Monday, December 12, 2011

My First Scrimmage!

Yes, that's my butt in those shiny silver shorts

It was awesome, but before I start with that, I want to talk about the preparation. I got to the rink around 4:45 and we were just starting to set up. We were told to grab our knee pads, so I got mine and helped as the head ref did the chalk outline. I’d never seen them do the outline, so it was really cool. He had a long chain that had different rings and labels that told you which lines went where. Once the chalk outlines were done, we started laying out the rope and taping it down. It took us quite a while and then one of the refs came over and helped do the rest of the track in 3 seconds flat. He said he got really fast at it because the rink he used to be at wouldn’t let them set up until very late.

Name and number on my green shirt

At that time I had to gear up and I started feeling very nervous. For the first 30 minutes I was on skates I couldn’t remember how to stop (it was more about the rope lines and being scared of tripping over them). Because so many people signed up for the scrimmage we were going to have three 30-minute periods (we ended up having two 30-minute periods and one 15-minute period, but that whole thing comes later), and I was put as B2 in the 1st and 7th lines and then as Pivot in the 3rd line during the 3rd period.

Because I was in the first line I got to do the example jam at the beginning. I always thought it was some kind of planned thing, but apparently not. After the demo we lined back up for real and the whistle blew to start the first jam. And I literally do not remember what happened after that. The jammer probably passed right by me and I may have hit one person, but I have no clue. Before I knew it the whistle was blown four times by all the refs and the jam was over as quickly as it had begun.

A few highlights from my times on the track, since I can’t really recall enough to fully talk about one:

  • One girl fell right in front of me and I tripped over her and fell spectacularly, but I got right back up.
  • There was a bit of a pile up around turn three and I ran over someone’s fingers. It was like driving on a bumpy road.
  • I accidentally hit the jammer with my elbow (though she didn’t fall or anything) and luckily I didn’t get a minor (actually, I didn’t any minors or majors, but then again I didn’t play a whole bunch).
  • I hit the jammer with my elbow at turn two, but at turn 4 I hit her out of bounds!
  • I was really good about looking behind me and I think I spent more time looking behind than looking forward

We did have a few problems though. One woman fell (not during a jam) and snapped her ankle in two places. They called the ambulance and had to reset her ankle last night. That happened with about 3 minutes left at the end of the 2nd period and they were going to call the bout. They decided to go ahead and finish out the period and follow it up with a 15 minute period rather than a 30 minute period like they planned.

The 3rd period was going to be more evenly matched players against each other. Basically it’d be a line of all beginners, and then a line of intermediates, and then a line of advanced. I was the pivot in the beginners group.

With about 5 minutes left on the clock our jammer got hit and broke her clavicle. We all thought she had just hit her bad shoulder again, but at the after party we found out what happened. She was able to get up on her own steam and walk off the track and be driven to the hospital. So yeah, two very bad injuries in one scrimmage, both of them from my team. I am just so bummed and feel horrible for the ladies who were hurt, both of them love derby and it's going to kill them not to be able to play for however long they're out of commission. :(

The final jam was pretty intense. It started out as a power jam for the Santas and after about 2 or 3 grand slams our jammer was released from the box and was able to get some points before the jam was called off. It took several seconds to update the scoreboard and when we saw that it was 190-188, we all flipped! My first scrimmage and I was on the winning team!

At the end of the night I had smudges from other people’s numbers on my arms (and it was awesome). I had to resist the temptation to just leave my numbers on my shoulders because I’m sure my co-workers would not want to see it. Now we're on a break until January 3rd and our first bout of the 2012 season is February 12th. So yes, two more months and I have some goals/ideas for how I want to improve and I'll talk about those in another post.

And here's some pictures, all lumped at the bottom because I'm too lazy to sprinkle them through the whole post like a good blogger.

Hanging with Heather during one of the breaks

My dad kept taking pictures of me and I was very irritated about it

Go Elves!!

Wearing the pivot panty, woo!

I think this girl and I took each other out, but I seriously can't remember what happened

You can barely see me in this picture, but I am directly behind the girl that is on the ground. I ended up falling in a most epic manner (according to the bruise on my hand), but I got right back up and rejoined the pack!

Plow stopping like a boss

Remember when I said I didn't remember how to stop because of nervousness? Well, after my introduction lap I wasn't stopping very well so I grabbed onto the hand of one of the girls on my team. You can see the fear in my eyes and her laughing at me. I hope her clavicle heals quickly!

I want to go back in time and yell at myself to get lower. It looks like I'm just derping around at session or something.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Night of Encouragement

Practice last night was awesome (technically today is Thursday, but I started writing this Wednesday morning, so let’s go with that). I was really expecting it to be super cruddy because I just started my period, but after 5 minutes on skates I completely forgot about it. Because we’re in the off season most practices only end up having handful of girls show up to them, so last night we had 8. We started out by splitting off in to two groups of 4, with a drill of doing 5 sets of 5 timed laps. First we would do our laps and then the other group would do theirs. After the first set of five, I was surprisingly winded and felt like an idiot. The other girls were too, but they had legitimate excuses (one had just come from a workout and another was just getting over laryngitis. We did three, took a water break, did our fourth, and then did one set skating the opposite direction. My times were 54, 52, 50, 54, and 60.

After that we skated 5 laps backwards (some of the girls did 10 laps because many of them are awesome at skating backwards, so they did 10 in the time it took me to do 5, lol), and followed it up by skating forward a bit and then just turning around go backwards and turning around again (to get us comfortable with turning around, I think). Then I got to do something I’d never done before: toe stop runs!

In the drill we would skate backwards for a bit and when our coach blew the whistle we would go onto our toe stops and try to walk six steps (it would progress into running, but for the first few times it was just walking on toe stops). The first time I had no idea what I was doing and I fell, so one of the girls said to pretend like I was walking on high heels. I got it pretty well, I think. I definitely want practice it more because it feels weird and unsteady, but it’s doable.

The next drill we did was going out of bounds and trying to re-enter play quickly. When our coach blew the whistle we had to skate out of bounds, tomahawk stop, and quickly get back in. In the next one we would go out of bounds on a knee and then get back up and in bounds. The last one was tiring, but fun. When the coach blew the whistle we went down on our belly outside of the track and had to get up quickly. I’m still not as speedy as I want to be, but it’s a ton less flailing than it used to be and only one time it took me 3 seconds to get up (it was the last time).

Finally we did some scrimmage practice. We did some 4 on 4 (not enough people to have jammers) practicing different blocking strategies. Then we did some 3 on 3 with 2 jammers. I gave a few good hits and a TON of encouragement, tips, and compliments. Even when it was my turn to wear the jammer panty I was complimented (I didn’t do well, but the fact that I just kept going and going without giving up was good). Sometimes when I do well at jamming, I think that I might be a jammer in a real bout some day. If I work on my speed and endurance a lot, it might just happen (although I should learn to block first, lol). Also, I got a weird new injury: rink rash of the nipple! I was hit when I was jamming (she was out of play and ended up in the penalty box, so yay) and when I fell I slid on the floor and I swear my nipple hurt so damn bad. Apparently it happens to everyone, so I guess I’m proud to be part of the club?

I’m excited for Thursday practice (the last before the scrimmage!!) and I hope I keep improving. :D

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Practice on 11/29 & 12/1

Practice was originally canceled on Tuesday, 11/29 because the rink was unavailable. The reason it was unavailable was because it was being recoated. Luckily, it dried fast enough so they allowed us to practice that night. To be honest, I couldn’t feel much of a difference. My t-stops made sounds (I am notoriously bad at t-stopping, so this was a first) and it was harder to knee slide, but other than that it felt the same to me. More experienced skaters could feel the difference, I think.

Anyway, practice was okay on Tuesday. I did just fine, but not great or horrible. Honestly, I would rather fail spectacularly at something and work to improve it than just do an okay job at practice. When we left I didn’t feel exhausted or exhilarated, which is very unusual. I thought about it on Wednesday and realized that I really hadn’t skated as hard as I could have. We did a drill where we just did crossovers only around and around the track. I know I could have pushed myself to go faster. All in all, I was just disappointed with myself and how I didn’t give it everything I had. I decided that on Thursday I would push myself to exhaustion and if I wasn’t sore after practice then I did something wrong.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t do anything wrong. I was worn out and absolutely exhilarated after practice on Thursday. There were only 7 of us there (included the fresh meat coach and our head ref) and worked hard. I found out shortly after I got there that we would be doing an endurance practice. Rather than jogging for five minutes we put our skates on and did ten sprinting laps around the whole rink. That was followed by some planks, burpees (if you’ve never done burpees on skates, don’t do it, it is scary as hell), and stretching.

