Tuesday, March 24, 2015

80lb Maintenance: Year THREE!!

Originally posted 12/16/14

You read that right! 
Three years of maintaining (and every so gradually building upon) my 80lb weight loss and lifestyle change!!! 

It's hard to believe that my dedicated readers from years past are still around, but some of you probably are. I once again feel like I should post an update for y'all, and for any new followers who may have stumbled across this. 


Since posting last September I have: 
Broken my foot. 
Had a bad concussion. 
Sprained my knee. 
Pinched a nerve in my neck, leaving me bed-ridden for nearly 3 months. 
Lost some close friends. 
Been singled out for severe bullying in my first roller derby league. 
Dated a baking enthusiast with a love for bacon grease for several months. 
Went through a very emotional break up with said enthusiast. 
Went on a lot of weird dates with a lot of awkward men, nearly convincing me that spinsterdom and 14 cats might be right up my alley. 
Moved back to my very favorite place, but away from ALL of my friends. 
Gained some new friends. 
Started work at my dream job. 
Transferred to a new, higher-level derby league. 
STAYED WITHIN THE SAME 10LB WINDOW FOR ALL OF IT, until recently, when I very unexpectedly started losing more weight. 

That's right, make ups, break ups, bacon grease, injuries that left me nearly incapable of moving, brain damage... A lot has happened, and NONE of it had a major effect on my weight. 

How can this be possible for the girl who just a few short years ago would have used any one of these as a perfectly acceptable excuse to eat all of the things and gain all of the weight, let alone all of them in just over a year? 
You've got to be tired of hearing it, but, LIFESTYLE CHANGE!! 

Although, personally, I think it's more than that. 
Really, it's a HEAD change. 
I had to make a dedicated effort to learn to like and then to love myself. 
Being fat was just one of many easy outs for me. It was a focus. It was a crutch. It was a weird combination of obsessions. It was a drug. 

"I'll feel so much better about myself when I'm 20lb thinner." 
"I'll feel beautiful when I can fit into that size negative 47 dress." 
"People would like me more if I were thin and pretty." 

NONE of that is really true, if you reallllllly think about it. 

Do I feel better about myself thinner? Of COURSE, but not BECAUSE I am thinner. It's the opposite; I am thinner because I feel better about myself. 

I don't give a rat's arse about what number or letter is on the tags in my clothes, and believe me, they're ALL OVER THE MAP. I have XS clothes and size 18clothes that fit me exactly the same. 

Women's clothing sizes are basically arbitrary numbers and letters thrown onto things made to itch you near your ladybusiness during long commutes and important meetings, and have no place in your life. 

All of that stuff: what was I going to eat or not eat, how many calories did I have left for the day, how many times do I need to work out this week, what size should my goal size be, all of that fantasizing about how life and myself would be different when I was thinner, ALL OF IT was a distraction. An OBSESSION. Whether I was gaining weight or losing it, I was obsessing. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my self-loathing. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my lack of social interaction. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my fear of trying things. 
It was an easy thing to blame for feelings of insignificance. 
It was an easy thing to blame for those times I just felt awkward, or sad, or lonely. 
It was an easy thing to blame. 

So, what's my big secret? My new gems of advice? 
It's still the same, and unfortunately it doesn't have a magic pill, suggested meal plan, workout schedule, or some super mathematical calories in and self-esteem out ratio for you to follow. 

Do what makes you feel good about yourself. 
Think at least twice before doing the things that don't. 
Remember the difference between having an excuse and making one. 
Learn from the results. 


In spite of injuries, bullying, new love, heartbreak, moving, intense work schedules, and losing almost all of my free time, I am still a derby girl. 
I have more friends that call me "Mangle" than by my 'real' name. 
This, to me, is almost a more significant struggle than my weight loss. 
It's kind of the ultimate proof of my lifestyle change. 
I love derby, but it is not an easy thing for me. I am, by nature, more of a 'brain' than a 'jock'. Even more significant, I am one of those annoying people to whom most things come very easily. So, when I come across something that is difficult for me, I usually just don't do it, or quit. 
With every major injury, people around me were astonished. 
"Doesn't this prove that you're just too old for that?" 
"Aren't you worried about getting hurt again?" 
"Do you really have time for all of that with your career goals right now?" 
"You do realize you'll never have time to find a boyfriend, right?" 

