derby life

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Rolling on

Published July 8, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

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Hello!

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been slacking so much on the blog that it’s almost impossible to know where to begin again! I have several, long, picture filled posts I could write, but it’s probably better that I just write about what’s on my mind today, and that’s where I’m at with roller derby.

(But first, I should probably multi-task, and get some bleach on my roots… Ok, bleach on…)

After feeling a little burnt out, and having little hiccups and travels, I’m finally starting to feel really motivated derby wise again. Which is great! ūüôā ¬†Getting on Rat Lab was a bit terrifying and overwhelming at first, and I really wasn’t sure if I was going to stay on. There are two levels of Rat Lab. The fundamentals (which I’m on) and Competitive Rat Lab, which just like it sounds means you scrimmage and bout, have a number of practices you commit to per week, and also become draft eligible for one of Rat City’s four home teams. Even though I wasn’t on CRL, the new pressures associated with skating with these much higher level players was something that took a little getting used to. But I’m happy to report that I’m staying on, and feeling more capable and motivated all the time!

Speaking of more capable… we had PFM scrimmage on Sunday. And while I jammed less than usual (partially b/c I wanted more practice blocking, and partly because my ankle was swollen from a wheel hit to the ankle bone a few days prior), for the first time I actually felt like I was doing some effective things as a blocker!

(Bleach off!)

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And even tried a little backwards blocking too!

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Of course, I’m still learning. One of my struggles is endurance, but it’s definitely getting better. I think part of it has to do with sleep and hydration, which I’m perpetually trying to improve. But it’s no secret that I was never physically active as an adult prior this, besides dancing to bands on the weekends in my twenties, so a big part has been just getting myself in shape. Another factor that I think is playing a bigger part than I realize is the entirely foreign [to me] concept of mental game, which I haven’t quite figured out yet. For this, I just started reading Mind Gym, based on good reviews from rollergirls I know. I will report back on how that goes, but so far it seems to be about positive thinking, so that sounds pretty good for a start.

What else? I’m getting very close weight wise to the heaviest I ever got, which was the summer I gained 15 pounds before college. (Apparently I just couldn’t wait to pack on my freshman 15!) And you know what? I look pretty darn good. That weight has certainly been distributed differently this time around though, as it seems to all be in muscle in my lower body. And again, like before, I’m getting faster. Penny counted me at somewhere around 29 laps in 5 minutes last night. (It was hard to hear when exactly the time got called.) So those muscles are definitely doing what they’re supposed to.

 

Here's a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Here’s a pic of me jamming the previous scrimmage, which I never got around to sharing!

Besides all that, I’ve also taken up the job of helping to coordinate the new skater sessions for PFM. So between PFM, Rat Lab, volunteering for Rat events, general summer activities, and life, I guess it’s probably no wonder why I’ve been a little quiet on here, huh?! I’ll be attending Jet City‘s Bombercon at the end of July, and most likely Rose City‘s Derby Daze boot camp down in Portland at the end of August, so don’t be surprised if a lot of my next posts are derby, derby, derby. ūüôā

OH! And I also forgot to tell you, I had a slight name change to VAMPIRA BITELY!

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My new helmet decal is on it’s way from Helmet Candy (on etsy) in California as I write this to you, and she was even nice enough to make me some awesome fangs to boot!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH YEAH, and also. THOMAS IS GOING TO DO MEN’S DERBY now!

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He was taken on for a salary position at his job, and has had health insurance now since July 1st! YAY!!!! He finally decided to get back on quads and give men’s derby a try, so I bought him a pair of Bont boots (same as mine!) that had to be made, because his size was out of stock. In the meantime one of the refs (and also a girl that I skate with’s hubby) was nice enough to lend Thomas his old pair. As expected, even after not being on quads since he was 8, Thomas immediately took to these with no problems and will likely be a much better derby player than I am on day 1! (He’s a skilled inline speed skater who learned how to rollerskate at the ripe old age of 2!) He’ll be starting training with Puget Sound Outcast Derby as soon as he gets all his gear, and we’ll now be practicing and watching each other skate in the same space, which is SUPER AWESOME. He may even go to BomberCon with me, as a skater. We shall see…

Thanks for reading!

Vampira Bitely

\/^^^\/

First Four Months: Derby Doubts and Determination

Published January 17, 2014 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
New certified helmet, faster wheels, and of course, no trip to the derby store would be complete without new socks!

