And if you know your Jethro Tull–and I can hear some of you going “Who?” right now–you know the first part of this title is Skating Away, and that should be all the hint you need for where this post is going.
Last night was not only the only practice of the week, but it was my first chance to try out my new gear. All this new shinny gear that doesn’t smell and isn’t faintly moist with the sweat of a dozen or so people before me.
Now, I didn’t have everything I wanted: the elbow pads I wanted did not come yesterday so I have to pick them up Saturday, which meant using the fresh meat gear in the back. But everything else was mine, mine, mine… yeah, I was a bit excited to get out on the rink.
And about a minute after I hit the floor I was feeling like I wanted to get of.
Let’s be real for a moment: when you imagine yourself skating about in your own gear you see all the best. You got speed, you got your crossovers and transitions and toe stops down, and you can backward skate like a demon.
That’s the fiction: here’s the reality. You kinda suck at first. You’re all over the place–or I was–and I felt like I was back on skates for the first time in a long time, just as I did when I first came out for the team in May. I was told it would take about a week to get everything broke in, and I can believe that.
What’s so different? For one, you feel like you’re setting back a little on these new skates. That’s because the heel isn’t as pronounced as on rentals, so it feels a little off-putting at first. Then there’s the front wheels: they’re loose. Being loose helps you do those quick turns and weaves that you need in derby.
Only mine were too loose. And since my left ankle isn’t real strong yet, my left skate kept wanting to turn to the right and left all the time. Like when I was trying to skate straight. Or when I was going into the corner and it decided to go right instead of left. Or when I was doing a lot of things that involved moving. I gave my wheels a bit of tightening, but I fear I’ll need to tighten them up a little more tonight so I can get used to them faster. And once I reach that point I can loosen them little by little until they are where I need them to be.
The trade-off, however, was I could turn tight and fast, and I could weave with little difficulty, and transitioning and laying down a toe stop was a breeze. I even did my first decent plow and T-stop last night.
But the thing I noticed most is they are fast.
There is so much less friction now that you can roll long without having to put a lot of energy into your pushes. Which is why when we were doing weaves I had to keep plowing to slow up when I was at the front of the line: I’m used to pushing a certain way and that gets me going quicker than before. Learning to slow my roll is gonna take as much work as going fast.
In the end I made it through practice–
–and I was smiling for most of the way home. Of course my shoulders were screaming by the time I reached my apartment–I had one good fall and that goes right up the arms into the shoulder joints–but ice packs and ibuprofen were made to help with that pain, so don’t deny your body that luxury.
Going to try a new restaurant tonight, then a few more days of rest before getting back into it on Monday and Tuesday.
Maybe by the end of the month I’ll be able to work on going faster…