I can't explain why, but even as close friends were hanging up their skates to be able to pay attention to similar events in their lives, quitting was never an option for me. 

From November of 2013 to November of 2014, I was either hurt, or recovering from my last injury. AN ENTIRE YEAR of having to 'come back'. Over. And Over. And OVER again. Most of that while at a league where I was very aggressively bullied by a few girls in positions of power. An entire year of either being purposefully excluded, having to miss practice for work or injury, or hang with the newbies where I could regain my strength and agility. It was grueling physically, emotionally, spiritually, heck, even financially! 
But there I was, every practice I could attend. Whether I wanted to cry because I could barely make it around the track 5 times without getting out of breath, or dance with joy because I regained feeling in my left foot after several months of numbness, I was there. 

Last month, it all paid off. I bouted again for the first time in a whole year at a fun Thanksgiving themed tournament. It being a tournament, I skated mostly with girls I'd never met, and was coached by a coach who had never seen me skate. Within a few jams, I was in the "power wall", meaning I was one of the best blockers on my team and got tons of extra skate time. More than anyone else on my whole team!! I had never felt so good out on the track, ever. Being recognized by a coach that way after being told I was so awful by those bullies for so many months was one of the most vindicating experiences of my whole life. 
One of the photographers even snapped my very favorite roller derby picture of me (so far)!! 
(I'm in the green, and that skill took me a very very long time to learn!) 

This weekend past, I realized in the funniest of ways that I'm in the best shape of my life. 
I danced the whole night away with one of my best friends. 
Sure, I've done that lots of times, but I really MEAN it this time. 
We weren't just dancing, the two of us OWNED that dance floor. Our moves were as big and silly as our smiles. People would come out to join us for a song or two, and then leave. Finally one of the guys asked me if we were on drugs, and when I laughed and said no, he asked how we could POSSIBLY dance that hard for 4 straight hours then. 
My answer? 
"We're athletes!" 

I didn't even think about it; it just came out so naturally. 
"We're athletes" 
As in me, girl who couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded, confidently self-identifying as an athlete, and receiving an interested but un-astonished response. 
That was a thing. 

And then the next morning I got to TAKE OUT the girl who was most responsible for bullying me before my transfer on the track. It might be a little petty to body-check someone 10x harder than you need to, but damn did it feel good. 
She can consider herself Mangled. 

I still drink too much beer. 
I still eat pizza and candy and burritos with tortillas. 
I do not avoid any food or foods as "bad" 
I don't have a gym membership, or the time or money for them. 
I almost never "workout", unless my body is just begging me to. 
I definitely don't sleep enough. 
I haven't looked at a nutrition fact other than to check ingredients in over a year. 
I stepped on the scale for the first time in 6 months this morning, and even super bloated for my period, have somehow managed to drop 5lb below my previous low, pushing me across the 80lb loss threshold, which somehow has so much nicer of a ring to it than 75... 

Lifestyle CHANGED. 
Life is still good, AMAZING in fact. 
No news is still good news. 

I promise you I'm not anyone special, or, not any more special than anyone else.
If I can change, if ANYONE can change themselves for the good, you can. 
You are the one and only thing that's really in your way. 

If you want to see a before and after, there's already one on the maintenance update I posted last year. It feels silly and vain to post it in two blogs in a row! 

Be well. 

Now I Smash My Friends

Originally posted 9/26/13

If you're a follower, and still around, oh my goodness, awesome!!! 

I felt like all of you were / are owed and update and explanation. You stuck by and supported me through so much. My friends, and Sparkpeople as a whole... 


That's why I haven't been here. 

I don't need it. 

My lifestyle changed, and the worst thing I could do is obsess about it. 

I have kept off every pound I lost, and a few more, though I don't often bust out the scale anymore. Maybe once every other month or so, just to make sure I'm not delusional. 

