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     Hello, everyone, and welcome to silviaacevedo.com! This is your best place to find my latest news, works, and musings.

     Please take a look around the site, and feel free to reply to posts. I love hearing from fellow writers, journalists, and people from all walks of life.

Silvia

What It Feels Like to Have a Breakout Year

Posted November 29th, 2014 by Silvia

Start of the 3000

Start of the 3000

You hear about athletes having that one incredible year, that breakout year when they get it all right, improve by leaps and bounds, and break personal records. I think I’m experiencing that, and let me tell you, it feels awesome!

I’ve gotten personal bests in all four metric distances (500 meter, 1000 meter, 1500 meter, and 3000 meter) and am less than two-hundredths of a second away from my ultimate goal of skating the 500 in less than 50 seconds.

To give you some perspective, this season is two months old. So far I’ve skated ten races and gotten personal bests in seven of them, each time beating or hovering right around my previous best. I am in awe of what serious summer training can do for a fall sport.

So what did I do differently this year? More weight training and explosive drills than ever before. My bigger thighs do not lie. And I worked out a lot with my speedskating dynamo of a daughter and super-supportive husband and son.

I give huge props to my coaches, who work me just as hard as they do the teenagers. Strength Training Coach Olu Sijuwade is a force in the universe. PHAST Lead Coach Jeff Brand literally taught me everything I know. And PHAST Coach Tom Riley not only puts me through the paces but makes me work harder and smarter than I ever believed possible.

Thanks, coaches. Thanks to all my speedskating friends who cheer me on during my races and make the sport so much fun. And thanks to everyone everywhere who support those reaching for a goal. It feels great to hit the mark. :)

And Now I’m a Sports Announcer!

Posted October 10th, 2014 by Silvia

Sports Announcing

     If you spend enough years in front of a microphone and get plugged in to your community, eventually you’ll have interesting opportunities come your way. And me not being one to turn down opportunities (or people depending on me), I say yes.

     So I’ve had the very good fortune to get pulled into live sports announcing. For the past few years, I’ve occasionally announced speedskating events in Milwaukee for meets ranging from Olympic Qualifying, World Cup Qualifying, and even small regional meets.

     Now I’m adding high school swimming to my sports announcing! My daughter’s team needed an announcer for a large conference meet, and I was volunteered. I’m not hugely plugged into that sport, but I always want to stretch my abilities and try new things. I was asked back, so that’s a good endorsement.

     I’m grateful to have the chance to try new things. Many thanks to all who provide the opportunities!

Making Everything Better

Posted July 8th, 2014 by Silvia

One of the things I love about guest hosting The Morning Blend talk show is the chance to discuss with people from all walks of life how they handle their personal trials and make things better for others. Below are a couple of recent segments that do just that.

The first features Speedskating Olympian Brian Hansen just before the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He talks about training, nutrition, and his other contribution to sport, the muscle-rolling, athlete-hydrating invention, Bottle Bark.

The second segment features Milwaukee-area moms who discuss the importance of finding time for themselves — and the wonderful people who help them do it. It’s a tribute to the parenting support system.

Enjoy!

A Successful Weekend on the Ice

Posted January 5th, 2014 by Silvia

Silvia Acevedo _Small I started my season later than normal, but I’m really happy to say that it really doesn’t show too much. I skated five races in this weekend’s “Masters International Single Distance Championships” at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. It was my first competition this season and my first Masters meet ever.

Silvia Acevedo at the Pettit_Small

This meet crowns champs in the 500, 1000, 1500, 3000, and 5000 meter distances. I was nervous about a few distances that I hadn’t skated yet this year, but, with my training and great help from my cheering family, I skated times that were right in line with my personal bests. I got the titles in my age division and left feeling great for the rest of the year.

Huy and Silvia_Small

My student skater did really well, too! Here’s a picture of Huy with me. He’s new at this but will soon be one of the fastest out there, I’m absolutely sure. I’m proud of him. It’s great coaching Masters — and skating with them, too!

 

 

Hittin’ the World Rankings

Posted January 11th, 2013 by Silvia

Silvia ranked 14th in the 1000 meter distance.     It’s not often a person can say they’re ranked world class, so I just have to sing about it a bit. Anyone who visits this blog regularly knows I speedskate. Love the sport and the camaraderie with adult skaters. Turns out I can be pretty proud of my actual performance, too. Just found out that I’m ranked in the top 20 worldwide in my age division. And get this — you see only one American flag there. For the first time in my skating career, I alone represent the women of the U.S. in all four distances (500, 1k, 1500, and 3k) in my age division. And speedskating’s given me four national championships, too, against some tough competition. I never imagined any of this when I set out to simply find a workout that I could do with my kids.

     I hope this encourages other moms out there to strap on some skates! Olympic fever, courtesy this go around of Sochi, Russia, is just 390 days away!

Sweeping Changes On the Way for US Speedskaters

Posted April 19th, 2011 by Silvia

US Speedskating's Logo     This weekend I had the privilege of attending US Speedskating’s Board of Directors meeting, which is where big (and small) changes are made in U.S. speedskating regulations. The spring meeting is held in a different city and area of the country each year, and Milwaukee was the place this go-around. I sat through every minute of it and posted a link at the end of this post to the board actions that I think will most interest skaters.

