Skating a Marathon

 Posted by at 10:06 am  2 Responses »
Sep 292011

42035-skate-marathon-the-first-event-of-its-kind-for-scotlandLast year was my first year competing in the NYC Skate Marathon. My teammates Cinderosa and Kitty Purry competed as well, and we were the only three racing on quads. We did make a friend from Gotham’s rec league, Jeanne Williams, who was skating in the park that day.

This year’s marathon took place this past Saturday, September 24th and there were (I believe) 12 skaters on quads! The race added in a “roller derby challenge” to allow skaters a relay option. There were two teams of two competing in the relay. The marathon is just like a regular marathon- 26.2 miles, but it is a loop around Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The loop is approximately a 5k, so for the marathon- you make the loop 8 times. For the relay- you tag off each lap. I expected it to be one person skating 13.1 miles and then the next, but you switch off each time. I think having that rest probably made each lap much more daunting, but that’s just me. One derby challenge team featured O Chit of Charm City and Cybil Disobedience of Harrisburg. The other team was a skater from Gotham and her husband from the New York Shock Exchange. From my team- ED Sledgewick and Marv E Lust completed the half marathon, 13.1 miles! There was also a skater from a team in… Michigan, maybe… who completed the half, as well as a friend of Suburbia Roller Derby, and our friend Jeanne! In the full marathon there was Domestic Violet of Suburbia, my teammates- Percy QT and Amelia RIP Heart, and me.

take off 2


Having quads at the race generates respect for our sport. Knowing that we can compete with speed skaters because of our training for roller derby shows that we are athletes. I’m not saying that everyone who plays needs to be able to skate a marathon, I am just saying that the speed skaters there were impressed. When they asked how I was able to go so fast on quads I told them, “roller derby!” That is the truth- practicing at least 3 days a week for 2 hours is why I am fast on quads! No secret there! But, I did do a fair amount of training for the marathon. I skated between 10-26 miles about three times per week outdoors. I started training for the skate marathon after my half Iron-Man triathlon. I really picked up the training in mid July.

Other than just increasing distances, I worked on improving times, did a bit of hill training, skating with ankle and wrist weights and varying my strides. Fortunately there are several loops that I can use to train where I live. I found one loop that is a perfect 13.1, so I would do that once, or twice, and work on my race pace. Amelia and I also skated 35 miles to the beach, but only once.

I can’t think of any other “secrets” to my training. I eat well (mostly fruits, vegetables, and yogurt), train (pretty much) daily, stretch, and drink plenty of water (about 64-72 ounces a day).  The only other key to my success was setting ambitious goals.

At the 2010 marathon, my first lap was my slowest. In any race that I have done, even just a 5k, I start slow and build up. It can be a pretty good strategy, except that I was starting too slow. You can only make up so much time. So this year, when I was training and when I was racing- I started hard and got even harder. I would be around mile 6-7 of a training skate and realize that my legs could push harder than I was asking them to push. I had to break myself of the habit of reserving energy for the end. Pacing yourself is important, don’t get me wrong- but you have to find your limits, especially in training. If you start at a pace you end up unable to maintain, then you’ll slow down towards the end- at least you’ll know your limits. What I found is that I could push myself more and more towards the end, even if I had been challenging myself the whole time.

Let me use an example. I set out on my 13.1 mile loop at a 11mph pace. Around mile 2, I realize that I can pick it up- so I get up to 13mph. Can I maintain 13mph for the rest of the distance? I don’t know, but I can do it at mile 2- so I do. Around mile 10 my legs are not pushing quite as hard, I feel myself slowing down. But I realize that there are only 3 miles left! I can keep that pace- or even pick it up a bit- for the last 3 miles. With only 1 mile left, I know that I’m almost done, so I pick it up again. Then, when my house is in site, I can really sprint. Initially, I wanted to keep that 11mph pace in order to preserve energy for the last mile and the sprint at the end. But instead, I found new energy reserves! They are there, but you have to be willing to search for them. That’s how you build endurance- you can’t hold back! There is no reason to preserve your energy, you’ll find new energy, and if you don’t- you’ll collapse, haha! That’s training.

