After a long winter, the weather is finally looking hospitable enough for skating. The timing is perfect because in just over a week, I'll be kicking off my 2010 race season at Squiggy Inline Marathon in Tampa. This winter I haven't been writing much about my training. Truth be told, I'm just not convinced it's of interest to anyone but myself and my coach. Off-skate training in winter can be boring hardwork but I honestly enjoy the structure it frames into my daily life.
Last Monday I had a fantastic indoor practice, probably my best this winter. I've been away from my skates for three weeks due to various conflicts. Normally indoor skating is not my cup of tea and I've been struggling with cornering technique since day 1. Monday practice was very encouraging in more ways than one and I am at last feeling the excitement for the upcoming season. You read that right, somewhere in those blustery winter months, I lost my motivation to race. Well, now it's back.
I spent the first half of Monday's indoor practice remembering how to skate. Although I've been training hard in the gym, there's really no replacement for actual on-skate training. Staying in skating position reminded me the importance of keeping those stablizing muscles well-trained. My moment to shine came after we completed the 100 laps warm up. Coach LF had us do 10x 500m with approximately 60-90s rolling rest in between efforts. For the first time since I started skating indoor, I dipped into 12s lap category non-drafting. What really made my day was the feedback from my training mates. The timing of my crossover is much improved and I got rid of the dreaded pause in between pushes. Funny thing is, I wasn't even thinking about eliminating the pause. While I was skating, I focused on putting my left foot in the pocket that is created when my right foot crossed over. My mind visualized the smooth skating I watched from hours of shorttrack Olympics broadcast. All I wanted to do was keep my legs moving and avoid gliding the corners. Like MW said, "I think Candy's got it at last."
Another observation that truly boosts my confidence for outdoor racing is my body's recovery speed during this drill. I was able to maintain very consistent speed throughout the entire set of 10 repetitions. In fact, after the set was done, I was so pumped that I could have done more. This observation verifies my winter training is on track. I think Coach SZ would be pleased. I am greatly relieved because I expect outdoor racing to include plenty of intervals similar to this work/rest ratio. Seeing that I can recover quickly on skates, not just on bike, gives me confidence that I'll do alright at the race next weekend.
Now that my spirit is high, my competitive side also returns. Last year I declared to my training mates that I would consistently beat EL in 2009. After group plyos on Tuesday, it occurred to me that I want a similar goal this year but I could not come up with a new target off the top of my head. Well, I've found my target since. On Monday, out of the blue, Mr. P skated up to me and said he would not let me beat him at Cambridge again this year (I had a PB last year and an unexpectedly high placement). Not to be outdone, I immediately replied "Sure, I'll only beat you in all other races". Well well, the (friendly) trash talking is on and I've decided to make him my target for 2010. It will not be easy but what's the fun if it's a sure thing? Mr. P, I have my eyes on you.