I did finally pass my Fresh Meat derby assessments, though I had to go through ALL of fresh meat a second time to do it, and roller derby is the highlight of my life these days. I skate 2-3 nights a week, I have this huge circle of new friends, it builds physical activity into my schedule in a way that doesn't feel like "exercise," and, most importantly, it makes me SO HAPPY. 

See? Proof! 
The final verdict on derby name, by the way: Charlemangle 
It makes me feel tough and smart! 
It used to be that I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting huffing and puffing. Now I smash into my friends 3 nights a week on skates and covered in sweat and love every second of it (well, maybe not that exact second when I hit the floor real hard). 

I ended my relationship with my ex just shy of 10 years together. I didn't mention him much, but he was mentioned, so I feel like I should say something. 
It's a big risk, when you change your life, that you will change yourself right out of several friendships, and maybe even your relationship. I saw it happen with a lot of other successful sparkers. 
It makes me feel like I have to defend myself. He stayed with me all the years I was fat, and as soon as I start feeling empowered and good about myself I have the nerve to dump him? 
Short answer: yes. 
Hint at the long answer: weight loss was just one (admittedly major) part of really working hard to be the person I want to be. The more I changed, and the more he stayed the same, the less we had in common. He couldn't understand or appreciate me anymore. I did things that made my soul grow and grow and grow, and he kept working a soul-crushing job and just complaining about it. So, our souls changed in opposite directions, and we weren't soul-mates anymore. 
We're trying hard to still be good friends. 

So, you know what that means... 
I'm dating again for the first time since I was 18! 
It's crazy and mostly ridiculous and more fun than I expected. It's really teaching me a lot about myself! 
It's also taught me that most guys really don't care about a few extra pounds, not the fun ones anyway. Particularly if you carry them in the fun places!! They're really looking for confidence and independence and sense of humor and all the same stuff we are. 
So, single ladies, lighten up a little, m'kay?! 

Also, if you know of any single, large, attractive, preferably bearded, viking-esque men with a quick wit, full-time job, and appreciation for good whiskey and bad puns in the Monterey Bay area who like rainbow-haired girls that like unicorns and rollerskates way too much for a woman of nearly 30, help a girl out!!! 

Food is no longer a struggle!! 
If you get nothing else from me, any of my blogs, or this post, know this: 

I've been maintaining the same window of 10lb for nearly two years now, and it feels great. 
Would I like to be thinner? Sure! Not many of us wouldn't. 
Could I lose the last 25lb to get to my original goal of 100lb lost? Probably anytime I want!! 
BUT, I don't really care. I like pizza and beer and naps and ice cream and 25 extra pounds don't feel like that big of a deal 90% of the time. 
I mean, 10% of the time I'm pretty convinced I'm just as big as I was when I started, that I'm giant and fat and gross, that nothing looks good on me and never will.... Hey man, that's progress. I'm down to 10%!! And I'm confident that that percentage will continue to get smaller. 
I hope it never gets to zero... I'm pretty sure that makes me a sociopath... or at least a narcissist. 

So what's the secret? 
What's the take-away? 
What can those who have been struggling so hard who come across this and look for inspiration or guidance or ideas or at least commiseration find here that makes it worth reading? 

I wish I could answer that. 
The secret for me was common sense. You know what you should and should not be putting in your body and in what quantities. You know which choices make you happy, make you feel good about yourself as a person, and which don't. You know you need to exercise, and probably even have a pretty good idea of what kinds and how much of it make you feel good, without feeling like you're over or under-doing it. You know you need to sleep. You know that food doesn't really solve anything but actual hunger and lack of nutrients. 
I made a decision that I was done with disliking myself, so I tried to make each decision with that in mind. 
I still do! 
I'm just not focused on food anymore. 

I bought a Snickers bar (my favorite easy to find candy) from some kids raising money for their soccer team and I forgot that sucker in my purse for 3 weeks. 
I THREW AWAY left over pizza (my kryptonite) from my favorite establishment because IT SAT IN MY FRIDGE TOO LONG. 
A pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream lasted me a whole week, and 4 sittings. 
I went to derby practice 3 nights this week, and swam on 3 lunch breaks, and don't feel like I exercised once. 
AND NONE OF THIS WAS A STRUGGLE, even a little bit. 