Then it all becomes a blur from there. We did all sorts of pace line drills (I still have a lot of trouble figuring out if I should be calling “inside” or “outside” and it makes me ridiculously anxious when we do pace line drills, which happens at almost every practice) including weaving forward, backward, lateral hops, hip bumps, pushing through, hip whips, arm whips, back whips (I’ll get to that in a second), and all of that again and again. Usually when we do pace lines we do an exercise once and move on to the next one. Thursday we did everything at least twice, sometimes three or four times.

This part may have happened before or after the pace line (I’m pretty sure it was after). We got in a line and did laps, our coach for the night said we would be skating hard for 15 minutes solid. First we did two laps at pack speed followed by one sprinting lap. We did it that way about 3 or 4 times before the faster people went to the outside of the track while one girl, our coach for the evening, and I did it on the inside. The girl with us in the middle of the track had to leave (she has sports related asthma and her inhaler wasn’t helping), so I joined in with the people on the outside.

We did another 2 rounds of 2 slow, 1 sprint before changing it to 1 slow, 2 sprint. While the other people were able to keep up with the line, I was about 10 feet behind the whole time. I think it was about 10 minutes into the sprinting drill that we started doing pushing and pulling. First I pushed the whole group around the outside of the track, and after everyone else had gone, I pulled everyone else around the track. It feels like walking through the worst mud when you’re pulling 5 people behind you. One of the hardest parts was staying in derby stance the entire time we did the pushing and pulling.

After we finished up that part we went to get water and our coach that evening said we just skated the equivalent of an entire half hour of a bout (minus the intense hits you’d be getting). I felt insanely proud of myself for not quitting or giving in, or even slowing down. I knew that if I just kept going that it would get over eventually. Think of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

I can’t even remember what happened for the rest of practice. All I know is that when I left I was feeling amazing and unbelievably exhausted.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My helmet is officially cooler than yours

And by cooler, I mean dorkier...


My fresh meat barcode decal was very abused. I seriously have no clue how that happened.


I am glad to say that I was the one that made this happen. I bought some vinyl and cut it all today. I'm pretty excited about it. Not sure if I've mentioned it on here yet, but my derby name is Militant Bulstrode (after the Harry Potter character Millicent Bulstrode) and my number is 9 3/4 (as in Platform 9 3/4). And of course, I put a Dark Mark on it because I'm a Death Eater. :D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Great Practice Tonight!

So I've been a bit quiet, and I'm aware of that. I haven't really wanted to say anything because I might just jinx it, but awesome things have been happening! Our entire fresh meat group has gone through testing. Out of all of the people we started with, only three made it to the end for testing out. I made it (as you know) and another girl did. The other girl sort of passed, but with stipulations (her skills aren't as high as they'd like them to be). An hour ago I sent an email to my captain with my derby name! Yep, that's right! I have officially submitted my derby name to be entered into the master list!

Also, I was asked to create the flyer for our upcoming charity scrimmage (which I will be skating in!!). Being a skater is important to me, but being an active league member is also insanely important and I want to help however I can.

So anyway - tonight's practice. We started out with our normal jog and then did dynamic stretching (stretching while rolling on skates around the track). After that we did this sort of "bus driver" drill where we would get picked up at our "bus stop" (orange cone) and led (by our captain) around the rink while doing various skills. There might be a school zone (everyone slowed down) or a tunnel (squatting), a downed tree (jumping), and all sorts of other stuff. I hope we do it again because I think it was a really cool exercise.

Then we did some hitting! It seems that all I ever do is take and give hits and I am 100% fine with that! I've been getting some really great looking bruises from it, so I'm not about to complain. My hip checks are pretty crummy though. I'm better at full body or shoulder checks, but my hips just aren't as...snappy? There are several girls on the team that can hip check like woah. I just need to keep practicing, I know.

One really weird thing that a girl pointed out to me is that I have been looking away when I make a hit. I'll put it out there - I say sorry a lot and I don't want people to get hurt. I'm working around that so I'm not a piss poor derby player. So when I've been hitting people, I look away as I make impact, meaning my impacts are not as strong and on target as they need to be. She told me that if I looked away when I hit her then she would punch me; I did not look away after that. It really helped, so I'm going to make sure to focus on actually looking at the person I'm making contact with!

After that we did some scrimmaging while learning the strategy that big teams are using: starting the jam at the jammer line. If you haven't been watching a lot of high level derby playing, this is how it goes: the entire pack (or at least one team) will start on the jammer line, taking a knee. Because they are not up when the first whistle is blown, a no pack call is made and the jammers are released instantly (without having to wait for the pack to cross the pivot line). It was interesting to learn and do. I think the best part was that everyone was learning it. No one on the team had ever tried it before, so we learned together.

During one of the scrimmages my best moment so far happened. The opposing team's jammer was coming up and I went for her. Not only did I hit her off the track, but she went down to the ground. I was insanely proud of myself and everyone else was excited for me, too! Everyone cheered, our captain gave me a high five, one girl hugged me, and I think someone smacked my butt but I didn't see who it was so I'm not sure if it was on purpose. Either way, it was AWESOME. I loved everything about practice tonight!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm a newbie!!

So it's finally official! I am out of fresh meat and am now considered a "newbie" on the team!! Let's start with my minimum skills test on the 20th. It counted as far as they were concerned and at the annual Halloween Party/Fresh Meat Graduation/Awards Ceremony for the team, the girls that graduated Fresh Meat throughout the entire year were presented with special necklaces that only skaters and refs get...and I got one!!

Gratuitous picture of my boobs in my costume? Yes. But the picture doubles as an "OMG NECKLACE!" photo. :D

The only thing I needed to do was take the written test, which I did today while the other girls were warming up. I missed two (damn it!), but it counts as a pass! That means my first scrimmage will be December 11th! Holy crap! I don't know when I'll be submitting my name and number but I think it is going to be soon.

I had more things to talk about (like how bruised I am from falling all over the place at practice on Tuesday or how I really want to be a good derby player or how every single player has been so damn helpful), but I think I'll just let this post be a bit of squee! Yay!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weight Loss Photos

Last time I posted weight loss photos I said I would do it in another 2 months just to see how fresh meat changed my body, and it did! I'm officially done losing weight though and I'm trying to gain back at least 3 or 4 pounds so the new jeans I bought last month fit rather than get more baggy. I'm currently at 181lbs.

May 26 - front

August 1 - front

October 22 - front

May 26 - side

August 1 - side

October 22 - side

May 26 - back

August 1 - back

October 22 - back

My favorite part of the difference between August 1 and today is that my thighs are actually bigger (yay muscle!). Also, here's a gif that shows May 26 to October 22.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Minimum Skills! Yay!

So, ummm, I kind of passed my minimum skills at practice yesterday…

I think.

I guess it takes a bit of explaining. With the season being over and everyone doing various holiday things, attendance at practice has pretty much plummeted. So yesterday (Thursday) it was a small group (less than 10 people) and one of the vets asked when the fresh meat would be testing out. The captain/president of the league replied that we’d be testing out around November 10th and the vet said, “Why not tonight?”

So we did.

It was only one other fresh meat and I testing out since our third girl didn’t show up to practice. We took to the track to do our 25-in-5 and I actually improved my time again! This time I got 4:45! It’s an improvement by 9 seconds, which I think is pretty damn awesome.

After that we went and did some other skills. Because it was an unplanned testing they didn’t actually have the list of skills and whatnot with them, so it probably wasn’t everything that would be on something when we test out. We did some weaving, stops, glides, falls, and jumping/hops.

Out of a possible 100 points, I got 89!! I need work on my t-stops (which I knew), my glides on my right foot (getting better!), and my lateral hops (I feel like I’m miserable at them, but I scored higher than I thought I would). I am very proud that I got a high score on my jumping and my tomahawks. We jumped over a small stack of books! Before derby I read books, but now I jump them.

