So, about that challenge…

Well I _almost_ did it! I lived up to the promise until Saturday, but after te relay race my body was more up for a rest than anything else. It was fun though, our 2 teams were great and as the only ones on quads we got a lot of respect of the inliners. Oh and it was hot, damn hot: about 34°C that day. But fun.

I didn’t feel too bad about missing out on that 7th day training. Made up for it in full during a pleasantly heavy crossfit workout the next Monday.

Oh, by the way: I’m on the roster of our bout against Kaiserslautern’s Roller Girls of the Apocalypse! Hell yes!
If you got some time & gas to spare, come over to Germany and cheer for us, will ya. Here’s the Facebook event with all the info. See you there! ;-)

The challenge…

Crossfit has become a new addiction. On the days I’ve scheduled myself in for a session I often wake up and one of the first thoughts that come to mind is “Gee, I wonder what we’re gonna do today at practice.” Typical for crossfit, probably, as you never really know what you’re gonna get (crossfit’s like a box of chocolates, although with the opposite effect on your body). Butterflies start flapping in my belly around noon, and stay there until I’m at the (rad) gym, mostly around 18h. It’s awesome, my body really feels different, stronger, and I have tons of energy.

Also, before this summer, I was not able to run for a full minute – or so I told myself. At crossfit, running often is a warmup exercise, no excuses permitted. So in a few sessions, I overcame my running fear, and even got a taste for it. I go running on my own sometimes, and I am pretty proud of the fact that I can now run 2,5k at once. I know, for an athlete it’s nothing, but again, just a few weeks ago I could hardly do 500m at once. So ‘Yay!’ me :-)

Now that derby training season is about to start (tomorrow, in fact), I’m dying to find out the effects of crossfit in derby and what it will be like combining the two sports. So this week, I’m combining them for the first time. I just got back from crossfit (still in my be-sweated sports attire, can you smell me?). This is what my week will look like:

  • Monday: Crossfit (done!)
  • Tuesday: Derby practice
  • Wednesday: Crossfit
  • Thursday: Derby practice
  • Friday: Crossfit
  • Saturday: roller skate relay race (6hrs)
  • Sunday: Derby practice
It’s not my intention to jam pack every week like this. I would like to take at least one day, preferably two days off a week (prob. Wednesday and Saturday). I just want to see wether I can do it and how I will feel afterwards. Tired, probably.

It will be hard, muscles will ache, sweat will pour and I will deserve an extra large portion of eggs and bacon. Hell yes.

About that: after (if…) I’ve survived this challenge, I’m going to see how I can improve my diet.

Ps: temperatures will rise up to 32°C this week. That will make it even more interesting (and sweaty)!

Summer break: more work outs

The One Love Roller Dolls are on their (first ever) summer break and my muscles are more sore than ever. It’s not because of the lack of derby training, nor from skating outdoors #Belgiansummer. No, it’s because I picked up crossfit.

If you haven’t heard of crossfit: it’s a high intense full body workout, focussing on endurance and strength, a mix of fitness and a group workout. Because no two sessions are the same, it’s always a surprise what kind of exercise (or Workout Of the Day, WOD) you will do that day. WODs are not communicated prior so it’s impossible to just skip a session just because you don’t feel like working on your abs (or any other muscle group). Another benefit is that your body doesn’t become accustomed to a certain kind of exercise. Crossfit is quite similar to trainings used in armies and police academies.

Last week I had my first session. Really a tryout kinda thing, where they teach you about correct stance and positions. And whaddayaknow: the squat is one of the most used exercises in crossfit. Squating without skates is quite different, but of course my on skates experience probably helped me through this one. Rope skipping is also a common exercise, just as running, pull ups (ohnoes..) and push ups (aaargg!!). Oh, and then there are the burpees, of course! They are fun – well, if you do only one or two ;)

This is not me. This girl is smiling when running while all I can do is get really red in the face and look as if I’m dying. Hopefully I will be able to smile while running by the end of summer too. I borrowed this photo from the Crossfit Antwerp site. I’ll give it back, I promise.

