My 2012-13 Long Track Season

johndAC3X3.5I knew it was going to be a tough upcoming season when October arrived and I was behind on my dryland regimen, even though I had had a good cycling season. My first trip to the long track ice was one of six drives to Salt Lake City. We went in October, and I attended the Masters Camp with instructor Derek Parra. It was great to see a lot of skating friends, and I spent four days working hard and seeing how I had my work cut out for me. We did a time trial and I skated a 43.34 for the 500meter and 1:25.47 for the 1000––which was very poor. I needed to at least be in the 42's.

So we came home and really stepped up the training with extra dryland, and Wednesdays running up Hiller Dr., long bike rides and trying very, very, hard to curb my food intake because I was packing around an extra eighteen pounds. Back to Salt Lake in November and December for more ice time and time trials, but progress seemed to be slow. The long drives and the elevation change added to the fatigue and frustration of that elusive fitness level that I needed to achieve.

I decided to travel to Milwaukee twice this season. Once in January for the Single Distance Master's Championship, and then again in February for the National Age Graded pack style championship. The ice in Milwaukee is slower then in Salt Lake, so it makes for better training because you have to work harder. The pack style meet promised to have a lot of racing so there would be a lot of quality ice time. I also planned to stay an extra four days to train with Bob Fenn and that was very beneficial. He has great coaching skills and is a good motivator. I believe that this trip to Milwaukee was the turning point in my fitness. After that I felt stronger and raced faster. I skated a 42.9 500meter that weekend. I also skated a team pursuit, which gave me 8 hard laps under my belt. That solidified a good base.

In early March we drove back to Salt Lake for the America Cup. Liller and I both felt very little effects from the elevation change. I skated a 41.6 500meter and a 1:22.55 1000meter, and then I did a 2:10.72 1500 meter, which was 6 seconds off my previous PR. This meet was very satisfying and I felt I was on track for a strong performance in my season finale which was coming up in two weeks. The Master's World Sprints would bring me stiff competition from Germany and Norway. But I felt confident and ready. AND I had managed to lose that extra 15 pounds.

john2Three days before that Sprint meet I caught a head cold but it cleared up pretty good by the first day of the race. I achieved a seasons best in the 1000meter of 1:22.27. I placed 2nd overall for the weekend, getting runner up to fellow Salt Lake skater Boris Leiken. It was nice to have 2 Americans at the top of the podium.

All in all it was a great season. Never mind the pain, full speed ahead. I couldn't have done it without all the great training buddies and all the shared hard work on Hiller, at Cougar Field, around Lake Chabot, and on the ice! Plus I want to thank my beautiful wife for all of her support and coaching––I would have failed if she wasn't there. At my age, I shouldn't be able to skate those fast times, but with her help I did!