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Written at 2 months in:

1. If I skip practice, the doubts begin.

Skipping one practice makes it really easy to skip another practice. And it’s not out of laziness, it’s generally been out of other life business. In September my parents were in town, so I wanted to get the most out of their time here, but ended up being off skates for 2 weeks. That made for a big setback, especially because I had only gone to a couple of practices at that point. So in October I was pretty diligent, and only skipped on Halloween night.¬†November we had some friends in town for only a few days, and another had a birthday, so those two skips had me off skates for a week and a half. But each of these times, whether it was one practice or three, I noticed the same thing…

The doubts would creep in right away.

Maybe I’m too busy right now? Maybe I’m not good enough? Maybe I should just quit, and drop in to skate occasionally?

Fortunately there’s also another force at play here, a greater force. Every time I go to practice I get so inspired by not only what we’re doing and learning, but what I can see that I’ve already accomplished.

2. Every time I go to practice, I’m energized, motivated and addicted.

At the nearly 3 month mark (Early December), I did my 1st attempt at 27 [laps] in 5 [minutes], and got 24. For me this was a huge moment. I was so impressed with how far I’d come in a short time. So impressed, that I even lugged my gear down to Florida with me, so I could skate while I was gone and not lose the momentum. During that trip I also downloaded a copy of the WFTDA minimum skills, so I could look it over and see what else I needed to work on. I was a bit overwhelmed (but still determined!) For some reason I was expecting it to be more like a few things. It turns out that it’s more like¬†6 pages.

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Well, it’s 4 Months in now (mid January), and I can say, what I wrote 2 months in is still true. The more I skate, the more I want to skate, so I try to keep myself skating as much as possible. Also, when I¬†glanced at¬†the minimum skills¬†again a¬†couple of¬†weeks ago, I was surprised at how much simpler those demands seemed. Most of it I can do now, it’s just a matter of doing it better and faster. December was a great month, and Christmas also brought my new plates! (Crazy Venus plates) I LOVE my new plates so much, mostly because they’re so much lighter, but also because my toe stops don’t budge now. Oh, and speaking of toe stops… I’ve also finally¬†just got the hang of¬†getting good¬†turn around toe stops (YAY! Well, at least on¬†my dominant¬†side!)

They’re now¬†no longer all drawn out and awkward like this:

but more fast and fluid, like this:

I also made another attempt at 27 in 5 last night, and got 26. While I was¬†a bit disappointed that I didn’t get the full 27, I’m positive that¬†I’ll be able to make it on my next attempt. Our attempt last night was the last 10 minutes of an hour and a half endurance practice (that I started out a little sore for), so I was definitely dragging for the last few laps. Also,¬†I¬†have to get¬†used to my recently much loosened (probably 2 full turns) trucks. They were making everything a little wonky last night.¬†But really my speed is way up. I’m actually passing people now! Which is a twofold achievement. One, because I’ve gotten a lot stronger and faster, and two, because I’ve been trying to get over the fear of passing people. In fact I even got some feedback this morning from some of the girls on my team about how they’ve noticed a real improvement in my skating recently. Awwww. It’s still amazing to me how awesome and supportive most derby girls tend to be.

The other¬†cool thing that happened in December was that I finally settled on a derby name, as I already mentioned, but this was a real solidifying thing. It made me feel like okay, I’m actually really doing this now. I have a shirt with my name on it!¬†Hahaha ūüėČ

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But yes, my goals have certainly shifted again. At this point I’m planning on going to train with Jet City‘s new skater program. They have basic skills classes, and a Cadet program. Cadets are the fresh meat for their organization, and while I’m not entirely sure if I’m quite Cadet ready right now, they’re starting a new cycle of both on the 25th, and they’ll be able to make that call. Either way I’m excited, because I still feel like the basic skills classes would be beneficial so that I could have a really solid base, clearly explained from the ground up. (Especially for the things PFM doesn’t really teach, namely proper falling. Which a coach just touched on for the 1st time yesterday, after all the practices I’ve been going to for 4 months!) But getting on Cadets, if I’m ready, would be a really exciting change too.

We shall see!

And for vegan food, stay tuned! I’ve been trying out a whole bunch of recipes from Isa Chandra’s newest offering, Isa Does it, and the post will be up next!

<3,

Ty / Vampira Knightley

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