Saturday, August 8, 2015

Surprise. I live.

Even bigger shocker, I still play derby.  I know, having not posted for two years, it seemed likely that I had gone the way of most of the people who have tried and played derby and quietly, resentfully, hung up my skates due to that dark force called Real Life Responsibilities.  Ha.  I've had a lot of time experience in dodging the adulting; it's unlikely to get at me at this stage in the game.

For the past two years I've had very little to say about the sport of roller derby or adult athletics.  Publicly, at least. So I have been quiet here.  Derby, for myself, is an inward journey of discovery. Or, if that seems a bit breezy, derby is my narcissistic preoccupation with awkward and painful activities in which I can't seem to win and must spend lots of money on.

Roller derby.  Don't talk to me about roller derby.

But not posting so much is really okay.  Reading back over some posts on Pick a Cheek here to familiarize myself with me, I noticed a stunning lack of change in attitude and environment over the past years.  Though the jerseys and locations have changed, derby is just as hard, overwhelming, awkward and exhilarating today as it was five years ago.  I love my derby people as much as I want to throttle them.  Same old, same old.

What is new, though, right now, is this funny thing my league is trying.  It's called an off-season and it's incredible.  We have two months off of practicing and playing and it's the first time I've not derby skated for that amount of time.  Which doesn't mean I haven't done league work or recreational skates, watched footage, attended meetings and socials, and even helped lead a practice with other league, but still.   Still.  Relatively speaking, this has been derby free time.

So I've been trying some new stuff.  MMA fitness classes for one.  Super fun.  And I turned forty years old. Not so much fun but, despite my efforts, it was unavoidable.

At this age in the game, with a little breathing space of an off-season, naturally I've got a few questions for myself about this derby thing and how it's working for me.  Y'know, overall.  Even more than my usual calls to defend myself against queries about why I do something that I am just so not naturally suited for.  (As if not being awesome at something is a reason to not do it.) 

Long dark tea-time of the derby soul sort of stuff.

How do I measure personal success in this sport?  If I went by sheer player ranking, I would of chucked my skates and settled down the couch with a truckload of bon bons a long time ago.  So would ninety-five percent of the skaters. Obviously, we have worth beyond being the best of the best of the best.

Health wise, derby has taken my downhill rush and angled it towards a much brighter future.  Mentally and physically.  The only thing that terrifies my husband more than me perpetually playing derby is me not playing derby.  Because that is a dark spiral of badness for my body and my brain.  Sport keeps me healthy, yo.

How about growing the sport in general and supporting the community?  Well, ahem, I feel I've done my share and, sparing you the gritty details, I will give myself a little check mark for that.  Besides helping to ensure derby exists for myself and my community, I also have a girl child who lives and breaths for skating and her derby buds who looks forward to many years of derby derby derby.

On that side note, derby has been incredibly affirming for my children.  Not lacking in complications or the occasional problem, of course, but within this sport both my junior player child and non-player child have found supportive community.  For my girl, in particular, growing up in derby has provided a wealth of positive real life role models. Okay, smelly, foul-mouthed role models, yes, but who are also strong, capable, and demonstrate self worth.  I like that when asked who her heroes are, my daughter will name real women that she knows personally, as opposed to movie or pop stars that are recited all too often.   Though, technically speaking, she's also name book characters, so we'll not get too gaspy about all this.

Health, community and positive role models are pretty good, but I think that to determine if this sport thing is successful and worth it for me, I'm going to fall back less empirical notion of personal progress.  By degrees, being better and better each day.  Since change is inevitable, all things impermanent, I would like to focus my effort on channeling change in directions I choose.  Mastery of my own fate and so on. And I'm not talking just about improving my derby play, oh no.  That's really sort of the lowest measure. The question is, is derby instrumental in helping me be a better person?

As noted above, on the most fundamental level for me derby hasn't changed all that much over the years.  It's like this endless loop (moving counter clock-wise) of challenge and duty.  Admittedly, I'm in a pretty good spot right now.  I love where I'm at and who is with me, but the nitty gritty of running a league, practicing and playing has had me splashing about in the same murky pool for five years now.  Without something drastic, like the invention of time travel, perhaps, or the introduction of portals in space that can be used legally in game play (damn, how cool would that be?), I can foresee the derby will be the derby as I know it for the time being.

