Thursday, November 3, 2011

Derbalife: My Success Story

I never thought I'd do a before & after picture thingy!
I know I will be accused of tricking this image. Myself I look at it and think it totally looks like I pushed my belly out on the left and sucked it in on the right. And I wouldn't blame anybody for thinking it.

But where would that take me? I pushed myself so much during this challenge... My goal was not weight loss. It was simply to increase my strength. I'm 45. Getting older by the second. I woke up one day a little over a month before my birthday and for the first time in my life: I felt old. I couldn't bare to look at myself in the mirror. I was in a transition from working 80 hours per week, living on the road, touring with a racecar team, signing autographs simply because I was the only female "wrench" at my level of competition to ... nothing. Unemployed, suddenly moved to San Diego, and living on a boat. The word transition does not do justice to all the changes I was going through so of course that evil old MIDLIFE crisis was bitch slapping me on a regular basis.

I needed to do something, and fast. So I did what any crazy 45 year old French Canadian would do and joined roller derby. Assuming 3 derby practices per week would be enough to whip me back into shape I quickly realized I needed more. I was no longer a 20-yr old bouncing back without effort.

Then Angela Bergman (cue angelic sounds and bright lights) asked all her Facebook friends to support her and vote for her. She had just completed the Derbalife Challenge. Her results were absolutely stunning! She inspired me to do more...

Like I said, weight loss was not my goal, as you can see from the pictures above... But what have I accomplished? I started this challenge on September 19 and it has just ended. Six consecutive weeks of:
  • daily tracking my calories;
  • reducing certain "toxins" like coffee - now down to 2 cups per week rather than one a day and an average of one or two cocktails per night max rather than... (the past is the past right?);
  • daily routine of crunches, squats and lunges;
  • with the help of a heart monitor I started tracking my calorie losses, and in doing so I turned everyday task into a work out from doing the laundry to taking the trash out - I strapped on the monitor and performed my chore with an increased speed and being aware of how I did everything trying to make every action count;
  • I rode my bike 2 or 3 times a week, etc.
I look back and see 42 consecutive days at maintaining a healthy routine. They say all it takes to create a new habit is to perform it for 21 days... Well, I've doubled that time during this challenge so my Derbalife Routine is now MY routine.

I feel so much more confident and happy about myself. My track speed may have only increased a slight bit, but at least its better! The buddy system and the coaching support is a definite plus. And of course, I recommend the Derbalife Challenge to anybody who seeks any kind of self improvement.

I still have some of that "bag of jell-o" hanging out around my core area, actually 2 inches less than 6 weeks ago so just imagine where I'll be 6 weeks from now! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Parallels Between Fight Club and Roller Derby

FC Quote: "The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club!"
DERBY:  First rule of joining San Diego Derby Dolls is: 
You do not talk about the Dollhouse location!

FC Quote: "The second rule of Fight Club is: YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB!"
DERBY:  Second rule of joining San Diego Derby Dolls is: 

FC Quote: "The shit that came out of her mouth..."
DERBY: "Slam her in the handrail!" - "Whip me!"  
"Hit her!" - "Push me!" - "...and then I landed on his face!"

FC Quote: "Only after we lose everything, are we free to become anything"
DERBY: Bad habits die hard. Only after you rid yourself of them 
(arms out of control, standing tall while skating, straight knees...)
will you truly start skating like a real derby girl.

FC Quote: "Fight Club was the beginning, now it's moved out of the basement, 
it's called Project Mayhem."
DERBY: First we had Melissa Mayhem. 
Then Mr. Mayhem. 
Now they are getting married: 
our very own Project Mayhem.

FC Quote: "Now, a question of etiquette - as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?"
DERBY: Normally the ass. You give the ass when you bump as you sit
on your opponent. But what you are getting in return is... the crotch.

FC Quote: "The things you own end up owning you!"
DERBY: My pads have my smell in them. Permanently.
My feet have blisters from my skates.
An entire room is dedicated to my derby gear.
My gear not only owns me, but is a part of me,
as I am a part of it.

FC Quote: "Only after disaster can we be resurrected."
DERBY: At first your fear of pain from being slammed cripples you,
then it happens: you get hit so hard you slam down on the track.
Once you realize it wasn't so bad, you jump back in the game.
Then post pictures of your bruise on Facebook.
And you can't wait to go back for more action...

Fight Club is THE pop culture movie of all times. Roller derby has its own class of pop culture. You don't just join a league and practice a sport, you become engulfed by a lifestyle. You leave practice every night sore but smiling. You show your bruises with pride because they symbolize much more than the mere practice of a sport - they are a testimony of your gutsy bravado.

Fight Club is NOT about the fight. It's about feeling alive after being part of the walking dead. Going through life without care, without passion - working, paying the bills and buying status and suddenly something happens. Something with impact and it shakes you awake. Its the bitch slap across the face. Its the alarm going off on your life reminding you of what matters.

Roller derby is not about getting slammed either. Its about setting challenging goals and achieving. Its a level of teamwork that very few sports achieve. Oh, its a SPORT. Cannot be compared to "fake" wrestling. Every slam, every hit, every bump is real. Just ask any derby girl, she'll be more than happy to show you her bruises and her scars.

And you've never felt so alive... just like the guys after a fight in the movie.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Derbalife: 2 Weeks To Go?
If my involvement with this challenge has proven anything to me it's that I am definitely a classic case of OCD.

