Sep 182014
 

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You play roller derby. You’re probably kind of a badass. You probably like skating fast, hitting people, and you probably don’t mind the smell of stinky pads. You probably have strong thighs and a killer ass. You are probably 110% dedicated to this sport and love it with every part of your soul.

Rad. I can get down with that.

You probably also have intensely tight hips. Like when you try to sit cross-legged, your knees come up to your shoulders. You probably also have some thing going on in your neck that you can’t quite put your finger on, but sometimes it hurts in your jaw or shoulder, too.

You might have problems concentrating when you’re body isn’t moving really fast. You might not dig sitting still. You might not really want to deal with your lower back pain unless it involves loud music and sweat.  You might need yoga.

But, you might be dubious about yoga. You might think it’s for waify chicks who get manicures and watch the Lifetime network.

It’s not.

Yoga is for people who want to have healthy long-term relationships with their bodies and minds. Yoga is for people who want to feel better, physically and emotionally. Yoga is for people who want to learn to find concentration and motivation in the midst of chaos.

What I’m saying, rollergirl (‘scuse me, rollerperson), is that yoga might be for you. It might be for you, not just as a regular person, but as an athlete. Because I know you want to know, here are some ways that yoga can help your game:

You can touch your toes, maybe just not yet.

You can touch your toes, maybe just not yet.

1. Flexibility. The number one reason people tell me they “can’t do yoga” is because they “aren’t flexible.” That’s like saying you can’t wash your car because it’s too dirty. Flexibility is a skill like any other. You have to learn it and practice it. Unlike some other skills, like say knitting, flexibility can help you become a better player. Muscles that aren’t in a constant state of contraction (tension) are more responsive. Relaxed muscles work when you tell them to because they aren’t already busy doing nothing. With increased flexibility, you may find that your skating improves in ways you didn’t know were possible because your muscles are available to do what you ask them to when you ask them to.

o-THE-MATRIX-AND-HINDUISM-facebook

There is no spoon, people.

2. Focus. The second reason people tell me that they can’t do yoga is because they can’t focus. So, um, you can’t focus when you practice yoga but you are a single-pointed concentration machine when you’re on the track? No. Either you know how to control your brain or you don’t. Sure, the faster your body moves the more your brain will tune out external stimuli, but eventually your body will get used to the speed of the pack and the noise in the warehouse. And that’s good, because it means that your body is no longer in fight or flight mode when you’re playing and you then have the ability to become an intelligent player. But only if you can focus. I watch so many skaters with solid skills get that deer-in-the-headlights look and start making the same mistakes over and over. Why? Because they can’t focus. They look around the pack and they know what’s happening, probably, but their processing speed isn’t quick enough and their response time suffers. What you need is Matrix-like responsivity. You have to be totally in tune with the pack and the game and your body and be able to know what you need to do almost before you need to do it. That takes intense focus, and either you have it and you can turn it on and off at will, or you don’t have it at all.

Be the girl no one can knock down. Not even Krissy Krash.

Be the girl no one can knock down. Not even Krissy Krash.

3. Balance. I could talk about this on a metaphorical level, but I won’t. Being a good skater takes crazy balance. Balance (for skating) takes core strength and ankle stability. The thing is that unless you are always skating in really good form, you aren’t developing your core or your ankle strength. You’re using what you already have and probably learning bad, inefficient habits. The gym can help, but if you aren’t working out in a dynamic way, then you aren’t practicing using your strength in the way that you need to in order use it when you’re skating. Yoga makes you practice using your core to do things you would usually use other muscles to do (like taking up some of the duty in lifting your leg for a crossover). Sit ups will give you muscles, but they will not give you practice using them in a practical way.

4. Strength. I know that the cultural image of a yogi is of a skinny white girl, but most of us don’t look like that. I have thick thighs, a solid ass, and my shoulders are pretty broad for my size. I have an athletic yoga practice and therefore I have an athletic build. I don’t play sports anymore, but I am strong because I am constantly lifting my own body weight, and the more I lift it, the heavier it gets.

