April 11 – First Official Practice (for real this time)

No specific thoughts about this session except… awesome! Maude put us through our paces and I loved every minute!

Drills we ran…

  • Weaving
  • Weaving with shoulder check
  • Weaving with hip check
  • One knee stops, both knees
  • One knee stops with 180 turn, both knees
  • T-Stops
  • Plow Stops
  • Toe Stops
  • Double knee fall
  • Superman slide fall
  • Baseball slide fall, both sides
  • Touching one knee to floor while in motion, both knees
  • Hops
  • Squat position while coasting around 1/2 the track
  • One foot glide while coasting around 1/2 the track, both feet
  • 5 one minute speed trials
  • Running on toe stops
  • Duck walking
  • Crossover walking
  • Looking inside, outside and behind while skating in a pack

I think that’s everything.

Considering our practice space (small) I can still feel myself gaining confidence to push my speed a little bit more. I only hit the wall once (because I couldn’t corner fast enough) and tripped over my skates once during the speed trials (but fell correctly, yay!). I’m really anxious to practice speed and my maneuverability through the pack, but I’m guessing that’s going to have to wait until we all can demonstrate proper control without injuring each other.

We also gathered all the silent auction items at this meeting. There’s some pretty cool stuff up for grabs so I hope everyone remembers to squirrel away some of their drinking money for the auction. My friend Des donated a pair of Olympic mittens (thanks Desi!!!!!) and I donated 3, 8×10 framed bridge prints (shameless plug for me). But other items range from a Zombie photo session, to a skate bag, to homemade jams & wine as well as snowboard gear! Thanks to all our sponsors who graciously donated!!! The support in the community has been really great.

Things on the agenda for this week…

  • Create video to show at the DDD Fundraiser on Saturday (do you have your tickets yet? Get them at Henotic or Blueprints)
  • Change my skates back to outdoor wheels (Wishful thinking? Snow has been forecast for the week)
  • START MY TAXES (ugh)
  • Finish up some design projects
  • Get ready for Auron’s birthday party (20 kids ugh)
  • Finish marking for the semester!!!!!
  • Continue keeping my ears open for a proper indoor venue to skate at

P.S.
I see I have some subscribers! Thank you for keeping tabs on me! And thank you also to my cyberfriend The Active Stick for linking me on her blog. I hope you all don’t stay quiet for too long. I love comments; even if it’s to say I suck. Hahahaha

**Edited to add
Forgot to add that this practice was the first time I’ve ever worn a mouth guard. Weird and gross all at once.

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April 9-10

April 9
I got tired of waiting for the wind to calm down so I did a jaunt first thing in the morning. I didn’t even bother cataloging the distance because it was a quick one.

Once I hit the bike path and headed east, I took one push and was literally carried 2 blocks by the wind. On the way home I suffered from watering eyes, windburned cheeks and people walking their dogs passing me (yes, passing me) as I struggled against the ‘gentle’ breeze.

I tried. And people who walked past me, laughed.

I was laughing at me too.

April 10
Skated over to the bowling alley this morning to watch the kids bowl in their leagues. While I was motivated to go, once I hit the streets my feet were sluggish and I was tripping over myself the entire way. Not my best performance.

3.46 mi (5.57 km) in about 1/2 hour

Later in the afternoon I met up with some Dames at the westside school. The weather was surprisingly calm and sunny. We were all happy to be out there and I even met a couple new girls I haven’t skated with before.

I passed off a walkie talkie to my kids so we could keep tabs on each other and sent them off to go biking in the area. The group practiced some pack skating, some weaving and perfecting crossovers since most of us have new skates and are getting accustomed to them. It was nice and relaxing and I really enjoyed everyone’s company.

I’m so excited to have crossed another benchmark off the list… Jumping! Skunky brought her man who is a manic on a pair of inlines. Greg, as well as new skater-friend Shannon, coached us through some jumping techniques.

I’m definitely a watcher if I want to learn something new, so after watching Shannon do some jumps and some tips on proper landings from Greg, I was clearing the 3 inch benchmark.

This is a big deal for me, as I have never jumped in figure skates, let alone while skating on wheels and on concrete 🙂 My technique isn’t great, but that will come.

In other news, my skates are breaking in nicely. I think I’m starting to feel the more wiggle room that comes with breaking them in. I don’t really like it and I’m pretty sure some new inserts are necessary.

I particularly felt it when practicing starts by running on the toe stops (which I suck, gotta work on that next). I may try taking a hair dryer to my skates to tighten them up around the heel as well (under rollergirl.ca’s close supervision, of course).

Tomorrow is indoor practice! Yay! Can’t wait to run some drills!

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

Stopping
– t stop
– knee stop
– plow stop

Falls
– 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.

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

We didnt see no stinkin’ signs

Long story short…

Skated at the tennis club; got kicked out.

Skated on the pristine asphalt at the new westside highschool; didn’t get kicked out and had a great skate.

There’s a roundabout in the parking lot that, according to Maude LoBrowski, is close to the size of a derby track. We practiced on that and I think in total I got at least 2.5 hours of skating in today. My crossovers feel great and after some coaching from Maude I was easily accelerating through the corners.

All the ladies did great! We’re gonna kick some serious ass. I’m feeling pretty confident now. I’m laughing that I even questioned I could do this.