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.

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.

Celebrating 1000 views with 100 hits!

I’ve now been blogging for one month and 3 days at the present wordpress address, and I’m happy to announce that sometime today this little blog reached its 1000th view. Actually as of this writing this blog has been viewed 1013 times. Kinda fun.

Okay so hits… last night (maybe premature for an actual celebration), the Darkside came over so we could practice our hits. We put our skates on and hit each other in my basement…gotta say, the added stability provided by the berber carpet really let us hit with all of our (stationary) hitting potential. Felt pretty awesome 🙂 And I definitely needed to feel awesome yesterday after failing in the Roller Derby Workout Challenge on two counts. First, the Darkside brought over some homemade lemon meringue pie. It would have been insulting to both the friend and the pie not to eat it, so I had to. And I enjoyed it. Second, I learned that I can’t do a derby practice on one day, follow it with the RDW video on the second day, and then expect to be able to do a proper workout on day three. At least I know this for next week’s planning… but it meant that I did lose one workout this week. Although maybe some of that basement hitting kinda sorta makes up for it?

Also, I’ve been making it part of my natural state of living to walk upstairs doing crossovers or practice hits. When I’m feeling lazy, I just position myself so that my hip is facing towards the stairs and do little crossovers hitting every step on the way up. When I’m feeling a little more enthusiastic, I skip a step. When I think I should be practicing weight transfer/hitting more than crossovers, I again position my hip so that its facing the staircase.. then take the leg closest to the step and put it on the second step up (always skipping a step this way), to lift myself up to where that leading foot is, I put all my weight on that foot and hoist my body up. Try it… and picture tensing your quads and butt muscles.

Okay, last point of interest for this post – some upgrades to my skates. Firstly, if you find your laces looking like this, please note that it is a safety hazard and it’s possible that you might want to change them.

Being the lazy girl I am, I actually didn’t change my laces when I first noticed that this was happening. Instead I waited until I purchased new wheels in order to coordinate my colours properly. Thing is, remember how I’ve been complaining about my skates getting looser… actually I think my new fat (and unbroken) laces are going to help A LOT.

So now wheels. I’m proud to say that despite being petrified to tinker with my own skates, I single-handedly removed all of my wheels, took out the bearings, put the bearings into my new wheels and put the new wheels on my skates last night! Woohoo. So I’m going to use purple fugitive mids as pushers and blue fugitive mids for speed. Depending on the night we usually skate on either pretty dirty wood highschool flooring, or slippery as all hell elementary school flooring. So the combo may or may not work awesome for me.. but I’m definitely all for trying as many wheels as I want/need to figure out what I like. I think as a Freshie this is definitely my perogative.

Here are my new suped-up skates. Um, they’re dirty from skating around my living room 🙂

That’s it for now – Happy Friday.

2 bags of cookies, 1 fruit cake, and money for a pair of “good long johns”.

Yesterday was a fantastic mail day! My new wheels and Roller Derby Workout video arrived! Now, it’s a matter of deciding when to put the new wheels on my skates.. afterall, I’ve done all of my training so far on one set of wheels and I have min skills coming up so…. is it a good idea to switch wheels at this point??? Would it be too much work or too difficult to adjust to the new wheels in such a short period of time?  I don’t know, but if anyone does, please comment here!!

The new stuff was definitely fun, but more than that, I also had a pretty nice visit with my Grandmother yesterday. We don’t talk much, but I showed up at her house yesterday and we ended up having a pretty nice visit. This experience also taught me that if you are on a “special” diet, one of the biggest challenges you will face is encounters with a hungarian grandmother… I mean, if you have a hungarian grandmother. When I arrived at her apartment, she immediately lead me into her kitchen

Her  “are you hungry? Did you have lunch?”

Me “no I’m not hungry, I just ate a big lunch”

Her “you don’t come over here on a full stomach! I will feed you!”

Me “I should have thought first! But really, I am very full up”

Her “well, have a cookie”

Me “Oh, I couldn’t”

Her ***** BIG OLD GRANDMA EYES ***** Imagine like an elderly version of puss n’ boots from Shrek.

Me “Actually I would love a cookie!”

