23 May 2012

Nancy, Brian And I all Made the "Senior Cat 1" List (of top US speedskaters) for the First Time Together

(I know, Nancy's has made it the past like 8 years and Brian the last 3, but now we're all ready to represent!)

20 May 2012

"I walk to the beat of a different drummer because most success stories are not conceived in the realm of the ordinary."

          -Coach Nancy Swider-Peltz Sr 

I'm blessed she's our coach because otherwise there is a good possibility we would have been caught in the uncompromising and egotistical desires of other coaches and furthermore, institutions, and we would not have grown to be who we are we are today. And I'm not merely confining that to speedskating...She is uncommon, and therefore her method of coaching disagrees with conventional knowledge and rather draws from intuition, research and experiential wisdom-areas of expertise that cannot be measured or written in some scientific manual. The best push the boundaries. She has proven successful time again, even in the faces of those who say she doesn't know what she's talking about. People often laugh at those who aren't afraid to be uncommon-to make they're own way-but they will never live to know what it's like to "dare mighty things and win glorious triumphs."

19 May 2012

Living Life On The Edge (Of Blades)

During the begining of Thursday's practice, I skated a little to close to the skater in front of me and all of a sudden I had a speedskating blade in my shin as she kicked back for her crossover. I am super thankful though because the cut went through all layers of tissue above my muscle but not into it, which would have made the cut way more serious. I got stitches, took the day off, bought shin guards, skated a tough practice the next morning and lifted weights afterwards without the cut being irritated at all. So it looks like I'll be OK and...it's going to be a sweet looking scar!

16 May 2012

What Do We Do After A Rediculously Hard 6am Skating Practice?

...burn our legs up with a turnstrap workout. Yeah baby!

So much lactate that has cycled through my legs today so thanks Extreme Endurance for helping me fight the pain!

15 May 2012

Shoot the Duck Exercise

Here's a tough body weight exercise we do to improve our strength in the really low speedskating position. We're lifting weights at a warehouse gym by Long Beach after an ice workout and everyone there is super serious about weight lifting because they're all jacked out of their minds! Then us speedskaters invade the place and start doing our funky little dryland gigs. Oh yeah, and the graffiti on the walls was awesome, #LAstyle.

Beach Art + Training

Tracks from my interval beach run earlier today, south of Venice Beach. Singlehandedly destroyed that section of neatly groomed California beach but thanks for the smooth sand!

11 May 2012

California Short Track Training

The funny thing about our team right now is that we're all split up. But it's a good thing because we're focusing on our different personal speedskating needs right now.

  • Brian is in Colorado Springs rehabbing a nagging back problem that he's dealt with for a couple years already
  • Nancy is In Wheaton having just finished 4 classes at Wheaton College and is now back into hard dryland training
  • And I'm in Los Angeles skating Short Track, some of the hardest training of the year, from May 1st to June 1st

In June we will all regroup in Illinois and then leave for Germany together in July to begin Long Track training.

Early spring and summer training is grueling but we must learn to always welcome the beast of pain and use it to our advantage when others let it control them. God never gives us more than we can handle and always gives us strength when we are in need of it. Yes, that applies to training as well. Especially since each day, each one of us is only one step away from saying "hey, I'm done with this speedskating stuff, it's too hard and it's not worth it." No one will give us grief about it and everyone would "understand." But I am motivated to speedskate because I enjoy the challenge and I think God enjoys that I enjoy the challenge and we also have such a sweet opportunity to be examples to others in this little niche of the athletic world. Yes there are bigger things than speedskating but it is a part of this world which I happen to be a part of and therefore I'm going to give it my best shot.

Here is some Short Track training footage from the last few days in LA (I know its not the best quality, but I've only got an iphone for now!) 

10 May 2012

Off-Season Opportunities

I am alive and well, haha...my lack of posts lately has been from a dedication to school the last 8 weeks at Wheaton College where I am continuing to make baby steps towards graduation. Oh the life of a speedskater; one can not live a committed life to olympic-level training and finish college in 4 years. But that all said and done, keeping up activity was still on my radar the last couple months as well as being part of the Olympic movement with appearances and some speaking engagements, which for some, Jeffrey was involved...his firsts!