     First, let me briefly tell you how the event was laid out. It began Thursday night with a roundtable discussion in which 24 board members and USS staff were onhand to answer questions from the general membership. Friday was devoted to committee meetings, where proposals were debated and eventually voted on to either die in committee or advance to the board. Saturday was when the board made the final votes on each proposal, either denying them or turning them into law. How’s that for PoliSci 101? I think Marquette U. should give me an honorary degree. :)

     So what are the changes? There were 25 that I thought would most interest my readers. You can find them HERE.

Now I’m Officially Official

Posted February 12th, 2011 by Silvia

     Okay, I’ve been a part of the speedskating scene for a long time, but today I actually got a little bit of authority at a meet. I was one of the officials at the 2011 Masters International Long Track Speedskating Championships held at the Pettit. Tempting as it was to flaunt my new powers and disqualify anyone who looked at me funny, I instead behaved and did my best to keep the racing fair and moving along.

     Here you see me setting up with a bucketful of blocks. These blocks are rubber lane markers laid out along the turns and sometimes the straightaways to clearly mark lanes. I also acted as a corner judge (watching that skaters not cross too far to the inside), finishing line judge (watching that skaters not kick out their skates and are ranked according to their finishing place), and heat box caller (getting the right skaters checked in and onto the ice). The latter was very easy, as adult skaters know where they are to be and when.

     I had two fabulous assistants in my youngest children, whom you see here. They are preparing to put red and white armbands on the skaters. The armbands indicate in which lanes the skaters start. The kids also checked racing numbers and order at the starting line.

     I learned a lot from officiating. Some rules that were fuzzy in my mind are now crystal clear, which should assist my own skating, and we all had a great time.

Braving Long Track Nationals

Posted January 26th, 2011 by Silvia

     This weekend U.S. Speedskating held its 2011 Pack Style Long Track National Championships in Roseville, Minnesota. I’m happy to say that I defended my national championship title, and my daughter Antonia had an absolutely spectacular showing to come in second in her age division.

     Here’s a picture of one of her starts. She’s the second from the left in the green skinsuit.

     Her competition was fierce, and she performed magnificently, even getting a personal best. That’s not easy on an outdoor rink in -12 degree temps with gusting winds. Even an extra layer of spandex doesn’t help. I mean, it’s spandex, after all.

     And here’s a photo of the Master-class gals that I skated with. We just love this sport!

     A special thanks goes out to my daughter Corina and son, Armando, for their help at the meet and to my husband, Jeff, for his constant support.

Skating My First Marathon Distance

Posted December 29th, 2010 by Silvia

     Today I skated my first marathon distance — 126 laps on the Pettit National Ice Center Olympic Oval. That’s 50K (31 miles) plus one extra lap just to add an exclamation point.

     The U.S. Speedskating National Marathon distances are 25K and 50K. My daughter, who skated along with me, surpassed the 25K distance by skating 100 laps. It’s a fun distance that our club does to celebrate the end of the year, and it’s pretty excellent for an 11-year-old. She did it last year, too! Way to go, Antonia!

New Rules in Short Track Speedskating

Posted October 4th, 2010 by Silvia

Vancouver Olympics 2010 3000m Short Track Relay

     This weekend, U.S. Speedskating held an officials’ clinic in Milwaukee to cover changes in ISU Short Track Rules. Some of the changes were better received than others, with one in particularly causing some controversy. Some call it the beginning of “roller-derby style” skating. Others think it makes sense.

     In the past, an official could disqualify a skater for an infraction called “cross-tracking.” If a passing skater crossed into another’s path and there was contact, the passing skater was in the wrong. S/He held all responsibility to pass cleanly.

     The new rules allow officials to call infractions on either skater, depending on who actually does the contacting. If the passing skater causes contact, s/he receives the penalty. If the skater who was passed skates into the skater who is now ahead, s/he receives the penalty.

     At this weekend’s Am Cup I event, this new rule was a hot topic with considerable confusion as to its implementation and affect on the sport.

     Some believe it will cause much rougher skating, allowing aggressive skaters to push others into dangerous situations and causing a lot of tangles on the ice. This is a sincere concern for parents and skaters alike. You already have a sport in which racers fly across the ice with knives on their feet; there is no need to make the sport even more dangerous than it already is.

     Others, however, think the cross-tracking rule was confusing to begin with and that this new rule allows officials more leeway to penalize whomever they feel is guilty of contact. Olympic Short Track Skating is, after all, a race between skaters and not a race against the clock, as is Olympic Long Track. There always has been and always will be contact.

     I empathize with both camps, and I expect there will come a time when an official’s call will be vehemently rejected by spectators, half of whom will blame the passing skater for the tangle, while the other half claims just the opposite.

     And a few skaters I talked with are reserving judgement for the moment. They plan to see how the new rule pans out over time and whether it benefits the sport or not.

     Time will tell.