Derby: Level 2, Week 1 (In Which Our Heroine Gets Back in the Saddle)

One of my trainers has suggested keeping a journal during training, as a way to note down any progress made or goals met, as well as a way to form new goals or track current ones. I also like using this space as a way to remember what we worked on week by week, and as a way to encourage myself. So, a recap of my first Level 2 session:

I went into this class nervous, as I’d met several of my classmates at registration the week before, and could see how comfortable many of them were on four wheels. And it certainly didn’t help any that I knew several were repeating the class, two of whom had actually been in New Girl training before. So my thoughts were that if girls who had already been in training couldn’t make it, what chance did I, a fairly new skater, have at making the tryouts and completing the levels of evaluation? Serious reality check there, but one I am grateful for, as it made this week’s introductory class manageable and not quite as intimidating. I was reminded (by my wise sister) that anything worth doing is worth taking the time for, and that to be really great at it, of course it couldn’t happen all at once. And as soon as I realized that and relaxed, my skating was smoother and I didn’t feel so anxious to impress and please on the first day. Miracle of miracles, I felt like I belonged there, something I had been questioning the entire week before.

It was definitely an interesting first class, however. The temperature changes overnight from warm to cold and humid made the entire warehouse dangerous. We couldn’t even get on the track because it was “sweating” and would have led to several serious injuries. We skated on the flat-track portion of the warehouse floor, but even that was pushing it, as the concrete was also sweating. So we just did some low-key warm-ups and squat drills, then did some awesome stretching and talked about skate maintenance–something I’ve been needing since I first started.

This class is enormous, however, at least three times the size of my Level 1 course. The trainers are excited, as this means we can practice bouting. BOUTING! Oh dear lord, here’s where push comes to shove and I see if I’m actually meant not only for skating in a circle, but staying vertical and hitting other girls while doing so.

I was pretty proud of myself at the end of training, though. I really put myself out there and introduced myself to people, talked like I knew what I was talking about (and i did!), but proudest moment? When I realized I was doing the squat pyramids the right way, and the entire time, with easier effort than last session. It felt good to know my weight training is paying off.

The most frustrating part for me has been that I’m still struggling with getting the “box turn” down. And it’s gotten to the point that even thinking about it is stressful because a) i know I can’t do it and b) I know it terrifies me anytime I try to start. I start going through this mental checklist of what I “should” be doing, and then I can’t commit and end up fumbling around. I’m “too much in my head”, and definitely over-thinking it.

Then something Lacy mentioned at training on Saturday struck me. She was telling us how the girls who trained her were “intuitive skaters”, so she had difficulties learning at first because she needed the technical, checklist type of breakdown to finally get it. I realized that maybe that was my problem, but in reverse. I have never had to have someone teach me how to do a crossover–I have just always known how to do it. Maybe I’m simply an intuitive skater, who’s been trying to learn it the technical way. I’m thinking that when I go skate tomorrow, I’ll change my approach. Maybe if I just stop trying to mentally figure out how to do it and instead let me body do it for me, I’ll finally master this thing. And if it doesn’t work, it won’t be any different than what I’m doing now.

Next week we begin our actual training–drills, pack work, pace lines, and endurance. It’s going to be cold and hard and sweaty and I’ll probably bruise something. And I cannot wait.

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