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.

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.