Call it the perfect storm, all the planets aligning or everything clicking into place. I wish every weekend was like last weekend. I'll explain before anyone gets the wrong idea.
The last knee injury in September which kept me sidelined for over a month knocked a bit of the stuffing out of me. I was feeling that after making some positive progress on the track and confronting some of my fears by getting more stuck in during pack work that I was back at square one again. I was finding it a little difficult to get back on skates, not from fear but from thinking if this was how it was always going to be, little progress and lots of setbacks so that I'm pretty much in the same spot and never really threatening to get up to bouting level.
You know me I like to analyse things to death, so I sat down and started analysing one of the things I hate analysing the most - myself. One of the biggest things I need to address was belief. I've got all these derby related goals that I'd love to achieve but my lack of belief in actually achieving them left me feeling more of a spectator and less of a skater and I've probably felt like that pretty much since I started derby. Another year is pretty much over and I'm still no closer to bouting so I asked myself did I really want to feel like this next year for the third year running? The answer is no. I realised that putting so much pressure on myself to succeed because I wanted it so bad was leading me to constantly breaking down with injuries. I needed to loosen up a bit and start enjoying the ride.
Next on the agenda was the big issue of my weight. I've lost about 6 kilo's since I first started derby but the reality is I need to lose a lot more. For one my knees and ankles might stop breaking down on a regular basis. Dealing with issues away from the derby track made the weight issue more of a psychologial issue than a physical issue and after working on that throughout the year I feel as though I finally am ready to deal with it properly once and for all. A couple of my team mates Cherry and Sarah were talking about my fitness pal on our Facebook group page so I checked it out and ended up signing up. It's basically an online calorie and exercise counter. I posted on Facebook last Saturday if anyone else used and was immediately flooded by derby friend's from various leagues who use it. For me it was a pretty big deal because here I was breaking my usual behaviour by not letting anyone else in and sharing embarrassing info. To top it all off it meant I really had to start looking at myself something I've done well to avoid for a long time. You know what, it's probably one of the best things I've done. We've got a little derby community going on the site and the support, help and ideas from everyone has been amazing that it's starting to make me think that it's ok to sometimes lean on others for help and not think that I can't let anyone in.
I hit Skatel on Saturday morning for the first time in ages. I practised my form and worked a bit on transitions. Once again it highlighted how I'm as flexible as a brick wall. I don't need to be as flexible as Gumby but it would be nice to loosen up a bit because it'll no doubt help me out on the track. The skating was good, it was nice to just skate with no pressure while I was getting back on my feet.
Sunday rolled around which meant travelling up to Newcastle to train with the Newy guys, no big deal :P To say I was looking forward to it was bit of an understatement! I was happy as larry all morning but the second I parked my car in the car park the butterflies in my stomach went on a rampage and I was suddenly nervous as hell, what the hell was I thinking that this was a good idea? I went in, said hi to lots of familiar faces, got on my skates then Jilla came up and asked me if I knew what they were doing for training? I didn't. She told me they were covering backwards blocking and I immediately thought 'ohh fuck'. I had attempted to backwards skate once and that was for a few seconds, plus lots of transition work which I was still doing at a geriatric pace. Jilla took us through a couple of backwards skating drills and I sucked horrribly but I still tried. There was one drill where I had to do a transition at speed, I tried and sucked at it and ended up feeling like that special kid in school. I had to admit it what they were covering was too hardcore for my current skill level and I was probably putting my self at risk of a broken ankle.
Someone suggested I join Rum'n'rola who was taking the group who had just passed fresh meat through the basics of backwards skating and transitioning. Ahh my skill level! I joined them and I'm so glad I did. I really needed to learn the basics and Rum'n'rola was a fantastic coach. She helped me out heaps and showed me different ways to tackle transitions and even to do them. When the freshies finished I went to the side and practised all these new things by myself. I would take a glance from time to time to see what the other guys were working or listen in when Jilla was teaching them a new skill to backwards blocking. I kept going over what Rum'n'rola had taught me and then I started grinning like an idiot. Some of the things were working for me. Here I was being pushed way outside my comfort zone. Yeah I was bricking it but my feet were starting to get in synch with my brain WIN!!! I was over the moon and didn't want the session to end.
The longer the session went on, the more I could feel that spark of 'hell yes I'm going to bout one day, I can do this' which I had been missing lately. Jilla apologised that I didn't really get to train with them and you know even a couple of months ago I would have been gutted if that had happened to me but for me the arvo and that whole weekend had been a resounding success. It felt like a win, something I haven't had too much of in derby. I went beyond my comfort zone and ended up surprising myself and having the fun in the process. A couple of bonus things which made it an even better weekend, despite all the pressure I put my knees and ankles under on Sunday I came through pain and injury free. Also Danger said if there was anything I wanted to work on that I was always welcome to come back and train with them. That made my weekend even better :) The Newy guys were their lovely and awesome selves and I really appreciated all their help. It definately triggered wanted to do extra practise by myself on the weeknights and makes me look even more forward to training with my league again on Friday :)