Tuesday Tango

Let’s glide back and forth between some various topics happening in my life.

Paleo update – week four

My new eating habits are going well. Food has been delicious and while I’m still not gaining I feel fantastic. However, I caved and ate some cookies last night and boy am I paying for it today. Bloaty, gassy and gross! How could delicious cookies smite me so? I shared with Mr. Cherri that I was thinking about integrating some carbs back into my life after my 30 days since I’m still not gaining weight. But based on what I’m feeling today, I don’t think I’m going to do that now. I guess it’s more meat for me!

An ab challenge to myself and others

I’ve been participating in a 15-minute, 30-day ab workout challenge with many other Facebook friends. I’m currently on day 27 and I’m impressed with the results. While I’m not necessarily seeing a 6-pack of abs forming, I definitely do feel ‘thicker’ in my torso area from muscle gain. So esthetically, my before and after photos likely won’t look much different, but I feel WAY stronger. I’m proud that I have only missed one day (which was my fitness testing day) and so proud of everyone else who is hanging in there with the challenge!

Practice schedule changes mean changes in life

Our league recently went through an expansion where we’ve split into 2 house teams on top of our travel team. It’s pretty exciting but it means my life is getting turned around with a new practice schedule. I now have practices 3 days in a row, which not only conflicts with my kid’s activities, but also one of my regular gym days. Fears of over-training and never seeing my family are looming over my head. Not much I can do about it except make choices, but I’m not happy about the choices I have to make because I want to do it all. :-/ But on a more positive note…

I’m a Coalbank Crusher!

If you’re a Lethbridge and area blog reader, I really hope you’ll come out and support our first game against each other! We’re pretty excited to have the league grow to allow two house teams. It’s also going to allow many of our new recruits some much-needed experience! Tickets for the Feb. 4 game are available on our website or at the door!

Watch this!

And now, a scene from one of my favourite movies which every derby girl should watch. NO, IT’S NOT WHIP IT! (In your mind, replace references to ‘baseball’ with ‘roller derby’ LOL)

DIY big kid customization PART II: Installing roller skate plates

This is part two of a series on roller skate plates. Normally I like to include all info on a single topic into one blog post but this topic is just too detailed and I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone. Part one talked about plates, sizing and different ways to mount them. Part two I’m going to share my own experience in mounting my plates, as well as how to adjust DA45 trucks that have an adjustable pivot pin.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert, I’m just sharing what I did. It seemed to work but there may be some blatant errors in my methods. Any experts out there? Please correct me so I can keep the info accurate for others!

Things you’ll need

  • Plates
  • Mounting Hardware
  • Cushions
  • Screwdriver
  • Ruler
  • Tape
  • Pencil/marker
  • Skate tool
  • Additional wrenches that fit your hardware (may vary depending on your plate model)
  • Drill and drill bit (Bit should be sized appropriately according to the plate manufacturer’s directions)
  • Something to trim the bolts after installation. Dremmel, bolt saw thingy of some sort
  • Rag
  • New laces (you’re taking apart your skates so you may as well replace your laces)
  • A friend to help you and for moral support

Step 1: Take apart your skates

Take off all your laces, tape, toe stops, wheels and hangers until you’re left with an empty plate. Save your cushions if you want to use them on your new plates. You can read more about how to take apart your skates here.

Step 2: Trace the outline of your existing plate

I was a virgin at all this so I decided the more markings on my skate to help centre my new plate, the better. I just used a pencil.

After everything’s removed, you can outline your existing plates.

Step 3: Remove the plate

Using whatever tools needed (I needed a screwdriver and skate tool) remove the plate from your skate. Make sure you take note of positions of washers, etc. because you’ll be installing similar hardware back on in the same fashion.

To get to the toe hardware inside the boot, shift the base of the boot tongue to the side to expose the hardware.

Once everything is removed, give the bottom of your boot a cleaning; careful not to erase your pencil lines.

