A Shoutout to Derby Wives

 

Photo credit Sean Hale @seanhaleyeah

Joining roller derby, I did not think of getting married. Well derby married.

A derby wife has many definitions, but here is one I found and truly identify with: “A derby marriage is a declaration of close friendship, but more than that, it is a commitment to support one another both in and out of derby. A wife is a person who always has your back. She will never insult you by taking it easy on you at practice. She will notice your improvements and make sure that you notice them, too. She will work with you to help you excel in areas that you previously felt were weaknesses. When/If you get injured, she’s the one who takes care of you and worries about you. She’ll even back you up at the after-party.” I stole this definition from Charlottesville Derby Dames’ blog. 🙂

At the beginning of my derby journey, I heard the term and did not know how to really go about it. I did not have friends per se in derby. I only started to get to know people, and was more focused on learning the ropes at that point.

There was also something a little nerve wracking about derby marriage since it was a marriage, especially when the “’til death doeth part” echoed in the back of my head like an ominous warning. How did this work? Did I have to get dressed up, and have a ceremony?  How did I even find my derby wife? Were we supposed to get engaged? Did we get rings? What if this did not work???????? Speaking from life experience, and having gone through a marriage that ended in a divorce, I was not too hot on getting married again, especially when I did not know what this marriage entailed.

Guess what though? Derby marriage is actually not as bad as it sounds.

Derby marriage is a special bond. A derby wife will stick around and support you through thick and thin. She is your best bud, off and on the track. She gives you hug after hug and says you can do anything you set your mind to. She inspires you day in and day out. You miss each other when you are not together at practice. Your heart breaks for the other when you or she gets injured. You can talk about anything, and you never get mad at each other, but you also stay true and honest, and say it like it is when necessary.

I was probably the last one to think I would ever get derby married. It was okay by me to be derby single. Teammates made official announcements of their derby weddings, and I was happy for them. I read in a lot of places that you do not need a derby wife to have a happy derby life.

My wife getting married, and I watched it all on Skype! ❤

I guess the derby gods had other plans for me. The wife and I were not really sure how to go about it, if we needed to do something formal, and all that jazz, and we decided not to. We just agreed to be wives. She actually proposed to me and I said yes. LOL Other than that there was no ceremony, no dress, no rings exchanged, no vows. We are best buds, and we support and care for each other. When I took a leave of absence, she asked me if I was quitting derby, and she even said her heart would break if I quit. I reassured her I would not quit derby. I needed a break to heal from a stupid injury and manage my crazy life, and she understood and respected my decision. She is always there to talk to and to vent. We share laughter, and gossip. We talk derby. We talk life. In good and hard times, we are there for each other as much as we can. We share happy moments. I attended my wife’s wedding via Skype while on vacation in Europe (I know how funny this sentence just sounded – but it was amazing! Thank you technology!). We make the best of recovery time when one of us gets injured. We miss each other dearly when we are not at practice. Most importantly, we stand on the track, whether as allies or opponents, and it is always a privilege to play together.

I would like to dedicate this post to my derby wife Pixel Bloq. She has been a tremendous source of support and love I did not think I would find when I joined derby, but I was proven wrong once again. Derby is really full of surprises. I have also read stories of derby wives traveling across the globe to help each other, and this is the best thing ever (this is a wink to my teammate Knox).

It is also okay to have multiple wives, and to switch wives, so derby marriage is not as strict as a real marriage I realized. 😉

What about you? Do you have a derby wife?

❤ Keeks

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Follow me on instagram @kikindateef

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My ten 2017 Resolutions

road-908176_960_720Happy new year to all! I have been absent from this blog during my 3 month LOA, and missed it dearly. A break was much needed. My foot was injured, work got out of control and I needed time to just relax, and not stress out. This small break helped me greatly, not only physically but mentally, and for this new season, I’ve made a few resolutions so I can enjoy myself as much as possible.

