Wednesday, December 9, 2009

some thoughts about the perfect race

On Sunday we arrived at the oval around 7:15 filled with the usual pre-race anxiety. I was actually proud of Chris because the night before we left the mall early enough and at his direction to make it to bed by 9:30 PM so rising at 6:00AM was not early, and a 7:15 pre-warm-up call was not at all a bother. He had a big day of racing ahead of him, with LOTS of expectations. He was pumped after the previous day's PR's, the only thing that would make the weekend sweeter would be to shave another 2 seconds off his 500. I know, that seems like a tall order, but he felt like he didn't leave it all behind in the first one so 2 seconds was in his realm of possibilities, he envisioned it matter of fact. The perfect race happened twice that day, but not without some DRAMA.
Chris and I have had our battles this weekend, some of which left me simmering. Warm up was the first indication that this day was going to be no different. My new mantra as a coach is "if you don't have the time to dedicate to a proper warm-up and equipment check, then you don't have the time to skate, period" Chris argued with me about warming- up and quite frankly I had had it. Fast-forward, his 500 pair comes up, and he is focused. He has a clean start. Yes, the kid who usually wears the polka dotted NEON suit has managed to hold his cool to actually let the smoke appear from the gun before bolting off the line (and he was skating in an insignificant black suit incognito, BTW) . He is skating the outer. He had the fastest opener I have ever seen him skate and comes whipping around the turn only to be cut off at the crossover. I understand that the TV Broadcaster was commenting on how he should have been decisive and skated through making the other guy yield as he had the right of way but from my vantage point in the coaches box on the back stretch, had he done that they would have collided as that kid was oblivious to Chris's existence and drifted into him as Chris tried in vein to make a long crossover, holding his own track so that he could cross without interruption. Chris got clipped and had to stand-up and put on the brakes, blowing the race. The other kid was DQ'd and Chris was given a re-skate but ... he was spent. Chris was PISSED.
Right before the 1000 he blew up at me, to the point of me sitting on the fence about my on-ice participation in his up coming race. I got off the ice and waited until the pair before his to return. He needed my glasses and was in a panic that I was not on the ice. I handed them over and he detected my disgust. I told him not to focus on my emotions and to put his own into the ice, just then the whistle blows, he is called to the start. I skated over to the coaches box, and watch the absolutely most PERFECT start from behind. It was breath-taking. He was off and he was pushing that frustration into the ice. He skated to a 6 second PB and was stoked. It broke the ice, he was all smiles. The day, however was not over. He still had the 3000 to skate and this was truly the first time I had ever seen him skate against the clock. He took off, kept his pace right where he needed it to be, finishing 15 seconds faster that he did the last time he skated a 3000 on the Roseville Oval. Two nearly perfect races that have taught him one of the most important lessons to learn, focus really counts. Hopefully the confidence gained will guide his season. To see the results from the weekend

Saturday, December 5, 2009

its early...

Its early morning and I have butterflies in my stomach, for Chris and MK. I am hoping that the two of them accomplish everything they want to today. Skates sharpened, showered, coffee injested (though a stop at Carabou is still mandatory). Soon we will be off to warm-ups
In case you are watching the web-cast:

Chris- 500 -22nd pair
MK- 500- 15th pair

Chris - 1500 -1st pair- 1st quad
MK- 1500 -13th pair - 7th quad

OFF to the RACES!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Al's Breakfast

So we started out this morning at 3:30 AM. For some reason, this just seemed like it was too early to think, but we were off on our grand adventure anyway, leaving the pterodactyls behind, and the hubby, the number one son, and the cat...
Our first encounter was at the check in line. I checked in for my flight, tagged my bag and proceeded to check Chris in. We were running against the clock a bit and of course there has to be a snag. For some reason, even though I indicated Chris was checking a bag, I never got the prompt to pay for it. The woman working behind the counter was busy with a customer who decided in the height of the morning rush hour to BUY a TICKET that was extremely complicated. It was a full 20 minutes later before we saw the woman again who just tagged Chris's bag and told us where to deposit them (and told me not to ask any questions because she just might have to act on the response). OK free baggage for anxiety is easing a bit.
We get through security and to the long awaited coffee...the guy working at this starbucks was seriously right out of BORAT (I woke right up thanks to his hysterically sunny disposition). As we were walking to the gate we actually encountered a Dunkin Doughnuts kiosk that was open for business, only the only thing it was serving was Coffee? This somehow made the giddiness of being tired come out. We laughed for a good 5 minutes over the prospect of a doughnut shop not having any doughnuts.
We had a nearly empty flight, which was uneventful. Upon arriving Chris fetched the bags while I tried to find a good place to eat breakfast- we were both STARVING. I somehow found myself in a conversation with a gentleman at the info booth who was trying to assure me that PERKINS was not a chain and neither was KEYS. We accepted his map and headed to get the car. Then we called Kenny for a DDD look-up. We ended up at this amazingly funny joint called Al's Breakfast. The food was outrageous and the ambience even more so. You see the place is basically a lunch counter, no tables, like someone shoved a boxcar diner in between two city buildings and didn't mind if it fit or not (the only thing that survived was the grill and the counter and stools). You walk in, squeeze behind the stools and move all the way to the back until there is a spot at the counter. If your party is larger than what opens up together they will make those sitting rearrange themselves to accomodate your party. The discussions at the counter were interesting and extremely intellectual, and the show behind the counter...well...I wish this was in my neighborhood, oh wait I would be there all the time which would have a multitude of consequences.
Well, off to skate...more later after the draw.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

AM___(cup, nervous, frustrated, tired)

So, its here, the first travel of the season. Its 9PM and I have been running around for the past two days packing and getting work done and packing and ...UGHH...I almost forgot______(to take the wheels off and put blades on, the jig, my meds, my wallet?) Sh**!!! my FN clap blade broke before I even get it mounted on the damn boot, (Dan to the rescue- lent me a pair), Chris's is missing a glove (how does that happen between the rink and the washing machine?). I dreamt last night some god awful dream where things were going so wrong and I couldn't figure out where I was. When I asked, the Dead started playing Broke-Down Palace ? This morning the first song that I heard when I turned on the radio at school was Broke-down Palace. IS SOMEONE TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING?

Forget the butterflies, I think I have pterodactyls in my stomach. Minnesota here we come!