I still don't drink enough water. 
I still drink too much diet soda and beer. 
I still eat too many carbs and sugar and cheese. 
I rarely sleep enough. 
I let my swims turn into power napping in the sun on nice days. 

I also got wolf-whistled TWICE today on my lunch; and I'm really not that thin. 
I got told that I am "ripped" by a strange man last week, as a compliment, and loved it. 

Most importantly: I'm so happy. 
I'm so comfortable with who I am, and even the things about myself that I'm still working toward changing. My weight, what I eat, and how much I exercise are really not a focus anymore. 

There's hope. 
Lives and lifestyles change!! 

And, because I know everyone loves a before and after: 

Oh, and I have rainbow hair and my dream job!! 
Life is good. 
No news is good news.

I Recovered My Login!!

Hello readers, if any of you are still around!!!

I am alive, and well, and still maintaining all of my weight loss, and then some!
Not to mention some muscles that I would go so far as to say are bordering on "burly".

I'll post the couple of updates missing here from my original SparkPeople blog, and intend to start posting more regular updates!!

It's come to my attention lately that being able to write a maintenance blog, in some ways, is probably of more value to my friends, both real and 'internet' in nature, than a weight loss blog.

I hope you are well, and thanks so much for caring!!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Be Somewhere Else, Do Something Different.

This morning, in a fit of pout, I bought a baggie of cheddar chex mix snack stuff.

I was invited to go to turtle racing at the local bar that supports my roller derby league with some of the other skaters last night, and was really excited about it, but skipped it because I had to get up really early this morning for a meeting.

Or so I thought.

AFTER getting up really early, and driving 30 miles to the meeting location, and standing in line for an eternity for my monthly Starbucks treat, and sitting in my car for 15 minutes waiting for my coworkers, I started to think...

Is today even the right day for this meeting?
Did I just get up 2 hours early and go through all this hassle and use up that much gas on the wrong day?

I most certainly did.

So, after some creative swearing in my car, I had no choice but to turn right around and hurry back to the office.

I was SO ANNOYED with myself.
I was having at least a class 4 pout, and in a moment of pouty weakness, I pulled off at the 7/11 on the way to the office for a giant diet coke and some kind of salty snack.

I walked past the snacks and resisted; I don't need it, it wont even taste good, it's not something that will help me toward my goals.
I went back and picked one up (because with the morning I've had I deserve it!), only to immediately put it back on the shelf, because I know better.
I got in line for my fountain drink.
I went back and picked up the bag again with an eff it attitude.
I can make up for it later. I'm skating for 2 hours tonight, I can have a light lunch, a light dinner, a lighter food day with extra exercise tomorrow.

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

How many times have I been here before?
How does that quote go about insanity being doing the same thing and expecting different results?

Well I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.
That bag of chex mix will not make me less tired, or give me back those couple hours of sleep, or put gas back in my tank, or make me feel less dumb for mixing up my weeks.
It will just make me feel sad, and gross, and disappointed in myself.

Just because I bought it doesn't mean I have to eat it!
I buy things that I don't eat or use all the time. I don't mean to, but it happens.

I'm going to get up from the computer right this second, and go give it away.

HA! Ran into a cool producer right outside my office from the weekly creature feature show who could not have been more excited to be gifted a bag of chex mix.

Now not only do I NOT feel super crummy about myself for eating something I don't even really want, I feel GOOD about making someone else happy.

I might be slow, but I'm learning, and I'm changing.
I've been there, and I've done that. LOTS of times.

Today I decided to be somewhere else, and do something different.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Several Weeks After "Someday"

Yesterday I binged and ate a WHOLE THING of Chips Ahoy chewy gooey chocfudge cookies.
In one sitting.
In maybe 20 minutes.
I'm not even sure why.

No, you know what, that's not true. I have a pretty good idea why, but it doesn't seem like a legitimate reason, so I try to brush it off and say I don't know why.
In fact, it sounds crazy.

