Saturday, January 14, 2012

Danger: Thin Ice.

As Michelle from 'Allo 'Allo said "leesten fairy carefully, I wiil zay zis only wance".

I think it's great there's a speed-skating oval here in Halifax.  It will allow us as a city and a province to promote winter sports and, who knows, maybe even position us to get another high-profile winter event here one day after last winter's Canada Games.  The "if you build it, they will come" attitude.

Furthermore, the oval has really exercised (pardon the pun) something in the people of Halifax and during public-skates there isn't breathing-room on the ice.  Not only on the ice either, Greg Wiezorak has said he finds it difficult to do mile-repeats around the Common now there is so much foot-traffic to-and-from the south-east corner!  Either way, there are way more people now than just Greg getting aerobic exercise around the Common now, and that is a good thing, especially with Nova Scotia's body-image problem.

Just don't expect me to do it.

Now, now.  I know what you're saying and trust me, I've heard it all before. The attitudes range from sheer disbelief to that gentle, kindly "there, there" look you'd give a senile relative or a sick puppy.  I almost expect to get petted on the head.

Yes, I'm sure I already have the mindset for it and yes, I already do the summer equivalent (Clara Hughes anyone?) and yes I know many cyclists do it for winter cross-training and yes I'm sure I'd be good at it, and yes, when I'm wearing that winter running top with the thumb-holes and hood I even look like a speed-skater 

Here's the thing, I don't skate, can't skate, won't skate.  The first two reasons are simple: I'm a Brit, we really don't have ice, or a culture of ice.  Unless it's in a G&T or maybe a Pimms. 

The last, more personal, reason is I honestly don't think my knees could take it.  Yes, I can run a marathon, but as long as my knees are going up-and-down in a sagittal plane, I'm golden.  

Any twisting, any movements away from this plane, or any deep squats for that matter, makes something in my knee pop out of line quite painfully.  There seem to be some of these movements in skating.  As a runner, cyclist and triathlete I am already part masochist, but painfully displacing my patella just so I can say "yey, I'm using the new infrastructure" seems to be a masochistic byte too far. 

These are my own reasons and to be honest, I'd rather not have to get into these personal reasons with every Tom, Dick or Harriet who asks.  So let me put it another way.

I do triathlon.  Do you?  Now I know some of you do too, but perhaps not all of you.  To the latter group I ask, why?  Oftentimes it's the swim: "I'd love to do a triathlon but I can't swim, don't swim, won't swim" (that last usually qualified by "open water").   If I had a pound for every time I'd heard that, I could probably take early retirement somewhere warm.  I don't question your desire not to learn to swim just so you can do a triathlon, nor do I regard you like that harmless, drooling, slightly slow relative with the buck teeth we all keep in the attic somewhere and only bring out for Halloween and Christmas for not wanting to.  Do I think you're missing out on something?  Yes, I really do, but I respect your choice not to swim, not to do triathlon.

So please respect my choice not to skate.


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