I imported my old blog. Gulp! There’s a lot of work left to fix missing photos, broken links, references to things that no longer exist, category integration, etc. so please keep that in mind if you decide to peruse the archives. Proceed at your own risk!
Derby practice started back on January 2 for the new season. I made the first practice, but before our next practice, I had come down with the flu. The flu only lasted a couple of days, but the cough wouldn’t quit. Last week, I was put on a round of medications for bronchitis, so today will be my first day back since the second. I’ll only get three practices with my team before I’m off to Florida for a week to visit family. February 2 is our first bout of the season. Needless to say, I don’t expect to be skating with my team for that one.
So while I anticipate this will be my best season, I’m off to a slow start.
I’m still practicing with the same league and it’s still awesome. Shortly after my last update in October, I was elected as the league’s Merchandise Director, and that has kept me very busy.
Our membership has changed a lot. We lost some girls, and we gained others. Of the girls who left, the majority were the ones who brought drama and negativity. Overall, it’s been a change for the better, despite one of my favorite people being among those who left.
I’ve recovered completely from both ankle injuries. There was a time when I wasn’t sure my ankles would ever feel right again. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my knee. I’ve never experienced knee discomfort, so when I fell and twisted my left knee a few months ago, it was a shock. It doesn’t appear to be anything serious, but several weeks of physical therapy hasn’t returned it to 100%. Nearly every new fall sends spasms of pain through my knee.
I’m also noticing some other issues on my left side, particularly my hip and lower back. I haven’t been to my chiropractor for a few weeks now, so hopefully I can get back on track with my adjustments and start feeling some relief.
My skates have been upgraded with new plates. I’ve always intended to get new boots and new plates eventually, but when I snapped my plate during practice one night, “eventually” happened. I’m still using the R3 boot, but it’s mounted with the PowerDyne Reactor plate. At first, skating on the new plate felt really strange. It felt like all my wheels wanted to go in different directions. It didn’t take long to fall in love with the feeling of increased agility though. I chose not to upgrade my boots yet since they’ve never been uncomfortable. I’m starting to feel some weirdness in my boot this past week or so though, so it may be time for a boot upgrade sooner than I’d like.
As for my progress, sometimes I feel like I’m not making any. Sure, I know I’m much improved from where I was six months ago. I don’t fall nearly as much, and when I do, it’s no big deal—except for that blasted left knee, that is. I’m faster. I’m more confident. I guess I expected some things to be easier than they are though. Like, I can crossover correctly now, but never at my fastest speeds. Corners still feel really slippery to me. I can turn around and stop on my toe stops, but not at full speed, and only to the right. Snowplow stops are still really bad. My back and left leg still hurt after 20 laps. My progress has been slower than some of the other girls, and being in the lower rankings is not something I’m terribly used to. I’m not bragging here. The things I try out are usually things for which I already have some talent.
Roller derby has taken me out of my comfort zone in more ways than I can count, but I’m grateful for it.
We started with off-skate quad work today. It didn’t escape my notice that the other girls who had makeup practice on Thursday didn’t show for practice today. One might say I’m more dedicated. I say I’m starting from further behind most of the girls and need every chance I can get to improve.
The off-skate work was particularly difficult for me since I’m still recovering from last week. I did well during the first half of each drill, but started fading fast toward the end. Thankfully, the quad work didn’t last long, and we were able to get on skates and try something new.
First, we started with some stationary two walls. I picked up on the mental aspect of it quickly, but my body still doesn’t move as quickly or with as much certainty as my mind. Then we played a game they called four corners. The jammers started in one corner and as they approached each consecutive corner, a blocker was added to the track. My first attempt was a failure. My second attempt was better, but I lost my nerve when it came time to block at a high speed. My third and fourth attempts were much better. I might even say they were pretty good. I really need to work on my snowplow stops though if I hope to roster as a blocker… which I think I do.
Wednesday’s practice proved that my progress on Monday wasn’t just a fluke. Not only have I started to cross over correctly, but I can now suddenly do a correct squat. I’ve been working on squats for months with little progress, and now after working with a chiropractor for a week, I can squat. Forty years of incorrect squat form corrected with five adjustments. For me, this is monumental.
Practice started off skates and we focused heavily on quad work. On Thursday, Coach Ozone held a makeup practice off skates. I didn’t need a makeup, but I figured the extra practice would do me good. He also focused heavily on quads and after two days of quad brutality I’m having some difficulty walking.
But I can squat. And that’s monumental.
Both the Dames and Dolls had away bouts this weekend, so there was no practice on Sunday. Monday night it was back to business as usual at 7 Flags. My ankle was looking much better, but despite having it taped up before practice, I felt afraid to skate on it. Thankfully, we started with skating laps, squats, and planks.
Then we moved on to something new. We’ve practiced skating in packs somewhat, but last night they introduced strategy. While observing, I found myself thinking about strategy rather than skating, and a curious thing happened. While circling the outside of the track, I forgot to be nervous and started crossing over. Suddenly, something just clicked and I was able to get my feet to move the way they’re supposed to move.
I’m cautiously optimistic about my progress until I can get on skates again on Wednesday, but I feel pretty confident that this is real improvement. Also, my ankle felt really great after practice. I don’t know if it’s the skating, the taping, the adjustments, the use of arnica, or something else entirely, but it’s healing faster than I expected. Yay!
I had to sit out for practice last night, much to my disappointment. Yesterday, I went to the gym and avoided the things I thought might aggravate my ankle. I chose bike, planks, stretching, and squats. My ankle looked okay.
On Wednesday, my ankle started looking pretty bad. I had a chiropractic appointment, where I asked about my ankle and was told to ice it and not skate that night. Later, I tried to get my physical therapist to okay me to skate. Not only did he tell me to stay off it, he also advised me to get an x-ray. So I got the x-ray and asked a third professional if I could skate. And for a third time I was told I shouldn’t skate that night. I begrudgingly obeyed.
I got my first adjustment from my chiropractor on Friday. He adjusted my ankles and knees (which I didn’t know could be done), but my knees still felt a little sore for practice Sunday. I wonder if my problem with balance is related to my body being out of alignment. Time will tell, I suppose.
On Monday night, we practiced hitting. I thought hip checks would be easier than shoulders, but I was wrong. It’s difficult for me to swing my hips on skates. I went down pretty hard during the drills, and ended up rolling my right ankle this time. I also had some improvement with my cross overs. I can’t quite do them consistently, but at least I now know I can do them. My form was correct and the cross over happened sort of accidentally… which means I did it right.
Last night’s practice can be summed up with my Facebook status update from that night:
“Heartfelt thank yous to the Dolls, Dames, coaches, refs, my fellow fresh meat and everyone else who was cheering for the us during the timed test tonight. I can’t possibly come away from tonight feeling blah when I have such an amazing group of people holding me up and inspiring me to keep going. ? for you all!”
I was disappointed to struggle so much with my timed test. I didn’t necessarily have expectations of passing it, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so difficult. If it hadn’t been for everyone being so supportive, I might have given up after last night.