1- Be in a good mood at practice

I admire one of my teammates because she is always so upbeat at practice. Her energy is contagious, and I have made the conscious decision to learn from her and be upbeat too. I’m not going to practice to be grumpy. I’m going to have fun, and guess what? You learn when you have fun. You fall and you laugh. You have a good time, and this motivates you to keep practicing, and keep showing up.

2- Get out of your head

I have also made the conscious decision to not overthink anything. I am an overthinker by nature, and this has played in my disfavor more than once. This season, I am not thinking. I am doing. The voice in my head is my enemy, and I am not listening to it.

3- Push yourself

This is pretty much a given, but I’ve noticed even when cross training, I get comfortable at a certain level, and it is truly a chore to push harder. I consciously tell myself that I’m not going to die, I’m not going to pass out. By now I know my limits, and I know I can push. You only grow as much as you give at practice, so do it, and don’t hold back.

4- Try new things

Don’t be scared to experiment. I skate outdoors as much as I can, and I always tell myself to just try things. If they work out, they work out, if they don’t, they don’t. At least I know what I need to work on. With enough practice, most tricks can be done. So try new things, and practice!

5- Be patient

I can do a lot of things, and I cannot do a lot of things… yet. That’s okay.  This isn’t a race. And it’s great, this way I can appreciate my progress, and look back and amaze myself.

6- Be kind

To yourself and to others. Go get that massage. Relax. Stretch. Do yoga. Take care of your body, you only have one! Smile and laugh, and tell your teammates nice things whenever you can. The words of my teammates have lifted me up so many times, even when all they said was “Good job”. They kept me in the fight, when the little voice told me I couldn’t fight anymore. Love yourself. I cannot repeat that enough.

7- Take a break

Don’t feel guilty if you have to take a breather. If something hurts, just pause and assess whether you can keep skating or not. Injuries are not a joke. The smallest, most insignificant aches can become real pains in the butt if you don’t take the time to properly heal.

8- Inspect your equipment

Need new wheels? Need new cushions on your plates? Need to change your bearings? How are your toe stops looking? Take a few minutes to inspect your skates, and make sure everything is at the right spot and everything looks good. If something feels wonky, ask your teammates. One of them will be an equipment nerd and will help you. I am an equipment nerd by nature, got the tools and all that stuff. If your equipment is not up to par, you can injure yourself and your teammates, so a little maintenance won’t hurt.

9- Eat well, and enough

During the day, and especially before practice, make sure to hydrate a lot, and eat good things that will help your body sustain two hours (or more) of intense practice! I’m not going to suggest what to eat because we all have our routines, but make sure to be in 100% condition before you go in. Your body will thank you, and you will enjoy yourself so much more if you have energy. Also, take naps before practice if you can. Power naps are awesome.

10- Smile, you’re at derby!

Yes. Smile all you can!

Keeks

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Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef

Find Your Tribe… and Your Identity

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Credit Sean Hale @Seanhaleyeah

I joined roller derby because I wanted to try it out. I had no real ambition of becoming a super star. I didn’t research the leagues in my area because of their WFTDA rankings. I knew nothing about the sport except the little I witnessed at a bout one night, that I wasn’t even supposed to attend except for the sole fact that my boyfriend’s cousin was getting married on the rink, and we were her guests. Roller derby sounded so foreign to me, more foreign than golf or cricket, and I never played golf or cricket.

Little did I realize how much impact this sport would have on my life. It redefined mostly everything. I owe this transformation not just to a pair of roller skates, but to the league I joined. The power of a group of skaters can change you, and bring the best out of you. I was fortunate to become a member of the Garden State Rollergirls. These ladies and gents welcomed me with open arms. I was terrified, of course. I let them guide me onto the rink, and I felt good. I didn’t feel embarrassed, or pressured to do anything except skate. Fall. Get back up. Fall again. Rinse. Repeat. Throughout my challenges, I heard encouragement, and I felt real support.

