Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 21: post-assessment

The past two weeks, we did assessments to see where we belong (newbie, intermediate 1 or 2, advanced). As anticipated, I'm intermediate 2. We also did inductions last week, and I am now an official Machete Bettie. Yay! Am awaiting my insurance number and my committee list so I can pick an assignment. Finance, perhaps.

Tonight we worked with Rush, who I really dig for training. He knows how much he can ask of us before we start to whine, and then he makes us do more until he knows we're near the end. We did a lot of pack work. I seem to like being at the back of the pack, which is not a good place to be, but I have so little stamina that everyone passes me effortlessly.

At one point, Rush had had us stopped, and when we packed up he told me to get in front. I figured since I am by far the slowest out there, I'd best to step on it, so when he said go I took the hell off. A few seconds later he started hollering at the pack to catch up to me, and I turned my head to look ... they were way back there! How I got so far out in front is anyone's guess. They did catch up to me, yes.

When we took our next water break, Rush asked me if I wanted to go back to Intermediate 1 for pack drills for awhile. I asked him if that was where I needed to be, and he said no, I had earned my 2 slot, but I seemed trepidatious. I admitted that I was, and he pointed out that clearly I *can* move it when need be. He asked me to try to stay in the middle of the pack, and I did my best, but by then I was wearing down and it was showing.

Angela is a great cheerleader, btw. She was working pivot (front of the pack) and talking me through it at the same time, which was hugely helpful to us more in the front because we couldn't always hear Rush. How she gets so damn low I have got to learn.

All in all, a good night. I'm excited, and a little scared, for when my insurance takes effect so I can scrimmage. I need to get over scared - contact is the point!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

week 17: in which I am bumped up to Intermediate 2

I missed last week, since I was in South Padre. So I was looking forward to a bit of an ass-kicking, considering I didn't do squat on vacation and I scraped my ankle on a curb ... and hoo BOY, did we ever get one.
I had a few minutes to warm up, so I went to the kiddie pool and did a few turnaround toe-stops at mega-slow, to be sure I remembered the theory. Then a couple easy laps before drill started. Last night, for some reason, it seemed like we spent more drill time than usual going clockwise. (Not that I'm complaining - I'm frighteningly right-leg dominant, and my left leg can use all the workout it can get.) Scissors, squats, one-leg push-offs ... the usual, except let me interject that it was DAMN HOT in there. I don't know if the AC was off, or if the outside was warmer, or if we were just working harder, but I sweated more last night than I think I have since I started in February.

After stretching, they separated the levels, and I went to Intermediate 1. Scar Wars sent me over to Rush and the Intermediate 2s. First, we did mega-laps ... 25 counter-clockwise, then 25 clockwise, then 25 counter-clockwise, then 25 clockwise. That wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be, although I am now acutely aware of my new mandate: get my slow ass to speed class. (I did miss part of the third 25 because the ankle scrape was demanding tape.)

After that came the cruel, harsh mistress: the Relay. Sprint to the first line, one-knee 180, 15 sit-ups, sprint back, turnaround toe-stop. Sprint to the second line, two-knee fall, 15 push-ups, sprint back, turnaround toe-stop. Sprint to the end, snowplow, sprint back, baseball slide to tag the next girl. The first time we relayed, I was third, behind Basketcase and Scates. I did not suck.

Then we did push drills, where you line up five or six girls in skater position. They take the hips of the girl in front of them and lock their arms straight, and do not move their feet. The girl in the back does all the pushing, and at the end of a lap she drops the line and sprints to the front, and the new girl in the back pushes for a lap. That was fun, if a little unnerving.

Then came the Relay again. (This time, I did suck.) Then I had to leave, since a) I don't have insurance and couldn't play last-man-standing, and b) it's a looooong drive home.

We get assessed next week. (I am fairly certain I'll stay in Intermediate; I don't think I'm ready for Advanced.)

So on balance: tough workout, but the actual skating part is getting easier. It's not automatic yet, but it's slowly getting more natural. And I am LOVING that I'm toning up!

Things to work on:
- turnaround toe-stop, as usual
- speed
- endurance
- core strength

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

week 14 update: OMG it's getting easier!

Had to sit out last week due to TMI crap. Went to practice anyway, so I could get credit for attendance, therefore bringing me closer to active Bettie status. Drag that I had to sit out, because lots of girls were absent since HRD tryouts were finishing the next day so they took it off, and the trainer / newbie ratio was awesome. RATS!

On the plus side ... tonight we worked with Russian Cleavage and Princess Prozac, and we worked the hell out of turnaround toe-stops. I mean, like 45 minutes of our 2½ hours. We did one round, RC and PP conferred, and they decided that we needed to work on the turnaround aspect of the move. Well, damn if that wasn't what we needed. I won't say we all nailed it, but all nine of us were measurably better at it by the end of the evening.

