Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Coldest Place in the Country

To the left is me (in the rainbow hat) racing Beth.

I did my 1st long track race over the weekend at the olympic oval in Lake Placid, the Charles Jewtraw meet! I came in 2nd in my age group (16-18), not bad for my first time on clap skates! Man, thoes things are FUN. The day we got there, Lake Placid/Saranac was officially the coldest place in the US with a temperature of -25 deg. Needless to say, after the races I got a bad cold, since the oval is outdoors.
Long track is so much different than short track, especially the crossovers!! Omigosh, I swear I slowed down on the turns because I couldnt do the crossovers right, I think I could have gone faster without crossovers, just pushing with my right foot. Unlike short track, you can't lean into the turns as much or the blades will slip out from under you and/or you'll go into the next lane (learned it the hard way).
Anyway, Jim's races were the most amazing speedskating races ive ever seen in my life. He went up against his arch rival, a guy named Pat, a Canadian former olympian. Pat seems to be better at the sprints and Jim at the longer distances, which led to Jims getting 2nd instead of 1st because in long track they count the shorter distances more heavily (also why I got 2nd and not 1st). Their races were truely a thing of beauty, they really inspired me. It was way better than anything ive seen on the olympics, the TV really doesnt do the sport justice.

We got a deal from John Dimon ( http://www.dimonsports.com/ ) on some long track blades and boots so im all set :D Ill probably go to a long track camp over the summer along with all the short track ones. I found a webcam of the oval, there is a link to it on the side of this page, the oval is shown on the top of the page. There are cams below the oval for the other venues too, the jumps, whiteface, xc stadium, and the rink. Unfortunatly it doesnt have Mt. Van Hoevenbergh :/. It takes pictures of the oval every hour so you can see whats going on. Cool, no?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Something's Missing...

I had a pretty good time at the Eastern states meet in Saratoga. It was fun watching the America Cup 3 skaters, DAMN they're good!! During a 3000 this one skater broke away and went full out, his plan was to catch up to the back of the pack again and draft. Once he got there everyone was screaming and cheering, it was really amazing. With about 9 or 10 laps to go he sprinted again and won by a lap or two. CRAZY GOOD!!

My races were ok, I won all of them again except for the 1st 777m final where I fell. Im sick of getting empty trophies, I hardly even work for them. In the 1500m I even lapped a couple people. They keep putting me in open B. If I were in open A, not only would I go faster because id have competition but id learn something. By something I mean something. My coach was trying to explain to me that I was missing something in my races but couldnt quite get it out in words, he said something like "I wish I could just jump in your body and show you what it feels like to skate like them, then you'd know". I think I know what hes talking about. I think its as simple or as complicated as getting "fired up". Its something I know nobody can explain to me, Ill have to learn it by skating with better skaters, thats why ive decided to skate at Nationals. I qualified for them, but im definatly at the bottom of the pack. I know ill only skate 3 heats, but thats better than winning an easy gold at Empire State Games. Before the eastern states meet I was torn between Nationals and ESG's, everyone was saying how fun the ESG's were and how you get cool warm-ups and how its like a mini-olympics. But after I saw the Am. Cup skaters I knew thats where I wanted to be, and I can't get there from open B.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Fast And The Frigid

I did a 5k yesterday, race 3 of the Freezeroo. On the way there I got a flat tire going over a deep hole, but didnt notice it untill I got there. I was all good though, my mom called and had it fixed while I raced. We had a nice group of RSST people there, Kathy let me use her Lake Placid USA headband, it made me feel special XD. The weather...*sigh*...it was hailing for the first part, it was VERY wet out from the melted snow and VERY cold. Especially when it started snowing in the middle, the snow melted on us and it became even more wet. The snow caked all over my glasses and when I went to brush it off it melted and I got streaks everywhere and couldnt see :( . The more I race the more I think it would be a wise decision to invest in some contacts. I ended up getting 21:17, 16 seconds slower than my last 5k (I bet its because I went to skating practice before the race, we did a workout :D). Oh well, thats what XC is all about. Ya know what sucks? I got passed by the guy with the baby stroller. Every RSST runner has gotten passed by this guy at least once in a race. I won my age group anyway! Tom (skating coach) has been trying to get me to sign up for the series instead of the individual races ,ive won 2 out of 2 races so far so if I were to sign up for the series id get prize money at the end : ). After the race I gave in and signed up.

