photo by Steve Penland

Friday, December 23, 2011

Playin' With the Boys

First off, I will apologize to anyone who now has a "Top Gun" volleyball scene flashback/earworm. Those of you who have no idea what I mean are obviously not old enough to be masters skaters.

Anyway, last night's workout was fun.  It was a Hellishly long interval workout--2x (5x3 laps) at 70% effort, with 600 meters rest between the 3-lappers.  Yes, 30 laps--12k--of intervals.  Fortunately only at 70%, though--most interval workouts are 80 or 90%--so it seemed doable.  And the weather was perfect: 25 degrees and no wind.  The "no wind" part is a rare and beautiful thing here on Frozen Tundra Oval.

So I thought it would probably go OK.  The only thing that I thought might be a fly in the ointment was my Experiment.  In my coursework to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, I did quite a bit of studying of Single Subject Research Design.  So, drawing on my knowledge of ABAB designs (baseline/treatment/reversal to baseline/reapply treatment), I figured that the last day of school before break might be a good time to reverse my "severe caffeine reduction to gauge effect of caffeine on PVC's" treatment to a nice baseline level.

In other words, I had a 20 ounce Diet Dew before skating.

So I thought that there might be some PVC action tonight.  Since I started the caffeine reduction they've been remarkably infrequent (although not totally absent), but in the interest of being a good researcher I figured I should reverse to that happy, fully-caffeinated baseline state for a bit to be sure that the PVC reduction was not merely a coincidence.

My first set of 3 laps went well. I figured 43-44 second laps would be an appropriate pace, but my first set were 41's and 42's but still felt like 70%.  I approved. Then, as I coasted my all-too-short 600 meter rest, I spotted fellow masters skater Aussie Boy skating vaguely about, apparently without a workout plan.

"Hey Aussie Boy," I yelled, "wanna join me for some laps?"

After ascertaining that by "some laps" I meant "sets of 3 laps" and not "sets of 12 laps"--Aussie Boy is not a fan of endurance skating--he agreed to join me.  And since he knows of my anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive control-freak need to know my un-draft-assisted lap times he agreed (even though he's faster than I am) to skate behind me.

The next 4 sets of 3 laps went great--40-42 second laps.  Well, except for the last lap of the last set.  As I headed into the first turn I felt the familiar "flippy floppy", "hollow" feeling in my chest that signals PVC's, followed by the "I've suddenly become an 80-year-old chronic smoker with COPD" feeling in my legs and lungs.  Consequently the last lap was  a 45, and it's unfortunately clear that I must return to my "severely reduced/hopefully soon completely eliminated caffeine" treatment phase of my experiment. Dang.  I really love my caffeine.

Oh, well. I love skating more.

I went in for my customary "I now skate sockless because my new skates fit best that way" warm-up-the-toes break after my first 5 sets.  Aussie Boy said he'd stay outside skating but would watch for me to come back out so he could do the remaining 5 sets with me.

When I came back outside after a leisurely toe-warming, I was greeted by the sight of Aussie Boy and two other masters skaters, 50's Boy and 60's Boy, anxiously awaiting my return.

Cool.  I got me a posse of skaters!

It probably looked pretty funny--me, in black tights and a bright green jacket, leading my three Johnny-Cash-Black clad disciples through the laps.  All we needed was a nice red caboose.

It was a lot of fun, though.  Lap times remained good, although I got pretty tired; the last set was all 42's. It was fun to skate with people for a change, even though I wasn't drafting off of them (I think there's a slight draft advantage to leading a group of people, though, if I remember right...).  All in all, a great last workout before a holiday break.  Now I can spend the next 4 workout-less days enjoying family and fun, and trying not to eat so many Christmas cookies that my skinsuit won't fit come next Tuesday.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


  1. I love speed skating more though.
    Love that line.

  2. Thanks! It's a close competition, a Behavior Analyst I know the hold that "immediate reinforcement" vices like caffeine (and sugar and alcohol and gambling smoking and...good thing I only indulge in the caffeine and sugar!) can hold over us. Sometimes, as I sit there in the afternoon longing for a Dew, I have to keep reminding myself how pissed I'm gonna be if I give in and then PVC's wreck my workout. Sigh.