March 28 – first practice!

Boys and Girls Club – 2 hours

The floor felt slick after skating for so long outside, but after a couple slideouts we managed to ease our pushes and skated steady.

This practice was our media debut. Reporters from the BJ and Print programs at the college as well as the Lethbridge Herald were there to give us some very appreciated PR. I admit we looked pretty awesome in our homemade team shirts.

We warmed up around the gym floor which is in much need of replacement. Pieces of the wood flooring were coming up and we had to pylon off the areas where the floor was missing completely. But it’s the only indoor venue we’ve found so far that will let us skate and that we can afford.

Maude took us through some drills while Epic talked to the media. It was great to skate in a pack and have the camaraderie of the team.

Stuff we practiced

Crossovers – both directions

Leaning turns

Sticky skating (propelling without lifting skates from the floor)

Skating in a pack

Leaning into each other

Weaving in and out of skaters in a line

Booty blocks

– t stop
– knee stop
– plow stop

– knee fall
– baseball slide fall
– superman slide fall
– then getting up within 3 seconds

Walking on our toes (running on your toe stops is how you get a fast start)

Tried a little bit of running crossovers, but with the floor so slick and the venue so small, I wasn’t quite comfortable with that. I’ll try that again outside where I have more room to lose control.

Looking at footage of myself skating I can see I’m skating really knock-kneed. It’s an old habit from my running days and partially due to the fact my legs are just built weird. My running coach tried hard to fix me in high school, but I was unmotivated and frankly didn’t care. I’d really like to break myself of that habit but if that’s the way my body is built then I may have to live with it. Des has been great in helping me open up my stance, but I think I’m falling into old habits as I gain speed.

Sad we won’t have another official practice till after Easter. Back to skating outside!

**edited to add… I got to check off some of the training benchmarks today. I know I’m not expert at some of them, but at least I know I can kinda do them.

March 26

Decided to go for a quick jaunt because the rugrats were way too energetic for my liking. A quick spin around the westside lake would do them and me some good.

After about 6 laps around the lake, we rode over to the new school to skate at the tennis courts. Great surface and the boys timed my 2 minute sprints as I circled around the court. The kids also played ‘try and catch mommy on their bikes’ which gave me the opportunity to practice quick turning.

I don’t know how far I went but I skated for just over 1.5 hours, with about 80% of that at fast pace.

Just as we were leaving, some other Dames arrived to start their practice session. It was a great night to skate.
Got in touch with rollergirl and started pricing out some new skates. Great service! Can’t wait to make a final decision. However they told me today that it may take some time for me to get accustomed to new skates because my current skates have a heel… The new ones won’t. She said I may feel off balance for a little while till I get accustomed. Could be interesting.

March 24

Riverbottom 4.56 miles (7.34 kms)

Skated with my 5-year-old (on bike) and my friend Corynn. Slow pace with some medium to fast spurts in between

The last half a mile was spent practicing pushes on my boy with his bike. I would skate behind him, squat, give him a push, then race to catch up with him to give him another push. This was a REALLY good workout and I was huffin pretty hard after that. A good way to train if you have little ones in tow. Highly recommended.

March 23

Riverbottom skated 1.95 miles (3.14 kms) then climbed up the gazebo stairs to the top of the hill. Concentrated on staying in a semi-squat position to better work the thighs and butt. We sang songs by the Go-Go’s to keep our spirits up.


Thanks for coming out and keeping me motivated Des. I doubt I would have done that without you.

The story of my skates

When I was little I was fascinated with roller skating. I think my love first came from when I watched Facts of Life and marvelled at how Tootie whipped around her dorm. I instantly wanted a pair.

My mom, however, was less than supportive; stating it seemed pointless to own a pair of roller skates while living on a farm, plus roller skates were way out of our family budget.

But every year for Christmas and my birthday, I would ask for a pair. After many years of asking, my mom finally agreed that once my feet stopped growing, she would get me some. I was around 10 at the time and it was agony that I was going to have to wait a couple more years.

But I waited.

Somewhere around the time I was 12 or 13, my mom, brother and I were at the locally owned sports store in High River looking to get my brother geared up for another season of hockey. Up high on a shelf, perched perfectly on the box they came in, were a pair of white figure skating boots, with cherry-red wheels attached to the sole.

My beloved wheels

I was in love.

