Category Archives: Roller Derby

Green Means Go! (Puke Means Stop!)

The OKRD is ramping up to a busy season, and while we’re ramping up we’ve been working on our off-skates fitness to give us a bit of an edge. As a fitness enthusiast, I’ve been working with our skaters to push them to their limits, and I figured you – my readers, can workout alongside us.

This is the first workout post I’ve done, and this workout was great. It definitely works your cardio and makes you sweat.

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Set a timer for 20 minutes and go through the circuit as many times as you can within the 20 minutes. We do our workouts at a track, so our laps are approximately ~400m (if I’m not mistaken).

Do this at your own pace and listen to your body!

Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer, but a very enthusiastic fitness person, with the hopes of possibly one day being a certified trainer.

Good luck!

Until then…

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2 years.

This weekend, I get to see what 2 years of the grind looks like. I get to see what numerous derby games, countless bootcamps, and much sacrifice gets me. I get to go to my hometown and I get to leave it all on the track..

Derby ate my life, my soul and my relationship… and I don’t look back in regret.

Sure, I probably should’ve focused on my nutrition, did more power lifting.. maybe transferred to a better team.. but I’ve prepared the best way I can with what I have.

I’ve gotten up at 5 am to go to boot camps in the morning to make sure I have fresh legs for practice, I’ve also gone to practice directly after boot camps to see what it’s like to have tired legs and to train hard. I’ve driven out of town to get more time on my skates with different skaters, I’ve skated on my lunch breaks to get even more time on skates – I skate pick up with ANY team who wants me, did my share of tournaments, shed tears, had my share of frustration and pain.. I feel so much more prepared this time.

 

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2  years of my life was spent looking forward to this weekend.

I know in my heart that I am double the skater I was last time I did this. I need to believe in myself that I am a good skater and that I can show them how hard I can work on both sides of the line. I will take the kind words and support and the butt kickings I’ve had over the years with every league and skater I’ve skated with with me, every little part of their lives have contributed to this journey and I appreciate every single one of them.

I feel like I can leave it all out there for the coaches, I’ve lost so much on this journey that I have nothing to lose on Sunday – and I will skate my heart out.

I see you tryouts, and I hope that you see me.

… until then..

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Yes to Hypertrophy!

So, for a while there, I was suffering from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. It was mostly due to overuse, to running, jumping, and pushing myself as far as I could. This meant that I had to stop for a while, I had to rest, take a bit of time off skates and off training, and trust me, it was not a fun time. It’s not really an injury that I felt that sidelined me at all, it hurt enough that I couldn’t push myself, but not enough that I couldn’t skate.

Took a few weeks off physical activity completely, and re-evaluated how I wanted to approach my training in the coming year (and beyond!). I was lucky enough to win a free gym membership to The Woman’s Place at a Ladies Football Tournament over the summer, so I told myself that I would start training there after my rest time off of training.

Well, while in my lack of physical activity stupor, I stumbled upon (okay, not really stumbled upon..) a blog post from Sandrine Rangeon (AKA Francey Pants) on a 10-week Strength Program for Roller derby. Upon reading that, I discovered that she also had written a Hypertrophy Program that she suggests to do prior to the strength phase. Being the scientist I am, I decided to venture off into Hypertrophy land and see where it took me.

Hypertrophy is likened to building the foundation for a house, as it is increasing muscle volume. I figured, hey, if I’m starting new, let’s try building a house!

I’ve strength trained before, but not following any sort of regimen. At the beginning of this program, I did not set any quantifiable goals, however, I tracked and logged the weights that I lifted to see if there was a marked increase in my lifting ability. Below is a comparison from week 1 to week 6, and how many reps and sets are involved in each.

Exercise Week 1 (2×10) Week 6 (4×8)
Back Squat 80lbs 135lbs
Shoulder Flies 10lbs 20lbs
Assisted Pronation Pull Ups 10lbs 40lbs
Leg Curls (per leg) 35lbs 90lbs
Seated Low Row 40lbs 150lbs
Curtsy Squat 25lbs 70lbs
Back Extension 0lbs 25lbs
Calf Extension 20lbs 45lbs
Bench Press 40lbs 80lbs
Split Squat 80lbs 135lbs
Bent Over Row 35lbs 70lbs
Deadlift 55lbs 95lbs
Dumbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press 15lbs/arm 25lbs/arm
Hip adductions 60lbs/leg 110lbs/leg
Hip Abductions 60lbs/leg 110lbs/leg
Lat Pull Downs 100lbs 150lbs

 

I’m feeling really strong post-hypertrophy and I feel like I’ve laid down a strong foundation in which to build upon, I do miss doing the stairs and crossfit, but I feel like I need to really build my body better to prevent future injury (and to last as long as I can to make it to Team Canada Tryouts in 2016(?))