I binged because I'm becoming exactly who I want to be, and it's scary, and it doesn't "fix" anything.

About 85-95% of the time I feel fantastic about myself. I've put in all this work and I feel good and I usually feel like I look good and I'm putting in the effort to be and become who I want to be. It's great!

But then sometimes, for no obvious reason, out of seemingly noplace, I have doubts.
I feel depressed.
I get overwhelmed.
I feel fat and unwanted and unloved and unlovable, even when I KNOW those things aren't true.
I still feel them.

So, the good news is I'm probably not a narcissist or a sociopath.

The bad news is that I will always have at least a little bit of self-doubt, and will probably always have this impulse to soothe that self-doubt with food.

The most important news is that I'm finally learning that that is okay. No one, including me, is ever going to be perfect even most of the time. I have weak spots, and one of those weak spots is my love of chocolate chip cookies.

That is totally okay.
In fact, I'm pretty lucky.
My weak spot could be for crack or moonshine or collecting too many stray cats.

All things considered, cookies aren't so bad.

It's okay to be scared.
Really, being scared of becoming exactly who I want to be is a pretty neat thing to have to be scared OF.

It wasn't scary when it was a far off daydream to be a fit and independent person who was out of the house doing things instead of watching other people do them on tv.
It wasn't scary to lay on that couch in my too-small sweat pants and tell myself that tomorrow I would start. Monday I would begin. Next week would be the first day of that life. Of becoming that person. Someday. On some particular start date in the future I would finally get to doing what I knew I needed to do so I could start pulling those too-small jeans out of the "someday drawer."

There aren't any more things in my "someday drawer."
It's completely empty.
It's been empty for WEEKS.
After years and years of stuffing it fuller and fuller of jeans that I once loved but could no longer stuff myself into, after years of it getting so full that it started to overflow into the drawer above it, there is absolutely nothing in that drawer.
Most of the jeans from that drawer are too big for me now.

I can't bring myself to put anything in that drawer.
It's pretty silly, a whole big drawer I could use to store SOMEthing, sitting empty.
But I don't want to put anything in there. I like knowing it's empty.
I like knowing that I'm living several weeks out from "someday."

I just didn't really prepare myself for the day several weeks after someday. It was always someday I will get my act together and I will become this person. I didn't really plan for what it would be like to actually BE that person. "That" person in those daydreams wasn't really me, it wasn't really even a person, it was just a daydream.

I am a totally different story.
I'm not active because it sounds so so dreamy and "right" to be active; I'm active because I'm out doing things I love! I'm playing disc golf every weekend and learning to play roller derby. I go to Zuma and now love to dance to the pop music I used to scoff at so smugly. I did a triathlon, and I won!! Okay, so I didn't win as far as anyone else participating in the race was concerned, but by my standards I won.

I don't do these things because I have to or am supposed to or because I should, I do these things because I WANT to, because I enjoy them.

That person in those daydreams lived on rabbit food and didn't even want any of the good stuff anymore. I love the good stuff. I drink beer and eat pizza and chocolate and sometimes even cookies. I don't want to give up my love of food, even occasional junk food.

So I don't really want to be that person from those daydreams.
Those daydreams are outdated. "That" girl can go ahead and join the princess and the mermaid and the vampire hunter as fond memories of something that I thought I wanted to be so badly.

Yesterday I binged and ate a whole thing of Chips Ahoy chewy gooey chocfudge cookies.
But you know what else I did yesterday?
I made myself snap out of it. I put on some good motivational music and yelled along and put on my work out clothes and went to the gym and worked hard and felt great about it.
I put that binge behind me and I moved on and had a great evening.

Yesterday I binged and ate a whole thing of Chips Ahoy chewy gooey chocfudge cookies.

Today that doesn't matter.
Today I got up and put on a cute outfit that makes me feel good about myself.
Tonight I will go to roller derby practice and work hard and have a fantastic time.

The only someday I'm worrying about now is the end of July when I get to take the skills assessment, hopefully pass, and officially pick out my derby name.
I'm currently leaning toward "The Rad Hatter."