Theres this guy I met at the last race, the 7.5 miler, he was following me just about the whole race and at the end, probably the last .5 mi. he runs ahead of me, then I kick in and beat him. So at this race, I see him again at the start and hes like "Oh..its YOU again.." LOL! so im ahead of him the whole race again, then last .5 mile he catches up to say "hi". We ran next to eachother untill the last 400m then I sprinted and beat him again! XD He wants a rematch, so ill see him at the next race. You know what? I LOVE Skeleton. Or Cresta, whichever you prefer. I like to say Cresta. Thats a sport I DEFINATLY need to try sometime. Im thinking...Lake placid in 2 weeks :D

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rough Ice

This xmass, I got a pair of new blades. Not just any blades, Allison Baver's olympic trial blades!! HELLZYEAH! Needless to say I felt very special. (she even wrote "olympic trials" on the tops of the blades :D) I couldnt wait to use them in a meet (which would be the Pittsburgh Holiday Open in about a week). I realized that I had to get used to them so I went out to skate with Buffalo, who were welcoming Rochester skaters to skate with them over Rochester's mid-season break (bleh).

As soon as I got on the ice I was stumbling. I could barly do crossovers or keep balance. Now I was worried, maybe I put them on wrong, or maybe they were just too good for me. Before I skated on them a second time I had Marty come to the open skate to look at them and see if I had them on right. He said they were on perfectly and stayed to watch me skate for a few minutes then gave me some pep talk, which made me feel SOOOOO much better, you have no idea. Whenever I get nervous and have a technical or mental issue, Marty is the guy to talk to. During my first meet, I got nervous because I stripped the edge on the outside of a blade during a 500m, so I asked him what to do and if I should sharpen them. He said it wasnt necessary because it was an outside edge, but if I was going to be thinking about it during the next races then I should sharpen it to feel more confident. It might sound weird, but it gives me so much more confidence when a coach tells me that something is right, or even if they say something in general, because ill believe them and won't doubt a word they say. Kind of like thoes little arctic or antarctic animals, if one jumps off a cliff the others do too. (ex: Jim's lectures on nutrition and whole foods XD, now I eat steel-cut oats for b-fast everyday!)

Anyway, the Pittsburgh meet comes, and im nervous again because none of our coaches came. It was only 4 of us. This kid from Pittsburgh (I won't name this skater, ill make up a new name for him..."evil kid") So during the 1st race, 1000m heat, we start. The evil kid makes me fall in the first turn so we start over. We start, he interferes, I fall AGAIN. Same spot. We start again, I get about 1 lap in and fall again for some reason. I was really discouraged at the end of the race so I switched back to my old blades. After the switch however, (excluding the 500m heat where the evil kid uses his elbow to nearly push me into the inside track..im telling you this kid skates like a Korean!) I was crankin' out thoes personal best's (PB's) in every event!!! In the 500m I got 56.32, the 777m was 1:27.47, and the 1500m was 3:06.09. Since then ive skated with the new blades a bit and im getting used to them, ill use them for next weeks meet, the Eastern States Meet in Saratoga. Rock on.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting (Me in front)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

From The Beginning

OK. So. I got into speedskating during the 2006 winter olympics. I didnt even know what speedskating was, but Apolo Ohno had so much media coverage! They showed all these cool mini clips from races and I was like "WOW! I gata see that..." so I started watching the events on TV and got hooked. At one point we went to Boston and were eatting in the Cheesecake Factory and it was on the TV in their bar area. I guess it was the speed, grace, and perfection with which they skated that got me obsessed. It really is a beautifull sport.

So after the olympics, I told my dad I wanted to try it, so he looked on the US Speedskating site and found that the Rochester Speed Skating Team (RSST) was doing a Learn To Speed Skate (LTSS) session soon so I signed up. They thought I was a "natural athlete" and were happy to have me on the team, which made me feel special on the inside :D. The coaches liked me because I filled an apparent age gap in the team for the womens side, there was only one other girl on the team arround my age then (and shes still 2 years older). One of the coaches (Jim) said to my dad "Does she have any friends??" LOL! So I got my friend Sacha to do it with me. So far, ive gone to all of the short track meets I could get to (Ohio, CT, our home meet and my first meet (Rochester), Morrisvile NY, Pittsburgh) and Sacha refuses to race for some reason.

Well, so far ive had A TON of fun. Even though ive only been skating for 8 months ive made it a goal of mine to make it to the Olympics someday, which I think is a very tangable goal if I continue to work hard and stay dedicated. The Rochester team is unbelieveably supportive, they're allmost like family to me now. I can't imagine what it would be like to wich teams when I go to college :( .

The coaches are amazing, Marty said he thinks I can make it to the Olympics, if not Vancouver, the next one for sure if I keep working hard! The team not only skates together, we run in road races, we bike, some do triathlons, some ski, there was even a track meet and an orienteering run some did together. HOWEVER, excluding Jim, the RSST has ONE WEAKNESS.....my awesome homemade cookies. XD