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Thisgirllearnstoskate

A northern girls journey through fresh meat to the derby track

Rinse and Repeat

Hi. I wonder how many times I can write the same article about skating? 

I’ll cut to the chase.

No car. Shit attendance. Shit at skating. Back to square one. Shit. 

I nearly didn’t go skating tonight but I’m so glad I did. I had a long day at work and on top of the week from hell finding about not so well family, my anxiety nearly got the better of me. My heart was racing just thinking about putting skates on but strapped them on I did. 

Force Ten Gail was coaching us newbies and working on different skills for once was a really great change of pace from the grinding away at falls and t-stops (that I still haven’t even slightly mastered) that I’ve done before.

We did balance, weaving and stance tonight and whilst it seems a small achievement I managed my 30 seconds on one of my legs, improved my weave time from 17 seconds to 11.04 seconds and finally started to improve on my wonky skating. I’m not quite there yet but my left leg is finally starting to behave and actually get off the floor when I skate along.

Still making teeny baby steps but seeing progress was really nice. I’ve definitely refilled my pot of enthusiasm and I’m really hoping 2017 can be the year I beat those mins! 

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Outdoors and on the floor

Turns out skating outside is much harder than skating inside on a nice, shiny sports hall floor. 

Twice I’ve tried to skate down the seafront and made it about four feet and embarrassed myself. Sand is enemy number one on wheels.

I’ve upgraded to different wheels and won a small victory fitting them on my old r3s. I’m hoping this set up is 20% easier than my crappy old rio rollers. 

Expect regular “things that I skated into today” updates. 

Straight Back At It

It’s been a while.

8 weeks ago I had an attack of something I now know to be SVT (or supraventricular tachycardia if you want the long winded version). I’ve had funny turns with my heart since I hit puberty but this time was different. It usually manifests itself as a quick burst of palpatations where, whilst REALLY uncomfortable, would calm down within ten minutes and leave me exhausted and anxious. This lasted four hours.

My heart went at 160-200bpm for four goddamn hours.

After an hour I was rushed away in an ambulance, taken straight into resuss and given a dose of adenosine. They stopped my heart and it felt like I was being ripped apart from the inside. I’m ashamed to say I screamed. I screamed and I cried and I thought I was going to die, in all honesty I nearly did. I’m lucky my body didn’t give up on me.

Afterwards, whilst I was sobbing in a hospital gown desperately trying to get my heart rate below 100bpm, it was explained to me that this was going to happen again. An underlying condition that could happen at any minute or any day. I can do things to help it. I can avoid caffeine, drink less alcohol, stay away from exercise, but no-one really knows what causes SVT. They told me to pack myself off in an ambulance if it lasted more than 5 minutes again and that was that. Beta blockers and look after yourself.

So derby started to scare me.

For at least 3 weeks I had regular panic attacks, landing me in hospital at one point, scared that I was going to die at any minute. That one wrong move would land me back in a bad with an IV stuck in the crook of my elbow. I entirely lost my nerve at life never mind the idea of skating and knowing my heart rate would raise through the exercise.

I became more and more depressed and anxious. Sad as it sounds my only real friends in Essex are those I’ve made skating. I didn’t see anyone bar my (wonderful and very supportive) partner. I only spoke to my friends back home online and I missed companionship. I soon realised I needed to put my skates back on.If i didn’t I was never going to get better and I was never going to live my life. It felt like skating was the hurdle I needed to beat to make myself better again.

So I got back on my wheels.

I’ve been back at training for three weeks now. I was scared that I would be back at “barely standing” stage again but actually I’ve improved. I’ve got a fire in my belly again and instead of feeling scared I feel empowered. I put on my new Seaside Sirens hoodie and I hoodyfeel part of something I am so proud of and I can’t wait to be more of an asset too.

I am not going to let this condition end my life. I’m not going to hide from it and I’m damn well going to play derby one day and I’m going to kick ass at it. Bring it.

 

 

Me and my Thunder Thighs

I’ve been off skates for a few weeks now. Mainly because getting to training has been hindered by a dead car and working ridiculous hours at work. Boo to six day weeks.

I guess it’s left me open to thinking too much about whether I’ve got this. I’m a slow learner but skating is starting to click for me. The basics are logged in my brain somewhere even if it’s not quite where it needs to be yet. But actual contact derby?

Looking at most of the girls on my team and they are so far away from me, my body type, my fitness, everything. I’m a size 18, mildly asthmatic, with thighs so chunky I can’t even get my leg up enough to do a proper crossover.

I lost a lot of weight in 2014 before I moved southwards but most of it has crept back on and the regime I had to keep to even reach size 16 (which was a 4 stone loss) was unmanageable long term. I just can’t maintain 5 nights a week at the gym and a total cut out of carbs and dairy with the active job I do now.

I suppose I’m secretly pretty cross at myself for not being able to maintain what’s still pretty shockingly overweight let alone the toned, sexy, curvy lady I was aiming for.

I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’ll never get there. I’ll never be athletic enough. Even my balance is shocking. I hate the idea of still miserably training in three years time with my minimums still out of reach when all the other fresh meat I started with are bouting.

Damn my thunder thighs.

 

This Girl Can. Most of the time.

Once again I’ve been a bit up and down with my skating the last few weeks. One week I raged so bad (partially because I wasn’t used to my new 92a wheels and skating felt HARD again) I actually had a good anxiety fuelled cry when I got home. There have been so many times I’ve nearly thrown my skate tool down in a paddy and quit trying.

I haven’t though!

