Hockey playoffs are done for me, so I’m back

Well, my hockey team got eliminated from playoffs last night, so I guess that’s my cue to start blogging again.

The last couple weeks have been busy with watching hockey, work and dealing with derby business on and off the track. A lot has happened. I think the only way to go through it all and keep it organized is through point form.

  • Our dear Attila TheMum took a bad fall a few weeks ago and broke her wrist. We’ve had some concussions, shoulder separations, knee injuries, etc. but this was our first for-real broken bone on a teammate. It scary and it’s hard to not think about what if it had been you. We do our best to fall properly, but weird things just happen that’s out of our control.
  • The following practice I tried to jump over a skater who had fallen in front of me and I dreadfully failed. I came down hard with my right shoulder hitting the ground with all my weight behind it. A trip to the chiropractor resulted him in being concerned about swelling and popping in my shoulder and he had me off full contact.

    Myself and Bashin Bindi working on a drill as Coach Pauly looks on.

  • That Saturday was our weekend bootcamp with Coach Pauly. We partnered with the Gas City Rollers and skated at the arena in Brooks. As far as I’m concerned, Coach Pauly is the cornerstone of the world of roller derby, coaching for top teams and is now working with Edmonton’s own E-Ville league full-time. He is also the coach of the upcoming Team Canada roller derby team and wow, are we ever lucky to have him in our province. The first time I met Coach Pauly I wasn’t even benchmarked but I attended a couple of his CWRDA sessions at bootcamp in Edmonton. So I was really excited to have the opportunity to skate under his tutorage again. However, my shoulder injury kept me from any full-on contact drills so I didn’t get the full effect from the weekend like I wanted. But overall, learned A LOT! Even by just watching.
  • During Sunday’s bootcamp our dear Jesse Dahmer fell victim to a bad fall during a drill and broke her leg in two places… that’s two skaters, two broken limbs, in less than a week. Again, it’s hard not to think about this stuff.

    Sunday morning warmup at the Brooks arena. Yes, I'm wearing my winter coat... it was effin' COLD in there! Photo by Medi

  • Medi Lizious and I had a really good chat while the gals continued their drills at the bootcamp. I expressed my concern about the number of serious injuries that were happening. She assured me there were things I could do to help protect myself from broken bones… EXERCISE! The more you exercise, the faster your bone mass builds and the stronger your muscles and ligaments are to help hold your bones in place if the unfortunate were to happen.
  • Taking this advice and realizing how much I’ve been plagued by upper-body injuries, I decided to make a more conscious effort to do more weight training. So I contacted the lovely Cheetah Von Teese from the Calgary Roller Derby league for her workout regime. She is all muscle and beauty like her namesake(s) and I’m in awe of what she does on a weekly basis. Training starts in May… wish me luck with that.
  •  Back to the bootcamp; Coach Pauly lead our leagues on a round table discussion about whatever we wanted to talk about. The conversations were candid and honest and also brought out some issues that we, as a league, need to improve and/or solve before we can move on. I’m happy that our league is continuing the conversations to make us a better unit overall.
  •  With spring here, it means a move back into the Adams Ice arena for practice. But unfortunately scheduling isn’t really on our side and we can only have practices Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But my dear derby wife is still working hard to find us a more permanent home where only we dictate the hours we can skate.
  •  We are also so thrilled to have a local retailer see how cool rollerskating is, whether you derby or not, and has started to carry gear! Wheels, skates, bearings, knee pads, helmets… EVERYTHING! So if you’re passing through Lethbridge, make sure you throw some support to Steel Sass.
  • Countdown to my trip to Rollercon in Las Vegas in July is going to start soon. You’ve been warned.
  • I’m so pleased that our new fresh meat coach I.C. Nuffin is making our freshies work hard! We continue to see new faces and many returns every week. It makes me so happy to have helped create a league that so many can take part in. We’re hovering around the 40-mark for skaters with many freshies close in their skills to allow them to come to practice full-time. Thinking about league expansion is so exciting!!!!!!

So in a nutshell, that’s what’s been going on. Lots more is going on in my head in regards to my own development and how I’m fitting in with the league, but I’ll save that for another day.

