Since I started skating again over a year ago my primary rink has been a fairly infamous mall rink in the Pacific Northwest. It was small, the ice was soft from it being too warm, and publics could be prohibitively crowded but it was a mile from where I lived. Plus when you fell spectacularly you always had an audience of shoppers to share in the experience.
Unfortunatly, the mall and the rink are undergoing a major renovation. The rink is going to be downsized even further and will essentially be an oval shape too small to do any serious skating on. There was a dedicated campaign amongst the skating community here to try to convince the company in Texas that bought the property to not shrink the rink, but like many billion dollar companies, they don’t care. Apparently not everything is bigger in Texas.
The rink closed for 10 months (yeah right) of renovation on Sunday. It was pretty sad, all the adults wore black and many of the younger skaters who grew up skating there were visibly upset. To make it even more fun they turned the ice compressors off at 3:00 pm so by 4:30-5 we were all skating through what was essentially standing water. Great for splashing your friends… Not so great for skating.
The real downside of this is that there are no longer evening skating hours in my area (publics or freestyles), hours that often work best for working adults. The mall rink was the only rink in the city proper and the three others in the surrounding areas don’t have after work hours. Unfortunately, that means that if I want skate on days beside the weekend I am going to have to drag myself out of bed for some early morning skating. That first early morning was unfortunately/fortunately today.
The rink I am going to skate early mornings at has the benefit of being the one closest to where I work several days a week. It has a 5:15, 6:15, and 7:15 am freestyle and I decided the 6:15 would work the best considering this was my first attempt at being an early morning skater (and I had to be at work at 8 so 7:15 was not an option). I made a point of doing all my prep for the day ahead the night before and packed my work clothes, skate bag, and breakfast and lunch so all I would have to do in the morning was grab my stuff and go.
Waking up was not a huge problem (falling asleep early is something I will have to work on more) and I had just enough time to get ready and drink a cup of coffee before heading out. While I am not a natural morning person, I do like getting up early once I am actually up (the getting up not so much). I think it will just take time to get used to. I was worried I was going to be a total zombie on the ice but once I got through the first 10 minutes of ‘wtf am I doing awake let alone exercising at this hour’ I felt pretty good. It was nice to skate on faster ice and while the freestyle was busy it didn’t feel overly crowded. I didn’t waste time like I often do practicing in the evenings with more time. I practiced most of my elements and was mostly glad to have gotten the first episode of early morning skating out of the way. I am going to skate before work twice a week during the week to start and see how I feel from there (in addition to skating on the weekends). All in all it wasn’t as bad as I thought or feared it was going to be (although that probably has something to do with my coffee addiction).