Also, a lot of yoga relies on eccentric muscle contractions, which means that your muscles are contracting and being lengthened at the same time. In sports, this kind of activity is called negative training. It’s hard and, in the short term, it hurts because your muscle fibers are always tearing. But in the long term your muscles are rebuilt longer and your muscles become more effective. Eccentric contractions are about 25% more powerful than other kinds of muscle contractions and they lead to finer motor coordination. Power and coordination, isn’t that what it takes to be a great skater?

Oh, look who's not freaking out. As usual.

Oh, look who’s not freaking out. As usual.

5. Calm. I saved this one for last because I think it’s the most important. Is there anything more valuable? People who have a real sense of calm are almost never freaking out. They don’t yell at the refs and they don’t get in fights with other skaters. They don’t freak out when they lose and they don’t freak out when they win. They are able to take what they’ve learned from each game and process it into usable material for the next game. They don’t waste time beating themselves or other people up. Calm people are trustworthy and reliable. They are not the people pushing themselves to the front of the line to become leaders, they are the people you choose to be leaders.

How does yoga teach you to be calm? That’s another mental game. If you spend a lot of time on your mat dealing with yourself you start to notice your personal patterns of thought and habit. Eventually you become aware of you emotional reactions in a way that allows you to predict them and observe them with some degree of objectivity. Once you do that, you have the freedom to pick and choose your responses to things based on how effective their outcomes will be instead of basing your reactions on how you feel in one split second.

 

Here’s the deal. I want to help you be a better skater. I’m retired, but I love roller derby and I want to contribute to the sport. If you live in or near New Orleans, I’m giving a workshop on Yoga & Roller Derby starting September 27th. It’s cheap and all your friends will be there.

If you don’t live in New Orleans and you want to help me think of a way to bring Yoga for Roller Derby to your team or league, email me at duncan.tracey@gmail.com or hit me up on Facebook.  I’d love to help.

If you want to know more about me and my classes, check out my yoga site, More Yoga, Less Bullshit.

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May 042011
 

I am in the midst of the Derbalife “Skate Faster Challenge”. It’s currently week 4, and I expected to feel a sort of rise in my training at this point, to feel like I might not be working so hard.  The first couple of weeks were going great for me but I fell off the wagon and I have really, really been slacking on my workouts. But I have so many great excuses! I’m moving, there’s so much packing to do! I lost my job and with it my sense of routine! Conveniently the batteries in my scale decided to quit, preventing me from tracking this digression. This is the week I get back on track! Every joint and muscle in my body is telling me it’s time to rally, and in an awesome coincidence, the sun has decided to grace the northwest with it’s warm shiny rays!

The last two weeks were not all doom and gloom, part of the challenge is my food log. Everyday I make a note of what I eat and when, then submit it to the ever encouraging Krissy Krash to council me on my nutrition needs. Knowing that a respected peer would have intimate knowledge of my eating habits, I shaped up right away (although last week in Vegas was ugly – martinis are high in protein, right?). I didn’t want her to see how often I snack during the day and what constitutes a “meal” when I am home alone, so I just started eating better and making my snacks more reasonable (she informed me that a slice or two of cheese is a good snack! Hallelujah!). When I find myself in a restaurant I look at the menu and wonder which option will both satisfy my taste buds as well as gain the approval of my derbalife coach. It’s certainly been a challenge, and I don’t always make the healthiest choices, but I’m at least thinking about them consistently.