My time goal for the marathon was 2 hours. In training, my pace was typically 12.6-13mph depending on the distance and objectives for each session (ie- long strides, weights for strength). At the race, my pace was just about 13.1mph exactly.

Since it is a loop, you can see your time each lap. After my first lap when I saw the clock it read 18minutes. In order to meet my 2 hour goal, I needed to do each lap in about 15 minutes. I spent the rest of the race trying to make up for these three minutes. At my second lap, I needed the clock to read 30 minutes and it read 32. At the third, I needed it to read 45 and it was around 47. On my last lap, I dug deep and picked up the pace as much as I could. When I crossed the finish line the clock read 2:02. I was proud of myself, of course, but I was bummed. I tried really hard not to be, but I was. Sledge and Marv were there when I crossed. Sledge had a serious wipe out, but got back up and finished with road rash that looks like a zombie bite. They had both reached their goal of completing the half and I was truly very proud of them. Then Percy and Amelia came in from the marathon in under 3 hours, reaching their goal. It was cheering me up that my teammates reached their goals, but bumming me out at the same time because I was 2 minutes off mine. Then Percy told me that they started the clock from the first wave… we went in the fourth wave! My time was actually several minutes faster! Turns out my official time was 1:59:44! I was stoaked! I met my goal and took first in my age!

Here is my time broken down by laps:

0:15:12.867 0:14:34.283 0:14:43.370 0:14:46.025 0:14:46.522 0:15:03.852 0:15:30.845 0:15:06.260 1:59:44.024


It ended up being a great thing that I thought I needed to make up time! The current Guinness World Record is 2:30 for the fastest marathon on skates (I believe). I filed a claim several months ago and they replied that the minimum requirement for the record “fastest marathon on roller skates” was 2:30. So, I confirmed my record attempt date and got all the necessary information. Now, it is just a matter of compiling all the evidence they requested. I haven’t heard back from them. I emailed to see what the actual time for the record is. I guess it could really be 1:58 or something and they are just saying that the minimum to even attempt the record is 2:30. But I don’t know why they would do that… so we’ll see! Either way, I am pleased with my time. It would be cool to say I have the record, but I am not as pressed about it as I was prior to the race. Especially because I will take off even more time next year.

Other than reach my goal and seeing my teammates reach their goals, the sweetest part of the marathon was seeing Team in Training people running in the park. Team in Training is an endurance training group that raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. When I did my 70.3 mile triathlon in June, it was with TNT. Prospect Park remains open during the race for recreational users and there was a whole group of TNT runners there. When I passed by them I yelled “Go Team!” and they all cheered in response. In my next lap around I yelled to them again and said “Survivor!” That was probably in loop 3-4 and that word gave me strength. It means a lot to me, I had to keep myself from crying when I said it. The pride that I feel when I say that word is immeasurable. I realized then that I could pick it up. I had more strength than I knew- shit, I beat cancer!

Next year I plan to start training earlier, train on more hills, train on longer hills, and train with a parachute for wind resistance. I’ll decide what my time goal is once I get into training, but I’m thinking I want to take off about 10 minutes. I hope to see even more people on quads! Playing roller derby gives us endurance, physical strength, and mental strength- that’s all you need for the marathon, so go for it! You’ll be able to register at and I expect to see you there!


Setting Team Goals

 Posted by at 5:03 pm  1 Response »
Sep 202011

Now that I am back at school and have access to a computer, I will be posting on this blog. During my hiatus from blogging, I was still writing in my journal and I’ve wanted to share so many things with the derby community. I find myself learning new things from roller derby daily.

People are very often praised for remaining strong in their convictions. Many pride themselves on remaining unchanging because they think that a change in beliefs shows weakness. In reality, we should be ashamed if we are the same as we were a year ago- or even a day ago. The tendency to say “but I’ve always done…” or “I never did…” is understandable. Once we have progressed, it is hard for us to imagine how we may have done something differently. I can hear myself saying “I’ve always been fit,” but in reality I have become more and more fit over time. If you were to compare my scrawny 16 year old quads with my now buff 20 year old quads, there is an immense difference. The point is that change is good. That change is called progress and without it we digress.

