Bad Race Acronyms

Most people are familiar with these common athletic acronyms that appear on speedskating results sheets:
DNF -did not finish
DNS -did not start
DSQ -disqualified.

Some who have raced for years are even familiar with one of my all time, but much less common, favorites;

DFL -dead freaking last,

I DFL’ed a good deal when I was bike racing, usually on courses that resembled M.C. Escher paintings marching relentlessly uphill.

So I am having an email conversation with my close friend Carla “last-lap” Langenthal, (shown on the right here) and she wrote me about some new acronyms she has come up with. Her email started out with:

We all skated terribly this weekend, and I’ve come up with new abbreviations to go with DNF and DNS.

DNSRW –Did not Skate real well
NGR -not a good race;
SWS -slipped while starting
UBS -unexplainable bad start
UBR -unexplainable bad race
SIC -slipping in the corners
NPS -non-powerful straightaways;
WAL -wobbling ankles or legs,
STF -started too fast
STS -started too slow
EPE -equipment problem(s) excuse;
LEP -legitimate equipment problem(s);
IIE -illness/injury excuse,
RII -real illness/injury;
AHL -ask him/her later;
DAC -don’t ask the coach.

This, of course, got my mental wheels turning, and I had to add a few of my own creative acronyms to this list;

LOL -legs of lead
FBC -fast but crashed
CIC -crashed in corner
OGD -other guy drafted
OTF -over trained fool
NEC -not enough coffee
TMC – too much coffee
VUB -vomited up breakfast
FTD -forgot to de-burr
MTC -MUCH TOO COLD (a Lake Placid special)
EBF -eye balls froze (more Lake Placid)
SOB -skinsuit on backwards

Carla replied with:
DRC - distracted by rude comments
DBE - distracted by ex
DBC - distracted by crush
DBK - distracted by kids
DBP - distracted by parents
CLT - coach lied about split times
PCL - pair’s coach too loud
PIS - pair was inappropriately slow
PLP - pair lied about pace
OWW - officials were wrong
LCW - lap counter was wrong
CDW - clock didn’t work
AFO - armband flew off
GTW - got tired warming up
DWE - didn’t warm up enough
IRS - ice repair while standing on starting line

By this point, the acronyms were getting out of control;
WOC -White out condiditions (lake placid, about 25% of the time)
NEO -not enough oxygen! (high altitude rinks only)
AWB -ate Wisconsin breakfast
FTS -forgot to sharpen
SIR -stuck in rut (this has a physical/mental double meaning)
OTH -OH THE HUMANITY! (Reserved for really bad days racing a 10,000m)

More Carla:
FDN - friend drunk-dialed in the middle of the night
GSM - got stuck in the Marquette interchange
PBS - pretty but slow
UST - unusually sloppy technique
DTH - dinner too heavy
BTL - breakfast too light
DNH - did not hydrate
AJF - accepted junk from a friend
FPF - (travelling) forgot to pack food
ASS - (travelling) ate something strange (hahaha)
FPS - (travelling) forgot to pack supplements
OPD - out of preferred sports drink
SAE - too soon after eating
UMS - unintentional midrace striptease

And my final thoughts (both Carla & I could not stop by this point)

ZMS -Zamboni missed spots (the crash shown here was because of big raw chunks of public skating ice, why do so many outdoor rinks have issues like this??)
RFU –rocker F****** up
BFU –bend F****** up
GFU -glasses fogged up
CPO -contacts popped out (this one just happened to a friend in a 3k)
SZB -skinsuit zipper broke
BRFU -big race freak-out
FAB -forgot albuterol
PIS -parents in stands
WIS -wife in stands
CBS -cursed by snails
NEI -not enough ibuprofen (masters only)
ZEP -Zamboni exaust poisioning
CBZ -crushed by Zamboni
ASiM -annoying song in mind
LAP -lactic acid poisioning

and here is my favorite, and anyone who has ever stood on a starting line experiencing intense pre-race nerves has likely felt this

ESC -Existential Skating Crisis!! This is asking yourself “Why am I here!!” and finding no rational answer.