When my coach instructed me to write down ALL that I ate and to tabulate my calorie intake, I thought to myself "Yeah, right! As if..." As if I would ever do or maintain such a thing (as I sit here with my heart rate monitor strapped on just to see how I'm doing!) When I first looked at the documents she asked me to fill in, I gawked! Such work!

*shakes head in wonderment over such low self knowledge*

I downloaded the app My Fitness Pal into my phone. What looked like a HUGE hurdle was actually like crack for a need-to-check-in-regularly-whore like myself.

You see, as a kid I was obsessed with coming home and checking our mail box. I always hoped to find postcards from the unknown. Of course nobody ever wrote me, so sometimes I actually mailed stuff to myself just so... I'd get something in the mail. Oh the shame! As I grew older and technology offered me more opportunities to check in (the mail box lead the way to the answering machine that lead the way to the remote answering machine which lead the way to the pager then the email then any addictive website known to womankind, yeah Facebook - IN YOUR FACE YOU ADDICTIVE BITCH).

So... this brings me to today. My Fitness Pal allows me to jot down every single thing I eat. It even allows me to factor in my exercises and calorie reduction (thus clearing my guilt trip over the extra cookies). But, the average results from the exercise I did really was nothing more than guestimates the program offered. After doing an intense workout with my Derbalife Accountability Partner (howdy partner) I realized just what I was missing out on: accurate info on burned calories!

I have 2 weeks left of this challenge. So far I can tell you my waist has lost close to 2 inches, my back fat has trimmed down and my track speed has increased (almost 2 laps on the 5-minute time trial).  And now I get to strap this new toy on and push myself to make everyday activities part of my workout (again, I'm OCD so of course I'll find a way to turn doing the dishes into an actual workout, or walking to the laundry room, or ... sex?)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Derbalife - Week 4

I'm thrilled.

Joining this challenge was the push I needed to get back in the groove. When I lived in Canada, I was an avid gym user. I was lucky enough to work-out with some of the best! Actually, one of my work-out buddies was the Canadian Middle Weight Body Building Champion! I had access to top notch coaching on muscle building and toning. If I missed out one morning, then I'd eat shit the next.

Having this unofficial club was the motivation I needed to set my alarm at 5:30 am 5 days a week.

Then I moved out here, joined a race car team and toured the country for 5 years. Truck stops and McDonalds was our regular food fare. Although I lead a highly active lifestyle from being on my feet from 9 in the morning til midnight, the food certainly did not contribute to being healthy. Restaurants 3 times a day, 7 days a week for 10 months out of the year... it was a killer!

I needed incentive to whip my ass back into shape. But the fact I was unemployed and enjoying a cushy lifestyle aboard a boat made it so hard for me to hit the pavement. My motivation was at an all time low. I easily convinced myself the 2-3 derby practices I went to each week was sufficient. But it wasn't. My core was wasting away in a land that oddly resembled a Jell-O filled balloon. And the back fat? Not very becoming!

A derby pal was what inspired me! She posted before and after pics from her Derbalife Challenge. OK, the fact she won a sweet pair of Antiks also helped sealed the deal! Now I find myself tracking my food and even lowering my alcohol intake (to actually see the amount of drinks on the screen glaring at me like a silent guilt reminder was not good) and I am now more aware of what I eat AND drink including the water (no, I wasn't solely referring to beer and Malibu)!

I may not win a pair of Antiks, but already 4 weeks into this challenge I feel like a winner!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Can't Help But Wondering...
Now that I've been enjoying derby 7 months of rough-grueling-crunching-slamming-growling pleasure I really wonder why every single woman does not give this sport a try? Except for the catty ones. Maybe.

I also wonder how could I turn Marr Bulls into my real name? Like on my driver's license and passport and stuff. You  know, make it official. This name suits me, it just does. A league girl told me last week "That name really suits you." and then added "I hope it doesn't insult you that I just said that!"

At first I felt pride, then I felt quizzical as to if I should feel shame since she politely pointed out that there was a hint of an insult in calling me Marr Bulls.

*hangs head in shame*

NO WAY! I love my name! It's goofy with hints of craziness! Like the label says: You can play with me! Collect me! Swap me! Heck, I'll even let you whip me!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Diary of a Derbalifer - Part 2
My first week in the Derbalife challenge went off with a BIG start! In terms of working out I did not cut corners:

  1. Ran a 5K on day 1 with all those other things I mentioned in Part 1;
  2. Went to Derby practice twice (or was it thrice, not sure);
  3. 2 bike rides with a minimum of 5 miles each times and pushing it hard;
  4. Worked all day at our home bout so that kept me on my toes and running from 2:30 to 10:30 pm (ok so it was followed by a couple of beers);
  5. Participated in the 1-mile sprint on skates for the Girl Scouts;
  6. Went sailing so we could try out the spinnaker sail and had my heart rate up in the gazillion beats per minute (yes, it was a killer!)
  7. Did the week 1 workouts daily (the balancing thing, the one leg stand-ups, the ice skates...)
And what's going on THIS week?

I started a cold. I've been a sick puppy. I went to derby practice but once! OK, kudos for staying beyond bootcamp and hitting the track with the league girls, and I did go sailing twice and swam with the luminescent fishies one night - but still. I'm a bit disappointed in myself.

I know, I know - I'm under the weather and this cold is seriously kicking my ass! But, I have been without energy. Today is the first day that I started feeling less like a zombie and more like a real'ish person. Kinda.

