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Doubt, Exhaustion, Pride

November 14, 2010

Yesterday was Day 2 of boot camp. I survived the last one, emerged sore but more enthusiastic than my I was before (if that’s possible). I had some champion bruises to show for it. One on my knee, another on my calf that wrapped around to my shin, and the trophy: A great big butt bruise. For the sake of honesty, I should share that I bruise really easily…this should be interesting.

The next day, I had a personal training session at the gym. I realized that each of my sessions just happens to be scheduled to happen the day following boot camp. I wondered if that was really such a good idea, but my trainer said it’s actually perfect. He gets to work on training me to use the right muscles when my muscles are already exhausted so that I don’t resort to using my ankles for stability when I’m tired. That’s just one way ankles get broken, and I’d rather not do that. So I worked out my already-exhausted body.

The following day, I took advantage of some extra rink time by practicing on my own on the sidelines while the team had their own practice. They do this every Thursday, but unfortunately, I’m not able to come every Thursday. I’m going to need to find somewhere else I can practice between our official practices. I ordered some outdoor wheels that should be arriving on Monday, which will allow me to practice on the bike path, parking lots, stuff like that, but I’d really like to find a smooth place like a basketball court where I can practice my falls and stops.

Anyhow, by yesterday, I was wondering if that extra skate time was really such a great idea. I was so incredibly sore. I was limping up the stairs, struggling to get in and out of chairs. I walked around the trail by our house hoping that some movement would loosen me up a bit before practice. Still sore. I started to have doubts. Can I do this? Being this sore, how can I expect to get up off the ground after falling, if I can’t even get up from a chair? I started to dread practice. I got a knot in my stomach.

Matt and the girls dropped me off. There was no turning back. I can’t even remember all the things we worked on…skating on one foot, T-stops, plow-stops, the dreaded core exercises (yes, I used to think I had a strong core). I kept moving the whole time. The Betties were there to help out and correct what we were doing wrong. I got a lot of feedback, which I really appreciated. I think what was most helpful was that they weren’t actually telling me what I was doing wrong (I already knew I was doing it wrong), but what I needed to do in order to do it better. I love learning about correct form, but actually applying it is the challenge here. These are muscles I never knew I had, let alone had to use. I’ve been doing single-leg squats for the past year, yet I’m learning that my butt has a lot of…well, growing to do. Looking at the Betties, they have amazing butts. I can only hope that mine will be half as strong as theirs.

Much of the feedback I received was that the moves would be easier if I were moving faster. It makes sense, but I think my body equates moving faster to falling faster (and harder). I didn’t fall in practice yesterday. Looking back, I might have been too cautious, but the bruises (mostly the one on my butt) were begging me not to fall on them again. Falling isn’t the end of the world. I did it repeatedly last time, I could have managed a few falls this time. So my goal on Tuesday it to skate faster even if it means I fall, but especially if it means I can pull off the moves better.

I realized yesterday that my biggest challenge is me. I’m used to doing everything I do WELL. While I don’t shy away from trying new things, I often feel frustrated when I can’t do it well. I remember the same frustration when I started my current job. Being a crisis counselor takes some settling in to, as does roller derby. I need to learn to be patient with myself and allow myself to screw up on occasion (sometimes repeatedly).

Matt showed up about half-way through practice to watch and take some video for my dear old dad whose own ability to have adventures is currently limited by illness. I noticed that in each video, I was a smiling fool. If I ever get on the team, how fierce can I really look if I’m grinning the whole time?

Afterward, Matt told me that he was talking to the girls about activities they might like to participate in. Kate, who is 7, asked how old do you have to be to join a roller derby team? She already has a name in mind, and thought it would be cool to have a kids league that just skates around instead of knocking each other down. ❤

When I got home, I was the most exhausted I can ever remember being. Looking at the video, it doesn’t look like I was working that hard, but I know I was. Skating for two hours is tough, especially when I’m using muscles that aren’t there yet. Once I got home, I was in bed by 6:30 pm, asleep by 8:00. I tired to wake up a few times, since it’s rare that Matt and I have a day off together, but I just couldn’t. My eyes wouldn’t stay open and my words came out sounding drunk.

I’m proud that I went even though I didn’t think I could. I’m proud that I could push myself so hard that I would re-define exhaustion. And I’m proud that I could inspire Kate.

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