Carter and I in front of his poster
Back in late March, I had the privilege to show up and surprise an amazing young man, Carter, at Wheaton South High School, who had interviewed me for a project he was doing on the history of modern Olympics. It was an independent research project for his English class and he chose to research the Olympics and if he interviewed someone, he would get extra credit points for going above and beyond. Well, to even boost that extra credit more, I showed up to help represent his project for a showcasing event for all those in the class. I got an email later that day saying he couldn't have been prouder and talked about it all day, but honestly, it impacted me just as much as it did him. To be able to share my experiences with those who dare to dream of those experiences and encourage them in their life journey to pursue their greatest dream by simply coming to a high school class, that is why I know the Lord blessed me with talent in Speedskating and brought me to a level where I can use my platform to give back. What I truly love is giving back based solely on my appreciation and indebtedness to those people in my life that have been apart of my Olympic achievements and have contributed to my successes. Anyways, for Carter, that was simply showing up on his showcasing day...and it melted my heart seeing his smile as wide as his face! Haha. :)

Another opportunity came along in mid-April to speak with Jeffrey to a small group of wonderful people at Wheaton Bible Church. This group had prayed for me while I was at the 2010 Olympics and through my grandma Peltz, they have gotten updates here and there on our lives, successes, and trainings. But we've never been face-to-face connected. So upon being asked to speak, I jumped on the chance to be able to first, thank them for their committed prayer support over the years, and secondly, to give them direct insight on what the Vancouver Olympics was like and what training in speedskating looks like as well. How their eyes lit up upon seeing the crazy training we go through to get to the Olympic-level caliber! But the most impacting and important thing that came from that time was that Jeffrey and I were able to build that personal connection with those who have supported our dreams and aspirations. 
Nick, myself and Travis

During the US Speedskating Board meeting in Cleveland, USS's event manager Breanna Bissell set up a fun evening for everyone with tickets to a Cavaliers vs Knicks game. At one of the time-outs, they announced that USS was in the building and three of us 2010 Olympians, Nick Pearson, Travis Jayner and I, went down to center court and threw out t-shirts to the fans. I was proud to have been complimented on my throwing skills...but I have to give ALL that credit to my father who taught me all I know. :)
Jackie, Jamie, Ron, Diane and Ashley

April 29th was the Walk and Roll event for the American Cancer Society that some of us Olympians were asked to join Jackie Joyner-Kersee, one of the greatest female heptathetes, to be a part of and kick off the event. It was an honor to be apart of this event, but it was most humbling being amongst those who had survived cancer and were there to breath life into those who were presently facing the battle.

Mitch, myself, Alex and Linda
And then I want to give a huge thank you and recognize Mitch Ferguson and his wife Linda, an amazing couple with huge hearts that are dedicated to helping out non-profit organizations and veterans and their causes, one being the American Lung Association. They have taken a personal interest in speedskating and in particular, those speedskaters who train in Milwaukee. They have now committed, and have greatly helped already, to expanding the interest in our sport in order to hopefully grow our small sport. Last weekend, they invited Alex Ochowicz and myself to the elegant Oxygen Ball for the American Lung Association, an event raising funds to help free the world of lung cancer and those fighting the battle of lung cancer. It was such a privilege to meet many of the people Mitch and Linda work alongside and have as much a passion as they do to help others in need.

Coming Up! 

  • on May 19th at 7:30am is the Wiesbrook Tiger Trot 5K benefitting the Ronald McDonald House Charities where I will start of the race and be apart of the festivities afterwards. Check out the link above! 
  • then June 16th is Olympic Day where Olympians in the Chicagoland area will be supporting the Olympic Movement with the Family Sports Festival. There will also be a kickoff to the Family Sports Festival with the Walk to London 2012.

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25