After full seven days of intense training, I’m glad that my body is holding up surprisingly well. Sure there is fatigue in the legs and my waking heart rate has been creeping up a little, those are entirely expected. I am thankful that I do not have any foot pain nor is there much lactic acid build up in the muscles.
Yesterday was a relatively easy day with morning session on the road track and some easy skating at the Copenhagen Friday Night Skate. The focus of our workout was on more intense skating with a variety of windmill drill, attack & chase, and relay. After spending some time on the parabolic track at a previous session, returning to the road track brought back a rush of familiarity. The session felt a bit like a typical practice at Toronto Inline Skating Club except that I have people around my speed to train with. It was a productive morning for me.
We are offered to spend an afternoon at Gerlev Legepark to play some traditional games. I originally planned to go but with the bright afternoon sun and rising temperature, I much rather stayed indoor so I would not get too tired. When NCJ proposed a field trip to the local big box store Bilka (think Super Wal-Mart), I jumped at the chance. I adore browsing supermarkets! I came back with so much fun food stuff including local honey, fig fruit bars that is similar to the filling of Fig Newtons, cheeses, yogurt, mackerel salad, chocolate, marzipan, more Kinder cream bars, and wafers filled with caramel. Yum! I have already made some significant damage to my stash of goodies. Did I mention how hungry I’ve been since I arrived at the training camp? The body just craves carbs and protein much more than usual. I’ve been eating more according to SZ’s advice but I’m having a tough time gauging exactly how much more to eat. My hunger signal cannot really be trusted.
I’ve been looking forward to Friday Night Skate at Copenhagen. Despite having been to similar events around the globe, I always enjoy these fun skates especially when there are lots of skaters in the group. Many of the skaters at Skate Camp are marshals and they told me there were over one thousand skaters last night. It was Super Hero theme night and many people went all out with costume. If I only knew about the theme earlier, I would have packed a costume of my own too!
It was a leisurely 2 hours skate and a fun way to see the city on skates. Although everyone has been telling me that Denmark is flat, I could not believe how our entire route felt like a slight downward incline all the way through. I barely needed to shuffle my feet and was already rolling forward. I had a bit of fun following the kids at Sk8skool as they weaved their way up from the back of the group to the front. Agility training anyone? My pictures don’t do the event justice. There were skaters of all abilities out in the gorgeous weather for an evening of fun on skates.
I took a lot of videos to capture my experience at the night skate. I hope to edit them together into a little montage to share with you once I return home. After we finished skating, I joined some Rolling Vikings at a cafe for a drink. Coincidentally, I met a gentleman who just came home from a trip to Manhattan and he was telling me about the NYC Wednesday Night Skate. Of course we both met MG, a prominent skater of the group. What a small world!
This morning we got a little break from training with a choice of workshops to attend. I went to the training program discussion and analysis of good skating form of the top skaters. One of the main reasons I come to Skate Camp is to learn about other coaches’ perspective on training and technique. My main source of skating-related knowledge comes from the circle of skaters in Toronto. Although some of us have raced and trained in Europe before and shared with us their knowledge, it does not compare to experiencing it myself firsthand. Skaters in Denmark also need to deal with the challenges of training in wintery condition. It was interesting to learn about their approach to off-season training especially. Periodization and peaking for performance were also covered. I had a chance to compare coach Sooty’s training philosophy with my coach’s.
Afternoon brought us another chance to skate marathon distance. This time, rather than a self-directed tour, we had a more intense program to follow. The agenda of the day was race pace for 21km, break, and finish with another 21km of minute on/minute off interval. My legs were definitely not springy anymore and I wondered if I could even hang with the fast guys I was grouped with, much less doing interval training. Our route covered different terrain from bike path to road, some rougher than others. I sat comfortably in the pack for the first half of the session until coach Sooty told the pack to pick up the pace with only 8km to go to the turnaround point. We started taking short pulls and moved along between 35 to 40 km/h. With about 3km left, my legs had enough.
To say I was worry about the minute-minute intervals is an understatement. I know that my acceleration does not compare to the guys in the pack and have little confidence of staying in the pack for the high intensity workout. Being all alone on unfamiliar country road to fend for myself only added to the stress. I made a few contingency plans with the sweep vehicle and other packs just in case. Somehow, I lasted 8 reps before I got dropped and I was not the first skater to get drop either. How that happen I honestly don’t know. Under normal circumstances, I ought to be dropped right off the bat in the first set. Go figure. I grouped up with other stragglers and we continued doing the same interval at a slower pace. I was so relieved that I was not left alone on the road with other skaters in my pack who actually know their way!