Finding the right league is crucial to a great derby experience. I heard many horror stories of leagues that didn’t really help freshies feel at home. Lots of drama. Leagues disbanded, split, or reformed someplace else with different folks… Or the same folks, trying to figure things out and not repeat the same mistakes. We are only human. I feel fortunate that the league I’m in tries its hardest to be healthy, and supports its skaters without prejudice. GSR is really my tribe!

With a tribe, comes an identity. Yesterday was the derbyversary of my derby name baptism. Finding the right derby name wasn’t something I really planned either. I honestly didn’t think I’d get a name until I made one of the teams. But here I was four months later as a freshie, brainstorming for a derby name that would be my identity on the rink and in the derbyverse. That stuff is serious. I saw people come up with really smart play on words, and celebrity names I sometimes wish I had come up with because they’re truly genius. My name is fine though. It’s funny and I like it. Plus, given the multitude of names out there, it gets harder and harder to be original.

Today, I’m thankful to have a tribe and a derby name. I play for the name in the front, so people remember the name in the back… I have good days, bad days, but overall, I see derby as my second family. It’s crazy, and amazing. I can’t really explain it. I’m just grateful to have found this sport, to have discovered and tried new things, to have met new people, and to grow, learn, always evolve. I’m not going to lie; it’s also so much fun to hit people three to four times a week!

I want to hear from you! How do you like your tribe, and your derby name? How did you come up with your identity? What does roller derby mean to you?

Keeks

Follow me on Instagram @kikindateef

Cross-training: My 10 Do’s and Don’ts

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You’ve been showing up to practice religiously. You can’t climb up the stairs without wincing because your thighs and glutes are screaming with every step. Your lower back is giving you the same treatment. When will that pain stop?

Then your heart breaks a little when you hear showing up to practice isn’t enough.

WHAT?!?!?!?

Horrible truth no one wants to hear, yet here it is: showing up to derby on an average of two-three times a week, so sweating your butt off for 6-7 hours, isn’t enough physical training to take you to the next level. Nope. Derby doesn’t give you everything you need (sadly), and cross-training is required in order to really make you feel like your body is made of pure steel, and scream a little louder. Just a little.

Cross-training is “athletic training in sports other than the athlete’s usual sport. The goal is improving overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of one training method to negate the shortcomings of another.”59113193

Now the question of “How much is too much?” often pops up on my social media feed. Exhaustion can hit you very quickly if you don’t balance your routine, and working out for the sake of working out will be detrimental to your overall performance.

If your week is anything like my week, you know time to workout is hard to find. Every minute counts!

So how do you best cross-train? Here are my 10 Do’s and Don’ts!

1- Do I have to sacrifice sleep?

Sleep is something you should try to never sacrifice. I know it’s hard to do whether it’s kids, work, school… but sleep is your friend. Sleep helps your body recover from the stress of the day, and it helps reset your mind to a nice fresh start in the morning. Folks who repeat “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” will definitely die before they know it. I used to be able to function on very little sleep. Not anymore. I need my 7 hours in order to feel normal. If you can’t sleep much at night, naps during the day are the next best thing to give your body a break. Seriously. Just snooze it out, will ya?

2- Do I have to cross-train every off-practice day?

No. Rest days are very important. Take at least one day a week. Just like sleep, rest days help your body heal from the stress you put it through by working out real hard. Don’t bypass a rest day because you feel guilty about not working out, okay? Excessive physical training can become addictive, and put you in a vicious cycle where you’ll work out because you feel terrible about not working out. Watch out for that. Balance is everything. Don’t overdo it.

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3- Do I have to work out crazy hard every time I cross-train?

Following my previous comment about not overdoing it. No, you don’t have to kill yourself every time you work out. Just think of extreme workouts as putting your body through extreme stress. If you put your body through stress all the time, you will achieve the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. First, you will tire yourself out like crazy, increasing your risk of injury. Second, you will overeat because you just worked out like a freaking animal for two hours. Third and final, you will never give your body the chance to fully recover and build the strength and endurance you need to perform at the next level. Less is more. Don’t train harder, train smarter.