I have 2 days left to honor my promise to myself for this week.

p.s. As I'm writing this post I have the oven toasting up my new snack - Pita Chips. I'm a big snacker. So may as well make it on the healthy side with some homemade pita chips. Yumalicious! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diary of a Derbalifer - Part 1

I witnessed some pretty awesome changes in derby pal Indy or, Angela after she completed the DerbaLIFE 6-week program. So many changes that to be totally honest: I couldn't recognize her! She slimmed down, she toned down all that didn't go down was her speed. Which went up.

So, I went ahead and dove right in. Monday was the day it started and as I watched messages inviting us to join just as I was watching my belly jello-up I just went ahead and did it. I did it. I did, I did!

So motivated to kick start my new me I laced up my running shoes and hit the pavement. But, running was obviously not enough to achieve the new me: I made it a cross-training extravaganza. Being that I live on Harbor Island, I have access to a wonderful bike-walk path. This path is exactly 1.5 miles, give or take. So from one tippy top end of the island to the other, or from the river paddle boat to the lighthouse and back I get to rejoice in a true 5k.

Again, as I mentioned the run wasn't enough for me, oh no sirree boppy! I mentioned the cross training. Every park bench I crossed on my way back from the paddle boat (to celebrate that I was accomplishing the 5k) I added a work-out. Push-ups, dips, leg lifts, and when the bench was occupied - lunges.

After this wonderful work-out, my husband and I went sailing for 3 hours, thankfully I got back just in time to load up my gear and race out downtown for 1 hour of derby.

Overdid it? I did indeed overdid it. I did, I did, I did overdid it!

Tuesday was a day of pain. Total excruciating pain. But I was wiser - I skipped out on derby that night. I'm not a total idiot, just a partial one. But some could beg to differ.

And now I am looking forward to my fitness profile and goal assessment with my new AWESOME coach On-Ya. Life is grand for a Derbalifer... life is grand.

p.s. I need an accountability partner (and a spellchecker for every time I write out that word)
p.p.s. as I was making a cheese quesadilla for breakfast I happened to spot an apple glaring out at me with the angry eye, so I generously handed the quesadilla to my husband and ate dry toast with apple slices
p.p.p.s. the quesadilla looked yumalicious, but my apple was better

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Marr's Golden Rules to Derby Bootcamp

In celebration of my first 6 months of derby, I've come up with (cue for the trumpets: ta-ta-ta-taaaaa!) MY very own RULES to derby bootcamp! Tighten those skates, strap on your (no, not the strap-on bleeeeep! but the pads) cover your head with your helmet and sit back AND READ. Then follow the rules. I beg of you to:

God gave you knees that bend, use them wisely and often. Stay low, bend down, and if your back doesn't hurt (that lower portion?) then chances are you're just not bent down low enough. And when in doubt for why a skill is just not working out for you: chances are, it's because you just aren't assuming the derby stance.

Look behind you, around you, not just ahead of you. The action is behind you. Its all about what's coming up - the jammer passing you, the blocker getting ready to catch up and *ouch* slam into you. Use that neck of yours and turn around. Practice doing laps where you are constantly looking behind you. And, then look behind you from the other side. Get used to it - the more you practice looking behind you the more you'll actually enlarge your perception width.

Come on, share with Sugar Bear! And I'm not talking about your candy bar or your Pacifico, although THAT would actually be nice... Share the info. Tell your teammates what's going on. Even if you are looking behind you, there are things you may not notice, "Jammer - coming up!" "On your inside!" You get the drill, don't ever assume others know what you know. And it'll make you a better teammate - others will know they can rely on you and they'll (hopefully) want to play with you more.

We all fall down. All of us. It's not if you fall that matters, its what you do after you fall. Your team relies on you and needs you. Every player on the track is actually indispensable to each other. If you fall and stay down, then you are letting your team down. And every time you let your team down, they slowly learn to not count on you. And that sucks. You may still be in bootcamp (like me) so now is the time to make it a habit. Get the fuck up. Fast. Quick. If you're hurt, then get off the track - the least you can do is not become an obstacle.

Derby is a sport. And most sports involve speed. Hurrying isn't solely about how fast you can skate but how fast you react. And as long as you're still in bootcamp, this often means how quickly you respond to your coaches commands. I know, "command" sounds harsh and military'ish. But, it is called bootcamp for a reason after all. Practice time is so limited, add up those wasted minutes it takes everybody to get on track and in a pace line when asked, and those minutes quickly build up to hours. Hours of wasted time waiting... Again. Take everything you do in bootcamp to build positive habits. A positive habit is easier to keep up than to undo a bad one. (Yeah, trust me, I've got the flailing arms to prove you I am so friggin right here!)

I so wanted to stick to a pretty number like 5 or 3. But I could NOT end this without talking about the primary rule to learning anything in life. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for what YOU learn. And that - is golden enough, I don't need to explain it.

Simple enough? These are my rules and I'll see you at the track!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Two Sisters Face Off

Ever seen bees buzzing around anything sweet? Let me tell you… When the San Diego Derby Dolls (The Swarm) meet face to face with its sister league the Los Angeles Derby Dolls (Tough Cookies) you will witness firsthand what we’re talking about!

On September 24 The Swarm will face off with Tough Cookies in Wyland Hall, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This rematch has been long-awaited since San Diego narrowly lost the championship bout to this Los Angeles team last year, as well as the year before.

