The aches, I has them.

Wall squats. Lunges. Squat pyramids (on and off skates). Crunches. More squats. Push-ups (but not as many of those, as I’d like my forearm tendons to remain intact). I’m focusing on the basics right now, as my month 1 assessment for New Girl is coming on Saturday. Gotta stay low. Core tight. Knees bent and soft.

It’s been a hell of a journey for me. In some ways, I feel like my skills have regressed due to my being timid about skating the track right. But people I skate with tell me that’s not the case, that they see me doing things now that I couldn’t do when this crazy time started.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. I know my chances of surviving this first cut are very, very slim.

I’m OK with this. MORE than OK with this, really. Who’da thunk it? I just started banked track in June. In September, I made New Girl. I hadn’t even intended to try out when I started! To have made it this far, to have lasted through the whole first month WITHOUT QUITTING – this is huge for me. I feel like an honest also-ran at the Oscars. It was an honor just to be chosen for the program. And now, I have a much better idea of what I need to do to make it farther.

It’s going to take a lot more conditioning. A lot more squats. Thousands of laps around that track. Hundreds of repetitions of box turns, T-stops, plow stops, falls. I’m game. I plan to try out again. This sport is too fun for me to give up on now.

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The hardest thing I’ve ever done

“I don’t belong here. I don’t belong here.” That’s the unfortunate mantra I find myself repeating as I skate these days. Two practices into my New Girl training, and I’m feeling humbled and embarrassed and…all sorts of emotions. All the feels. I myself in tears at the end of a drill last night.

My classmates are amazing, strong, smart women. They fight through our drills like nobody’s business. And while I have yet to quit in the middle of an exercise, man, have I wanted to. I’m painfully slow compared to them all. Definitely not as agile. Certainly not as confident. I don’t want my low skill level to bring down the quality of our practices.

Will this experience be an awesome exercise in maturity and toughness, or will I end up with my self-esteem even lower? When I’m away from the rink, I think the former. When I’m struggling to keep up with the pack, skating a bad line just to stay out of the way, I’m convinced it’s the latter.

So what would feel worse? Quitting or sticking with it and not succeeding?

As low as my confidence tends to be, I think quitting would feel worse. I’ve never done anything like this. The experiences I have are going to be eye-openers, for sure. I’m excited about them, but still a bit scared.

Changing my derby ways, Part 3

After a year of skating in a beginner-level flat track group, I was frustrated. Most of my friends had leveled up. Some folks just wanted to stay in beginner for the workout, which is cool. But I wanted to get to scrimmage, to hit, to play. I always did better when I paired with a premier-league skater in practice – I brought my skating up as close to that level as I could, which was exhilarating. But that didn’t happen nearly enough.

After about six weeks of banked track lessons, I had a chance to take part in a two-day clinic. Our lesson leader said it’s always a good idea to try to train with different coaches to see how it will affect one’s learning curve, so I decided to go.

OMG.

It was by far the most difficult practicing I’d ever done. Clinics are often geared toward beginner skaters, but about half of the San Angelo derby squad attended, as did several folks from the level two lesson group. I was completely and utterly out of my comfort zone both days.

And I loved it!

I’m not ready for the big time yet, but working out with more experienced skaters was so rewarding. After Day 1, I was encouraged to come to Wreck League practices. I went to one and was intimidated, for sure, but in the end inspired.

I got to do some hitting in the clinic, and some work on advanced drills in agility. I was frustrated at first by my weaknesses, but the other women were awesome – they all cheered when I worked my way through a zig-zag hitting drill that was about an 11 on the difficulty scale.

I skated 10 hours that weekend – my usual practice, the clinic, Wreck League and a skating birthday party. So. Much. Fun.

I’m still excited. I know I won’t be picked to join a league any time soon, but I’ll be attending tryouts anyway. I want to see what it’s like. I want to get out of my comfort zone again.

I want to BE MORE FAB.

Changing my derby ways, Part 2

So why am I changing it up? I’ve got good friends in the flat track community. We volunteer at bouts. We skate together through the streets of Austin on hot days, then swim and get cold drinks. We make signs for new skaters. It’s a fun bunch of folks.

Derby seemed to epitomize the DIY ethos I love so much: homemade boutfits, volunteers staffing bouts and preparing venues, practices in hot warehouses. I love the sisterhood.

When I went to my first banked track bout in 2013, I didn’t really care for it. I was used to doubleheaders, with straight-ahead skating and not much kitsch. So the singleheader, pillow fight and tug-of-war filled bout wasn’t really satisfying at the time. When 2014 came around, I signed up for my usual rec league and got back on the volunteer train.

But I found myself fidgeting at bouts. The more straight-ahead spectacle of flat track failed to hold my attention. When I gave in to Mr. Fab and left after watching just one half of a bout at a doubleheader, I realized I should give banked track another chance. 

This year, I’ve loved attending those banked track bouts. The crowd is closer to the action. People go flying over the rails (sometimes). And the kitsch. Oh, the glorious kitsch. Boutfits, helmets that don’t necessarily match – it’s all so much fun. 

I didn’t ever dream of actually getting on that track and trying it out for myself. Now, a couple of months into it, I’m thinking of going through with a tryout for the league. I know I won’t make it, but I want to see what it’s like.

Changing my derby ways, Part 1

I started flat track rec league last January. It was fun, but ultimately frustrating. I just couldn’t get out of the Primer level, even though I could perform enough of the skills. It was getting boring. Instead of getting to watch, skate with and learn from better skaters, every time a new session would start I’d be back with the beginners. This was not satisfying.