I try to keep my mindset, though, on learning from every angle I can.  Meetings teach me patience and to listen to others.  Practice helps me become stronger mentally as well as physically.  Recruiting and promotions keep me in touch with the greater community and encountering new people.  Watching new skaters grow confident and overcome their own personal obstacles is inspiring. Challenges are always opportunities for personal growth and, yes, derby supplies plenty of challenges.

So I guess it's all worth it.

Now hold up, I hear you say, given that it is a mindset of growth that makes the activity valuable, wouldn't almost any activity that provided physical challenge and other people actually teach the same lessons?  Isn't it the desire to learn and improve is what is useful, not derby itself? 

Yup.  It doesn't have to be derby. 

In fact, I do derby because I like it.  I could do other things too.  And I may, if I want to.  In the meanwhile, this is still a pretty fun way to spend my Saturday night.  And Monday night.  And Thursdays.  And Sunday afternoon...


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

adult onset athletics

Today I did our travel team's version of the Filthy Fifty they used as a fitness measure for their tryouts and ongoing as a friendly competition between teammates.

 In twenty minutes I did:

50 burpees
50 squats
50 lunges
50 push ups
50 sit ups
50 tuck jumps

And then I went downstairs to my basement where my washer and dryer are to do as much laundry as possible because I know my legs are going to seize up tomorrow and I won't be able to get up and down those stairs for a few days.

I need to be practical.  I've had experience with this.

I know I've talked about this a few times here already but I am still sort of shocked that I reached my mid-thirties before I managed to find something that I could do to help me be more fit.  Coming from a non-athletic background, I was a little surprised that it turned out to be a sport (on wheels!) that became the workout I could stick to.

And then at some point, I started working out so I could play the sport. 

Sneaky, roller derby, very sneaky.

I can't talk about how I rank against other athletes in sport.  I still feel weird about thinking of myself as an athlete.  There is a whole spectrum of bodies and fitness levels and I have found it to be quite self-destructive to get all judgey and compare myself to others.   It's so easy to think that a person who is lapping you in burpees has some sort of natural burpee gift, comparable to super strength or long eyelashes, and was granted to her by the gods for good deeds done in a past life.  Or for having a famous father. 

But there is no such thing as a burpee gift. If it was true, it would be a good enough reason to just toss in the towel in this life, spending the rest of it making sacrifices to the gods to be granted the gift of easy burpees the next time around.

 More likely than a gift from the gods, you are seeing a culmination of sweat, good eating habits, and dedication.  I want to go on here about youth being a bit of a leg up as well as body composition and a childhood full of sports but I might end up convincing myself there actually is a gift of easy burpees and I'll end up all pissy about it and miss the point I wanted to make here.

The point, I think, is not to measure your fitness against others (except in tiny inspirational doses) but to measure your fitness improvements against yourself.  Especially if you are coming into roller derby with adult onset athletics.

You really need to measure and track your own trajectory.  This is vital to keeping yourself motivated while learning how to workout and, even harder, how to stick to it even when gods, genetics and time conspire to deny you the burpee-ready body.

I have a set of personal motivators that I use to keep me going whenever I don't feel like putting in the effort.  For me, it's very specific memories of three years ago when certain parts of my body that did not look or feel like something that should be a part of me.  Like how my stomach used to actually fold over onto itself after my second baby arrived.  And my ass formed a gentle slope from my hip bones down to the tops of my legs without any discernible muscle tone. 

Now I know, given how much I abused my body with neglect and cookies prior to roller derby, that I am not going to get into super shape.  But despite how it looks - and it does look better - I feel ten thousand times better than I did three years ago when I couldn't stand up from the floor without using my hands to brace myself. 

That feels so weird to me now, that I couldn't raise myself off the floor without using my hands.  But yet, that is the fitness story of most of my life.  Lacking that muscle left me with a sprained ankle on my third derby practice ever and many more injuries in my knees and back until I developed the strength to hold myself up.  No small feat.

The other day I found a couple sheets of paper photocopied from a magazine of an interval workout I had tried three years ago.  I remember getting to the fourth set of seven (three minute cardio, one minute strength and one minute core sets) and then having total muscle failure in my legs.  Yesterday I did the whole seven sets and it wasn't really that hard.