I pulled my mom in the direction of the skates, telling her THESE were the skates I wanted when my feet stopped growing. My mom checked the price tag and she grimaced a bit. I don’t recall the price exactly, but I do remember they were over $50, but below $100. By today’s standards, that’s a decent price for a figure skating boot & wheels. But this was the mid 1980’s; we were just coming out of a recession and farmers were hit hard. Paying between $50 and $100 for a pair or roller skates that I would only be able to use in the house still seemed a little ridiculous to my mom.

Like an old-fashioned Canadian Tire commercial, I visited the skates every time we went to town. I don’t know if my mom got tired of my constant badgering or if she felt sorry for me looking all doe-eyed at a pair of roller skates, but one day while in the store she gave permission to try them on.

I remember my mom wanting me to go a size up just in case my feet grew. So I slipped my size 7 feet into the size 8 skates and instantly felt diva. I had no idea how to roller skate, so I clumsily shuffled around the store to try and guage the fit. We took them home that day as an early birthday present.

The rest of my summer consisted of me rolling from one end of the house to the other. Eventually dad poured concrete into the machine shop so my rolling opened up a bit. I had zero technique, zero training. I ate in them; I watched TV in them. Eventually my feet grew into a perfect size 8 and the boot formed around my foot.

My skates followed me for many years. Any opportunity to visit grandparents who lived in town meant a chance for me to skate around the neighbourhood on streets and sidewalks. Unfortunately, my outdoor skills sucked, never having to navigate gravel, debris and curbs. As I moved into high school, I still held onto my skates even after the fad of roller skating turned into inline skating.

My toes are getting a little more than scuffed

I moved away for college and my skates stayed safely tucked away at my parent’s farm in still relatively pristine condition, short of wear on the rubber toe-stop.

During my college years, friends all around me were inline skating. I tried inline skating sometime after graduating from college… and hated it.

Sad and lonely in storage at the farm but not forgotten, I pulled my skates out of storage a few years ago and started skating again. My technique was and still is still sketchy, but I’m happy to be skating with a purpose now.

The downside is after only a few weeks of training, the beloved skates I’ve owned for over 20 years are finally starting to show their wear. Scuffs and scrapes are quicklyappearing on the toes of my leather boots from skidding

Veeeeerrrrryyyyy sexy and tempting.

over concrete and I’m afraid to ruin one of the few items I’ve kept from my childhood. Soon I’ll be faced with the decision to either duct tape the crap out of them to avoid further shredding, or bite the $200+ bullet and get a sexy new pair of Riedells.

Tough choice.

March 21

River bottom, 4.12 miles (6.63 kms) About half of that distance was fast paced, the rest was leisure.

Started working on jumps (jumping over cracks is a nice pretend obstacle)

Trying to get the hang of spins again. (I loosened my trucks for better cornering and control, but it’s completely changed the technique to do a spin. Weird.

Plow stops… man do you need thigh strength for that. But I can come to a decent stop when going at a leisure pace. I’m pretty sure I’ll always be a toe stop girl at heart LOL

March 20

Three times around Henderson Lake equals 6 miles (9.65 kms) Good skate. Focused on skating low and trying to power skate against the wind.

Headed to the river bottom later in the afternoon, did about .5 miles (.9 kms). Didn’t get far due to kids who didn’t want to keep up with mom 🙂

Training Benchmarks

Time to get serious I suppose… I’ll be updating this as I complete benchmarks. Can’t do a lot of these until I’m on a proper track. Can’t wait to get started!

1 Basic Skating Skills
The skater must demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

[ x ] Skating Posture

[ x ] Bends at knees and hips with shoulders back
[ x ] Swings arms fluidly

[ x ] Stride

[ x ] Has steady, confident, fluid strides
[ x ] Uses both feet to push forward on straight-aways

[ x ] Crossovers

[ x ] Performs smooth crossovers while skating at a brisk pace going into and coming out of turns
[ x ] Uses both feet to push during crossovers

[ x ] Speed and Endurance

[ x ] Skates 25 Laps around regulation track within five minutes (based on WFTDA regulation track)

[ x ] Stops
Skater must come to a complete stop from a brisk pace, using proper form and without losing her balance. Must be able to complete both stops effectively.

[ ] T-Stop
[ x ] Plow Stop

[ x ] Other skills

[ x ] Performs one-foot glides with each foot for the length of the straightaway with good balance.

