They call me Fresh Meat but I will tell you that after Tuesday’s workout I was more like that three week old slimy pile of ground beef growing fur long enough to style you found in the back of the fridge. Roller Derby is not for wimps, but I’m sure you already knew that. I am decidedly not a wimp but I am here to tell you that I had my ass handed to me at the rink. I, of course, loved every single minute of it.
Three days later, however, I am still sore. More sore than I ever was when I started doing the cross fit style boot camp last summer. I attribute this to doing things such as lunge kicks and squat thrusts wearing full pads and skates. And practicing 180 knee turns, baseball slides, double knee slides and four point falls. And walking on my toe stops. And jetting around the rink as fast as I could in a nice low squat. I was neither fast nor low, but I will be. And I fell. A lot.
My first night of derby training clued me into a very vital fact about myself: I am not as young as I used to be. I am pretty tough but I no longer bounce when I hit concrete. Instead I make this disgustingly thick THUD followed by the loud craaack of my helmet making contact. I actually saw stars once. To my credit, I immediately popped back up each time, practically begging for more but an hour and a half I came up increasingly slower. At one point I quietly cried uncle and took an additional water break. I tried to console myself that this was new and I am in good shape and this is just a different muscle group than I have been working for awhile. I finished strong. It’s hard not to when finishing involves sprawling out on the floor for some stretches.
The verdict? I love it and I apparently have some redeeming qualities that mean I get to come back. I have a lot to work on and a lot to learn, but it is so freaking fun. And I get to wear knee socks. That is AWESOME.
A few lessons I learned from this first training session:
- Do not run four hard miles directly before lacing up your skates and skating hard for two hours and expect to be at the top of your game. I burned over 1,800 calories between the two activities over the course of 3 hours, relying on some sort of mythical fuel reserve from my lunch four hours earlier (where I had also gone for another run). Hi, dumbass: Not smart.
- Drink water. As a quasi runner and self proclaimed veteran outdoor adventurista one would expect that I understand the importance of hydration. Of course I do. But I was so excited to be skating I just forgot to drink until the horrific pounding headache and nausea of dehydration during a killer work out took over. Again, dumbass: what the hell was that?
- It’s okay to wear the compression shorts with knee socks. Roller derby is probably the only place where this is acceptable. I had no idea what was acceptable to wear for training so I showed up in loose fit Nike running pants. They were way too warm and bunched up under my pads. As it turns out, anything is acceptable as long as you can move in it.
- Falling is an art form. Falling well takes practice. A lot of practice. Sometimes intended practice. Sometimes accidental practice. Either way, it’s practice. Yeah, that’s it. Practice…
- Toe stops are just for looks. Did you know you can run on them? Pop up on them? Kick your own ass with them? These are all things I learned about toe stops. I can now impress you all by walking across my kitchen on my toe stops. Bet you want to see a pic of that. Yeah…not happening. Well… Maybe.
Now, if I could just walk without grimacing I would be thrilled. Fresh meat indeed.