Change, or progress, comes from challenging yourself and setting new goals. In order to achieve what we you want and to grow- you have to set goals. Goals provide you with direction. If you know where you want to be in the future, then you will know what you really want to be doing in the present. It seems like it would be easy to do what you want, but it isn’t always that simple. For example, my goal is to have 8 pack abs. One day someone offers me a donut that sounds appealing at the moment. Keeping my goal in mind, I can say no because I know that it won’t get me what I truly want. Distractions are simply excuses and vice versa. When I was setting my goals I didn’t make my goal to enjoy saturated fats. That is not depriving yourself; it is understanding what you really want and maintaining focus.

I understand and embrace the mentality that life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. But where will you journey? Will you just go as the wind blows you, or will you decide where you want to go and get there?

As individual players we should be setting goals and constantly challenging ourselves to be the best athletes we can. We should evaluate our performances, highlight our positives and determine areas for improvement. I am a constant self-improver. That does not mean that I am not proud of what I have accomplished, it simply means that I will not coast on what I have accomplished. If I decide my goal for that month is to skate 13 miles in one hour and I accomplish that, then it is time to do 14 miles in one hour. If I don’t accomplish it, that’s okay too. That just means my goal for next month is still to skate 13 miles in one hour.

I believe in setting big, arduous goals- because the only thing that is certain is that if you don’t try it, you won’t accomplish it. So how do we go about setting goals as individuals?
Determine your values. What matters to you? How do you enjoy spending your time?
Look at what you would truly want in an ideal world- with no limiting factors.
Set your goals.

I set one, five, and 10 year goals for derby, health, personal, and education/career. I based my goal setting worksheet off of one that I found here: I start at 10 years, and then do 5, and then one so that I can direct my shorter term goals based on my long term vision. I also set monthly, weekly, and daily goals that work towards my ultimate goals.

Here is one of my goals, “I reach five year remission (cure) by 2016.” This one is a little trickier than others because obviously I did not choose to get cancer to begin with. However, this remains a goal of mine- in an ideal world that is what I would like. Knowing this, I can make decisions that work towards my goal.
So I set the goal: “I skate a marathon in 2 hours by September 2011.” That works towards my ultimate goal (as well as many of my other long term goals related to skating) by contributing to my health.
To accomplish that I set a goal: “I skate 50 miles per week outside of practice by August 2011.”
Today I set a goal to skate 10 miles, which I will do as soon as I finish typing this.

You get the picture.

The point is to progress and live your life with direction. But I’m not done yet. You see, that is pretty easy for us to do as individuals… but we’re members of a team. Our personal goals differ to the goals of the team. Or better yet, should be a direct reflection of the goals of the team. A good team is full of players who set goals, but a great team is a unit working towards the same goals.

The direction of your team should come from the leaders and the leaders should provide direction that reflects the goals of each teammate. It has to work both ways. As a leader, I listen to the goals of my teammates and then help them work towards the goals we’ve established. Our goal is to compete in eastern regionals by 2015. When the league was established, it was with a competitive direction. As coaches, we meet with the girls to find out their individual goals and then lay out our goals for practices based on what they want. But the most important thing is that everyone in the team is united in their direction. Everyone MUST realize the goals of the team and make contributions towards those goals. That is what a team is. I cannot compete in regionals by myself. A team makes possible what is impossible to do by yourself.

You may have a goal to be the top jammer, but that goal may not be team oriented. If someone transfers who scores more points than you do- then you should be stoaked to have them! It should motivate you to make improvements and contribute to your team, but if your motivation is selfish than you are not being a good teammate. If I want to score more points, it is not because I want to score more than my other teammate; it is because I want to contribute to the score of my team.

Watching eastern regionals this past weekend I saw teams that operated as a unit. The best teams were those who communicated effectively and worked together towards a common goal on the track. They were not trying to block for glory. They were each contributing 110% and working together. That is a team. When I’m blocking, I’m a point- but so is each other member of my pack. I do not want the jammer to get around me, but if in my quest to lay the jammer on her ass- she ends up getting around my teammate, then what good have I done?

