basis…

I am 47 years old, and began speedskating in 92 or 93 (I think). People ask me why I started speedskating and the answer is “I really have no idea.” I didn’t grow up skating—my sister and I would venture out onto the pond by our house once a year or so and I would last about 15 minutes before arch cramps, cold feet, or ominously cracking ice would send me to shore. Still, at the age of about 30 I found myself, for some reason, intrigued by the oval plowed on a local lake. I signed up for a community ed “learn to speedskate” class and by the end of the first session (which I wobbled through in my plastic $30 hockey skates), I was hooked. I took a few years off after getting married in 1996, then started up again in 2001. My obsessive nature really got fired up when I found an online coach in 2004 and began improving at a rapid rate, and then got even more fired up when I found a local long track coach in the winter of 06-07, someone who could work with me on technique as well as planning my workouts and coaching me during races (and who shall, hereafter, be referred to as TieGuy). My speed increased dramatically during the next season, and I had great plans for the future—until my workouts began to go downhill in the spring of 08. I was finally diagnosed as hypothyroid in the spring of 2010. I had a great winter season in 2010-11, but now, in the early summer of 2011, I’m again dealing with low thyroid levels, med adjustments, and the lovely mental and physical symptoms that accompany these issues.

Really, what better time to start an athlete blog than when you’re fat, cranky, and slow?

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