Today had a lot of challenges and a lot of accomplishments.
We started out at the open skate with the kids. My friend was meeting me there, giving up a practice for her to help me skate.
This is one of the things I think is so important to the survival of a small sport, the camaraderie and teamwork. I still suck at skating, but she was happy to help me and help me wrangle my two children with my husband. The fact that she is a preschool teacher probably helped, with me and the kids.
Anyways we showed up, chatted and had some food. Greasy and yummy, but at some point we will probably stop eating at the rink. I think right now we are still surprised we're out doing stuff so we treat ourselves.
Next we geared up to skate, and I didn't have my knee pads. Nancy was adamant about my knee pads. So was I. Another thing I like about derby. It's mostly women. Women aren't as likely to do the "skate without them bro" line. Which is stupid and irresponsible. So I drove home and got them. I live about 10 min away so no big deal.
I get back and David has been dealing with two kids, no skating and the noise of like 200 other kids. It was Sunday so the madness was at a fever pitch.
So finally I gear up and skate. Nancy stops me every few laps and instructs me to try a new move.
First was the hardest, skating while squatting. Well sort of, I bent my knees and went as low as I could, but wow am I ever a freaking weakling.
So after a few laps, and I was squatting for like 5 seconds and then standing up for 30, not impressive, we switched to constant stepping. Which again I was a sucky weenie.
Then we did sticky skates. I was not so bad.
We did maybe 10-15 laps and my thighs hurt so freakin bad. I can't believe she does this several times a week. Well I can believe it, but I foresee several months of significant pain. But I'm into it.
Then we called it quits. David did a few more laps and had reached his noise threshold.
So all in all it was pretty chill. But that was just the beginning.
David graciously stayed home with the kids and Nancy and I headed for Greenlake.
We pulled up and the fear didn't hit me yet. I had planned all along to practice trail skating at a small park near my house. It was short and sweet and with few people. I thought I would break in my fear before showing it so blatantly to a peer. But I didn't and here we were.
We got out and walked in our socks to the trail. It was downhill from us, I still braked poorly and the grass was a muddy mess. Ok.
Then the reality hit me. We were there on the trail. People walking by. No fences, no smooth pavement, hills that could have been mountains for all I knew. Greenlake the last great paved frontier.
I stood up and I didn't like it. There was a slight slope and a few smooshy pine bits. I instantly had fear, fairly major fear.
We were ready and there we went. I rolled like 30 feet, tripped on a stick, pulled the bad quad muscle I pulled before and went down. I didn't actually fall, but my confidence did. I had reached the point of fear, that if I had been alone, would have sent me back to the car.
But I wasn't alone and I was with an amazingly patient and kind roller buddy. This makes the world of difference. We limp skated to a flat off track area and stretched. All the while I was trying to figure out how to say I needed to weenie and call it quits for the day.
I am often surprised when I meet people who don't show disappointment or annoyance when with beginners. Encouraging a newbie while caring for their fragile ego, but also getting them to try harder is a difficult and a tedious process. I worked as a manager for many years and teaching without embarrassing or admonishing is hard.
So I said I wanted to weenie like 6 times. There was never a "no" or even negative reaction. Just a lets go a few more minutes and if it's not better we can go back.
I said that we weren't supposed to skate the wrong direction on the trail. Her response was "If anyone complains I will tell them you pulled a muscle and they can deal." Having someone stick up for you're weenie-ing is really nice.
So we went farther. And farther. And farther.
We went the whole way. It hurt. It was hard. I was a little scared. But once I got going it really wasn't that bad. The terrible fear I had backed off as my leg performed mostly as required.
Nancy called out directives and tips from time to time. Down hill bend your knees and ride through it. Bumpy spots, bend your knees and ride through it. That was the answer for a lot of stuff.
We worked on gliding, weight on one foot and the rear foot raised. Using the back foot to push off to get full use of the leg muscles. I'm not there yet, but she skated ahead and behind. Sounded the warning for stray dogs and upcoming hills or sticks.
Everyone should have a skating buddy who is so patient. Fortunately she had been there just a few short months ago, so she knew what was up.
So we got all the way around. It was cool in the sense that I am probably a better skater, I got a good workout and I got a much needed confidence boost. I think it will be much better next time. I think by the fifth time it might even be enjoyable.
Getting by in the beginning is definitely a lot about the people you train with. They have to push you a little, but without freaking you out. Tomorrow is my first full practice. I think I'm going to like derby.