Archive for the ‘skating’ Category
J and I have moved so frequently in recent years that one would think we would be pros when it comes to getting rid of useless things rather than schlepping them around. To some degree we are, and the stuff we have sold or given away in the last decade alone would fill a large U-Haul truck. On the other hand, now that another major move is upon us, we see nothing but stuff to get rid of, even things we have moved four or five times.
Recently, I threw away my 20 year-old climbing shoes and just yesterday, I unceremoniously dumped my beloved Tacks in the trash. This strikes me as personal growth. I bought those skates in 1986, and have probably skated around the world twice in them. They were under my feet when I scored the one and only goal of my illustrious one-year semi-pro hockey career in Germany, and logged countless hours of practices and games for a variety of teams. They were also the skates under my feet when I first stepped on the ice for a speedskating session, soon to be replaced by actual speedskates, which I shall not be throwing away.
They are shot. The blades have been sharpened so many times that nothing is left and a sharp turn in a corner leads to ugly booting out episodes. A shop said years ago that putting on a new blade would be impossible because the boot’s integrity is gone. I have only skated on them maybe 25 hours in the last ten years since I finally admitted that my hockey skills were limited and that at my size and age, I could no longer substitute a mean streak and speed for tangible hockey skills and sense.
Still, parting should have been hard, but it really wasn’t. Time to move on, and I’m moving somewhere where picking up new skates should be rather easy.
Now on to the other useless or worn out things in our house …
The other day at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship we attend, a speaker mentioned a Twain quote that says something to the effect that you’ll only truly regret what you haven’t done. That’s quite true, at least for me. Back in 1999, I attempted to skate 200 km (speedskate blades are typically 1.5 mm thick–yes, enormous ankle strength helps) on the Weissensee in Austria in the Alternatieve Elfstedentocht. Long story short: at 125 km, I was nearly two hours ahead of the pace I had expected to skate and was euphoric since I felt great. At 130 km, I was out of the race due to nerve damage in my left leg caused by the knee pads a friend had loaned me (skating on natural ice one goes down hard from time to time and he was worried about me). I’ve been cranky about this ever since.
It’s time to put an end to that, and, barring unforeseen obstacles, 2009 will be the year, so pretty much a year from today. To say that I’m excited about this adventure is a not-so-mild understatement. I’m working on the logistics, such as registration and lodging, and am mulling over how best to train for this. Having been in the race before, I now know much more about what it’s like to skate this distance and how best to train. Last time, I just wanted to come in under ten hours and not embarrass myself. This time around I’m raising the bar, hoping to finish under eight hours.
I’m looking for sponsors, too, although I have zero experience with convincing people to give me money to do stupid human tricks in return for mentioning or displaying their name. That should be interesting. I’m going to try to convince the local paper to let me write a few articles about it. Being a small town, that’s probably not going to be the hardest sell.