I now take a week off to rest and do a few cardio based activities as I prepare for for TOAST’s game against the NWO in Chilliwack and move into the 10 week strength program!

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The C’s of Jamming

I have been asked recently for advice on how to be a better jammer. I’ve asked this advice of other skaters before, and I know I’m not the best jammer a’la Kim Janna, but  I’ve spent 2 years honing my jammer-skillz and am now a blammer for the Sun City Sirens! The game of derby has evolved so it’s not just the small speedy skaters that can be amazing jammers, but wrecking balls and all sorts of jamming techniques. I haven’t quite figured out what type of jammer I am (jukey, wrecking ball, juggarnaut, speed demon), but I like to think I’m a decent combination of all of those.

These are a few of my little jammer training C’s, things I like to think about in training and while jamming

Cardio.

Much like Zombieland, the very first rule is cardio.

Yes my dears, it’s cardio. You need to be able to move at high intensity for a short period of time and then be able to bring that intensity down for your lap around. Cardio is key, having the endurance to be able to be forced out, jump on your toe stops and then run back before you can get recycled too far is a lifesaver. By working on your cardio, you’ll ensure that you have the endurance and ability to enter the pack in a mostly-controlled state which also means that you will remain clean. You don’t know how satisfying it is to skate a game as a jammer and get zero penalties, and I can owe all of that to cardio.

Remember, when you’re tired, you’re not going to play as clean as when you are not as tired (man, that was a poorly written sentence.). I can attest to this, in my peak this year, I was able to jam and block games and get zero trips to the box, I recently played against the Revelstoke Derailers (last week) and I was coming off of an injury and not training as hard, and I got 4 penalties! Cardio not only helps jammers, it helps blockers!

Cardio keeps you clean!

tl;dr: think of the opposing blockers as zombies and RUN LIKE HELL!

 

Confidence

 

From http://fuckyeahdragracegifs.tumblr.com/

Own it. Embrace it. You are a jammer.

There is quite the difference between HAVING to Jam and WANTING to Jam. I spent last season as a jammer, because I HAD to be one. I was still learning very much how to move my lighter body around, and at the same time, learning how to throw that body around people who were throwing their bodies at me. I was the skater who was one of the most agile on the team, so by default.. I became the jammer. It was a good way to cut my teeth at the art, but at the same time… the mindset wasn’t there. Fast forward to this year, my team has a wealth of skaters who could throw on the star at any point in time and do well in the position. This gave me the chance to explore jamming at my own pace, and through that I’ve figured out that I actually really like jamming.

I often look at a successful pass as me outsmarting not just 1, but 4 blockers. At some points in time, it’s you vs. 4 other skaters, at others, you have back up. There’s this amazing ebb and flow to jamming that you just kind of have to go with, and with confidence you can just go with the flow. I know I can move my skates like this, oh look a blocker has moved there, that’s okay, I’ll just contort myself into this position. Now when the time comes, I LOVE to jam, I love to play mind games, jamming makes me feel really good about myself and my skills on skates.

tl;dr: Do it because you want to, not because you have to!

 

Consistency

You know that thing you really suck it? keep doing it, and doing it, and doing it until you can no longer do it wrong. Nobody got good at jamming  just by doing it once in a while, they kept hammering and hammering and doing it over and over again. Consistency is the key to success, simple having a training routine that remains consistent, maintaining consistent nutrition will help you on your journey.

I spend lots of time doing a skill over and over and over, sometimes the skill doesn’t make sense to people, but it’s something that I want to be able to put in my toolbox that I can bust out in the heat of the moment. Muscle memory is important in sport, nothing becomes a fast twitch motion until you’ve practiced it hundreds and hundreds of times.

tl:dr: Busted out an awesome pirouette? Do it again, and again, and again until you can’t get it wrong.

