Why Does Speedskating Hurt So Much?

Tessa: This week I returned to speedskating practice after a brief hiatus due to a cold. But really it wasn’t the cold as much as I just couldn’t stand it anymore. First of all, after twelve years of practice it’s hard to always be in group three. Even when I skated with the kids group I was always in group three. Never once did I make it to group one. And now that I’m up with the big guys (and Agatha! who is 75 and still faster than me) there’s definitely no hope of a shift. And also, quite frankly, waking up on Tuesday mornings at 6:00 am has been killing me. KILLING ME. Then there are the Wednesday night practices which are extra long just so I can be tortured for an extra half hour.

This season we started off with an endurance program. To my way of thinking we should be building to the endurance program so that by the end of the season I can have worked my way up to those dreadful 10 consecutive laps. Anyways, to make a long story short I was hating the sport. And even though I don’t want Dave to skate with me because I know he’ll be faster than me in let’s see… one session, I really miss him. Especially at 6:00 in the morning when it would be nice to have his company on the ice. So, all in all, I was considering quitting because a) my ego couldn’t take it anymore b) my body couldn’t take it anymore c) Dave sure looked nice and cozy and warm in bed at 6:00 in the morning. d) Agatha Van Der Starre, my hero, was attending some game show in Holland.

Anyways, because I’m a sucker for punishment I went back last Tuesday morning. Predictably, because Arianna, our coach is Satan, she made us do a pyramid which basically means you skate as many laps as you can until your eyeballs bleed or you pass out, whichever comes first. This time Agatha was there having returned from her visit to the mother country. I’m not sure what it is, but when Agatha is there, everything is better. It doesn’t matter what ridiculously evil program Arianna (her daughter) pulls out of the hat, Agatha loves to skate so much that even though I know I’m going to DIE, its easier to die when I’m laughing with Mrs. Van Der Starre who never fails to complete the program no matter how tough it is.

So, I’m back skating regularly again because I love it. It’s hard and it can be awful but when I try to not take myself too seriously and lighten up about it then the love grows. Even though it hurts like hell.


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