Teetering and a Thing

I read about the art of teetering recently on another blog . To quote it word for word, teetering is when you: push your limits as you become comfortable so that you are constantly teetering between comfortable and uncomfortable. This is how you know you are progressing!

By the end of my last practice I felt like the fulcrum was swaying towards the comfortable side. Today, as I expected, I really did feel like a turd in the rain. It was FUN, it was SO FUN… I mean, at least I learned from this practice that I don’t just like hanging out in my awesome looking skates… I love the game of roller derby. But I’m falling a lot and finding myself lagging behind the league skaters in jams. I know it’s probably a bit premature but I feel like I would feel better if I had a “thing”…. you know, like I’d like my “teammates” to be able to say “Blackarachnia, she’s really good at ____, we can always count on her to do _____ and that’s why she’s important to the team.” I don’t want to drag my team down, I don’t want to worry my team, but more than anything I want to be a part of the team. And I know a lot of this is just a matter of time. I can feel myself getting better at things I had trouble with before. But for now, I find I’m saying sorry A LOT. So yeah, I’m weighted towards the uncomfortable side right now. And I just don’t want anyone giving up on me. I want to scream “hey girls, look I’ve got potential!!”.

So yeah I’m feeling a bit weird right now, but I’ve gotta give myself some props too otherwise I’ll seem all melodramatic and stuff. Okay, so I knew when I started carrying roller derby insurance alongside my private and provincial insurance that this derby thing was seriously tough. After the last two practices I can say that I’ve pushed myself enough to acquire bruises on: both elbows, one forearm, the inside of my thumb/palm, my right ankle, a good portion of my right thigh, both biceps, and I think possibly my right shoulder (still waiting on it). So yeah, I fall. But I always get up, and you can count on me for that if nothing else.

P.S. Atom Poisons were awesome on the (waxed?) wood floor too.

Quick, I’ve been Poisoned!

Call somebody!!!

Yesterday I tried out Atom’s new Poison Slim wheels. Just a little recap: I’m about 130 lbs, 5 ft 7 inches, and skating on ridiculously slippy and often dirty elementary school flooring. This meant that on my getting-worn flat-outs I was slipping out around the bends, and even with my purple-blue new fugitive mids I was spending a lot of time restablizing myself. So, after hearing that maybe softer wheels would actually be benefitial and might even *increase* my speed, I sought out  soft wheels with a narrow profile. I found Atom Poison Slims and thought they sounded like they would fit the bill. They measure in at 84a on the durometer compared to my 87a purple Fugitive Mid pushers with 90a blue Fugitive Mid combo.

So typically, when you think “soft wheels” you think, sticky, sluggish, gonna-make-me-work-hard-and-slow-me-down wheels. And often, that’s probably true. But if you find that you’re spending a lot of time readjusting after sliding out on a slick surface, then you might want to consider moving to a stickier wheel. I can say that two neat things came from using the Poisons last night.

#1) I didn’t slide AT ALL. Not once. And we did timed speed laps (1 lap = 8.6 or 8.8 seconds for me.. can’t remember)

#2) I made a point of doing a t-stop for every water trip and nailed it every.single.time.

SO YAY POISONS! I’m going to keep them on for my next practice at a slightly less slippy gym and I’ll let you now how it goes.

Maybe at this point you’re expecting me to tell you how things went at my first league practice too? Hmm… well my first league practice was really emotional on a whole bunch of levels. First, I’ve lost some buddies in my move to league practices and I really missed having them there. In some ways I also felt guilty for being there, and that was hard. Second, I realized that I was probably gonna be on the receiving end of some pretty good hazing from the vets. I spent the first half hour on-skates feeling like I didn’t belong there and wondering why I hadn’t come in with an exit strategy… that is so unlike me. But then something pretty cool happened. First, my adrenaline kicked in so most of my anxiety went away. Then, I started getting comments from other skaters that I was doing things well. I was able to get out of my own head and remember to *just go*. Also, because it turned into a pretty small practice I ended up getting a LOT of feedback and instruction, which is good because remember that this *actually playing the game* part is so new to me, and I need to work out a lot of the mechanics.

I was pretty proud of myself by the end of practice. I took and gave hits, and I think for my first practice I held my own pretty well. Saturday’s practice should be a bit more hardcore so if I come back feeling like a turd in the rain, at least I’ll have this post to remind me that last night, I was a derby girl.

Running after the wagon

Last week was a rough one for me (and my family!) so I kinda swan dived off the Roller Derby Workout Challenge Wagon. Well, I’m ready to get back on…. (*cough*after the Hotdog/Marshmellow BBQ I’m going to tonight😉 )  So here’s my workout plan for week 5:

  • MONDAY: Playing Squash (subbing this in for roller derby workout video)
  • TUESDAY: Roller Derby Practice
  • WEDNESDAY: 20 Mountain Climbers  , 20 Supermans 10 pushups, 45 second plank, REPEAT 5 TIMES. Then 10 Burpees, 10 Star Jumps, 10 Pushups, REPEAT 3 TIMES
  • THURSDAY: Roller Derby Workout VIDEO
  • FRIDAY: REST
  • SATURDAY: Roller Derby Practice
  • SUNDAY: 100 burpies; 100 star jumps (This just looks funny to me… but I’ll try!)

Tomorrow night is my first practice with the League Skaters at CCDD! I’m nervous, but excited. I’ve put my new Atom Poison wheels so I’ll be posting a review of those shortly.

Some form of vindication?

