In Like a Lion

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March roared in like a lion for me this year. In addition to being back to my normal routine without any physical restrictions, I also participated in the first 2 interleague games for the Charm City All Stars this season, and my first 2 since August! That’s my first 2 interleague games in over 7 months and boy did I feel the rust!

First off, traveling with a group is NEVER easy. You have to make sure everybody is accounted for, that we have transportation, that we are all fed and that we all have a roof over our heads, and this is all AFTER the initial planning and organizing. The flight was semi stress free. We flew Virgin Airlines out of Dulles, outside of DC and about an hour away from Baltimore. Once we grabbed our bags we headed out to the rental car shuttle and waited and waited….and waited, I started to seat as some people were getting hungry and a little shifty eyed. We had to get out of there soon! After a few calls to the rental car facility and some more waiting, we made it to the rental cars and that was a true test of my mental stability.
rental shuttle

Then, all was right with the world. We got food, arrived at the hotel and counted sheep in preparation for our first bout together for 2013.

Our first interleague bout of 2013 was a further challenge for us since it was on the bank track. Talk about REALLY taking yourself out of your element! My motto, though, is to always challenge yourself and the more you put yourself out of your element, the more you can grow. If you’ve never experienced the Doll House, it’s definitely a site to behold; a city block where the LA Derby dolls practice and bout. It houses a flat track, a bank track, locker rooms, bout viewing footage area, makeup room, officials room. We were defeated by the Dolls who were clearly superior on the bank track.

LADD

You can watch the game via the links below:

Part 1:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29689190

Part 2:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/29691412

 

Sunday afternoon we drove out to the other side of LA to play Angel City in their warehouse. I know I personally felt more pumped and comfortable, ready to play. Once the bout started though, something felt unsettling on the track, perhaps it was how aggressive Angel City came out of the game, how much they wanted this win, or a lack of trust on Charm’s part with each other on the track. We fell in that game as well and loss always hold the taste of sour disappointment but if can also generate the need to shift into the next gear.

 

 

Good to Go?

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s only YOU truly know your body.  Albeit, sometimes we know we should stop and push it past our limits, other times we fear going close to our max and under-perform.  My doctor finally cleared me for “everything” on January 7th and, I have to admit, I’m pretty skeptical.  For my off skates workouts,I had been lifting a max of 5-10lbs on my injured arm and began to add weight on, 15lbs, and dove back into pushups.  I did ease myself into blocking and boy did the first hit or two that I took in my shoulder HURT.  It’s a constant mental vs physical battle, is this PAIN pain or pain from being sedentary/restricted use in this limb?  I am happy that I tried to stay active when possible and that I got back on skates when I was comfortable and even though I’m skeptical of the return, I tried to face the fear rather than to feed it.

So to sum, the lessons I’ve learned this far:

1.  Listen to your body

2.  Listen to your DR

3.  Stay active when possible

4.  Know your body and ease into things

5.  Don’t feed the fear

 

 

Small Workout < 30 Minutes

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I wrote this workout for a teammate, so I figured I’d share:

 

1 min jog in place
1 min squats
1 min back lunges
1 min jumping jacks
5 pushups
1 min plank

Repeat x1

15 squat jumps
10 push-ups
15 split jumps
10 push-ups

Repeat 1x

1 minute plank
30 sec side plank lifts, each side. (Side plank and lift hips up and down)

30 sec bicycles
30 sec toe and finger touches (flat on back, lift toes and fingers to touch and slowly release back to ground, the hardest part will be closer to the ground, engage abs)
30 sec crunches

Repeat 1x

 

17 Weeks!

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It’s been a long 17 weeks from breaking my collarbone during our home team Season Opener in September. 