If folks out there in internet-land have more to add, go for it!!

if you leave a comment, and get a message saying the comment did not go through, ignore that!! That is my super-aggressive anti-spam filter speaking, I always get every comment, and approve them by hand later in the day.

Fall in Salt Lake, pt II

As I write/photoshop this, I am discussing with a couple of folks in my favorite wi-fi coffee shop, about how Salt Lake can seem like a paradise or a hell, depending on where you live, and how you plug into the social strata (and it is extremely divided). Everyone agrees the place itself is beautiful… I think Jessica and I have had such a positive experience here in Salt Lake because I am part of the intense speedskating community, and she has made quite a few friends from work, so we have not been loney.

I took all these pics walking to the coffee shop, rest day today, I need it too, the training load is increasing again….

Ok, enough fun, I gotta get to some client work now…. so here are some rainy day, fall in Salt Lake, pictures…

Day 3 & 4, US single distance champs

You can see the results of Sunday and Monday’s races listed here.

Sure, there were incredible results this last weekend, with Chad Hedrick & Shani Davis both breaking a pair of track records, that is what will go in the media. But what did it feel like to watch a whole slew of talented athletes willingly subject themselves to the punishment of the 3k/5k/10k?

As a pure sprinter, when I watch distance skaters I am always awed by the train wreck of beautiful technique meeting absolutely horrific suffering. I thought that I would do something that emphasized the human experience behind the often dry listing of results, every second in every race was earned by a pounding heart & burning legs. It’s easy to forget that.

I spent much of the flight home to salt lake messing around with some movies I took of the races, and this is the result. Enjoy!

(And no, that is not me in any of these photos, even thought that is my skinsuit on my friend Kirk)…. press the play button to get this show rolling.

Day 2, US single distance champs

I am exhausted, happy, and it’s late… so this will be short…

Many of the folks I talked to agree that there is more tension & intensity in this weekend’s races today than at Nationals last year. An Olympic year changes everything. What will Olympic trials be like?!?!?

Full results from todays events are here. Casey Fitzrandolph broke the 500m track record, and Shani Davis broke the 1500m.

I need to go to bed, but I am very happy, In my day 2 500m I skated a 37.77, within .02 of my own PB here at the Pettit, and it felt fast. 2 of my 3 races here were quite satisfying, close to the maximum of what I can do right now. Thanks to everyone who wished me well here in the comments section, and in personal emails. It really means a lot to me. I might never skate at warp 9 like the Olympians do, but warp 7 feels amazing, and is enough. I will fly home on Monday satisfied.

Maybe I am guilty of setting myself internal goals rather than external ones. Maybe I am racing emotionally “in my own lane” just like I physically race on the track, only occasionally crossing the path of others.

There are some skaters who are going to bed tonight probably pretty upset that they were not in that top 5 that makes the Fall World Cup team, upset that they have spent a huge chunk of their lives on this particular skill, and today did not measure up the way they wanted.

I don’t envy them. Maybe it’s because I had 31 years of life before I ever touched long track ice, maybe it’s because of different expectations, but I am quite content with my 14th place of the 22 500m racers today, in both my 500m races, I lined up against guys wearing the USA, and even though I lost both races, I was there, and belonged there (my pair today was Tyler Goff, and hey Tyler, nice race, fantastic backstretch… you have improved a ton this year, and I know you read this blog!).

After watching the 500m races, and seeing skaters blast through the final inner turn at insane velocity and lean angles, My friend Kirk’s dad said “wow, I know way too much about physics to watch this”

Day 1, US single distance champs

Shani Davis had an amazing day today, taking 2nd place in the 500m to Casey Fitzrandolph, and then knocking a full second off of his own Pettit national ice center rink record in the 1000m. He skated a 1:09.14 in his 1000m race.

He was paired with Joey Cheek, Joey also broke the old rink record by .3 The ice did not feel really fast to me today, and that makes these times even more astonishing.