[ x ] Skater must be in derby stance with one foot completely off the floor
[ x ] Skater maintains sufficient speed and does not flail limbs

[ x ] Has the ability to propel self while keeping all eight wheels on the floor
[ x ] Can move easily and fluidly from one side of the skating lane to the other
[ x ] Can perform smooth quick cuts, crossing the track at least three times on each straight-away and twice on each turn

2 Falls
Skater must perform the following falls safely, correctly, and naturally.

[ x ] Single Knee Falls

[ x ] Left
[ x ] Right
[ x ] Recovers from each fall without using hands to get up
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Double Knee Falls

[ ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Figure 4/Baseball Slide

[ x ] Both legs stay on or near the ground during the fall
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within three seconds

[ x ] Degree Turn Single Knee Fall

[ x ] Exhibits control to complete the fall in exact opposite direction
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

[ x ] Four point fall

[ x ] Hands are kept in front of the body, fingers closed into fists
[ x ] Skater is able to return to active skating within two seconds

3 Balance/Agility
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following tasks without losing her balance or falling.
[ x ] Stepping from a standstill

[ x ] Forward and Backward
[ x ] Side to side in both directions

[ x ] Squatting
Skater achieves a 90 to 120 degree angle at the knee during each squat. Feet and knees are hip width or wider. Eyes look forward, chest is out and back is flat.

[ x ] Squats and coasts through the entire straightaway and turn
[ x ] Squats and propels self on straightaways and around turns

[ x ] Hopping

[ x ] Hops over an object at least 3 inches in height without touching the object or losing
balance while skating at a moderate pace

[ x ] Skater’s feet must leave the ground simultaneously, then land simultaneously

[ x ] Skater hops from one foot to the other while moving forward

[ x ] Focus

[ x ] Can look left, right, and behind quickly and unexpectedly while maintaining regular skating stride at a moderate pace

[ x ] Weaving

[ x ] Maneuvers through 10 cones placed six feet apart, covering both straight-aways and turns

4 Skating With Others
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally and safely while skating at a moderate pace.

[ x ] Whips

[ x ] Giving whips

[ x ] Giving inside whip
[ x ] Giving outside whip

[ x ] Receiving whips

[ ] Receiving inside whip
[ x ] Receiving outside whip

[ x ] Hip whips

[ x ] Giving hip whips
[ x ] Receiving hip whips

[ x ] Pushes

[ x ] Giving pushes
[ x ] Receiving pushes

[ x ] Pacing

[ x ] Skater adjusts to the variable speeds (decrease/increase) of a paceline, while maintaining an arms length distance between herself and the skaters in front of and behind her without falling, tripping, overtaking or running into another skater.

[ x ] Weaving Around Moving Obstacles

[ x ] Demonstrates weaving through a single-file line of moving skaters who are each an arm’s length apart.

[ x ] Unexpected Obstacles

[ x ] Skating within a pack of at least four other skaters who fall in front of the skater at various unexpected times. Skater must deal with the fallen skaters by avoiding or safely falling without hurting self or the fallen skater, and without causing an unnecessary hazard for any of the pack skaters.

[ x ] Leaning

[ x ] Skates while leaning shoulder to shoulder with another skater while maintaining an upright position and propulsion without tripping, falling, or becoming unsteady.

[ x ] Bumping

[ x ] Maintains or recovers balance, without falling, while being bumped into and having wheels bumped by other skaters.

5 Blocking
Skater must demonstrate the ability to perform the following skills legally and safely while skating at a moderate pace.

[ x ] Taking Hits

[ x ] Responds safely (without flailing or grabbing other skaters, if falling, she falls safely, accurately, and small, without sprawling unnecessarily, and with 2 to 4 second recoveries) to repeated heavy hip checks and shoulder checks.
[ x ] Demonstrates the above in a pack situation, without causing an unnecessary hazard for pack skaters.

[ x ] Positional Blocking/Frontal Blocking/Stall Blocking

[ x ] Performs with good posture and without loss of balance or focus

[ x ] Checks
Performs checks with legal body parts delivered within legal blocking zones with moderate to heavy force while skating at a brisk pace.

[ x ] Hip checks

[ x ] Left hip
[ x ] Right hip

[ x ] Shoulder checks

[ x ] Left shoulder
[ x ] Right shoulder