The Last Fresh Meat Session

So before I jump into last night’s session, I should probably mention that I have stopped running in the couch to 5k program. Running on pavement was destroying my knees and since I only started running to help my endurance for roller derby in the first place, it seems completely counterproductive to engage in an activity that is making it hard for me to endure roller derby. The doctor said something akin to “your kneecaps are too wiggly, stop running and go to physio” and I think since my new love is on the line I will listen (for once). That said, my endurance is getting better just from going to roller derby, and I think maybe I might start using the eliptical machine at school to see if that is easier on my knees.

Okay, so enough of that… what you really want to know is how the last fresh meat session went.

Well first of all, my butt is really sore today. But thankfully, this time it’s not from falling on it!! I’m slowly getting steadier on my feet, and learning to fall forwards.

We started out with our usual laps, lunges and stretches. Then we went over some of the basic stops and falls from the last sessions. With my knees a little sore last night I admittedly didn’t have as much power in my stops as I had before but I managed just fine. For the falls, I skipped doing the right knee falls and just did the left and double knee falls. I’m actually very good at falling 😉

We spent a lot of  time trying to do crossovers last night. Basically this consists of lifting one leg and crossing it over the other in order to turn. It’s a bit tricky so we tried doing it in baby steps. Here’s the funny part… I find the baby steps even harder than just full out trying to do the whole thing. We first tried skating around the track just lifting one foot up… impossible. My legs think my feet are too heavy and refuse. Then since quite a few of us were apparently having a hard time with this, we tried the same thing only skating straight across the gym instead of going around the track. I actually did a bit better with this – but I had a really hard time getting my left foot of the ground. Also, my right foot will only stay off the ground for a very short period of time. Anyways, after this we got to try it on the  track… I managed to do a couple of proper cross overs but for the most part I’m still only getting my foot about half way over the other. I think this one is only a matter of time – it “feels” pretty right, just needs some practice.

So after all this skating I was pretty exhausted and then it was announced that we would be doing the pyramid drills… oh mama, save my wobbly legs!!! This time I tried to make sure that I was in a lineup of girls that seemed about the same skill level as me (last time, everyone around me was sooooo quick!!!!!) I don’t think doing laps at the end of practice really is representative of my skating overall (or at least I hope not) because by then my legs have the jiggles and would rather be walking to the bus stop. In any case, I’m not nearly as fast as I would like to be, but I’m getting much more confidant on my skates and for the moment I think that’s what really counts.

Did I mention that these sessions are two hours long??? My body already has fewer wobbly bits than it did a few weeks ago… I’m feeling pretty good 🙂

So skating in the living room for this week is going to consist mostly of trying to skate on one foot… I need to build the strength and balance to be able to do this. I’ve been doing some strength training on the wii fit for this specific purpose, but it’s nothing compared to balancing on one leg while wearing skates!

Ohh…. before I forget. This is what I came home to after my session. If you’re a roller derby husband, you’re going to want to take notes on this; this is truly what a roller girl wants to come home to after a hard session!

Steak, mashed potatos, beer and some green stuff….. sooooo good 🙂


More skating in the living room

I managed the bracket stop! Several times even.

Session 2

Last night was my second Fresh Meat session. Here are some of the highlights:

One of my husband’s methods of encouragement is to ask me whether I was the “worst one”…. well in this type of sport I find I don’t even have time to look at what others are doing because I’m so busy focusing on my own balance. Yet, after this session I can say I was probably fairly close to being … the “worst one”.

First up … warm up. I was still pretty sore in my knees from my derby/running combo so I took it as easy as possible. I did some slow laps around the gym, muscled through the lunges (those hurt), and stretched. I probably could have called it quits there and left with a sufficient workout but next it was time for the fun stuff 🙂

We started off with fairly simple stuff… practicing our stops. No problem, I can snowplow pretty easily and my t-stops are far from perfect but starting to take form and accomplishing the main goal. But then… dun dun dun…. the dreaded bracket stop. The bracket stop basically consists of skating forward then swinging one of your feet around in the opposite direction so that you turn 180 degrees and stop. For some reason my feet do not allow me to do this… they just scream out “don’t turn that way… try to and we will stick you to the floor permanently”. Thankfully, the derby girls at ORD are awesome and worked with me a lot so that I can now sometimes do it in slow motion… but it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot more falling for my feet to follow my intentions.

So next up.. falling. I’m actually pretty awesome at falling. We did our one knee falls, our 180 falls (basically the same as a one knee fall but you spin around to face the other direction), our two knee falls, and our 4 point falls. The 4 point falls were new and they were pretty fun…. you skate, drop to two knees, then get into a ball on the floor being careful to tuck in all your limbs. On the track this is really important because if you fall and let your limbs straggle all over the place you can actually get a penalty for tripping. Anyways, it was really fun.

Then came the harder stuff. Walking across the floor with skates on forwards (not so bad), backwards (ee-gads… I can’t walk backwards barefoot!), and then sideways crossing legs one over the other (mama, help!). We do this to get comfortable on our skates… we want to be able to wear skates like running shoes. So, I think I’m going to try wearing my skates at home more often.. maybe this will help.