"This is the most anticipated game of the year,” PT Bruiser said. “To come so close two years in a row, only to lose to the Cookies, makes me want this win that much more."

The on-going sibling rivalry started when an LA Derby Doll, Bonnie D. Stroir, created a sister Derby Doll league here in San Diego in 2005. Since then the Dolls have fought over trophies and titles determined by very close calls.

The Swarm bested the Cookies in the 2009 regular season match up, only to be defeated in the championship game by one point,” Bruiser said. “Deja vu in 2010 as The Swarm spoiled the Tough Cookies undefeated record in regular season, but couldn’t quite crumble the Cookies who once again took home the trophy.

Tickets are available at or at the door if they don’t sell out. General admission/standing room is $15; bleacher seating is $20. Military, seniors and children 6-12 are $13. Children under 6 are free. The doors open at 6 p.m. The game starts at 7 p.m. Parking is $9 in cash. This is an all-ages family event with a full bar for those over 21. There will be raffle prizes, half-time entertainment, food, vendors and 1,500 screaming fans.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Focus On The Journey: And All That Jazz...

For 4 years I worked in the career management industry in Canada. Oh those were the days... I gots to travel alls over the country meeting nice ladies and gentlemans even going aaaaaallll the ways up to Inuit Nirvana aka Nunavut (pronounced: So Friggin Cold) and hads me a doggy sled ride in the snowy blizzardy desert... yes them was the days indeed!

And during these glorious days I repeated clichés such as:
  • Follow Your Heart
  • Focus on the Journey
  • If You Build it They Will Come
OK, so the last one is from a movie, only because this sweet life is so far away I can't remember all the wunderbar stuff I told people repeatedly. That and a new thing I've developed recently called "forgetting". Joys. Of. Aging.

Even if focus on the journey was a principle I believed in, practicing it was a whole nuther matter. Do as I say, not as I do. But recently I've come to the realization that (cue bright lights and angelic voices coming from the heavens, yes HEAVENS in plural one heaven for each religion) for once in my life I've engaged myself in something that is really about the journey.

I know you're all expecting me to reveal something deep such as re-kindling with religion, or taking on a new career, or whatever... but it isn't. What has finally made me shift into this new paradigm is roller derby.

I know. I'm sounding like a cheap late night infomercial as I'm dangling on some weird new exercise machine screaming "YOU CAN DO IT!" And I apologize for that.

But roller derby is what did it for me. Lot's of ladies join derby hoping to rush through bootcamp and quickly become league members competing in bouts. Not this little freshmeat bootcamper. I'm enjoying the challenges as I go through them one by one. OK, well, as I repeat them over and over and over until I kinda meet them is how I should put it. But still.

Whether it takes me 6 months, a year or if I never even graduate from bootcamp: just being there, doing the drills, meeting the challenges, and facing new ones regularly is my thrill. My new nirvana. Its the here and now no matter where it takes me simply because where I'm at is beyond my wildest imagination.

This is my journey...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tips From a Dive Master - How to Rid Your Junk From it's Funk!

A "while" after joining the SD Derby Dolls, a more experienced skater overheard something I must have said, I don't remember what I said but she looked at me all serious and told me: "You know, you CAN wash your gear!"

*Head bends down in shame*

That was embarrassing. Further more, I won't go into details about how much longer it took me to actually wash said gear. What can I say? It just didn't smell! After each practice I'd lay all my gear out opened up to dry until the next practice. It was handy that it rested by a de-humidifier...

But then, it happened. The smell. And when you live on a boat in confined areas and a high risk of accumulated humidity, smells can be overwhelming. Love it when it's bacon hanging around all day, but hate it when it's that mildew'ish smell...

I was talking to my dive master about how sometimes if I don't let my dive gear dry completely before loading it inside, it just smells so petrified! Like my roller derby gear - how is it that us humans can have such a smell???

She recommended this miracle of a product called Mirazyme. Don't know if it's pronounced "zeem" or "zyme" but what I do know is it starts with "MIRA" as in "MIRAcle". She told me 1 capful to 10 gallons of water and a 15-minute dip was enough to ... rid your junk of it's funk!

Where to buy this miracle cure? Sport Chalet for $8.99. And no, don't dip your stinky wet poodle* in there, I don't think Fido would appreciate the overdose of enzymes!

*stinky wet poodle is not code word for some weird sex thang, it's just that - man do wet dogs smell BAD!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What's Your Excuse?
I learned last night that one of our coaches is a cancer survivor. She battled that nasty breast cancer like a seagull will fight for the last leftover french fry after a beach picnic.

And she's a bad ass derby coach, a badass blocker, just an all-round badass chick in a positive way. The kind you want for a best friend. The kind that if you're ever in trouble, she'd be the first person you'd want to call because, well just because you know she'd not only know what to do but be willing to do it.

And she's not out there playing the poor-me as a post cancer victim and shit. She's fighting her way through a simple happy existence. And I was inspired when I heard about this and thought - hold your horses now...

I started roller derby just one month shy of my *cough* 45th birthday, about the same time I went and got a scuba diving certification. And know that when you see me walk it is in itself nothing short of a miracle.

