FIRS has ten roller disciples, one of which is roller derby. The others are:
Artistic (jam) skating
But we all know roller derby is the best one, right? 😉
This is actually a really cool thing that exists, and it gives you ideas for ways to cross-train that still involve skating. (Maybe not inline downhill. That sounds terrifying.) We do something like inline freestyle when we hang out at the skate park (Chicks in Bowls, anyone?), which has been wicked fun, even if a different kind of risky than derby. And I know of a guy who does a speed skating clinic down in Massachusetts that a number of Boston area skaters go to.
Anyone else out there do any of these? I’d love to hear from you as I’m super curious about the rest of these roller sports!
*I’ve actually toyed with the idea of picking up skateboarding, and this article from XO Jane makes me feel like I’m never too old and never too female to pick up the sport. Maybe I’ll do that this summer?
Last week I had some time off from work, so I was able to go skiing! I’ve been skiing since I was about twelve or so (hey, I grew up in New Hampshire, we have to find some redeeming qualities about winter here), and I picked up snowboarding around seventeen or eighteen.
As of last Monday, I had not been skiing since March 2013. This means that I had not been skiing since I started skating.
What I expected to happen: “It’s been so long since I’ve skiied, and they said it was tough transitioning back to skiing after learning to skate, but it’s fine, I’ve been able to ski for ages.”
What actually happened: “Derby stance!” [falls over] “More derby stance!” [falls over again] “Bend your knees!” [falls over for the third time this run]
It turns out that skating can help your skiing, sure. Both use very similar sets of muscles–my first day on the slopes every year is usually marked by extremely sore legs the next couple of days after because I don’t usually hang out working on my ski muscles when it’s not ski season. I got in a pretty full day of skiing and barely felt a thing on my legs. On the contrary, I didn’t feel like I was getting low enough when skiing and kept losing my balance and falling as a result!
I was laughing the whole way down the mountain, that’s for sure.
My body seemed to remember how to hold itself when on skis after a couple of runs, and I wasn’t having any problems at all by the time I stopped for lunch. But those first couple of runs were tough, especially since I couldn’t figure out why I kept falling at first! I’m not sure how to explain the difference between skiing stance and derby stance, but I think they key parts are: a) you balance your weight differently on skis than on skates and b) skating stance (never mind derby stance) is much lower than skiing stance.
I probably won’t be able to go skiing or boarding as often as I like this winter because of my job (boring, I know), but man, I can’t wait to experience that again.
Starting a new exercise regime, whether you’re a total couch potato or already working out five days a week, is a bitch and a half. Sure, I can skate my 27/5 with pretty decent timing, but can I run that same distance? No way. Yes, being able to skate means that I’m not starting from nothing if I decide to pick up running, but it uses a completely different set of muscles, it needs a completely different mindset, and it affects my blood sugars (and yours, too!) in a completely different way. So here are 7 quick tips I’ve found help me a lot when I’m picking up a new form of cross-training.
Look for intro-to-your-new-sport regimes. If you want to pick up running, for example, the couch-to-5k program is wicked popular. There’s tons of apps out there that guide you so that you know when to walk and when to run. You start at intervals of mostly walking with short bursts of jogging (30 or so seconds at a time) then build up so that you’re just straight running for 20-30 minutes (about a 5k). It’s tough trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B on your own when you don’t have any sort of background in exercise.
Don’t be afraid to try different things. Just because your teammate gets great results from yoga classes three times a week doesn’t mean that you have to do that, but if you’ve never done yoga before, ask if you can tag along! You don’t know if you like or not it until you try. And you might be surprised–I didn’t like tai chi when I did a demo class in high school, but now I think it’s wicked cool and it’s on my list of things I want to do more of.
Find a buddy or a community. I know, I know, EVERYONE says this, but it really does help! A friend can force you to be accountable for it, and it’s much harder to say “nah, I don’t feel like going to the gym today” if your friend is texting you “hurry up, I’m already in your driveway.” In some cases, it also gives you a partner to play with (for things like tennis) or someone to spot you (for things like powerlifting). For diabetics, it’s also good to have a friend who can help you in case your blood sugar goes low, if nothing else so that you have someone to sit with while you eat your candy.
Pick something you’re interested in instead of something that’s “good” for you. You’re not going to have much motivation to go to your workout if you’ve decided to pick up running when you’d rather be playing basketball.
Use achievable goals. Don’t expect to be an expert overnight, and especially don’t expect that you’ll have a pre-workout routine nailed down in a week. As much as I would love to be able to go straight from a season of roller derby to running a 5k…it’s not going to happen. It is going to be tough at first.
Related: don’t beat yourself up if your blood sugars can’t keep up with it at first. I repeat: it is going to be tough at first. It took me about two months to get a routine nailed down when I went from the off-season 1x/week practice regime to 3x/week last spring. The hardest part was having to sit and watch my teammates skate and knowing that I was missing out on valuable training because my blood sugar was 300 and I couldn’t skate (on top of the nausea, fatigue, and extreme thirst high blood sugars bring on anyway). Yes, it’s very important to push yourself to be better, but you need to give yourself time to get the right balance of pre-workout carbs:insulin before you can push beyond that beginner level.
And, obviously, have fun, be proud of yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others. Become one of those sick people who enjoys getting their ass kicked at the gym/playing rugby/running a half marathon/whatever. I find that the harder I have to work at something, the more rewarding it is when I accomplish it. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of myself than I was when I made my 27/5 lap time (after about six months of skating). Sure, there were skaters who could pretty much make their laps as soon as they put on a pair of skates. My accomplishment doesn’t really mean much if I’m looking to compare myself to others’ records and is actually pretty discouraging because it took me six months to get somewhere that other skaters got one. But it means a junk-ton to me that I cut off 21 seconds between my second attempt and my third.
What are your tips? What did you have to do when you picked up a new form of exercise?
I have a confession to make: I committed the horrible fashion sin of buying and wearing a fannypack:
In search of cross-training efforts that don’t suck, one of the things I want to do more of is rail trail skating (or endurance skating, whatever you want to call it). A bunch of my teammates went out this morning to skate along a trail that cuts through downtown Manchester (New Hampshire, not England) and it was a lot of fun! The weather was gorgeous and sunny and we’re at peak fall foliage colors right now.
But as for the fannypack: so generally when I skate at practice it’s enough for me to just keep my CGM (continuous glucose monitor) on me since I’m never far from my water, glucose tablets, or meter. But that’s not really an option with rail trail skating, because I could be up to a couple of miles away from my car where I’ve put all of my stuff. Yeah, I could carry a backpack, but then I’d end up throwing in more stuff than I really need and those get heavy and sweaty and I wanted something that was just the right size for a bottle of Gatorade, some candy, my insulin, my keys, and my meter.
Bring in the fannypack. In that I was able to stick all of the medical stuff I need to carry around with me and it wasn’t too uncomfortable to carry on my waist. The only issue I had was when I fell backwards (trying to do a transition on my weaker side…that’s why it’s my weaker side, folks) and it damaged the pack a little bit.
Well. Actually. The bigger issue was that I felt like a dad wearing a fannypack. I had to resist the urge to start telling dad jokes.