Celebrating my 4th birthday of blogging!

fourUPDATE: It is now the end of May and I have yet to roll out this contest. The start of derby season always get me sidetracked. Don’t worry, readers. Once I roll it out I will be sure to make it known far and wide.

I always forget my blog’s birthday. It was on March 6. So this is my obligatory post saying that I’ve survived another year of blogging. While my new posts tend to be sparse, I’m proud that the content I post has become a resource for many to reference as they start their derby journey, from gear to fitness to developing derby skills.

Last year I broke the 100,000 mark of overall views. This year I’m on track break 200,000! So to thank all of my wonderful readers…

I will be hosting a
super-awesome contest!

Details will be posted here as they come available. But to give you a little hint, the contest will marry my 2 favourite things – roller derby and promotions!

Stay tuned, friends!

The isolation of ‘no pack’ derby

I played in scrimmages two weekends in a row and both were very different. Granted, the one last weekend was an intermediate scrimmage (Stettler) and this weekend’s was an advanced (Medicine Hat) so there was bound to be some obvious variances.

Teams are resorting to no pack strategy more often in regular play, but happens most when they are on a power jam, really behind in points or if they are having trouble during a (full-strength) jam. (This is old news and is covered extensively here  and here) While splitting the pack (forcing the refs to call ‘no pack’ and all blockers must disengage and reform, allowing jammers to pass through relatively untouched) is kinda-sorta-maybe allowed, it’s really manipulating the rules to make it easy as possible to score points with as little contact as possible. It feels like getting a goat to slow a pack seems like a distant past; old strategy.

No pack derby is driving me crazy. I love it; I hate it. I love it when I’m jamming and my team executes it perfectly and I cruise through the pack untouched. What jammer wouldn’t love that? I hate it as a spectator and I hate it as a player in general because you’re watching two walls of 4 on 1 until the ref calls the no pack. It requires little skating skill. WFTDA skater Juke Boxx even made a plea about it at this year’s Rollercon.  But it’s easy for teams of all levels to resort to, so I understand why it’s so palatable.

The WFTDA is releasing revisions to the rules this fall. While they have confirmed they will be eliminating minor penalties from the WFTDA rule set, there hasn’t been any kind of confirmation if they will be making changes to help eliminate no pack scenerio (that I can find).

This summer I made a promise to myself to play as much derby as possible and take in as many experiences as I can. In fact, I’m planning on playing 3 weekends out of the four in August. However I’m frustrated that my perception of the negative experiences I’m having are outweighing the positive. The ownness is on me to decide whether to cut my losses and stay home or surge ahead and break down the negatives, which is probably something every athlete goes through multiple times regardless of their sport. Equally frustrating is the sense of seclusion I’m feeling right now. Everyone is having a great time filled with awesome-fun-loving-derby-times and I’m just sort of hovering on the edge. I’m not sure what’s needed to make derby fun again.

Pulling myself from jamming has seemed to help, which I did in my game in Medicine Hat this weekend and I jammed less than I normally do in Stettler. No pack derby, while effective in strategy, makes a jammer fend for herself most the time. I’m tired of it. Maybe some will say I have a bad attitude for saying that and I need to put on my big girl panties and suck it up for the sake of the team. But playing as a blocker has been much more enjoyable as the sense of isolation I was feeling as a jammer is non-existent. Lately when I’ve been handed the star, I dread it. Not a good headspace to be in when your team is counting on you to score. My sights are set on a change in direction, I’m just not sure where yet.

April measurements

Note: I realize I haven’t been posting much specifically about derby, but have much to share. I hope to have a new roller derby post soon! Stay tuned, readers!

Look at those arms... Left: July 2010 Right: Aug. 2011. No definition... just skin and bone. I don't know how I didn't break something when I first started in derby.

I’m happy with my results to this point, but not certain if I’m measuring correctly. Some numbers seem all over the map. I’m sure I’ll get more consistent measuring with practice. I feel strong, which is most important. I did 100 pushups today (in 5 sets, 90 second break in between) which is a big deal for me.

A stumbled across an old photo of myself, taken in July of 2010 and I compared it to a photo in Aug of 2011. In the 2010 photo I was new to derby and a scrawny, skinny bitch. Frankly, I look gross. I’m happy to have some muscly curves now.