I was hit by a car once on foot when I was 8 years old then twice on my bicycle. The first cycling incident was during a bike tour in the Magdalen Islands off Canada's East Coast. I was staring at the sand dunes and how they covered a 7' fence. Somehow I found myself face to face with a car doing 70. Last thing I saw was a 3" Virgin Mary standing on the dash and a string of light blue pompons in the rear view window. And the look of fear and shock on the faces of the young couple staring right back at me. Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the gravel shoulder, my bike thrown over 50 feet away playing hide & seek behind the dunes.

Not a scratch, not a bruise just wicked charlie horses on both legs. But if you'd seen my bike! It's chilling.

Then 2 years later I was riding my bike to a job interview. It was rush hour. Cars were driving at a speed around 50 mph. A cop drives by me and waves. I guess he felt the need to let me know he agreed I was being safe... Then BOOM! I get hit from behind. It looked big and the first thing to go through my mind was "Not again!" and off I went flying over the truck who never even knew he hit me. I landed behind him and lucky me the car following saw me airborne and stopped a mere 3 feet before driving over me.

My memento from this one is a light scar on my knee. Basically unscathed.

I won't even go into the details from when a car literally fell ON me when I was working as a race car mechanic. That broke my finger. And my pride, because it was my own fault for putting myself in that stupid situation in the first place. But still, when a car falls on you, it hurts.

But see, the point is this - why is it that it's always the people who've had this kind of ordeals that go out and DO stuff? But those who sit on their couch all day have a list as long as Santa's shopping needs for excuses as to why THEY don't go out and exercise! Go out and do it. Stop the whining and the excuses.

Sorry. It's not my style to be sermon'y, but I had to get this one out. And the worse thing is I feel I'm preaching to the choir because if you're reading my blog, chances are you're into derby yourself...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lean On Me
I was a race car mechanic prior to moving out here. The entire time I was working on the car I was fully aware I had the driver's life in my hands. One bolt left unchecked could easily leave my guy sitting on a different pair of wheels... This outlook totally changed how I viewed teamwork.

And now? Roller derby is bringing a whole new perspective to what I thought I mastered. In derby you depend so much on your team. Constant communication is a must. It's not about yelling "She's comiiiiiiing!" but about sending a clear message "Jammer on the inside!"

And its about trusting your teammates. Trust when they tell you to slow down, speed up, go to the inside or the outside, etc. It's not like you have time to debate and second guess because by the time you come to say "Well, I thought we'd be better off if" and boom you got slammed by a she-truck or passed by a speedy jammer. Or worst, you let your jammer get slammed. And game over.

Imagine how bad you'd feel if that slam cost your jammer a major injury... Now you know how I felt as a race car mechanic!

This level of teamwork goes beyond Oprah's "You go girl" attitude. It's about knowing your team trusts you because you will not let them down. It's about knowing if your pivot tells you to move forward it's for a sound reason. And then it's tasting the glory of watching your jammer clear the pack because you know you did the right move.

Teamwork. It's much more than those silly black motivational posters. But you'll never really know what it is until somebody you barely know trusts you with their life...

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Separation? What?
After reading other derby blogs that talk about league separations, I felt secure and happy with my league. Never for a second have I doubted that maybe my new derby parents were talking about a looming divorce.

Recently I've answered 2 surveys from the league. One focused on league communication, and the other focused on the league's future and where we feel it should go. Among these directions, we answered questions about our preferences between banked or flat tracks.

The word "flat" in French translates to "plate" (pronounced just like flat, but with a p instead of a f). And, this word, "plate" is French-Canadian slang for boring.

Banked track derby is a thrill. It's faster. It's got angles and challenges a flat track just can't offer. BUT, am I too much of a rookie to express an opinion? What the hell do I know about derby? I mean really, up until February 18 when I joined the San Diego Derby Dolls what did I know about derby? Other than seeing parts of Whip It, and little segments inserted in movies from the 70s I knew jack-squat about the sport.

And now they've just announced two of our top notch athletes are starting a flat track league. *Sigh* Evidently when you want to go pro, as a league, you cannot do it with both professional associations, or something like that. Like I said, I'm a rookie. But, this also means that our "girls" who prefer flat tracks will follow.


And when they do that, we'll lose them to the new league... A new adventure begins with the San Diego roller derby community.

When my parents got divorced, I chose my dad and followed him. I'm choosing the excitement of the banked track, but beyond the track: I'm choosing the San Diego Derby Dolls. This is an organization I trust and know beyond words I would (blindly) follow anywhere...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Injuries = Trophies

My gang got to play for realz last night for the first time. We scrimmaged.

How cool is that?

As we split up into two teams, the coach tossed us the caps and I was handed the Pivot beanie. I accepted the challenge with an eager smile. "I get to yell and encourage my teammates? Sweet!" But I knew I was in trouble when the most experienced player, also wearing a Pivot cap told me "Watch out, you'll be the first person I'll want to take out!" Gulps. 

She wasn't shtting me. She took me out. Coming around at half a lap, the last thing I saw was a helmet coming for my face and BAM! Shocked, I noticed blood on my hands. Blood! As I kept skating to catch up with the pack I'm scooping up as much blood with my hands as I could. 

This is how I saw myself
Needless to say I was so friggin proud. And I immediately pictured this image in my mind. I was thrilled because to me, in my weird whacked out head this made me officially a derby chick. I get hit, hard enough to cut skin and I'm still in there skating and pushing myself.

Of course I was no where near this image. But I sensed her energy and her guts. I was her. I was the chick who's not afraid of pain. I was the chick who looks straight out and asks "Is that all you've got?" 