I used a screwdriver and skate tool to remove the plate

Dirty and gross. Use this opportunity to clean them up!

Step 3a: Fill in your old holes

I didn’t do this step but in the articles below there are some suggestions as to what to use to fill them in. But I’ve heard a hot glue gun will work or any other adhesive-type material that will fill and harden appropriately.

Step 4: Decide where your axles are going to sit

I literally stood on my new plate wearing my boot (I re-laced my skate for this step) and freely moved my foot around until a) the front axle was positioned near the base of my big toe and then b) shifted slightly until the axles felt in a natural position for my feet.

I strictly went by feel. I sort of bounced and shifted my feet around in my boot so I could see if the axles were in a natural position to easily take off from a jump. Having an extra set of hands at this point is helpful so you can hang onto them if you slide off the unsecured plate and they can mark the positioning of the axles on the side of your boot so you can repositioning it after you mark your centerline.

After I made my axle marks I compared both plate positions on each boot to ensure they were positioned the same (front to back) by measuring the plate position from the back of the heal.

I found one was shifted a little far forward than the other so I marked an average position between the two and then stood on my axles again for a final check.

You may have to do this step several times to find out what front/back position you want your axles in. Try far forward, centre and rear mounts so you can feel the difference. Don’t forget to refer to the references in my first article for info on the different mounts.
**Edited to add: thanks to Steph in the comments section who pointed out there is a ‘left’ and a ‘right’ plate for the Avengers. Check your mounting instructions carefully or check with the manufacturer to ensure you put the right plate on the right foot. (Thankfully I got it right the first time)

Step 5: Determine your boot centerline

I initially tried to use existing markings to determine the centerline for my boots. I had a hell of a time with it. I don’t know if it’s because my skates are well-worn and stretched, or because my right foot is a ½ size bigger than my left, but one skate would always be way off centre compared to the other every time I measured.

So instead, I marked the centre of the heal on both boots, then I put the boots on and marked where the space was between my second toe (next to the big toe) and the third toe. Make sure you lace up your skates for this step so your feet are sitting as they normally would in your boots.

Using a ruler I drew a straight line from the heal centerline to my new front markings. Doing it this way I found the centerlines mirrored each other on the boots.

NOTE: I PAINED over the axle positioning and centering for HOURS. This was easily the hardest part.

After I had them centered to the best of my ability, I found how different my centerlines were from the factory markings. So I was either way off or the factory markings were off. Regardless, I took a deep breath and continued on my brave journey.

Once you think you have your desired position, you can tape your plates to your skate and walk around them on a bit to be sure because once you hit the next step, there is no going back!

You can see by my centerline, it doesn’t match with the factory centre markings. I lined up the front centre with my toes in my boot.

**UPDATE April 18/12 This is Amanda’s advice from the comment section. I wanted to include it as well in my main post because it’s great info… “The easiest way to measure your centre line is to determine where you want your front axles to be. Mark those points and draw a line horizontaly across the boot between them. Measure the centre point of that line and mark it. Draw a line down the sole of the boot from the centre point of the heel to that centre point. That’s your centre line. The centre line will always be different depending on how far forward or back you want to place your front axles.”

RESOURCE

Quadskating.com: How to centre roller skate plates (article)

Step 6: Prepare to drill

This is what I SHOULD have done… positioned the plates according to my markings onto the boot and then wrapped 20 rounds of duct tape all the way around the boot to secure them in place.

But I didn’t.

Afraid to ruin my beautiful leather boot, I loosely taped the plate in place to use as a guide for drilling, confident of my drilling abilities.

On my first attempt at drilling through the bottom of the boot, the plate came loose and wiggled everywhere and forced me to stop and reposition the plate again.

So don’t do that. I should have learned from that mistake and super-taped the plate on the boot.

Instead I opted to mark the holes with a pen and drill the holes without the plate in place.

