WalthamSNOW looked amazingly pretty as I prepared to head out on the trek up to Hertfordshire for training. There were some concerns early on in the morning that the leisure centre where practice was would be closed, since they were experiencing much more snow than we had down here, but it was finally decided to go ahead as planned, wooooo!
♥ bottom photo by Jekyll N Slyde of Hell's Belles RollerGirls ♥
Our train took us up through North London and into Hertfordshire in super speedy time, but as we alighted I had slight concerns... there was A LOT more snow here than at home, and the venue was still a 30 minute walk away. A minor blizzard whipped against us as we trudged through the snow to our destination, and by the time we got there we were soaked through *note to self - always bring spare socks in future!
The trek was worth it though, I warmed up in no time and after a quick introduction and warm-up game it was time to skate-up and get rolling. Knee stops were first on the agenda, which was fine with me - I'd been practising them at home (as best as you can on carpet), so I knew the gist. They were probably the most successful part of the day for me, in slightly dejected honesty.
We attempted plough stops, but my god I just couldn't get them. I could do the initial motion, but the strength just wasn't there so I couldn't get the hang of actually stopping myself. I kept hearing, "get lower! No, even lower!" being directed at me from some of the skaters, but I just felt like I was totally losing my balance and that made me stiffen up like a crazy nervous fool. On one attempt I practically did the splits on my skates. That hurt. I apologised for being a doofus to Kato, the skater who was helping instruct me, and was subsequently told off by the coach for saying sorry: "unless you've been a complete jerk, there is no such thing as sorry in derby" I was told. Noted.
To end the session we played a couple of relay races - incorporating our new skating skills (*ahem* not) and our stops. Instead of shying away like I always used to do during school sports sessions, I threw myself into it. I certainly wasn't the fastest and I wasn't at all confident in the motion bits of it, especially with everyone watching, but my stops were good and controlled. Now I just need to get better at the whole propulsion part, preferably before next weekend.
Walking back through the snow nearly destroyed me. I hadn't needed to take my inhaler all day, but that walk back to the station through the now much deeper snow and bitter cold wind, after hours of skating, was enough to turn me into a full blown spluttering/semi-breathing mess. Our train was running 20 mins late, which at least gave me a bit of a chance to breathe deeply, rest my weary legs and eat some much-deserved chocolate.
Highlights of the Day:
*the skaters were all lovely, super helpful and mega encouraging, even when I was rubbish
*the rest of the Fresh Meat were lovely too, and really supportive of each other
*I made sure to speak to everybody, which for a shy bear like me was quite an achievement
*the venue, apart from being sooooo far away, is nice and big and cosy
*it may have been exhausting, but I was super full of adrenaline and gusto by the end of it
*I'm not nervous for the rest of the course now that I've got over the first hurdle - in fact I can't wait for the next session!