Yesterday I binged and ate a whole thing of Chips Ahoy chewy gooey chocfudge cookies.

Today I wont.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Go Pink!

I did it!!!
On Sunday morning my alarm went off at a time I generally associate with the most raucous of my drunken evenings, I rolled excitedly out of bed, and put on the ugliest thing I've ever owned.

Or at least bought for myself to wear. I was a child of the 80's and 90's and I'm sure there were uglier things, but there were also adults to blame them on.

My partially floral one-piece triathlon suit was allllll me.
You know you're jealous.

I had a light breakfast, checked that I had everything I needed for the 47th time, and drove off into the darkness surprisingly calm. During the hour long drive to my race destination the edges of the sky began to lighten, and just as I pulled up to the water of the reservoir the sun broke over the surrounding hills.
I knew it was going to be a great morning!!!

I felt pretty out of place with my bookbag full of gear and my street bike with the nifty thing on the back for carrying stuff, but everyone was smiling and positive and looked just as sleepy eyed and almost as confused as I felt.

I found a place for my bike on what I thought was a rack near the back, spread all of my goodies out on my towel, and commenced the excellent people watching of pre-race rituals.

I got over-excited and put on my wetsuit about half an hour too soon, and then took it half way off because I felt silly and it touched my throat, and then pulled it back on only 20 minutes too early, and then felt tired of standing around and marched down to the water.
Well gingerly picked my way over all the rocks and twigs and things to the edge of the water, made some general "ewww" faces at the squoogey mud at the edge of the water getting between my toes, and then some really happy faces as I realized the water was a balmy 71 degrees.

The racers were divided by age and gender into different start "waves," and the waves were distinguished by different colored caps. I sort of clumped together with my fellow bright pink cap wearers (my current favorite color, which I took as a further sign that everything was going to be awesome). And was relieved to find out that everyone else seemed just as confused and nervous and excited and unsure of themselves as I did.

And then time magically sped up and slowed down all at once.
It was time to swim, so I swam!
Swimming was the only part of all of this that I have any previous experience with, so I was able to settle into a comfortable pace right away. I stuck to the outside edge of the pack, and looked up to get my bearings every 5-6 strokes or so.
Some super fast people from the waves behind me passed, and I passed some slower swimmers from my packs and others. All the different colors of swim caps were mixed together in no time, and I just stopped worrying about it and kept swimming.
Just as I turned the corner around the buoy I was guestimating as half way through my 0.75 mile swim, I caught sight of the finish!!
I couldn't believe it!!!

I climbed up the slippery boat ramp to the transition area surrounded by smiling strangers shouting encouragement. It was a little overwhelming, and I couldn't pick out my personal "cheering section" of dad and boyfriend from the crowd, but it was encouraging and made me smile in return.

I hurried over to my little transition spot and was able to get ready for the bike ride with a lot less stress than I'd expected. Just peel off the wetsuit, wipe off a little with my shammy, throw on the tank top I brought to cover the hideous tri suit and hold my number, sit down shamelessly to put on socks and shoes (just 'cause other people around me can do all this standing up in 3 seconds doesn't mean I should tip over and hurt myself trying), shoved on my helmet and sunglasses, and I was off!!
Kind of.
You can't get on your bike in the transition area, and the little "mounting" line was pretty crowded with people trying to hurry out onto the bike course, but it all sorted itself out pretty quickly and THEN I was off!!

I was literally one of 2 people out of the 700 participants on a street bike (with big fat tires and handle bars that have you sitting almost straight up)( instead of a fancy road bike (With skinny little tires and handle bars that have you lean way down - they are easier to pedal faster. I walked around and checked), so I wasn't off very FAST, at least not compared to the road bikes, but I didn't mind as much as I thought I would.
People were very polite about letting you know they'd be passing, and as the miles wound on, and more and more and more people were coming up behind me, my thoughts weren't so much that they were passing me, they were more that I was doing AWESOME.
If people on super fancy road bikes, who couldn't have started the swim more than 20 minutes after I did (when the last wave started), took until miles 12, 14, even 16 to catch up and pass me, I was doing really well!!! That means I had to be ahead of all of those people on the swim for them to pass me later. They had the advantage of superior equipment and were only barely faster than me at the bike, obviously I was winning at my made-up newbies with lamer equipment division.

