Ask any marathon runners and you are bound to find a plethora of race day fuelling advice. What to drink? What to eat? When to take it? How to carry it? Down to a science? It IS a science! On the other hand, planning for food and drink for a skating marathon is not as intuitive. If you ask the top finishers who crossed the line just a little over an hour, they will probably tell you the body cannot process food so quickly for such a short race and even water is optional. The pesky water bottle only adds extra weight. But if you talk to the skaters who huffed and puffed to a sub-3 hour finish, they can assure you on course nutrition is a necessity. For most of us, the answer lies somewhere in between.
My transition to speed skates had not been the smoothest but at least I grew comfortable enough to take them to Ottawa Inline Festival on Labour Day weekend. Although I still felt clumsy with my big wheels, I figured out a reliable way to stop that did not involve my bum hitting the ground. On my way to Ottawa, I laid out my big plan to Mike in detail. First, I would finish my first marathon that weekend. Two weeks later, I would travel to Duluth, Minnesota with the confidence of a marathon veteran. Finally, I would cap my first inline skating season with a new personal best at Northshore Inline Marathon. Everyone told me it was the biggest race and the fastest course in North America. I believed in my plan with all my heart. I still chuckle at my naïveté to this day.
Ottawa Inline Festival was a race of many firsts for me. My first marathon, all 42.2km of it. My first race on speed skates. My first course involving multiple 180 degree turnarounds. My first afternoon start time. What I did not expect, was receiving my first three letter acronym in the race result.