Christmas Spirits

Today marks the last derby practice until January 8th. I.Am.Sad. But, since we happen to practice in schools that shut down over the holidays (thank you schools for letting us wear our skates in your gym…. you are awesome!),  unfortunately necessary.

Today was a good day for the first ever CCDD Fresh Meat pack. We all skated hard, showed off our stuff, and passed levels 2 and 3 of our skills test! Yay us. Now for the blah blah blahs….

One of the minimum skills requirements is that we be able to skate 25 laps in 5 minutes. I’m not there yet, but I can feel myself getting closer every week. This week, on paper only, I finished a bit closer to my end goal then I did last week with a whopping 22 laps. BUT, it wasn’t pretty.. it was so ugly, that I kinda felt better about my previous week’s 21 solid laps than this week’s flailing, painful, and just ugly 22 laps. Whywas it painful and ugly? There are lots of reasons…

Reason #1) Irresponsible me got a little too into the Christmas Spirits last night, and stayed up til 3am. This is not the first time I have done this and gone to derby for morning practice… I have shown up to class much worse for ware in the past. However, that’s it. I felt wobbly today, my arms were flailing in ways that they don’t usually flail and I was dehydrated before I even hit the track. I realize now that if I want to improve I’m going to have to make a commitment to get a proper sleep and stay hydrated the night before practice. Because I derby love this sport, I can do that.

Reason #2) Probably irritated by the lack of hydration, and triggered by a difficult Tuesday practice, my left quad pulled during warm up and made doing speed laps a pretty brutal experience. This lead to reason 3..

Reason #3) At about the 3.5 minute marks my left leg muscles gave out and I collapsed (safely) onto my stomach. I got up and kept skating… but by then I was in such agony… I probably should have stopped. It’s just this THING that grows inside of you when you’re in a competitive sport like this… I couldn’t stop… I had to finish. And even though I’m paying for it now.. I’m still kind of glad that I pushed through it. Now there are other injuries where this would have been just plain stupid, but I’m sure no permanent damange was done here… Ice on ice off.

Reason #4: The heel of my skates is starting to annoy the $hit out of me. It’s loose, I’m slippy, and tightening my skates to the point of loosing circulation doesn’t make for a comfy ride. That said, I refuse to blame hardware for my skating skills. I’ve seen one of my own Fresh Meat teamates ROCK and I mean ROCK the track on old-fashioned, disco dancing roller skates…. and her wheels were ridiculously tight to prevent them from FALLING OFF! Btw, this person had an amazing skate today and though I’m not sure whether or not she would be embarrassed if called out publicly… she knows who she is and she is amazing.

All in all I was disappointed with my 25 in 5 today, but mainly because Iwas physically unprepared for it and I have no one to blame for that one but myself. I felt like I learned a lot by doing my last 25/5 and was determined to have a controlled skate today.. I had techniques that I wanted to try and I was in too much pain to try them at all. It was a skate for survival today and blah blah blah.

Now good stuff.

We have a fantastic coach. Thanks Ender 🙂 I wrote a whole thing about how seriously Ender cares about her Freshies, how she keeps a positive attitude, motivates, and nurses injuries… it all came out lame. So just thanks 🙂

Also…We’re getting t-shirts!!!!!! This is exciting.

We’re registering our derby names!!!!! This is exciting.

As soon as my leg feels better I’m going to spend a lot of time skating in my living room. This is exciting… or at least entertaining 🙂

And it’s almost Christmas 🙂

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More money for spandex

Practice last night went pretty… awesome.

First off, we’ve started at a new-to-me, polished concrete arena. Before testing it out, we did some off-skate stuff. During the warm-up, someone  realized that we could play music in there and ran up to throw on a cd. The first song… The Clash, London Calling. Put me right into my sweet spot.

After laps and lunges (maybe I’ll stop mentioning these… they’re going to happen every time) we did a pretty intense off-skate session with mirror drills. Then we laced up and took a couple of warm up laps around the track. The concrete makes such a difference! When I first stepped out onto the track I was a bit wobbly… the concrete is way more slippery than the gym. After skating a few times around the track though I realized the awesomeness of concrete – you can move so much faster with way less leg effort.  Going around the curves is so easy and sweet… you can crouch right down, touching the floor and still make it around the entire bend. Next, we practiced our stops – quite a different experience on the concrete. My t-stops need work –  I admit it. We did suicide drills… skate up to line 1, fall… skate back to the beginning.. skate to line 2, fall, skate back to the beginning, skate to line 3, fall, skate back to the beginning, skate to line 4, fall, skate back to the beginning. Then we did the same thing all over again this time stopping at the lines rather than falling. It was a pretty big night for endurance building, and I’m so proud that we all made it through.

Then we did a new drill… basically we skate around the track and ever so often we “skip” or “jump” over a line…. Umm..since this involves lifting the feet off the ground I’m really not good at this, but I managed to start skipping after a while. After this, we did another really neat drill where you pair up and one person skates in front while the other follows closely behind waving random digits in the air. The goal of course if for the lead skater to look behind themself and call out the number of fingers the follower is throwing in the air. I didn’t mind this too much, except that my balance was seriously compromised when I would go from looking behind to looking forward. And then it happend.

I WIPED OUT!!!

Seriously people, I thought my elbow was broken (the same one that I’d broken before). That familiar feeling of all the blood in my body rushing to the injured limb made the rest of the gym fade into oblivion. Swearing ensued. After getting up and brushing off, I took a few laps around the gym to “skate it off” and then thankfully I realized I wasn’t broken, just a bit bruised. Now I don’t want to end up being that person that gets hurt all the time… first my sore knee (which is so much better now), and now complaining about my elbow…. but what can I say, I’m a bit accident prone I guess. Whatever, at least I get up!

So, I finished the drill. We then did walking cross overs across the gym on skates. I have a really hard time “walking” on my skates, despite getting a lot better at “real” crossovers while in motion. So for this I’m going to start wearing skates more in the house and walking in them instead of skating in them. Hopefully it will help.

Last but not least… the train of pain. The leader steers while the middle-woman pushes the front person and pulls the back person (sometimes its more than 1 person in front and behind to push-pull.. but this time we were let off easy ;)). Okay, so I started off as leader and I was supposed to steer… but I wasn’t properly balanced and… I CRASHED MY TRAIN!!!!! It’s okay, no one was hurt. Then I practiced this drill with a seasoned pro for a while on the outside of the track and really got it down…. so no more problemo.

So after practice I went and caught the bus.. it took me almost 2 hours to get home… ugh that sucks. I saw a funny ad for Koodo…. it had a cartoon of a wrestler and said something along the lines of “our $0 phones leave more money for spandex”…. I was  like, yeah I can totally relate! I also happen to have one of their phones lol.

So we’re back to ice on ice off for the elbow, but I’m completely stoked for the next practice.

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 🙂