I found out today that I have Pneumonia. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about doing 23/5 (twice). And I’m pretty proud that I didn’t pass out during the test even though I felt pretty near doing so a few times.

If the music’s loud enough

I don’t really feel like writing this post to be honest… but I feel like maybe, there are people waiting to hear about it so, relunctantly here are the details.

1) I didn’t pass 25/5… did 23 both times and fell both times. Can you say anxiety? Yeah, I fell during both tries. Would have done the whole 25 if it weren’t for that, but I couldn’t keep my act together. WTF is with that?

2) Arm whips. Sucked on my outside arm whip (hey, did I ever tell you guys about the time I broke my elbow? How bout the time I fell on my broken elbow and damaged all the tendons in there? Yeah… that’s a good one.)

3)My T-stops. UGH. The irony. After posting about how awesome I was getting at them and even getting feedback from a reader here about how *my story* was helping her do her t-stops… I failed at them. Again, WTF was I doing? I dunno.

4) I made it through to “league practices”. I still need to retest on my 25/5 and t-stops in a months to officially be a “league skater”. But I made it through. And as happy as I am about making it through, I’m having a lot of other feelings about it too. And I can’t talk about those right now.

When you’re this hardcore they call you Sister

At our last practice, Darla and I realized how scared we were that we might not make our 25 in 5 at our upcoming skills assessment. Although we tried to lay down a proper track, our Tuesday night practice space falls short about 20 feet or so of putting down a regulation sized track so it was pretty inadequate. So what do you when you eat sleep and breathe derby and can’t bear the thought of failing *yourself* in the 25/5 but have nowhere adequate to practice before  the big day? Well, you shell out some big bucks and rent a space large enough for you to practice in. Thankfully, since Darla and I work a grad school schedule, we were able to take a daytime timeslot that no one else wanted. Also, even more than thankfully, more sort of awesomely, our  coach and head ref who doubles really well as a coach agreed to meet anyone there who could make it and help us give our skills one final tweak before testing.

It ended up being only Darla and I who could make it (grad school…), and the small “class” size really helped me get past any performance anxiety I’d had in the past. So, we (or rather Ender  and Rowdy) started out by measuring and taping down a regulation sized track.

Meanwhile, Darla and I got all skated up.  We wanted to know what it felt like to try 25 in 5 before a hard practice so we started with that. Darla skated a beautiful 28 laps and I managed my 25 in 5 on the first try!!!🙂 Ridiculous amounts of hugging rightfully ensued.

Why on the first shot? Well a few factors doubtless came into play. The first is that we did it one at a time so there was no need to slow down to weave around other skaters. Second, the floor was beautiful hardwood. And third, at least for me, I was feeling just enough desperation to force myself to push as hard as I could.

After we had let the emotional dust die down, we got back to what we had gone there for and practiced everything from falling to hitting. With just a few minutes of reserved space left we decided to take the 25 in 5 one more time. At this point the previously mentioned factors become insufficient to describe what happened next.

First, Darla skated another 28 in 5!!!  No fluke there, just pure drive and talent.

Twenty eight laps!! TWICE!!!!

But guess freaking what else?! I skated TWENTY NINE laps in five minutes. Its funny you know because I was exhausted and getting wobblier after having already endured the test once and then going on to do a full practice. But the entire time I had either Ender or Rowdy right  behind me urging me on and keeping me focused. They were each in turn my own personal Jimminy Crickets. While the devil on my shoulder kept telling me it hurt too much, I was too tired, my lungs were on fire (I’m actually pretty sick at the moment), these two amazing coaches reassured me that I was doing great, my pace was on track and I was being consistent. They also challenged me to speed up when I needed to, and reminded me to take advantage of those odd moments where my muscles miraculously felt a bit of relief. Near the end, Ender reminded me to skate strong rather than fast. I managed to get into a really good rhythm…

Your vets will tell you to make the track into a circle.: move in tight around the bends and let yourself drift out wide on the straightaways. If you’re like me, maybe you’re a bit skeptical. First, you’re forcing yourself to skate *further* and second, sometimes it does feel like you’re *sliding* and that’s scary. BUT  you save yourself so much energy when you don’t try to hold the inside line! Enough to go from 25 in 5 to 29 in five in my case! My rhythm ended up consisting of swimming through the straight aways and marching around the bends. That meant two long “frog kicks” on the straight aways and about 4 or so strong crossovers around the bends. After a while my legs were  doing it themselves and my mind just kept focusing on keeping my breathing steady; always picturing sending oxygen to my legs.

I couldn’t  be prouder of the FOUR of us on the track today. And I think our coaches deserve special nods; helmets off to Ender and Rowdy; love you guys.

Ender and her Girls

Darla Rowdy and Blackarachnia

 

I was on top of the world when I got home…

RDWC Week #4

I’m excercise cheating for about half of this week to prepare and repair for and after my minimum skills assessment. So my schedule doesn’t exactly follow the prescribed schedule for the week. Also, I pledge to stand on one foot while waiting for every bus and elevator up until mins day. Then, after this week, I go hardcore🙂

Monday: Roller Derby Practice
 
Tuesday: Roller Derby Practice
 
Wednesday: Today is a fun day. We want you to close the door to your room put on your favorite dance mix. Set a timer and go at it for 30 minutes. Dance, dance, dance. We aren’t talking about slow dancing either. Go wild. Get sweaty. Get crazy. 
 
 Thurday: Resting before mins

 Friday: Resting before mins

Saturday: Roller Derby Practice MINS SKILLS ASSESSMENT

 Sunday: Resting after Mins