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The love of skating.

February 3, 2010
by

It is now February and the race that I have been working towards all year is just seventeen days away and this is very exciting.  However the start of February also means the season will be ending in 28 days and this makes me sad.  To make myself feel a little better I have begun to look at the gardens pictured in my magazines.  The thought of spring and my peonies blooming makes me smile.  However, I will miss skating.

The reason I will miss skating is not just that skating is a good workout, you get lots of fresh air and have the ability to move fast.   To accomplish all of that during the other seasons I turn to my bike.  What I will miss; the people, specifically the speed skating people.

My friends and I are not members of a club so when we skate we do so during the open skate at the oval.  On the weekends I skate with my children.  I view this time as endurance training as the rink is often crowded with skaters of various skill levels.  My plan each weekend is to just maneuver around them and continue moving for an hour and a half.  This continual movement is perfect training for 25 laps on a 1 k track where cross over steps are not required.  Wednesday evening open skate is very different as the rink is not very crowded. This allows us to train a little harder, learn how to go faster and how to do a cross over step.  I can say that I now can do them!  Wednesday evenings also brings out a variety of other speed skaters.  Steve from Twin City Speedskating conducts adult learn to speed skate classes which I sometimes take part in. Additionally other skaters come out and enjoy the quiet ice.  On one particular Wednesday in January there was 9 of us on the ice with long blades.   That night was the best of the year!

Here is why it was the best.  Every person that I have met that is associated with speed skating is kind, thoughtful and encouraging.  I have met people who skate but are not a part of a club and others associated with Midway Speedskating, Pioneer Speedskating, Twin Cities Speedskating, and even people from a club in Wisconsin. All of these people share the same qualities; a love of the sport, a desire to see others love the sport, and a respect for having all skaters, know matter their skill level, learn and compete.

This past weekend when I skated with my children we were the only speed skaters on the ice for the first hour.  It was a good skate but in some ways a lonely skate.  I enjoy talking with the other speed skaters and both giving and receiving encouragement.  About the time my children and I were ready to go home for supper two other speed skaters joined us. Just having them on the ice made a difference in my enthusiasm for being on the ice.  This made me realize how much I will miss seeing these people when the season is over.

To all of you that have welcomed my children, my friends and I into your group a great big thank you.  Your encouragement has gone a long way, as the three members of my family are much better skaters and we have new friends who are an important part of our lives.  I also have grown in my desire to compete in shorter distance races.  This will take a lot of work and coaching but I am up for the challenge.  All three of my family members have the desire to become official members of the speed skating family.  So for the 2010-11 year Midway you can count on adding two skaters to your roster and Twin Cities you can add one to yours.

For now though the good news is that I will be on the ice in just over an hour.  I sure hope to see those other eight people on the ice with me tonight but if not maybe next week.

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