Climbing Mt. Everest on Roller Skates

I have past the halfway point of Derby 101 and man, do I have a lot of thoughts and feelings.

First of all, I have officially been skating for over 8 weeks now. This past weekend at practice, we began our endurance training. We worked on our 25 in 5 (25 laps in 5 minutes). I had heard of this requirement before, so I knew it was coming and I knew that it was not a simple task, but I was ready to try it.

It’s incredible that 8 weeks ago, I couldn’t skate for 5 minutes without falling. This weekend, I was able to knock out over half of the laps that were required. I also had a lot of energy left afterwards, which tells me that I didn’t try hard enough in my laps. Not that I’d be able to get all 25, but I could have done a couple more. Next time, I’ll do better.

My confidence is much higher now than it was 8 weeks ago, regarding skating. I’m getting more comfortable with speed, the falling is happening less, and I’m having a blast with some of the drills. I’m really enjoying skating.

However, I’m having a really hard time not comparing myself to the other skaters at practice.

I have a goal of making it onto a Boston home team. I definitely understand that this is not an easy undertaking. This will take a lot of work. I want it so bad. I know all of the things I need to do to make this happen and I’ve even accepted that it is *more than likely* not going to happen this cycle. I really am fine with that.

It’s so hard to stare at the mountain in front of me and not fall apart in its presence. I’m working on staying positive. I’m listening to my coaches and taking their advice. I’m trying to get on my skates more than once a week. I’m going to include weight training to my daily routines.

I’m trying to stop listening to my brain and just do the thing.

But for now, I’m going to smile and stand on my left foot to work on my balance. Everest can’t be tackled in one day. If I can make it this far in 8 weeks, where will I be in another 8 weeks?

 

If anyone has any off-skates advice for a newbie skater, please throw them at me.

 

Running and Hopping…on wheels?!

Two weeks ago, I went to my first in person derby bout. While some of the rules are still a little lost on me, it was so exciting to watch. The women looked so strong and badass! I have miles to go before I’ll be in the running to be on a team, but I can’t wait for the day that I feel as strong and badass as they look.

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Since I last wrote, I’ve had a few more Derby 101 classes. We’ve practiced stuff that I never dreamed of doing on skates before.

First- running on toe stops. What the what?! I’d seen our coaches do this during practices and in the few derby bouts I’d seen. It looked so cool. I didn’t think I’d be trying it so soon. Yet, there we were, tip toeing around on our toe stops, eventually trying to run a couple steps. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’ve got a good start.

Second- hopping on skates. Our coaches set up lines of cones (both short and medium sized) and we practice one and two foot hopping over them while skating. It was one of the scariest things I’ve attempted while skating! I fell a few times, but I was able to hop over some of the cone lines on both one and two skates a couple times. With some more practice, I’ll conquer this fear and get a lot better at it.

I did miss a practice where they introduced backwards skating. At our last practice, we worked on it some more, so I was able to try it. It is so hard! Time to work on my leg muscles a bit more!

In the mean time, I’ll be trying to get extra skate time in at any rink I can find!

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Toe stops, slaloms, and cross-overs (Oh my!)

At my first Derby 101 class, one of my coaches had suggested that I get longer circular toe stops. Mine were short and an odd shape and she had mentioned that the circular ones would be helpful. I ordered a pair of Bionic Super Stoppers from Bruised Boutique, which came in rather quickly. I changed the toe stops and immediately tried the skates on. I already felt better about getting back up off of the ground and on balancing on my toe stops. Hooray for that!

This past Saturday I had my second Derby 101 class. I started skating around during warm ups and was starting to feel a little better about skating. We spent the class practicing plow stops, T-stops, slaloms, and lunges. I could NOT for the life of me get the slaloms or lunges. I figured that it was just me being a new skater and not being confident. That is until the coaches brought up that we may need to loosen our trucks if we’re having a hard time with edging. After practice, I skated over to my coach and showed her my skates. She quickly noticed that my trucks were very tight and that I would need to loosen them up. She also suggested on getting some softer cushions, which I plan on doing this week. If anyone has a suggestion on a soft cushion to add to my skates, let me know!

We also worked on cross-overs. I had seen a lot of talk about cross-overs from my Derby friends and had gathered that they were quite difficult to do. I was a bit nervous about them, but started working on them. During practice, my trucks were still tight, so some of it was hard to do anyway. I’m hoping that with my skates being a little more comfortable that it’ll be easier to work on the cross-over, even if it just helps me be more confident in my edging and skating.

I think my favorite part of class is when we go over our goals in the beginning of class and then at the end, we talk about how we did. Everyone improves so much in such little time and it’s so exciting to see. I love getting feedback from the coaches about what I need to work on and how to work on it. They’re extremely knowledgeable and helpful and super motivating.

I did skate for a few minutes last night at the park by my apartment. The difference in my confidence is insane! I’m already feeling a bit better about being on wheels, even if I’m still a little nervous to skate around people and of going fast. In time, I know that will all fade away.