This weeks challenge email included a recipe for fettuccine alfredo, which made me feel better about having it for dinner twice last week. Until I moved in with Mr. Fever I thought alfredo sauce came from a can. I just never made sauce from scratch. I didn’t even think about it. Incidentally I never realized how bad it was for you. The sauce he makes is divine and always comes with the warning ”this isn’t low-cal”. Well duh. I saw how much butter went into that stuff! Now with the majority of my groceries coming from our local food bank, my meals for the week are shaped by what I am given. Last week I ended up with several cans of evaporated milk. Hmm, pumpkin pie? The can label had a recipe for some sort of casserole. Inspiration! I would make a cream sauce without cream!

Okay, I love food. I spend a lot of time cooking and a lot of time eating. I might even go so far as to call us “foodies” but I hate that word. Anyway, back to the cream-less cream sauce! It was a glorious experiment and I highly encourage you to try it at home! You will need:

1 can evaporated milk

1 Tablespoon powdered milk

1 Tablespoon flour

1/2 white onion chopped

6 cloves garlic chopped/crushed

olive oil

1 Cup veggies of your choosing (I like zucchini and broccoli, but spinach and mushroom would be good too)

1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes/salt/cayenne/oregano whatever you like to season with

penne pasta

 

So, you know the drill with the pasta. Cook to al dente.  Heat up some olive oil in a sauce pan and saute your veggies, onions and half the garlic until tender. Remove from the pan. Next pour in your evaporated milk and whisk in the flour and powdered milk over medium heat. Once you get a few bubbles put in the rest of your garlic. Make sure skin doesn’t form over the milk, stir consistently at a simmer for about 8 minutes. The liquid should reduce about one third. Taste it and add salt/pepper etc to your liking. Next add the parmesan and all your sauteed veggies. Once it comes back up to a simmer you are done! Spoon it over your pasta and indulge!


 

 

 

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Goal Setting.

 Posted by at 12:13 am  1 Response »
Jun 102010
 

Photo By StalkerazziI think many people underestimate the power of setting goals. Health goals, career goal, skating goals, family goals. I feel like it wasn’t until about a year ago that I truly realized the power of setting goal  and making a conscious effort to reach them. In the past year my main goals has been to be recognised as a legit jammer. Have I reached it? I think I’m getting pretty darn close. After the Battle for the Coast, Kiki Diaz of SDDD came up to me and told me my jamming has been taken to a whole new level this year. Needless to say, coming froma  quick footed jammer, I was pretty stoked for the compliment.

I feel like my skating has gone through some big changes in the last year. From finally solving my hypoglycemia predicament to recovering ASAP from a partially torn MCL to nailing down to a T what I need to eat on and before game days and practices I feel like I am in a balanced place where nutrition and cross training are really showing through in my skating. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I am an epic jammer or anything like that but I am pretty satisfied with my progress. And that’s what it’s all about progress.

With the launching of the Hotter In Your Hotpants Fitness/Photo challenge, I have been working with over 100 skaters on setting goals and creating benchmarks so that we can monitor progress. Key point here, when you set a goal you have to set up lots of little goals between the starting point and the finish line.

Want to be a better jammer? Great! what game do you want to jam in? What skills do do you need to work on to be recognised as a reliable jammer? What basic skills need to be built up to make these more balls-y moves jive? Go into every practice with your own goals. What do you want to improve today?

 Want to lose ten pound between now and rollercon? Great, now what does that mean you are going to eat every day? How much protein will you get every meal? What time of day are you eating said meals? Map out a plan for the day or week and pre plan. What do you need from the grocery store Monday to make it through to Sunday?

Bottom line is chunk it down. What ever your big goals are, they are reachable. You just have to take small steps and commit to following them. So the question is, what do you want to achieve?

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Fuel Good

 Posted by at 12:48 pm  1 Response »
Apr 202010
 

I recently started private training sessions with an aspiring future derby star. Before we even laced up our skates, I sat down with her and asked her what she wanted out of derby. Like many girls, she’s looking for a way to get back into sports, get in shape and find some comradary amongst women. This is a girl is tall and skinny and has some major potential. The first thing I told her was “if you want any longevity in this sport, you need to put on some muscle, otherwise its only a matter of time before crashing to the floor and smashing into girls takes a toll on you body and you’re out for the count.”