Derby love to you all!!!!

Fueling your body for roller derby isn’t as hard as I thought…

Taking my lunch break to talk about… FOOD!

I’ve had a couple of skaters in the recent past ask me what I eat before and after practice. I can honestly say diving into the food side of roller derby is pretty intimidating. All players want to do their best to eat right, but mix that with work, school, second jobs, being a mom, family commitments, kids who are picky eaters and the rising cost of food, it’s definitely a challenge.

I have to say, I’m pretty lucky in that my derby widow is a former chef and he handles 99% of the cooking. He makes suppertime look like a cakewalk, being a stay-at-home-dad and juggling his home business on top of that. (I can feel you all have a hate-on for me right now, don’t you?)

It wouldn't be appropriate to talk about nutrition without talking about water. Click on the photo to enlarge, read and learn.

Aside from that, though, it is possible to do some minor changes to your diet to help out your derby life. For those who knew me pre-derby, I was a junk-food-aholic. I would choose a Toblerone bar over a cereal bar for breakfast. I would eat a bag of ripple chips and onion dip myself in one night. When I joined derby I didn’t even think twice about changing my diet because I figured the extra calories I was consuming with junk would do my body good.

Then I found a fantastic handout at my gym. It’s not really a diet to lose weight per se, but suggestions to fuel your body effectively. My guess is an average 2-hour practice burns 800-1000 calories. If you’re heavier set, you burn more. But if you’re not feeding your body appropriately before and after, you’re not getting the most out of those workouts.

The minor changes I make to my food consumption on days I exercise have changed my energy level drastically. While I found my junk-food cravings have greatly diminished since becoming more active, I still indulge in my favourites and pig out on fast food sometimes. This isn’t a diet. I hate that word. It’s about making minor changes to your meals before and after you exercise to get the most out of your workouts… that’s it!

Read below and pay particular attention to the ‘ideas to get you started.’ Many of those items are very doable for the average family and not disgusting to eat either!

What should I eat before activity?

Foods high in carbohydrates

  • digested quickly and are the major fuel for muscles
  • carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and grains such as pasta and rice. Milk products also supply some

Foods low in protein and fat

  • digested slowly and may make you feel sluggish and nauseated
  • protein and fat are found in fast-foods, chips, meats, pastries, etc.

Food low in fibre

  • digested slowly and may cause cramping and lead to a bathroom break during exercise
  • high fibre foods include bran muffins, beans, high-fibre cereals

Eat 2-4 hours before your event

  • some athletes may be able to eat less than 2 hours before the event
  • chose smaller amounts of food the closer you get to exercise

Experiment during training and don’t try anything new before competition

  • timing, type and amount of food you should eat is highly variable

Ideas to get you started:

  • fruit smoothie in the blender with milk, yogurt, banana, berries
  • 100% juice box, sports bar
  • hot/cold cereal, milk, dried fruit
  • Carnation instant breakfast
  • pasta, tomato sauce, salad
  • sports drink, cereal bar, yogurt
  • bagel, jam, chocolate milk, veggies
  • toast, honey, apple sauce

What should I eat after activity?

Re-fuel with carbs!

  • you need to replace the carbohydrates your muscles burned for energy
  • the harder you train or compete, the more carbohydrates you have burned and will need to replace
  • carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals and grains such as pasta and rice. Milk products also supply some
  • eat a source of carbohydrate RIGHT AFTER exercise when your muscles are most receptive to re-fuel

A source of protein

  • protein is required for rebuilding and repair of tissues such as muscle that is damaged during exercise
  • within 2 hours of finishing exercise, eat a source of protein
  • protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, peanut butter, nuts/seeds, eggs, togu, legumes (baked beans, lentils, etc.) milk, cheese and yogurt

Pump up the antioxidants

  • exercise stresses the body which generates compounds which can damage cells in the body. Antioxidants help to prevent this damage
  • antioxidants
    • vitamin C, beta-carotene and phytochemicals are found in fruits and vegetables
    • vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, wheat germ and vegetable oils