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Initial Break – September 8, 2012

I’m not sure if I shot myself in the foot because I came in determined to NOT have surgery, since there would be NO chance of being healed for WFTDA Eastern Playoffs or WFTDA Champs, if we advanced.  I was also initially hopeful, lots of internet research showed 6-10 weeks for recovery time. The first week was hell.  I “slept” a lot and tried to limit any movement.  And by “slept” I mean entering in and out of consciousness throughout the day and night.  Any little movement was excruciating and I couldn’t lay on my back, on my side, on my stomach; I had to sleep sitting up with two large pillows to prop me up and a pillow under my left arm to prop my arm in place to take some pressure off of my arm hanging down.  Pretty sure I didn’t take a shower for two days, and mind you, that is with post bout derby stank.  Walking involved hunching as far forward as possible to take the pressure off the broken bone, pretty sure it didn’t help.  After the first week, the pain subsided greatly but inflammation was still apparent so only anti-inflammatories were needed for the following week.  Exercising was still painful and I wasn’t able to lift my shoulder so I remained pretty confined and limited in what I could do.  I returned to skating in mid to late October, non contact open skates and Tuesday speed practices away from any potential contact. 

Following WFTDA Championships, I had my 2nd Doctor’s appointment and was really excited for good news since it was past the 10 week mark for the normal healing time for this injury.  Once the x-ray popped up on the screen, my jam dropped and so did my high expectations and hope but according to the Doctor it was “progress.”  The x-ray, to the naked uninformed eye, looked exactly the same, no bone growth and same position.  There was, however, evidence of a callus forming. 

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Follow Up Appointment 12-12-12

Wait and come back in the new year. That was the consensus, with no projected date of return.  It was a true test of my patience.  I did leave with some permission to do “anything that didn’t hurt.” I could now work on full range of motion and light strength exercises, light weights, bike riding, planks.  It wasn’t until mid December that I actually started to feel some significant callus growth, possible bone growth???  So, I go into my next Doctor appoint hopeful for good news and a relatively soon return and nervous for bad news and a diagnosis of wait it out till who knows when. 

 

The Start of the New Season

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Today I coached my first All Star practice back after the off season and we held our interest meeting for skaters wanting to join the team.  Practice was great, it was a perfect blend of skills to knock off the cobwebs and brush up on some basics while breaking a sweat.  I decided to run today’s practice similar to our couple of practices after the WFTDA Championships, heavy on footwork, edges and blocking technique.  I also threw in some endurance and a bunch of plow and hockey stops.  I’m still not blocking, waiting on the clearance from my Dr., so I participated in the footwork, endurance and stops and helped give feedback on the blocking and edge work.  We had a huge turnout  since this Sunday practice was labeled “advance skills” and opened up to the league and the skaters really pushed themselves.  I see a huge drive this season from vets and All Stars alike to improve their individual game, something that hasn’t been so prevalent.  Most of our skaters aren’t comfortable just staying at the same level anymore and I love it when I see them pushing themselves to try new things and those light bulbs going off in their heads when something clicks.  I skirt a fine line in my coaching philosophy between making people just DO IT and getting them to think about the technical aspects of how they’re undertaking a skill, to improve efficiency.  All in all, many blisters were earned and everyone looked genuinely happy to be back and be pushed.

Following the practice we had a lengthy information meeting for the 2013 season, that included current All Stars and interested parties.  Both Pain, my co-captain, and myself were really taken aback by the sheer turnout of skaters who wanted to be a part of the team.  In the past we’ve had a lot of mixed emotions about working hard, playing competitive and being a part of the team.  In fact, not once did we actually PICK a roster for our All Star games, any of them!  That’s a funny and scary tid-bid.  But our skaters seem generally stoked on stepping up their game.  It’s going to be a great season, I can’t wait!

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Stationary/Recumbant Bike Interval Training

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Do you have a stationary bike at home?  Here’s a great 10-15 minute workout that you can easily fit into your daily routine, or even if it is 3 days a week.  I do this most mornings when I let me dog out in the yard.  You can also do this at the gym for a good warmup.  This gets your heart rate up, offers interval training, doesn’t take all day and doesn’t get boring because you’re changing your resistance every minute. 

Set the resistance at a good midway point, something not too strenuous / not too easy.  I Have 8 settings so I stick mine on 5 to start.

 

Minute 1 – 5 – Easy pedal to get warmed up.

Minute 2 – 5 – Pedal a little quicker to get your heart rate up.

Minute 3 – 6 – Regular pedal.  Don’t burn your legs out when you increase the resistance. 

Minute 4 – 5 – Quick pedal.

Minute 5 – 7 – Regular pedal.

Minute 6 – 5 – Quick pedal

Minute 7 – 8 – Regular pedal

Minute 8 – 5 – Quick Pedal

Minute 9 – 7 – Regular pedal.