Wolves (bear with me) hunt together. Each wolf is hungry, but they understand that in order to eat as individuals, they must hunt together. They are a pack, and in roller derby- so are we.

This is how we must hunt, haha!

Sep 012011

Mr. Fever is going back to school. He graduated from college the first time… gee, 14 years ago? He’s going to the California Maritime Academy. That degree in philosophy just doesn’t pay when you’re a commercial fisherman. I applaud his desire to make a more secure future for us and his ability to stoke up the self motivation. I’m not very motivated. I’ve attended several colleges around California, usually just for one or two semesters at a time. When a girlfriend asked me “How many times have you gone back to school?”, I told her “I only go back”. It’s just what I do.

Captain Cupcake

He's gonna go far...

In all this back-to-school melee (which included removal of long since established facial hair) Mr. Fever has had to do some seemingly tedious “exercises”, including an online alcohol education course. This course was designed for graduating high school students, and to us, was pure comedy. Now he is working on trying to establish his educational goals through guidelines set out by Brigham Young graduates. The more my husband talks about this goal setting guideline, the more I wonder if I have any goals of my own, and if I do, what the hell are they?

Well, as we are learning in “Introduction to Engineering Technology”* goals should be both specific and measurable. Thanks. Coach Nottie A. Siwant had ingrained the importance of measurable goals back in the dark days of the Cog Blockers (who reigned supreme at goal setting/achieving). What is clearly laid out in these guidelines is that “a goal not written is merely a wish”. Far out. Goals should be tiered into attainable sections, baby steps, leading up to the grand prize. Immediate goals followed by a year or two out, five to ten years all coming to the summation of lifetime goals. We must have tools for measuring written goals and how to face failure should we meet it. Your goals should be realistic, but still aim high. If you don’t push yourself to grow, you will not grow (how zen). The “Goal Integrity Spectrum” shows us that a superficial goal will meet it’s end upon the first failure. When failure is experienced with a “well desired” goal our progress will slow, but may still continue. If the goal was made with strength and sincere intent, then failure will be corrected immediately and progress will endure. So let’s not be discouraged, but learn from our mistakes and plow on!

I have some derby goals. They have never been very specific and I am lax about time lines and accountability (especially accountability!). Part of making an achievable goal is to make them public, to people who will both understand and support you (example: if you want to quit smoking you don’t confide your goals to your tobacconist). Alongside the Mr. who is making his educational and monetary goals for the future, I decided to outline what roller derby goals I have.

Previous goal of earning "MVP" from visiting team achieved. Stoked.

Cat Scrap Fever’s Roller Derby Goals:

I want to pass my probation period (3 months) and be picked up for a home team immediately. This will be accomplished by not only attending the 3 practice minimum per week, but 5 practice units per week. I will encourage my league mates and graciously accept all criticisms/tips that come my way. I’ll do my damnedest not to piss anybody off (this kinda means not talking).

Within the next 8 months I want to be invited to scrimmage and/or practice with the travel team. This will be accomplished by continuing to exceed the 3 practice weekly minimum, getting tips from a personal trainer, and doing derby specific cross training no less than 4 days per week. As specified by B.A.D. handbook standards I will progress from 3.5/4 star skater to a 4/4.5 skater. I will also watch lots and lots of good derby!

Before the winter of 2012 (and the end of days… right?), I want to be rostered on the Bay Area Golden Girls All-Star team. I will accomplish this goal by pushing myself at every practice and scrimmage, meditating on all feedback, spending commute times focusing on how I can improve my skills, becoming more realistic about how healthy my diet is and trading sexual favors to each and every girl already on the roster (just kidding?).

Within the next five years I want to compete on a national level. I will be a 5 star skater by B.A.D. standards. This may be a national tournament, it may be against a team within the top 3 rankings of it’s regional bracket, or it might be a game or tournament that hasn’t come to fruition yet, but I will know it when I get there.  I will achieve this by spending even less time with my husband (sad but true – he knows it). I need to recognize my talents in order to nurture them. I’m easily frustrated which slows my personal growth, I will tell my inner JoyKill to shut the hell up because I am attaining awesomeness, and cooking fewer meals.

