Friday, January 7, 2011

First Practice of 2011! - Thursday, January 6

New season, new year... Time to make-it or break-it...
Welcome back, not-so-fresh-meat! :)

The off-season for me was a time of stressful and emotionally draining stuff going on with family and friends. It seems like it was the off-season for a year, not a couple of months! Needless to say, with all the stress, I gained weight instead of losing it. I hardly exercised at all. I went to as many open-skates as I could, and I would be sweating and panting within just a few minutes! I knew I would be in for it when the first practice hit....

Just after Christmas, I came down with what was probably the flu. It's still clinging to me, even now. I spent the two weeks before practice not moving from a chair, and just watching tv because I was sick! Not exactly good prep for the start of the season! Yikes!

Thursday, January 6th. 7pm. Roller Kingdom.
I'm running late. Freaking out and thinking about how I've blown the off-season and now have two months to pass my level 2 tests. Major sore throat and coughing going on from the plague that won't end.....
I get there and everyone is already doing jumping jacks with Nikki Roxx......

Hour one: punishment that I deserve with an intense workout by Nikki Roxx
Hours Two and Three: endurance skate practice

  • My nemesis: shopping cart drills (push a partner around the track for three minutes, then let her pull you for three minutes/repeat)
  • 25 in 5 (25 laps in 5 minutes)
  • pace lines - sprint to the front
  • knee drops/get up with running start
These were some of the drills we did during the endurance skate. Honestly, I think I did pretty good for being totally out of shape, and sick... I was able to do my crossovers on the turns without trouble! During the first hour, I felt confident in my skating, and strong. If not thwarted by a huge back/leg cramp, I totally would have been able to complete my 25 laps in 5 minutes (which is a level 2 requirement)!! I was able to sprint from the back to the front of a pace line, and even did crossovers while sprinting to the front! :)

About halfway through the skating portion of practice, my body started to physically give out. My back had a huge cramp that went down into the back of my leg. Then my legs started to get wobbly because I was so tired. It's always a dilemma to drop out of the drill and stretch, or suffer through it. I went as long as I could and then just skated around the outside of the circle... My goal at that point was to just keep moving, even though I was embarrassed. I didn't want to sit out. I wanted to prove myself worthy to be there, but I had to stop when I pushed past my limit... I didn't want to get hurt because I was too proud to take a break and let my body rest! Those shopping cart drills just kill me; I have to figure out a way to beat them!

Anyway, it felt good to be back, even though it was a bit torturous. haha. I knew we were all in it together, and I could see that I wasn't the only one having a rough time of it. We will all get back into the swing of things, and hopefully be stronger and faster each time! Plus, I missed all my new friends :)  Next practice is Monday... See you then!


Friday, October 29, 2010

End of My First Season - October 29, 2010

My first season as a member of the New Hampshire Roller Derby League has come to an end! It didn't go out with too much of a figurative bang, as much as a literal one... My sprained knee is finally feeling SO much better... just in time for practices to end until January! (Its okay though, because I'm taking the next couple of months to regain some strength, and re-lose some pounds ;)  Hopefully both will help me be a better skater!)

So, there hasn't been too much to report since I got hurt. I was still attending as many practices as possible. It was super hard to just sit and watch, without being able to take part. I feel for anyone who has serious injuries, because at least I knew I'd eventally get to skate again. So, I sat, and I sat, and I sat.... and gimped around... and sat and sat. September went by, then October. As soon as the doctor gave me the go ahead to begin physical training, I started skating again  - slowly with my brace and knee pad duct taped to my knee!

Its been slow going, and I've obviously been hesitant to break myself further, but last night was the final skating party at the roller rink. It was just a free skate with music, lights, and food... A fun way to end the season. I put my skates on, and started, and doing weaves. It was freeing, and I felt the breeze on my face as I was rolling around. It was so much fun! I didn't even remember that I had all that gear strapped to my knee. It never hurt me once!

I'm motivated to recover and continue on my derby journey. Its been a fun ride so far... despite all the falls, sweat, tears, pain, bruises and MRI's! Making new friends, learning how to become a better skater, getting serious exercise, participating in something greater than myself, and becoming a more confident person has far outweighed any of those negative things. I never thought I could do most of the things I've already accomplished. I know that I can do more, as long as I don't give up.... And I won't! Its way too much fun! :)

The new season begins in January 2011.
Until then, I'll be attending free-skate adult nights at Roller Kingdom in Tyngsboro, MA on Sunday nights...
Check it out HERE.

Stay tuned. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Practice - Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Practice as a Level One!!! Wooohoo!