I always found push ups incredibly hard to do. I still do, but I love the fact that I’m learning how to do them now and that I’m getting a wee bit stronger with each session. The group aspect is also great: groups consist of beginners (like me) but also includes of the fittest in town (at least, that’s how I see them). This is inspiring, as you can see what you can achieve if you work really hard. Same as with roller derby, of course. Anyway, everyone is really kind, fun loving and motivating. It’s not at all as at a fitness club, which can be ridden with macho types.

So yeah, after a trial week, I’m signing up for a month. Ideally I will keep doing crossfit alongside roller derby training, as it will help me to be a physically stronger player. This means I’m looking at about 6 trainings a week -and it doesn’t scare me. Fitting it in my busy schedule will be a puzzle though. But hey, who needs a life? ;)

Do you combine other sports with derby? How does this work out for you? Please share your experiences and suggestions!

Check out Crossfit Antwerpen.

Vive la Revolution!

With top notch coaches such as Quadzilla (US), Joy Collision (captain Team America), Ballistic Whistle (UK), Roxy Rockett (US), Teflon Donna (US), Kamikaze Kitten (UK), Hidden Ajjenda (US), Luludemon (Can), 8mean Wheeler (Can), Derby Revolution brought together around 300 of derby players, about 25 of refs, and quite some and derby gear vendors from all over Europe.

While it was a 4 days convention, I was there for ‘only’ 2. The full 4 seemed great but quite demanding, 2 seemed intense enough, though. Work assignments decided for me that I would only be going during the weekend and 2 days turned out perfect for me. It was long enough to learn tons of new skills and strategies, give me the muscle soreness of a lifetime, without ‘overdoing’ it and making me wish for moooore.

I can’t say there was any class I did not like. But of course there were a few that will stick a little more than others. These were my highlights:

I loved the blocker class by Teflon Donna. She is awesome (period) in breaking down exercises so that the concept of the drill is very clear and easy to grasp. I learned that to be the kick ass blocker I want to be, I need to be a kick ass cone weaver. So we did some exercises on that, and indeed: by the end of the class I managed to hip check my opponent very effectively, several times in succession. Added to wish list: a set of cones to practice my weaving more! :)

She also taught us a whole set of different ways to transition, skating back to forth and back. Since that is one of my weak points, it was good to go over the options, as I believe I just haven’t found my ideal way to transition yet. Teflon Donna likes to end her classes by going over all the steps we’ve learned in each class, so you’ll memorize it better.

8Mean Wheeler, über-pivot extraordinaire, had some wisdom to share on how to communicate and multitask as a pivot, and showed us some nifty blocking skills. In my first class with her, we were taught to speak in our ‘bad dog-voice’, which is speaking loudly and lowly from your diaphragm, instead of high and loud, which is an energy draining way to speak – and you’ll hurt your throat as a bonus. So after a few rounds of practice speaking loudly and lowly while standing still, she made us do an exercise in which we ‘commanded’ one skater, while communicating normal to another. Not as easy as you might think! When focussing (too much) on one teammate, you’re prone to forget about your other co-players. So good to practice on that multitasking aspect.

I was also charmed and impressed by her ability to use figure of speech to clarify and memorize a drill. I’ll remember for ever practice ‘not pee on my skates’ as to make sure I bring my ass towards the floor when going low. Not mentioning the ‘Show me the money-block’ and the ‘Check your shave’. Priceless.

Also priceless: her and PivotStar-partner Luludemon’s Canada Day attire. Happy Canada Day!

photo by Ian Roofthoofd

And then there was a jammer blocking class by Kamikaze Kitten, where we learned the Golden Rule on when to close the gap on the jammer at the in- or outside of the track, when blocking in a wall. When she disappears from your peripheral sight – STEP! or, depending how far you are: SHUFFLE! to close that gap.

Quadzilla taught us about pack strategies and ways to counter that annoying sausage thing. He assured us that we

photo by Ian Roofthoofd

probably won’t be dealing with it much longer (in it’s current, annoying form) as a change of rules is at hand. Yay!