I’m quite proud of myself for sticking at it. I’m the biggest quitter a lot of the time. I get really into a hobby, hit a bump in the road and give up within months.  I’m trying really hard to not be that person again.

I’ve made a few progressions in the last few weeks too.  I pretty much nailed my transitions at Tuesday training and, whilst I’m not quite there, I’ve got the basic gist of a derby stop. Don’t ask me to do it at any speed but I understand where my body needs to be now. I’m finding just watching the other girls so useful just to work out how they position themselves whilst skating. I know I don’t bend my knees enough yet and I’m trying to work on not looking at the floor so much! Those are the reasons I have a horribly brusied bum at this moment in time.

I’m trying to lower my goals into small manageable chunks so my February goals are going to be:

  • Doing a single derby stop to some kind of competent degree
  • 10 laps in 5
  • Being able to backwards sticky skate without Bazooka Salt kindly dragging me along
  • Being able to t-stop whilst rolling slowly

Cross your fingers for me!

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Return of the Mojo.

Wow.

Just got back from the Sirens and Essex Men’s recruitment night (showered pre blogging, jeeze was I sweaty).

I was really worried about tonight after a 3 week break from skating for Christmas and about 4lbs+ in chocolate and roast dinner weight. In actuality I’ve never felt so comfortable on the track before.

Whilst I didn’t nail anything new I had a go at crossovers, got one step closer to the elusive t stop, managed to touch the floor whilst skating (note to self: squats. Squats forever) and even had a little jump without dying.

I think it was a combination of not being the newest skater on the track, a boost in self confidence, my skates not hurting quite so much now I’ve switched to tights instead of socks in my Riedells and my new snouts being essentially magical items. +3 to skating skill at least.  Anyway it felt like I was practically whizzing around the track compared to the end of December. I fell once. I got back up. Panic no where to be seen.

I am so buzzed I had to write the second I got home just to document what kicking my nerves ass feels like.

As well as impressing myself at training it was really great to watch another co-ed scrim. It was just a demo scrim with a mix of Essex Men’s, Killahurtz and Seaside Sirens players all involved but I love seeing the difference between the mixed and non mixed games. The men play a far dirtier, more aggressive game from what I’ve seen so far. Quicker but also spending more time in the penalty box. It’s great to see other play styles and try and pick up some tips!

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I didn’t NSO this time so I could give some of the other pre mins girls a go whilst I ran round the track with my shoddy camera phone trying to get some good pictures. I sort of did (they aren’t great) but it was good to get talking about this blog and hear that people are reading it every now and again.

I was also asked to be part of the PR committee tonight. By next month I’ll be full paid up member of the Sirens. I could not be prouder.

So from here on I expect all my readers to follow the Sirens on everything.

Thanks guys!

 

 

 

Shiny Boots and Toe Snouts

In a bid to fill me full of confidence for the new season I am upgrading my gear.

My Riedell R3’s have been giving me some real problems to the point where I had to sit out of some of our Christmas party. Pins and needles I could cope with but I lost feeling in my feet entirely. No amount of relacing was fixing anything! The January sales have been kind to me and I have managed to order some Suregrip Rebels for just over £120. They arrive on Monday! I have bagged myself:

  • Rebel Boot in Black Leathersure-grip-rebel-avenger-1024x1006
  • Probe Nylon Plate
  • Sure-Grip Fugitive Wheels in Black (92A)
  • Qube Juice Bearings
  • Carrera Speed Toe Stops

I won’t lie don’t know what half of these things mean but the wheels will be far better (I want the Heartless 88a set but I’m not rich enough to buy wheels too at the moment).  Plus the wider leather boot should fit far better and will mould to my feet even if the fit isn’t quite right. I’m so excited! Comfort!

With new boots I need new things to make them pretty too.

My rather wonderful other half got me some Strawberries and Scream toe snouts for Christmas, I have some new grippy laces on the way courtesy of a good friend at the Sirens and I got myself some rainbow Shwings from Derby Recyclables! Oh and I found some Star Wars vinyl stickers reduced in Sainsburys and my Bell Faction helmet has reached near perfection.

I just have one final decision to make regarding my knee pads. I have tree trunk thighs so I am hoping to try Smiths L-XL and 187 XL before I make my decision as uncomfortable knee pads will be useless once I get my mins passed and I hit the track for real!

Oh and some new leggings.

And some derby shirts.

And the list goes on.

Ouch right in the purse.

 

 

New Year, New Me (Yep I’m a Cliche)

I was getting quite down hearted in 2015. My mental health is often precarious at the best of times and I’ve let things get to me. Silly things. Work things, not progressing fast enough things, looking about 4 stone heavier than I want things.

With every new year I like to set myself new goals, not resolutions as such, but things I’d like to achieve. Number 1 on that list is to not let my anxiety disorder get to me as much, especially on the track.  I think the only way to do this is to be open and honest with myself and others about how I am doing mentally. I will be using this blog to channel those thoughts so please be aware of that if you may be triggered by something I say.

The other of these little goals is to pass those elusive minimums. I think derby could be exactly what I’ve needed to get me on a better path. A way to channel my thoughts into something productive. A way to get fit and fast. Most importantly a way to find a social group I really feel part of. I already have such a great community of friends and acquaintances both from the Sirens and on social media. I don’t know how I’d manage without them.

By Christmas this year (Oh god it’s 2016 now) I’ll be in a better place.With wheels on my feet and a stronger head than I’ve had this year.

Heart Shaped Bruises

I foolishly went skating at Rollacity last week without knee pads and fell when a small child kamikaze’d in front of me. Won’t be making that mistake again. Ouch.

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