Rat City Roller Girls Bootcamp

Skates on the floorIf you had told my twenty-year-old self that I would one day enthusiastically sign up for eight hours of hard workout spread over two days, she would have looked at you as if you were crazy and gone back to making chain mail, eating pizza, and watching TV.

I acknowledge the irony of after a sedentary life, suddenly finding fitness in my forties. (Sometimes I make little offerings of ibuprofen to the gods of irony and aching muscles.) But there it is.  The more I exercise, the better I feel, and I’ve finally found a team sport that I enjoy.  So I’m not young, what can I do about that?  Sit on the sidelines and sigh?  No, it seems a better route to get out there and do what I can for as long as I can.

Being older in some ways is rather freeing. I don’t have to worry about saving up my body for my later years. It also adds a bit of urgency, “Do this now! While you still can!”  Which really, applies to all of life when you think about it.

But back to the bootcamp.  It was hard, it was terrifying, it was hella fun. We skated and did things like skated laps with all our weight on one leg (until it felt like it would fall off) and then skated laps with all our weight on the other leg (until it felt like it would fall off.)  It sounds masochistic, but afterwards, my cross-overs were stronger and I understood better how to push fast around corners.

We did scrimmage drills, and blocking drills, and start-after-start. I’m a bit scared of starts, where you run on your toe-stops for a while, because the first time I tried one, my feet flew out from under me and I landed on the back of my head—hard.  But doing something hard over and over again makes it less scary (another of those lessons that apply elsewhere in life.) I learned that my toe stops were too high, I was supposed to be running on the balls of my feet in starts, not on-pointe, like a ballerina.  I also, on the advice of one of the coaches, went out and bought much bigger toe stops, the size of a snuff can instead of a quarter.  I’m feeling much sturdier on my starts now.

We got to slam into pads—hard, and that was fun, too.  (Though two days later my ribs and neck complained.)

As always occurs at these things, I was working too hard and having too much fun to stop and take pictures when everyone was on the track, but here are a couple of shots to give you the flavor of the place.

For the first time in my life, I might be starting to consider myself an athlete. It’s odd the twists life takes.

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