I missed the start (I was still dazed from my own 1000m race only a few minutes before, hence the heavy breathing). This video is from the backstretch, and shows how closely matched these two amazing athletes were. See how close they come to each other in the crossover, and hear the coaches go ooooh!!

After the races were over, one of the top US sprinters said to me “Shani is either doing some amazing drugs, or we are watching the best speedskater in the world right now, maybe the best of all time. When was the last time a world allaround champion spanked Olympic medalist sprinters like this? Only one name comes to mind, Heiden, and that was not an era of specialization like this one is!”

Pretty strong words, we shall see what this season brings!

As for myself, my 500m felt rushed and imprecise, and slower than I hoped, 38.18. Weirdly enough I was paired with Chad Hedrick, and there was some good natured kidding around in the training room along the lines of “Chad better beat his own webmaster!” Chad skated a 36.76, and what he considers the finest final inner turn he has ever done in a 500m, and from my viewpoint on the outer, it was impressive.

My 1000m went much better, a huge sea level PB, 1:16.53, 1.8 seconds faster than I skated at nationals here last year. So I am content.

Fortune Cookie

On I-93 between Chicago and Milwaukee, at the Oasis rest stop (the one that arches over the highway) I grabbed some Chinese food from Panda Express, and the fortune cookie fortune pictured below arrived with the meal.

I think this is the best possible prophecy that a speedskater could get right now, as the racing season is now truly underway, and the monstrously hard times/hard work of the summer tapers dramatically to the speedwork & hopeful joy of a successful racing season. With the short and long track racing seasons now truly underway, most athletes I know are feeling & hoping for this to some extent.

Even the lucky numbers mentioned have correlation:

I am 34
I use an 11 tooth cog when I am sprinting on my road bike
I skated a low 27 second lap today in training
42 is an important number, this link & this link talk about why
This is my 5th season racing long track
If I race well, I could possibly skate a 37 tomorrow.

(Numerology is a steaming pile of bunk, but fun to mess with)

I am not really superstitious, but I save good things, and this fortune is going in my wallet.

There were some intense faces at the Milwaukee oval today, & stress is rising like steam from some people. For folks who can make the US world cup team, especially the distance skaters, tomorrow is dreadfully important. In fact, the way qualification for the Olympic games is written, if an endurance skater doesn’t make the fall world cup team in the 3k-5k-10k, going to the games becomes an extreme longshot.

I have nothing at stake for this weekends races but my own internal barometer of self-esteem, no pressure other than what I put on myself (usually that is a lot). But in all seriousness, one thing athletes/motivated folks must do is create goals for themselves that are attainable; but that they have work REALLY hard to reach. You will never hear me fantasizing about going to the Olympic games, that’s unrealistic for me, and there are those who mess themselves up with unrealistic dreams & become bitter quitters. So I never talk about the Olympic games, but I do talk about taking consistent & tiny steps up this mountain I am climbing. Hard work/hard times fade to joy, that is all I am striving for.

Technical test- 1000m

Here in the Art of Speedskating command bunker in the hills overlooking Salt Lake, a committed team of technicians works ’round the clock to bring you the best possible blog reading and viewing experience.

Well, not exactly, but after numerous failed attempts, I finally figured out what edited video format audioblog prefers. This is my PB 1000m race from last weekend. For those who have seen me skate in person in years past, hold onto your hats! This flash-based video actually contains evidence of me bringing my knees & ankles together at top speed! I used to be guilty of “riding the horse” as Dave Tambo calls bowlegged skating, but no longer (although I do still practice my starts like that, but there its not a fatal flaw).

You can hear Jessica yelling encouragement to me, especially in the lactic acid poisoned tunnel of horrors that the last 250 meters of the 1000 can be.

I leave today for Milwaukee and the US Single Distance Championships/Fall World Cup qualifier.

