Zen and the Art of Speedskating

August 16, 2007

About ZATAOSS

Filed under: Uncategorized — andrew @ 6:43 pm

This blog is something I started for my friends and family in the year leading up to Olympic trials. Somewhere along the way, the world showed up.

I never intended this to happen like it has. It’s great. Welcome to my tiny corner of the web, here is how it started:

On my 31st birthday, January 5th 2002, in 43.84 seconds I changed my life.

43.84 was my time for my first 500m ice speedskating race.

Skating a 43 on the snowy, windy, very slow outdoor ice of lake placid was a shockingly fast time for a true ice speedskating neophyte.

The Olympic Qualifying time for the 500m in 2002 was a 40 second 500 (its now a 39). Within an hour of finishing that race, I realized that if I trained hard, and learned better technique. I would be able to skate Olympic trials!!!

That is the reason, almost 6 years later, this site is here; ice speedskating has become the driving force in my life. Through hard work, a bit of genetic luck, and working with some talented coaches, I’ve become faster & accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible.

(although I will never be at peace with how I skated at Olympic trials in 2005, but that’s just my own perfectionist nature).

Many people have told/emailed me that my writing inspires them to chase their own dreams, and love this irrational sport, or whatever their own passion is, with 100% commitment.

That’s great, and maybe at the end of my life that will be what I will be most proud of.

But right now in my heart, this is like earning a black belt in a martial art that very few people understand, but I know what it means.

These days, when I line up for big races, the fellow in the lane next to me is often a national team member. To me, to belong at that level of competition, to be one of the top 10 sprinters in the strongest sprint nation in the world, that is worth all the hours of training, the uncertainty, stress, fear before races, financial & and personal sacrifices.

The fact that I can write about it, and bring this story to you, and my impressions of skate culture, is a wonderful bonus.

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