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The Importance of a Training Partner

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a supportive friend or training partner when preparing for a race like the NorthShore Inline Marathon. Doing it alone can seem like a slog and a chore you’re not in the mood, but a supportive someone or having company can be a motivational game-changer.

Dan Burger was my original stoker and poker to get me suited up and out of the house. Rain, wind, sleet or snow, Dan would show up at the prescribed time and be ready to go. Dan never fails to show, and he never fails to encourage me to be my best.

Carrie Medved elevated my skating to another level by pushing me like a drillmaster. Perhaps she got some kind of sadistic pleasure out of whipping me with a stopwatch and seeing me suffer on the slideboard, but she was able to emotionally detach herself from our friendship and treat me like a beast of burden.

Howie Clark couldn’t even pretend to be interested in skating, but he loved hanging out with his dogs and playing the shakuhachi flute while. I did dryland or one-legged squats off the end of a lab table. Anything out of the ordinary was life-fodder for him, and we fed off each other’s penchant for channeling our energies into “weird” pursuits.

I’ve needed Sayjai Matzger and she’s kneaded me for 8 years now. It takes every ounce of her energy and focus to pilot her scooter and expertly drag me around in her draft, and it’s the best way she knows how to keep me in her sights. The problem is she loves me too much and is reluctant to redline me, so it’s up to me to step out of her draft and really hurt myself.

Jason Riddick Jones is the new trainer in town. Himself a champion skater, he understands the need to get out of one’s comfort zone, and he’s eager like a puppy dog to get out there and drag my sorry old backside around like some stinky holey sock that’s been dug up and torn into like a chew toy, which is exactly how I’m going to feel today after he gets done with me.