And then there were the scrimmages. Fabulous to watch, but also an amazing experience to be a part of as a player. Yes, I played one: the very final scrimmage even (major thanks to C.C. Titmouse and Wham! Bam! Wonterjam! who encouraged me to do it). To be able to play with titans like Quadzilla, Kamikaze Kitten and Ballistic Whistle… wow, just wow.

Being trained by these people, who were just so awesome and patient, AND getting to play with them, is quite a humbling experience. They showed me nifty ways to hit and block, and to be a much better derby player. I’m sure that all participants feel that they left Derby Revolution as a better player, with the knowledge that there’s still soooo much to learn and to master. Which is an awesome fact in itself.

Derby Revolution is now over and life just isn’t the same since. Looking back on a weekend full of derby full fills me with good memories and a desperate need to go back in time. It puts a big smile on my face when I think back on all the awesomeness I got to be a part of.

photo by Colin Smith

Much respect and for SuckerPunch, derby owned skate shop in Ghent and organizer of this unforgettable event. Thank-you for making derby dreams come true! And errr… where can I sign up for next year’s edition?

 

Joining the Derby Revolution

RollerCon is like Mekka for derby players and officials. As a derby girl, I’ve been dreaming to go there from the moment I heard about it. But hell, it’s taking place in Las Vegas, which is practically at the other side of the globe from here. A bit of a stretch, hmm. But then Derby Revolution got announced, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven: a roller derby conference in Ghent, Belgium – which is like a 45 minute train ride from here. Needless to say I got my ticket immediately and pinned it over my bed, counting the days…

Luckily, time flew by and now the 4-day conference is just around the corner – starting this Thursday. I’ll only be there at Saturday and Sunday as I have to work on Thursday and Friday, but 2 days of intense derby workshops seem pretty awesome and exhausting to me already. Not all workshops are on skates though, there’ll be off skates trainings, as well as theoretical, motivational and inspirational talks as well. I . really . can’t . wait.

The event is hosted by the Ghent based roller derby shop Suckerpunch. They managed to set up this awesome event with a more than awesome line up of coaches and trainers, among which: Kamikaze Kitten, 8mean Wheeler, Teflon Donna, Roxy Rockett and Quadzilla. They’ll be teaching tons of skills and strategies during their classes. You can check out the chockfull program here. Anything you’d definitely recommend?

What I hope to learn:

- pack strategies: how to be of most use during jams
- agility skills: how to cut quicker, move faster – especially when you’re tall :)
- blocking skills: can I be tall ànd a good hip checker? Anything to help me hit harder.
- tricks to accelerate faster when starting

Pretty basic stuff, mostly ;)

Really, check out that website if you hadn’t already. So glad I don’t have to die to go to heaven. Did I mention I can’t wait? Will you be there too?

Dream a little dream of derby

I’m a total dreamer. I live by the rule ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’. It goes for so many things, and it goes for derby.

My biggest derby dream is one probably every derby girl has: to be in the A-team, to play at least one international bout. I am hell bent on getting there this year! Just have to face & battle some demons, of which fear is the biggest bastard.

Also, I dream of new skates. When we went to Berlin for our joined practice with the Berlin Bombshells we also visited Master Blaster’s quad shop. I’ve been eyeing the Bont boots and have read up on their pro’s and cons quite a lot. Hell they’re not pretty, but they seem so comfortable because they’re heat moldable. Master Blaster was so nice in letting me try all different sorts and sizes of the Bonts, advising me on my ideal skates. They would be a Bont Patriot boot with Revenge plates. Oh Santa..?

Oh yes, I do have an opinion!

Yesterday was opinion day, as we were asked to jot down our opinion on anything on our blogs. As my head was occupied with current affairs and at the same time suffering a little spring fatigue, I didn’t get quite to blogging. But here I am again, opinions by the dozen, but lets keep it manageable, shall we? Here goes:

Opinion #1: the baseball slide should NOT be a WFTDA minimal skill.
Why we need to master the baseball slide is completely beyond me. It totally goes against my natural body movements, so even after 2 years my limps are rarely willing to move into the desired positions. But also I still haven’t found out or got a satisfying answer to the question why this is a necessary skill for WFTDA, as you are prone to tripping penalties when exercising it during play. My opinion: ban it, now. Kthxbye.

