It's more-or-less spring now, though it's been feeling like summer recently, so I guess it's time for the annual winter in review post. At any rate, the Pettit National Ice Center is in the process of melting off the 400 meter oval, so the speed skating season is over.
This winter we had very little snow, and, from the skier's perspective, only a few substantial snowfalls, with long warm melt-off intervals between nearly every snowfall. I only went out skiing five times, just 70km in total, all at Lapham Peak. Depending on what you consider skiable, that's about half the days possible aside from the loop of artificial snow at Lapham. Since I'm not in training for a ski race and if I want to just turn left on a small loop I can speed skate at the Pettit, I don't go all the way to Lapham just for the artificial snow loop if the rest of the park isn't skiable. I bought a skate ski setup after the last melt-off, at a discounted price. I'm all set for next winter. It will be interesting to learn to ski again, learning skate method. I may spend some time on the artificial snow loop working on that next winter.
To a considerable extent I didn't really notice the lack of wintry winter much because I spent so much time inside a refrigerated building on a giant slab of ice speed skating, skating on 86 days between the end of September and the end of March, about half of the days. I've gone from being someone who can sort-of skate to looking something like a speed skater. I lot of us have come a long way this season, and I'm certainly one of them.
I got talked into doing a time trial by my friends and concluded that racing is fun. Every time trial this season was either my first time racing that distance (a personal best by default) or a new personal best. I entered the Masters International pack race and had a lot of fun with that. A pack race is a different thing from a time trial! The first race was a 3000, which I was just hoping to live through, but it was my best event. It just doesn't seem so long when drafting. It was fun watching the 25km and 50km marathon races. Maybe I'll do a 25km in the future, though it sounds crazy.
With so little snow I only went out on the snow shoes once, just for a short walk around the neighborhood in snow that was just barely deep enough for the snow shoes to make any sense. I'm glad I went out, that was the deepest snow of the season.
I did some indoor running on the Pettit Center track, as usual. The Icebreaker Indoor marathon/half-marathon/5k was held on what turned out to be a properly snowy wintry January weekend. The whole point of an indoor running race in Milwaukee in January, after all, is that you wouldn't want to do it outdoors. My half marathon time was 1:46:16, 64 seconds better than my previous best, set a year earlier. It was a nice race, and nothing hurt at all, I didn't even have much muscle soreness, just, you know, tired. I went speed skating the next morning, during the running of the full marathon, and then skiing (slow skiing, sure, but it was a pretty day to go around the park slowly). On my 40th birthday I ran an informal full marathon, my first run of the full distance. I did that in 4:16:50. I'll have to do a proper official organized full marathon one of these days.
It's now time to complete the seasonal switchover, and get all the skating equipment put away. The bicycle is already in use but it's going to be used a lot more soon. My legs, naturally, feel awesome on the bicycle.