 

Creativity

Really, it’s more like trying new things. I like to call it “science-ing” I find myself wanting to try all of the things on skates lately, and through those forays outside of my comfort zone, I find myself improving. I go online and look through bout footage, I read training blogs (http://fastersoapbox.blogspot.ca/) and watch animated gifs over and over again (yay! http://rdjunkies.tumblr.com/), I’ve even found myself on youtube looking at videos of skating that has nothing to do with derby to pull moves and body positions from there.

From youtube or various blogs, I find things I want to do on my skates and I try them, and sometimes they fail and I fall down and it sucks, and sometimes it’s amazing and I add it to my box of things I practice and practice and practice.

Creativity is an amazing thing!

tl:dr; SCIENCE!!

 

These are just a few of the little things I like to think about when I train for jamming (or am jamming), but this doesn’t say that none of these rules apply to a blocking! Now, go out there, work on your cardio, be confident, consistent and creative!!

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… and it’s over, for now…

It was a nice bus ride home from Abbotsford, snow capped mountains, clear roads…. a clear mind.

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I did it, I really did it, and it all was so surreal. I didn’t make it as far as I would’ve liked to, but in the end, it’s something to aim for, a target…. a goal.

I know now what I need to work on, what key tweaks will help me reach that better level, I’ve got 2 years to get there.

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Thank you to everyone to sent kind words or ‘likes’, everyone who visited my blog to read words of this journey, Thank you to my hosts Bitter and Rogue, who were most amazing hosts and were super supportive all day long (nay! All weekend long!)

The journey isn’t over…not yet, not any time soon… in reality, this journey has just begun.

Let’s go.

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And here we go, Blair tries out for Team Canada: Take One!

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.. and a short bus ride later, I’ll be in Chilliwack, BC for my first Team Canada try out. It’s taken me over a year to get to this point. I’ve trained hard and pushed myself so far outside my comfort zone that I no longer know exactly what it is. IMG_20130703_071727

I’ve been up at 5 am, away from home several nights a week, I’ve become stronger than I’ve ever been before, and this weekend will be a jumping off point for even more greatness. I’ll admit, it’s going to be a long shot, I know that there are far more skilled skaters than myself out there, but I’m going to leave it all on the track and skate away with a big FUCKING grin on my face because I can say it. I can FINALLY say it.

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“I tried out for Team Canada.”

… and I did it on skates.

I want to set a benchmark for myself to meet and exceed, I want to come back year after year and get better and better…. and this try out hasn’t even started.

Hey! 16 year old self, remember when all you wanted to do in your life was become a speed skater? Remember when nobody would help stand by you? Remember those dreams that you had?

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Well, kid… this weekend, these dreams come true. It may not be the olympics, but it’s damn close and you’re going to leave it all out there for the coaches to see, I want you to make those coaches want to watch you. You’re going to go there and be a sponge, you’re going to learn everything you can, because this is the dream, and you’re going to live it, and you’re going to have the BIGGEST fucking smile on your face!

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Focus.

Team Canada Tryouts for my region are on December 7th, in Chilliwack BC.

I’d love to say that I’m raring to go and I’m ready to beat the door down and show them what I’m all about. I’d love to say that I’ve been completely focused in my training and that I’m ready to do this. I’d love to live up to the words I keep telling everyone “I am going to try out for team Canada”

… yeah, about that…

I’ve been a bit un-focused lately… and I can see it’s impact.

I feel like I’m only operating on a few cylinders, offering up a sub-par performance in many areas of my life, and I know I’m better than that.

I could offer up a few excuses, but that’s all they are.. they’re excuses… (life took over, school sucks.. so on, so forth)

.. but I won’t lie to you.. I just lost the drive.

I know a few posts down I was so utterly motivated to show the world how great I am… I just lost the interest in and the drive to do so.

There were so many factors that had begun to impact my life, between now and then,

I may not feel ready right now, but I’ve got 2 months to try to get to feeling ready.  I’ve tried to make small, quantifiable steps in a positive direction to improve my state of mind.. my state of being. I have since changed derby teams within my league and now skate for the Sun City Sirens. I hope in this change I will have the support system to push me into being a better skater, a system that will consistently goad me and tell me that “I know you’re better than that” and so far, I have to say.. I’m really enjoying being pushed by my fellow ladies in blue.. and I look forward to working more and more with them on and off the track.

I have been making better decisions as far as my nutrition (and yes, it’s only been 3 days since I re-started my program), but with more determination to be the best team mate I can be.. and the knowledge that there is something to train for… it’s all the more motivating to pause.. and think “is this delicious item that is totally unhealthy going to get me to where I want to be?” I have to remember that little slip ups are little slip ups, and that each small step in the right direction is just that… a step, and step after step… I’ll get there.

