The wonderful hosts of the Back of the Pack Endurance podcast interviewed me last night about running, roller derby, aerial arts, my experiences as a first-time race director and my upcoming gig as a balloon art model. I come in around the 1 hour mark in this episode and they let me ramble and giggle to my heart’s content!
Tag Archives: Roller derby
OFFSKATES WORKOUT WITH ACRD
I had the privilege of guest-coaching an off-skates workout for my beloved Assassination City Roller Derby recently, and I wanted to make it available for anyone to do at home. This circuit takes 20-30 minutes, depending on how long your rest breaks are in between exercises. You can do this pretty much anywhere – it requires no equipment and you don’t need shoes.
Off skates with Pyro – 6/29/14
Basic balance: stand on one foot and slowly swing the other leg forward and back to center; out to the side and back in; and behind you and back to center. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
Hip abduction: stand on one leg, raising other knee to waist height. Abduct your hip so that you “open the gate”, with your knee pointing out to the side…you’re gonna look a bit like you’ve got a lil’ Captain in ya…then slowly adduct so your knee points forward again. Stay on the same foot and slowly repeat this open/close motion for 30 seconds.
Single leg toe touch: stand on left foot, right foot hovering off ground in front of you. Bending @ waist, reach with right hand to touch left foot; stand up straight to complete rep. Keeping a slow, steady pace, repeat for 30 sec, then switch sides. (note: you can add a dumbbell to your toe-touching hand when you’re ready to progress this exercise)
Single leg squat with contralateral toe touch – as you squat on your right leg, touch the outside of your left foot with your right hand before standing straight up to complete one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
Single-leg curtsy squat with front leg swing: shallow single leg squat, free leg bent back behind – as you stand, straighten leg and swing it in front of body, then behind for the next squat – repeat for 30 sec each side.
I dreamed last night about pre-race logistics for a half marathon I was about to run. The triviality of parking, porta-potties and pace groups isn’t particularly noteworthy. It’s the fact that, for the first time in years, I dreamed about running instead of skating.
My brain never shuts down, even when I’m asleep. It just sets up the ol’ projector and starts the slideshow of what I’ve done and what I’m about to do. Before big events, Brainy becomes even more restless than usual – particularly if the events affect other people. Brainy will turn every dream into a dress rehearsal for the main event, which is just as exhausting as it sounds.
I never enjoyed pre-bout jitters. I didn’t like getting physically sick nearly every time I anticipated a tournament or rankings-dependent bout. I can recall so many days of twisted guts and so many nights of fitful sleep….it left me susceptible to full-blown illness every time. Altitude sickness in Taos. Food poisoning in Tucson. My coach had to drive me back from San Antonio on a turn and burn where I’d thrown up so many times during the bout that I was too weak to sit up afterward. I used to brag about the barf bucket I had to keep near the bench (mostly because if you’re going to be that gross, you really need to fully own it). The nerves pushed me, but sometimes they pushed me down to the floor.
Running has always been different – the nerves I feel before a race are like friendly little butterflies, fluttering just enough to make me want to move along with them. The nerves motivate me, not overwhelm me. They make me stronger, not weaker, because they sharpen my performance and give me that giddy tingle of anticipation every time I lace up my running shoes.
It helps that most of my races are local. I’m more comfortable when I have my routines and I’m not driving for hours the day before. I think it runs deeper than that, though. For years, I felt so much pressure to not only win, but to win by as large a point spread as possible. WFTDA rankings are funny like that, or at least they were for the years I played interleague – sometimes it didn’t even matter that you won, because it still wasn’t enough. I took being part of a team very seriously, knowing how important my performance was to our overall success.
Control freaks and perfectionists tend to view success as shared but failure as sole. By this, I mean we blame ourselves when our team loses or fails to advance in ranking. Even the realization that this is irrational – that no single skater wins or loses the bout for her or his team – isn’t enough to alleviate the self-imposed pressure that the highly competitive feel. Being in a leadership position compounds that stress – the captain is expected to not only play well, but to bring out the best in her skaters as well.
Self-awareness is the first step to moving past roadblocks like this. I guess I never really moved past it, but it took a bit of distance to fully realize that.
Running’s not always sunshine and roses. There’s barfing at the finish line and indignant ligaments and finishing slower than my goal time (which was already pretty slow). But it’s all mine, every bit of it, and it affects nobody but me. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that – in embracing personal expectations and owning personal disappointments while enjoying the social atmosphere of a race. I’m still sharing happy, active energy with others. Only now I’m not trying to slow them down, I’m actually hoping they’ll run faster so I’ll have somebody to chase.
How to Avoid Shoulder Injuries – by Hexpert Pyro Maim Ya
Reblogging an old article today…since I worked shoulders yesterday, I’m having a hard time lifting my arms long enough to type something original. 😉
Think shoulder injuries are no big deal in roller derby? Do enough damage and you’ll be off your skates, trust us. And unable to lift objects, carry bags on one side, sleep on one side, etc etc. From your favorite pink fitness buff, check out how to strengthen your rotator cuffs. You’re welcome for the amazing rhyme scheme.
