Sunday, May 29, 2011

Puling up my big girl panties and freaking SKATING.

So last post was a bit of a downer. Sorry about that.
I missed practice the next day, due to a major migraine. I mean MAJOR migraine. All told, I had that damn headache for ten days. I was super bummed to miss scrimmage practice, especially in light of my already negative feelings about my abilities. Then, this week's practice rolled up and I was still feeling sore and achy from having a migraine for 10 days and having to work eight of those days. My job is a sore spot in my life, and I won't bring that whole drama in to this post, that's a post for another day.
I promised myself I would go to practice, even if I found myself too sore and weak to skate, and I went. This week was the first part of basic skills testing for our newest members, who are still calling themselves Soy Cheezies. I made a point to go and support all my new friends, and especially Gyro, who is the fiancee of my husband's best friend and a dear friend of mine, even before derby brought us closer together. All the ladies did really well, starting with timed laps (also known as 25/5) and then doing stops. At that point, it was time for full league practice and we worked on whips, and pushes. I loved working on whips, because, as we all know I LOVE whips. We were separated into pairs, with two girls of roughly equal ability to practice pushing. I was paired with Mal, one of our new girls, but she's already a great skater. She was great to work with, as we are matched in skill and size (which is novel for me, I tend to be much bigger or a bit smaller than most of the girls, mostly bigger) . Then we did some hitting and paceline work.
I did every single drill with only one exception. I skipped the jumping drill because I had to adjust my skate at that point. I even did the evil drill where we were asked to skate around the track, come to a plow stop in front of the penalty box, skate the turn and run (not sprint skate but pick up our feet and RUN) the other straightaway. Hard for me. Picking up my feet is still a bit scary for me but I freaking did it. I skated backwards and even tried to turn around. I still fall down when I try to turn around, but I think I have the idea, it's just convincing my feet that I get it.
I pushed myself really hard for once. I decided that I was tired of being the one who's always complaining of pain. I have to keep reminding myself that pain is my baseline. I hurt every day, derby pain is at least good pain.
At the end of the session, some of the vets did 25/5 to see how their time is progressing. I shaved a full minute off of my last time of 6.15. I think that part of that is due to the sheer number of women on the track for my last timed session. Part of it is because I wanted to see what I can actually DO when I apply myself. I did 25 laps in 5.25 minutes. I'll take that for now, but I want to get that time even better. When I tried out for Salt City, I did it in 5.05. I obviously can do better than I have been doing. I have to stop blaming my injuries and weak knees and just skate.
All told, I actually feel better about this practice than I have felt about a practice in months.
For once, I am proud of my accomplishments. I can't wait for scrimmage next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Musing about time lost...

So several of the ladies in my league have been attending some classes with the WRD fresh meat coaches. They are all improving in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately for me, this class falls on the ONE evening a week that my stay-at-home husband asks that I stay home and watch the children so that he can go out and be a grownup. Do I begrudge him this time? Absolutely not. He deserves it. He works hard to keep my home in order and my children from killing each other. I am a little jealous at times that he gets to go out with our friends, and I have to stay home, but I can deal with my selfish nature and move on.
I do regret not being able to take this class with my teammates though. I really need the practice. I have to admit that I am feeling left behind in the league. I feel like I am not really improving much anymore, and the rest of the girls are still leaping ahead, getting faster, stronger, tactically smarter, and generally more skilled. I feel like a lumbering ox on the track and I watch our newest recruits zipping around, skating backwards, doing perfect tomahawk stops. These things all still scare the bejezus out of me.
I don't know. Maybe it is just because I am feeling low due to the rotten weather we have been experiencing. Maybe I really do suck, and the positive feedback I am getting is just to keep me from feeling like a loser.
I'm sorry to be such a negative Nellie today.
Tomorrow is a new practice. Here's hoping it's better.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Busy couple of weeks. This is a long one.

I know it has been a while since I posted. Last week was a busy derby week for lil 'ol me.

