Recent steps forward include a good practice last week, and me really looking forward to practice again tomorrow evening. Last Thursday, there were two other girls brand-spankin’ new to derby, like myself (named Sara and Amanda). Plus we were fortunate enough to have a huge amount of people there- about 21 ladies on skates, including trainers, and one woman from Turn Two Skate Shop in Maine! It was really fun to skate with girls on my level, and to have so many experienced women to generously give us direction. We practiced single knee falls, standing on one foot, pre-transition stepping to turn around 180°, and then that pre-transition stepping 360°.
We also practiced double knee falls, or as I like to think of this particular maneuver, “The Rockstar,” since you’re supposed to be leaning back with knees and legs wide apart so you don’t accidentally stick your skate up your butt. (If you’re into that, more power to you, but I think derby is the wrong environment for intentional insertion.) I am really, really bad at these. Plus I (while the other new girls were getting their feet wet) started to try to put one foot out in front of the other to try to aim towards crossovers. I am really bad at these, but possibly not as bad at these as I am at the double knee falls. I think it’ll take a few more weeks to master these skills, but I look forward to trying again soon, and at least getting my first unintentional crossover fall out of the way.
I feel like that’s always a step for me. I’m going to fall a lot, on purpose and by accident. Most of the new things I learn, I will eventually fall down while I’m doing. I kind of want to get all of my first falls out of the way to help reduce the "fear" of falling. Like with everything else derby-skills-related, it will all happen in time and with effort. For example, I feel like I wasn’t sore enough after this derby practice, and so I’d like to make more of an effort to stay lower when I’m in stance tomorrow. I will definitely spend at least a little time this week on those crossover pre-steps, and on those double knee falls.
There were also a few girls there taking their [insert scary music here] Level One Assessments. Big congratulations to them, as everyone I saw was working hard, staying low, and keeping their heads in the game! It was great to get a sneak peek at the real skills I’m working towards. Crossovers, toe stops, jumps and hops- if I wanted the skills extravaganza, I certainly came to the right practice.
I can’t go backwards yet. This might seem pretty “duh” to everyone, but it looks so fun, and I keep feeling impatient about it. At least I can plow stop now. I can’t T-stop yet- but using plow stops, at my second practice ever I was able to stop for the first time, on purpose, and without hitting the floor or wall. I mean, I’m still like a baby giraffe up on those things, but I have to give it time. (Remind me if you see me getting frustrated with myself out there.) The other week, I was so sore after practice that I couldn't walk up and down the stairs except sideways clutching the railing like an elderly woman, for two days. There's got to be an in-between- sore enough to know I worked hard, and yet still capable of engaging in my everyday activities.
I think I'm much more prepared for my discomfort now, at least. During the skating, it's my lower back, my entire "Tramp Stamp" area. After? It's pretty much everything, back and legs. I think once I get the hang of engaging my core more, it'll be the abs, too. But I have tiger balm, Aleve, Advil, Tylenol, lavender-scented Epsom salts, and peas in the freezer. Bring it, body.
On a significantly more downer note. I debated about whether or not to discuss this but I want to be as honest as possible about my experience and where I am on my derby journey. I mentioned in my last post that I’m out of shape. I did not include detail, but I am overweight, and not insignificantly so. While I know health and fitness are long-term goals, I still had a rough end of the week, when I hopped on my scale and had basically gained ten pounds. Yes, I know, it’s most likely me building thigh muscle; muscle is heavier than fat; the muscle will help boost my metabolism in the long run by helping me burn more calories.
But that doesn’t change the feeling I get when I see the number on the scale. That doesn’t change the way my heart drops and I get discouraged. Shaking it off and getting my head back in the game does not come naturally to me. It takes effort, and more than that, it takes a conscious choice every day. I am making that choice for myself today, and I can tell you, I'm more than likely to make it tomorrow. I just really want to see myself making that choice next week, if/when it happens again and I'm feeling disheartened.
I don’t want to exercise myself out like crazy today and head into derby tomorrow already too sore. So I am going to be patient so that tomorrow night I can kick my butt on skates for as many of those three hours as I can make it to. It’s another crappy night where I have to leave right from work just to make it onto skates at all. I wish this were easier- but at least, having practice Tuesday means I can go to adult skate on Thursday near my house, and log more hours on the track. I wish myself luck...