Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Inline Skating Once Around The World With Only 2200 Miles To Go

22,711 miles.

36,550 kilometers.

Give or take a bit.  Plus or minus a few.

Since 1993 I have been on inline skates, every year.  The distance adds up.

I call myself an endurance athlete.  Left foot, right foot, eventually you get there.

I started out with some basic plastic boots from Rollerblade and did a mile.  Barely.  

You see, my knees were damaged from too many different sports.  Running, biking, a little football, a little of a lot of other things.  The years took their toll.

There were the car accident, the motorcycle accident, and the subsequent recuperations.

I was the asthmatic kid who was picked last for any sport.  It turned out that I had an allergy to milk as a child and it took a random suggestion that I get off any and all dairy for a cleanse.   

If your child has asthma or allergies, try it.  It worked for me.  It broke my seasonal allergies so quickly that August each year I'd get off dairy and by September when the pollution and pollen of Pennsylvania hit, I'd sail through it with absolutely no hay fever.

The year before I would be on these weird little 12 hour pills that would kill the allergies but made me an irritable sleepy mess.  Chlortrimeton I believe.

So you get the picture.

I took to the sport like a fish to water.  Inline Skating is non contact, if you don't fall.  It is cardio at your own pace.  Just watch the pavement.

I got into it at the beginning of the boom of the 90s.  In 1993, it was massive in Philadelphia, through the 90s and into the 2000s.  Stuff the doubters, It's Fun!

Going to Fairmount Park, you know, the Rocky Steps, I'd start doing a lap.  I was proud of that 8.6 miles.  

Always counting distance from day one.  I'd even out the workout to a round number and add up, finish at an even mile.

I made friends with The Team there, and while that was too organized for my soul, I talked techniques and equipment.

Tom said that a minimum regular workout was a minimum of two laps of the park.  So immediately I did two laps.  

Hmmm... I can do this.  

Distance grew.  I got to where I was doing hyper marathons three times a week.  100 miles a week (162km) from Philadelphia to Valley Forge.  With a nod to Washington's Troops, I'd go out to the Perkiomen Creek bridge and have a stop.  Then back and forth and to the car at the Philadelphia line.

Never took a vacation without my inline skates and that black bag.  

Long workouts are not so much a battle against your body but Logistics.  I knew that I would take a leisurely three hours to do my 33 miles with rest stops.  If that cloud west of me does not hit, I can squeeze in a skate and get back before dark.

April to October I had a runner's high.  Seriously.  All summer.

One year I did 200 miles in one week skating every day at Fairmount Park.  So much that the park workers asked me what I was doing.  The peak day was 54 miles one Sunday Morning.

One of those vacations, I loaded up the Jeep and drove to Key West and skated once around the island.  In February.

Made it up to Ft Lauderdale and skated there.

I got back to my dreary February life in frigid Philly and vowed to get out when I could.  Oh sure, I had a nice life on top of a hill when I could get out but the winters killed me.

Eventually I left the incompetence of my job's management for Florida and reestablished things here but the skates priorities lagged.  

Now I am back.  As long as Covid and the world stay out of my way, I will be able to reach a goal I have been playing with.

Once around the world at the equator.  That is 24,901 miles.  40,075 km.  Give or take.  The world bulges and shifts.   

I am only 2200 miles away.  If I had the longer trails of the North, I could easily have that done

by this time next year.  

Life has changed priorities.  I still see the workout as Logistics.  Bring this much ice water.  Snacks for when you burn through your starting blood sugar.  Make sure that the right kind of music is on the player.  Get the heart rate monitor, and start the software on the phone.  There is a rain cloud over The Bahamas, will it hit Pompano Beach before I can finish?  

That last one is a beast.  If I get so much as a sheen of water on the trails, it will get pulled up into the bearings of my skates and rust them out in five minutes.  

I used to be sponsored, I'm not any more.   There isn't really a lot of sponsorship in the sport, especially for endurance skaters.  I have to protect the equipment.  Parts are not exactly easy to get.  I can't roll into a store on South Street and say "Hey, I need a pair of 80MM push wheels!"

So I'm Back.  I'm now skating in Pompano Beach, carving loops in the pavement around the Goodyear Blimp.  The regulars know me as that big guy who skates.  We're still out there.

With 2200 miles to go, I'll be out there again.

Crossing that magic number is merely a mental goal.  But it is a light glowing for me.  Once I pass that number there won't be a celebration other than in my own mind.  I sincerely doubt there will be anyone else who will ever say "wanna, get a sandwich or something".  Well, not completely true.  When I stop Runkeeper, the voice says exactly that.

But I will know.  That formerly asthmatic kid who could not run the 440 yard dash just skated once around the world. 

So what is all this about?  Stuff your doubters into the trash, you can do this.  Set your mind to it, and set realistic goals.  Push yourself.  Besides, that cardio rush of a runner's high is a nice healthy way to be, as long as your body will allow.  

And if you hear that I "went" sitting on a bench in the middle of a workout?  Hey I "went" doing what I love.

Wanna Skate?

No comments:

Post a Comment