I also have to remember all of the amazing things that I’ve been able to do and accomplish since I started on this journey.  The biggest thing for me is to.. Focus.

Focus on the good, focus on positive steps… just focus.

I’ma show you how great I am.

There was a moment this weekend, it was exceedingly simple.. almost cheesy, but there was this moment. I was sitting in the back seat of the car… crossing the Alex Fraser bridge on the way over to watch the Terminal City Rollergirls double header… and it was just a moment of absolute clarity.

The night before, I had just finished Apolo’s Book “No Regrets” and I found myself in the same locale as he did when he started and ended his skating career. I thought about how far he was able to take himself as an athlete in the years following SLC’s olympics… and then the thought came back to myself… I looked back to how far I took myself in the past year. I lost so much weight, I became a stronger skater… I was able to make it onto the Thompson Okanagan All Star Team… I was in this moment, having played a game in the morning and now off to watch even more games.

I could block this, or be blocked by this all day long.

I could block this, or be blocked by this all day long.

In that moment, I decided to myself that I was going to build the best skater I could possibly build. I was going to make myself into someone who there would be no singular doubt in anyone’s mind that she belonged on an All-Star roster. In that moment, everything that held me back.. negativity and doubt left my mind… and I just imagined all of the possibilities that I had the very capable abilities to unlock.

As you can probably tell, I had an amazing weekend last weekend. Almost, life changing.. personally.

I had the amazing opportunity to try out for the Thompson Okanagan All Star Team (TOAST!!!), a massive conglomeration between several leagues in the Valley (OSRDA, RDD, TCDD, OKRD, SORDA) they chose the best skaters from the try-out and took these skaters to the West Coast Dust Up.

The West Coast Dust up was created from the ashes that once was the RDAC Westerns tournament. A labour of love from many parties, the tournament came together in little than 3 weeks. Teams converged on the Cloverdale arena from Red Deer (Belladonnas), the Okanagan, the Terminal City All Stars and of course the home team, The Anarchy Angels. Each team would play each other once.

The tournament was an amazing experience, topped off with a double header to take in on Saturday night courtesy of the Terminal City Rollergirls.

On Sunday, the TCRG All-Stars took me to church.

I look up to every rostered skater on the All-Stars, their commitment to derby and their excellence in skills. I was lucky to have the opportunity to skate against them, in my head I kept repeating to myself “this is why I got up at 5 am, why I bike to practice… why I lifted those heavy weights.. why in one  year I pushed myself further than I had ever gone before. This game, right here… is the beginning of a new chapter.”

That game, was a series of small victories for myself and for TOAST.. and a realization that when your opponent is giving you tips right in the middle of game play, that this sport is an amazing and magical thing.

Roller Derby brought TOAST together, the love for the sport and the want to skate at that higher-level. It’s safe to say that TOAST also became a magical thing, a team.. that had only skated 3 weeks together meshed so well on the track and brought so many surprises to the crowd. Roller Derby made the Dust Up happen, it was the pure love for the sport that made this event happen.

Roller Derby saved my soul.

… and now I sit here, at work… listening to motivating music, feeling renewed and refreshed.. although exhausted. There are still faded numbers on my arms, velcro burn everywhere, bruises forming… but deep inside I have a growing smile, and a new found motivation to show myself and the world how great I am.

-Until then…

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A Sense of Balance…

Inspired by these blogs here:

http://www.blacksheepsk8.com/roller-derby-everyone-welcome/

http://glitterandspite.blogspot.ca/2013/06/the-topsy-turvy-world-of-roller-derby.html

I’m writing this because I am one of those players that they blog about.. I am competitive, I do train several days a week, I want to step out of my comfort zone and play higher level teams and strive to become the best roller derby player that I can make myself. That said, as a competitive player (on a team that emphasizes playing for the fun of it), it takes some finesse to create a sense of balance in my life. For me, while I do want to be the best and hopefully one day, skate with the best… balance is the key to survival.

As evidenced by this blog, I have several hobbies.. and apparently, I make it a hobby to collect more hobbies. I make cards, I work on / detail cars,  I now do autocross, I also spend at least 4-5 nights of my week either on skates training or doing crosstraining, along with being a wife, a homeowner, a dog mommy, a full-time web developer.. and also doing school part time.

