March 20, 2012
So, I passed the Minimum Skills Requirement test last week. By the skin of my teeth, but that doesn’t matter, because the difference between a fail and even a barely-pass is the difference between having to continue training with Fresh Meat and being able to scrimmage with full contact. My subsequent performance on Sunday night, in my first ever full contact scrimmage, showed pretty clearly how much I need that full contact play if I’m going to get better from here.
So, about my first full contact scrimmage: it was a weird, off night where everyone had the jitters or couldn’t concentrate or just sort of collectively forgot the last six months, or something; the packs were all elbows, people were falling awkwardly and backwards and spread out all over the place, and there was an alarming number of injuries. Our pack control was nonexistent and at times it seemed like all we were doing was racing for no reason. Perhaps it was the effect of St. Patrick’s Day having been the night before, or upcoming bout jitters, or the moon, I don’t know. What I do know is that in amongst all of this I was essentially ineffective, unable to even hold the inside line (hold the inside line is what Fresh Meat are always instructed to do, right? because it’s relatively easy?), too unaware at times to know when it was my jammer tapping me from behind and not an opposing blocker (UGH), and pretty much completely not in control of my elbows. Even with my league mates having a bad night and playing below their usual level, I was massively outclassed.
I did manage to get past some skaters a couple of times, and to positionally block effectively a couple of times, and the one time I got goated I was lucky in that the opposing team fell down in their communications and the player who had me isolated at the back was abandoned by her teammates to try and keep me there herself, and I was eventually able to get around her. But all of that is just barely playing, and really I struggle just to keep up most of the time. I joke about changing my derby name to “The Goat” because as the slowest skater I’m destined to be made the goat A LOT in games (and, surprisingly, the name’s not taken!). I get the sense that my teamies consider this a defeatist attitude, but you’ve got to admit The Goat is a funny name. My dad used to have a cat called The Goat. < /tangent>
The things I need to work on, then, are mostly the most basic of things: awareness. Elbows. Counter-blocking. But also, since I’m going to be the goat a lot, I need to work towards getting really good at breaking down walls. I think I mostly understand the concept of how to break down walls well: arms up so as to avoid a penalty call; wedge a shoulder between the players and then wiggle your body in there, hitting with arse and shoulder until a space opens up; stepping through instead of skating, using toe-stops to gain an extra push instead of trying to glide through with the leading skate on the floor. But of course in practice I’m unable to do any of this. So purely for the purpose of breaking through walls, I need to work on getting more comfortable stepping around on toe-stops, practicing moving on my toes with quick stops and starts and changes in direction (and, damn it, get over the fear that moving around on toe stops is going to result in a broken ankle). And at the gym: balance board work; box jumping exercises; core strength. Same old, now with more of the same old.
Posted by jodi on March 20, 2012 at 8.36am
March 11, 2012
These don’t come often enough of late, in part because I’m bored with my workouts, and bored with writing them down here. I wrote a whole long boring blah blah blah about it but that’s all deleted now, and we’re all better off for it, believe me. So! Onward.
Last spring, my most important workout concern was strength training and building bone density, but now my workouts need to be tailored more towards training for roller derby. The most important change is this: no more distance running. It’s not the right kind of conditioning for short, two minute bursts of intense work in a jam. From now on if I run at all it will be intervals. The routine I do on the stationary bike, a random hill programme at a relatively high intensity, is good and I will continue with that. On days when there isn’t time for my full cardio warm-up on the bike, I will row 1000 metres (which takes about six minutes, and in which I sprint all-out for 100 metres, rest for 100 metres, repeat) or do two minutes on the ladder machine (which gets your heart rate up very high very FAST and two minutes is about all I can take at one go and bonus! that’s the length of a jam!).
As for weights, I’ll still do my kettlebells routine at least once every two weeks, and once a week if I can fit it in, because it’s fun. Pushups will continue as well, along with more core work so that I’ll have the power to deliver a killer sternum blow to a lady when I need to. Dedicated upper body weight training will mostly go on hold for now and be something that gets thrown in for fun when there’s extra time. Generally when I’m feeling uninspired to come up with a workout I’ll just do the circuit of 6 weight machines, which provides enough arms and shoulders work that I won’t lose ground.
