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Skating My First Inline Marathon
by Frank Hong
I started inline skating
in June of 2003 and I've been having a blast ever since.
I was having so much fun skating during those first few weeks, I
decided to signed up for the Long Beach Inline Marathon in October of 2003,
even though that race would take place only four months after I had first started skating.
It was going to be my first race, so I was only hoping
to have a good time and cross the finish line before they closed down the route.
Questions About Skating a Marathon
Since I had never skated a marathon before,
I had quite a few questions:
Here is some advice I got from Long Beach Marathon
Race Director Dan Joyce:
Advice from the Race Director.
I was hoping to finish the race in about 4 hours. Was that reasonable?
What was the course going to be like? How was the road surface?
Were there going to be many steep hills?
I wanted to wear my 5 wheel skates with no heel brake,
but I was not very good at stopping without a brake going down a steep hill.
I do have a pair of recreational skates with a heel brake.
Should I bring my own drinks (in a fanny pack) or depend on the water stations?
The start time was going to be at 7:15 am. When should I get there and
where should I park?
3 Weeks Before the Race
I have been skating 26 miles on the bike path for the past four Sundays and
so far I feel fairly comfortable with my equipment/apparel setup. I also try
to get some skating time in after work but thatís not always easy with family
commitments. Iím trying to learn the double push technique but I donít know
if I can put it to use by race date. I think that I understand the theory
and mechanics behind it but I just canít get my body to do it. LOL
I plan to pickup my marathon package on Saturday and also check out the
course then. I may even try to skate down those hills just to see how
The closer the race date the more excited I feel about the race. The entire
process of setting the goal to finish and engaging in some type of training
and technique improvement has been very rewarding and fun so far.
I did my last long skate before the marathon on Sunday. I managed to skate
40 miles without killing myself. I think that I'm ready.
The last 6 weeks were great. My skating has improved greatly and so has my
body. I enjoyed conversing with you all on the forum and thanks for sharing
your ideas with me. I'll post my result here after the race.
I finished the race! It was a blast and I look forward to next year's race.
I couldn't break the 2 hours mark but I got close. 2:01 was my offical time.
I met Kathie Fry and other skaters I skated with at various group skates, and
I had a chance to social with others before the race.
I wish that I can say the event was smooth sailing for me but it wasn't. I
was sick for most of the week and had a 103 fever on Thursday night. When I
picked up my package on Saturday morning, I was still running a slight fever.
I decided to race at that time regardless because I looked forward to this
race for weeks.
On Sunday, I took the same route I did on Saturday, the 110 freeway and cut
across the bridges to hit downtown LB. Except the streets were blocked coming
into downtown from the Port of Long Beach. I ended up going north on 710 just
to loop back around. I kept an eye on the clock and I didn't park the car until
7:05, across from the LB Performance Arts Center. I jumped into my skates and
rushed down to the starting line. Luckily, there was a delay so I gained ten
minutes to use the restroom and to do some stretching. I was in awe to see
the pro and advance skaters zooming around in their skin suit. The mood was
very festive with music blasting and the MC making humorous remarks. I was
glad the sky was clear and not overcasted like the past few weekends. Soon
the pro racers left but I was too far back to get a good look at their
departure. I advanced up toward the starting line and I checked my timing
chip one last time to make sure it's secured to my boot. When it was time
for my group to go, there was a slight confusing about if the rec skaters
are suppose to go with the advance skaters. The MC finally said all skaters
go and off I went.
I really liked the Long Beach course. It's fairly flat and the hills were very
manageable. My legs felt rubbery and weak at first, so I decided to take it
easy. Soon, I found this group of girls from LB to draft off on and I ended
up skating with them for the entire race.
I think it was at mile 5 or 6, I was going through a parking lot and heading
into the beach bike path, and the path started to narrow into the bike path,
my skate tangled with another skater's skate and I took a hard fall. I landed
on my shoulder and the girl right behind me rolled over my fingers and took a
fall too. I was on the ground for a few seconds just to make sure that nothing
is broken, but I can see that my hand was bleeding. My shoulder was hurting
too but I got up to make sure the girl was fine. She was with the group that
I was darfting off on so I guess that I earned the rights to skate with them
since one of them ran over me. My glasses frame broke at the hinge during
the fall so for the remaining 20+ miles I had to constantly adjust my frame
so I can see where I am going. Right after my fall, my entire body ached and
I had thoughts of quitting going through my mind. I drafted behind the girls
to allow my body to adjust for the pain and just to have companions to keep
me going. It wasn't until after the 15 miles mark before my body feel fluid
again. The rest of the race was much more enjoyable and I waved and greeted
the volunteers whenever I see them. I also give words of encouragements to
other skaters when I pass them.
The last mile was fun, the girls and I were like a
run away train headed straight for the finish line. We
crossed the finish line together and hugged
afterwards. I thanked the girls for pulling me through
the race. They were the "MF" girls from Long Beach. I
stuck around to turn in my timing chip and get some
fruits and water, but my road rash started to hurt
again so I decide to head home.
On the drive home I thought to myself that I finished my first marathon
and I smiled.
Frank Hong Bio and Photo
Index to Skaters by Country
2003 Long Beach Marathon
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