So I’m technically not on the team since I still have a written test and my practice minimum skills test might not stick. I may have to do a more official testing out. The president is going to take it to the board and see if they agree that it counts as a pass, if not I’ll test again in a few weeks. I feel really awesome about it though! Unless I’m having a really horrible day, I can’t see myself doing any worse than I did yesterday. I actually screwed up a few things that I’m usually pretty okay at but I was insanely nervous.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bummed out

In various derby blogs I’ve read that every girl has a different fresh meat journey. While I agree that the specifics are sometimes vastly different, I think that reading a lot of fresh meat blogs has opened my eyes to the fact that we’re not special snowflakes. I think about 80% of fresh meat blogs follow this format:
- Introduction: “This is how I heard about derby.”
- Scared: “What did I get myself into?”
- Sore: “Oh god. Everything hurts.”
- Loved: “These girls are amazing!”
- Excitement: “I learned this and this and this and that!”
- Overwhelmed: “I don’t think I can do this.”
- Overjoyed: “I passed my minimum skills!”

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s very reliable because I can see where I am compared to other fresh meat bloggers. Currently I’m in the Overwhelmed stage. I am generally optimistic about life, but I’ve had quite a bit of stress that isn’t doing me much good. On Saturday, I missed practice for the very first time. I’m feeling unsure of myself in my personal, professional, and derby lives. I’m stressing and worrying and kind of feeling like I can’t do it. Derby girls are supposed to be strong, confident, and tough. I am none of those things right now. I just want to feel great and accomplished after a practice rather than bummed that I can’t do ALL THE THINGS.

So how about a good old worrying/whining list like I did a few months ago?
  • I will always be too timid to really hit anyone
  • I will never be able to do a left-footed t-stop
  • I’ll never be able to do a right-footed glide or hip twist
  • I will keep saying sorry and apologizing for every little thing
  • I won’t be able to pass my minimum skills
  • I’ll never make a friend on the team
  • I won’t ever feel like “part of the team”

This list is considerably shorter because I know where my problems are. I could also help to fix them by working on the skills on non-practice days, which I haven’t been doing at all. I meant to keep up with working out and skating whenever possible but I just haven’t done it. I know where my lack of motivation is coming from and I just wish it would go away.

Also, just for funsies, here’s my first worrying list from August with the reality in bold.

  • My gear won’t arrive in time I got it in time
  • My gear will be the wrong size Gear fits perfectly
  • I will break a bone my very first practice 2.5 months later and all bones are okay!
  • No one will like me At least a few people like me
  • I won’t like anyone A lot of them are awesome
  • I’ll be too shy to talk, and I won’t ever know if I would like anyone or they would like me Still kinda dealing with this; I am horribly shy sometimes
  • I’ll die from the exercise Still alive!
  • I won’t like roller derby I’m liking it so far
  • I will never learn how to stop I can plow stop like a mofo, do a slightly ugly but effective tomahawk, but my t-stops still need work
  • My crossovers aren’t actually crossovers and instead are some weird mutant leg thing I made up lol, they were crossovers, I am clearly mental – my crossovers are actually a lot more powerful now though
  • I won’t be able to stand still without rolling Iol
  • I will never be able to get low enough No comment on this one since it probably should still be a concern
  • The team only has room for a few skaters and I won’t make the cut I think my bigger issue should be whether or not I’ll be able to roster for any bouts when the season starts
  • I will only be able to do 15 laps in 5 minutes I got 4:54 on Thursday, so this one is definitely not a concern
  • Heather and Itzel are lying when they say I’m good at skating I was pretty okay for a beginner but I still have lightyears until I’m actually good.
  • I will fall flat on my face while everyone is watching Yup. A lot
  • I will never be able to glide on my right foot for more than 5 seconds *cough* Still working on this one
  • Work will keep me from being on time for practice so often that the team will tell me not to bother to come to training at all I change in the bathroom and then drive to the rink and am usually about 5 minutes early every practice
  • I will be bad at everything Nope, only bad at some things
  • Anxiety will get the best of me and I will skip this Saturday’s recruitment event Hahaha, nope

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Long posts are my specialty!

“What week are we on?” a fellow fresh meat girl asked me as we were gearing up.

I didn’t know and I told her exactly that. A few weeks ago I had looked at a calendar and determined that the last week of fresh meat should be around the last full week in October, but it may be the week after that, depending how the weeks are counted (back in the beginning, we didn’t have practice for a full week so I don’t know how that factors in). So basically, there are about 3 weeks, or 9 practices until we do our minimum skills test (ack!).

A few weeks ago I was full of love for all of the girls in fresh meat, but now it has formed into some kind of strange anger. I’m angry at the girls that have quit. I know I shouldn’t be, but the fact that there are usually only 2 fresh meat girls (myself included) at any given practice is frustrating. There are essentially 3 of us left.

So this sort of goes against my personal rules regarding talking specifics about people that may read this in the future, but our fresh meat was like this:
--- deleted all of this, I think it was much too intrusive to people that may not want to be blogged about ---

I think a lot of the anger comes from the fact that people came out to try for derby and aren’t really trying. It isn’t something you can just do casually and it bothers me that some obviously tried to approach it that way. I am 100% committed to doing derby and even when I’m not feeling well or my life is crap I am going to go to derby practice and not spend the whole time whining about my various aches and pains (although I admit that last night I had to skate off the track during my 25-in-5 to puke and I didn’t finish my laps and get a time *sadface*).

Wow, this post is already long and I’ve got more to talk about. So, let’s start with Saturday.

Saturday was like fun & games. We did some drills for footwork and did the dodgeball exercise again. We also did the “last man standing” thing again and even though everyone was told not to hit me too hard (since I’m fresh meat and apparently have bones of glass), one of the guys that was skating with us didn’t hear that and got me good. Not the worst hit I’ve taken, but it was pretty brutal.

After practice I rushed home to shower, do homework, and watch Doctor Who before going back to the rink for some more skating. Yeah, even though I had skated for 3 hours I was going back to skate some more because I was meeting with a girl that I had skated with once before derby started. The coolest part was that I was able to convince my sister Laci to join me!! I was worried that the girl wouldn’t show, be late, or not want to skate very much (in the end, the girl was late and didn’t skate very much) and I didn’t want to be all alone.

I have been trying to convince my sister to skate with me for months! We got to the rink and it felt so weird. I had just left there two hours ago and it seemed like a different place completely. The colored lights were on, there were people of all ages, music was playing, and I was wearing jeans. Laci got some rentals and I had her wear my kneepads. It’s a good thing she was wearing them because she fell…a lot. The best part was that she kept getting up. She was sweating and it was a real work out for her (Laci used to be a lot heavier but over the last year and a half she’s lost about 100 lbs). She really enjoyed skating, too. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to get her to go with me again.

While we were there I saw the team’s former coach (he was up in the dj booth putting on some good music and said hi to me when I skated by), my fresh meat coach (he has a very young son that loves to skate), and one of the girls on the team that couldn’t make it to practice. It was refreshing just to skate without having to worry about doing a skill or being evaluated. I definitely want to go to next Saturday’s evening session (no practice that day).

So, on to last night’s practice (finally!). We started out with our normal routine of jogging, doing crunches, pushups, and other icky things and then geared up. Fresh meat was going to do the 25-in-5! I was hoping to get a lower time than my last one of 4:58 but that didn’t happen. After 4 laps I started to feel sick and skated off the track to throw up in the bathroom. When I get stressed and worried I get physically sick and worrying about real life crap made me ill. I shook it off and skated around the track while the other fresh meat girl did her 25 laps.

We split off with a vet and once again, we had to show her our falls just to make sure we were doing them right. Left-footed T-stops were discussed, and it has become very clear that everyone has a preference and most girls are crap with stopping on their non-dominant foot. Most say that they did it okay enough to pass their test, but haven’t really bothered with it since. We practiced plow stopping for a bit before another vet, S, that has led our fresh meat practice once before came over to us. We did some general stuff with stance, grapevines, and some sticky skating.

At one point I said that I thought I could kind of do a tomahawk but that I was still not good at all. S asked me to show her my tomahawk and she could help me out with it. I did one just fine and told her that it was a fluke. Then I did another one without any problems and said that was a second fluke. She told me that if I did it five times in a row that it means that I can do a tomahawk and that it’s not a fluke. So…yeah, I did 10 tomahawks in a row and only slightly stumbled on my very last one.

