Brace yourselves, Christmas is coming

For our final all-league session, we started a little differently: we warmed up with a few laps and then practiced stops, but with our skates untied. Doing crossovers was nervewracking for most, but it was one of the few times I was glad to have giant feet (more to stay in the boot!). I didn’t notice too much difference when doing plow and T stops, but when Red Hot Jillie Pepper had us all try hockey stops I felt a bit unstable. I tried them again once we laced up properly, it was much more comfortable but I don’t have the motion down yet (got 1 proper one out of 5 attempts, the rest were more like powerslides or C stops). For the rest of the session we worked on agility, especially lateral cuts and transitions. By the end we were doing multiple 180 turns, and I even managed a couple of 360’s before I got too dizzy (I’m too used to using tight turns as stops, so I need to work on being able to transition without slowing down/ stopping so much now). This was particularly useful given that smooth transitions in both directions were on the Yellow Star test in 5 days’ time.

Sunday was Testing and our Xmas break-up bbq. Unfortunately I didn’t quite pass my Yellow Star, but I was so damn close. At least it means I can retest just on the one bit I couldn’t do after we come back from Xmas break, instead of having to do the entire test again.

The one skill I was really worried about was balancing on one foot (on skates) for 30 seconds. Minimal roll is allowed, you’re supposed to stand still and by the holy Flying Spaghetti Monster it’s hard! I’ve been practicing at home and I could do a full minute here, but my kitchen floor has a touch more give in it than the wooden basketball court we practice on. I did briefly consider being a smart-arse and asking to do it on the carpeted section out the front of the hall (since the test doesn’t specify the surface you have to do it on), but it would have simply been me being a dick so I decided against it.

Anyway, we all lined up and did the various balancing skills: shuffle, quick feet, grapevine, and then it was time. I did my left foot first, and overbalanced about 10sec in. Then tried my right and I didn’t even make it that long. Jillie called out the halfway point and asked me why I was just standing there. I replied ‘Well I have to start again right?’ and she just looked at me and said ‘you can still practice right?’ Duh, too wrapped up in my own failure. We did a third one and a few of the others joined me for a retry and this time I managed the full 30 seconds on my left foot, hooray! Then I had to redo my right. Everyone else had completed it so it was just me, standing inside a circle of skaters, grimacing at a point on the wall as I flailed and wobbled and when my left foot slammed down just a split second after Jillie called time I couldn’t help it and I actually teared up with relief while everyone hugged and congratulated me.

Everything else went pretty smoothly. I got 5.5 laps for the 5-in-1 (and the floor was really slippery so I had trouble pushing around corners!) and one of the observers complimented my stride. My transitions on both sides were good (although it did take me a couple of attempts to make it smooth as we were doing it in limited space), my jumps weren’t perfect but they were good enough to pass, and we did the fastest pace-line I have ever participated in which was kind of amazing for weaving through.

This time we did the fitness component at the end, so we had been skating for a good 90 minutes before doing planks, push-ups, wall-sits and static squats. This is where I ran into difficulty, I just couldn’t get the sit-ups. There are a variety of excuses; I was tired, I thought it was crunches –or- sit-ups so I have only trained for crunches because they’re better for my back, I was being marked by a skater I haven’t trained with offskates before so she has some different ideas of about form to me (I had to redo my plank as well because she didn’t like the way I had my feet)… but in the end it comes down to my own lack of preparation and fitness; it was a fitness test and I didn’t have it. However, since it’s the only part I did not complete, I can retest on just the sit-ups after we come back from break. This means I have 6 weeks to train for 20 sit-ups and then I will be able to scrim. Hooray!

In some ways it’s actually a good thing, as it’s an added motivation to keep my fitness up over the Christmas break. Between the heat, the food and the lack of routine when on holidays, I find time seems to slip away and it’s suddenly been days or even a week between workouts. Instead, this year I’m looking at starting the 100 Push-Up and 200 Sit-Up Challenges, as well as some kettlebell sessions and hopefully some outdoor skating if it’s not too hot. And since there are a whole 3 weekends without derby training to fill the hours, I’m thinking it’s time for some derby socialising instead: BBQ, drinks and derby rules quizzes!

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