My routines are becoming a bit more intense with more weight and I’m mixing in running as a consistent part of my routine (instead of running to train for specific events).

My current protein powder of choice.

As for my diet, in March I wasn’t 100% Paleo, but I think I’ve found a good balance. I’ve switched from Hemp protein to MyoFusion for post-workouts, which packs more protein punch. I essentially eat paleo for breakfast, lunch and dinner and don’t worry about straying from Paleo when I eat out or at special events (like birthday party dinners, etc). I’ve allowed some indulgences back into my life like ice cream  and sweet & sour candies and nibble on Paleo friendly chocolate too. (Lindt Excellence Intense Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa). Sometimes I feel I’m still not eating enough but as long as I’m gaining, I know I’m on the right track.

Here’s my April 1 measurements.

January 1, 2012 February 1, 2012 March 1, 2012 April 1, 2012
Weight 119lbs 115lbs 116lbs 117lbs
Waist (narrowest point) 28.50″ 28.50″ 27.00″ 27.00″
Hips (widest point) 34.50″ 35.00″ 35.50″ 36.00″
Thighs (widest point) L: 16.00″
R:16.00″
L:16.50″
R:16.50″
L:17.50″
R:18.25″
L:19.00″
R:19.00″
Calves (widest point) L:13.50″
R:13.50″
L:13.50″
R:13.50″
L:13.00″
R:13.00″
L:12.75″
R:13.00″
Biceps (widest point) L:9.25″
R:9.75″
L:9.50″
R:9.75″
L:9.25″
R:9.75″
L:9.50″
R:10.00″

A couple of weeks ago, myself and some derby teammates participated in a Ball & Chain challenge which took place at the local jail. In addition to a 4k run (with 1.5k carrying a 60lb post with my team) we had to do a series of fitness challenges. I’m pretty pleased with my performance though the burpees are STILL killing me. For enjoyment, here’s some photos of the event… thanks to Preacher’s Slaughter for lending Grate Scott her phone to snap pics of us!

Moonlight Run results and March measurements

My Moonlight Run goal was to finish somewhere between the 29:52-33:34 range which meant my pace had to be within the 8 min/mile range. I finished almost smack-dabb in the middle of that!

I’m pretty pleased with my placing as well! Even though I placed lower in my category from last year, there were many more runners to compete against. Stats comparison to last year below…

 Moonlight Run 2011 2012 2013 2014
Canon Time 36:27 31:41
Chip Time 35:47 31:28
Category Placing 5/93 6/156
Female 6k Placing 101/975 37/1135
All 6k Runners 283/1488 117/1671
Pace 9:46/mi 8:29/mi

As promised, I got around to my March measurements. Considering the slack I did in February, I’m surprised by the results. Plus, I either measured my thighs REALLY wrong the last two months or the hill running I’ve been doing to train for Moonlight Run made my thighs explode. Interesting stuff. We’ll see what next month brings.

January 1, 2012 February 1, 2012 March 1, 2012 April 1, 2012
Weight 119lbs 115lbs 116lbs
Waist (narrowest point) 28.50″ 28.50″ 27.00″
Hips (widest point) 34.50″ 35.00″ 35.50″
Thighs (widest point) L: 16.00″
R:16.00″
L:16.50″
R:16.50″
L:17.50″
R:18.25″
Calves (widest point) L:13.50″
R:13.50″
L:13.50″
R:13.50″
L:13.00″
R:13.00″
Biceps (widest point) L:9.25″
R:9.75″
L:9.50″
R:9.75″
L:9.25″
R:9.75″

February I fell off the pot

Life ebbs and flows and February was no exception! So much to report/record for my personal diary I’m not sure where to begin…

I guess at the beginning.

Our league officially expanded into two house teams, The Coalbank Crushers (my team) and the Windy City Wenches and we debuted our first intra-league game Feb. 4. This game pushed me to my limits. Our team was already playing short and then one of our main jammers broke her wrist 5 jams into the first half, leaving us with only myself and Alli-Kate-Or as main jammers.

