Surprise #1: Leaving work at 3:30 and driving almost 6 hours to Milwaukee is often a recipe for disaster. In the past I've tried massive amounts of caffeine to keep me awake, but this time I found something better--FRS energy shots. I had one that I had gotten in the goody bag (from Kim and Eric Kraan of SkateNow) at skate camp, but given my
Surprise #2: My NeverGonnaHappen WayTooSmall skinsuit--my suit from making MAT 1 in 2010-2011--actually fit. Not because I lost any weight, but because those babies can s-t-r-e-t-c-h.
Surprise #3: The second 500 meter race. The surprise of the first 500 meter race was that I actually got a somewhat decent time. See, here I am leaving the line (thanks to Steve Penland for all the photos):
chicken wing, and don't tell Coach TieGuy):
Surprise #4: The 1500. I had done three 1500's up to this point in the season, and they had ranged from "dreadful" to "sluggish." So I wasn't expecting much, and I was put into a quad (four skaters race at once; one pair goes first and the rest follows after 15-20 seconds) that reflected my early-season times. I found an unexpected--and very welcome--bit of speed in the 1500, though, which resulted in me getting my second-fastest Milwaukee 1500 time ever--and catching the person in front of me just before the finish line. See?
Surprise #6 The 5K. The good surprises run out...just in time for my big race. I kind of suspected it might not go as well as the others when I found myself thinking, for the hour before the race, "twelve and a half laps is one heck of a long way" (or thoughts to that effect). That is not how one should think before a race. I think I was, for the first time since my first 5K, kind of afraid of doing a distance race. So, in hopes of avoiding major pain, PVC's, and general mayhem, I started slow and skated around at a rather, um, relaxed pace...until I heard my time for lap three (Mel's dad was kind enough to yell my lap times to me). It was a 42.5, and I suddenly realized "hey, I don't need to be going quite that slow." So I sped up. I held 41's through lap 8, then the last 4 were 42's for a final time of 8:48--my worst since my first-ever 5K, by almost 10 seconds. Still, I made the MAT 1 qualifying time, and I didn't get any PVC's, so I count it as a victory.
Surprise #7: I decided to participate in the 12-lap "for fun" mass start race that was held about 20 minutes after I finished my 5K. I figured that I need to start skating more laps if I want to get in shape to do a faster 5K later this season, and there's no time like the present. The little group I ended up skating with got lapped, but we maintained our dignity by skating the final lap anyway, even though we were supposed to be done when the leaders crossed the line.
Surprise #8: Despite having done 5 races in two days, I'm already looking forward to "Fast Tuesday" tomorrow.
And there you have it...the surprising Masters Single Distance 2013. I'll leave you with a final photo from the 1500, just to prove that I can sometimes skate without the chicken wing: