Behold…my first, official derby bruises! They don’t hurt, and they certainly won’t be the last ones I sport. Probably the best part, though, is that I feel like I earned them. Each bruise or floor burn represents getting out and doing something that scares me. They are reminders that I’m challenging myself and getting better with each attempt.
Last week, the Cherry Posse had one long practice Wednesday night, rather than two shorter practices over two days. The league was holding tryouts for their new traveling team, and needed the rink on Thursday.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was worried. Regular practices run an hour and a half. By the end of that time, not only am I soaked with sweat, but, I’m also exhausted. A three-hour run would be tough.
I was also nervous, because I felt that there were some things that I was falling behind on.
Credit is due to our awesome trainers. They knew to plan well, and structured the practice so that we were changing things up constantly and taking water breaks about every ten minutes.
While it was tough, I’m happy (proud!) to say that I was able to keep up and improved on some skills that I’d been having trouble with.
The last thing we did was to establish a baseline for one of our skills test. We have to be able to skate twenty-five laps in five minutes.
The trick to building up speed is to really use crossovers as you go around the ends of the rink. Though I used to do them without a thought on ice skates, I’ve had a rough time with them on roller skates. Heavy roller skates and big , bulky kneepads make the movements more difficult; and, I’ve not really trusted myself to be able to go that fast.
We partnered up with a teammate and one person skated first while the partner counted laps. I paired with MoMo, a tall blond with a great attitude. She was awesome! She managed twenty laps and made it look so easy.
Then, it was my turn. As I got going, I built up some speed and really tried to focus on picking up my feet, staying low and turning into the curves. I got a rhythm going and suddenly, I was crossing over.
Our teammates were cheering us on, and a couple of the trainers could see that I was picking my foot up and placing it correctly for the crossover. They started calling, “You’ve got it! Good job!”
With that, I my focus evaporated, and I was just barreling around the corners, out of control. The next thing that I knew, I was sliding sideways. I crashed into the long wall, laughing, but frustrated. This was slowing me down!
I shook my head and got to my feet. I wasn’t hurt… I just needed to get back into the rhythm.
I definitely lost time with the fall…I lost one or two laps’ worth. When the whistle blew, I was rounding the corner on my fourteenth lap. From an endurance standpoint, I was fine. I just need to get faster. I’d love to be one of those already at twenty laps; but, considering where I started, I know that I will only get better.
Below are some pictures of my “brain bucket.” I messed around with a silver marker. The trainers asked us to put our names on our helmets, so that they don’t have to refer to us as “Hey, YOU!” When I get drafted to a particular team, I’ll upgrade to a helmet that is coordinated to our team colors. For now, it’s got a “Desert Rose,” inspired by M.A. Brotherton.