Opinion #2: training outdoors at temperatures around (or below) 0°C is not humaine
Nevertheless a few of our hardcore players still show up for these practices and I can only have utmost respect for them. Seriously.

Opinion #3 (following opinion #2): we really should have an affordable, safe indoor location, preferable IN Antwerp, now.
Therefore, if you have any leads (or live in a castle with a perfect space for it), let us know. And yes, you may watch, if you insist. Just once.

 

Guilty pleasures & other imperfections

Day 2 of #Wijvenweek, and today we are asked to write about our small weird and slightly nasty habits. When it comes to derby, a sport full of un-guilty pleasure, it’s actually not so easy to think of a true guilty pleasure. Maybe the moments after a scrimmage or a bout and the number on your arm, in faded marker ink, is showing. I don’t know why exactly, but it always makes me immensely proud to see that number on my arm for days. Also, isn’t it great to respond to reactions on this trace of battle? I love doing the nonchalant thing, like ‘oh yeah, I was in a roller derby game this weekend.’

Also I carry an old bearing in one of my coats’ pockets, with which I play a lot. Waiting on a bus, walking in the street, .. it’s kind of a constant reminder of derby.

Unfortunately I also have my dark side’s little habbits to deal with, which are of course a whole lot less ‘cute’. For one, I’m really competitive. This goes for all things in live, but it shows in derby. I’m focussing too much on other peoples talents and how I compare to them. It’s one of my biggest devils, because there’s always going to be people who are better than me. Must stop doing that. Must focus on own progress. Must, yes.

Oh yes, and I’m quite loud. When you hit me, or when I hit others, I always make a sound. Like ‘HUH!’ or ‘URR!’, pretty silly, especially compared to my way quieter team mates. It’s just my thing, I guess :)

Beauty & the Skaterbeast

2010

Woaah! It’s alive – aliiive! For months I’ve been planning to write some blogposts again, I also have some really cool ideas for this blog, but if you’re a blogger too, you know how it goes when you’ve been slacking for too long: the longer you wait, the harder it becomes to jump on the blogging bandwagon again. But I’ve found the perfect excuse…

This week is #wijvenweek in Belgian blogland. Wijvenweek would translate to something like ‘week of the bitches’ (although ‘bitches’ is too harsh, but ‘women’ is too soft… – any suggestions?). Bloggers are asked to write about specific topics, quite female inspired, for one week. So I thought, why not also apply this to my derby blog, so we’re finally back on a roll again. So here we go.

Topic of the day: my inner-beautyqueen.
Too far from derby, you say?? Mwuhahaha, think again! Derby girls can be just as vain (we are still girls, after all), although it’s indeed not our focus during practice or games, luckily.
But what I find interesting, is how looks were so much more a part of the whole derby thing when we just started out. In a way at least a few of our teammates (count me in) must admit that we found derby, besides an awesome exercise and game- a nice excuse for wearing glittery booty shorts, crazy stockings or even mini-tutus. I plead guilty, oh yes.
Over time, the focus point tilted for 90% to the ‘serious part’ of derby. Although we can still have hefty conversations about our team colors, team shirts, shorts and socks.

2012, by Ian Rwb

Nowadays when I come to practice, I’m often already in my outfit, which consists mostly of leggings, an old t-shirt, my OLRD sweater and knee socks. Sometimes I wear a pink overall on top of my skate suit, too keep me warm. Much to the entertainment of my team mates. I get that, but damn, do I love that overall. So practical, so comfortable…

I never do anything about my make up. If I was wearing some during the day, I mostly forget about it and scare the shit out of myself when I get home and see myself in the mirror. My make up went for a little skating session too, on my face, that is.