Not travel team hard anyway.

Beyond burpees and how to get off the floor without using my hands, I did learn a few things about what it means to push myself beyond my perceived barriers.  First of all, there is a point beyond 'I can't - my body won't do it.'  If you push beyond there, it turns into 'I can - and holy fuck it hurts.' Also I get shaky and this sort of weird all over body cold feeling that probably isn't good, but it is completely possible to push myself far beyond the point where I thought I had stop.

I've learned I cannot dehydrate to the point of death in an hour workout, no matter how sweaty I get.  So water breaks are good and necessary, getting a bit thirsty is not a good reason to break my concentration.  Best to just maintain an overall good habit of daily hydration.

I've learned that when the burpee gifted are running circles around me and taunting me by being all good looking in Lycra, I need to tuck my focus inside myself and do what I need to do.  Don't judge and don't quit.  I'd rather beat myself up with push ups than with self defeating comparisons.

I've learned that getting light headed with lots of up and down movements means my blood pressure is low and I could very well pass right the fuck out.  I improved my chronic low blood pressure with better eating habits and cutting down the stimulants (sugar and caffeine). 

I've learned that cross training is my friend.  I like yoga, running stairs and bike riding.  If you go from sedentary to exclusive training with derby, you end up having a lot of sore joints and unnecessary injuries from overdeveloping certain muscles while others are left behind.  Learning to be an athlete later in life is hard enough without developing all wonky.  Even it up with cross training.

Getting out the door for a workout is the hardest part.  It is so tempting to opt out and avoid the workout, especially knowing it will be tough.  Even tough enough to make your legs and shoulders ache for days afterwards.  But if you can make yourself start, it gets easier.  Mentally, I mean, not physically.  That workout shit is hard. Unless you have the burpee gift.  Once you are there and moving and your only choice is to push through to the end, you will glad you did it.  Eventually.  When you're able to walk downstairs again not looking like a badly strung marionette.

I think that you could probably classify this as developing mental toughness but it is probably more a fear of slowly becoming ever more slumpy as I age and slipping so far down a slope of unhealthy habits that I will never be able to recover from.  There is so much to be gained from improving one's fitness - more energy, physical play with the kids, kicking ass with greater efficiency at roller derby.

It is a case, for those of us who spent more time cultivating our baking skills rather than our bodies, as better late than never.  We all must start from where we are at and realize that over time it never gets easier even though we do get better.  My one hundredth workout felt as hard as my first one.  But I am a different person.  And hey, look! No hands!

And if you discover and that you do, indeed, find burpees to be oh so easy and suspect you have a god-granted gift for them, do me a favour and don't tell me.

Friday, July 5, 2013

I think I have the crazies

One year ago I was playing with our league's travel team, chairing a board position, coaching fresh meat and a part time ref.  Since then I have:

a) Gotten injured.  Busted my tailbone when I fell on my skate during a warm up for a game.  It is as painful as it sounds.  For the record, I still played the game.  I think I might have been in shock.  But we won, yay!

b) Did no contact practices for a bit and focused on learning the reffing better.  Spent non-derby time trying to figure out how to sit in chairs without actually having my ass make contact with the seat.

c) Returned to active duty.  Then got sort of overwhelmed and angry.  With everything and everybody.  And my ass still hurt.

d) Decided I needed a derby break.  That lasted about two nanoseconds.  But I did manage to not run in the next board election.  Actually, that's not true.  I did run, became VP and then had a panic attack at three am that night worrying about having to do it all if the president quit.  It's not an irrational fear.  Our presidents should go on the endangered species list.  I resigned at four am. 

e) Resigned from the travel team as well.  Played a couple games with our B team.  Love those ladies.

f) Decided I needed a derby break again.  Found fresh meat another coach and resigned from the B team.  That lasted about two nanoseconds.

g) Became a full time ref.  Filled my head with all sorts of finicky bits of rules and protocol until I couldn't be near the track without nearly having a nervous break down from the continuous infractions committed by players who seem blithely unaware that they are breaking the god damn rules all. the. fucking. time.

h) Realized that reffing was turning me into an anal retentive middle manager and that is exactly not why I'm in derby so decided to take a break.

i) Which lasted two nanoseconds.

j) While retaining the reffing break, I was somehow convinced to start coaching fresh meat again and play a game with the B team.  I heart fresh meat and missed their innocent, unjaded optimism. 

k) I learned that 'unjaded' isn't a real word. 

