photo by Steve Penland

Saturday, October 20, 2012

This One Time at Skate Camp...

(Ok, I must admit that I was a little concerned about using that title.  I'm old, and I haven't seen the movie from which the original quote came; I was afraid I may be missing some of its implications and sending an unintended message.  So, like any good middle-aged nerd in the information age who fears that there may be an unintended overtone to the phrase he/she intends to speak/write/text...I looked it up in Urban Dictionary.  While it appears that there were originally sexual connotations to the phrase, it has apparently fallen into common and innocuous usage.  So, if I misconstrued the Urban Dictionary and anyone came here intending to find something more exciting than tales of over-40 long track skaters doing dryland drills...sorry! :-)

Day three of masters camp is now done, and since I haven't even written about day two, I'm a little behind (well, based on what happened when I tried to wedge myself into my new skinsuit before coming out to Utah, I'm a big behind, but I digress...).  This morning as we warmed up for the first workout of the day a couple of fellow skaters joked that they wanted to see a 10-page post about everything that happened this weekend.  I don't think I can quite achieve 10 pages, but I do think it's time to hit on a couple of random highlights from the past three days.  So here, in no particular order, are some things that happened at skate camp:
  • First of all, I have to confess that, one day into age 49, it's happened. I've fought against it for years; I've seen other people succumb to it as they've aged; I've sworn it would never happen to me.  And for the past couple years, though I may have faltered in my resolve once or twice, in general I have remained steadfast in my refusal to lower myself to one of the classic hallmarks of old age .  But now I think it's time to admit that I do, indeed, use the wheels on my rolly-wheel skate backpack.
I am officially old.

See, here it is, looking like a normal (if slightly oversized; I have a penchant for large gear bags) skate backpack.

And here it is, showing its true colors as a glaringly obvious indicator of my inability to hoist great weights onto my aging back.
  • Another indicator of my age: I have, in my little notebook in which I record things I might want to remember to blog about as well as bits of technical information from camp that I want to remember, this little reminder sentence: "most frequently asked question from day 2."  Trouble is, I have no memory of what the most frequently asked question from day 2 that I intended to blog about was.  "Am I doing this drill right?"  "How many laps did you say?"  "Outer edges?  What outer edges?"  "When is lunch?"  "Does my butt make this skinsuit look fat?"  I have no could have been anything.
  • My motel experience has apparently been much tamer than that of some of the other skaters.  My biggest excitement has been needing to purchase a pillow from WalMart (best $2.50 I ever spent, but WalMart at 9:00 on a Friday night is an interesting place...) to prevent the neck-stiffening effects of the  ultra-firm-and-lofty hotel pillows.  Other skaters' motel nights have included midnight pajama-clad forays for  toilet-unclogging plungers, which sounds much more exciting than my pillow experience, if somewhat challenging for those with middle-aged bladders.
  • Likewise, my rental car experience was quite uneventful compared to that of the two male skaters who claimed domestic partnership to avoid the extra fee for a second driver.  I'm sure the savings was substantial, and they'll have a fun story to tell their wives when they return home. (On the plus side, it's nice to find out that Utah is open-minded.)
  • Derek Parra is an excellent coach.  He is also continually monitoring everything that is going on in the oval, even while he's coaching.  At one point, as he delivered dryland instruction, his ears caught the tell-tale sound of rental skates marching across concrete.  So he yelled across the oval at the two oblivious teenage girls, reminding them to keep the skates on the rubber padding.  Wonder if the little twits realized they'd just had the honor of being hollered at by an Olympic Gold Medalist?
  • Skating has, for the most part, been going well for me.  (Well, my legs pretty much refused to participate in any semblance of proper skating this morning, but that was a temporary thing).  In fact, my biggest athletic fail this weekend was not on was my complete inability to catch (in my mouth) the shrimp tossed at my by the chef at the Japanese Hibachi grill.  In my defense, it's not something I've practiced (I don't get out much).  Thankfully, there are no photos of this.
  • As usual, food has played an important role in my weekend.  I have my in-room stash...
The poptart box is now empty (apparently skate camp requires 2 poptarts per day), while the Endurox  recovery drink has been banished from my post-skate routine.  I have discovered that it causes unfortunate, um, gas issues, which is not good when  you'll be spending the next two hours doing dryland with 28 other people.

...and my bag-o-goodies for between workout snacks.
At least three people commented on my quantity of provisions...and this is after eating out of it for three days of camp!
  • Good thing I didn't bring the Garmin on this trip; I like keeping my brain sharp by getting lost multiple times (per day, sometimes) and having to figure out how to get to where I'm going.  Fortunately, getting back on track is made easier by Salt Lake being laid out in a grid.  Tonight, Kim and Eric Kraan, who own the SkateNow shop in Salt Lake, hosted a dinner for the skaters (thanks again, Kim and Eric--it was great!).  I managed to get myself lost on the way to their shop, on the way home from the restaurant..and even on the way out of the restaurant parking lot (I'm blaming an unfortunate proliferation of large orange construction barrels).  I have also gotten lost on the way to the oval, back from the oval, and home from another restaurant.  On the plus side, I now have a pretty thorough understanding of the layout of the southwest Salt Lake City area.  You don't get that from following a Garmin!
  • Tomorrow, camp ends with informal time trials--as did last years' camp, which resulted in my epic-fail, first-time-for-the-weird-new-heart-arrhythmia-pattern 3k.  This year I'm sticking with the short distances--500 and 1000 meters--which I think will be quite enough.  In fact, I'm thinking I may need to open my can of Whoopass pre-race tomorrow. Even if the ass I end up whooping will be my own.
See?  An actual can of Whoopass. Who knew?

So, I think that ends the non-skating camp reminiscences.  Tomorrow (with any luck), I'll have a race report as well as a more serious look at what I've learned...because I've learned a lot, and I want to record that as well.  For now, it't time for a nice restful night of sleep with my soft new WalMart pillow.


  1. From your Walmart foray to your training food, this entire post made me snort laugh.

  2. Thanks, Sharon! As I once told some friends in college (with my usual twisted syntax), "I but exist to entertain." Glad I could provide a laugh!