I was also the 5yr old playing with boys. "My Barbie can SO keep up with your GI Joe!" You know what I mean? Maybe I was too giddy to be the actual tough chick (heck, I was wearing a pink skirt à-la cheerleader style) so, maybe not that tough after all.

But we all survived our first scrimmage. We've discovered who's got top potential as future Jammers and Slammers. I don't know where I'll fit in yet, but who cares? I'm having the time of my life and will continue to show off my injuries.

They are my trophies. Trophies that say: 
  1. I ain't afraid of no wolf!
  2. I've got guts.
  3. No pain - no gain.
  4. Watch me go.
  5. Go ahead hit me. I'll keep skating!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Skills VS Endurance
The balance between working on skills and focusing on strength or endurance building is ... not easy to establish.

In the recent weeks, practices appeared to focus primarily on endurance building. I've been leaving the Dollhouse a tired, exhausted sweaty mess. But under this layer of icky salty smear was the glow of a satisfied skater. I felt energized from that mighty morphine of endorphin running through my blood. Nothing can replace a heavy workout!

I mean, really... who the hell needs drugs when you can skate your ass off until you drop. Or puke. Or whichever comes first... right? Am I right or am I right?

I'm right. But with this intensified focus on making us stronger skaters, we may have been neglecting our skill reviews.

  1. the ability, coming from one's knowledge, practice, aptitude,etc., to do something well: She could jump like a show horse and never stopped smiling 
  2. competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity: The skaters performed with skill.
  3. the review of skills requiring endless hours of standing in line waiting your turn to execute and determine your capacity to: stop, turn, jump, bump, balance on one foot, and other fun crafty stuff like that!
Can we do both? Endurance AND skills? Surely there is a way. Our coaches are focused on watching us work, and correcting us as we go. With new girls coming in every month, and constant drop-outs  remembering all our names is a skill (pun intended) not given to everybody.

Should there be a practice secretary on hand? Somebody shadowing the coaches each night to check off acquired skills? "Check her off on slamming!" to which the duty'ious little secretary quickly figures out the name and places a correct check mark as the practice focuses on improving our endurance and pack skating capabilities.

Food for thought.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Matter the Question: Derby is the Answer!

I must admit, I love seeing my derby friends progress and move forward.

Even if their progress is faster than mine. I love witnessing these girls improve. It's an inspiration. It truly is. Among my gang of boot-campers (which was HUGE) there are a few that are amazing. OK, so more than a few, but some really stand out. And last week, 2 girls were invited to stick around after practice to skate with the big girls...

Being invited to join league practice is a big deal. And the fact that some of the girls that started in February, like me, are already invited to step it up is wicked!

It's cool to feel sheer joy for them. We're all in this together, and I love feeling part of a team. Your success is my success, and mine is yours as well.

One night I stuck around after practice to video-tape a scrimmage. Waiting around until it was time to stand behind the camera, the recruiter was talking with 2 new girls from orientation. She asked me if I had any suggestions to give them. And we talked about how nice everybody is. And how cool all the girls were. My reply was: no room for catty girls here! They're staying at home so they can make other people miserable.

So that's that. If you're wondering what to do with your spare time and looking for a new social activity that will not only get your ass in shape but hook you up with amazing new friends: DERBY is the answer!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Q: Is roller derby all staged like wrestling?
A: NO! Roller derby is a real actual sport, just like basketball, hockey and football. Its fast-paced, it has contact, it requires skills and endurance. It's way too fast to fake (that's what she said), there is no way they could do that and stage the entire thing!

(It's incredible when you think about how often this question is asked. AND even more incredible then that is the look of disbelief in the person's eyes when you answer...)

Q: Why do they dress that way? Do they HAVE to look like strippers on wheels?
A: Well, that's all part of the fun... have you been out on Halloween in the recent years? PLUS, it's a derby tradition to wear funky socks and outfits. It's part of the culture. AND, the short skirts or shorts make it more comfortable to move and stretch in all directions. Its a highly active sport, we need to move and we can't do that in restrictive clothing. What we wear is like a second skin and does not limit motion. Plus every girl wants to be sexy...

(This is an aspect that makes it sometimes hard to sell roller derby as a real sport. Men want to watch bouts because it's exciting - in more ways than one. But the clothing is (in all honesty) a big part of derby. We love hitting local bars on Taco Tuesdays after practice and strut in there in our derby finest! It's a hoot!)


What questions have YOU been asked as a derby girl? AND how have YOU dealt with these particular questions? I'd love to know so I can improve my answers. As derby queens, we all bare the weight of being proper ambassadors to the sport.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Things That Go BUMP!

I may not be filled with air, but I kinda look like this dude when I'm skating!
Holy Toledo! As usual, last night we divided our group into 2. Level ones were to go to the banked track, whereas level 2s and 3s stayed on the flat track. As I picked up my water bottle and started heading towards the banked track Kiki (the coach) asked me where I was going. "Uh, banked with the other level one girls" ??? Duh, right?

"No MarrBulls, you're a level 2 now!" ??? "No I'm not, I'm still a one!" ??? "No! You're a 2" ??? "Since when?" ??? "Just stay here on the flat track, you're a level 2."

And that's how I found out I was once again to be thrown outside my comfort zone. But you know what they say: "To be a top skater, you need to skate among top skaters." that and "Pass the butter" but the second saying is irrelevant. Here that is. It's so relevant when you're eating BBQ corn on the cob.

Mmmmm... barbecue... corn... on... the... cob...

