Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rebuilding Muscle and Confidence

It had been a month since I last had on skates, but yesterday after work I put them back on and went for a skate at the Lake. I had vague memories about how good I felt after skating, but I couldn’t quite remember the details of how I felt clearly. It’s weird how you can remember everything about the bad – like the pain I experienced after each shoulder injury – but you can’t quite remember anything about the good – like the endorphins you get from pushing yourself when you exercise.

It was a beautiful late summer evening. The high here in Baltimore has been the low-to-mid 80s the past couple days, which is cooler than normal, but I’m so not complaining. The great weather is what encouraged me to get out there in the first place.

It’s weird. I feel guilty skating outside at the Lake if I know our league has practice that night, and this guilt has kept me from going to skate at the Lake in the past (even if I’m injured). Last night was our scrimmage practice, and it was a no brainer that I couldn’t make it to that, yet I still felt guilty about thinking about skating at the Lake. Thank buddah I said “fuck it” and went anyway.

I skated 6 miles. I only know that because I know the Lake is 1.3 miles around. It makes me wonder how many miles I typically skate at an endurance practice. Shit, it’s got to be more like 30-50 at those practices – the floor we skate on is wood, not pavement, so you go faster, and my 6 miles on pavement and with gummy outdoor wheels only took me about 40 minutes. I wish there was such a thing as a skate pedometer…

I pushed myself to do certain things for certain periods of time while skating around the Lake. For instance, when I got to the shaded area, I made myself get really low and sprint without letting my skate wheels leave the ground. I could tell I hadn’t skated for a month, because my hips and a portion of my calf muscles were burning. Still, it was a good burn. It made me go harder and faster all the way up until me predetermined point of stopping.

When I was done, I sat on my rear bumper and took off my gear. I was sweaty, but it was great. There was a cool breeze blowing, and everything sort of slowed down as I saw the other people at the Lake walking by or riding their bikes. I stopped for half a second to watch the breeze move the trees in the distance and feel it against my stinky, sweaty head. “I’m glad I did this,” I thought. “I needed this.” I think part of my elevated stress level is due to my not having skated for so long. I need skating. I need it for many reasons.

Once I had cooled down and packed up, I stood up and stretched. As I did, I glanced down and saw my thigh muscles bulging out of my legs. I’ve been super self conscious about having lost some muscle since, well, May when the first shoulder injury occurred, and I was shocked to see that I still had muscle definition in my thighs. On the way to the Lake, all I could see under my stretch pants were the ripples of cellulite that have appeared since my muscle tone has decreased, but on the way back home all I could see was muscle.

I may have to take a break from contact and scrimmaging for the remainder of the season, but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. There are a lot of unknowns out there, like “What if I hold off until January but when I go back I still get reinjured?” and “What if I don’t get to play Pivot because my spot has been filled?” I’ve been thinking about the unknowns a lot, and my fearing their answers has kind of paralyzed me. For now, I have to ignore them, put them out of my mind, and deal with them later – when I am ready to return full force.

As for this weekend’s bout, I was going to go set up and then leave. I’m having a hard time being around skating and not being able to skate. It’s horribly depressing. Then I got a text from Dirty Marty inviting me to announce with him. I didn’t respond at first, but I eventually accepted. I can only pout long enough. It’s time to end that and move on to the rebuilding phase. As hard as it is, I know I need to keep moving forward and not look back. I know I said this year was my year, but maybe I was wrong. I suppose next year could be my year. Now I just need to make it happen.


Tami said...

Never give up on your dreams no matter the obstacle! You were meant to be involved in derby and everyone that knows you knows that. There is no derby job too big or too small. Yep, maybe next year will be your year to shine so live in the moment!

I once saw a report of a 85 yr old woman that coaches boxing and she is even wheelchair bound. Her & her husband volunteered teaching and when her husband died she took over. She loves it and the students love her. She knows her stuff!

I know in your derby world they will always have a place for you!

Flux Incapacitator said...

Yeah, this was supposed to be my year too. Being sidelined sucks ass, but I think it only makes you stronger mentally. Patience, determination, downright scary willpower--these are the attributes of the sidelined rollergirl. And they're also traits of a good active player! You'll be back and knocking us on our asses in no time.

Also, I'm psyched you're not bailing out of this bout. You'll finally get to see me skate with the B team girls! :)