If any of you handy-er derby girls have a workbench with a vice to hold your skate in place, that’s most helpful. I did my drilling on the living room floor holding the skate with my free hand.

Going slow and steady, I managed to drill all the holes. However, with my lack of skill and experience, I realized my drilling wasn’t completely accurate and my holes were off.

Drilling for plates isn’t like installing Ikea furniture where you have a little wiggle room a 1/16 of an inch on either side of your mark.

Well crap.

Step 7: Mounting the plates on the boot

Luckily my drilling wasn’t TOO far off and I was able to muscle my plates onto the bolts I inserted into the boots. We’ll see if this slight adjustment will have any long-term effects on my skates, but I think I only have about 10 months of life left in these boots anyway.

I ended up using the bolts from my previous plates as they were exactly the same as the new bolts that were provided and they fit into the new plates. As a result I didn’t have to track down something to trim the ends of the bolts as manufacturers supply super-long mounting hardware that will need to be cut after installation.

Once I inserted the bolts into the boots I realized that some of the inner sole was going to have to be trimmed out so the bolt would recess easier to be flush so it wouldn’t dig into my foot.

As a test, I fully tightened one bolt and while the bolt did some work at removing the sole as it was recessing, there was still lots of debris in there to keep me from getting the bolt fully flush.

So I grabbed a little knife and carved a small portion of sole material out immediately surrounding each hole inside my boot.

That seemed to help and I continued tightening the hardware on each skate until it was tight and the heads were flush inside my boot.

RESOURCES

Quadskating.com? Drilling roller skate plate mounting holes (article)

Sin City Skates: DIY Plate Mounting (PDF)

Step 8: Admire your big kid customization

I was mentally exhausted after this process and immediately vowed to never do it again. Maybe one day I’ll change my mind and try to tackle it again.

So pretty!

Step 9: Put everything back together

Now you can put on your NEW hangers, wheels and toe stops and do your final tweaking of the action of your skates.

Depending on your plate, you will need to figure out your new tightness for your trucks and, in the case of my new plates, adjust your pivot pin. My old nylon plates merely had the trucks seated within the pivot cup. The new plates allowed me to adjust how deep the pivot pin sits within the cup.

It’s not a hard adjustment to do, but difficult to explain. So check out these articles and videos on how to adjust your plates!

Leadjammer Skates: Pivot pin adjustment (article)

Create-A-Skate.com: Improperly adjusted pivot pin can cost you a king pin (article)

Adjusting the action of your skates

Final results!

I’ve been skating on the new setup for about a month now and I really love them! I think I’m going to have to play more with the truck action because these new plates are super-responsive so I don’t necessarily have to have the trucks loose for more turning action. If I can tighten my trucks and still maintain good turning power, it will give me more overall stability.

The weight of the plates feel no different from my previous set and I’m finding I’m a bit lighter on my feet (due to the change in positioning of the axles under my feet? Maybe!)

And the white plates look really cool 😀

That’s my plate-change journey! Questions, comments or advice? Please post in replies! I found the biggest challenge was finding a single article with all the information I need to do this process so I’m hoping to add to update these posts as more info becomes available! Share! Share! Share!

As requested in the comments section, here is a bottom photo of my mounted plate…

20120215-072227.jpg

ROUND 2 Sit up then T-up to the broad plank and push up to a sprint till you *beep* (test)

Thursday marked our second fitness test through the league. The first one was held last September and our training committee plans on holding them every four months to track progress.

Last session I recorded my results and set some new goals. I’m pleased to report that I bettered myself on all but one test and met my goal on most of them! It’s really satisfying to see the goals I’m setting come to fruition.

Here are the stats, with comparisons. New goals will come, I just need to think on them for a bit.

Results Chart (Nerd Power!)