WHAT A NIGHT! We skated in a pace line, pretty close to the inside line and each had to make our way up the pace line as the other skaters tried to bump us outta zone. It was SO hard! We each got to do it twice. My second time around, thanks to my nano speed and cat-like reflexes I managed to avoid some of the hard hitters, and I even slammed before getting slammed so I could avert the hits.

This is where I take a little pause to apologize to those I may have hit with illegal body parts (i.e. elbows and possibly hands or even fists - oopsssie!). Yeah. I'm a flailer. My arms are still acting on their own will and I may or may not look like Phoebe from Friends when she went for a run in Grand Central Park with Rachel.

Oh yeah, and on my 2nd time around I pushed myself so hard I actually thought I was going to throw up. Honest to god I did. That was a first for me. And at the end of the night I was thrilled by my results. OK, so I'm not about to be seen in an actual bout but I totally dabbled with that comfort zone and moved beyond its limits.

Stoked is the key word here.

See you at the track!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Stoked!

I wrote an article for Yo, Roller Derby and this article was snagged and featured up front on The Roller-derby Daily!

I know what you're thinking: "Man, this chick sure gets excited over nothing!" But to me... To me? This is like as cool as being published. Writing is not my top craft. My style is spunky, ya sure but it certainly lacks finesse and tact. I'm aware of it, because it sure has hurt me in my more professional endeavors. Hee hee, some of the emails I sent out required some serious live talk time to cover up!

Oh well, its not my fault some people have no sense of humor!

Anyhow. I'm also totally stocked because this is good exposure for my league! Of course there's a link. And since it's MY league I want it to shine like the disco-ball'ish roller skate hanging above our track!

Have I mentioned I'm thrilled about this? And I owe it all to the Yo, Roller Derby queen herself - Robin!

Thanks Yo, you rule! Word.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hit That Pavement!

Thought roller derby could replace your work-out regime? Or that going to practice could count as working out?

Think again!

You want to be a derby girl? Then start building your endurance now! And the best way to do that is to go out and hit that pavement! You can start by running. You don't need to run a marathon, but just go outside and run. Go easy at first, like a mild jog around your block. But sooner or later you will have to increase your endurance and longer runs is the only way to build that.

OR, better yet: GO OUT AND SKATE! Skating on a nice smooth surface where you practice is one thing, but skating outside on uneven terrain (like going over those ba-bump lines on the sidewalk) with occasional inclines and wind will add to that oh je-ne-sais-quoi degree of difficulty the French judges love slamming athletes in the Olympics with!

And modify your pace, skate or run at 70% of your speed capacity for 5 minutes then insert a death defying 100% capacity sprint for 15-20 seconds where you're teasing that line of in-control-and-outta-control. Keep alternating between both paces until you are blue in the face!

Go home. Shower. Rest. And repeat.

Again and again. Think about the nice lean hard body you'll get! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Change of Pace

Last night's practice was handled by superstar Crushin Cuban.

The practice was amazing. Our group was at it's smallest in numbers: only 8 Level 1's showed up. This gave us an amazing opportunity to get one on one coaching tips from Cuban. And she upped the ante by pushing us in giving it our all. One by one we had to sprint around the track then had about 15 feet to stop before slamming into our peeps standing in a line across the track.

We had to do this over and over again. I'm loving the over and over learning strategy... And if she felt we weren't giving it our all she'd yell at us. It was amazing! I crossed the line between comfort zone and slightly out-of-control zone and even in the way-beyond-control-zone. Have I mentioned it was amazing?

Also, last night was orientation night at the Dollhouse. Once a month (the third Monday) the Dolls have an orientation night to initiate new recruits. This is the 2nd New Meat Night since I joined. Just like in the movies, military boot-campers stand and watch the new recruits running and smile thinking "Aaaah, welcome to my life and finally somebody new to replace me in the role of worst dude out there".

The March recruits disappointed me. These new girls were all instantly better than me. I was still on the bottom of the totem pole. I'm hoping April will bring in a new wave of freshness where I may start feeling better than average!

OK, so I'm joking. Totally. I'm a better person than that. I think. Maybe. No seriously, I really am just kidding as I'm sitting here sipping my morning latte madly typing away on my little laptop (I thought you needed visuals, you did didn't you?)

AND LASTLY... Monday is also the weekly night for scrimmage! I stuck around and volunteered to be the videoWOMAN and tape the entire bout. YAY me! It was such fun and excitement. I'm a tekkie geeky kinda person, and when there's buttons and technology involved I'm in heaven...

That's all for now... See y'a at the track peeps!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'm A Momfia Gangstah!

Read me over here today! Yup, just chillin with my Momfia gangstah peeps! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Derby Dolls Need Your Support

It's that time of the year again when the banked track roller derby teams from across the country come together to battle it out for the coveted "National Champions" title. The San Diego Derby Dolls are hungry to hang on to their back-to-back championship trophy and are gearing up to head out to Phoenix, AZ for the Battle on the Bank IV from June 10 to 12.

And they need your help! Since so much of what the team does for travel is out of pocket, they need your help to cover their costs.

They're not asking for much... a $2 contribution will keep a girl hydrated for a day! And I know a lot of sweating is involved in this sport! Imagine doing it in one of the hottest area in the country! Insane...

Click here for more info on the BATTLE ON THE BANK!

...and then click here to make a donation!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's All In Your Head!

