Another case of the video getting me hooked into the song, a few months ago, Rollergirl.ca’s facebook shared a video by Chicks in Bowls skater Bomba Hache. The skating in the video is amazing and I can’t stop watching the video to get inspired for my own skating, but this is Ear Candy, not Eye Candy.. and I have to tell you, that this track is sick. It’s a great work-out/skate song and I’ve definitely listened to it on repeat several times when I drive/skate/workout/exist. The remix just makes this song so much better, it’s another one of those songs that just makes you instantly happy!
In the first of likely many posts about Knife Party from their new album “Abandon Ship” I feature “404.” If you do not like dub step, this song is likely not for you. It has a good bass line and features noises from windows computers very heavily. If you’re like me, and enjoy a good electronic soundtrack to late night coding, this song is perfect for those times when you’re in a trance and are ninja coding something amazeballs.
4 years is a pretty long time.
4 years ago, I had just celebrated my 1 year anniversary of playing roller derby.
4 years ago, I was decompressing from planning a wedding.
4 years ago, I was working for an entirely different company in an entirely different field.
4 years ago, I decided that working for newspapers wasn’t going to be the end of my career, I wanted to advance and I wanted to get better, so I started online courses through BCIT and trudged my way through course by course by course. Through the span of time, I managed to land a really great web development job that helps me learn new things every day, and continued to bust my ass at a full time job while finishing web development courses in my ‘spare’ time.
I’ve skipped roller derby practices (gasp!), parties, outings.. devoted weekends to coding… and now I can say it..
I handed my last assignment in, and I feel at least 10 lbs lighter! I’m so excited for the possibility that this extra time has (like say, being able to consistently write in my blog!), I’ll be able to not only care for my physical well-being, but my mental well-being.
Super duper exciting times! Can’t wait to start writing more!
I can’t stop listening to this song for some reason, it just feels like an electronic spaghetti western, and I just envision this big epic drive (in a fancy, expensive car) in mountains heading to Calgary or something. Every time this song comes on when I drive, I can’t help but turn it up and just enjoy myself.
I love music that puts a smile on your face and sparks your imagination, and this song is definitely one of those songs for me.
The video is obviously done in a spaghetti western style, and it stars Ray Liotta and Andrew Keegan. It sort of reminds me of a Tarintino-style film. It also features the leading lady as the hero of the story which is awesome!
I’m not old. I swear.
I honestly, feel like a teenager again. My daily life consists of work, homework, training and if I’m lucky, I get to hit up the skate park, another one in a long list of things that have become obsessions for Blair Block.
It honestly started pretty innocently at the beginning of summer, in my quest to find new things to try on my skates, I came across the awesome Rollerbones video of Estro Jen (aka Michelle Steilen), and from there it became this need to try to play at the skate park.
A Sunday skate date led me into the the skate park at Ben Lee and from then on, I felt like I wanted to just keep getting better and better because it was just so fun.
I’d find myself among 3 people at the park on Sunday mornings and just even dropping into a ramp and feeling the speed threw a shit-eating grin on my face because it’s just so damn fun.
I’m not going to lie, I don’t have any tricks I can pull, I just seriously love to ride the ramps and try to jump over things (I can’t even shoot the duck yet..), but just the sheer challenge to different levels and areas is just so much fun.
If you really want to get comfortable on your skates and want to step outside of your comfort zone, go to the skate park, try things out and pretty soon you too will be addicted! Also, check out Chicks In Bowls on Facebook!
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)|
|Assisted Pronation Pull Ups||10lbs||40lbs|
|Leg Curls (per leg)||35lbs||90lbs|
|Seated Low Row||40lbs||150lbs|
|Bent Over Row||35lbs||70lbs|
|Dumbell Bicep Curl and Shoulder Press||15lbs/arm||25lbs/arm|
|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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!!
In honour of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6 ending, I decided that this iteration of Ear Candy is dedicated to the incomparable RuPaul!
The video features the final 4 (Adore, Bianca, Courtney and Darienne) and the Top 3 (Darienne was eliminated in the music video episode). I really like this song, it has a great and motivating message and a good beat to it. You really can be your sassy self while you Sissy that walk to this song!
It was a nice bus ride home from Abbotsford, snow capped mountains, clear roads…. a clear mind.
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.
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.