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A Decade of Destruction

I’ve kind of hummed and hawed over what I wanted to write here… turning 30 seems like this weird foreign thing that I haven’t quite wrapped my head around… but at the same time, age is only a number.

If I could go back and have a conversation with myself on that 20th Birthday, I would tell myself a few things:

  • Your real friends are the ones who stick around no matter what. No matter if you come and go and find new friends, your true friends are the ones who will welcome you back every time, they don’t judge you (though they might make light of your life choices). They become your second family, and sometimes know you better than you know yourself. Those friendships will help you grow and you’ll realize how amazing those people in the next few years.
  • Relationships do not define who you are. Yes, a relationship may seem important, but who you are with does not define you. A good relationship can add purpose to your life, but it shouldn’t be the only purpose you have.
  • You are who you choose to be. In the past 10 years, I’ve been able to explore so many different opportunities because I’ve followed my passions. “Cars aren’t your entire life?” , “Skating is just a phase?” I guess I’m not very good at listening, because I followed my passions. I’ve gotten to work within an industry that I’ve always wanted to, I even got to try out for a national team (and I plan on doing it again). Follow your heart, find your feet and you’ll be impressed where you end up.
  • Find someone who makes you the best version of you that you can be. Yeah, sometimes it can be a headache, and sometimes he seems like a pain in the ass, but without him, I don’t know where I would be. Dave has this way of pushing me out of my comfy bubble, he knows how competitive I can get, and he helps me be the best person I can be.
  • Simple things are sometimes the best things. A dance party when you clean your house, people watching at the mall,  sunshine, the feeling of freedom on skates. The beauty in life is in the simplicity of something that can bring a smile to your face. Life can get complicated, just stop and smell the roses once in a while.

 

10 years is a long time to figure things out, people grow and change, life moves quickly. I can only hope that in the next 10 years, the journey keeps taking me to amazing places. Let’s go!

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Follow your bloody mother effin’ heart.

A long long time ago, I fell into this circle of friends… not quite entirely sure how I got there, but… there I was. Y’know those puzzle pieces that just, don’t quite fit… but you try to make it fit?

Yeah, that was me.

As my life fell apart… like it seemed to have done on a yearly basis between the ages of 18-21, I vividly remembered something that one of those so-called friends told me.

“There is more to life than cars.”

While I can agree with that, I will have to mention this…. without cars, my life wouldn’t be what it is now.

I have a bit of an obsessive quality in my personality, I get super-passionate about something and it becomes the only thing I can think about.. skating, wrestling, cars.. if I was interested in it, at one point.. it was the only thing I could think about. At that point in my life, my life was cars… I had just gotten my drivers license, I was attempting to save up for my first car. In my head, having a car meant freedom, it meant that the only rules I needed to abide by was the rules of the road (and we all know those rules are merely a guideline 😉 ).

Needless to say, those ‘friends’ I had didn’t stay my friends for much longer, and me… I said fuck it, and followed my heart. I wanted to work in Automotive Marketing, I wanted to be part of that industry… I worked my ass off, and everyone knows.. the harder you work, the luckier you get.

I got to be part of the automotive community in Calgary, a big part of the Mitsubishi scene in the 403, worked with dealers, clubs… I got to meet Dave, who I then moved out with and got to move on to much bigger and better things.

… all because I followed my bloody mother effing heart.

I look at the pieces of my life right now, things that people said I’d grow out of, things that people said were a phase… and I’ll be honest, I don’t see any of those, i see all the epic things that I’ve been able to do, amazing people and journeys that I’ve been able to go on…

… and all because what?

Yup.

Nobody sees the world through your eyes, nobody knows how you process or what your motivations are. Find your feet, follow your path, because people WILL doubt you, people will think you’re crazy and obsessed, but y’know what.. that’s their energy they’re wasting.

You do you, and don’t worry about what anyone else says.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

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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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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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Weekends Suck sometimes…

I love weekends. They provide me with time to get offline, do some crafting, skating.. time to clean the house.. all, great and wonderful things.

I also hate weekends… they tend to have a lack of routine, company coming, dinners out and time spent with my husband who has horrible eating habits (Sorry Dave :()

I managed to stick to eating properly for  an  entire 2 week period, I made good eating decisions. I was very active as well, but once the weekend hit… BAM, no routine, no preparation and I was eating not-so-great food and forgetting my daily water intake.