On Thursday, I was hurting quite a lot after a hard day at work so I decided to skip the first hour of practice. I really wanted to make it to practice, because last week was a scrimmage week. For those of you who don't know our schedule, we alternate scrimmage practice and drills practice. One week we will work on advanced skills, then the next week we scrimmage. Since we are a rec league, this schedule works well for us, as we get to play the game, but we still get to work on those skills that we need improvement on, or haven't learned yet. So, I missed out on newbie hour, where we work on basic skills that everyone can work on. It was one of the ones I needed most. I still have a hard time making myself skate backwards and quiver in fear at the very thought of turning around while moving. Guess what the newbies were working on while I was taking anti inflammatories... yep. Backwards skating.
Scrimmage was great. We had a handful of vets from the other leagues and a few who are on temporary hiatus deciding where they want to go with their career. These ladies are a wealth of information, and it is always nice to have a different explanation for skills that just aren't clicking for me. I love our derby mamas, but every once in a while, I just can't wrap my mind around what they are asking us to do. Sometimes, a different phrasing will suddenly clear it all up. I finally got a grip on cutting the track without losing momentum. I pretty much felt like a moron when it clicked. "OH! That's what you meant! DUH!" This improved my blocking IMMENSELY. Suddenly, I'm not to slow to kill that jammer, or clear that blocker out of my jammer's way. No more does the jammer blitz by me, I can just get her! One achievement that I am particularly proud of is that I was able to hold back the amazing England's Glory for a full five seconds. Now. Before you go saying "whoopdedoo, five seconds", you should be aware that England is notoriously slippery. She can sneak though holes that nobody else would even see. I am PROUD of that five seconds. I also recall escorting a couple of jammers out of bounds. I'm still slow. I'm still learning strategy, but I actually feel like a real derby girl for once. I feel like less of a poser.
Saturday was the WRD home teams bout. The Black Diamond Divas played the Hot Wheelers. I was able to NSO for this bout, and even though it's not a particularly prestigious position, I had fun working the outside whiteboard. The purpose of this position is to catch penalties from the outside pack refs that the wranglers may not have heard. The best part is that you get to watch more of the game, most of the penalties are called by the inside refs, so there are fewer calls to relay. It was a great game with a few interesting highlights. The skaters almost seemed to have some sort of vendetta against the outside refs. They were falling right in front of and into the refs all night long. One memorable case was when a skater fell literally two feet in front of a rapidly moving Eff'n Ref, who simply leapt over her as if they were playing leapfrog. From where I was standing, I saw the whole thing. It was amazing. I later found out that Eff'n made that incredible leap after having injured himself in his own league practice ( Eff'n is also a skater for our brother league the Uinta Madness). I have a lot of respect for our Zebras, but it is easy to forget that they are skating just as hard as the players.

This week was a skills practice, and I wasn't about to miss another practice where we work on a skill that I had promised myself I was going to learn/work on/master this session. We started out with endurance and timed trials. Keep in mind, we do timed trials with everyone on the track at once, and only the mamas and the visiting vets got their 25 laps in 5 minutes. My time sucked. I managed 25 in just over 6 minutes. I think my biggest problem is that I know I run in the middle of our skill levels, and I don't want to get in the way of the better skaters, I don't want to knock over the newbies. I need to get past that. I need to weave better and just go around the slower skaters instead of getting held up by them. *sigh* I can do 25 in 5, as long as I am in a small group, big ones frustrate me.
After that, we worked on whips and pushes. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE whips! This is one of the skills I am most comfortable with, so I helped with demonstrating. We started by giving whips to the new girls, then had them give us whips. These girls are learning so fast it is intimidating! We also did hip whips and pushing. I was having a lot of trouble with foot pain at the time, and had landed wrong on my knee when we were doing warm up drills so I decided to call it a night when advanced skills practice proved to be pushing and hitting. Last time I tried pushing and hitting drills when I was hurting, I ended up down and out for four days. Unable to walk for more than a few minutes at a time. Not going there again.
Today we went to the local Ren Faire with the kids and a group of our friends. It was great fun, we watched jousting, played in the little petting zoo, ate smoked turkey legs, dressed up like princesses and time travelers and generally had a good time. I will try to post a photo of my hubby in his awesome costume. He opted to go with the steampunk costume he has been working on for Conduit ( our local sci fi/fantasy/gaming convention), and he looked quite handsome. Like he walked right out of "Bram Stoker's Dracula". My costume was less impresive, and the girls costumes literally came from their dress up play chest, but we still got a discount entrance fee and had fun.
All in all, it's been a good couple of weeks. Next week, scrimmage and another WRD bout, this time the all star team the Midnight Terrors are playing Sin City. I am excited for this bout. I love to watch the WFTDA bouts, they are far more intense.
Remember ladies, hands in the vag. That keeps you from elbowing your mentors in the face. =)