Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The End of the Line, Part 1

aka, Day 2 of Testing. Aka, Lessons in Confidence and Perseverance.

I'm pretty sure it's over for me. We did endurance today, I had to drop out of the pace line almost right away because I couldn't keep up, and because I was towards the front, I was pretty much holding up the whole line. Great. Believe me, I was pushing - I was pushing HARD. And I saw the all-too-familiar gap in front of me widening and widening.

Denny said that if we had to drop out, then we should go onto the track (the pace line was going around the outside) and skate laps, and that's what I did. If it's endurance they want, then that's what I'd do - I just couldn't be as fast about it as everyone else. The thing is, the weaving drills they were doing - I can do those drills!!!!! It was really hard for me to skate on the inside, knowing that I could do what they're doing, I just couldn't be fast enough to keep up with them.

Still, I was going to try, just in case. I don't know if Panda and Aim were watching those of us on the inside of the track, but I figured I would skate my laps with a vengeance just in case. I may not be able to keep up with the pace line, but I'll be damned if I don't make my laps count for SOMETHING.

And I tried not to stop. The point was to stay in the pace line for the entire duration (which eventually ended up being 45:00, but they were going to try for 30:00), and I barely cracked 20:00 before my back was screaming at me again. I tried to follow Jess's advice about how to stretch your back while on the go, but I was just hurting too bad. Believe me, I held off on stopping as much as I could, but as soon as I could feel my form being affected, I stopped. (I know they were looking for endurance, but I don't feel like sloppy skating helps my chances, ever.) And I stretched, and I got back up... and not long after, I had to stop again to stretch. And again. And again. There were a couple times that I stopped longer than the others (for a more lengthy stretch, and to get water - because by then, I figured that it was all over for me, so yes, I admit that I did phone it in on those two breaks), but I got back out there. And I continued to push when I was out there - no easy laps for me. I figured it could be the practice I needed for the 25-lap test (which, as it turns out, we didn't end up doing, so that'll be tonight), and I tried to go all out on the 5 hot laps to end the drill.

Even so, I felt defeat looming. That's the second pace line I had to drop out of - how the hell do I make up for that?

We did some partner skating next - leaning and moving across the track. I've had trouble with this before in practice but I think I was okay. I tried really hard to stay shoulder-to-shoulder with my partner, and we didn't overshoot the track boundaries, so I was glad I was able to do SOMETHING.

Then we skated in a large-group pack, and people were supposed to bump/take bumps as individuals had to make their way to the front. I think I'm the most ashamed of myself here. I stayed with the group the whole way, but was never called to go to the front, and when the coaches asked at the end for anyone who still hadn't gone yet, I'm ashamed to say that I did not raise my hand, did not volunteer. And this is the one thing I really regret, I think. I should've said something, I should've gone. Instead, I kept silent and tried to outskate my shame. I could've done this. It would've been hard (not everyone made it to the front), but I could've at least tried, and I said nothing. I will probably beat myself up about this one more than the pace lines, because this was the one time I chose to quit on something. And I felt awful about it. This one will haunt me.

I forgot what we did after this, but practice ended with a hip-whip pace line. I'm proud to say that I stuck it out for this one. I felt that I had to - I needed to know that I could do ONE stinkin' pace line. And I did it - I weaved and hip-whipped with little trouble, and stayed in the pace line until just barely the end. We were supposed to keep looking behind us to see who was coming up on us, and trust me, I was counting the number of people who were left every time. I barely made it to the end - the girl behind me ended up getting sent through again (because I think the coaches missed her the first time, or maybe they were trying to fill up the time or something), and I pulled out of the line just as she was halfway through. By this point I was just about dying. In hindsight, I probably should've stayed, but I really wasn't able to take much more. But I'd made through everyone (if the girl behind me didn't have to go through a second time, we would've been done), and I was glad that I'd redeemed myself somewhat. But will it be enough?

Overall, I'm pretty disheartened. I really feel like it's over. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to give it my all tonight - in truth, I'm just not ready to be DONE yet, and if I don't pass it will be a while before I get to do this again - but I just know that this is it. I don't know how I can recover from this tonight, points-wise.

My goal tonight is to come in under 5:00 on the 25-lap test, just to know that I CAN (it's become a personal goal for me, regardless of how well I do on everything else), and to try my best to make up for my poor performance through spirit and effort. I'm not going to go down without a fight. It might not be a very strong fight, but it will still be a fight nonetheless, and at this point, I feel like all I've got left to hope for is points for effort.

As I've said before, this has been a really new experience for me, to try at something that I didn't 100% know that I was going to succeed at - in fact, I was maybe 50/50 at best in terms of my confidence. And now it's slipping the other direction, as in, I'm confident that this is out of my grasp now, and I'm fairly positive that I've failed. So this is even newer for me - trying at something that I know I'm failing at, but trying anyway.

Tonight is the last night of bootcamp, and I want to leave on a good note, with no regrets. That means a lot to me, because for things to end on a sour note (because of not trying hard enough) could possibly color my memories of the entire experience. I don't want to leave asking myself, "What if I'd done THIS? What if I'd tried harder on THAT?" So, tonight will be all about points for effort. All I've got left to hope for is that I can erase my negativity, blow it out, try my hardest, and hope for the best for this one night left, as the decisions will be out of my hands. Which, as it may turn out, might be harder than trying to come in under 5:00. The body will respond to hours of training, and eventually it learns to endure, but the mind... that's something much harder to train and coax out of years of conditioning.

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