We took some time to look at what she eats on a daily basis and how much strength training she does on a weekly basis. First thing I noticed was that she was not getting nearly enough protein to feed her body. The number one issue I find with almost every girl is that they havent made the connection between what they put in their body and how they perform. Seems simple, yes? Take a look at what you eat every day. Do you know how much protein you’re getting every day? Do you know how much you need? Did you know that when you eat it and how much can make a difference inyour perfomrance as well?

Protein 101:

Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of you muscle. It helps you feel full longer and have sustained energy without crashing. You should be getting 15-30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout (especialy strength training) in order to build lean muscle and aid in muscle recovery. I swear by Formula 1 and PDM mixed together for both breakfast and my recovery shake every day.

Protein requirements vary from person to person based on your height and weight. Its important to know how much you as an individual need to support your day to day life and your asskicking derby career. If you have questions about how much protein to get or where to get it from, or when to eat it etc, email me Derbalife@gmail.com or post your questions!!!

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Apr 112010
 

When I write this I am sitting on a train going south, trains are amazing in the way how I can see the landscape fly by outside and still walk around and have my own little space. X2000 is the fastest train of Sweden, and that is where I am, in the distant north where I was born. I flew from a sunny glammed out LA, a packed Doll Factory, skating my little Legit heart out against the banked girls of LADD to a Sweden, where the spring slowly is hesitating, one step forward, two back. Yesterday it snowed in Stockholm but today I could lace my skates on and skate down to the station to hop on the train to head towards the third largest city of Sweden called Malmö. Malmö just started Sweden’s fourth roller derby league, and I am there to meet with some of the girls and talk derby. It has only been two years since I skated my first bout, but the two best years of my life…

I found derby a little over two and a half years ago, and it was not in Sweden at all, I found it when I was just returning from a very crazy summer in Berlin, I needed some substance in my life, I wanted to find a passion that was filled with more than just words and no action. I needed to find something that made me smile with my eyes and that wasn’t about getting myself too drunk or writing self-loathing poetry.
In the middle of all this I had a great neighbor who was friends with Deadly Aim (former Rat City now Oly Roller) and asked me why I just did not try Roller Derby. Without even knowing what roller derby was, more than girls on quads knocking each other over while wearing short skirts, I bought a rookie package from some online shop. From that day and on I rarely drank, I quit smoking (and I had smoked for almost 14 years) and I went vegan. I tend to do things to extreme when I fall in love, and I fell in love with roller-skating, and later on with roller derby. After two months of going to all of the skate rinks of the Seattle area and mimicking the moves of random girls with striped socks, I found Jet City.
I was scared and shy; I was sure I would be laughed at and fall flat on my face. I wore stretch jeans and an oversized Misfit t-shirt, and I think I might have fallen on my face, but I ended up being accepted to Jet City’s booty camp and later trying out for the league.. Trixxie Trah’em, one of the best and scariest blockers of the league, always used to practice hits on me. I was always that scrawny and tall girl, I never imagined that I one day would be feared as a blocker on the track. I jammed my little heart out that first year, and I don’t think I ever really considered being a good blocker until I got on Rat City a year later. But I believe you can become anything if you really put your mind to it, it is all in the hard work and passion.
And it is not easy, I have fallen asleep some nights crying, feeling like I am not good enough, but when my jammer tells me she feel safe with me in the pack, I know it is all worth it. I feel good about being me, I feel good about wearing my team’s color on the track, and I feel good about roller derby. All the strong women that makes me believe that I can be what I want and strive to be, women I love on and off the track. I love how I can shit talk with Krissy Krash on the track just to lean my head against hers afterwards, because I know she is one of the good people. We all belong together, they love me for who I am just in the same way I love them. What is there not to love??

Oh and by the way, the Malmö girls got me real drunk after a little skate session.

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