I decided to take this summer off from rec. The practice warehouse was hot, anyway, with precious little air circulation. Heat and I don’t get along all that well. For the first month of the summer, it was speed skating on Fridays, skate park on Saturdays and maybe adult night on Tuesdays. Not bad. But a trip to the skate shop in June got me excited about a new venture: banked-track lessons, and possibly “wreck” league.

The first day of lessons, I didn’t know how to get on the track. The one woman I knew at practice showed me how, so I managed to get from off-track to the infield no problem. After a few minutes of greetings, general instructions and tips, we were off! I’d never skated on the banked track, so I was a little wary, but I decided the best thing to do was to just get up on it.

So fun! The first couple of weeks I felt a bit like Bambi on the frozen pond, but because I had a year of skating behind me I found myself getting comfortable with a quickness. The same things that have been hard for me in flat track – turnaround transitions, drunken sailors (a drill involving a crossover on every step) – are still hard for me. But I’m getting better. A lot better. A lot FASTER.

The skate shop owner, a skater herself, says she always recommends that folks try BOTH types if possible, to see if one or the other is a better fit. Last year, I’d not even considered the possibility of skating banked. Now, I can’t imagine NOT skating banked.

Nope.

derby
So disappointed! I didn’t do well enough in my assessment to get to move up a group in derby. I’m trying not to let myself get upset. I know myself well enough to know that nothing will make me feel better now…but that moping will make it WORSE. Exponentially so.

So here I sit at the airport, heading to Colorado in about an hour. I got some dinner – pulled pork tacos – and decided to just keep my chin up. I’ve never been able to talk myself down like this before. It’s kind of nice.

My next chance to assess is in a month, and the feedback I got was extremely positive – our trainer pointed out what exactly I need to do to get to where I want to go, which is awesome. Lots more skating, mainly 🙂 Good thing I enjoy that!

Something new

Me on the ice!

Me on the ice, Texas Stars game 3/2/13!

Big changes in Fab land. I’ve taken a new job – something that happened so quickly I still can’t quite believe it. I’ve been looking for months for an opportunity that is better suited to my talents and will allow me to focus on fewer things – something that will really be beneficial when Tim’s done with school and we’re realdy (maybe) to move elsewhere.

My new focus will be marketing communications. I start the 25th. It was a whirlwind – less than a week between application and hire. Eek!

At the same time, the deal on my condo has fallen through (boo). I have to admit, I was sort of expecting it. So while there’s still disappointment, I’m not really upset. Here’s hoping we can find someone willing to pay full price!

Derby is still going well. I’ve volunteered a couple of times in the past two weeks on different events – held a sign at a parking lot demo we did at a Texas Stars hockey game, then helped track penalties at a Rec League scrimmage – and had a good heck of a time doing it.

Less pleasant (still) is the tendon/ligament trouble I’m having in my right arm. I finally caved in and got a cortisone shot today. With a flight to Denver coming on Friday, I really needed to get the pain under control. A flight with no knitting? No can do.

I’m excited to go home and see my folks this weekend…even if there’s no closing to attend after all.

Havin’ a good ol’ time

Saw this at Quiltcon. Fab.

Saw this at Quiltcon. Fab.

My poor, neglected blog! Work’s been exceptionally busy this month; we launched our baby, the new Marketplace section, to great response about 3 weeks ago. I’m proud of how my team has come together to make this work. And I’ve gotten to learn new things to make it work, too, like how to create augmented reality presentations. Good times!

I haven’t let the business at work get in the way of my derby aspirations, tho. I did have to miss one practice due to being tied to my desk the week of launch, but since then I’ve been out there every week. I went to the first scrimmage between the gals who are a bit better than I am and stayed to go to brunch with the teams, too. Fun!

This weekend, I’m trying to assess up a level. It’s scary – I dunno if I’m quite ready yet, but at the same time, I think I’m ready to try. Wish me luck! I’m also volunteering with the derby today at a hockey game – the Texas Stars are hosting a derby exhibition in the parking lot before tonight’s tilt. So I get derby and hockey in the same day – hooray!

I’m fighting some pain and stiffness in my right elbow, too. I think it’s repetitive strain (so why am I typing???), but whatever the cause, it’s annoying. I can’t really do much of my exercise plan when I can’t do push-ups or curls. Guess it’s time for more cardio!

Time to kick it up a notch

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So I’ve been skating twice a week every week since Jan. 20. It’s going pretty well. I’m getting slightly faster and staying on my feet pretty well. But twice a week might not be cutting it.

This past Sunday at practice, we had evaluations – if you thought you were ready to go up a classification. I didn’t even think about trying to do that. I’m, well, slow. Still a bit clunky. Not quite where I think I need to be to have a chance of getting to Group C. I can stomp around the house in my skates all I want, but that won’t make me a better skater.

There’s a speed skating group that meets at the local rink a few times a week. Lots of rollergirls go – it’s highly recommended by our coaches – so I think I’ll try it out. I want to work on my footwork, my technique, my footing overall.

I’m getting closer to where I want to be – able to turn from forward skating to backward, able to fall on my knees and pop up fast, able to T-stop (able to stop at all, really).

Maybe I’m taking this all too seriously. I’m thinking about bailing on Mardi Gras celebrations to go skating tomorrow night.

After practice No. 5

I cook on skates.

I cook on skates.

Times fallen (today): 1. Times fallen (overall): 3. That averages out to something like one fall per three hours on skates. One of these days, I’ll fear it less. Falling, that is. I need to fall more often so I can get practice getting back up. But falling hurts when you’re 35 (a lot more than it did when I was 8, the last time i skated so often on quads). It’s a lot farther to the ground. And there’s a lot more of me.

But I can tell I’m getting better. My balance is improving (thanks, yoga!). My flexibility is slooowly getting better. So while I’m not ready to try to test of primer group just yet, I think I might be able to by the end of this initial session. Here’s hopin’!