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April Skater of the Month

Name: Joan Mihelich

Nicknames: Just Joan, Boan, Little Boan

Age: 55

Marital Status: Single

Have been skating for how long: 19 years. I first tried inline skating around 1992 on rented skates from the now defunct Armadillo Sports. I bought my own skates soon after. I grew up ice skating on the frozen zoo pond in Racine, WI.

Equipment Brand and Type: Bont Semi-race. The pretty red ones.

Life Philosophy: Live your dash

Favorite Time of Day to Skate: Anytime, although I haven�t tried the full moon skate yet. I love to skate when it hot, really hot.

Favorite Skating Events: The Texas Road Rash is the only competitive event I�ve entered.

Awards/Competitive Wins: I took 2nd place in my age group in my first Road Rash marathon. I took 3rd place in the next Road Rash marathon even though I was faster than my 2nd place finish.

Biggest Skating Adventure: There was a time when I did not consistently wear a helmet when skating. I was skating at the veloway and made the right turn to the small loop. I couldn�t get my skates under me as I made the turn. I fell and slid across the pavement. I remember thinking �keep your head up, you�re not wearing a helmet.� Lesson learned. I always skate in a helmet.

Joan Mihelich Photo

What do you get from Skating: For me, skating is about so much more than just skating. I worship at the church of the veloway. I love being outside surrounded my nature. I brake for snakes and tarantulas. I skate around beetles. I notice the wildflowers, the changing cloud formations, the pollen, looking like smoke, blowing from the cedar trees. I notice the rabbit resting under a hollowed out tree and how early morning dew on a spider web looks like crystals. And on and on. I like the way I feel when I skate. Skating is the best workout that doesn�t feel like work. And it�s the people I meet along the way.

Would Like to Do This Year in Skating: I was sidelined for 16 months due to an injury and subsequent surgery. My goals are:

  • Get back on my skates (accomplished 2/25/2011)
  • Get back my stamina (working on it)
  • Get back my cardio fitness (working on it)
  • Get back my leg muscles that melted into fat (may be impossible, but one can dream)
  • Resume my 21 mile Saturday mornings skate (probably not this year)

Coolest Accomplishment: Years ago I needed to change my life, so I gave away most of my possessions and bought a one way plane ticket to Texas. I started my life over in Texas and never looked back.

Other Sports/Hobbies you Enjoy: biking, hiking at Enchanted Rock, photographing sunrise on the beach, collecting sea glass on Carancahua Bay and searching for the elusive cobalt blue and red glass, Pilates, loitering around the house.

Favorite Skating Gadget/Tool: I�m so not a gadget person. I find a good allen wrench useful. A safety pin is good for removing the c-rings from the bearings.

Mentors: Under guidance from Richard Littrell, I was able to skate my first marathon. Most of what I know about skating came from talking to and skating with other skaters. The skate community likes to share what they know. Also, Leanna Skarnulis-Englert and Peter Benford who showed me skating has no age limit.

Helpful Advice to Beginners: Just skate and have fun. The how�s and why�s and technique will come.

Favorite Quote: �There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you.� Carol Matthau, writer