Lower body work is where things will be switching up, and the focus will now be on plyometrics and balance work, developing those fast twitch muscles in tandem with the interval training. So, lots of jumping on and off of boxes, jumping side to side, quick ladder work, squat jumps (yeah!). And a squatting sideways crossover walk back and forth across the gym, to hopefully force that backwards crossover, left over right, to feel natural. As for balance, our gym has a very wobbly wobble board and a not wobbly enough wobble board, so for now I’ll be working on just maintaining balance, and a slow controlled side-to-side motion, on the very wobbly board (it’s so hard, you guys!), and high reps of weighted squats on the not wobbly enough board. These exercises all carry a pretty big bang for your buck so the sessions can be shorter, making it easier to find time for working out every morning. All will help with the quick stop-and-start of derby, with reaction time on the track, speed in getting from one side of the track to the other, confident footwork both in blocking and in breaking down walls, agility in moving around on toe stops. All good things!
In skating practice we’ve been doing a drill lately where we alternate core work (burpees, planks, situps) with track skating (skating backwards, skating clockwise, skating sideways or coasting on one foot in the corners) in two minute bursts, which is nice in how it spreads the burn from quads to abs and back again, but also because I can count that as a partial core workout in planning out my morning routines. We’ve also been doing an exercise where small groups of skaters come up with drills to lead the group in, which results in more standing around than I’d like but the drills end up being a bit more varied. During available moments of free skating I’ve been working on my crossovers, focusing on getting that push with the left leg and trying to find that sweet spot in the lean where both legs are doing the same amount of work. It feels like I’m getting that, more than ever before, although I have no idea what my form looks like at the moment. If it’s shite I’m sure someone will tell me. Tonight I tried crossovers in the opposite direction (skating clockwise) for the first time; it’s terrifying, and the urge to put the right skate’s toe stop down while crossing the left leg over is strong. That’s not something I ever did when first learning regular crossovers.
Skills testing again this Thursday. I feel like I’ve improved quite a bit since last time, when I only failed the test by 1.2% (you guys I went around for a week with a giant thought bubble over my head alternately flashing the word EXCRUCIATING and the number 1.2% in glitter block caps, for real). Obviously the bare minimum is not a goal to strive for, but when that bare minimum, a minimum 1.2% improvement, is the only thing standing between where I am now and finally being able to train with FULL CONTACT, just for this week I will be happy making the bare minimum. Next chance after this isn’t until June.
Posted by jodi on March 11, 2012 at 11.02pm
January 28, 2012
Monday January 16 20 minutes on the bike, random hill programme, level 14.
Wednesday January 18 Warm up: 12 minute run
Once around the weight machines circuit:
12 x leg extension, 70lb
13 x leg curl, 70lb
12 x lateral pull down, 130lb
12 x chest fly, 70lb
13 x chest press, 70lb
12 x shoulder press, 40lb
Cool-down, 5 minute treadmill walk
Friday January 20 1000m on the rowing machine (sets of 100 sprint, 100 rest) and a 12 minute run.
Sunday January 22 3 hours roller derby practice. After I did the 25-in-5 (22 laps, new personal best!), while timing laps for another skater I stood in a deep squat for two out of every three of her laps (standing for the first lap then squatting for two) just to sap out whatever strength I had left in my legs.
Tuesday January 24 2.5 hours roller derby practice. It was an open skate night, so no drills or training; at the end I got in a good 20 minutes of sprinting around the track practicing my still-very-clumsy crossovers.
Wednesday January 25 Warm up: 15 minutes on the bike, random hill programme level 14
Once around the circuit (this is how you can tell when I’m having a lazy couple of weeks, the circuit is the workout that doesn’t require any planning or thinking):
12 x leg extension, 70lb
13 x leg curl, 70lb
12 x lateral pull down, 130lb
12 x chest fly, 80lb
10 x inverted fly, 60lb
12 x chest press, 80lb
12 x shoulder press, 40lb
Cool-down: 10 minute treadmill walk.
Thursday January 26 20 minutes on the bike, random hill programme level 10 (taking it easy so as not to get tired out on skills testing day).
Thursday evening, derby minimum skills testing. I felt pretty good and had fun (23 in 5, new personal best!) but of course still failed, again, this time by a frustrating 1.8%. For serious, you guys.