First Attempt (Sept ’11) Old Goal Second Attempt (Jan ’12) New Goal
T-Test 12.8 sec 11.8 sec 12.0 sec ??
Plank 5:15 min 6:00 min 6:11 min ??
15 m Sprint* 3.1 sec 2.8 sec N/A N/A
20 m Sprint* N/A N/A 4.25 sec ??
Situps 48/min 53/min 54/min ??
Broad Jump 1.74 m 1.84 m 1.76 m ??
Pushups 30/min 38/min 45/min ??
Beep Test Level 6.2, 43 shuttles Level 7 Level 7.8, 57 shuttles ??

GREEN = Goal Achieved
YELLOW = Goal Not Achieved, But Improvement Made
RED = Goal Not Achieved, No Improvement

*Because of the difference in sprint length for this round of testing I wasn’t able to do a formal comparison. However when I break it down by seconds per metre, I was 2% SLOWER the second test. Boourns.

After analyzing my results, I’ve come to realize that I need to concentrate on fitness activities that require short bursts of power because in all the categories that require the short bursts ( jumping, sprinting) I have much room for improvement. So I can see me focusing more heavily on that in the next four months!

I’ll update the chart with new goals when I can sit down and seriously think some out.

DIY big kid customization PART I: Selecting roller skate plates

This is part one of a series on roller skate plates. Normally I like to include all info on a single topic into one blog post but this topic is just too detailed and I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone with a massive post. Part one is going to talk about plates, sizing and different ways to mount them. Part two I talk about my own experience in mounting my plates, as well as how to adjust DA45 trucks that have an adjustable pivot pin.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert, I’m just sharing what I researched. There may be some blatant errors in my info. Any experts out there? Please correct me so I can keep the info accurate for others!

Not being able to afford a new set of boots and plates and my existing boots still in decent shape, I decided to just upgrade my plates. As CRDA skater Negative Nancy told me, (paraphrased) skating is much easier when you’re not fighting with your equipment. And it’s true! After many truck adjustments and changing cushions, I felt still really weighed down by my skates. It was time to try something new.

So I ordered these babies.

Sure Grip Magnesium Avengers

This is the first post of what is going to be a shit-tonne of information. I found this whole ordeal of selecting and installing my plates pretty exhausting and even now, over a month since taking on the task, I’m not sure if I would do it again.

I found I had to do a lot of research and glean information from here and there, because selecting plates and how you mount them is an extremely individual choice!

Should you get new plates?

If you’re wanting to upgrade your skates but not wanting to shell out for a whole new package, it’s a great way to save some money. It’s a personal choice, really. But for me, I felt my skates were limiting me a bit. I wanted to turn harder and faster and they just weren’t cooperating with me; hence my decision to change.

The plates I chose are double-action 45 degree trucks, which means 2 cushions per axle and the kingpins are at a 45 degree angle. This model also has an adjustable pivot pin, which allows a bit more tweaking of your skates. I’ve never skated on anything but 15 degree in derby and borrowed another skater’s 45 degree setup to make sure I didn’t hate them. After skating on them I decided to do more research before making my purchase.

Luckily I like to read on the interwebs and I found some articles that talk about the kinds of plates that are available and their pros and cons. It’s important to analyze what your current setup is NOT doing for you and then try and find a product that fits what you want. Read. Read. Read. Better yet, ask to borrow skates that have a different setup from your own to get a feel for the difference.

For me, weight was a huge issue so I had to find a lightweight plate model. I also wanted to stop fighting with my cornering and I read that 45 degree trucks allow you to turn with less force. So the Sure Grip Magnesium Avengers were a great fit for me

Here’s some articles about plates and trucks to help you get started on your research…

Plates in Brief

Sure Grip: Plates? (PDF)

Anatomy 101: Skate Plates (article)

Leadjammer Skates: What’s all this noise about plates (article)

Quadskating.com: Quad roller skate trucks (article)

Sin City Skates: 45 Degree Kingpins (PDF)

What size of plates do I order?