Sometime later in the practice I asked if we could go over pushes and whips, so we did that for a while. S said that, “If you fall, it means you’re doing it wrong.” I am glad that I am not doing it wrong, but it is kind of a bummer that I’m the heaviest girl and I think the other fresh meat girl was kinda pissed that I would be whipping from her.

While the other fresh meat girl was tending to her skates, S asked me if I wanted to learn something cool. Of course I do! It’s called a suicide fall and while there are a lot of other falls that can be done, this is basically just a crowd pleaser that looks cool. You go down on one knee and then tuck and roll back onto your skates. It’s really cool looking and I think with some more practice and speed on it, that I can do it. I don’t need to do it, but yay fun!

Practice was great for stress relief, and I’m hoping tomorrow’s practice is good like that too (although our fresh meat coach better come to practice!).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Some you like, some you don't...

I think I'm just going to have to accept that sometimes I'm going to love the hell out of a practice and other times I'm just going to want to kick it in the face until it bleeds all over the place.

Thursday practice was not my thing. Well, parts of it were pretty great, but a few things made me so beyond pissed that I wanted to scream, cry, run away, and maybe punch someone in the face (emotions may have been amplified due to lady things). There was only one other fresh meat girl at practice on Thursday so we just joined up with the vets to do the drills they were doing. Thursday was all about endurance. We did a lot of paceline drills (calling inside/outside is what made me so pissed if you can believe it - two different people telling me opposite ways to do an insanely simple thing, argh!) and another drill that was pure hell. In the drill we would full out sprint for a minute and then follow it up with a minute of a skill (some skills were: backwards skating, plow stops, knee falls, tomahawk stops, lateral hops, lunges, and some other things I'm forgetting). It was a very long and very hard drill. I was glad when it was over, but very proud of myself for not dying. :D

Saturday practice was much better. I had gotten rid of the pissed feeling and the girl I was sort of angry at wasn't there, so it was all good. The theme of the Saturday practice was footwork. We started with a few off skates things and then put on skates for some hopping, grapevines, weaving, ducking, and tomahawks. We then got on the track for some roller skating dodgeball. It sounds scary, but it was seriously the most fun I've ever had. It starts out with everyone skating on the track and several people have balls that they throw at the skaters. If you get hit below the knees then you are out (and can throw the balls at the remaining skaters). We did the dodgeball game in a pack, too and it was really cool how the pack still stayed together even though a bright pink ball would be running through our feet.

The next "game" we played was Last Man Skating. With everyone an equal distance apart from each other, we skated around the track once. After the first lap, it was your job to knock someone down or get them off of the track. I lasted all of 1 minute the first time we played and then stuck through almost until the end on the second round. I took some pretty good hits and managed to stay planted until one of the amazeballs vets took me down. She told me she was going to give me a few laps and then she'd be coming for me, and she sure did! I don't think I would have ever been able to get low enough to withstand her hit. I fell hard and felt nothing. I LOVE MY GEAR!

After a few other games and activities we moved on to some scrimmaging (eeeek!!!). In one of the jams I actually had a really good block and was super proud of myself. In another jam I got to be the jammer and I actually made it through the pack a few times (although the vets were being gentle on us freshies!). It was very rewarding and yet scary at the same time!

Tonight's practice was also great (even though it only lasted an hour and a half). We weren't able to be at the rink tonight, so we practiced at the nearby park. All day I was dragging my feet and thinking that I didn't want to go to practice. Several times I even considered posting in the team's group that I wasn't going to make it, but I decided I would go. I wasn't really in the mood for trail skating, but we didn't do that. We went to a section of the trail that the team practiced on when they first started and didn't have a real practice space.

We did a paceline drill and then the freshies went off to the side with our fresh meat coach (I was so glad he was back!). This was another practice where it was me and one other fresh meat girl (although the other fresh meat girl changes from practice to practice - it'll be a miracle if everyone actually comes to practice!). We practiced one foot glides and then learned how to do a hip twist. I think I'm getting there while on my left foot, but as always, gliding on my right foot is just sucky. Oddly enough I'm better on my right foot when trying to hip twist. I think that because I'm so focused on getting my body to be correct I don't think about gliding on my uncooperative foot as much. We did a bit of weaving around some shoes, and that was that. There wasn't much to do in an hour and a half and it was getting dark, so practice was over.

I am so glad that I went to practice. Tonight was the first time I just didn't want to go to practice and forcing myself to go was the right thing. Also, I think the one fresh meat girl that was at practice tonight was quitting (or having some sort of emotional problem) when I left. A few weeks ago I was confident that we would all make it through fresh meat and now girls are just disappearing and dropping. It's pretty upsetting.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

4:58 and Jumping

Last night during practice we did the 25-in-5 again. I was doing pretty great in the beginning and our ref, who was timing, said, “Good time!” when I had reached 5 laps. After about the 7th lap, I felt like I was slowing down. I don’t know what it was, but I felt extremely exhausted (it didn’t help that we had just done some off-skates stuff that made my legs feel like noodles). I pushed through and tried to just finish instead of collapse right on the track.

When I finished, I was told that my time was 4:58!! Sure, that’s only a 9 second improvement from my best time, but it’s less than five minutes. I was really stunned because I thought for sure my time would be around 6 minutes. Another thing that made it easier was that there was only one other fresh meat girl on the track with me. I really dislike passing people when we’re doing our 25-in-5, so I usually pace behind another person because it allows me to remember which lap I’m on (I lose count almost every time, especially if anyone yells anything to me – and I have ended up doing an extra lap before).

Anyway – the rest practice last night. So our fresh meat coach will be coming back, but he wasn’t at last night’s practice because he was having car issues. *sigh of relief* One of our skaters (she got MVP jammer at the last bout) was running the practice along with her boyfriend, who skates for a men’s team and was part of the old coaching staff. Oddly enough, there were only two of us fresh meat for the practice. One of the girls has officially dropped out for money and time reasons (but she had missed a lot of practice), another two or three don’t come in all that often because of their jobs, and another has school on Tuesday nights, so she usually comes late (but didn’t come at all last night).

She was going to torture us with some off-skates stuff, but since there were only two of us, she had to do it differently. We’d done crunches and leg lifts in the team stretching exercises after the initial jog, so we didn’t have to do more of those. We did some frog hops, suicides, high knees, and planks ; also, we did do a couple of new things:
  • Teabagging Squats – okay, there is a real name for them but I can’t remember, so they are officially teabagging squats to me. You’d get into a squat and hold it and then you’d bend up and down like you’re teabagging someone. The first set had 5 teabags, then 10, and then 11. It was a really great exercise and I’m going to try do it at home, I’m surprised I’m not sore from this one.
  • Squat Hops - Basically like the three hops and a squat but with one big hop rather than three
  • Squat with leg movement - No idea what to call this one, but we were in a squatting position and we would tap one leg forward and then back. Yeah, I can’t even explain it, lol
  • Leg Lifts - Standing on one foot and bringing the other leg up and then down without letting it touch the floor. This one helped create noodle legs since we did a ton of them.

After that she had us show her our falls and stops, I totally dorked up one of my 180s and another of my baseball slides – both on my left side, of course. I told her that we were still having trouble with left footed t-stops so we worked on those. The other fresh meat girl is now pretty good at them, but mine just blow hardcore. I can’t bring my left foot up and when I get it in the right place I don’t stick it down hard enough. Then we did plow stops. I’m feeling pretty comfortable with them and I love the sound a plow stop makes!

After that we moved onto some tomahawk stops, or rather, the basic turning around to get to a tomahawk. The guy, J, was helping me out while Y was helping the other fresh meat. The big mistake I keep making is that my left foot just wants to hang out somewhere else than where it should be. J even asked me at one point, “What is up with your left foot?” It just doesn’t do what I want it to do! I want it to turn around naturally, but the only way I am going to get it to be in line and not widely spaced out is to pick it up and turn it around to match my right foot. Rather than picking up my whole skate to turn it, I’ve started to get better at just lifting up half of it and turning it. The only thing I can do at this point is practice, practice, practice until I can do them right.