As an announcer, I like to dress up a little bit. Let me rephrase that: as an announcer I looooooove the dressing up bit! We are there to entertain and stand out from the crowd, right? Therefore I went all out and got co-announcer Asa Spades and myself a big fake braid and make up.

When I finally make the A-team (my aim for this year), I will honor that accomplishment with some characteristic facepaint, as my league mates have. Maybe something with a star, as I have a star in my name.

Announcing with Asa Spades, pic by Sander Spolspoel

Back on track

En in spanning wachten de duizenden lezers van Saskiarolt op het vervolg. Hun nagels zijn al volledig afgekloven. Hoe zou het zijn geweest, die eerste keer trainen na 6 maanden afwezigheid? ‘Kom Sax, vertel het ons! Snel we houden het niet meer!’ klinkt het…

Training 1
Ik was werkelijk nerveus die woensdag 4 mei. Als ik niet te veel pijn zou hebben zou ik mijn training kunnen hervatten. Zou het wel te pijnlijk zijn, dan zou het wel eens het einde van mijn korte roller derby-carrière kunnen betekenen. Nadat ik mij weer eens volledig had ingepakt met passende bescherming (ditmaal met patella-bandjes onder mijn kniebeschermers, ipv volleybalpads), stapte ik bibberend op de baan. Mijn benen wisten nog perfect wat ze moesten doen en stuurden mijn voeten over de track. Terwijl ik daar reed kreeg ik een brok in mijn keel dat daar een goede twintig minuten bleef zitten. Het was ongelooflijk fijn om terug te zijn. Sir Skate-a-lot analyseerde mijn houding en schaatsbeweging en corrigeerde me: neus, knieën en tenen op één lijn houden, schouders naar achteren, niet gaan hangen. Lichter skaten, minder op kracht, zoals ik deed, meer een beweging naar opzij maken… Het was een beetje opnieuw leren lopen, maar ik wil er alles aandoen om dooooor te kunnen gaan met skaten. Ik wil rollen, niet meer stilstaan!

Veel skills had ik nog wel in me, al moest ik voor de een wat dieper graven als voor de ander. Ik heb één keer even een time-out genomen, toen één knie iets te moeilijk ging doen. Maar ik kon na tien minuten terug de baan op. De volgende 48 uur liep ik op wolkjes.

Training 2
Vreemd: een half jaar lang heb ik letterlijk elke dag pijn gevoeld in mijn knieën. Sinds deze eerste training heb ik enkel nog wat terug-ontwakende spieren gevoeld. Maar dus GEEN pijn meer in mijn knieën! Ik kan mijn geluk niet op! Niet alleen valt het skaten mee, het lijkt de training een ultieme therapie. Dapper trek ik op dinsdag 10 mei mijn skates weer aan en doe mee met de scrimmage training. Al snel blijkt dat ik overmoedig ben. Dat het team al zoveel verder gevorderd is dan ik (duh..). Niet alleen qua skills, maar ook als team, strategisch en zo. Het was naïef om de illusie te hebben dat ik er na één training zo weer bij zou zijn. Ik ga mentaal keihard op mijn bek. Nee Sas, je hebt nog een lange weg te gaan.

Training 3
Ik besluit de volgende dag terug te gaan trainen. Het is me nu heel duidelijk: ik moet hard wérken om er terug te kunnen staan en mee te kunnen spelen in een scrimmage of een bout. Eigenlijk zie ik het heel positief: door mijn blessure krijg ik een nieuwe kans om te groeien, een nieuwe uitdaging. Ik leg mij erbij neer dat ik niet meer bij de besten behoor op dit ogenblik. Dat dat heel normaal is en dat ik vertrouwen moet hebben in mijzelf. Het valt niet mee, echt niet, maar ik moet bescheidener, nederiger zijn op dit moment. Het heeft geen zin om meteen de beste proberen te zijn, om direct alles weer te kunnen. Ik moet de tijd nemen. Des te eerder sta ik daar weer terug, als jammer, blocker of pivot, klaar en vol zin om met mijn team geschiedenis te schrijven.