On the List! #postaweek2011

I’m supposed to be answering reverb11 prompts; but, I am completely distracted.  Yesterday, I took a deep breath, screwed up my courage and fired off an email to the Desert Dolls Roller Derby league.  The subject line?  “I Wanna Be a Desert Doll!

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and with crazy work days, time with family and Christmas bearing down on me like a truck, I promptly forgot about it.

This afternoon, I got a response.  It was simple…they’ll be sending out an informational email right after the first of the year, and I’m on the list.  I know.  I know.  That doesn’t mean anything more than that I’m “on the list.” To me, though, it’s a huge step.

Suddenly, this is more than just talking about it or writing blog posts about a pipe dream.  Now, it’s a matter of putting on the skates and doing it.

Derby has become a bit of an obsession with me.  I find myself daydreaming about it a lot…every part of it.  I wonder if I can actually be tough enough to take a hit, what I’d have to wear (fish nets DO seem to be a part of the uniform,) what I’ll call myself.  I wonder what it would be like standing up, conducting an enrollment meeting with a black eye or a cast on my leg.

Jesus.  What if I really do break a hip?

Then, I get past all of that and think about actually skating.  I’ve always loved sports…both watching and playing.  As a kid, I liked being part of a team.  I’m really looking forward to competing, cheering teammates on, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

This obsessive tendency isn’t new.  As a kid, I was really disgusted when I learned that girls couldn’t play for the Phoenix Suns.  (This was before the WNBA.)  I wore my Youth Basketball Association tee-shirt as many days a week as my mother would let me, carried my basketball everywhere and was always practicing “the perfect lay-up” in the driveway.  I was the only girl on the block, and you could always find me, pigtailed, freckle-faced and sweaty, playing guard with the boys.  We kept medical tape and clean popsicle sticks in a drawer in the kitchen for those times that I’d come running in with a jammed finger.

This year, I’m pretty sure that Santa is bringing new skates.  I asked for a pair that’s a recommended brand, but not the high-end skates.  I’ll save that for when I actually get drafted to a team.

I posted something on Facebook about the league email, and my mother’s reaction was, “Oh, my God!  This is happening!”  When I talked to her later in the day, she said that she gets a big grin on her face, as she sees that this is more than just talk.  I think that she’s excited.  She likes the idea of being a Roller Derby Mama.  Knowing my mother, I will have plenty of glitter and sparkles on any uniform that I end up in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s getting closer! #postaday2011

Hello!  Hello!  Hello!

It’s been awhile since I stopped in to update this blog.  I was resolved to spare you the dreary slog of getting into shape.  The last couple of months have had some highs and some not-so-highs.

Today was my first day back in the gym in weeks.  With holidays, wedding receptions and illness, I’ve found plenty of ways to slack off.  Ben got a bit of a break, too.  His fall football team made it as far as the first round of the playoffs.  Disappointing for the boys, but a bit of a relief for the parents.  Winter season starts on the 27th, so we’ll be busy again next week.

Since the last time that I checked in, I’ve had a bit of a redirection in my goal.  Before Thanksgiving, Ruthie, from our gym, invited us to see one of her bouts.  She’d just been drafted by the Shotgun Shirleys.  They are a flat track team with the Desert Dolls Roller Derby League.  When I started this blog, I was determined to try out with a banked track league.  Then, we went to see Ruthie’s team in action.

I thought that flat track wouldn’t be as exciting, and that it would be easier.  Boy, was I wrong!

What flat track lacks in the “show” aspect, it more than makes up for in speed, toughness and actual sport.  The rules are the same and you have the same number of skaters on the floor; however, the banked track pack moves mores slowly and there is a lot less hitting going on.  The jammer has to maneuver through the pack like a person squeezing from the back of a full elevator car to the door.  In flat track, the pack moves more quickly, and the blockers throw hits harder and more often.  Because the pack moves faster, and it’s hard to get through, points are precious.

During halftime, I talked to members of the Cherry Posse, the Fresh Meat rookie skaters, that were manning the merchandise tables.  Each one talked about their starting point and encouraged me to come out for the team.

On the way home, both Dave and Ben assured me that they thought that I could do this, and that they supported me 100%.

Last night, I went to another bout.  This time, I had my cousins, Rachael & Lisa, with me.  Initially, Lisa had the same preconceptions about flat track that I did.  From our seats, right on the track floor, those quickly changed.

Again, I went up and talked to the girls at the merchandise table.  The league had just held their drafts, but were gearing up for another training loop.  One of the girls handed me a slip of paper with the Desert Dolls email and I just have to show up.  There are no try outs.  The next class starts in mid-January, and I have to pass a set of skills tests to be considered for a team.  They prefer woman with little skating experience, so that they can teach from scratch.

It looks like it is time to move!  new skates are on my Christmas list and Ruthie keeps insisting that I’m ready to join.

Jill continues to work with me and we are tailoring my work-outs to target those skills I will need…getting up off of the floor being the most important!

I think the biggest factor in my decision to try flat track has to do with time.  I have a better chance of actually skating with this league, and skating sooner.  With banked track, I could be looking at a year before I actually get to try out for a team.  Watching the skaters as they prepared to take the track last night, I wanted to lace up skates and get started.

It looks like this could happen soon!

Renewed inspiration…#postaweek2011

I’m so excited!  We’re going to a derby bout this weekend.  One of the trainers at our gym just recently made a derby team.  She’s in a flat track league, and the more that I hear about flat track, the more that I think that this may be the direction that I go.  They’re holding a bout to raise money for charity on Saturday and we’re going to go.  I want to see how different it is on flat track vs. banked track.  I also want my husband to see it in person.  He already thinks that I’m crazy.

Training is going well, but as it gets closer to the end of the year, I’m finding that doubt creeps in.  LC said before he left that he thinks that I am ready to try out now.  I still feel like I need a bit longer.

With this flat track league, they hold try-outs after the first of the year.  I spent some time talking to the gal at the gym, and she said that she initially thought about trying out for a banked track team.  Because Fresh Meat (rookies) don’t really get to skate in bouts for at least a year, it would be a long time before I ever saw some real competitive time on the track.  I didn’t realize that the banked track league had already held try-outs in October, and I know for sure that I wasn’t ready at that time.

In her league, she got to start skating right away.  Every time she sees me, she tells me to come to a practice or a bout, so that I can see that I can do it.

I’m going!  I’m going!

It’s a new dawn… #postaweek2011

New dawn

Well.  Another trainer bites the dust.

We’ve been working with LC for two months, and things had been going really well.  I’ve seen some really impressive improvements in my strength, stamina and overall fitness.  We took measurements about a week and a half ago, and though the actual pounds on the scale had not changed much, my body fat percentage had improved by several points.

About a week ago, LC texted me on a Friday night.  He said that he had some bad news.  He’d been offered a position as Lieutenant with a police department in New Mexico.

I was so disappointed, and so was Ben.  LC has been really making headway in Ben’s training, too.  Though he’s small, Ben is playing center for his football team, and it’s largely due to the increase in his strength.

At our last session with LC, he suggested another trainer, Jill.  I’ve seen her at the gym, but I’ve never seen her actually work with any clients.  LC introduced us, and we talked a lot about how he works with Ben and I.

Jill watched our session, and said that she would be happy to work with us.

When we were finished, we hung around, talking to LC for a bit.  He encouraged us to continue working hard, and right before we left, he said, “By the way.  You’re ready.”  He meant that I’ve come far enough that he feels that I could go try out for derby at any time.

I still want to shoot for after the holidays.  I need to spend time actually skating!  I told him that I would let him know when I was trying out, and that I would keep him posted on my progress.

This morning was our first session with Jill.  I won’t lie.  It was very different, in that she focuses on things differently.  We did a lot of ab work and balance work.  It was tough, but I think that I will really like it.  I found myself wimping out a bit; but, it will get better.

When we got home, I got busy in the kitchen.  We’ve planned out meals for the week, so that we don’t have to rely on fast food.  Healthy lunches, healthy dinners.  Every little bit will make a difference.

All I can hear in my head is Nina Simone’s “Feelin’ Good!”

Ouch #postaweek2011 #fb

I’ve just discovered another reason why I’m not quite ready for derby tryouts…hip flexors!

LC had us doing a different kind of lunge exercise, along with sumo lifts with kettlebells and a side leg lift added.

This morning, I’m going to be walking funny. I haven’t gotten out of bed yet, and already my hips hurt.

This tells me I’ve still got a way to go.

Over the hump #postaweek2011, #fb

Wow.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  September was a crazy month, full of client meetings, travel for me and for my husband, tweet-ups, weddings and an office move.  Add to that two kids with full time schedules, and life is full.  I’ve been going faithfully to the gym three days a week, except when travelling.

While I was in Colorado, I spent a lot of time walking.  We stayed in Fort Collins for part of the time, and I got ambitious.  I took a walk that was intended to be a short one; but, ended up taking several hours.  I was walking along the Poudre River, and every time I thought about stopping and turning around, I’d decide to see what was around the next curve.  Unfortunately, I had the worst shoes possible with me.  I ended up with silver dollar sized blisters on both heels.  It was worth it, though.  It was a beautiful, clear Colorado Indian Summer day.

Walking along the Poudre River

Things have improved significantly with the change in trainers.  We have some consistency, and LC is just as interested in helping me to train for derby as I am.  He’s made a point to do some research and has talked to a couple of women that are on derby teams now.

The overwhelming opinion of all of the women that he’s talked to is that I don’t need to wait to try out.  I’m grateful that LC understands my need to get into better shape for my own self-confidence.  As I’ve said before…I have no doubt that I can compete mentally.  It’s the physical side that worries me.  I want to be in the best condition that I can, so that I can hold my own with girls half my age.

A couple of weeks ago, someone sent a link to my mother, with an article interviewing current derby girls who are all in their 40’s.  They didn’t start until they were in their late 30’s or early 40’s themselves.  It was inspirational and exciting.

I do have to admit…I am still pretty nervous about all of this.  Though I am seeing results from the time in the gym, I have yet to get back up on skates.  I’m going to need to do this SOON.  Now that it’s cooler out, I can spend time outside.  I’m going to have to get to the tennis courts down at the park by our house, and get skating!  I was invited to a skate-along with the Brutal Beauties today; but, it was way out in Mesa.  That’s at least an hour’s drive, and probably closer to two.  I really should have gone, but that nervousness still gets me.

I am over the hump with the gym.  I’m past the ‘dreading it’ phase, though I am learning to keep my mouth shut.  When LC asks how I feel about doing arms, or lunges or other circuits, I’ve found that to say, “I like doing arms,” or “I hate lunges” just makes him push harder.  I can’t win.  The other night, we focused on arms, chest and shoulders.  I would never have believed that just working hard on upper body could actually make me feel like throwing up.

He did say that the next time I’m in, we need to update my stats.  He is starting to see significant changes in me.  That’s gratifying.  All I know is that I still have to do “Old Lady” push-ups, but at least I can do them!

Here we go! #postaweek2011

THIS is what I’m talking about!

I had my first session with LC this morning.  Right off the bat, I knew things were going to be different.

He came in with a large duffel bag, a laptop case and books under his arm…very LARGE arms.  When he opened the bag, I could see all sorts of “stuff” – nutritional supplements, healthy snacks and more books, along with his own workout gear.

We spent the first half hour talking, taking measurements, and performing an overall assessment.  We were both surprised that this hadn’t been done before.  I do have to say…it’s one thing to know that you’re not in the best of shape by the way that your clothes fit.  it’s a whole other type of rude awakening to see it in numbers, on a piece of paper.  Even if I didn’t have derby as a goal I sure as hell need to so something for my overall appearance and health.

Once I’d gotten through the humiliation of that, and LC was very cool about it, we moved over to the open floor.  I love, love, LOVE that LC made a point to do some research even before meeting me.  He had talked to R, the derby girl at the gym, and asked her alot of questions.  She initially told him the same thing that she’d told me.  “I don’t know what she’s worried about.  She can do it now!”  He asked her about the drills they do and how long they spend at each practice and bout.  He also watched some videos online.

You have no idea how much I appreciate that.  I feel like he’s taking this as seriously as I am.

Over on the floor, the very first thing LC did was to pull out a Bosu Ball.  It’s like a big rubber ball that’s been cut in half.  You can stand on the round side, or on the flat side.  The purpose is to work on balance and strength.  It’s used in rehabilitation therapy, as well.  He had me up on the ball, and then brought over a large metal rod.  While keeping my balance, I had to raise the bar from down next to my body to shoulder level, arms extended.  Suddenly, you’re trying to maintain your balance, keep your core tight, raise this bar and breathe correctly…not easy.

Bosu Ball

We progressed through several variations, with dumbbells and kettlebells, and also worked on what I refer to as a circus platform.  You step up and down off of it, much like an elephant in the circus.

Circus Elephant

Pretty soon, thirty minutes had gone by.  It didn’t seem like we’d done much, but judging from the muscles I’m feeling this evening, and the amount that I sweated out, I know that what we did was effective.

LC wants to concentrate less on machines and more on strength, agility, and cardio.

Because of the type of movement that I will have to do, and the way that my weight will be distributed on a banked track, he can foresee what areas I need to concentrate on.

We also spent a lot of time talking about lifestyle, diet, etc.  One of my health goals is to improve my blood pressure.  he’s going to provide some suggestions for diet, not just for me, but for my whole family.

I am thrilled.  Suddenly, I feel a different kind of excitement, not just for derby, but for a new me.