The other exciting thing we did was JUMPING! We did some hops on Saturday, but we did some actual jumping this time. The really exciting part is that J is basically amazing at jumps. He’s not quite Quadzilla, but I’ve seen him jump over 2 or 3 people, get 3+ feet of air, and he can go from a standstill to a fast skating 360 jump in a second. Not saying that Y isn’t amazing at jumping, she can jump ridiculously high.

The first thing we tried was jumping over a line on the floor. Once I was comfortable doing that, I moved to jumping over a broomstick handle. Once I made that handle my bitch (as Y put it), I moved to some downed cones. After the downed cones, J put a shoe on top of the downed cones put together (see the crummy drawing below) and I did that a few times. Except one of the times I hit the shoe with my skate and it fell off the cones. The last jump I tried was two cones standing together and upright. I did not clear them. In fact, I fell pretty spectacularly (last night I fell a ton, I have no idea what was up with me).

We joined the vets shortly after that and did a drill that I’m sure has a name, but I’m too lazy to look it up. We were separated into two groups of six with the slowest up front and in a tight paceline (physically keeping your hand on the person in front of you at all times) we skated 5 laps and then got off the track. Then the other group skated their 5 and we got on the track to skate 4 laps, then they did their 4, then we did three, and so on.

It was a good practice, but the lack of structure and the fact that there were only 2 of us made it feel kinda long (which has never happened at practice before). I’m hoping that Thursday’s practice has more fresh meat because just having two people is not awesome.

Apologies to anyone actually reading this blog; it’s more for me and a way to talk through and remember what I do from week to week. Once I get started talking I can’t really stop.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Three practices (long post is long)


In my last post I was worried about my ankle. It swelled to an outrageous size all through Tuesday and I was planning on telling the fresh meat coach that I wasn't going to be able to skate. I checked my email before leaving work for practice and saw a reminder that we were meeting at Greenway rather than the rink since they had an event. I decided I would give skating a try and if I had trouble skating to where the trails started then I wouldn't skate.

Practice started with an hour long league meeting before we donned our skates. I laced up my skates and skated with the team. I was able to keep up much better than I had on Friday. In the end we only skated 3 miles before it got too dark to do anything else, so we packed it in. When I took off my skates I noticed that the swelling had gone down about 90%. So yes, healing powers of skating!


Thursday practice was great! One of the girls that has been in fresh meat with us was testing out. She's a former vet of the team and per the team's bylaws, she's eligible to test out of fresh meat after her 4th week (this was the 6th). So while we did our jog, stretching, and a few drills she was doing her minimum skills (she passed!). I'm excited for her, but kinda sad that she'll be leaving our small group (although we're halfway through, so the group won't last all that long).

We freshmeat were lucky enough to be able to do some drills with the vets. I'm kind of an idiot, because now I've sort of forgotten what they were because I waited so long to post about them, but I'll remember to the best of my ability.

The first one we did after our initial warm up laps was a paceline drill. As we skated in the paceline the very front person would skate ahead and pass the line on the outside and then skate around again to join them in the back. After that we worked with a partner on staying in the blocker's blind spot by weaving from side to side as well as some positional blocking and a bit of pushing.

After that we did a sort of "pass the panty" type of thing. Everyone was skating as a big giant pack and one person would be wearing the jammer panty, they would skate around the track, find holes through the pack (with no blocking - except on some we were told to make it hard for them) and on their second pass through the pack they would hand the jammer panty off to someone else and they would do the same. I ended up being the last one to get the jammer panty (IT FELT SO WEIRD TO TRY AND PUT IT ON WHILE I WAS SKATING!!) and as I was making my final pass through the pack someone yelled something like, "Shae wants to be a jammer, make it hard for her!" and EVERYONE THREW THEIR ARMS OUT TO BLOCK ME! I crouched low and went through on the inside. Just as an fyi - no, I do not want to be a jammer, she just wanted to make it hard for me, lol.

All of that was in about an hour and a half of our practice, and then freshies broke off to go do our normal thing. We did the normal falls with the addition of 180 knee slides and some plow stopping. We focused a lot on stopping for our part of the practice. We're all pretty good stopping with our right leg, but the left is a mess. I really need to figure out a way outside of practice that I can work on stopping with my left. About 10 minutes before practice ended we joined the rest of the team to do backwards laps. I fell 3 times, one of them forward! When I fell forward I got a large round of applause, lol. I am not awesome at backwards skating.


Today was a very different type of practice. First of all, our fresh meat coach wasn't there. After the meeting we had on Tuesday, I don't know if he just wasn't there or if he's not going to come back because of all of the main team coaching changes that are happening right now. I guess we'll see how Tuesday practice is.

As I said, it was very different than normal because our fresh meat coach wasn't there and there were only 2 freshies, 6 vets, our captain (who was leading the practice), and the team's head ref. Also, a couple of the ladies had gone to part of the matinee skate that happens before practice to drum up some interest in the league and the sport. Several people, including a bunch of kids, were allowed to hang back and watch us practice for a bit. Rather than doing our normal run and stretch we immediately geared up. We started with some warm up laps before forming a line for some paceline drills.

In the line we did: regular weaving, backwards weaving, butt swipes (you get in real close and swipe your butt across their lap/vag area), and hip whips (my first time trying them!). After that the vets did a little mock 3 on 3 scrimmage. Right as they were finishing up a jam the spectators left, so they ditched doing that since they never start practices with scrimmaging.

We got back into a line and did an exercise where we had to cut across from one side of the track to the other when a whistle was blown. Never having done this, I fell (of course) and it made the girl behind me fall. The tight paceline separated and practiced the actual movement involved. Once I got exactly how the lunge to the inside/outside worked, it became a lot easier. I really liked that one and want to try it some more!

The next one was getting from one side of the track to the other with *ominous music* lateral hops! Now, we've done lateral hops in fresh meat, but that was during off-skates training. Big surprise though - I didn't fall! Not even once! I think I did several good ones, a lot of mediocre ones, and one or two bad ones.

After that we worked with a partner and I did not do well, in my opinion. I didn't fully understand the drill and was a little lost. We combined the cutting movement and the butt swipe for blocking someone, but I think we were supposed to be passing them, and I wasn't passing my partner. I don't know. I felt like a bit of an idiot during this part (especially because my partner is an amazing skater with a lifetime of skating experience).

Rather than keep practicing that one on each other, our ref changed from skates to sneakers and got out a large hitting pad so we could practicing hitting it. We did some of the same butt swipe hits; none of my attempts were right. After that he held the pad to the side and we had to cut from one side of the track to the other to deliver a hit with our whole body. I think out of all of the ones I did, I landed 1 or 2 correctly. Kind of discouraging, but this was the first time the fresh meat practiced any type of hitting at all.

The next drill the vets were going to do was skate around the track and when a move was called they would do it (tomahawks, falls, stops, etc). We were pulled aside and worked with the skater I had partnered with before. She wanted to know what we had been taught to do and correct a few of our falls. Our knee falls were good, but we were falling a bit too hard (and me leaning a bit too far back) in our double knee falls. Our pornstars/superman falls were good, but our baseball slides were wrong. She showed us another way to do them, so we did one of two of those. The one we learned before was a bit harder than the new one. I don't mind either though.

We did some t-stop practice after that, and I came the closest I ever have to actually stopping with my left foot!! So yays, hopefully I'll keep improving! We did some plow stopping after that, not too much since we both had the basic concept down, it's just a matter of perfecting it. Then we did...TOMAHAWKS!

The other fresh meat girl has already been able to turn around (and around and around and around) since we started, so she got those really easy. As long as I think about the steps involved in turning around, I can kinda do them. So I was able to do 2 good, but very slow, tomahawk stops. I definitely want to practice the hell out of those! Then we did hockey stops. The same turn around as a tomahawk, but with one leg out in back. I did one good one of those, and definitely want to work on it (I need more work with the turn around rather than the stopping motion in both the hockey and the tomahawk). The captain announced that it was time to start picking up the track, but the skater that was with us wanted us to try some regular hopping. We hopped in place once, and then started rolling, doing 3 hops down one part of the rink, and then 3 hops down the next part. I am happy to say that I only fell once, and I knew exactly why I fell (put too much weight on the front of my skates rather than the middle). I was kinda bummed when that was the end of practice, because I was very excited at the new skills we were able to tackle today.