Posted by jodi on January 28, 2012 at 9.53pm
January 15, 2012
A series of injuries and minor illnesses and a couple of out of town trips plus moving my studio out of the house sidelined my workouts in a major way last fall, and I’ve lost a bit of ground. So I’m lowering my weights a bit in places, picking up and carrying on. These updates will happen every two weeks now instead of once a week.
Monday January 2
Warm up: 20 minutes on the treadmill, 12 running (I was at 25 minutes of continuous running when I hurt my shoulder, and now it’s hard for me to do more than 10 at a time, so this will go up incrementally but I am not in any hurry).
Kettlebells routine, twice through the following (on these no weights were changed from last time):
25 swings x 30lb
12 each 1-armed squat press x 8kg
15 each dead lift x 20kg
15 each sumo squat x 16kg
15 each Gaspari’s crunch x 30lb
15 upright row with squat x 16kg
12 overhead extension x 12kg
16 seated abdominal twist x 8kg (not lifting much weight here because it’s hard enough to balance on a still-injured-a-year-later tailbone)
12 each bentover row x 30lb
with interstitial cardio after each two exercises, rotating between 15 jumping jacks (4 times), 30 bicycle crunches (2 times) and 50 jump rope (2 times); ending with a 60 second plank.
Cool-down: 10 minutes brisk treadmill walk.
Tuesday January 3
Warm up: 1000m on the rowing machine (100 sprint, 100 rest)
Push ups (yes, I’m going back to the push up programme, starting again way back in week two and only doing it once or twice a week, DON’T WORRY I am not going to end up in physiotherapy again). 5 sets, as per week 2 of the programme, with 60s rest between: 9, 11, 8, 8, 13 (minimum 11 for the last set) for a total of 49.
Cool-down: Jump rope x 100, 10 minutes on the treadmill (5 running).
Wednesday January 4
Warm up: 15 minutes on the bike, random hill programme, level 14
Free weights grab bag (this is where I started lowering some weights from what I was lifting before my shoulder injury), 3 times through the following:
10 wide front pull downs x 120lb (down from 130)
10 each leg split squats (instead of lunges because split squats are HARDER) (so much harder) x two 15lb dumbbells (down from 2 x 20)
12 barbell rows x 60lb (no change)
15 squats x two 15lb dumbbells (down from 2 x 20)
10 hammer curls x 15lbs (x2) (no change)
10 military press x 15lbs (x2) (no change)
Ending with a 60 second plank. Cool-down: 10 minutes treadmill walk.
Thursday: day off, massage day!
Friday January 6
Warm up: 15 minutes bike, random hill programme, level 14
Weightless “A” routine, 3 x through the following:
30 bicycle crunches
20 lateral box jumps
10 each leg side lunges
10 each leg split squats
Ending with 60 second plank. Cool-down: 5 minutes treadmill walk.
Tuesday January 10
2.5 hours derby skating practice. As it was the first practice back after a two week break and I had some lingering leg pain (there is this ongoing hamstring thing I’m trying to sort out. . . ) I took advantage of the open skating format and mostly just skated around in circles. Worked on crossovers and speed for the last half hour or so.
Wednesday January 11
Warm up: 10 minute treadmill run.
Once around the weight machines circuit:
12 leg extensions x 60lbs (down from 70)
12 leg curls x 60lbs (down from 70)
12 lateral pull downs x 130lbs (down from 135)
12 chest fly x 70lbs (down from 80)
12 chest press x 70lbs (down from 80)
12 shoulder press x 35lbs (down from 40)
Oddly, when I got to the circuit there was nobody using it and each machine except for the shoulder press (where I don’t lift much anyway due to the whole recurring injury thing) was already set at exactly the weight I USED TO lift, so that I had to look at that and then move it down. I said to Peter that there must be some literary device to describe this phenomenon but that I couldn’t think of what it would be called, maybe something with the word fallacy in it? and he said, “um, coincidence?”. Yes, so helpful.
No cool-down because I’m reckless like that.
Thursday January 12
30 minutes on the bike, random hill programme, level 14.
Posted by jodi on January 15, 2012 at 6.59pm
November 6, 2011
We haven’t had one of these in a while.