Minute 10 – 5 – Quick pedal.

Minute 11 – 6 – Regular pedal.

Minute 12 – 5 – Quick pedal.

Minute 13 – 5 or no resistance – pedal backwards at an easy pedal

 

 

 

Bike Party, How I Love Thee So

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I will preface by stating that I am not a self-proclaimed biker or cyclist by any means or stretch of the imagination…

My friend Carol invited me out this past June to this massive bike ride she was going to participate in, formally Critical Mass and being bored, looking for something to do, I accepted.  Since then, I haven’t looked back as the size, scope and popularity of the ride has grown since its inception.  Even in the midst of winter, the ride holds a surprisingly good turnout of riders not afraid of the chill.  The Baltimore Bike Party reigns as one of my favorite monthly Baltimore activities.

Why do I love the Bike Party?  It’s a great physical activity, great way to view the city, good vibes, and camaraderie.   Instead of sitting in a bar drinking or home folding clothes, dress up in whatever theme the ride has planned, grab a 6 pack, flask or hot cocoa and throw it in your bike basket or back pack, ride a new route through the city every month while listening to some kicking tunes blasting from the stereo trailer, make some friends at the 1 or 2 stops the ride has planned and then end the night dancing.  In addition to their blog, you can also follow the Bike Party on Facebook.

They’ve also just started a Kickstarter page to purchase a newer, bigger, louder and radder music setup to blast through the streets of Baltimore. 

Hamden - 31st Street

Hippodrome

Junkyard Dolls DO Dr Sketchy’s

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No matter how tough you think you are, it takes balls, ha, to get out in front of a crowd.  When I first started playing roller derby I would get sick to my stomach at the thought of being in front of people.  How are they going to judge me?  Will I make an ass out of myself?  How stupid will I look?  Seems silly, but I have always had a fear of public speaking, walking at my graduation, anything that had to do with people looking at me.  This is not an uncommon fear.

Roller Derby has helped me overcome this fear, slightly.  I am now more confident in many more situations.  I have more confidence in interviews and at work and can stand up and defend myself in public.  I don’t get that nervous before home team games but I still get performance anxiety before really important All Star games or tournaments.

When the Junkyard Dolls, my home team,  planned to pose at Dr Sketchy’s in November, I sucked it up, gathered what little courage and confidence I had and decided to challenge myself to overcome my fear once again.  It wasn’t terrible and I survived, despite wanting to hurl as soon as I stepped on stage.

Dr Sketchy’s Baltimore put together this great video, check it out below:

Beer Chicken Chili Enchiladas

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I was looking to make enchiladas, for the first time and came across a recipe that looked pretty good.  Using my beloved pressure cooker, I followed it pretty closely with a few substitutions/changes.

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Large Chicken Breast or 2 Small

4 Cloves Garlic

2 TBSP Chili Powder

4 Dried Red Chiles

12oz Beer

1/4 C lime Juice

16 Corn Tortillas

1/2 C Vegetable Oil

6 OZ Cheddar / Pepper Jack Cheese

Set your pressure cooker to saute and add 2 TBSP olive oil.  Add garlic and chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add Red Chiles (emptied of seeds), beer, lime and chili powder, close pressure cooker, set to HIGH Pressure for 18 minutes with quick release.

Pour most (3/4th) of the liquid out into a shallow dish, reserve for later.

Heat vegetable oil in pan.

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Shred the chicken.  Switch pressure cooker to Saute and add 1 can of green chiles until most of the remaining liquid is absorbed.

Set up a plate with a layer of paper towels near the frying pan.  Fry each side of the corn tortilla for a couple of seconds and place on the plate.

Once all the tortillas are fried (not to a crisp), 1 at a time, dip the tortilla in the reserved sauce, place a scoop of chicken and sprinkle cheese inside, roll up and place in pan.  If you are cooking for 2, you can place half of the rolled enchiladas in a freezer bag and freeze for later.  Or, you can cook all of them and have dinner for tomorrow night as well!

Sprinkle the remainder of your cheese on top of the enchiladas in the pan, cover with tinfoil and cook for about 20 minutes.

If you like MORE sauce you can additionally buy a can of enchilada sauce from the store, heat and serve over or in addition.

SERVE!