About half the people out on the course even seemed to comment that I was doing amazingly well "on that bike" or "those tires" and shouted "go pink!!" as they passed.

All that training out on the local rec trail paid off. I was even able to bike all the way up the horrible steep awful mile long hill at mile 11 that had about half of those fancy bikes being walked up it!!
Sure, I was in first gear, but I was pedaling, and the coast down the other side made it seem totally worth it!

According to my dad and boyfriend I managed to finish the bike leg before a good 40-50 people who were on those fancy bikes, which to me is pretty darn awesome!

I felt surprisingly energetic as I pulled into the transition area... and then I got off of my bike.
My legs were like twitchy gelatain!
I had about 5 seconds of panicking that I wasn't going to be able to complete the race, but as I walked my bike back to my little stall, and took off my helmet, and chugged down some water and sports drink, I started to feel just fine.

Everything was going to be okay, that bike ride was just hard!
I was pretty sure I had to be forgetting something, since the transition from bike to run was basically getting off my bike and ditching my helmet since I didn't use fancy bike shoes or anything like that, but I walked quickly out of the transition area smiling and excited.
The run portion went 2.5 miles up the road and then just turned around and came right back down it, so there were runners going the opposite direction the whole time. Everyone was totally positive and encouraging. We all shouted encouragement back and forth. "Almost done!" "The turn-around is just past those trees!" "Keep it up, doing awesome!" It was great! I felt encouraged and had fun encouraging others.

I reminded myself over and over of my goal for the run (to run at least half of it) and repeated my running mantra when I was flagging. If I'm not going to actually die, pass out, or injure myself, I can keep running.

There were water stations at each mile marker, which made it easier to gauge the distance, and I ran about half of each mile, just as I'd hoped!

I even got stung by a bee and kept going!
(I'm not allergic or anything, so this isn't technically an important part of the racing experience, but for whatever reason it stands out to me as proof of how bad ass I am at triathloning)

When I crossed that finish line I was running, and I was happy, and I knew that I really did it.

Finishing 614 out of 700 may not sound very impressive, but I did it, and I did it in the amount of time I set a goal to finish in, so as far as I'm concerned that 614 is just code for 1st place.

Go Pink!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lessons in Roller Derby

Thursday, May 03, 2012

In case you somehow haven't heard me blabbing incessantly about it, I decided to try out for the local flat track roller derby league!!!

What made me decide this, you ask?
Umm... a whim.

Someone told me a couple of weeks ago that there IS a local roller derby league, so I googled it, discovered that there was an informational meeting that coming Sunday for potential newbies, and immediately decided I was going to do it.

Never mind the fact that I've been on quad skates maybe 10 times total and the last time was probably 20 years ago, I was going to do roller derby and I was going to kick arse at it!!!!!

I immediately began diligent work on creating a roller derby name and researching entry level skates.
(I'm still deciding between Shreddy Ruxpin - #85 and Phenoma Blond - #007)
The informational meeting went great, the women there from the league seemed super nice and welcoming, and I was even MORE determined to be a Monterey Bay Derby Dame!!!

When the first opportunity to actually get on some roller skates finally came around the next weekend I couldn't be more excited or more nervous. I got the boyfriend and a couple we are good friends with to go with me, so I wouldn't be so scared, and just couldn't wait to step out on that floor. I was last in the group to put on my skates, but with everyone else so many years out from their last skating adventures and so confidently moving around the little putting on of the skates area, I was sure I'd be great.

And then I stood up.
I was not great.

Standing in those rental skates with such vivid memories of having them slide right out from underneath me as a kid was terrifying. I was like a baby giraffe on ice, and I wasn't even moving or off of the carpeted area yet.

I waved my friends away and assured them I just needed a minute to get used to the skates and would join them out on the floor. They all tore off a wee bit wobbly but quite confidently into the general flow of skaters... I nearly fell at least 47 times in the 5 foot trip from my chair to the entrance to the rink, and stepped gingerly out onto the tiles of the actual floor.

