Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clearing Out the Cobwebs

Tonight I embarked on my "first" practice back to the league. I put first in quotation marks because I'm not practicing in the sense of being a skater, I am still acting in a coaching role and will be doing that until the next league elections, some time in December. I am coaching alongside Cinzilla who currently is unable to skate due to having the hardware removed from her leg after having screws and a plate put in secondary to a tib/fib fracture last season. She planned and ran the practice and I helped out on skates, ran a drill and worked one-on-one with the girls.

After being away for about three months, it was awesome to see how much the fresh meat have improved and how the Hellcats skaters have advanced. As for me, there was a part of it that was like riding a bike, I can still skate, stop, and weave through the paceline and then there is the other part that is listening to this voice in my head that keeps saying, "Can you really do this again? Can you come back from being gone for almost an entire year from competitive derby and become the player you once were?" Well, I sure as hell am going to find out the answer to that question because I'm one practice in and will be back next week for more.

Deep down I love coaching, helping out those that are passionate about the sport and want to learn but at the same time I am so looking forward to being a skater again. It was exciting to be back on skates last night even though I was coaching, I was able to do drills with the skaters and felt a little bit closer to being back. I may not be coaching the Bombshells anymore but the new girls need me to be there for them and help them succeed in their desires of being on a team come next season. I'm going to use the next two months or so to work through the kinks and doubts within myself, help Cinzilla train the new skaters and assist anyone else who wants my help. And come January 2011, I will be ready and confident to try out once again for the Bombshells.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roll Out!

It was indeed a week of rolling out for me. The title of this post is inspired by a movement that is taking shape created by our very own Pigeon. Yes, Pigeon, #1 on the Santa Cruz Derby Girl's team the Harbor Hellcats. Roll Out is a community outing where people meet at one location and hit the streets of Santa Cruz be it on roller skates, blades, bikes, scooters, or what have you. I participated in the very first roll out in support of Pigeon on Friday, September 17th, this also marked my first time back on skates in over 3 months. It was a beautiful night out in Santa Cruz and it felt so good to be back out rolling. The following Sunday I went for a 20 minute skate to the beach and back home, another day out on skates and I'm two sessions in. What's next for me? Practice tomorrow, of course, I'll be helping coach but I'm back on skates and working out with the fresh meat.

Before we embark on present day and a new post, I want to give a shout out to my former team, the Boardwalk Bombshells. They bouted against the OC Roller Girls on Saturday, September 25th at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. The bout theme was Super Heroes and the Bombshells that night, all 13 of them were just that! They came together as one cohesive group, executed some great strategy and played their hearts out to the end securing a win against OC, 95 - 87. Let me add, it was my daughter Liliana's first bout, she came dressed for the occasion with her skate booties thoughtfully made by Helen Wheels of Tucson Roller Derby. It was the first of many bouts for her and I enjoyed sharing her with my derby family.

A note to my readers, my blog is taking on another aspect, not only will I be blogging about my return to roller derby but I will be featuring interviews with the top names in roller derby. The interviewees will include those that are going above and beyond either in the business aspect of derby, the playing aspect featuring the top players, coaches, refs and NSOs and the just plain fun aspect. I've already got two great interviews lined up and one in the bag. I had the honor of conducting my first interview on Saturday night with the infamous B Train from the OC Roller Girls and Wicked Skatewear. B Train took time before the bout to sit down and chat with me about derby and Wicked, so stay tuned for all the details from that interview. And if you have an idea about someone you would love to read about, go ahead and send me a message. If they are not already on my list, I will get them on it and make it happen!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Plantar FasciOWtis

My return to roller derby is largely counting on me getting my plantar fasciitis under control. You may be asking, "What is Plantar Fasciitis and why does it happen?" Well I just so happened to Google it for those wondering.

An article in Medical News Today states:

"The condition occurs when the plantar fascia is strained over time beyond its normal extension, causing the soft tissue fibers of the fascia to tear or stretch at points along its length. This leads to inflammation, pain, and possibly the growth of a bone spur where it attaches to the heel bone. The stress may also result from injury, a bruise from walking, running on hard surfaces, wearing poorly constructed shoes, or being overweight. In addition, the inflammation may be aggravated by shoes that lack appropriate support, especially in the arch area, and by the chronic irritation that sometimes accompanies an athletic lifestyle."

The pain in my right foot began to bother me early last season. I found that I was getting pain on the bottom of my foot which would run up my arch and wrap around the top of my foot; this pain made it hard to stand in my skates for any length of time. Additionally, I started to suffer from cramping up the front of my leg. I was able to get through moderate practices but as soon as we started sprinting, I could not keep up, the pain was unbearable. I would have to have CinZilla and Charlie Red Stick rub my leg muscles out at practices and before games. About half way through the season, Dr. Roitz, with SOL SC, started placing spider tape up the front of my leg. The spider tape worked miracles on my cramping and allowed me to get through bouts with little to no pain.

I've been thinking a lot about why I started getting this pain in the first place and the more I've thought about it I realize that I may have been living with this pain for many years. In 2001, my husband, then boyfriend Daniel Eymann and I participated in the Aquaman while lifeguarding for Santa Cruz City Beach. The Aquaman is a run/swim from the Cement Ship in Seacliff to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf.