So, here I am, transitioning from ref to player again.  I feel a little like what it must be like for a cop who was framed and sent to jail.  Except for all the ass raping.  I hope.  I mean, my ass did hurt but for an entirely different reason.  Sorry to put that all into your head.

The point is, as a ref, when I said you done did wrong, they had to pay a price.  As a player, when I point out the broken rule, they just say, 'Suck it, bitch!' and do it again.

Not. Fair.  I get distracted by my rage at the injustice of it all and fail to protect myself.  Never mind actually play the damn game in any sort of half-ways effective manner.

As a ref, I learned to deal with an infraction by yelling at it and sending it off the track. Given that this is my normal sort of reaction in everyday life, I feel quite comfortable doing this.  I'm what you might call a natural hall monitor.

Remembering to react physically by, oh I don't know, hitting somebody back, is more challenging.  Especially this is the second bloody time I've had to do and it's not any more intuitive now than it was three years ago when I was fresh meat.

Thus, the work now is to go through my head and root out all those parts that feel hard done by and indignant and pissy about what is happening around me at the moment.  In other words, I need to learn to let go.

People say that when you play a sport it never gets easier no matter how good you get because you are always moving up to the next level and making and meeting new challenges.  I think in roller derby, particularly for women without sports backgrounds, we not only have new challenges but we end up having to redo our old ones again with a different mind.  Because our brains are filled with all sorts of imprinted self-regulating social garbage and the lesson isn't truly learned until we can develop new instincts that don't involve us invoking feelings of victim hood.

I have no protocols on how to do this.  I just need to stop itemizing every little low block and directional before I lose my mind. All I can figure out is to keep going to practices and work on shutting my face and moving my feet instead whenever I see a penalty happening.  And to give myself a thousand burpees whenever I make the WTF arms at a refHonestly, I've wanted to do that to players for awhile now anyway. 

I am trying to approach it all again with a beginner's mind - clearing away all that I think I know so that I can react to what is happening at the moment, without judgement, and just play some derby.


Monday, August 13, 2012

evolution vs toast

In my ongoing effort to improve my nutritional status so I can be the bestest roller derby-er I can be, despite my stunning lack of natural abilities (see nearly all previous posts) I have been looking into the ways that athletes and super healthy people fuel themselves.  One particular way has popped up more than its fair share and that is the paleolithic diet.  I know you've heard of it and if you haven't you've got access to Google, so I'm not going to describe it beyond saying that it involves no grains, just meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts.

Paleo has caught my eye because I know a half dozen people personally who have claimed that paleo eating and lifestyle has changed their lives.  And I've seen them undergo changes, becoming healthier, fitter and happier.  Paleo is like the magical unicorn of diets. 

Reading about it, there is some good guys (Robb Wolf seems pretty knowledgeable plus he says swear words) and some questionable science guys (Gary Taubes) but still, for the most part, I find myself in agreeance with the paleo sellers.  This would be the point that I, given my penchant for turning my whole life into a science experiment because I'm curious, interested and always eager to find things that help me be healthier, to yell giddy up and spend a few weeks re-learning how to eat. 

The reason why I'm hesitating to adopt this paleo diet is a set of arguments I waded through about fifteen years ago stuck to me and turned itself into a firm and clear ethical basis from which much of my identity and life is constructed.  I am vegan.  I like being vegan.  My children are vegan.  I don't want to eat animals.  When it's me vs. the mythical bunny on the hypothetical desert island I would Not Eat the Bunny.

I get that grains are not so good for our bodies.  I live that one out with wheat all the time.  I love toast.  I have gone so far in the recent past to say that I fucking love toast.  But toast doesn't fucking me.  Toast, which is so good, so tasty turns into an evil bitch in my stomach and makes me suffer for every bite.  Toast is a frenemy.  Good bye (*sob*) toast.