Next up, sticky skate. I had watched some you tube videos on how to do this but really it’s something you need to “feel” to learn. Sticky skate is where you skate keeping all 8 wheels on the floor. It’s important in pack skating so that you don’t trip someone or get caught on someone. I was pretty good at doing the in-out butterfly style sticky skate, after learning that it’s all about pushing with your knees and thighs. However, I really sucked at the slalom (sp?), feet together, type sticky skate… I just haven’t got the feel down right yet.

Okay… so after sticky skating for a we did some “skate/squat” drills. You skate and then when you hear “squat” you squat down as low as you can go and you stay that way until the last girl has stopped moving. Yeah that was hard. But my thighs and butt will thank me eventually.

After this, we lined up into “heats”, and in groups we had to skate around the track as fast as possible. The first time, we skated around the track once, then twice, then three times, then twice again, then once again. This is where I learned that I sucked. My pack darted off wayyyy in front of me everytime and I was left in the proverbial dust. Again, the ORD girls are awesome and cheered me on. Clearly however, I am having some balance issues that are causing me to take shorter strides than I should be and consequentially slowing me way down. I really need to work on this a lot. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get some outdoor wheels really soon and start skating outside on my “free time” (funny eh?). 

I really want to be good at this.

Roller derby in the local newspaper

Hey, check this article out! They quoted me! 🙂 Also check out the photo… those are some really great ORD women who helped train us up on the first day of Fresh Meat.

Ice on, Ice off

Owww….. my knees hurt! I’m not really sure whether it was derby or running that drove me into this condition, but tonight it’s going to be ice on for15 minutes once an hour. So I’m putting running aside for a few days and plan to do some core strength training in between writing sessions tomorrow. I know it’s not really a part of my lose fat gain muscle plan, but I indulged in some really awesome oreo ice cream tonight… it’s kinda part of my maintaining mental health plan after grading an excessive number of papers today and in anticipation of a day full of factor analysis tomorrow.

These posts will be much more interesting on the days after derby than on the days waiting for derby… truly.

Skating in the living room

Ahhhh laminate flooring.

I had a lot of trouble with my t-stops at the first session so I thought I should give them a go in the comfort of my own living room…. much better! Now I’m working on learning how to go from forward skate to backward skate in one smooth motion.. so far it’s not so smooth. My mantra is “trust your skate, trust your skate…”; but so far, no dice. I think that one might be easier practiced in the gym with full safety gear.

I went for the last run of “week 1” of couch to 5 k…. oh, I so did not feel like running tonight. My knees and butt hurt so much from Fresh Meat that I just wasn’t feeling the run for today. I made it through… but still feel a bit nauseous… I think I will have a nice cup of tea and then chase it down with a beer and Hell on Wheels. How’s that for a Sunday night?

Bringing it up to speed

I’ve started this blog to document my adventures in roller derby. So here we go with a quick update highlighting the most important days in my journey so far.

Day 1. I watched Whip-It, like so many others in what could be called the neo-roller-derby revolution, and thought “I want to do that; hell, I could do that”.

Day 2. I searched online and found out that there were a couple of derby leagues in my city; emailed them both and asked to be put on the waitlist for the next “Fresh Meat” (aka noobs on wheels) session.

Day 3. I got an invitation to join ORD‘s next Fresh Meat session and sent back my RSVP right away.

Day 4. My husband started thinking I was serious about this and surprised me with the best ever Fresh Meat package from Roller Girl.

Day 5. My husband surprised me with a t-shirt with my “Derby name” on it… see above.

Day 6. I decided I’d better get myself to Disco and try out these bad ass skates. So I did, and realized pretty quickly how little strength and endurance I had… I pictured my roller derby dreams fading into oblivion due to my own disgusting disregard for my own health.

Day 7. I decided running would be the best way to start building endurance and thought I’d better get started quick. After a few discouraging runs I realized that in my haste I was pushing myself to hard and running myself weak instead of strong so under the advice of several seasoned runners I started the Couch to 5K plan. I’m now getting ready to start week 2. I also have been doing some strength and balance training care of my wii fit. I’ve lost about 4 pounds in two weeks and I feel pretty good about that 🙂 I’d feel even better if I could gain all that weight back in pure muscle!

Day 8. I thought I could use some more practice before Fresh meat so I took my skates outside. NOT THE SAME THING AS SKATING INSIDE. I was practically paralyzed with fear… so I went home after skating down one fairly smooth path.

Day 9. Fresh Meat session. Wow…. 3 laps around the gym, lunges across the gym, football drills, suicide drills (skate as fast as you can then fall), and some skating too. It felt amazing. The people were amazing. And after just one session I am hooked. But lets not make it sound as though I was a natural.. I was not… I took two fairly nasty falls… landing on my butt rather than forward to my knees. I jarred my previously broken elbow pretty well and I am feeling it today. But man did it feel good to glide across that gym floor! On my way home though…. I quickly came down with an exercise induced migraine….I could no longer perceive my hands as connected to my body and I stopped being able to “see” faces. By the time I got home I was feeling numbness down my left side. It was not a fun night. Today, I’m still getting some weird visual symptoms and struggling to get rid of the last bit of a headache. I’m a bit nervous *for this reason only* for the next session.. but I’m not giving it up. So next Thursday I’ll be there… but for this week I’ll have to try and get in to see the doctor. Annoying.

So now we’re all up to speed and hopefully someone out there will enjoy this one woman’s journey into derby. Pictures to come 😉