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Archive for the ‘Roller Derby’ Category

I can’t believe it, it’s been a year since I tried-out and became a Naptown Roller Girl!  What an unbelievable experience.  And, for those of you wondering, a roller derby year is the same as a regular calendar year, but with more bruises. 

In July of 2009, I entered roller derby workshops.  I was 33 years old and hadn’t been on quad skates since the Roller Dome parties in grade school….you do the math.  I owned no skates.  I purchased used skates from craigslist….I think they cost me $25.  Needless to say, I was pretty awful the first day….and for many days after, for that matter.  I hadn’t skated in years and had the slowest wheels known to man, even slower than Sugars.  I remember being so tired from working so hard.  I would like to add that I was training for a marathon then, so I was in pretty good shape.  My friend, who eventually became known as Freddie Cougar, and I rented skates; they were about mid-calf and the old school roller rink kind…still very slow.  Thankfully, Ana Slays Ya let me borrow her old pair for the next month.

Try-outs were August 2, and by some miracle, I made it despite my fall at the jammer line before I started a drill.  I think they took me because I pushed myself, never gave up, got up quickly after a fall, and they were somehow able to see some potential in this skate-challenged girl.  I was so happy when I got the email from Sin Lizzie telling me I had made it…WOW….I was ecstatic to be referred to as “fresh meat.” 

And, then off to practice with the vets….very intimidating, to say the least, especially when you are a complete train wreck of a skater like my past Eve.  But, they got used to us newbs and our cuteness grew on them.   

Above is a picture of me, in red, in my very first bout in December 2009 (photo by Marc Lebryk), I didn’t skate very much, but it was awesome nonetheless.  Now, I was finally Eve Elle, The Original Bad Girl. 

I have learned a lot in this first year.  Sure, I learned tons about skating, falling, hitting, blocking, etc, but, more importantly, I learned some things about myself, roller derby, and other valuable life lessons:

  • Old dogs really can learn new tricks….and keep learning!
  • Practice and perseverance can overcome any obstacles.
  • Roller derby is more about smarts, and heart, than muscle.
  • Being fierce has nothing to do with size.
  • Talent without effort is a waste.
  • Perfection is not attainable, but improvement is limitless.  
  • What happens on the track; stays on the track.

These things that I have learned are priceless, but the most amazing thing about this past year of roller derby is the people that I have met and the friends that I will have for a lifetime.  You all have helped me grow, not only as a skater, but as a person.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Roll on!

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This would be yours truly to the left attempting to get up after a hit.  Falling is part of roller derby, and I do it alot.  I skate for Indianapolis’ Naptown Roller Girls, who in my opinion, have the best team and fans in the nation…wOOt.  Playing roller derby, or even watching, is not for the light-hearted. Roller girls experience mostly bruises and soreness, but there is the occasional bloody nose, concussion, and even broken bones, mostly tailbones, legs, and ribs.  Even some spectators may leave a bout with some bruises, although this is the chance one takes when sitting in the suicide seats.  You have been warned. 

If you have never witnessed a bout, check out this video of big hits from the Carolina Rollergirls.  And, if you want more roller derby knock-outs, check out our website for upcoming bouts.    

As a roller girl, I know that I am putting my body at risk everytime I hit the track….I have signed all the waivers and release forms….but, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

As a dietitian, I know that there are important nutritients to consume to keep bones strong, speed healing of bruises, and alleviate, not eliminate, stiff joints and muscles.  In my experience as a runner and yoga instructor, there are many things one can do to aid in recovery and alleviate soreness.  Here are my recommendations for roller girls and others that put them self at risk of bumps and bruises on a daily basis:

  1. Eat high quality protein.  If you’re a meat eater, then lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products, all preferably organic.  If you don’t eat meat, then beans, grains, nuts, and seeds will likely provide you with adequate protein. 
  2. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  These provide the greatest amount of vitamins and antioxidants.  I am not a big advocate of multivitamins as they have not been proven to be adequately absorbed, but I suppose they are a cheap insurance if you aren’t getting much variety.  Fruits also contain fructose, a natural sugar, that can aid in replenishing muscle glycogen stores, which if not replenished, can leave your muscles feeling sore. 
  3. Read my previous post on my favorite recovery drink, chocolate milk.  If you don’t drink dairy, coconut water can be a good recovery drink as well, although, I do not have personal experience with this. 
  4. Obviously, drink plenty of water.  The amount of water one needs is certainly dependent on amount and intensity of training, weather, body fat percentage, age, and gender.  If your pee is bright yellow, you likely aren’t drinking enough. 
  5. As stated in # 2, I rarely advocate supplements, however, Omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil or flax seed oil, have been shown in many studies to reduce inflammation in the joints.  Nuts and seeds can also provide these.
  6. Stretch.  Yoga Journal’s website is a good resource to find poses for particular muscle groups. 
  7. Rest.  Rest is not something that roller girls do well.  They want to go out 100% all the time or they think they will lose their strength.  Rest is just as important as training.  Rest allows your muscles to recover and get stronger from training.  The amount of rest depends on the intensity of training and will likely be different for every individual.

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Size bias is certainly routine in everyday life and definitely in the world of roller derby. Many outside of the derby world might naturally assume that the smaller girls would be jammers and the bigger girls would do the hard hitting as blockers. My derby sisters are probably chuckling at this as they know this isn’t necessarily the case. I have seen some “bigger” jammers that are truly amazing with their speed, agility and they are impossible to knock down and like myself, there are some “small” girls that will knock a girl out of her skates…I have yet to do this, but it’s not from lack of trying.
And, just like roller derby, I find size bias as a dietitian. I am intrigued by the comments I receive from clients regarding MY size. I am 5’4” and weigh in at 120lbs; body fat percentage is around 20%. I am not overweight, but I am certainly not the skinniest person you’ve ever seen, I used to weigh 95 pounds….more on that another time. I always think “What does it matter to them? Isn’t this supposed to be about what they’re doing or not doing? Aren’t they coming to me for my knowledge? Are they playing mind games with me?” I don’t have the answers, but I have some theories and I’m pretty sure it really has nothing to do with me or my size, and more to do with my clients’ perceptions of what it means to be thin or overweight. Typically, I just brush off such comments and get back to the reasons that brought them to me. And, another thing, it’s really none of their business. Ah, but here I share with all that care to read this.
I have some clients that would prefer to see a thin dietitian, such as myself; I think they believe that thin dietitians have all the answers, or I am hiding my magic wand somewhere. Well, I must, right? I’m thin, I must eat all the right foods in the right combinations and the right amounts and never indulge in chocolate or alcohol or chicken wings, right? In the words of Dwight Schrute: “False!” Now don’t get me wrong, 85% of the time I choose whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, lean meats, etc, but I believe in balance and enjoy the occasional brownie, beer, chocolate, Keystone Review wings, and my recent weekly favorite, a pretzel from Taste of Philly. So, if these clients are correct in their thinking, instead of getting a 4 year degree, 1 year internship, and taking an exam to become a registered dietitian, I should have just been weighed???
And, funny enough, there are some clients who would prefer not to see a thin dietitian. Why you might ask? Well, over the years I have heard rumors from clients that thin dietitians know nothing about the struggles that one might encounter with a “weight” problem. NEWS FLASH: I am not thin because I thrice tapped by ruby red slippers and said “let me be thin, let me be thin.” Ironically, I have had to work at this as well. Huh, who knew? I have had my “struggles” with weight over the years from starving myself to binging/purging, and every diet in between those two extremes. I started dieting in middle school about the time I hit puberty. I won’t go into all the gory details in this post as I want to keep them short, but I’ve done it all.
I don’t know everything, but I have learned some things in the last 10 years of being a dietitian and 20 years of pursuing thinness. First, don’t judge a dietitian or roller girl by their size or lack of tattoos. A thin person is not necessarily “healthy” or fast and an overweight person isn’t necessarily “unhealthy” or good at hitting. Second, I have yet to witness strict dieting being successful . I promote being mindful while eating real foods, which means more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts/seeds, and organic dairy products. And, finally, BALANCE. Take rest days; eat pretzels, chocolate, and wings occasionally; it’s good for the soul.

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