4- Do I have to cross-fit?

Cross-fit is on my to-do list. However, cross-training doesn’t equal cross-fit. Cross-training simply means working out and doing something different than roller derby. Over time, roller derby favors certain body parts over others, and cross-training just helps re-balance everything. Nothing like a strong left leg, and a weak right leg, am I right?

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5- What does cross-training entail exactly?

Cross-training should include strength, endurance and flexibility training. Weight lifting is great for building strength. Cardio and HIIT routines are good for endurance. Yoga is known to improve balance and flexibility. Cross-training isn’t only for the body. Train your mind by learning meditation. So much emphasis is put on the body, but the mental component is as important. You can work out all you want, your mind can make or break you. Read books about sport psychology! Mind Gym is a great read to start with.

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6- How much should I cross-train then?

If you already spend 7 hours sweating your butt off at practice, your cross-training should be adapted to how tired your body is and how much rest it needs. A heavy workout week for me will be: 7 hours of derby practice, 2 hours of cardio, 1 hour strength training, 1 hour flexibility training. Count on top of that that I walk an average of 10,000 steps a day, sometimes more, seven days a week. I’m a rather active person. Spending 4-5 hours cross-training on top of everything else wears me out rather quickly I find, especially if my work week is intense, and my sleep hours are less than my average (less than 7 hours a night). Sometimes I only cross-train three hours a week. When we don’t have derby practice, I cross-train more. If we have four practices in one week, I’m going to take two rest days instead of one.

I read a ton of articles about cross-training. When I digest that information, I always ask myself: what’s best for my body? If I don’t know myself, I’ll never be able to do the right thing. That’s where experimentation comes in. Push yourself and see how far you can go. If it’s too much, do less. If you can do more, great. There’s no magic formula that fits everyone the same. We’re all different. The older we are, the slower we recover. The more stressed out we are, the slower we recover. The less sleep we get, how well we feed our body… You get the idea. So experiment, take notes, observe, and adapt.

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7- Is walking cross-training?

Yes. Any activity that doesn’t involve roller derby is cross-training. You don’t have to hit the gym every time you want to cross-train. Staying active is key. Moving your body is essential. I love to walk. I also run. I mow the lawn. I clean the house. Less strenuous activities don’t mean you’re not doing something for yourself. You can go cycling, trail skating, hiking, swimming, anything you like and that makes you feel good, do it! Cross-training isn’t supposed to be laborious and a chore. I don’t believe in working out as a chore. Working out should be fun. If you don’t like running, then don’t run. Do something that you will keep doing because you enjoy doing it.

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8- How do I keep track of my cross-training?

Keep a schedule. Plan to work out. If you don’t plan it, chances are you won’t do it. It’s going to take some time and discipline to find what works for you, but I guarantee, once you find it, everything will go smooth.

9- What if I don’t find the time to cross-train?

Don’t beat yourself up. You can work out for five minutes at a time. Example: do squats when you’re in the bathroom. Do walking lunges on your way to the bathroom. Do the speed skater while waiting for your food to warm up in the microwave. Take a lunch break and walk outside. Stand on one foot and work your balance while washing your hands or brushing your teeth. Hold a plank for thirty seconds. Do a wall sit for thirty seconds. Take the stairs. Carry your groceries. Don’t wait until the end of the day and then you’re too tired to do anything. Small changes make a big difference over time. It’s just a matter of changing habits, and introducing new ones. No one is asking you to become Bonnie Thunders overnight. Bonnie is Bonnie. You are you. Do what YOU can do.

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10- Anything else I should know?

Be good to yourself. Listen to you body. Don’t overdo it. Experiment. HAVE FUN!

🙂

*****

You can follow me on Instagram @kikindateef