I've also decided to stop going to Monday night skate because I need more time for homework type stuff and this week I have two tests (also, I don't like spending money). On Monday I'm going to study and prepare for both tests and on Wednesday night I'll go ahead and take both of them. Right now I'm skating at practice Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and then I will be doing trail skating on Friday and Sunday (except tomorrow since I'm going to Orlando in the early morning). After this coming week, I think I want to start doing zumba or another kind of cardio on Monday & Wednesday when I'm not skating.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Trail Skating: The good, the Bad, and the Worrisome

When I first started skating and announced my intentions to attempt to join a roller derby team, an awesome friend in Michigan told me that I really needed to try trail skating to build muscles and endurance. It’s now 2.5ish months since I got that advice and I finally gave trail skating a try. One of the biggest reasons I hadn’t tried was that I had no idea where in the world I would find a place that I could actually skate. I now feel kinda dumb for that thought, and this is why: when the team trail skates, they skate at a park that is literally a block away from the rink, which is five minutes from my house.

The Good

On Saturday there was a skills and strategy camp that most of the team went to, so we didn’t have practice. Instead of practice a few girls suggested skating on Friday in the morning and I jumped at the opportunity (I don’t work on Fridays). It was pretty cool outside (only about 77), and we skated 4 miles. We did two trails, one of them was 1 mile and I think is considered the “easy” trail. The second was a 3 mile trail and it was much harder than the first. There was a hill on the trail, and while it seemed like a tiny incline, climbing it on skates was pretty tough. I imagine if I was biking or running it would seem like nothing, but on skates it was kinda hellish.

I felt pretty great afterwards and I while I was much slower than the girls on the team (I kept up with them at the beginning, but ended up about 30ft or so behind them after the first quarter mile) I think I did well.

The next day was one where the rest of the team was going to meet up at Greenway, but it kinda went wonky. I thought we were meeting at 10am, but one girl said the team agreed on 9am (in the end, only she showed up at 9, I went at 10, and another girl said she skated a few miles sometime that morning). Still, I skated three miles alone (I did the easy route three times because I couldn’t remember which turns and forks went to the harder ones and I didn’t want to get lost), which maybe I shouldn’t have because…

The Bad

I fell. I fell and it was scary. On Saturday I was alone and while I was getting to the trail starting point I fell. I turned the wrong way down a teeny hill and in an effort to stop, I turned towards the grass with the plan to knee fall down, but I hit something and my ankle turned. I heard a pop sound as I crashed to the ground and I felt all of my derby dreams slipping away.

If you’ve read as many fresh meat blogs as I have, you’ll know that so many girls end up with broken ankles. The ones that break their ankles are usually: large (check), not fit (check), clumsy (check), don't have a background in skating (check), and aren't as careful as they should be (CHECK!). The first thought I had was that my ankle was snapped and I would have to give it all up. It was awful. I reached down to my ankle and it moved fine. A tiny twinge of pain, but that was it. I could rotate it just fine, and when I stood up it was good. I skated three miles on my ankle without a single bit of pain, and I think it was a bit mistake.

The Worrisome

When I got home from skating I noticed my ankle was just a bit puffed up so I iced it. Another few hours later and it was still kinda swollen and there was some pain in it. I wrapped it and decided not to go skating on Sunday morning to save it from agitation. I did go to the bout (and got to NSO!) yesterday, and I noticed that as long as I moved it around I didn't have any stiffness or pain. Today is different. The pain is dull feeling, but only if I move it around. The swelling is another story. My foot is so swollen right now I could feel the fluid moving around as I was walking around the house. I bought a compression sock type of thing because I don't want to use the bulky wrap and as soon as I post this I'm going to start elevating and icing. I'm also going to skip my normal Monday night skate.

The worst thing is that I'm afraid it isn't enough. Tomorrow is practice and I want to go more than anything. We're 6 weeks into fresh meat and with only another 6 weeks to go it's starting to get insanely important. I don't want to miss a practice and completely miss out three hours of skills that I need to know.

I feel so sick to my stomach just thinking about missing out on anything and wondering if my stupidity and lame fall will keep me away from this amazeballs sport. What if I've completely screwed myself over? I'm so scared, more scared than I would like to admit, and all I want in the world is to be able to strap on my skates tomorrow and give it my all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fresh Meat Mom

Okay, it is official. I have been declared the mom of our fresh meat group! Since we started I've been a bit of a mother hen, and apparently everyone realizes it. When someone falls I'm always trying to help them in any way I can, when someone needs water I've got my giant 1 gallon jug of ice water ready to fill up their bottle, if someone starts their period I've got pads and tampons in my bag, if someone needs a bandaid and blister pads I have those, and if someone is breaking in some new skates, you know I have an extra pair of super thick knee socks that I'm ready to give away (they were white and I've been toting them around in my bag for a few weeks, so I do need to buy another pair of socks for my bag). So yes, while several girls are older than me and at least 1 or 2 are younger than me, I am the mom.

I really want all of us to make it through fresh meat, and I actually think most of our group will. Out of the 9 girls that started only 2 have dropped out, both of them within the first week. It may sound weird and mushy, but I freaking love these ladies! They're so much fun and the practices always go by way too fast!

Tonight's practice went by super fast (and it was awesome as hell!). As soon as we geared up we joined the vets in a 20 lap warm up, and then laps in the opposite direction around the track once we finished those. I think I'm getting a little closer to an opposite direction crossover, but I need a lot more confidence with gliding on my right foot.

After that we did a pace line drill. With the team. Oh my god.

I was super nervous and in the back of the line (one fresh meat girl was behind me, but she wasn't able to do the drill), so the captain showed us how to do it. AND THEN I WAS UP. I was seriously nervous and trying to figure out how bad I was going to destroy the line when I fell, BUT I DIDN'T. I yelled my inside and outside as I weaved through the girls. It felt amazing once I got to the front (and then I accidentally sped the line up way too fast and had to slow down until one of the vets came up in front of me). Usually when the team does the drills they'll do regular, hip whips, arm whips, and something else that involves putting your butt right into another person's lady area; luckily we just did the normal pace line and went off to the other side of the rink for fresh meat stuff.

We did some sticky skating and a whole lotta falls! Apparently I was totally on my game tonight because our fresh meat coach told me I was doing awesome and gave me a high five. After one of my baseball slides he said, "I want you all to do that!" while pointing at me. YAY! Baseball slides. How awesomely fun are they!?

I really should get some sleep since I'm going to be meeting some of the awesome vets for some skating in the park in the morning. In conclusion - my night was perfect. I'm so glad I had such a great practice!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

5:07 and Clarence the Bruise

In my last post I said something along the lines of “I had a post, but I deleted it because it’s no longer relevant.” The reason being is that I said that I wasn’t pushing myself hard enough because I wasn’t sore. In all of the derby blogs I’ve read, it always says that you should be sore or else you aren’t doing it right. Well, now I’m definitely doing it right.

On Thursday I fell pretty hard, but I got right back up. I had a sore spot that I had a feeling might turn into a bruise, and boy was I right (pictures at the bottom of this post). Saturday was pretty awesome. We did the 25-in-5 again and I had my best time yet! 25 laps in 5 minutes and 7 seconds!! It means I’m really getting close and shaved off a hell of a lot of time from my crummy Thursday time. The vet that was watching me/keeping track of my laps told me that I was doing great for the first 15 laps, but around the 17th lap I started to wear down and get slower. If I can get my endurance up then I’ll definitely be able to make it under 5 minutes! Of course, the vets got their chance to shine and had to do 30 laps in 5 minutes (a large portion of them succeeded). After practice I rushed home to shower because there was a derby social at SkyZone, a trampoline place. It was really cool, but I felt a bit out of place.

Sunday and Monday were spent trying not to die from the soreness. I also spent way too much time looking at Clarence (the bruise). Once I got to practice last night all soreness was forgotten (or it could have been the advil, who knows). We did some more weaving (getting better!!), sticky skating, double crossovers/pushing hard with both feet in a crossover (which I am totally nailing, but am sort of scared of because they make me go super fast), falls (single knee, double knee, porn star), and one foot glides.

Okay, now the reason you’re here – bruise pictures!! This is my very first official roller derby bruise. The initial fall happened on Thursday, so almost a week ago.

Clarence on Sunday 9/4

Clarence on Tuesday 9/6

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Three Nights in a Row? YES PLEASE!