I'm looking forward to next week. Hell, I'm looking forward to cheap skate Thursday night! If no one else comes with me, I might just hole up in the star corner and turn around until I get dizzy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

week 12: so much for the pattern

Tonight was tough. That stupid turnaround toe-stop is still the boss of me. I did so much decently ... I stayed down, I crossed over, I followed the leader and did the obstacle course and spun out on one knee in awesome fashion ... but this damn stop I have got to get on top of. It's one of the basics, and I cannot work around it or do without it.

We did a little more contact tonight - booty blocking, which resembles the bump and/or the hustle, and shoulder blocking, which is easy if you're skating with someone your height but otherwise not so much.

I'm starting to think I need nothing but turnaround toe-stop. All the time, every time, until I get it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

as expected, a rough night

Since I started roller derby training in February, I have noticed a pattern: one week's practice goes great, the next one is tough as nails. Each Tuesday I am curious to see if it will bear out the pattern. Tonight did, for the 11th week in a row. It was on the tough-as-nails side. My feet would not stop cramping (yes, I have been eating bananas, and yes, I have been taking magnesium supplements), so I had to take my skates off twice to work out my stupid arches. Lost a ton of time that way.

Newbie practice was actually better than usual. We had a lot of advanced skaters working with us, so generally a newbie would partner with an advanced for the exercises, or if we didn't need partners they'd just skate alongside us being encouraging. Hot Mess and Mary Choppins continue to be two of my favorites. We also had someone named Speedy something, and she is great - very supportive. The guys are a little less intimidating than formerly, although during suicide drills (where we skate full-bozo in a big ole pack and then when they whistle we stop on a dime, spin around, and skate full-on again) they terrify me.

We got lots of work on turnaround toe-stops, which I am still not quite getting except in theory. We also got to do contact for the first time. We paired up and would skate the width of the rink right there together, trying to drive the other off-course, hips and shoulders. I growled at all my partners because that's the only way I could keep from giggling, and giggling isn't tough unless you do it maniacally, which I can't do so I growled at 'em instead. My partners all thought it was funny, and once you get 'em laughing they're off-balance. SCORE. And I managed to avoid elbowing anyone.

To stop, if we were working something that didn't require us to stop a certain way, I decided tonight I would do a one-knee spin. It's easier than it sounds - while you're cruisin' along, you drop to one knee and let the other foot curve in a big semi-circle in front of you, which leads your body around so you spin. I look too sharp doing that. If there were a position on the team that required someone to spin around on one knee like a rock star, I would own that job.

Plus, let's face it, the booty shorts are awesome. That's at least 40% of the reason I'm doing this.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday update: YAY for not busting ass!

Tuesday evening, we had our first practice in our new venue (Houston Indoor Sports, 221 Barren Springs, Houston 77090, off I-45 North between Richey Road and Airtex behind Lupe Tortilla). It's HUGE - it's a mammoth steel building with two full-size Plexiglas-fenced rinks. The floor is not typical rink; it's these weird almost-white but sort-of-blue tiles that feel almost spongy. There was dust everywhere from construction, so we didn't slide at all. Made T-stopping easy!

Mary Choppins worked with us baby-intermediates all evening. She is a wonderful teacher. She drilled us on footwork, the drunk walk, toe-stop starts, duck-walking, snowplowing, and the dreaded turnaround toe-stop. We all improved. Most of us fell (surprisingly, not me - I am sorta curious to find out how hard that spongy-looking floor really is). I still look like a dipshit out there, but not quite as bad as I did two months ago.

Last night was laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Bummed that I missed the Wednesday craft night, but the laundry had to get done (we were approaching emergency underwear mode).

Today some boring, some fun ... I have a dentist appointment at two. I also have to go pick up my new glasses (yay) and head to the Montrose Skate Shop for toe guards (YAY). I do plan to skate tonight ... cheap skate at DARR if anyone wants to join me!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

WHOOSH! hello

What is there to say about me that y'all don't already know?

I'm 42, divorced and childless, five-ten, about 150, and a lifelong resident of Houston. I work for a pretty decent-sized oil company; I love my job and my co-workers. I live near work, in a cute apartment somewhat older than I am, with my boyfriend and cats (one mine, two ours, although he classifies the ours ones as my lame cat and his cool one). My family and most of my friends are in and around town, so we keep in touch. When it's in season, I'm on cast at my local Renaissance festival. Two months ago, I started training with the Houston Roller Derby's recreational league. I have no illusions that I'll ever be good enough to play for real, but I do hope to get good enough to play rec and have fun. And not break stuff.

Oh yeah, and I love yarn. I currently have at least my body weight in yarn upstairs, lurking in various closets and baskets.