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.

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Taking off my training wheels: Review of Fugitive Mids Purple/Blue Combo

If I’ve learned anything from reading online wheel discussions and talking to coaches, it’s that wheel reviews are only really valid within a narrow context. First, you need to consider the type of flooring that the reviewer is skating on, and second you need to consider the weight of the reviewer. There are probably other factors to be considered (i.e. style, skill level etc…), but I’ll just preface my short review by saying that:

1) I’m skating on a dirty, slick, elementary school floor.
2) I’m about 130 lbs and 5’7.
2.5) For the sake of comparison, I’m upgrading from Flat-Outs

That said, I found the combo pretty interesting. As soon as I took to the track I noticed that the new wheels were speedier than the old ones. It took less leg effort to propel myself forwards, especially at slower speeds. The narrower profile, made me *feel* more agile, but based on my skating performance last night I think most of that was in my head 😉

Now the big test was performance on speed laps. On the speed laps, these wheels weren’t really my favourite. I felt like I sacrificed a lot of stability and control for speed. Again, consider the slippery-flooring here. Also, I had the odd feeling like I was going to fall sidewise into the center of the track…. not sure what this is all about. All in all, I think that I will like these wheels for general skating, or if I ever find myself on a grippier surface. However, for speed drills I think I might need softer wheels, at least while I’m learning to skate efficiently. Once I’ve gained more skill in this area I think I’ll enjoy the added speed.

I’m expecting new grippier wheels to arrive in about a week. You’ll be able to read my review of Atom Poison Slims then.

Week 2 workout plan

I MADE IT THROUGH WEEK 1!!!!! I’ve done really well with the meal plans; my husband has taken it upon himself to cook breakfast, make luch, and do suppers using the menus provided by the Roller Derby Workout Challenge. What a derby hero; let’s all pat him on the back. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able (or willing) to stick it through without his help. I’m a kitchen nightmare…  he manages to make sweet potato look appealing.

Okay enough of that. Here’ the workout plan for this week; I had no problems last week so I’m looking forward to conquering week two.

Sunday: 10 pushups, 30 second plank (no resting in between), REPEAT 10 TIMES!

Monday: Day off

Tuesday: Roller Derby Practice

Wednesday: Roller Derby Workout Video

Thursday:
10 burpees
30 second squat static hold
10 star jumps
30 second plank
Repeat 5 times
Rest for 5 minutes and grab some water
Repeat 5 more times

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Roller Derby Practice

I think I’m set.

Also had a great derby practice today. I did 23 laps in 5 minutes. I’m just TWO laps short of meeting the minimum skills requirement. My 23 felt pretty controlled and solid, which is a huge improvement over my last (hungover) 25 in 5.  Two weeks really doesn’t seem like enough time to gain another 2 laps so despite being really happy with my performance today, I’m really nervous for the BIG DAY. I’ve promised myself something huge when I do pass; so either new skates or a new tattoo…. I was really thinking skates for a while but now I’m teetering towards tattoo…. my skates are still pretty new so IF I can actually manage to pass in them, maybe I’ll hang on to them for a while longer. Hmm.. but then does that mean I should by myself new skates if I don’t pass? So tattoo if I pass, and new skates if I don’t? I think I’ve just had a moment.

Huge breakthough

I’m not slow. There, I said it. I thought I was, but I am not. Nope, I just really suck at passing people – and yes, there is a difference. I think if I can just figure out the mechanics of getting by people, being aggressive instead of slowing down.. then I will be a force to be reckoned with. Yes, I’m awesome, you just haven’t had the chance to see it yet cause I’m too polite (or scared?) to jump the line!

Jonesing for derby and a brand new key

It’s possible that I’m going through derby withdrawl at the moment. And what better way to compensate for the total lack of skating going on in my life at the than to buy derby related stuff. So, I’m treating myself to new wheels.

After some great advice from the CCDD coaches and a sassy darksided girl, I had pretty well determined that the ice-blue fugitive mids would be my new wheels…. So I ordered them from Roller Girl ; and then no sooner than I had placed the order, I started having a few doubts. So the money has been paid out, the new wheels are coming, but since I’ve left the decision up to the gearheads at Rollergirl; they might show up all blue (med-hard), they might be a blue-purple combo (med-hard on the “outside wheels” and grippier wheels on the inside) OR they might even show up as a blue-yellow combo… that would be esthetically fantastic and would be medium grippy on the inside to take solid turns and fast as lightning on the outside. Whatever happens, they will be newer and faster than the wheels I’m currently sporting. They will be narrower, and will take some getting used to… but I might, just might, be able to pass myself off as a derby girl.

So they’re not brand new skates (I’m still holding out to pass min skills) but they have the potential to feel like new skates… so in honour of my new purchase, here’s a musical treat for ya:

Derby love.

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.