I had a post all typed up yesterday but I was at work and didn't get a chance to post it. It's not really all that great or relevant now, so I'm just going to forget about it.

This week we had an extra day of practice! Which means I got to go to practice on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (today). It was AWESOME. On Tuesday we did off-skates stuff for the first 2.5 hours and then did some skate stuff for the last 30 minutes. Yesterday and today we were on skates the whole time. We did knee slides, double knee slides, baseball slides, and porn star slides (also known as four point slides). My entire right leg was dirty from the baseball slides. It was pretty gross!

At the end of practice (tonight and last night) we did planks to derby stance (planks for a bit then up into derby stance and then down to planks and derby stance again). Those things KILL me, but I'm actually better at planks when I'm wearing my skates and gear (not sliding as much). I can actually feel the muscles that are being worked. After that we did laps where you had to be in low derby stance on the straight aways and one by one we left the laps to do 20 crunches. I never thought that I would be excited to get off my skates and do crunches, lol.

Today we did a bit more with our falls. We would skate a few feet, then do one footed glides from one cone to the next, do cross overs around the corners, and then go fast until we got midway to the next cone and have to be stopped by the time we reached it (that sounds confusing but it's not, here's a crappy paint version of what we did):

And of course, I am occasionally crap at my single knee falls. I don't know what it is, but I just cannot keep control and I usually end up turning a bit or falling right onto my bum. I wish there was a good place to practice these (I could practice outside on the concrete, but the idea of it just freaks me out). At one point we were doing them and our fresh meat coach was skating along with us and when we got to the point between the cross overs and fall he would bump us with his hip. One of the times I was bracing myself for the bump and I tripped myself hardcore. I think I have a pretty major bruise developing on my left thigh/butt/hip area. If it gets nice looking I'll shave my legs (at least in that spot) and take a picture.

The last thing we did before we left was get low into derby stance and the fresh meat coach was giving us hip checks. It was pretty cool and I'm glad I didn't fall and embarrass myself.

And because I'm feeling talkative, let me talk about the girls in our fresh meat. There are a couple of vets in with us. Two of the girls have skated with the team before and another did fresh meat in another league a year or so ago. Apparently the vets are just going to be in our fresh meat for another week or two and they may just test out and join the league. One of the ones that showed up for practice did the crazy awesome pace line drills with the team at the beginning.

Finally, a bit of bad news. We did the 25-in-5 again and I got 5:45 this time. *ultimate sadface* BUT I am going to qualify it by saying that I was not up to my usual form at all. I took today off of work so I could have an ultra long holiday weekend so I barely drank water (actually, I didn't drink ANY water before practice) and the only thing I had to eat was frozen yogurt for lunch and an apple that I ate on my way to practice. I will be much more prepared when we do it again on Saturday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

5 minutes, 28 seconds

Today's practice was pretty damn awesome! First of all, we got to try the dreaded 25-in-5! The fresh meat went first so we could gauge where we are in our skating ability and our skills. Each fresh meat girl was assigned a Vet that would watch them and give them tips when we were done with our laps. I did mine (and only lost track of counting once, I am bad at counting) and I was able to finish my 25 laps in 5 minutes and 28 seconds!!! I'm super proud of myself! I still have 30 seconds to shave off my time, but according to the other girls I should have no problem having it be under 5 minutes in 10 weeks.

The vet assigned to me told me that I need to get a bit lower (no shocker there) and showed me how she and the other girls approach the track like a circle. Inside on the corners and outside on the straightaways. It allows girls to constantly do crossovers. I don't know how I didn't notice it before, but it really seems to work! I'm excited to approach the track that way next time.

After our laps we watched the rest of the girls do theirs. We did 5 backwards laps (getting better at backwards, I think) and then the fresh meat ladies split off to work with one of the refs (none of the coaches were able to make it). So we went over to our area of the rink and practiced some stopping for a bit. I'm still not great at stopping, but I am getting there. I know that I will eventually be able to stop. After that we did a LOT of sticky skating. We did wide legged scissors to prepare for our eventual plow stop lesson, the figure eight, and then one leg at a time scissors (which is actually the elusive slalom that seemed like magic, but it is insanely easy). I thought I was going to fall flat on my face during the figure eight, but it was surprisingly easy once I started doing it.

We were going to do some knee falls and whatnot, but a couple girls still don't have gear. One had borrowed most of it from someone, but another one didn't have knee pads, so that plan was scrapped. Instead we did some weaving drills...which I am very bad at.

Okay, okay, I'm not very bad at them, but I know I could do better and should be doing better. The biggest problem is the whole "comparing yourself to others" thing. I have read so many derby blogs that tell you to never compare yourself to anyone else and I agree...but I still do. I can't help but compare myself to the girls that have done derby before, or the girl that has a background in skating, or even the girl that has a harder time than most. I'm sorry, but I compare myself to them and I probably always will; simple as that.

But yes, I think that's it. Oh wait! I also made a purchase after practice!

I never ever imagined myself as the girl that would buy safety cones for a real reason and not for cosplay reasons. I am going to use these cones for everything!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My First Time as an NSO

Last night there was a game in Daytona Beach. My GPS was nice enough to get me and the other girl I was with completely lost. When we finally found the rink (about 45 minutes after we were supposed to get there) we were assigned our NSO positions. The girl I was with (another fresh meat) had never been to a real live derby bout! She was one of the scorekeepers and I was given the job as outside penalty person (you know, the people that the inside penalty trackers completely forget about so you have to yell and jump around to even get their attention).

It was really awesome (even if the team lost), because the more and more I learn about derby the more enjoyable the games are. Also, being as close as I was I could hear every call and Ref discussions happened near me and that was exciting! After the bout I was going to drive straight home (since it was a two hour drive, ugh), but I thought, "Hey, why not drop in to the after party for 20 minutes and just grab a soda?" Yeeeah, 20 minutes can turn into 2 hours very quickly. It was great though. The team is full of really awesome ladies.

And now I'd better go, because I'm going to get ready and drive to Orlando to skate with Heather and Itzel. I'm finally going to use my outdoor wheels for the first time!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

View from the Merch Table

The view wasn't all that great, but the experience was a lot of fun!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lesson Learned

from Fresh Meat Otter

Yeah, I started a tumblr yesterday. I really like Roller Derby Otter, but most things don't apply to me since I'm just a freshie. So behold, I have created Fresh Meat Otter. I've made about 10(?) of them so far, and here's my favorite -

So anyway, to the point of my post and the graphic up at the top. Apparently Saturday practices aren't that well attended (last week was the exception), so we got to strap on our skates. Because I thought today would just be another day of land drills, I didn't even think to bring my skates. Honestly, it didn't even cross my mind. So after we did about an hour of off-skates training, I was able to race home, grab my bag and race back (I did it in 8 minutes! Hell yes!). Once I got back to the rink I had to take my outdoor wheels off and put my indoor wheels back on. I did them wrong, too. I have two kinds of wheels and I'm used to them when I skate. I put the wheels on wrong and my skating just felt sort of off (as evidenced by the almost!spill during laps).

All in all it was a pretty okay practice, but I didn't walk out of there as exhausted as I usually do. Hopefully tomorrow's outdoor skate will put me in my place. Also, I'm currently wishing I had a full set of good wheels rather than two half sets of average wheels. It'd be nice not to have to think of which are which. :P

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stop looking at me, swan!

When I got home from practice last night I was pretty sweaty, gross, and already feeling the soreness (advil was wearing off). I made a quesadilla and my brother made me a banana orange smoothie. After eating, a nice hot bath was the only thing I wanted, so I rummaged through a closet and found an old thing of Epsom Salt. Of course, the swan thing reminded me of that scene in Billy Madison. I took a nice bubble bath and relaxed and then completely crashed out.

I had an awesome dream. In my dream I was able to do perfect derby stance and my squats were awesome. I woke up and instantly felt bummed because I know for a fact that my derby stance sucks and I can't hold a squat for very long. *sadface forever*

The last thirty minutes of practice last night, we joined the team while they did some off-skates training. We did some push-ups, planks (dear god, they are awful), and two other exercises that I don't know the name for. The worst part, in my opinion, was the low walks that went from one end of the rink to the other. I think I was one of the last to finish that one (although I will note that the two freshies that are less fit than me sat out for the 30 minutes with the team, usually they're the ones that lag behind in our drills). On the way back down to the other side of the rink we did frog hops (which I loathe). I was tired and sore, but one of the girls was nice enough to stick around with me and another freshmeat girl and make us finish. She told us we could do it and would count to three and we all jumped. It was really awesome of her!!

