Do you remember those Timex "torture test" commercials?
The watches were subjected to all kinds of ridiculous circumstances--being dropped 89 feet or attached to a dolphin or placed in a muddy wheel rut and driven over repeatedly. And they kept ticking.
My team was subjected to a grueling off-skates workout on Wednesday night. We ran sprints (ummm... I think the last time I ran a sprint was when I was in college... That would be twenty years ago...). We performed all kinds of exercises that used to be called calisthenics. We repeated for an hour. My comment was, "This practice was Degrassi (meaning intense)." That doesn't mean I liked it. It means it was hard. Harder than anything we have done in a long time. Maybe a whole year.
In the third station (out of four), I was dizzy and wanted to puke.
I had to leave the floor, go splash my face with cool water, pour water on my (very white) t-shirt, and resist the strong urge to put my finger down my throat.
I'm sure I would have felt better if I could have puked.
I'm sure I would have felt better if I hadn't eaten two Chicago-style hot dogs an hour before practice.
I'm sure I would feel better if I was twenty-one or thirty or even forty.
All true excuses.
But still excuses. And no one wants to hear excuses. Especially in derby.
My knees were throbbing from some side to side drill we were doing. I told my coach they were hurting, hoping he would tell me to sit out.
He asked me if I could do the drill for one more minute.
I can endure almost anything for one minute, so I said yes. He stood in front of me for the rest of the drill, looked in my eyes, and told me to keep up with him. He encouraged me to finish. And I needed that. I operate better when there is someone encouraging me. I think it's in my user's manual in chapter one. And I believe it's repeated in every chapter until the end.
It's the only way I could have finished that last minute (which BTW, had to be more than a minute. I'm pretty sure it was a full jam length.). I appreciate my coach noticing I was struggling and taking the time to help, not hinder.
I was exhausted. Tired beyond measure. In physical pain.
The pain and exhaustion continued throughout the evening and on into practice Thursday night.
In the middle of a suicide stop Thursday night, my legs said, "we are tired." I flailed all over the place. I was embarrassed, and I twisted my ankle. I stepped off the track and took a break. And I felt like an idiot.
Then, I was skating in a relay drill. It felt like I was slogging through mud with fifty pound weights on my ankles. I tried to pass another skater who I usually can easily outskate.
Couldn't do it. Couldn't speed up. Couldn't breathe.
Got back in line. Looked down to see that I was skating on my outdoor wheels. No wonder I couldn't move. No wonder my ponytail was wet with sweat less than an hour into practice. I gave myself an unnecessarily difficult workout by not following the cardinal rule I teach to girls just coming into our league. My rule is Everytime you skate, turn your skates over and look at them.
I usually do this and teach new girls to do this in order to identify any potential problems early on. You know, BEFORE they cause injury. Had I followed my own rule, I surely would have noticed that I had my green wheels (outdoor, durometer 74) on instead of my blue wheels (indoor, durometer 93).
My mind was elsewhere when I was getting my skates on.
Discovering my mistake an hour into practice was just too late. The damage was already done.
My legs said, "We are finished."
I knew if I stayed on the track they would give way. I would risk a real injury.
I was so disappointed with myself, so exhausted, so inside my head with Saturday's bout, so defeated by background derby chatter and changes that I had to leave practice.
I took a licking, and I went home.
And my calves are still hurting five days later. I don't think I should make it a personal challenge to win every sprint next time.... Winning is not everything. Walking without wincing is looking pretty good right now....