Ideas to get you started

  • shake made in the blender with milk, yogurt, banana, berries, wheat germ
  • baked potato, steak, steamed broccoli
  • pasta, tomato meat sauce, salad
  • sports drink, trail mix or raisins and peanuts
  • toast, eggs, chocolate milk, carrots
  • chicken breast, rice, green peas
  • sports bar, milk, fruit
  • baked beans, bun, cucumbers

    MMMMM mixy

Cherri’s favourite (sorta healthy) indulgences

Trail mix

Yes, technically trail mix is on my bad list because I have to cut my sodium. But I still use it to help refuel after I run over my lunch hour because it’s easy to keep a bag of trail mix at my desk. I love the Wal-Mart Great Value line of trail mixes. Lots of different varieties and this particular kind has 15% of your daily value of vitamin E in only ¼ cup serving.

Berries and Ice Cream

MMMMMMMM berry

Wal-Mart sells this frozen 4 berry mix. It’s a large re-sealable bag so it will last you a while. It’s my favourite bedtime snack… I fill a cereal bowl with the berries, microwave for 1 minute to soften them, then I scoop ice cream over top. I usually have more berries than ice cream in the mix. I nuke the entire dish for another 40 seconds to make it more gooey. I love partially melted ice cream! The calcium in the ice cream is an added bonus!

Sports Drinks

I call this an indulgence because they are ridiculously expensive but great to help your body refuel in a pinch because they are available everywhere. To stretch out the dollar value, I do a half water/half drink mix; also because they are ridiculously sweet and don’t quench my thirst in full strength.

Chocolate bars

If I gotta have some chocolate, I go for something with almonds or nuts. Or I try to find a dark chocolate variety, which I hear is a little better for you compared to milk chocolate.

Baked Lays

MMMMMMM baked…. For those salty snack cravings. Not super healthy, but a better alternative to ripple chips and dip and it’s not rice cakes.

****

So there you go! I hope the ideas posted above will help you get the ball rolling. For those wanting to make a food change, it’s about doing a little at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. I’d love for everyone to share their favourite indulgences or pre/post exercise foods! I’m always looking for suggestions!!!! Comment! Comment! Comment!

**All information was taken from handouts my gym provided. I’m not a doctor, fitness trainer, nor a professional nutritionist. Do your own research and talk to your doctor before changing anything drastic about your diet or fitness regime. Do what works for you and your body… Yadda yadda yadda…

Just barely out of reach

We were SO close.

So close to finding a space. Not just any space… a space that was dedicated as ours.

A space we could afford.

A space we could decorate.

A space where we could set up a permanent track.

A space that could have become an athletic and derby training resource.

A space where WE could dictate our practice schedule.

A space to store our fresh meat loaner gear… Not to mention pylons, tape, medical supplies, tools… Stuff that gets shuffled to every practice by the dedicated ones.

So close.

We wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did without Betty Believit; negotiating hard with local realtors, building owners and filtering through city bureaucracy.

The good news is that this chapter has an epilogue and there still may be something to celebrate a couple months down the road.

Keep all limbs and appendages crossed for us!

A love letter to my skates

Left: My skates on their inaugural run. Right: My skates as of this morning.

Dear skates,

I feel compelled to write you a letter. Please forgive my disjointed thoughts as it’s sometimes hard to explain how I feel about you.

We’ve been together for a year now and I feel it odd I haven’t named you. Inanimate extensions of my life often get named, cars in particular, as I’ve had a Katie the K Car and a Patty O Brien, a green Dodge Neon.

But you have remained nameless.

Perhaps it’s because you have never been lifeless. Perhaps it’s because when I slip you on my feet, you become a natural extension of my body. You move how I move. I control you yet you control me. Without each other we cannot portray freedom, motion and power in the same way we do when we are not conjoined.

It may be a little creepy, but I like to abuse you.

I bang the backs of your wheels into the floor while I’m lacing up to make sure my heel is locked in tight. I pull so hard on your strap across the top of my foot, I can practically hear the stitching heave. I scrape your leather skin on the roughest of surfaces when I fall.

