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.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Worrying Wednesday

Rather than a normal post, I thought I would just post a list of worries that I’m having. Some are irrational, some are not. You may or may not be able to tell the difference between the two.

  • My gear won’t arrive in time (yeah, I’m still waiting)
  • My gear will be the wrong size
  • I will break a bone my very first practice
  • No one will like me
  • I won’t like anyone
  • I’ll be too shy to talk, and I won’t ever know if I would like anyone or they would like me
  • I’ll die from the exercise
  • I won’t like roller derby
  • I will never learn how to stop
  • My crossovers aren’t actually crossovers and instead are some weird mutant leg thing I made up
  • I won’t be able to stand still without rolling
  • I will never be able to get low enough
  • The team only has room for a few skaters and I won’t make the cut
  • I will only be able to do 15 laps in 5 minutes
  • Heather and Itzel are lying when they say I’m good at skating
  • I will fall flat on my face while everyone is watching
  • I will never be able to glide on my right foot for more than 5 seconds
  • 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 will be bad at everything
  • Anxiety will get the best of me and I will skip this Saturday’s recruitment event

comic by Natalie Dee

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Last Skate Session

Last night was my last normal skate session before derby starts up. Recruitment is THIS SATURDAY! From what I can figure out, it seems that the first hour and a half will be information on joining, policies, dues, practices and the like, and then the next two (?) hours will be the normal public skate that takes place at Skate Mania on Saturday nights. Eeeep!

Anyway, back to last night’s skate session: it was fantastic!! I actually left work on time for once, so I had plenty of time to have dinner and do some other things around the house before I left to skate (if only I could leave work right at six every single night). Even though I used my new wheels on Saturday, last night was really the test to see how they worked. The new wheels were amazing. It was so weird to start out because it was ridiculously smooth and with just a few pushes I was going faster than I ever had before. It was scary for the first five minutes, but then I got used to it.

The control I had was amazing. My old wheels would slip a little when I was doing a crossover so I usually only tried to do one around a curve; with my new wheels I can do several in a row and really pick up speed. On the straight areas I only had do three or four pushes to get me to the next turn. I tried what Heather’s league calls “sticky skating” and I was able to get around the whole outside of the rink (although it took a bit of time). The last time I tried that, my wheels and legs slipped in a strange way and I ended up slowly falling to my butt.

The best part about skating last night was that almost no one was there (apparently not many people like to leave the house when it’s raining like crazy). Near the end of the night I was literally the only person skating for about 15 minutes. I was able to push myself to go faster than I do when there are other people around. It was great!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Two Months and Thirty Pounds Later...

At the end of May I decided that I absolutely had to try roller derby, and in order to do derby I realized that I had to do something I’d never done before: go on a diet. It’s actually been pretty easy to stay on (as long as I don’t go to Orlando; when I’m there I throw the diet out the window). I could go on and on about my diet and how my eating habits have changed, but that’s pretty boring so I’m just going to skip to the pictures.

A few days after I started dieting, I decided to prop my camera up on a stack of teetering books (hence the weird angles and blurry pictures) and take a picture of what I looked like. I was planning on doing photos every week or every two weeks, but I completely forgot about the pictures up until a few days ago. I decided to take pictures again to see if there was any difference besides slightly longer hair and new glasses (hint: not that much difference). And hey, it’s an excuse to make total strangers look at me almost naked. Bonus!

May 26 - front

August 1 - front

May 26 - side

August 1 - side

May 26 - back

August 1 - back

And because you can see the difference a little bit more when it is in animated gif form (sorry for the bad gifs, my program just wanted to drag the quality down for some reason), I included a few of those. It’s kinda like a sculptor just shaved a thin layer from my entire body. So yes, not a typical “before and after weight loss” type of post, because clearly I’m not done losing weight and packing on muscle. Maybe 2 months after derby practices I’ll do this again.