Box of Shame

All that hard work I managed to do in a 2 week period was wiped away by one long weekend of eating not as cleanly as I would’ve liked to. I remained active over the weekend (Skated Friday, Bootcamped on Saturday and did the stairs on Monday), but like Carly reminds me.. “You cannot out train a bad diet”

Weekends are hard on trying to eat clean, but I take the bad with the good and remember that not-so-long-ago I would’ve been eating far worse than I had been over the weekend, and that’s an accomplishment.

That being said, I wish it was the weekend already. 😦

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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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Do Good Things

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It’s short, and simple… and my goal for June… Do. Good. Things.

I feel like last month (May 2013) was a very negative month for me, I was feeling really down on myself about not losing enough weight and then getting sick and losing 3 games in a row (winning helps, I won’t lie). I started to really not care about things, I didn’t eat properly, I didn’t really take care of myself, on top of that I let this negative attitude bleed into everything else and I really affected a lot of my friends negatively.

So, for June… I’m going to be positive and I’m going to do good things.

eatclean

Good Thing #1 – Eat Clean – So for the past week, I decided to let myself eat whatever the hell I wanted to eat.. sugars, starches.. pasta.. creams.. bad things. I thought in my head that if I just let my body enjoy this for a little while, I could get back and focus on the good clean basics of lean proteins and lots of greens.  Well, my body gave me the answer I wanted it to give me… it HATED all the bad food, it felt terrible and digestion was poor and there was no energy to be had. So.. to be good to my body, I’m going to Eat Clean. I’m going to follow the nutrition plan that Carly at Vo2Max Kelowna set out for me and take it each meal at a time. I now know for sure that my body liked the clean food, and the only thing that liked the bad food was my taste buds.. and sorry taste buds, you’re tiny in the grand scheme of my entire being!

unplug

Good Thing #2 – Unplug  – I will no longer be available for reaching after 9:00 pm. At that point in time, I will put down my phone, laptop, tablet and technology that connects me to the internet and unplug my brain.  I find that staying connected often bugs me out and keeps me awake at night, by unplugging.. I can offer myself a proper wind down at the end of the night and also learn to appreciate the world without technology.

dressup

Good Thing #3 – Dress up! – It helps to look good so that you can feel good, so I think dressing up and making myself feel and look pretty is a good thing! Feeling good about yourself can put a smile on your face, and a smile can be infectious!

openminded

Good Thing #4 – Be more open-minded and positive at work (at home and in general) – I emphasize the work environment because I know that I can get very set in my own routines and schedules that I forget that when I get set in those ways, the only person that gets upset and angry is myself, and if I just go with the flow and be positive and open minded, not only will others around me be happy, but in turn, I can feel happier about work and life in general!

A few more good things that don’t need a novel written about them:

– Reward myself with Stamping treats and nail treats instead of food

– Ride my bike once a week

– Make a card once a week

Hopefully I can do some good things in June, and I hope that you too can do some good things. What kind of good things do you want to do in June? Leave it in the comments below!

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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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Just Keep Swimming

“Just Keep Swimming” – Something said by a little blue fish in a wonderful little movie, Finding Nemo.

That little phrase has become a motto of sorts for myself lately, in many aspects.

Jamming for 2 minutes – Just keep swimming! (but don’t literally swim through the pack, you’ll get a penalty.)

Running stairs? Just keep swimming!

Coding a website due yesterday? Just keep swimming!

Going through bad times in your life? Just keep swimming!

It’s simple, and wise… just keep swimming, just keep moving forward and soon, you will reach your finish line.

A great example would be this:

A lovely 10 KM bike ride!

A lovely 10 KM bike ride!

Last year, I started to dabble in some bike riding, just here and there.. to the mall, grocery store.. small jaunts, what have you. Well, at the K City Rollers Christmas party, I decided to make the pledge that I would try to bike to every single practice possible in 2013. The route from my home to the practice venue is approximately 10 kilometers and it takes me about 40-50 minutes to ride.

At some points, I’d be so tired from biking to practice, practicing and then be on my way home thinking to myself “why the hell did I decide to do this?”

… and then a little voice will say “Just keep swimming… just keep swimming” and I keep repeating that to myself with every push of the pedal, because every little pedal gets me that much closer to my destination.

of course, then we face this:

Oh, the Stairs

Another challenge that gets the little “just keep swimming” voice to come out. Step-by-step, one at a time.. until I’ve reached the top.

Remember, nothing happens unless you “keep swimming!” Move forward and work towards your goals, and you too can reach your finish line.

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