I’ve taken you through mud. I’ve taken you through puddles. But in my defense, I’ve also taken you apart and wiped and cleaned every piece of you.

Sometimes after a practice I toss you into my skate bag so hard that I’m certain I’m giving you minor nicks and cuts from all the other stuff in my bag. Sometimes I do it out of frustration; other times I do it because practice went late and I only have minutes to get out of there. I am sorry for the days you have to live in that space, mixed with all my nasty-smelling gear. But out of all my pads, tape, tools and wheels, you will always be the sweetest-smelling item in there.

I remember the first day I took you out for a test run.

You look a lot different now than you did a year ago, which is to be expected. Even though you are now stretched, scuffed and dirty, I love you more now than I did when you were shiny and new.

I love how your skin molded so nicely to my feet; with it gently curving around the bunion on my right foot. There is a perfect impression of all my footly imperfections inside each boot.

That’s what makes you unique and truly mine forever.

I’ve made some adjustments since I’ve first met you… I changed your laces, upgraded your cushions and changed your toe stops. Your toes were taped to protect your skin where it tends to get worn the most. I remember I thought I was smart in taping a single row of tape completely around the bottom part of your boot, in the hopes it would further protect you from all the elements outdoor skating brings. I also remember how I cried inside when I went to change that tape and part of your skin came off with it. It devastated me that something I thought would be doing good, did you harm.

It’s no secret that I’ve had some wheel issues. I hope one day I will find the answers I’m looking for. But I find it fitting that my first pair of wheels, my outdoor wheels, are still my favourites by a long shot. Like you, they also look a lot different from their first run. The graphics on the outer rim have long since been worn off; the sharp edges of the wheels are worn down like a bald tire; the skating surface is nicked from sharp gravel that outdoor skating brings. But despite their imperfections and your imperfections and my imperfections, I feel magic when we come together.

Is that weird? I hope not.

One day, I may have to quit you. But I don’t foresee that being for a long, long time. Even if the reason I brought you into my life no longer exists, I feel I will still use and abuse you in every way. Even if the reason I brought you into my life outlives your stitching or plates or body, I will never toss you aside. Like my first pair of roller skates, you will be held in high esteem; carefully tucked away for a grandchild to find many years from now.

I hope the scrapes, scars and tape residue will give them a peak what my life was like at this moment in time. Because I’ve been pretty lucky to be given the opportunity to get to know you, skates. Right now, aside from my family and closest friends, I probably spend the most time with you.

Thanks for everything you’ve given me.

Love,
Cherri

…and now for something a little different

This is what we do in our spare time…


I guess I should explain a little bit… every month the Dames and friends get together to celebrate the birthdays of the month. This one was a themed SPARKLE PARTY fashioned after this video

We decided we couldn’t look this fabulous without hitting up a local bar with a kick ass flash-mob-esque dance routine. This is our dress rehearsal. So there you go… something a little different.

This is WordPress’ idea for an April Fool’s joke… did anyone else get this?

Well played WordPress... well played.

I logged into my stats to find a huge bar indicating over 100 hits in one day! But I mouse over on the actual bar to find my real hits. What a bunch of comedians those WordPress people are.

And finally, the Cherri Cam!


I went for my first hard outdoor skate this evening. (STATS 9 km in 35 minutes, top speed 23.9km/hour) But just for fun I decided to pull out my video camera and record my favourite section of trail I like to skate on during my last 5 minutes. According to my GPS I was traveling at about 18 km/hour, hence the bumpy, jiggly video.

With the video reminiscent of being chased by zombies, I decided to pay homage to one of my favourite local Calgary bands, The Nix Dicksons and play one of my favourite songs, Curtis’ Zombie Movie. Enjoy!

To hear more the Nix Dicksons, go here!

Three months have passed… what have I accomplished?

Back in December I wrote some fitness, derby and nutrition resolutions goals that I was bound and determined to stick to. Now that three months have passed, I figured I’d see where I am…

The Good

I’ve kept running! During our practice hiatus I was doing 12 miles a week. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to keep up that pace lately, but on average I’m doing six to nine miles a week. What’s even better is my starting pace on the treadmill is increasing, as is my endurance. I hope to continue that and maybe include myself in some more road races in the near future.