Strengthening Weak Rotator Cuffs by Pyro Maim Ya of Pynk Fitness
I’ve had shoulder injuries on the brain lately – a couple of my derby sisters are in slings right now and my own shoulder is whispering its discontent over the heavier lifting I’ve been doing. I learned a bit about strengthening my rotator cuffs after a nasty run-in with a brick wall in OKC a few years ago, and in conjunction with my physical therapy, this knowledge made a big difference in how quickly I was able to return to full…
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Plyometrics and sock derby
Our rec league, Internal Affairs, accepts new skaters at the first 2 practices of every month. These intake practices usually focus on basic on-skates skills – stops, falls, crossovers and all of the other little details that make an athlete proficient on her skates.
The problem with this structure is that it takes some skaters several months to actually play the sport – and as anyone who’s played roller derby can attest, you spend your first year of contact figuring out what you’re doing besides just turning left and bouncing off of people. We spend so much time teaching people to pass their minimum skills assessments that we don’t always get to teach them actual gameplay ‘til much later.
Then there’s the fact that many new skaters haven’t built up their fast-twitch muscle fibers yet. Fast-twitch fiber is crucial for explosive, powerful movement, but it’s hard to develop those fibers on skates – your wheels don’t provide enough resistance with the ground to build the muscles you need to skate the way you want to.
So tonight, we did things a bit differently. I ran a full hour of cardio/endurance, plyometrics, agility, blocking/timing drills and scrimmage completely on foot. Then we geared up and rolled for real for the last 30 minutes.
My thoughts: it mostly went exactly as planned. I had to cut the skating time a bit because we spent so much time offskates (I originally promised only 30 minutes on foot), but we needed it. I watched lightbulbs come on over several heads as the stress of trying to figure out how to skate was removed and my girls could just concentrate on gameplay. Some of my freshest meat are the hardest hitters with the best timing when on foot! It was enlightening and I can’t wait to try it again.
Here is the workout in its entirety. Let me know if you have any questions or would like clarifications on any exercises or drills.
What you’ll need for this workout: a rink or other flat area to run across, preferably with a derby track already clearly marked; an agility ladder (if you don’t have one, you can use duct tape or chalk to make one on the floor/ground); shoes or socks you can run and hop in; jerseys and helmet covers.
Dynamic warm-up: neck/shoulder/arm circles, windmill toe touches, butt kicks, high knees, standing iron cross, inchworm/dogwalk series [toe touch, inchworm out to downward dog; alternate bending and straightening legs to stretch calves and hamstrings. Lift each leg and draw circles in both directions in the air before walking hands back in to toetouch, then slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time, ‘til you’re standing up straight].
Plyometrics and conditioning:
Side-step squats – step right and squat, back to neutral, then left and squat – repeat for 30 sec
Mohawk squats – legs wide, toes pointed out – down on a 2 count, up on 2 count for 30 sec
Crossover steps – (three lateral steps, then reverse direction by springing off outside foot) – start slowly, speed up – 30 sec
Speed skaters for 30 sec – mountain climbers for 30 sec
Agility ladder – one in, two in, two up one back, out in, ali shuffle (both sides)
Quick feet to burpee – jog down rink – quick feet to burpee – side shuffle back
Quick feet to burpee – skip down rink – quick feet to burpee – side shuffle opposite side back
Discussion and demonstration: legal blocking zones
Partner up for squat bumps – standing still, hip to hip – get low and pop up – 30 sec each side
Stagger partners so that one is behind and slightly to the side of the other – have partner in back step around partner in front, first gaining position, then using hip/booty to make contact – switch positions after a minute on each side
Blocking/timing drill: Snake line in center of track – person in back comes up outside and each person hipchecks them to outside – then hipcheck up inside – have them walking quickly with light feet (“scampering”)
Stop line – number off, grab jerseys and panties
Sock derby: 4-6 jams – play full 5 on 5, with penalties served by doing 10 push-ups, then rejoining pack – stop in between jams to answer questions, repeat rules, etc
Put on skates
Partner snake drill: skate in pairs through double line, focusing on matching speed and timing your cuts – use verbal communication and touch your partner’s hips or thighs to stay close.
Blocking/timing drill: single paceline on track – skater in back comes up outside and each skater in line hipchecks them to outside – then come up inside – do both sides twice. Focus on not cutting the track as a jammer and staying in-bounds as a blocker.
Truck and trailer demo: how to swing off your partner’s hips to block jammer
Partner up – practice swinging off each other’s hips, skating around derby track (choose a couple of jammers to dummy-jam through a few times, then pass the panties off to another pair)
Cooldown laps – opposite direction