Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Skating in the Rain

Skating marathons are few and far between, so when they happen I prefer that we have good weather.

Not this stuff.

The Apostle Island Inline Marathon was this past weekend, and we had quite the girls' weekend planned. My skating friends Mary and Megan and my sister Kristi were all carpooling together to Ashland, Wisconsin, and the three of us were going to skate it while Kristi spectated.

The forecast called for 100% chance of rain by the start of the marathon, and didn't waver from that every time I checked it during the week.

Sure enough, as we stepped off the ferry onto the island, the first few drops began. And then it started coming down steadily. At one point it was a complete downpour and I watched the rain pool on the road into long, shallow puddles. The pros were gliding up and down the practice course getting used to the pavement, and I thought they were crazy.

I have never skated in wet conditions. The few times I've encountered a puddle on my path my skate has always taken a heart-stopping slip. Mary and Megan convinced me to at least start. After all, the course was three loops, I could always peel off after 8.7 miles and call it a day.

My friend Mary had trained hard for this -- she was hoping for a new PR, beating her old time of 1:38. But with the conditions being what they were, she had to re-adjust her goal. We decided to have a collective goal: 1) Stay safe 2) Stay together 3) Have fun. And so we took off with the rest of the pro/advanced women.

By the end of the second mile my feet were swimming in lakes in my skates; I think each skate weighed 3 or 4 pounds more from the water collected in them. I grumbled, I considered, I thought about peeling off after a single loop.

And then I thought about how amazing it would be to skate a marathon in the pouring rain. How many people can say they've done that? How many people would think that was the absolutely craziest thing they've ever heard?

Once I committed to skating the whole thing, my outlook changed, my energy changed, and I was all in.

It went from being disappointing to being exhilarating.

We accomplished our goals: We stayed safe. We stayed together. We all had a blast.

We did it!
Grit and dirt everywhere.
The rain let up about half an hour after we were done. We had to stick around for the award ceremony as I had taken 2nd in my division, though I really share that with Megan, who was 7/10th of a second behind me. Mary pointed out that if we had registered in the open/recreational skate all of us would have placed.

In three years of doing this marathon I still have never seen the sun from Madeline Island, but I can guarantee you we'll be back next year.

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