Quite frankly, it’s because there’s been a complete slackitude in the workout department around here. I’ve come to the realization that I was working myself too hard last spring (as evidenced by the shoulder injury that put me in physiotherapy for the summer and pretty much sidelined not only the weight training but also the running, right when I was about to triumphantly complete the final week of Couch to 5K). While working out very hard every day felt good (INCREDIBLY good), I think it had a lot to do with frustrations about working from home and some crippling motivational blockage in the studio. Fast forward to the end of summer after physiotherapy, vacation, a couple of summer colds and moving into a new (NOT IN MY HOUSE) studio, and there are self imposed office hours to keep, which pretty much kill the leisurely work-out-all-morning-then-dawdle-in-the-shower lifestyle.
BUT! Have I ever told you about our (Peter’s, actually, but it’s hard not to go along when you sleep in the same bed) brilliant method of adjusting to the entry and exit of Daylight Savings Time? It’s simple: get up at 6:45 and go to bed at 11:00 from March to October. From November to February, get up at 5:45 and go to bed at 10:00. Get it? IT’S THE SAME TIME. Your schedule adjusts so your body doesn’t have to, so you skip the groggy days of time-lag that accompany the change. Anyway, the point is that the alarm goes off at 5:45 now, which allows ample time for a morning workout without sacrificing any coffee-drinking or internet time, all before office hours start at 11:00. There is even still time to dawdle in the shower, if I want.
So! After months of scattered workouts, the new schedule is going to look something like this: cardio and some kind of weight training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Tuesday and Thursday mornings will be rest days or light cardio at most, because Tuesday and Thursday evenings are 3 hour derby practices. Saturday and Sunday are optional but on weekends when we’re in town Peter and I will probably do our full kettlebells workout together. I’m also thinking of starting the 100 Push Ups programme again (SAFELY, and slowly! Please don’t send me a bunch of concerned messages, I KNOW and I have strategies for not busting my shoulder again, I promise) as well as working my way back up to running for 30 minutes (right now I’m running for more like 10 minutes; I could do 15 but laziness always intervenes at the 10 mark).
Since I’m the only person looking at them anyway, I’ll probably aim for posting workout updates every two weeks from now on instead of weekly. That will give me more time to jack around on the internet between workouts.
Posted by jodi on November 6, 2011 at 7.00am
August 28, 2011
Getting back into the routine of working out post-vacation has been slow, complicated by the fact that I’m now in my new office at 11 each day and can’t take all the time I want at the gym in the mornings anymore. I’ve realized as well that I was working myself too hard in the spring, as evidenced by the shoulder injury I gave myself. So the new plan is to visit the gym three or four days per week, with no workouts on Wednesdays or Sundays as those are derby practice days, which we begin and end with off-skates cardio and strength training.
The first week back from Pennsic was a bit of a write off as I caught another summer cold, one that ended with my re-injuring my problem shoulder in an epic 90-second sneezing fit (idiotic but true). I did attend skating practice on August 14 and 17, with one cardio session on the bike at the gym in between there somewhere.
Here are the workouts for my first week of being a person who has to be somewhere in the mornings:
Monday August 22: 25 minutes on the treadmill, 11 of it running (this is the day after I hurt my shoulder sneezing) (man I feel stupid even saying that)
Tuesday August 23: 20 minutes on the bike, random hill profile, level 14 (up one!)
Wednesday August 24: 2.5 hours skating practice. Warm up and cool-down were a combination of burpees, planks, lunges, squats. The skating drills were sticky skating tight turns (something you’ll be unsurprised to learn I’m pretty much shit at), and an exercise in endurance and maintaining a pack in which all the skaters (probably 25 or 30) had to stay in a tight pack and do 25+ laps going as fast as the top speed of the slowest skater. WHICH IS ME, of course, and so the upshot for me was that I did that drill balls out as fast as I could the whole time (while everyone else was all, ugh, this is SO SLOW).
Thursday August 25: instead of the gym I put on my outdoor wheels and skated in the school playground for an hour. Half of that was just skating hard in circles, half was creeping up and down a narrow strip of shade practicing t-stops.
Friday August 26: 20 minutes on the bike, random hill profile, level 14.