Fall in Salt Lake

The IMSSC just released its winter competition schedule for European Masters speedskating. My mind was buzzing with possibilities so strongly I could not sleep, and I spent the early AM researching flights to Norway. I think I will attend the Hamar race, and possibly stay in Europe through the Inzell event, as my dear friend Becky is in Switzerland, and I want to visit her (many gorgeous pictures on her blog!). As always, the sharp jawed beast of $$$ rears its ugly head. How can I afford this? but how can I not go to these races? As I might never be faster than I will become for a narrow 4-6 week window of time this December/January during my planned peak.

Joking around with another speedskater over email, they mentioned that once you have worn out three pairs of sneakers from dryland, you are getting somewhere. I am just about to buy my 3rd pair this season! Whoa!

Salt Lake is in outrageous fall color right now, although nothing is quite like fall in New England for the sheer volume of leaves, it’s surprisingly pretty here. Skipping the overcast chilly drippy rain is nice too, as the warm days & frosty nights bring to mind the apt term “Indian Summer”.

The below pic is the tree just outside of a coffeehouse where I am currently working ferociously on client websites. Today I added some new audio to Chad Hedrick’s Journal, put the finishing touches on Tony Morabito’s new website, added a new tattoo to the Dimon Sports site, created what you are reading now, and now I am going to do some editing on a friend’s idea for a book-media release. Such is the life of a skate-trash tech-head on a rest day!

So, here is some fall abundance, I like the tiny blueberries in this kaleidoscope of color.

DAY OF PB’s

Warming up for my two races this morning, I had the physical & emotional sensation telling me that I was on a very good day!!!. Of course I felt that way last week as well, and ended up mashing headfirst into the pads! It’s a double edged sword, feeling “possibility” thrumming within yourself, and then when the gun goes off finding balance between intensity & precision. This sport is so technical, if you just thrash along at 110%, you generally go slower than a precise and powerful 85%!

Today’s racing went very well!!, I skated Personal Bests times in both the 500m and 1000m! 37.36 and 1:15.22. I am very happy! Results are here. The best part was, neither of these were perfect races, they both had mistakes in them, so I could go even faster!

This was about 120 meters from the finish of the 500.

Even though Jessica had been out late last night noshing sushi with some colleagues from work, she was up early to cheer me on! She picked a good day, or maybe it was the pressure of her there that made me go that one notch faster!

Two things are worth mentioning here, first of all I have been messing around with an up start recently. A down start is still faster off the line for me, but I find it easier to keep the shoulders up, back curved, & butt down for the whole first 100m with an up start, so I am playing with it until I get that aspect of technique rock solid.

Also coming out of the final turn, I took my first two straightaway strokes with one arm. Notice in the video how my ankles & knees come together well, and then suddenly I lose efficiency when I drop both arms with 50 meters to go, my ankles describe a bigger arc, my knees point out, and my upper body sways more with two arms. I asked my pair, Michael Stein, if he was catching me at the end of the race, as he has caught me in the last 100m before. Michael said, “I didn’t start gaining until about 50m to go”.. Hmmm, maybe I should just be using 1 arm for the final 100m until I get this technically ironed out! Traveling at the 33mph that I average for the 400m lap, stability is key.

A week ago, I posted a movie w/music about a midweek crash I had, I am redoing some of my old movies using audioblog, and this one came out really nice, if you couldn’t see it, check it out. I tried doing today’s movie with audioblog, but it looked terrible! I would rather have half of you out there in Internet-land see something nice, rather than everyone see something crummy & pixelated…

Quiet Morning

Almost every national team skater is in Milwaukee getting ready for the US Single Distance Champs/World Cup Qualifier, and there is a also a lull in the constant flow of international teams training here (just a handful of Quebecois) so the Salt Lake oval was very quiet today. I snapped this pic when there were skaters going by, but mostly it was empty and had that spacious feeling of a completely empty mall or supermarket.

If you like this pic, click on it, and get the 1024 X 768 version of it for your desktop.

I am racing 500m and 1000m tomorrow, and will be leaving for Milwaukee myself on Wednesday.