You start out by swimming around the Cement Ship, and then you proceed running west along the beach. Wherever you can't run you have to swim, including swimming around the Capitola Pier, across the Harbor and finishing around the Santa Cruz Wharf. It's a rigorous event but super fun. This was my second year participating and when I hit 26th Avenue Beach the heels of my feet were killing me. I could barely run, or walk for that matter, but I pushed myself through the pain, spending a lot of time jogging on my toes (You can imagine the calf pain I experienced the week after). My feet were deeply bruised and my calves hated me, I think it took a good couple of weeks to recover from my injuries. Although 8 years has passed, I truly think that this may have been the event that spurred my present day feet issues.

Today, a lot of my issues are due to weight put on by my pregnancy, lack of wearing supportive shoes and believe it or not being barefoot on my hardwood floors. Curiously, as I was walking today, my left foot started hurting. I've been putting so much focus on my right foot that I think my left foot is now jealous so it's acting up to get some attention. My plan for recovery is to wear supportive shoes at all times, even in the house, the doctor says the only time I should be barefoot when I'm vertical is when I'm taking a shower. I am seeing an acupuncturist weekly whom also gave me liquid minerals to put on my feet and legs. I also see Dr. Roitz once a week for ART on my foot, as well as, taping. I've started exercising to drop the weight and am going to get orthotics for my shoes and skates. It's going to be a lot of work to get my feet healthy again but I know that without strong and healthy feet to support my body I cannot play derby, which is in no way an option for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Return of the Derby Girl

I cannot believe that it's been over a year since I last wrote and sadly my last blog post before this I was pretty much saying the same thing. I have not been very good at this blogging thing as much as I enjoy doing it. It should be a priority of mine to do the things I love but as we all know other priorities have a way of taking over. I want to make a commitment to myself and my followers to bring this blog back to life, to bring the blog back to what I expected it to be when I first started writing it. To accomplish this goal I'm turning my focus to talk about my return to roller derby.

I stopped playing roller derby almost a year ago, my last bout was on October 24, 2009 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. My team the Boardwalk Bombshells played against Sac City and we had a very successful game where we really came together. Underneath that win, for me, was a body that was badly hurting, every day. I was dealing with foot pain, due to what has now been diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, making it very painful to be in my skates but this wasn't the worst of my "injuries", I was suffering from extreme neck pain due to a fall I took during the September 12, 2009 bout against Tucson Roller Derby's Iron Curtain. I was hit from behind, which normally would not be an issue but with the speed we were moving, the position my body was in and the place at which I was hit caused my skates to come up, I fell on my back and came down and hit my head. I'm usually the person who pops up regardless of the fall but I was down for a few seconds longer than normal. When I came up to start skating again, I was holding the back of my head. I stumbled forward a few steps and fell on my face. The refs blew the jam dead as I lay face down on the floor. I was quickly attended to by an off-duty firefighter because the medics and Dr. Roitz were busy treating Eden Yourheartout who was suffering from a bloody nose in the locker room. I left the game to be evaluated and sit out my required jams but nothing was going to keep me from finishing the game. In hindsight, I should have not gone back into that game or the subsequent games I played that season. I was most definitely concussed and suffering from whiplash.

I played the rest of the season with the neck pain, until October, and during that time it just progressively got worse. So bad in fact, I was waking up every morning in excruciating pain that would last all day. When I would go to practice, every hit or bump felt like someone taking a hammer to my neck, I started cringing every time I got hit or had to hit someone. Once the season came to an end with our final bout, I stopped playing completely, I needed to heal. I attempted after a couple of weeks of rest to practice again and with one hit, I was back to the pain. I decided it was time to really rest and that's what I did. I continued to skate but stopped all contact.

Come early December, my husband and I got wonderful news that we were expecting another baby, we were thrilled. We both wanted to have another child, we just did not think it would happen as fast as it did. It worked out perfectly though, the timing couldn't be better considering I was already out from derby because of my neck. I had already decided I was going to take some time off, rest my injuries, have a baby and apply to coach the Bombshells for the 2010 season and that's just what I did.

I coached from January to the end of June, it was hard to transition from player to coach, having played with almost all of the players the last two seasons. I did the best that I could and learned a lot about myself, my leaguemates and about the game of derby, all things that I will utilize next season to be a better player then I was when I left. I can only hope that I made a difference for some players and that they were able to learn from my time there. For myself, I feel good about what I accomplished and that I was able to give enough time for the new Bombshells Coach Payne Gretsky to learn the game, form relationships with the players and take over my position in the league. I took my formal leave from the league on July 1st to focus on my family and prepare for the birth of my baby.

On August 10, 2010 at 4:22am, my daughter Liliana Michelle was born at Dominican Hospital. I had my wonderful husband, awesome mom, and dear friend Roxy Scarmichael, who was absolutely amazing, by my side, I couldn't have done it without them. My dad was on Auggie duty that morning an equally important task (who was so excited he could not go back to sleep). It was a fast birth all together. My first contraction was about 1:30am and by 4:20am I was ready to push. With one big push Liliana was welcomed to the world; I think the doctor was a bit shocked at how fast she came out. Overall, it was an intense experience and the pregnancy itself was quite interesting, which ended miraculously as we found out that Lily's umbilical cord had gotten knotted some time during the pregnancy. Research says that "Umbilical cord knots occur in about one in every hundred pregnancies, but only one in 2,000 deliveries will have a true tight knot that could present problems for the baby." The doctor felt that we were very lucky to have her be born healthy, we felt truly blessed that morning to have her in our lives. And I have to say that

So, after almost an entire year of not playing derby, I'm about ready to pick up where I left off. My heart truly lies with playing derby and I cannot wait to be out on the track again.

I hereby declare that the rebrith of my blog marks my return to derby.