I was going to use my new outdoor wheels this morning, but I've already had a bit of a late start and I have other things I have to be doing. Also, Florida is stupidly hot. I just checked for my area and it says, "Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited."

Also, the team is playing in Ormond Beach on Sunday, and I agreed to NSO. My original plan this weekend was to go to Orlando Saturday evening for a bout in Deland and then skate with Heather and Itzel on Sunday morning. Since practice is from 3-6 on Saturdays, I won't make it to the bout on time, so I think I'll trail skate with them on Sunday morning, shower in the afternoon, drive to Ormond Beach to NSO, and then drive back home from there.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My First Day (Off Skates Training)

aka - the day before the most horrible soreness of my life (I know this because the soreness is already creeping in)

Fresh meat here starts out with a few weeks of off-skate training, also known as hell. IT WAS AWESOME.

We all started out with a 5 minute jog and stretching (everyone does this, it wasn't just us), and did one of the things I fear most: the introduction thing. Basically it's the thing that takes place in every class and makes me freak out hardcore. You're in a circle and you say your name and something about yourself. Uuuugh, agonizing.

Anyway, before I get distracted, let me tell you what we got to do during our training tonight (not in the right order, because it all blurred together) -

  • Suicides (4, I think?)
  • Grapevines (4 across the rink's width)
  • Lunges (60 total, 30 each leg)
  • Frog Hops (lots)
  • Low Walks (4 across the rink's width)
  • Run Backwards (6 across the rink's width)
  • Chair/Jump (more than I ever wanted to do)
  • Three Hop One Squat
  • 5 point Hops (?) (hop back, middle, front, middle, left, middle, right, middle, back middle - 10 or so of these)
  • One Leg Jumps (maybe 15-20 each leg)
  • Side to Side Jumps (so many of these! They were my favorite)
  • Heel Taps (from derby stance)
  • Toe Taps to Jumping Jacks
  • Push-ups (10 of these just for me, because I knocked over one of the cones!)
  • Crab Walk (2 across the rink's width)
  • Some weird exercise that I was bad at and don't know the name for
  • Burpees (30)
  • Crunches (30)

There are probably a lot of other things that I'm forgetting, but maybe it's for the best. I loved every minute of it though (okay, I didn't like the minutes that I was doing burpees. That exercise can go die in a fire. Other than that, I caught myself smiling several times. I'm definitely not in the best shape of all of the girls (I will be forever jealous of the Firefighter girl because she is AMAZING), but I think I did crazy awesome and I can't wait to do it again.

As I said during the training, "I lost 30 pounds of fat, I just need to gain 30 pounds of muscle and I'll be set."

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mouthguard Fear

That horrible moment when you are fitting your new Protech Dent Mouthguard, and somehow you made it fit way too tightly and are afraid that if you try to pull it off, all of your teeth are going to come with it. That summarizes every single thing that I was afraid of going into my mouthguard fitting. And it's exactly what happened (minus the total loss of teeth). I only slightly cut my gums with my fingernail (I was in a panic to take it off).

It took a couple of minutes (that felt like hours) to get the too tight mouthguard off of my teeth, but I succeeded and dunked it back into a new bowl of hot water. I tried again, this time making sure that the point of my wonky canine (it grew in funny after my baby tooth was knocked out by a flying piece of one of those clacking foam baseball bats that don't seem to be around any longer) did not get caught in one of the holes. I did less sucking (heh, first time in my life that I'll ever say that) and paid more attention to how it fit behind my teeth.

Once it set up, I was able to take it off (I find it's easier to grab it from the back/side area than from right in the front. Front removal requires two hands, because I am insane or something. I tried talking for a bit and I could partially understand myself! I haven't tried drinking yet, because Rome was not built in a day (or rather, Shae does not instantly get over her aversion to having plastic in her mouth). As long as I don't think about the fact that there is plastic in my mouth, I don't gag.

yes, it's pink

I won't even be using it until at least next Sunday (I'm going trail skating or to Barber Park with Heather and Itzel), but it's one less thing to worry about. Also, I've updated my Gear Post to reflect my recent purchases of outdoor wheels and better bearings! :D

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I survived without dying of nervousness!!

Tonight was the recruitment information event, and I went to it! This morning I had myself convinced that I didn't like roller derby at all and that it was better if I just skipped the event to throw my skates into the Silver River. To say I was anxious is putting it mildly. I was actually sure I was going to vomit. Of course, once I got there it was a different story.

First off, the gear I've been waiting on: the coach was supposed to bring my elbow pads and wrist guards tonight, but he left them at home. So while I should have had them last Monday, I won't even have them until Tuesday. To avoid drama I am not going to stir things up or get pissy, but let's just say that he should be glad that I'm being civil. Seriously.

Okay, with that out of the way LET ME TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT RECRUITMENT, OMG.

I got there about five minutes before it was supposed to start. They had a sheet to sign in, so I wrote down my name, why I was there (interest in being a skater), email address, and phone number. I got the fresh meat info packet which had information on fresh meat, advice, stuff I should have in my gear bag, the FAQ from the site, Roller Derby 101, WFTDA minimum skills requirements, gear guide, an off skate workout guide, and roller derby nutrition tips. All sorts of great information! The team was just finishing up practice so the captain (I'm unsure whether or not I want to mention which team I'm going for in text just in case someone decides to google themselves and comes across my stupid blog) came over and we started to go over everything.

They have practice three times a week, where each person has to attend at least 2 of them. Since the team is in the middle of a venue change, location will depend from practice to practice until they get everything all sorted out at the new venue. For next week, the Tuesday and Thursday 6:30-9:00 practices will be at the rink, and then the 3-6 practice on Saturday may be at a public park (woo trail skating! Also, I require outdoor wheels immediately!) or another venue. Also, this means that I will continue to go to the Monday Adult night since I won't be able to get my skating fix for a few weeks.

The fresh meat is a 12 week program, and the minimum skills is at the end of that 12 weeks. The first two weeks of practice will be off skate practice which will allow all of the ladies to get all of the gear required to skate.

Even though about 40+ people RSVP'd for the event on facebook, only about 10-15 (?) were there as fresh meat (most of the rsvp people were on the team or didn't show up). At least two of the girls have done derby before and two of them used to be on the team. There were some people that didn't show up to the meeting, but had already spoken with the captain about it, so I expect more people at practice Tuesday than were there today.

After about an hour of going over the information and a brief q&a, the captain asked if anyone had skates and wanted to skates. ME! ME! I had my skate bag and I was desperate to get on my skates. I popped my contacts in (I was wearing my glasses because I spaced my contacts completely until I was almost out the door) and strapped my skates on.

Pretty much all of the girls that were practicing left at this point (since they had been practicing for the last 3 hours), so it was about 20ish people hanging around. No one was on the skating floor, so I was the first to step on. It was great. I am a fidgety person. When I'm nervous I wrap my index finger in the hem of my shirt, fold and unfold papers, pick at anything I can, and adjust my glasses like crazy. I was doing all of those things during the meeting and talking bit, but once I took my first stride, it just melted away.

I did a lap before I was joined by the captain. We got to the first curve and she asked if I could do a crossover. I said that I thought I could do a kind of cross over and showed her what I've been doing. I do it right, I just need to push with my left leg a bit more so I get more speed from it. We chatted for a bit while we did some laps. A few more people got onto the floor and I got to speak to another one of the derby girls. We talked about how kids are scary, and that she was a transfer from the Jacksonville team, and I asked her about the public skate session that started at 7pm (it was about 6:50 at that point and I was planning on staying for the session). She told me that it is a very dangerous session to go to. Kids will skate the wrong way, stop for no reason, fall in front of you, cut across tons of skaters, and STOP TO TEXT. Soooo, yeah. I decided to skip the public session and pack it in when the others girls did.

I also admitted to the captain that I had been stalking the team's facebook page and website. When she asked if I could identify everyone by their face I lied and said no. Honestly, I can probably name at least 75% of their players. I AM A STALKER AND NOT PROUD OF IT.