Last night we focused on a specific skill: turn around toe stops. This video demonstrates exactly what I'm talking about, minus the mach 5 speed caused by cliff diving off the banked track.

Sounds easy?

We started at the upper point of the banked track, rolled straight down, dropped off the 2.5" ledge then had 10' to stop. On my first attempt I tried my most successful stop: T-stop. I was thrilled I didn't slam down on my butt with the cliff dive when I dropped off the track, but my stop only got me a little past the 10' line.

Not good enough. As I stoically skate back up the track at the end of the line I can't stop from shaking. I was frightened! And I had to do it again. And again. And again. Etc.

Noticing only 2-3 girls mastered the toe stop within the 10' limit, the coaches lowered their expectations. We skated to the other end of the track, lined up at the top, but this time we rolled down to the side of the track rather than directly down the steepest line. With this new approach our success rate now hit over 10 girls.

I cheated. Before dropping off the ledge I'd slow myself with a mild T-stop. And I got yelled at... Why am I so scared? These coaches see everything. Everything... Do you think they made it there by letting sly details slip by? No way!

Why did I cheat? I've got some un-rational fear of pain. Totally not rational. I'm not afraid of dying, I'm afraid of NOT dying after going through extreme pain. True story, word yo. So, now I need to work on my head to rid it of stupid fears so I can do a quick turn around then apply pressure on my toes.

p.s. Ever since I started stuffing my shorts with homemade butt pads, I haven't slammed down on my butt once, coincidence? I'm ready to make it a science project and see how long I go with the pads as some kind of placebo effect... Worth a try.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Velcro Is Part Of The Process
There are nights where, to be honest - you just don't feel like it. You're home, all comfy, enjoying a cold drink or thinking of grabbing one, wondering what you're going to cook for supper when it dawns on you: derby practice is in 45 minutes!

What are you going to do? Close the fridge, and change your clothes? Or proceed with a drink selection?

I say close the fridge. Go to practice. As hard as it may be, especially if you don't have a buddy honking the horn out your front door hustling you... Keeping up with your personal engagement is the hardest part. JUST DO IT! And even if you do get yourself changed in stripper derby clothes, get your ass out to your secret derby headquarters and make it in time - you may still sit there surrounded by the other dolls still wondering if you really want it!

Then you hear it. The scratchy ripping sound of the velcro straps. It's like music. It's almost hypnotizing, but in a good way. For me - this sound is an elixir and instantly puts me in the derby mood. Gets my inner gears running. I close my eyes and start picturing myself on the rink. And suddenly my body is screaming and howling. And I am finally ready to rip it up!

Friday, April 1, 2011

she is covered in tats and is a kick-ass coach

Let me tell you...

We have an amazing coach. I don't know what her day-job is, but I wish she could quit it and dedicate herself entirely to coaching. This is her calling. She's covered in tats, skates like she was born with wheels on her feet (oh her poor mom, that must have been sooooo painful - feet first wheels and trucks pushing out?) Is that visual stuck in your head now?

Yeah. Me too.

Her skater name is Kiki. She's a jammer. I watched her bring our league in the last bout from a 89-101 in points to a 100-101 in less than 3 minutes. She was amazing to watch. We still lost, but the audience will always remember her as the one who almost saved us...

Last night's practice had us split up into 3 groups. Kiki took our little group of middles, or intermediates rather. She worked us on the banked track until we all mastered every stop style: t-stop, snowplow and toe stop. There must have been some weird thing going on with the moon, we were all so tired on the verge of coming apart at the seams. But we hung in there. That's what derby girls do!

And I dare say there is definitely some bonding taking shape among us all. I guess it comes from yelling "Get back up and HUSSSSSSSSLLLLLLLLE!" with a red-blue face when we fall. (The screamer would be me)

p.s. I need bum padding.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's ALL About Attitude!
Like anything you do in life: it's all about the 'tude, man! As in A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E!

Be gutsy. Be daring. Be "all that you can be". Show you care, show you're trying, show you WANT it. A derby girl chose the sport for one very specific reason: she wanted to shine and have her peeps shine as well. The audience will gobble you up if you've got that killer attitude.

And your team will have faith in you knowing you're giving it your best, knowing you won't let them down. It's a TEAM sport. There's nothing worse than feeling like your team mate didn't put forth her best effort. To fail after trying so hard you puked up a lung is one thing, but to fail because you just gave up is a whole other ball game. Seeing a team mate do this will make you want to rip her eyes out.

I know I don't want my team ripping my eyes out so I give and I give and I yell, and I scream, and I do all I can to remember names so I can cheer them on when they're on the spot. And then I yell some more.

If I fail because I basically slammed down on my butt because I was a spaz, well - that sucks. But, it's not about the fall - it's about what comes after the fall. I scoot my ass back up and jump back in the game. And then I go home and cry on my husband's shoulders because I'm all bruised up! And then I get ready for the next practice and psych myself to do even better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I'm 45 and I Just Recently Started Roller Derby!
This blog is brand spankin' new! Cant'cha tell? I know, duh - I'm stating the obvious... what I'm hoping to do is relate all my boot camp stories here. ALL of them. Even when I'm failing miserably struggling to keep up with the younger chicks.

So far so good though. I've managed to get through my first month without breaking a bone. Knock on wood (or my head, its close enough). Hee hee, I referred to my head as wood. Get it? Do ya? If you don't then, obviously my type of humor just might not be your cup of tea...