Meanwhile, I’m just trying to find a roller-rink somewhere near me that is not so sketchy.

Boston Roller Derby

Roller Derby is something that I have been curious about for a few years now. It started with the punny names, as I do appreciate a good pun. I then met a few women who participated in the sport and was slightly intimidated. Then I watched a few of my friends start skating and I was amazed as I observed them blossom into fierce, strong, confident women (even more so than they were before).

I wanted to try it, but I have never skated before. Well, not since I was like 7, and even then I know I wasn’t an accomplished skater. I had no idea where to start.

I had annoyed my boyfriend long enough for over a year, talking about how I wanted to try it when the next Derby 101 (how to skate) course started. I would look at skates and equipment online, but never did anything about it.

In comes in my friend, Abby, letting me know that the next Derby 101 course was going to start at the end of May. Next thing I know, I’m picking out my Fresh Meat Package online with Thom. Yesterday, was my first class!

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I learned many things- mostly that I have a long way to go. I’m excited to get more confident on wheels, as I’m still really scared of going fast and of falling down.

So I’m going to start blogging my efforts to keep myself accountable. Here goes nothing!

 

ChahanoStitch updates!

I recently went on Fiverr and looked up someone that could draw me a logo for my Etsy shop. I found one, the fabulous Gailbunning. She made me a wonderful logo and was great to work with.

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I also have been stitching away a lot lately. I have finished up the blanket for my niece, but still need to sew in the ends.

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I’m currently working on an afghan for my sister.

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My most recent favorite projects were the mermaid set I stitched. A friend of mine has a friend that wants to do a mermaid photo shoot for her newborn, once she is born. So I stitched a cute little tail for the baby to lay in.

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Then I crocheted an Ariel, the Little Mermaid, lovey to go with it. It’ll serve it’s purpose as a lovey and a prop for the photo shoot!

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I’m really excited about that doll. She was a lot of fun to make. And the best part is that the pattern included all of the Disney princesses, so I can make so many more!

If you’re looking for any crocheted goods in the future, please feel free to hit up my Etsy shop, ChahanoStitch!

I turned 30. I got belugas!

I turned 30 this year. Most of my other friends that have hit this milestone have celebrated in some monumental way, like going to Las Vegas or partying somewhere with sashes and tiaras. As much as I wanted something big to represent this “new stage” of my life, I’m not much for crazy parties like that anymore.

Then I remembered that a few months prior, Thom and I discovered that the Mystic Aquarium not only has beluga whales, but they also offered beluga encounters! So back in April when we were figuring out my birthday, we had decided that that was what we would do. I mean, who doesn’t love belugas?!

My birthday was in May and we did a small celebration then that involved surprise cannolis. We had a very busy summer schedule between work, school, and gigs. We decided to plan the beluga trip for the fall when we had the time for it, and so we could save up money to go.

We finally went this month and it was unbelievable! We had a short lesson on belugas (we were in a small group of 6 people plus a trainer) and then we were into the water! The whole experience lasted an hour and it was better than I could have imagined. We learned so much about belugas and are now the resident experts on the animals.

Thom says that my face was hilarious the entire time as I was so ecstatic for the whales.

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The whales were very sweet and friendly.

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They love showing off their tricks!

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They loved having visitors in their tank!

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They’re just big goof balls! They were so silly the entire time. I just wanted to take them home with me!

If you live near Connecticut, I’d totally recommend the beluga encounter at the Mystic Aquarium. It costs $40 to enter the aquarium, $165 for the encounter (which includes a free photo), and then $85 for a cd with all of the photos (we had tons more!). It is worth every penny and I’ll do it again in a heart beat!

Foo Fighters at Fenway

Oh, whoa, hello. My bad on not writing for what, months? Man, I’m so sorry. I’m going to start getting back into this and I was trying to figure out how, so I just thought- write something and then everything else will eventually flow out.

This past weekend, Thom and I took a night off from working at Fenway to go to Fenway as fans! The Foo Fighters were playing both Saturday and Sunday, and we were generously gifted tickets as a Christmas present from his parents.

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We invited my brother, Nick,  and Thom’s friend, Dan, to join us.

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As most people know, Dave Grohl has broken his leg and needed surgery about a month ago. Luckily for us, he is a tough sumbitch and had a throne created for him to perform on. It was magnificent!

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I don’t have many pictures aside from these, as I wanted to just enjoy the show. It was incredible! They opened with Everlong and ended with Best of You with all their other great songs in between. They played for almost 3 straight hours, which is unbelievable. No lie, it was on the top of the list of the shows I’ve been to. I don’t know how any one could top their show.

The Foo Fighters are a band that I’ve been wanting to see since about 8th grade, so like 1999. That’s insane. Even better, I always loved Nirvana, too. Seeing Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters is as close as I’ll ever get to seeing Nirvana and I’ll glady take it. Thom and I even got a second go around, as we both worked at the concert on Sunday night.

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If you get a chance to see the newly dubbed “Broken Leg Tour”, please check it out. Also, if you’ve never listened to the Foo Fighters, I beg you- please look them up.