Harder Better Faster Stronger

I feel that this weekend is the start of my getting my derby shit together.

Last Wednesday I had an “MOT” with Chris Baird at Motive8. A few of friends at work have him as a personal training. When I was training for the Abbey Dash 10k in 2012 I went to the weekly boot camp sessions that he ran. I really rate him.

He’d asked me to keep a food diary. At the MOT he took fat measurements at various points and from that he’ll be recommending dietary changes. My disc injury limits what exercise I can (should) do and he’ll be taking that into account. Already though he has confirmed that swimming a good aerobic exercise.

The Men’s Roller Derby World Championship also took place in Birmingham over the weekend. I couldn’t afford to travel down for it, but I spent much of Friday evening, Saturday and some of Sunday cursing the Livestream feed for failing just at interesting points. As expected Team USA won by an easy margin, but this was not the main take away from the weekend. The Japanese and Argentinian teams won the hearts of the derby community, travelling great distances with small teams and little resources. When it transpired that the Argentine team had run out of money a hat was passed around the stadium and a collection of over £1,000 raised for them. On a personal level I was pleased to be able to say to my kids “I’ve skated with…” or “I know him/her”. Two people I want to mention are Captain Malice, who did a damn fine job commentating. I’ve bouted with him! Also Beat Monkey. He was blogging the event but did so anonymously.

Early Saturday I’d been swimming but my arms were tired and I felt that I’d made a poor effort. I came away rather disappointed; the MRDWC gave me the perfect excuse to mope around the house. My son came down later in the day, so we watched a film while I tried to fix his very dead laptop.

Sunday was a slow start and it seemed that I wouldn’t make it to Skateful practice. The trains weren’t running (again) due to engineering works and my usual lift was down in Birmingham. But it all ended well. I managed to get lifts to and from practice and was so pleased that I made it.

Some of us got there early and did 30 minutes off-skate warm up. Perhaps over-did would be a better description. I’ve been advised not to run (repeated jarring) but managed five laps of the tennis courts (yes, it’s a tiny distance, but after nine months off I was quite pleased with myself). Then we did various activities to really work our thighs.

The session was all minimum skills. I loved it! Hardly any hitting but skating non-stop in derby stance. That pretty much finished off my legs. Today I’ve found going down stairs progressively more painful as the day has worn on – a good pain though – one that I haven’t experienced in ages.

When I got home I had a sensible dinner, joined a gym and prepared a healthy lunch for today! Then I went to bed at 10.30 so I’d get a good nights sleep.

The first steps on my journey to building a stronger me :-)

Wheels on my feet

All this week it’s been sunny in the afternoon. From my rather nice window seat at the new offices in Leeds I have wished that I was out skating. So on Saturday I did just that.

It’s been quite a while since I put my in-line skates on and got out into the park. It wasn’t too long before they felt familiar. The first thing that I noticed is how grippy tarmac is compared to the sports halls that I’ve become used to skating in. At derby practice I’ve been working asymmetric plough stops – doing those on tarmac took a little bit of testing to get the balance right, but I managed it with my right leg braking. (Didn’t try left leg – favouritism.)

I skated for about 90 minutes and then went and had tea my mum’s – an unexpected bonus – cottage pie! Then I headed over to Whitcliffe Mount sports centre. A handful of the Dead we’re going to the roller disco! This was a 7pm start and we paid a little extra to stay for both sessions, finished at 9.45. There wasn’t much dancing and as there was a track marked out we may have engaged in some blocking. There was also a line of cones, which is always a draw :-)

Today was practice. We had a new bod start and also a guest from Deathrow Hull! I stepped out of some drills – looking after myself! So, another two hours on wheels, bringing the total this weekend to a little over six hours.

Very pleased!

Derby FTW

This weekend has been packed full of roller derby goodness!


Carly and Buckingham invited Skateful Dead round to theirs for a bit of a social. It wasn’t a big turnout but it was good fun. We watched the video of the open co-ed scrimmage that we’d hosted mid February. This was accompanied by chilli, nachos, pancakes and cake. Then we watched Whip It! and then a mix of clips on YouTube. Lots of reverend banter and quite a late night.


I headed over to The Edge sports centre in Leeds to photograph the Hot Wheel double header.

Spa Town Roller GirlsThe first was their B team playing Spa Town. The teams were evenly matched, the lead changing throughout the bout. At half time Hot Wheel B lead 104 to Spa Town 100. The second period was neck and neck right through to the end. The bout finished 210 Spa Town against 190 Hot Wheel B.

The second bout was Hot Wheel A team versus Rainy City Roller Girls. I feel that the warm up drills that a team performs give a good indication of the bout to follow. Rainy City split the team with vests and practised some very sharp walls. Hot Wheel too did some great blocking. This was going to be close. Talking to others there was a feeling that perhaps Rainy City were going to win comfortably. I’d never seen them play, so I had Hot Wheel for the win.

Mia jamming for Hot WheelIn the first period Hot Wheel took an early lead. Mia, skating for Hot Wheel was proving to be a really effective jammer. Towards the end of the period Ducky took a blow to the face. A nose bleed caused the jam to be called off, though after attention from the medical team she was back on track. At half time Hot Wheel led 102 to 56. I had opportunity to chat with Mia briefly. She said that she had been nervous about jamming before the bout. In the second period she did more of the same, despite also taking a blow to the face.

Missy Rascal jamming for Rainy CityRainy City pulled back and the bout ended in their favour, 191 to 152. Oddly there were only best [player type] certificates given out for one of the teams in the first bout. Hot Wheel though did have goodie bags for all of the players.


It was with some trepidation that I went to practice. I’ve been staying off skates for fear of worsening my injury. Readers may recall that in December I declared that I would retire from bouting. Since then many seemingly insignificant conversations have happened. I’ve seen a musculo-skeletal specialist and now better understand the injury (herniated disc) and it’s likely recovery time (18 months). I’ve spoken to other skaters who have suffered the same injury and are now back on track. I found out that a skater that I consider to be pretty damn awesome only recently changed up from the same (very ordinary) skates that I use. More than any of these I’ve continued to be involved in the sport/community and find that I love it.

So I need to find a balance between injury and enjoyment. I plan to take it really easy at practice, so that my skate skills can improve. I also want to investigate refereeing, thus improving my knowledge of the game. Finally I’ll be working on physical fitness – strengthening my back and upper body to hopefully help prevent such an injury in future. Then, in perhaps twelve months time, I’ll be in a place where I can bout again. But the important thing for me is that there is no pressure to bout until I’m comfortable with it.

I found practice so much fun. My existing skate skills hadn’t upped and left me, we had a new bod skating and the team looked after me and didn’t hit me (too hard)!

Still buzzing from an excellent weekend :-)