Every time I sit down to write a derby recap, I think “Why is this the only thing I write about?” It seems just as I’ve written one week’s recap, it’s time for another. But I have five or so days in between, and I do plenty in between that I could write about. I could talk about how I’m still searching for a home and at times it feels like it’ll never happen. Or my decision to switch my cats’ diet to a wet food that I someday hope to transition to a homemade diet (I promise it is much more interesting than it sounds!). I could write about how lucky I feel to have moved into a new job that is such a plum, that has been the answer to so many prayers and really fits the type of life I’m interested in living. I really keep meaning to write the Primal Eating month-long recap, but that’s almost two weeks overdue, and honestly I don’t know if I”ll ever get to it. I may simply write, in a few months, of my experience with switching to this new eating lifestyle, and how it’s helped me in so many ways (hint: it’s been 5 weeks and I’ve lost about 10 pounds!).
The honest truth, though, is that for once, I’m not actually being lazy. It’s that derby is consuming my life. Every day, every meal, every workout is geared towards making my legs even stronger, my tummy leaner, and my lungs fuller. Not one minute of one hour spent skating (four days a week) on my own is wasted–I work on skills, speed, footwork, falls, and endurance. If in the end I fail to accomplish what I set out to do, I do not want it to be because I lacked the willpower or discipline, but because I’m just not there yet. This weekend reinforced my beliefs that all must be given–time, calories, and toes; that even more work and dedication and true discipline will be required of me before I can get where I want to go. It will mean falling harder and more often, pushing back, sucking it up, and increasing the weights. I spent this entire weekend either on my skates or on my back recovering–five hours that started very early on Saturday morning followed by a three-hour bootcamp on Sunday have made me a sore, tired, inspired skater.
We stepped it up from just skating to pack work, which I really enjoy doing because it’s an aspect of derby that I don’t know much about, and I like learning the game itself. Pack work involves not thinking about your own feet or skating, but rather trying to accomplish something using those skills. It forces you to be better simply because you can’t think about what you need to do–you just do it. For example, at one point someone else’s skate get locked into mine, and down I went. But instead of losing it and spinning out, my muscle memory kicked in and I took it down on a knee, held it there for a few moments (while struggling to disengage my skate), then recovered, still in my spot in the pack and ready for more. (“Fantastic recovery!”) It was proof to me that not only was it a good idea to have practiced that fall earlier in the day, it would be a better idea to keep practicing.
I came into the warehouse early, before the level 1 class even got there, and spent some time on the banked track by myself, trying to get this box turn down. I’ve finally got it no problem on a flat track surface, but the difference in angles throws me off. It isn’t pretty and it isn’t ready for tryouts. So I spent some time on it, and I also worked on my backwards skating on the track. I used to have problems coming out of the curve, but a little course correction and I’m doing much better. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to working out my entire thigh. Strengthening the entire leg with squats, lunges, abductions/adductions, leg presses, and ham curls has really helped with “pumping’ around the track, and I was grateful for the extra strength while “slalom-ing” in the pack. I had a surreal moment when I stepped off the track to let the L1 girls on and one of them, lacing her skate, had this look of awe on her face as she said to me “Backwards skating, huh? Wow. I’m nowhere near there.” And there I was, red-faced and out of breath, trying to figure out if she was talking to me with that look on her face. It’s the same look I get when I’m talking to a league member.
My favorite thing about the Level 2 class is how quickly I’m progressing. Each week, I know I’m a better skater than the week before. Lacy says I’m doing…awesome….and there is nothing quite like hearing your trainer recognize that you are actually improving with each class. While I have never been a runner (or athlete of any kind, really), I’ve been trying to push myself with every round of sprints–going even when it hurts, putting power into every stride–and it’s paid off: I can go harder, longer. My lungs have adapted. It’s ALL adapted, and that’s the beauty of pushing yourself–you begin to do what once you thought impossible.
It was a long, hard weekend. And it’s not the last of them. Thank God.