To which she responds by not giving me one cookie, but a PLATE of cookies. She also told me I should have told her I was coming (I never do, it’s how I work..) so she could have baked for me. So we sat down, and I nibbled on a cookie (only ended up eating about half so I was told I’m “TOO SKINNY”. Then Grandma went back to the kitchen and emerged with her own lunch, a huge plate of baked cabage rolls and rice. and TWO forks. Oh my God. It smelled really good. She brough the plate right up to MY FACE and said, “try some try some”. So I took a little bite (at least it was healthy!), and she reminded me not to eat before coming next time. This diet is hard, I still have to learn how to say no. I think I’m reluctant to tell people about my “special” diet because I don’t want to come off sounding like “one of those” grass drinking, smoothie making, tofu loving…. LIARS!

Now I’m not sure if this is a “Hungarian” thing or not, but when I go to visit my Grandmother she insists on emptying the contents of her cupboard and freezer into a bag and forcing me to bring them home. The time before last, I came home with a WHOLE CHICKEN! This time I was prepared. I have to bus a whole hour and a half to get back home from her house so thankfully this time I had a backpack to stuff the pantry in rather than bringing everything home in grocery bags. I ended up leaving with a month’s supply of home baked muffins, store bought short bread cookies, homemade cookies, and a fruit cake! Because of course I can’t say no to Grandma.

As per usual, we talked a lot about politics while I was there (which is always fun with Grandma; she’s quick as a whip and has a history book for a brain), but eventually the conversation (also as per usual) shifted to the weather.

Her: “What do you have under those pants?”

Me: *laughing*  “Um… legs?”

Her: *indignant*  “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? Why you don’t have Long Johns under there?!”

Me: “I don’t know, I never wear them!”

Her: “You don’t have a good pair of Long Johns?”

Me: “No, I’d boil to death at my office if I did wear them!”

Her: “I’m going to give you forty dollars. You go buy a good pair of Long Johns”

Me: “Oh no grandma, it’s okay, really I’m fine”

Her: “No, you buy a good pair of Long Johns. You can get them everywhere”.

So I took the money and you know what? I went and bought myself a pair of Long Johns. How could I not? Remember, BIG OLD GRANDMA EYES!!!! I went and picked up the funniest old lady looking pair I could find, ones that would make her really proud, but they still only cost like $8!!! So I also bought a pair of tights for derby (of which she knows not), which I think could SERVE as long johns.  Anyways, I’m not a saint. And then I guess the rest of the money will be spent on food since I’m “TOO SKINNY” (I’m actually not).

So there you have it 🙂 I have derby practice tonight so wish me luck.

New wheels for a roller derby girl

It’s official, half set blue half set purple Fugitive mids are on the way; I will look like a bruise on wheels; awesome.

I tried watching Hell on Wheels again last night (I watched it for the first time much earlier in my derby journey), and you know what? I hated it. Why? I mean, I loved it the first time right? Well, the truth is… there’s not a whole lot of skating in it, and the skating there is ***shhh*** isn’t that great. Who could blame them? They were the pioneers! But I guess it goes to show where my priorities have shifted. Oh and btw, I still watch Whip-It all the time… but I skip through all the talking and just watch the skating parts now 🙂

Okay so because this was a short one, I feel obliged to leave you with something worth having visited for… how about this fun music video?

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.

Skate party!

Last night I was feeling a bit bummed about my stupid elbow. Here’s why:

What my elbow should look like

What my elbow actually looked like

So, I decided to make myself feel better I should throw myself a little skate party in my carpeted basement.

Skates on carpet. Cause I can roll like that.

So on went the skates, out came the beer (I wasn’t entirely alone… hubbywas playing video games within arms reach), and away I went. Really, I was mostly trying to get the hang of walking on my toestops because I’m told eventually this will be the way to take off quickly… so I did that quite a bit. I also practiced doing the walking-crossovers in skates…. with the stability provided  by the carpet this was a really easy exercise…. I’m hoping to encourage some form of muscle memory for when I do this on the concrete. Also, much to hubby (Jon, btw)’s displeasure I practiced my t-stops… repeatedly… like a lot… we have a really firm berber carpet in the basement so it actually is possible to do.. again I’m just trying to encourage my muscles to learn the form. And the berber is none the worse for wear. I went to the doctor this afternoon and he thinks that I’ve just strained the tendons in my arm… I had an x-ray, and no news is good news! So if the doctor is right, and I suspect he is since I’m starting to feel better already, then I should be back to normal in 4-10 days 😀

Here’s another shot just for fun… the skates are sure-grip rebel, the wheels are flat-outs, and the bearings are bones reds.

Flat outs and Bones Reds