Dahlmann Update: On The Trail to Recovery


Four weeks ago, on the morning of Thursday, September 13th, Melissa and I put in our final hard interval-filled skate in preparation for the NorthShore Inline Marathon.

We all know by now what happened the next morning.

Yesterday, we triumphantly returned to the Greenway! Our 24 mile skate wasn’t as fast, nor as interval-filled as the month before.   We found the Greenway had some new pavement, some new gravel-like areas, and some leaves and sticks.  Yet, none of that mattered to either of us.

My attempts to describe the day lack eloquence, so Melissa will take over the rest of the way:

What a perfect fall day it was.  The sun was shining; the leaves were dapples of gorgeous color scattered across the path and clinging to the treetops.  It was chilly, but nothing a little bit of effort wouldn’t soon dispel. I was ready to skate, and my partner in crime, who hadn’t skated in a month either, was just as cold and unpracticed as I was when we sat down at the Greenway entrance, lacing up our skates.

But we soon warmed up.  We were very focused and cautious, of course, but I was paying just as much attention to the feedback from my skates and legs, and my good technique practices, as I was focused on the branches and twigs and leaves on the ground. I hit a rhythm, and it felt GREAT. Not the fastest skating, but very clean.

Andy and I quickly realized that a month off the skates is like starting over for the season – it was difficult to keep skating, keep up the pace, and shrug off fatigue from the unrelenting pushing and striding.  We made it to the Depot, however, and elected to take the long way back, via the Cedar Lake loop.

On the backside of the course, I started to get quite tired, and then the pavement really roughened up. I had been comfortably following Andy for a while, but I could see that the omnipresent headwind was taking a toll on him (in his parachute team jacket and his training wheels and bearings)!  So I did my part and moved around him, stuck my head down, and skated as if I were on ice skates, instead of plowing along pavement towards downtown Minneapolis.  Somehow, during that effort, I managed to start feeling better again, strangely enough.  It was like I hit a wall and was able to get over to keep going – just in time to follow Andy on a couple surprise sprints on the way back home on the Greenway.

All in all, it was one of the best skates of the season – for nothing felt more rewarding than being able to return to the trail, without qualms, and overcome the initial nervousness about doing what I love.  The companionship of Andy made the journey that much more enjoyable – and I was grateful to have someone who was equally as ready to get back on the skates as I was!

For now, I have a bit of recovery left to focus on – my jaw is due to be un-wired a week early, and then a barrage of dental work begins. The prognosis is I will be able to eat Christmas cookies at least!

The support of the inline skating community has been incredible, and I have no doubts about continuing to be part of it.  I have “unfinished business” to attend to in Duluth and hope to make it there next year, looking a bit less like a hockey player who took a puck to the teeth! ; )  My heartfelt thanks goes out to ALL OF YOU who have offered your kindness, messages, and support.  I  hope to somehow “pay it forward” as best I can.

Melissa & Andy