After five years… how can I even see that far ahead? I’m getting older. Right now I am the median age (according to WFTDA survey stats) for a skater. But with Jr. Derby popping up and a rise in popularity, I don’t see room for me in the game ten years from now. I don’t see myself becoming another Hot Flash. This seeming negativity should be stiffled but I am counting it as realism. I consider myself humble and realistic (please do call me out if you see otherwise). For derby: five more years is a long time. I have time sensitive realistic goals, and if I can accomplish those, then I will feel fulfilled. I’m a peacock… I’ve got to let myself fly!

These goals are all barring injury or other outside-of-derby life traumas. Should I become injured, I expect myself to kick my physical therapists ass, get back on skates in record time and carry on as usual.

What do you want to do with derby? Is this just a hobby? A women’s liberation experiment? Sexual exploration? A long felt dream? Something to do in your spare time because the dodgeball league is full of creeps (seriously)? A goal not written is only a wish. And if wishes were horses all beggars would ride. So go ahead and tell yourself what you want (then tell someone else who will both encourage and keep you accountable).

This is Cat Scrap Fever telling you to tell yourself: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn-it ,  people like me.”


* “Introduction to Engineering Technology” by Val D. Hawks and A. Brent Strong published by Prentice Hall – Required reading for Marine Engineering Technology cadets




May 192010

Get it? Because Battleship is interactive? My geekiness knows no bounds, y'all

Shit’s about to get REAL, y’all.


Roughly five million years (re: two weeks) ago, I posted about the importance of setting overall fitness goals (and there was some nice discussion about personal goals in the comment section). Before that I posted about maintaining focus (even when life goes to crap) and setting physical goals to use as benchmarks.

Today we’re doing something a little bit different. You and me, kid, we’re kicking off Project (Derby) Mayhem.

Let's face it, there will probably still be a lot of talking

Anyone who’s known me for more than two minutes knows that I really love to talk. A lot. But goals are about action, and as your go-to Goal Girl, I have been itching to stop talking and start doing. And to drag you along with me. And that’s where Project (Derby) Mayhem comes in. From now on, there will be assignments. I’m going to be doing every Project (Derby) Mayhem assignment along with you, so I won’t be asking you to do anything that I’m not doing myself. The general idea is that (in addition to inching closer to world domination) we will be able to push each other to set and follow weekly goals, see results, and do that general derby-girls-are awesome support thing. Sounds good, no? Those who partake (re: me and you and other totally awesome people) will lead the way in the Derby Death Army. Those who don’t will be crushed beneath our wheels. They will be forced to breathe in the fumes from our skate bags as we hip check our way to glory. So let’s get started:

The first rule of Project (Derby) Mayhem...

Assignment 1

Since this is our first assignment, we’re going to start small-ish (assignments will get more detailed/difficult/what-have-you as we progress). We’re going outdoor skating! Three times. For an hour each (note: that’s an hour skating, changing your wheels/putting on your pads does not count as skate time). You’ve got between today (May 19th) and next Wednesday to pencil this in. I want you to spend about ten minutes warming up, then split your time between lateral cutting, sticky skating, speed drills, getting low, and running on your skates. Drink plenty of water, and if you start to get too worn out slow up a bit until you recover (but maintain good derby form).*

*If you already do this–or more than this–on a regular basis, please keep to your routine but spice it up a little. Increase the difficulty, the amount of time spent skating, or throw in a few things that you know you need to work on. Also, if you have no other choice you can complete this assignment indoors, but try to skate outside if you can.

Time IS on your side. Really.

The important part of this assignment (and one of the harder parts) is making the extra time to go skate. For my part, I’m either going to be waking up an hour earlier, going to bed an hour later, or skipping a little TV time. Don’t let your schedule keep you from participating! You only have to skate for 3 out of 168 hours, which is totally doable. I promise.