Posted by jodi on August 28, 2011 at 6.40am
August 23, 2011
The important part: I accomplished my goal of running around the lake. Had I not been sick for two weeks before vacation, I’m certain I would have been able to run around the lake more than once at a time, but given the illness, the fact that I totally slacked off with my running training after my shoulder injury and the hills around that lake (training on a treadmill only has its drawbacks), I’m satisfied with that. Next year I’ll aim for twice around the lake, assuming my current level of fitness, and if my fitness level goes up or I can get back on track with regular running, I’ll hit that lake three times.
The annoying part: we forgot to put our dumbbell weights in the trailer, so all of the upper body workouts I was going to do at camp were impossible.
The lazy part: in lieu of upper body weight stuff we planned to do lots of body weight cardio stuff instead, in addition to yoga and running around the lake. We only managed that once, on the first Tuesday: a run around the lake followed by Marco’s cool-down (12 squats, 12 lunges, 10 burpees which in Marco’s cooldown are supposed to be stride jumps but we got confused, and 10 squat jumps, then repeat it all once more) followed by a walk around the block. The rest of the days I pretty much just alternated the lake run with the yoga, doing both together two times, maybe three.
The awesome part: slipping in a bit of skate practice at Pennsic XL Skateup.
Posted by jodi on August 23, 2011 at 10.25am
July 28, 2011
Last night at derby practice I had my first real ugly collision, when another skater went down in front of me with her skates out in my direction and I was unable to stop and ended up falling skates-and-arse first into her legs and possibly also stepping on her (sorry Bloody!). I also sustained my first, very small derby bruise in this fall. I know the bruises are supposed to be some kind of badge of honour so I’m showing it to y’all, but really it’s not much, and I sustained a better bruise than this last week when I slammed my knee on the bathroom vanity while lifting my leg to get my Fleur Cup out. Ah, it’s a good day when I can slip in a reference to my crotch in a non-crotch-related conversation! YESSSSSSSS.
Later on during scrimmaging practice I had an even bigger, more exciting first, and while it’s doubtful anyone else even saw it I’m pleased and proud nonetheless. I’m pretty useless in a scrimmage at this point and haven’t gotten myself past spending all of my energy trying to keep up with the pack and not hurt other people (I’m probably more of a handicap than anything else to my team right now, but I need the practice too, so, whatever). The pack was coming out of the straighaway at a pretty good clip and Bloody Cupcake, the same skater I collided with earlier, went down in front of me on elbows and knees, and without thinking I lifted my skate HIGH while turning left into the corner and my foot sailed right over her back and safely back down and I did not kick anybody OR fall over. It’s one thing to practice stuff like that (although I’ve never lifted my foot that high during one-foot-gliding practice) and another to have the instinct to avoid slamming into someone so perfectly. It felt good. I kind of wish someone had seen it, though.
Posted by jodi on July 28, 2011 at 10.38am
July 27, 2011
It’s probably painfully obvious, when looking through what music is on my mp3 player, that I will be turning 40 in a few months’ time.
Also there was Me Mom & Morgentaler’s No More Nervous Breakdown, which I can’t find a video for.
Posted by jodi on July 27, 2011 at 11.43am
July 18, 2011
Monday to Wednesday I didn’t work out; I was overdue for my vitamin B12 injection (for pernicious anemia), feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and the universe seemed to be conspiring against my making it to the doctor’s office to get the shot. Which I managed, finally, a few hours before Wednesday skating practice. By the weekend, last week’s mysterious sore throat became full blown illness, making for a short workout week.
Wednesday July 13
3 hours of skating practice. Which was alternately frustrating and exhilarating, as usual. I know I’m getting better but I’m not getting better ENOUGH, or fast enough. By the end of the night I was getting the hang of skating backwards, though, which of course is not something I really need so much right now. Being able to stop, now that would be a skill worth having.
Thursday July 14
20 minutes on the bike, random hill programme, level 13. I tried to go up a level but didn’t last three minutes. Turns out I was coming down with a cold. . .
Friday July 15
Warm up: a 12 minute run on the treadmill
Once around the circuit of weight machines:
-leg extension, 80lb, 12 reps
-leg press, 80lb, 12 reps
-lateral pull down, 135lb, 12 reps
-chest fly, 80lb, 12 reps
-chest press, 80lb, 12 reps
-shoulder press, 40lb, 12 reps
Cool-down: 10 minutes walk on the treadmill.
Posted by jodi on July 18, 2011 at 8.44am