The paleo kicker is that it is impossible to construct a strictly paleo diet while also being vegan.  Legumes and grains form an important part of vegan nutrition, as they contain larger doses of protein than vegetables.  It is possible to construct a diet that is paleo-esque but includes some legumes and seeds like quinoa, amarath and hemp.   Brendan Brazier is one such vegan athlete guru and, I'll admit, I've been consuming his yellow pea/hemp/veggie magic powders for years.  (I've actually, I've come to crave the odd taste of Vega products, which I like to blend with a bit of banana and almond milk.)

I like Brazier.  I follow him on Facebook.  But Brazier's diet is not strictly paleo and, according to Wolf, I shall never get the benefits of becoming a slick, lean fat fuelled machine if I bastardize the paleo diet and sneak in some quinoa. 

This little vegan vs paleo debate has been tearing me up for a little while.  It's the worst of both worlds right now, since I can't figure out what to make for breakfast and my entire day goes to shit after that.  I mean, if I shouldn't eat toast or oatmeal or pancakes, then what the fuck do I eat?  Broccoli with my coffee?  That is not breakfast fuel, my friends. 

Then, this morning as I made oatmeal because I have to eat something, it occurred to me that perhaps I've had my head up my ass long enough.  Here is the thing with our culture: we have so much time, energy and resources that we can afford to self indulgently narrow our choices down and grow into neurotic dietary puritans.  I have unlimited food sources from all over the world, I do not have traditional foods prescribed nor do I live with religious tenents that dicate my lunch choice.  To decide that I will be vegan (and maintain with admittedly good health for fifteen years with the exception of two pregnancies) is a luxury of my time and place.  To decide to only eat like our paleo ancestors is another luxury item.  To sit here and dither over which one is best is even more self indulgent.  I am damn fucking lucky to have this choice.  So I will not suffer over it anymore.

I remember reading study that looked at all the paradoxical ways of eating, trending fads, diets, and longer term commitments, like Seventh Day Adventist vegetarians, that claimed to maintain health (and weight loss) with foods that conflicted with one another.  The South Beachers could lose weight and maintain based upon denying themselves foods that the Greeks eat daily (fat, fat and more fat).  We have the French paradox and the Chinese paradox and how can all these conflicting ways of eating still work to support healthy human life? 

The study concluded that all of the diets that did indeed improve human health had one common feature: large portions vegetables, particularly green leafies, as cornerstones to their menus.  A part of me wondering is that it's not so much the meat that makes paleo so successful, it's actually the inclusion of large servings of vegetables.

Another part of our evolving species is our big, heavy, pelvis busting brains.  See, if it's me vs the rabbit on the island, the knee jerk reaction of our species to a desperate situation is to kill something and eat it and, sure, I could do that.  I could go all paleo all over the bunny, eat the little prey, and go to sleep when the sun goes down.  Or, I could sit my ass down and think about it for a minute and it will probably occur to me to wonder, what the fuck is the bunny eating? 

We are omnivores.  We sustain our lives on all sorts of foods.  We eat from the sky, the ground, the sea, and we cook it all in the sun, hot springs and in lava pits.  We carry around super computers in our skulls.  The choices we have is our predicament, they make us crazy, but they are also our way off of crazy island and all the hypothetical scenarios that are not going to happen to this prairie living girl.

I don't know if being vegan is the ultimate healthy sort of way.  I can't say that paleo is either.  I know that eating a shit ton of vegetables is a good thing and that I must painfully, with great sorrow, end my love affair with toast.  I also know that I've got a lot of other things to do with my life than sit around tinkering with my diet. 

I'm not sick.  I do have energy and health.  I am also pretty lazy and can afford to be lazy.  It's much more fun to read books (with swear words) about my self indulgent food choices and endlessly tweak my lifestyle than to go do something that matters.

So, I'm going to go do some shit, eat some veggies for lunch and fail to worry about it.  And then I'm going to get ready in my specialized clothing designed by modern day scientists to maximize my movement potential while drawing sweat away from my body and hunt down an opposing jammer deer while helping my jammer gather up some points in roller derby practice.

It is what I am evolved to do.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

action items

I find derby hard.

I am not a natural skater.  It is a lot of work for me, physically and mentally.

I am not a natural athlete.  I don't think of my body very much and prefer to keep my mileage low.  Given time on my own, I will crawl into a ball and use only my arms to hold a book.  Well, maybe the occasional walk to the kitchen to make more tea.

When I was in high school, I had a friend tell me that he could see me spending my adult years laying on a couch, yelling at my kids to fetch mommy more bon bons. 