I’m going to use the comment section to check in throughout the week, and I encourage you to do the same. In fact, why not go ahead and declare your allegiance to Project (Derby) Mayhem right now? Like I’ve said before, there’s nothing like internet accountability, and that comment section sure does look lonely without your post…

Tyler Durden will blow up your living space if you don't participate in Project (Derby) Mayhem. And he'll probably pee in the soup.

Heidi Volatile is a loudmouth and is probably going to regret this whole Project (Derby) Mayhem thing when she has to get up at 5:00am tomorrow. She knows that you’re reading this and is looking pointedly at the comment section and clearing her throat. Tyler Durden is a Very Bad Man with a few… issues, but he’s a) really hot, b) a total badass, and c) would definitely play roller derby if he were a girl. You can reach both of them at if you want to suggest future Project (Derby) Mayhem assignments or tell them that their hair is awesome (it totally is).

Photo Credits: Milton Bradley, 20th Century Fox, Mission Fit Possible

May 052010

Oh Olivia Newton-John, you make it look so glamorous!

This morning (after just under 5 hours of sleep) I woke up at 5:30, slammed some caffeine, bolted some breakfast, and headed out to an elementary school playground. Why, you ask? No, I wasn’t there to hit up the swingset before all of the grade schoolers started hogging it. I was rolling my cranky, not-at-all-a-morning-person carcass out to meet up with the other lunatics participating in Denver Benton’s butt kicking early morning fitness boot camp. I then proceeded to spend the next hour performing exercises that were probably developed during the Spanish Inquisition (did they have medicine balls back then?). Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome workout, but DAMN. Minute and a half long wall sits are not anybody’s idea of a good time, and too many dips make the baby Jesus cry.

Arriba, y'all!

Y’all, I can not even lift my arms right now. I have been forced to prop them up on a makeshift pillow armrest just so I can type. And I’m not even going to go into the current lower body situation. Suffice to say, I won’t be doing any Mexican hat dances today, Cinco de Mayo or no.

So, why on earth am I regularly subjecting myself to an early morning ass kicking? It’s not so I can look better in a bikini. And it’s not because I think it’s really funny when I can use a heavier medicine ball than the guys in the class. (Though these are both admittedly huge perks.) It’s because I intend to be measurably stronger, faster, and harder for the last half of RSRD’s second season. Even if it means spending a lot of time feeling and looking like this:

Overall fitness goals are just as important to your derby life as smaller scale goals (such as perfecting your can opener, improving your stance, knocking a bitch down, etc, etc). You can have the fastest start off of the line, but if you don’t have the endurance to maintain that speed jam after jam, you can’t effectively access the badass within. If you’re not working on your general strength, you’re not going to generate as much power in your strides or hits as you could. If you’re not increasing your core strength, you’re missing an opportunity to increase your ability to take and recover from a hit.

So how do we set and follow through on overall fitness goals? I personally find that I have the best success rate when I make myself accountable. I tell people what I want to do, and how I plan to do it. Then I’m basically forced to follow through, even when faced with the siren song of the snooze button. For example:

I plan to improve my strength, speed, and endurance. I’m going to accomplish this by participating in strength training classes, running three to four times a week, and going on more outdoor skates.

See? I just told the entire internet. And if you’re reading this, I challenge you to do the same. C’mon! Go to the comment section and tell us something that you want to work on, and how you plan to work on it. Lets be each other’s goal buddies. What could be better than sharing your goals with a bunch of like-minded women working on the same things? You have nothing to lose, and personal cheerleaders to gain. Let’s take advantage of the fact that we have each other.

The power of Olivia Newton-John compels you! THE POWER OF OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN COMPELS YOU!

Heidi Volatile is a blammer and a semi-masochistic glutten for punishment. She can be reached at It is her fondest wish that you comment on this post. Her second fondest wish is to ride Falcor, the giant puppy-dragon from The Never Ending Story. Olivia Newton-John is a singer/actress from Australia. She has an accent and rides kangaroos, but does not appear to play roller derby–YET.
Photo credits: MCA, Avenida Caesar Chavez, Lion’s Gate studio