There's 30 seconds left on the clock. Newy's Dockyard Dames hold a two point lead over my side the Camokazis. The noise levels come from the crowd in massive waves that it threatens to knock me off me feet that I almost miss hearing the whistle being blown to start off the final jam. Both sides don't want to lose so they plug up any gaps on the track that the opposition might try to exploit. Suddenly there's a little gap and I force my way through to form a wall with Atomic Cherry and CrackHerJac to try and stop DangerAss who can punish any opposing side in the blink of an eye from getting past our wall. Suddenly I look up and come face to face with a grinning, backwards blocking GodJilla who would love nothing more than to send me flying on my arse for what feels like the 20th time that night. Fuck...
The above scenario won't be happening this year but I'm certainly a step closer this year than I was last year to realising that dream. I get my first proper taste of scrimmage this year. If I continue to work hard and make further improvements I may just be bouting intraleague this year. How exciting!!!!
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forwards. As 2012 drew to a close I spent a lot of time reflecting on the year, what worked, what didn't work, what state was I in physically and mentally at the end of the year, what were my goals for 2013 and what would I need to do to push on and achieve those goals?
Personally 2012 ended in somewhat funny fashion. I achieved my goal of moving up to scrimmage level which means I'm only one level away from bouting level. After being on such a high from that I did have a slight setback with my right knee which meant I was off skates for a couple of weeks but for once I wasn't too distraught because I had finally not held back and was really giving it my all at training and making lots of improvements up to that point so I knew I was able to continue at that level when I got back on skates.
While I was off skates I did some rehab work on my knee by hitting the local pools and doing walking laps in the pool which did help but then it all went wrong. While I was minding my own business I was getting picked on about my weight by some members of the swimming group in the other swimming lanes. It stung me and took me a while to stop feeling so shite. It made me think does this happen on the derby track? Are there people who are intentionally nasty to other skaters to try and put them off? There's a difference between being a smartarse and having a laugh and being a gobshite. I would never taunt anyone on or off the track I'd rather let my actions do the talking. At the same time I know I need to develop a thicker skin because I don't want to lose it during a bout and let my team mates down if someone does decide to be an arsehole.
With the stakes raised this year and lots to work towards I wanted to prepare myself as much as possible before training resumed. First up I had a proper rest. After another crazily busy year, I put my feet up and caught up on some TV series and just relaxed, and gave my busted knees and ankles a chance to recover. It probably wasn't the most productive start to my off-season but I really don't want to have an injury ravaged third season in a row. It feels as though the rest did a load of good so I was able to move onto the next target on my list.
Along with fitness I really wanted to target my footwork and upper body strength in the off season. I'm very slow on my feet, I move like I'm wearing concrete shoes and my upper body is weak as piss. I know the importance of all three things for derby but I realised ever since I started derby I've been so focussed on just doing direct derby related stuff to try and improve that I've probably limited myself. There's so many sports out there where you can cross over certain skills and exercises that would no doubt help with derby.
First up I've started running with the couch to 5km podcast (when I say run, most people would probably walk past me). It's good for my cardio and legs. Next up I've started proper boxing classes (I'm the only girl in the class). Out of all the sports I've ever tried this is the most complete one I've tried. You work your upper body and there's a focus on fast footwork not to mention the cardio workout so it ticks all my boxes. I plan to immerse myself in the boxing training but I don't think I'll ever competitively fight. The risk of brain injuries down the road and the fact that I don't like to knowingly hurt someone pretty much rules it out.
I've had to modify some of my training on the advice of my trainer so jumping with a skipping rope and jump squats were ruled out because of my knee. Derby training will be resuming soon and for the first year ever I'm going into the season with a bit more belief and confidence. I'm happy that I've been active this past month and there's a Newy social skate tthis Saturday so I can give my knees and ankles a good test. If I stick with the training and hard work who knows maybe this time next year I'll be talking about how my hopes for the year include bouting against NRDL ;)