So, despite this derby thing being terrifically difficult, I think I'm doing pretty good.  Difficult is do-able.

But to make difficult do-able, I need to take care of the things I can at home with my body so that do not merely survive a hard, ass kicking practice in the heat but actually learn a few things too.  Surviving isn't enough.  I want to excel.  I have to work extra hard in the rest of my life in order to make the time and effort I put in at practice count.

Which means I have to be thoughful when I care for myself nutritionally.  I must workout outside of practice.  I must treat myself as the athlete I aspire to be.  At least I can have that covered so that my sucking at derby won't be further exaggerated by poor diet and lack of muscles.

Still.  I'm not perfect.  And when I slip, I fall down much further than I expect.

My birthday, bless it, past recently and suddenly there was cake and a celebratory Chinese dinner and, omg, ice cream and chocolate bars for treats.  Going to the movies instead of working out.  Old habits never quite disappear and it doesn't take much to have them take over again, eroding a lot of hard work.

Then the carb cravings ramped up and I started having toast for breakfast instead of the preferable hemp protein and almond smoothie.  And then toast for snack before bed and a glass of wine instead of mint tea.  And then cake for lunch.  And more toast.

I love toast.  I fucking love toast.  And bon bons.  Kids, bring mommy her bon bons!

But toast and wine and bon bons do not love me.  They make it harder for me to do the things I want to do.  Toast makes my middle swell and look like I'm hiding a beach ball in my jersey.  And wine gives me cankles to match my swollen belly.  And bon bons make me angry and tired.  And when I feel down, it seems so. much. easier. to go get another piece of cake than to make a salad.  All that chopping and stuff... ugh.

I've read in several places that it is better to never have another cookie again than to reward oneself for good nutritional choices with a once a week cookie treat.  It seems our bodies will, after a few days without a narcotic substance (and sugar, wheat and all the delicious white stuff is) kind of forget about it.  Your body will crave what you give it.  But a little bit of the super sweet stuff is like a super stimulator and even a tiny amount will overload your craving center, until all you can do is think about getting just one more cookie.

Or piece of toast.

(Hmmm... toast...)

They also say it is best to have a balance of foods.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and all nuts and protein powder and no dark chocolate Aero bars makes Malady a sad bore.  But I don't really do balance well.  Toast is a gateway to large bars of chocolate and entire bottles of wine.  There is sweet stuff that I can have a little bit of and not want more.  Like fruit.  Good stuff, feels great to eat a bit, won't go crazy about it, you know?

I don't believe I can do balance well.  Not at this stage of the game anyway.

So how do I drag myself back out of this pit and start behaving like an athlete again?


The above was written last night right before a two and half hour travel team practice, including an off skates warm up with a run and three rounds of 5 pull ups, 10 tuck jumps, 15 bicycle crunches, 20 inverted push ups, 25 box jumps.

3(5+10+15+20+25) = 225 reasons not eat another fucking bon bon ever again.

Working out and practice always improves my nutritional choices for 24 hours afterwards, because I remember how hard it is to move around all this poundage plus a ball of (vegan) ginger beef in my belly.  Athlete, do what?

Action item #1: Workout at least once every 24 hours.

Workouts don't need to all be super stair running and plyometric intervals.  Some days, just going to the playground with the kids gets my heart racing for half an hour or more.  And getting myself to more practices is just helpful all around.


This morning I went to the post office which happens to be located beside a walk in medical clinic.  Nothing like a load of sick people to encourage you to pass by the pasta and chop that salad.  And then run some stairs for bone health.

Motivation is a funny thing.  When there is an immediate consequence, say touching a hot stove, you learn quickly and easily not to do things that harm you.  When consequence comes hours, weeks, or years later, we forget that things can be harmful for us.

The trick is to mentally invoke a consequence that may not happen for years in order to motivate your behavior now.  Green things are good for me, sugar things are not, and as I age my diet and habits of movements will increasingly show themselves. 

Action item #2: Remind myself frequently of the consequence of good health. 

For me this means a lot of people watching, something I like to do anyway.  Check out people's carts in the grocery store then try to gauge their relative health.  Hang out where people work out.  Go the the mall for fresh veggie juice while checking out the food court.  Get really, really (quietly) judgmental about people.


