No, I'm not talking about football...
"You're fighting the edge, Tom." It's something I've heard from our speed skating coach from about the moment I put on inline speed skates. It's something drills and other instruction failed to correct.
True to form, it was the first thing that was pointed out in a drill during our second workout of the new season. I'm stepping flat, fighting the edge, losing power. As we discussed it, I pointed out that I could try moving my frame further in. That simple comment led to an instant and significant change.
Looking at my setup, the coach was concerned that my left (inside) frame was almost entirely under my big toe. "Try moving it to the other side, under your pinky toe," was his suggestion. That led to several minutes of me pointing out how counterintuitive that is. I already feel like I'm going to fall over, and I couldn't imagine moving the frame IN. But if there is one thing I try to do, it's set a good example for the younger skaters.
That means listening to the coach. So I pulled the wheels and shifted my frame from under my big to under my smallest toe. A total move of perhaps an inch. Certain it was going to make things much worse, I headed back onto the floor to try out the new setup.
The lesson? Keep on listening to the coach. There's a reason he's a national champion and I'm an entry level skater. In a matter of minutes, a years long struggle was resolved. A one inch shift in the frame and I was no longer fighting the edge. Suddenly, my skates went right to the proper edge with ease. Yeah, there was the "Man, am I stupid" feeling, too.
We're early in the season, and I'm early in the process of rehabbing on skates. I'm very interested in seeing how big an impact this simple one inch move has on that process. Something tells me that getting this issue out of the way will be huge.
Time trials, here I come...
More than a decade ago, a group of kids challenged me to participate in a triathlon. Little did they know at the time, but they were starting me down a very long and very strange path. A path that I am still following in one way or another, today.
Their spur of the moment challenge led me to complete that first triathlon, and continue on to complete many other races, including the inaugural Ironman Louisville in 2007. Their challenge pushed me to start a youth triathlon club that continues to train and race, today. They led me to become an ultramarathoner completing multiple 40 and 50 mile solo races.
Their challenge also allowed me to discover arthritis of the feet, as well as learn about tarsal tunnel syndrome (think carpal tunnel syndrome, but in the feet). Foot issues led me to become a barefoot runner, and barefoot running led to a broken bone that effectively sidelined my running career.
In time, the same children who witnessed me racing the 2007 Ironman Louisville would lead me to the next stage in my athletic career. As they developed a love of skating, then skating fast, they became interested in The Skate City Speed Team. And, of course, as they needed someone to take them to practice, I soon joined the team, first on "quads" (what us old folks call roller skates), then on inline speed skates.
I have had my ups and downs in this sport, as well. Speed skating is less stressful on the feet, but broken bones from OFF the rink have slowed me down in the past 12 months. With a new season starting, and my first opportunity to skate in many months, it seems a good time to jump start the blog and get things back on track.
Even if it's a short track with lots of people going fast and turning left.
Just who is this Iron Pol?
A former out of shape sailor, who became a marathoner, then a triathlete, Ironman, and ultramarathoner. Now, life has pushed me into short track speed skating. More important than the titles is the lifestyle, and sharing it with others.