I won’t lie, sometimes my life gets a little much for me.. so I have to check-out once in a while, but for the most part.. this is my madness and I kind of love it.

My weeks are very regimented. I’m up at 6 am to get ready for work and I commute about 30-45 minutes away from my home. After work, the activity of the night is dependant on the day of the week. Derby practices invade my Mondays/Saturdays (soon to come on Sundays), I train at a crossfit-style gym on Tuesdays, I do stair training on Wednesdays, Autocross Thursdays, Run day / home gym day on Friday, and Sunday is an open day. Throw in Games, homework, and real-life in there and soon you can see where balance is the key to survival.

How do I balance things? I sacrifice my after-party time at home games so that I can get home early to spend time with my husband and dog, I also keep a google calendar of my training dates and games and share it with my husband so he knows when we can squeeze in some time with the Pinto, or housework or whatever we need to do. If I know that a weekend coming up is quite full with the derby, I make it a point to clear my calendar the weekend prior (or week), to spend time with him, when I am not at Derby.. life is NOT derby, life is life.. if I’m working on the car, I’m working on the Car… if I’m at autocross.. my brain is only focused on cones and improving my times, and if I’m doing homework.. it’s homework time, time to focus.

That said, when it is derby time… It’s derby time. Everything else in the world goes away, personal problems that I have get shuttered off, I don’t think about the next autocross course, or when I’ll be mowing the lawn at home… I come to derby to play derby. Just like I go to the gym to train, for me.. that isn’t social hour, that is time that I am using to tune my body, to make it stronger and faster.

It takes all sorts of nuts to create a world like ours, especially the derby world… and I can, and always will appreciate the ladies who come to come to have fun.. they consistently remind me that Roller Derby is fun! They remind me of why I joined the sport to begin with, and while sometimes I may bash heads with them.. in the grand scheme of things, there will always be room for the athlete and the recreational player. By having these varying levels of players, we bring balance to each other – The athlete can train the rec players, and the rec players keep the sport fun to play … we all love and appreciate this sport, and no matter how much you work for it, at the end of the day.. it’s just that… Roller Derby.

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Struggling…

At the beginning of May, I decided to sign up for a weight loss challenge at Vo2Max Kelowna. I figured this would help kick start myself back onto a proper path of wellness.

I’ve been struggling with sticking to my eating program since I returned from my cruise in December. When 2013 started, I saw so much promise to sticking to the program, I had gotten to my previous weight loss goal.. and I was excited to see if I could exceed my expectations. I knew that if I just stuck to it, I could be a size I had never in my life been before.. something that I could’ve never imagined being.

It’s now half way through May. I have not lost the weight I had hoped to lose. It is also now, half way through 2013.. and exceeding my expectations has not yet happened.

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I could chalk it up to stress (learning new programming languages at school, stress at work, stress at home, stress with derby), but I know that I can get past the stresses of life, and find different ways to de-stress. I could come up with excuses … but put simply, I am struggling. I like food, I find it delicious and I like social interactions with food. Food makes me happy… for the moment. Then I realize that the food I eat discounts the hard work I do, and then I don’t like food so much.

For a while there, I shifted my perspective on food.. it became fuel. If I was going to become a high performance athlete, I had to fill myself with high performance food… and along the way, between cruising, Christmas.. and trying to remain happy with life, food became the thing to cheer me up.. “oh, I feel bad today.. I think I will have a cookie to make me happy” .. instead, I should be thinking “Oh, I feel bad today.. maybe I’ll lift some weights, make some cards.. write some blog entries.” .. food is NOT therapy. It makes you happy for the moment.

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I have to remember, while I am not yet a high performance athlete… I am an athlete and I should properly fuel my body to prepare it for the activity that I want it to do… so, today.. and hopefully the next day.. and the day after that… I will take this mentality and start myself again on the path to progress… I am training the hardest I have ever trained in my life, and I should be eating to fuel my training. Remember, you cannot out train a bad diet!!

I also have to remember the leaps and bounds that I have taken on my journey so far, there have been some pretty amazing things that have happened so far this year, and I know that it is within my means to keep making amazing things happen. I can lift more weights than ever, run faster, skate faster.. I am more agile than I’ve ever been.. the pieces are there, I just have to focus and fit them together.

Look what I can do!

So, with that thought… I will take my weight-loss journey one meal at a time, one day at a time.. and hopefully win that competition!!

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