How did anybody manage to move around on these things? Who the hell thought putting wheels on shoes without any kind of device to keep you from tipping over backwards was a good idea? Couldn't I play roller derby on inline skates?

I dragged myself hand over hand along the wall, despairing.
In what conceivable universe was I going to be able to get from this state to trying out with just 3 Saturday evenings of open skate to practice in?
I'd never be a derby dame.
My dreams were crushed.
I wanted to cry!

And then the first turn came.
Those sadists had set up a little blocked off area at the end of the rink where people could practice things other than moving in a general counter clockwise direction, which meant I had to make it all the way across the vastyness of the hockey rink without a wall to clutch.

I was pretty sure I was going to die.
Or be run over by a mob of jeering 8 year olds on spiked skates and mad maxian garb and THEN die.
But death was, in any case, eminent.

I can do this.
Deep breath.
One foot in front of the other in a general slidey type motion.
I can skate, I skated, I even owned a pair of neon pink roller blades with mint green buckles and orange wheels. Sure, I had to run into parked cars or signs to stop, but the going forward was never a problem. I know the mechanics, all these other people seem to be making it across this expanse unscathed. I don't see a single spiked skate in the vicinity.

Let's do this!!!

It wasn't pretty. I wobbled and almost fell several times, but I DIDN'T fall, and I kept going, and I MADE IT!!


And then this girl that I'm pretty sure was born with wheels on her feet whizzed right past me and did a nifty twirly maneuver to go with the music.
I was startled and distracted. I lost my balance, I was going down!!!
Thank goodness I'd made it to within clutching distance of the opposite wall!

Okay, so not quite the master of roller skating, but I wasn't QUITE despairing anymore.
Discouraged, yes.
Disappointed, definitely.
But determined! I want this! I am going to find a way to make it happen for myself!! I am not going to let a little thing like being terrified of roller skating stop me!!

Half an hour or so later I was able to do 3 loops around the rink without touching the wall EVEN ONCE!! Sure, I was maybe 8 inches from it and going about the same speed as I would be walking, but I was doing it! I was skating!!

A few of the girls from the derby league had come in and were hanging out in the little sectioned off area, waiting to show new league hopefuls the basic skills needed to get into what they call "fresh meat" training.

Dear boyfriend came over and encouraged me to join in, but no way did I feel ready to work on anything but not falling down, was he crazy?!

I'll just go introduce myself....
I teetered over, and introduced myself, and explained that I was really just at the work on not falling down stage.
And to my amazement no one seemed even remotely surprised by that, or skeptical that I could be ready in time for try outs 3 weeks later.
Well alright then, show me all of the things!!!

And then something amazing happened.
I stopped concentrating so hard on not falling down, and started concentrating on learning some basic stops and how to cross my feet over eachother when turning.

When I stopped trying so hard not to fail, I did great!!
Sure, I ate it pretty hard a couple of times, but I ate it doing a pretty darn impressive cross-over if I do say so myself.

By the end of the night I was out on the rink skating at appropriate speeds, crossing my feet over eachother, weaving between slower skaters, I didn't have to look down at my feet.


My own skates came in the mail later that week, and the following Saturday I was doing all the basic moves necessary to make it into "fresh meat" well enough that they started teaching me NEW things, things they teach after one makes it into fresh meat.
By the end of my second Saturday night out on the rink I was able to keep up with the "real" derby girls and didn't fall once (other than when learning the correct way to fall and doing it on purpose, of course).

I stopped grasping at what seemed safe and familiar but kept me more or less stationary.
I stopped concentrating so hard on what was directly in front of my toes, blaming every little bump and warp in my path for my stumbles.
I stopped putting all of my effort into not failing.
I started doing things that felt new and awkward and scary.
I fell down, twice, and it HURT, but I got right back up and tried again.

I know I'm going to fall a lot more. I'm going to get some pretty impressive bruises, and it's going to hurt, and the things I learn will often seem difficult, even impossible at first, but I will learn them, and I will learn to be great!