We started with agility. Alot of skating backwards and transitioning, which is something Iam trying to focus my attention on. Thanks to my Skater-Sister for working with me one-on-one again! :) I had jello-leg syndrome during this practice though.... Right from the start. I probably fell about seven times for no real reason other than poor form or exhaustion. I couldn't finish the pyramid drills because at one point I noticed I had cut my hand on a fall and it was bleeding everywhere.... No wonder my hand was hurting so much! haha

I should have taken all of this as a sign....

Scrimmage time. New level ones onto the track!!! YIKES.
Hitting review and then "David and Goliath" (where there is a mini pack and one jammer). It's all fine and good to explain what is going on beforehand, but once you are out on the line and the whistle blows it's complete chaos!

I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that I didn't want to let anyone pass me!! I did block one jammer from getting by me! Yay! I also only gave one hit and it was to my own teammate. Boo. Duh.

My most exciting time of the night was when someone threw the jammer hat at me. I was going to be the jammer???!!! (I know that everyone got a turn at all the positions during this drill, but I didn't care.) This was my most exciting, terrifying, truly awesome moment!!! I put the jammer hat over my helmet, glittery star and all. I wish my mom and dad were there to see me, or someone could have taken my picture because it was very surreal.

When it was time, I took the line. All by myself.
 It was so scary and exciting. I placed my toestop down in a form that looked like I was going to sprint forward when the whistle blew, but I really can't run on my toestops lol

When the whistle did blow, I took off and saw that the pack was already so far away. I was skating as fast as I could, and everyone was yelling for me to go faster. I came up to the pack, which had surprisingly slowed down, and I kind of crashed my way through. I know I used elbows and I know I gave some back blocks. I was mostly trying not to fall down lol

I finally made it through, then got a chance to do it again! I got stuck in the pack this time, but for some reason the opposing players got confused and I just went around them skating to victory!


They caught up with me again, my teammate went flying off to my right and before I knew it, I was also flying through the air in a blur! My left knee made a loud popping sound and my leg went off in it's own
direction. I landed in a crumpled heap on the floor. I wanted to get up, but I couldn't move. I was the jammer! I had to get up! This was my chance to do this!! But no. It turns out I've got a sprain, and now I won't be skating for weeks.

I've got to say that I was so embarrassed to be laying on the floor... Everyone turning silent and dropping to one knee out of respect for the injured. I have been on both sides of this coin now, and listening to the voices die down behind you is the worst. I have seen others get worse injuries than me, and I wanted to be able to get up on my own but I could tell it wasn't going to happen.
All I could think of was to ask the trainers if I did a good job. Haha! It will probably be the only time I am ever a jammer, so I'm thankful I got to do it before I got hurt!

"Did you see me? I was the jammer!!" :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Practice and Level 1 Assessments - August 31, 2010

Assessment night.... The test all fresh meat look forward to and dread at the same time! They tell you it's no big deal and don't be nervous, but I definetly started freaking out before I even got there. I know I wasn't the only one!

All of the newbies were the first ones to arrive at the rink... We were all anxious and first we had to deal with an endurance practice for about an hour!

Pulling and pushing pace lines of 4-5 people, sprinting, then keep it going the opposite direction. Speaking for myself, I was totally worn out at the end of this and figured there'd be no way I'd be able to do a fall for the test and get back up..... (within the allotted two seconds!)

drawing by me, K.Rowe

Assessments started. We lined up. You could feel the tension as we all pretended we weren't nervous, but it showed in our performances.... No hiding that! Simple things that I know everyone could do, just became the hardest things! T-stops, toe stops, falls.... Eventually, everyone got through it.

We did balancing on one leg while skating, and a bazillion crossovers...

Finally, we were finished. Luckily, Bettie and Empress were able to give us a pass/no pass right then and there. I couldn't imagine having to wait days for an email!! We all got personal feedback... Some of us passed and some of us have a couple things to hone before moving to level 1..

I have to say that I have never seen a group of ladies work so hard. All of us wanted it so badly! I am so so so proud of all of my fellow newbies, and if you didn't pass tonight, I know you will in a few days or weeks!! You are all amazing and I truly mean that. If you didn't pass, don't give up because you WILL BE PASSING SOON!!

I am proud of Dixie for having never skated before a few months ago, and she is not afraid to get right in there and do her best! I am proud of Lacey for figuring out crossovers on the spot! I am proud of Amiee for sticking with it even though she didn't feel well! You amaze me! I am proud of Kara for making a big comeback! I am proud of Bug for never giving up!

I can't believe that I passed!!!! I didn't feel like I was doing too poorly at anything, but that's what surprised me I guess! I was actually doing it. I was falling, crossing, balancing, stopping... I never pictured myself doing anything like this. But now I can't think of anything I'd rather do!!

