photo by Steve Penland

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Milwaukee, Here I Come...

...ready or not. (Me, that is, not Milwaukee.  I have no idea whether Milwaukee is ready or not.)

I leave for Milwaukee tomorrow after work, for the Masters Single Distance event.  It's the big meet of the season for me (and the only masters meet I'll do this year), and I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for it.

Sure, I've been skating.  And I tapered this week.  And Coach TieGuy even came out to the oval tonight, to give me some help with a leg pain issue I've been dealing with for the past month (he's a PT) and to check out my skating.  And, once he'd reminded me that I need to actually DO something with my abs when I'm skating (I mean, something other than continually adding to the nice layer of padding I'm growing on them)--something like, say, actually engaging my core muscles while skating (that reminds me, I need to start doing my core exercises again)--well, once I did that he said my skating actually looked pretty good.

Well, pretty good apart from the fact that I got really tired and my technique went to heck after just a lap and a half, that is.  Which is, of course, the part that has me wondering if I'm ready for this.  I'm doing a 5K this weekend--twelve and a half laps--and that's a mighty long way when you get tired after a lap and a half.  So, call it maturity, call it pessimism, call it realism, but I'm setting a much more modest goal than usual this year.

This year, my goal is simply to make the Masters Category 1 (MAT ) time in the 5K.  MAT 1 is an elite designation for US masters skaters, and it's achieved by skating a race in 108% of the world record time for that distance in one's age group.  I've made MAT 1 all three years that it's been in existence, but this year is looking a bit iffy.

The MAT 1 time for the 5K in my age group is (if I've done the math correctly) 8:57.79.  Now, normally I wouldn't worry about making that time; I haven't skated an indoor 5K in slower than 8:39 since my first one (a 9:04) back in 2007.  But...this is my slow year.  My times in shorter distances thus far, if I extrapolate the "slowness factor" to the 5K, leave me thinking that my chances of skating the MAT 1 time are about 50-50. So it should be an interesting weekend.

Still, whether I'm having a "slow year" or not, masters events are always fun.  It's nice to see friends from around the country that I only see at masters events; to skate indoors with no wind and no frozen toes; to hang out with skaters my age for a change.  So even though my times could be dreadful, I'm looking forward to this weekend.

Ready or not.

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