Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Olympic Oval

Ya know, I’m kind of lucky about where I live.

Last night was freaking cold; with a wind coming in from the south west that was even colder. So, after dinner I stood looking at my training schedule, knowing that come Hell or high water I had to put down 4 miles last night, I was starting to despair just a little bit. I just can’t do cold.

Here’s where I’m lucky. Just 2 miles down the hill from my humble home is the Olympic Oval. Built for the 2002 winter games, it is the home of (what has been billed as) the fastest ice sheet on the planet for long distance speed skating, a short track, a sheet of ice for hockey, and for curling, as well as a 446 meter running track. It is a little chilly in there (somewhere between 55f and 60f) but compared to the freezing temps and wind chill of the streets, I can put up with the chill and the monotonous round and round… and round of the track.

When I hit the track last night, it was pretty busy, as it seems to be on cold winter nights. I turned on my wife’s iPod shuffle, since my old iPod mini is having battery problems, did my lap warm up walk, and then started the clock… or would have had I remembered to put on my watch before leaving home. Disgusted with my forgetfulness, I looked up at the digital clock and waited for it to turn to 7:24pm before heel striking my first lap around the track. For some reason there are nights that I just can’t get a rhythm; it takes a mile or more for me to find a good pace and a smooth rhythm.

The track is 446 meters long, so I figure that 4 laps works out to be just a touch over 1.1 miles, (but I was an English Major in college, so I’m probably wrong) so when I clicked off my 16th (mind numbing) lap I figured that 4.4 miles was good enough. Also, at just after 8:00pm, the speed skaters had finished their workout, a workout that makes my knees ache to watch, by the way, and the more serious runners start taking to the track… you can only be lapped so many times before you start to get a complex.

At about the 200 meter mark there is a sign sticking out from the wall next to a large garage door which reads “Runners Must Yield to Zamboni.” Which I’ve always thought was kind of funny. Thanks to whoever took that picture for me.

I often wonder about the people who were against Utah having the Olympic Games. They were so wonderful and so eye opening for me and my children and the venues continue to provide fun and the “Olympic spirit” to the community. Plus… on cold winter nights, the oval gives me a great place to run.

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