As a result, I played (almost) every second jam and scored 88 points for my team – a personal best. I’m thankful for Alli and some other blockers who stepped in to jam when we needed a break. We lost the game 159-162, but boy did we play with heart!

Something I’m not proud of is I ran into major penalty trouble. I can sit and make excuses… I was exhausted, I was playing injured (all true)… but especially humbling was we were in the lead right up to the final jam when I got handed a final penalty, subsequently costing us the lead.

I’m such a dumbass. Lesson learned. I WILL STAY ON THE MOTHER FUCKING TRACK.

You can read the game summary on our league website here! Here’s some photos too!

Post-game... Coalbank Crushers, Windy City Wenches and reffing crew! Photo from Heather Nicholson's camera (not sure who took it).

My little team with bench coaches Mamasite and Emily Carrnage! Coalbank Crushers. Photo from Heather Nicholson's camera (not sure who took it).

My favourite photo from the game; myself and Preacher's Slaughter jamming. Photo by Wendy Devent.

With every game I come out with new things to work on, but it’s great when I see things I’ve been working on are coming to fruition. I’m very proud of my endurance for this game. I do have to give a huge shout out to Mamasita, our team’s bench coach, for pushing me when I thought I couldn’t go on.

In the weeks following my life turned upside-down; practice was difficult to get to, my paleo eating habits went out the window, as well as my extra training dedication. The reasons behind my lack of focus are numerous; derby related and non-derby related; and not really worthy of mentioning. Even to this day I’m struggling to get back into my good habits and find my passion again.

Until this popped up on my Facebook wall…

A really nice note!!!

Thanks Jennifer! Not only did you remind me to write a post but also that I need to get focused again and be a role model for others. Good luck with your derby journey and I look forward to hearing all about it!!!!

A fabulous local photographer, Joanne Cousins, did a personal photography project called ‘Operation Confidence’ recently. I was going to take part in February until my life went out the window, but I thought I would share an excerpt of what I was going to submit as part of her photo series. I’m glad I reminded myself of this because I needed to read this to help re-motivate myself. I wrote this in early February…

“Lifting and training has taught me goal setting. It’s taught me that you won’t get where you want to be without a plan. Celebrating success, no matter how small, is a great feeling and sharing success, hope and achievements with others is infectious.

Lifting and training has also taught me how to deal with setbacks. It’s okay to take a step back and re-evaluate a plan before taking it on again. It’s also taught me that it’s okay to fail, have a bad day or a break down, as I’ve always come back from it stronger and with more resolve to push myself to my limits to succeed.

Competing constantly against myself gives me an inner strength and power that others see. I want to pass onto others that ANYONE can find it within themselves to achieve their goals. They just need to find their inspiration to do so.

My fitness journey continues and I still have a long way to go. But it’s no longer out of necessity. It’s become my passion. And while I may inspire people around me, they are MY inspiration to continue to be a role model and leader.”

Check out Joanne’s photography project here! There are some great and inspiring stories, including a few from our own members!

Speaking of goal setting… Moonlight Run is tomorrow, which is also the 1-year anniversary of my first ‘race.’

Let’s review my goal time for the 6k that I set in January… 29:52-33:34

20120309-190927.jpg
Given my slack off in February, it will be interesting to see if I come close to this. I’ve hit that target while running on a treadmill, but doing 6k on a treadmill and 6k in the riverbottom of Lethbridge in the dark are two completely different things! Wish me luck! I’m excited fellow Guild members Sandra Deevil, Hellvetica Bold, Kalamaity Lain and Short Bus have signed up for the run as well. They are going to kick ass!

And now, my confession… I haven’t done my March measurements yet. I’m deathly afraid to see them given on month of complete slack. But I can only get better from here, yes? I’ll get to that this weekend.

Things I’m looking forward to…

Flat Track Fever!

An Alberta-wide roller derby tournament that will be taking place April 13-15 in Calgary. It will be a series of 30 minute games followed by full 2 30-minute half games. This will be the first time the Deathbridge Derby Dames will play in multiple games in one weekend.

Summer!

Just cause summer is awesome!

More challenges!

Footwork has become my new passion.

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)

New Year’s Eve, Part Deux!

GOOOOAAAALLLLLLSSSSS!