I wanted to go to a short forward mount, which was to give better response, agility and maneuverability. I thought I was ordering the right size for such a mount, but then after receiving my plates I realized I should have gone one size smaller. Again, you have to do your research to figure out what size of plate is best for the kind of mount you want to do.

In the end I think it turned out well though because if I did go a size smaller, it would have handicapped my skating for a longer period.

The manufacturer of your plate should have a handy-dandy chart on what size plate to order based on your skate size. Look for ‘plate specification’ documents for info like that, as per this example.

What’s short forward, you ask?

Essentially you are ordering a plate that’s a size smaller from what you would normally skate and then you mount them closer to the front of your boot so the front axle is more forward of the ball of your foot (base of your big toe). It forces you to stay on the balls of your feet more and better turn radius because your wheels are closer together.

I’ve also read that it allows more power when pushing.

WARNING! This setup is not for new skaters as there is more empty space at your heal with this setup, meaning if you aren’t always weighted forward, you will not have your wheels at the back of your heal to catch you if you lean back.

Even though I didn’t order the right size plate, I decided to do the short forward mount as best I could with what I had.

RESOURCES

Quadskating.com: Where to mount roller skate plates (article)

Green Wheels Magazine: Skate Plates (article)

Derbylife.com: Ask An Expert: Plate Mounting – Short/Forward vs Standard Mounting (article)

Make your purchase!

The good news is if you make a mistake and hate your new plates, you will likely have a market to sell them within your league. But if you do your research thoroughly, I bet you’ll pick the right ones!

Make sure you double-check what the seller supplies with the plates, especially if you’re buying them used. Make sure that cushions and mounting hardware are included and if it isn’t, purchase the appropriate kits to complete the set!

Check back for Part II where I share my (stressful) experience of mounting my own plates.

Paleo update: week 2 done onto week 3

I’ve had some people pretty curious about this Paleo business I’m doing so I figured I’d post some updates here and there, to document how things are going.

In short, things are going really, really well.

Here a short list of changes I’ve noticed. Maybe they aren’t Paleo-based or maybe they are. Either way, I’m still recording the results 🙂

  • Haven’t gained weight yet. I dropped 5 lbs (unintentionally) in my first week so I’m trying to eat more to gain some ground. I assumed the first week was sort of a cleanse from my old life of grains and sugar, so I was expecting some weight loss. Last I checked I’ve gained .5 lb back.
  • Great energy level. I’m eating all the time so I rarely have a mid-afternoon crash.
  • Well rested. I read that eating Paleo can help with your sleep as well. Boy, has it ever! I’m usually awake for my alarm and my body tells me when to go to bed (and I’m listening to it). Generally I wake rested and ready for the day.
  • Eating non-Paleo gives me a hangover. We had our league awards night this weekend which was a pot luck dinner. Yum yum yum! Luckily I was able to easily eat Paleo for the supper, but caved in and had many desserts. (Ummm yah, we had a room JUST for desserts. An entire ROOM! I couldn’t say no to that.) The next morning I felt like I was hit by a truck and felt all gross and bloaty. I blame the desserts. I don’t plan on falling off that wagon for a while again.
  • My muscle tension issues are improving. Still a long way to go, but when I went for a massage last week my therapist noticed a difference. Not sure if it’s the diet, but who cares!!! It’s a win.
  • My teeth! It makes sense you’d have healthier teeth and gums… you’re not eating sugar! They are definitely whiter not nearly as gunky when I go to brush. Win!
  • I’m lifting like a boss. When I do my strength workouts, I’m grunting and groaning and cursing and complaining, but I’m finding I have way more lifting power. Kinda cool for a scrawny chick like me!
  • I’m not sick of the food! I’m following many of the recipes from the Paleo Solution book. I’ve only had one dish so far that I didn’t love.
  • It hasn’t been too expensive (yet)! Grocery shopping has been surprisingly easy and low-cost, even with all the extra meat we’re buying. We’re tracking our grocery bills to figure out a tally at the end of the month.
  • I’ve had no cravings for the forbidden foods. Zero. None. Nadda. I find that extremely strange. But happy about it.