What this all boils down to is choices.  I am not lacking information about nutrition, I know what is good for me.  I know what makes me feel like an awesome kung fu ninja and what makes me feel like I've been dropped in the pit of despair and I'm too fat to scale the walls back out again.  I'm not dumb.  But I do make poor choices sometimes.

Action item #3: Remove the choice.

Bye bye leftover birthday cake.  Later bon bons.  Ciao loaf of bread.  Heelllllllo greens.


There are many, many other small actions I can take to encourage better choices if I'm going to remain an athlete as I cruise into middle age.  But, for me, these are the big ones.  I know these ones have overriden my poor habits from the past and that a week or two of good choices will dimish my cravings and tendency to sloth greatly.  These three actions are my lifestyle equivalent of being a jammer up against a strong front wall, knowing that if she can just stay upright and keep pushing then eventually either the wall will break or she'll push them out of play. 

Then she'll be free to run.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

There is a difference between knowing better and doing better


Though they've been sounding like maracas for months and one wheel, when you gave it a spin, would grind to a halt after two rotations, I changed these out just yesterday.  I have no excuse for my neglience, though I'm certain my legs are stronger for the extra work they've had to do just to push me around the track.  I will say, however, new bearings make me feel like a new person. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

why I'm a bad blogger and 9 super points of wisdom

It has been noted recently that I am a terrifically negligent derby blogger. Sorry. If it makes you feel better, I am also negligent in almost every area of my life. I would explain it's because I spoon fed derby my brain as well as all my time but if you are here, reading a derby blog, you probably already understand the life consuming derby blob well enough.

But, I'm busy, you know? With derby. Which is why I can't write about derby, because I'm too busy making derby happen. That involves way way more than just going to practices and games. See, as the new pad smell of derby finally faded, I woke up from my fresh meat puppy love to find myself neck deep in committees, meetings, and an administrative To Do list longer than the pack definition. In the past, my inability to say no has gotten me in more trouble than a fruit fly in a glass of Merlot and now it has caused my kids and my league mates have equal shares in my ass. I am a slave to derby.

(Which, on a side note, is funny since though I have managed to thus far avoid any derby nuptials, I have somehow acquired a derby pimp and a subsequent obligation my team's fundraising sub-committee. Come to think of it, I may actually already have a derby wife and that wife is derby itself, much in the way nuns are married to god. Alms to the poor travel team?)

I am no longer fresh meat. I am no longer rancid meat. I am somewhere adrift between colonization of maggots and being far gone enough to grow lettuce. I no longer can talk about the experience of being new, feeling awkward and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. I feel pretty at home on the track now. My fishnets have been replaced by Lyra and practices that make the edges of my vision go dark are my new comfort zone. I run stairs and do cross fit for fitness and fun. My derby crush has turned out to be a keeper and we've set up house.

Thus, to gain some closure on and finally bid adieu to my minty fresh derby self as I finally admit I am no longer a blushing novice, I shall present to sum of the wisdom I have learned as my two year benchmark anniversary approaches in this next month.

(Get ready to be blown away by my sage council.)

1. Attitude counts.

2. Yes, it's hard. Get over it.

3. You are very thirsty but you probably won't die. Finish the drill. You can always give just a little bit more.

4. It never gets easier, you merely encounter new obstacles at greater heights as you progress. You have to find a different way to measure success than easy vs. hard.

5. Do not compare yourself to other skaters in a negative way. Everyone has their own hurdles and triumphs. You don't know what they've been through. If they're better than you, they've most likely worked very hard and made a lot of sacrifices. Do not be jealous, honour their achievements. If they are not as good as you, do not feel superior because in no time they'll improve enough to knock your ass down. Cheer them on as they get better and they will become a valuable teammate one day.

6. Dryland and off skates exercises will help you make significant improvements on skates. It sucks, but there it is.

7. What you put in your body matters. Eat well all the time, not too much, and make sure you eat a little snack right after practice.

8. Even when the reffing blows (it always does), the other team is douchey (they always are), and your teammates are all in the penalty box (as always), you can not blame anyone but yourself for a bad game. It's up to you to be able to meet all these challenges and still succeed.

9. Find some balance between derby and life. But don't ask me how to do it because I don't fucking know.