I had said my ultimate goal by the end of the year is to do a six-minute mile. In the next week or so I hope to get access to a track to run a mile and see where I’m at for time.

The Dames added a dryland practice into our schedule which has made my core strength increase by leaps and bound. We’ve only been at it for a month and I’m loving the results. I’m just learning how to fully flex my torso properly to really show the definition… yes, I’ve become one of those egotistical maniacs that stands in front of their mirror, admiring their muscles.

Speaking of muscles, they must be pulling in all the right directions because I haven’t had to visit the chiropractor due to pain in over a month.

I’m quite proud of what I’ve done with my nutrition goals so far. Trail mix has become my favourite go-to snack item, I’ve cut way down on my pop intake and aside from the occasional social glass of wine or beer, have pretty much cut out all alcohol.

Because of my increased activity, I’m eating more, but my body is using it way more effectively. It’s a really good feeling.

I just realized I haven’t had a chocolate craving in a long time.

The Bad

Arm strength is increasing, but not at the rate I was hoping. I have to focus more on weight training in the next three months to push for some results.

Because of our lack of space and practice in these first three months, my derby goals have fallen by the wayside. While I’m happy with some of the improvements made so far with hitting and toestop running, I have a long way to go. I’m looking forward to summer coming once and for all so I can get outside and practise more.

I need to maintain chiropractic care, even if I’m not in pain.

I’m still not eating breakfast.

I’m still not drinking enough water.

My current favourite snack (trail mix) contains too much sodium so I need to find an alternative. See why I need to cut my sodium under “The Ugly.”

I still get the odd craving for ice cream, fast food and sour candies and don’t deny myself those cravings.

The Ugly

Sometimes things happen as you age and it sucks. You can either let it hold you back or you can stand up in the face of it and continue to live your life to the fullest.

About three years ago, I was diagnosed with Benign Positional Vertigo. I was lucky in that attacks didn’t happen very often. But on bad days… I behaved like this (ffwd to 0:40)

It’s pretty hilarious, actually. (I love Arrested Development, don’t you?)

Knowing I had this condition going into roller derby didn’t cause me much concern as I hadn’t had an attack for a long time. These vertigo attacks come on without notice and last for a few hours or a few days. Rest is the best prescription and I’ve been able to manage it easily and it has never interfered with training or derby.

Last October, other issues began appearing; constant ear ringing and a feeling of plugged ears, with some days worse than others. At the time, I attributed those symptoms to a severe collision I had at derby, which shook my head pretty hard. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but by November the symptoms were annoying enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

Over a series of five months, a few visits to doctors, an acupuncturist and finally a visit to a specialist, it’s been decided that I do not have BPV, but DO I have Ménière’s disease.

Don’t worry… it sounds way worse than it is.

At it’s worst, I have vertigo attacks, which I have experienced and know how to handle.

At it’s most annoying, I have constant ringing in my ears and pressure similar to when your ears don’t pop on an airplane, which sometimes makes sleep difficult.

Annoying for others is when I’m having an attack, I can’t hear as well, so Cherri may be prone to using her outside voice more often than not.

It’s pretty clear to me that I’ve been living with this to some degree or another for quite some time now. So I’m trying to ignore the fact that I ‘have’ something and continue on living my life as I have; I just need to alter some minor things to manage it.

At it’s best, I don’t have any symptoms. This condition tends to come and go depending on my personal habits, diet, stress, etc. The unfortunate result of this is it’s recommended I reduce my salt intake (2 grams or less a day) which is why I need to alter my current trail mix addiction.

Also recommended is cutting out caffeine (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! That’s going to take some time to weed out.) and creating a regular exercise program, which I’m already doing! WIN!!!!!

***

With me being the control freak that I am, I’m all over this and I’m certain this will be the only time I will feel the need to write about it and I’m determined for this to not affect my day-to-day activities! There are gals playing derby with far more debilitating issues than what I have who live a full derby life! I’m super pumped for the next three months and look forward to crushing my goals!