You’re a Man Now

I skated my first 10k during Olympic trials in 1998, I was only 16. The race was really hard, and after I was done, the head referee, Ernie Crutchman, came over to me and said “congratulations, you’re a man now”.
-National team member Ron Macky

There are many different experiences one can claim as “the litmus test for manhood” and from my own perspective, skating 10,000 meters is not in the top five, even though Ron’s story made me bust a gut laughing.

The best way I can describe what the 25 laps of an ice speedskating 10k feels like to a non-skater is imagine going for a jog where you climb 100 flights of stairs, and every other flight (the 50 corners you skate) you have to bound up 2-3 steps at a time. This accurately simulates the aerobic & muscular fun involved. Even at the world cup level, they only race the 10,000 a few times a year since it’s so hard.

I will never forget my own 10k experience on a windy day in Lake Placid; through the pain-glazed lens of memory I recall being exhausted, broiling with lactic acid, looking up to the lapboard, and seeing 17 laps to go!!

Yesterday 5 people at the Utah Oval raced a 10k. For some of them it was their first time, others have skated them before. My hat is off to each one of them, especially Keith, who blasted 19 seconds off his former personal best set on crazy fast ice at Olympic trials! To improve by that much is a ton of hard work. Each one of these images is at the end of each of their pain.

I tried to do my part to be encouraging, I went to a party supply store, bought a pile of cheap plastic horns, and distributed it to our whole training group. It was pleasantly loud & goofy during these long races.

In my own racing, I am happy to report that I busted through the 37 second barrier for the 2nd time ever! 36.99!! Whooo! (I skated a 3k, too but the less said about that, the better).

Interesting pair of images grabbed from the video of my 500, one is from 50 meters into the race, and the other from 450 meters in.

Body & knee angles are THE SAME. I find it much harder to sit low in the last 100m than accelerating in the first 100, so this makes me happy.

Sure, a 36.99 is only .01 faster than a 37, but I’m happy anyway, as I have been burned by .01 before.

8 Responses to “You’re a Man Now”

  1. So, what ARE your top 5 “litmus test for manhood” items?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. well, this is not THAT kind of blog…. : )

    but hmmm, let me think about that…

    ok, here are a few moments of “manhood” that I will talk about, personal moments that hit me like the proverbial “wrecking ball from outer space”…

    (that’s a Norman Mailer expression I love, he was describing Muhammad Ali’s left hook)…

    one occured when I was 13, I was arguing with my dad about something, and I realized he was completely wrong and I was right… my dad is extremely smart, reasonable, thoughtful, and spot-on right about 99% of the time.. so it was a shock.. Gosh, dad is human!!!

    another in my early 20’s when a girlfriend told me she thought she might be pregnant (it was a false alarm, but still.. it was an incredibly heavy emotion, not a bad one, but super heavy..)..

    and a final one was within a few days of meeting you Kate, when I started working at eCornell, and they asked me to fill out a form specifying who would get my 401k if I died… that was incredibly sobering… it was the grim reaper with my death in one hand, and money in the other.. I suppose for anyone, writing a will is heavy, but at least most have time to think about it before you do it.. this was unexpected…

    ok, I have revealed a few of my own personal top five…

    now it’s your turn… what are your moments of manhood or womanhood???

  3. Oh, I don’t know about my moments right now, but that’s a great question! Are you and Jess coming to visit me this year? I hope so!

    Will you send me your address? I’ve been meaning to send you guys a letter I’vehad on my desk for months!
    Much love,


  5. for those who might not be familiar with why my wife is drooling, our friend becky teaches at a college in the italian-speaking part of switzerland..

    we visted her last year, and Jessica fell in love with Lugano, and wants to move…

  6. Is that Pat Meek in both red’s, Keith in the first blue and white and Mike Stein in the third pic?

  7. The top skater in blue is Keith Carney (with 50 meters to go to the finish)

    2nd from top is Pat Meek

    in blue is Matt Plummer

    and on the bottom, in the big pain cave, is Mike Stein

    Matt Hotchkiss also raced a 10k, I thought I taped a lap or two of his to get an image of him skating for this, but when I downloaded the videos from my camera, there was nothing there…

  8. […] s, skating his first 10k, congratulations! In the words of national team member Ron Macky, you’re a man now. Leave a Comment Nam […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.