So that’s where I’m at. I’m curious how the rest of the month will continue on and I’m excited to do a full body measurement to see if I’ve gained any bulk in my arms and legs from strength training and upping my protein. Keep your fingers crossed for (positive) progress!

Day five of Paleo

No breads, no grains, no sugar, no processed foods.

And you know, so far, I’m okay with it.

A lot of people who go on Paleo are doing it to lose weight. For me however, my goal is to gain… in muscle. I’ve had the desire to gain weight on my brain for a couple of months now. And yah, it’s derby-related. A gal who weighs an extra 10 lbs may be a little harder to knock around. If that same gal is 10 lbs of added muscle, well, I may be knocking right back attacha.

Eating to gain is a mind-fuck to me. As someone who has been slim all their life, gaining weight on purpose is frightening. Sure, I could just eat donuts every day and add gravy to everything and down as much overall food as possible, but the insecure girl inside of me was screaming “You’re going to get FAT if you do it like that.”

Pushing those thoughts away, I’d sit down to supper and eat as much as possible, loading up on pastas and bread, only to head straight to the couch for a nap immediately after. Feeling guilty for being so slothy, I’d up my workouts and cut back on eating to make up for it. I’d gain nothing but frustration.

The last month or so I felt I’ve plateaued in many things and I attributed to the fact I wasn’t eating enough for the level of activity I was doing. I had a sneaking suspicion my body was eating muscle over fat for energy. Eating more of my current diet wasn’t working. I felt more tired, more slothy than ever.

A few derby friends of mine started their Paleo journey with fantastic results, so I started researching. Everything about it seemed to make sense… Eat as much as you want, as much as you need to be satisfied, as long as it’s not grains, sugar or processed foods.

Okay.

So I bought a book.

Then I watched a movie.

And it just made so much sense.

The husband, who is a chef and works at an Italian restaurant (EEP bad combo for a Paleo person), is going along with this ‘new thing.’ I’m doing, which I’m thankful for because he’s the primary cook in the family being a stay-at-home-dad in the day. My kids are supportive and are at least trying the new things we’re putting on their plate. But I’m sure they are thankful they only have to eat Paleo for supper.

How I stay away from temptation

My kids aren’t on Paleo. They love sandwiches in their lunch, granola bars and rice krispie treats. So as a result, our cupboards were not stripped of all the Paleo forbidden foods.

Strangely, I’m fine with it (so far… this may change. But today, I’m good)

After researching and reading, my thinking has completely changed about the forbidden food products. I don’t really care if they taste good or made me feel better emotionally, because I just don’t WANT them.

So now I get to eat, eat, eat

You know what?

The voice in my head screaming about how I’m going to get fat is gone.

After supper I go to the couch for my ‘regular’ nap and more often than not I find myself staying awake which leads me to do something productive.

I’m snacking on cabbage and tuna salad (I know, right? WTF??? Sounds gross but sooo good)

I’m building on my calorie intake to help build muscle (I’m not counting calories but found out I need about 2200-2500 a day).

My afternoon crashes have changed. (It’s no longer a ‘I want to sleep’ feeling but more of a ‘time to eat for energy’ feeling)

What I hope to come from all this

I realize I may lean down a bit on this at first. But what I hope is that with all the extra protein and good calories I’m getting, my energy level will go way up which will translate well in my training. Only time will tell.

I’m committing for 30 days

Wish me luck.

P.S. I may get some people concerned about my lack of carbs. Don’t worry, I’m getting enough. A large apple contains 31 g of carbs, a banana contains 51 g, yet a whole wheat piece of bread… 12 g.

Source: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/baked-products/4876/2

PPS Watch this if you want to know more about grains/sugars etc…

And this if you want to learn how our body uses food…