To those I didnt mention here, I am tuly proud of all of you too!! I am SO happy to be skating with all of you, and SO happy to be a part of this derby family... Roller derby really IS saving my soul. :)

So, now it's on to hitting...... oh boy..... ;)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Practice - August 19, 2010

JFK Coliseum.... The bane of a skater's existence! It should be called Slip and Slide Stadium....

I had to make the splurge and get new wheels before practice... Just to see if it would make a difference in my performance, or if I really am THAT bad.

I'm happy to report it made a HUGE difference!! Still slippery (of course), but I was completing crossovers like nothing.... without thinking! It was a great feeling! One of my favorite drills was the "tree" (where some players form a moving non-contact pack, and some are in a moving pace line... The first person of the line races ahead to catch up to the pack and navigate their way through, finally ending at the back of the pace line.) Racing ahead to catch the pack felt awesome :) I was a little slow but I felt confident and I just knew to do my crossovers on the turns.... Because I wasn't sliding as much as I normally do, I was able to concentrate more on skating than trying not to fall.

You can buy Radar Shadows at The Bruised Boutique! :)

The one thing I really need to focus on now is transitioning from front to back/back to front. I need better form, and I need to break my mental block of fear at the thought of turning at any rate of speed... I'll get there :)

This practice was a good one for me, but seemingly cursed for a bunch of other people. There were toxic paint fumes in the building making some people sick, and a slew of injuries. I hope all my skater sisters
feel better soon... Xoxo

It's unofficially official!! - August 15, 2010

I made it through enough practices to submit my rollergirl name for approval! Woooohoo! There is quite a process for earning a derby name... It has to be approved not only by the league but by a national roster. No two skaters can have the same name! The national list takes a while to let you know if your name has been accepted.... (months!)

Sooo, my unofficial/official rollergirl name is:

 Atari JoyKick

See how I made the Atari Logo look like a JK for JoyKick... haha I'm such a genius ;)

It doesn't seem real, even though I'm allowed to put my name on my helmet (bye bye raw meat!). I mean, I'm still not a great skater and I haven't even had an assessment. I feel kind of weird about getting a derby name when I'm not sure I've earned it yet. But, according to the league I have... So I'll take it! :) Its an amazing feeling!



p.s. Okay, so why? WHY pick a name that really has nothing to do with derby? Well, anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a video game freak, and the Atari 2600 started it all! I will never forget the day my sister brought the system home... first we popped all the bubble wrap, then we started playing games, and never stopped! One time my family even had a Pac-Man competition party. haha! The Atari 2600 represents my childhood, my competitive side, my fun side, and really just brings me tons of good memories.... I wish I had a working one now!

Soo, I had a list of about twenty five names to choose from. I kept narrowing it down, but I really didn't want to choose an arbitrary name that didn't represent anything about me. I mean, this is MY name and I just went with my gut. (PLUS this name had a great number to go with it - which is also part of choosing a derby name!) :)

Unfortunately, its tricky for others to pick a catchy nickname for me... I think I'll just remain Atari. ;)

Circus Atari!! SO FUN!! boing boing boing POP!

Robey Park with Family - August 14, 2010

My husband, son, and I went for a picnic and some skating time at Robey Park in Nashua, NH today. It's a fun place to go, and rare to have an outdoor skating rink so easily accessible! Unfortunately for serious skaters, the rink is usually filled with toddlers moving fast and in random directions.... But today we were the only ones there. (nice!)

My husband likes to rollerblade, and my son likes to use his trike. I was, of course, trying to practice a bit and my husband even asked me to show him some moves... Which was awesome :) I showed him a couple
different falls, and we tried to do some hip whips but failed miserably and crashed into a big heap. :) whoops!

I don't know what it is about skating at Robey that gives me such a huge mental block. Is it the outdoor cement surface that just gets to me? My husband asked me to show him how fast I can go.... But for some
reason my brain wouldn't let my body go at its top speed. I walked on my toestops for a bit and tried figuring out how to transition into a backward turn while putting my toestops down for a complete stop (the move I couldn't do during those suicide drills). I had the biggest block there too and could only get it while moving slowly (when we're supposed to be able to do it at full speed).

I did practice skating like a canonball, then doing a jump to get out of it. Another brain block on jumping, but I finally got myself to do it (although they were little jumps). My husband could jump right up and down with his rollerblades and that put the pressure on me to show him I could do it too! :) I will get it without hesitation soon!

I felt frustrated with my skating performance today, but it was more about my fears holding me back this time, rather than anything physical. I think the more I keep at it, and the more I fall and get right back up.... the better I'll get!