Am I EVER glad I documented this year. It’s shown how far I’ve come, even though some days I felt like a bambi on skates or a pylon. I have a lot of things to be proud of and a lot to still work on and look forward to. 2012 is going to be a year of hard work, for sure!

Like many sports and news shows are doing retrospectives, I’m doing a year in review of the goals I set on this very day last year. The original post can be read here, with the followup post here. It’s not necessary to read my 3 month, 6 month and 9 month progress (but if you really want to, links are provided) because I have my goals outlined in this handy-dandy chart!

Charts are awesome! NERD POWER!

Taken in June 2010

You can see I still have some things I need to work on. And that’s TOTALLY OKAY when I see how much I’ve accomplished. I’m proud of myself for sticking to my plan.

Now with all these fitness and nutrition goals I’ve set, it was bound to have an effect on my body performance and shape. I have to say, I’ve impressed myself. Not only am I stronger and more solid on my skates I started to see these weird bulges show up on my body that turned out to be muscle. I realize by simply adding strength and muscle won’t make me a better skater until I figure out how to use it to my abilities, but for now I’m reveling in the fact I have muscle.

I’m kicking myself I didn’t take a before photo last year. So this is the closest one I could find that shows my body. I’m not overweight or particularly unhealthy, but I see some definite soft spots that needed a lift.

For anyone writing goals for 2012, TAKE BEFORE PHOTOS! PLEASE!

So now, the after…

For those interested, you can see my after photos by clicking on the thumbnails below. Clicking on the photo of my tattoo will show you simple body shots (the best I could do with my webcam and please ignore the mess behind me because I’m in the process of putting away all my Christmas crap). Clicking on the photo of my torso will show various body parts in full-flex mode (as flexy as I can get, anyway. I’m not very good at it 😛 )

Click here for

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Anyone else feel ridiculously awkward after seeing those? **Cherri puts her hand up**

So now, what next?

NEW GOALS!

In addition to the chart above, I want to add…

Moonlight run, get my time somewhere between 29:52-33:34. (That’s going to be a toughie)

Head game, head game, head game. Which means finding my groove to get myself psyched up for a game, find ways to keep myself motivated and positive when things don’t go right and focus on strategy and playing smart.

Aggression RAWR!

Be a more patient jammer. I saw this time and time again while watching worlds. If a jammer was faced with a wall of three, they didn’t try and crash through… they would hop around and wait for the opening. I’ve come to realize that last year I would get impatient and either back block or cut the track.

More intricate footwork. I’m getting really comfortable on my skates. I want to be able to hop forwards, backwards, sideways, onto my toes and have it be instinctual so it’s another tool in my tool kit when playing.

Work towards PBJ. That’s pivot, blocker, jammer

Fix my neck and shoulders. Years of chronic tension isn’t doing me any favours. I need to really focus on getting those muscles working right.

Lift heavy, like the big boys. Going into 2012 I’m on 15 lb weights, each hand (sometimes 20 lb depending on the exercise). I really want to work up from that.

Gain weight in muscle. I’d love to see another 10 lbs added. In order for me to do that, I’m going to have to….

Go Paleo. That’s the only way I see myself making gains. Protein is my friend. Don’t worry, it’s not a carb-free diet. I just get my carbs from sources other than grains. I think I’m going to have to buy a book on this one.

Boring body stats

I have no idea how to do this but I’m going ahead and giving it a shot. It’s just a new way I want to track progress.

Weight: 119 lbs

Height: 5’5″

Waist (at belly button): 28.5″

Hips (at widest point): 34.5″

Thighs (mid point): 16″ (PS they are even now!)

Calves (mid point): 13.5″ (even)

Right bicep: 9.75″

Left bicep: 9.25″

I took a chest measurement but it’s just embarrassing. (yah, yah, it’s not a secret I have no boobs)

Final note: You can do this too!

I want to encourage my readers to set small goals, document and celebrate when you’ve succeeded. I don’t think I would have ever stayed on track if I hadn’t had your support! So thank you for continuing to read! The benefits are huge, regardless if you’re in derby or not. I’m looking forward to my next year and hope you’ll join me in your own success too!

Happy New Year!!!

PS: I successfully changed out my roller skate plates and will have a post on how I did that in the new year!