After an exhausting game against Killa Hurtz Roller Derby at the end of last year, the conversation turned to cardio fitness, then to running, to how signing up for events was a great motivator, and finally settled on the ‘Only The Brave’ event, a charity mud obstacle run a few months away. By that evening I’d signed up, and over the following weeks peer pressure did its work and a small band of SRD had a new fitness focus!
This decision, at the close of 2016, foreshadowed the Great SRD Fitness Frenzy of 2017, launched in a blaze of good intentions on 1 January and still going strong. As a team we have identified the need to bring strength and endurance to the track, but our valuable practice time tends to be focused on skills and strategy rather than fitness, so it’s been great to find ways to motivate and encourage each other to work out off skates.
Now we have monthly team fitness competitions, through which I’ve learned it’s possible for one person to do nearly 4,000 squats in a month (take a bow, Scary Quadmother), and that there is no more sought-after prize than genuine American Girl Scout Cookies (thanks to our Welfare Officer, Rough Love). We have joined gyms, bought FitBits, and practiced flexing for photos. This has really helped with my own personal fitness drive. Last British Champs season was my first as a main rotation jammer for our women’s team, and on a few occasions I found myself out of gas and out of options, an experience I’m determined to avoid in future.
The five assembled at Thetford Forest on the day were a representative cross section of SRD: new and longstanding members, and covering a reasonable age range! (We were lacking any boys, but they’d had a British Champs game the day before so we’ll let them off). One of our growing challenges as a team is to work out how to deal with our geographical spread; our training sessions are divided between Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, 30 miles apart, and not everyone gets to all sessions, so for me it was great to spend ‘quality time’ with people I don’t always get to skate with.
The run itself was brilliant! The obstacles started fairly gently with some wading and crawling through mud, but ramped up to a full-on muddy water slide with industrial hoses trained on us by masochistic race marshals. There was a fair amount of scaling hay bales involved, an exercise that called for all our teamwork skills, and we worked together as a well-oiled machine by the end of it, though unlike well-oiled machines we worked just as well covered in mud. Suffolk Punch was hard enough to do the whole thing on a still-healing broken ankle, though towards the end we decided discretion was the better part of valour and walked/jogged between obstacles, giving time for chat and butterfly spotting. Nearly the last exercise was a set of monkey bars, and while I surprised myself by managing to complete the whole thing, the downside of this was I missed Firth of Force doing a by-all-accounts spectacular fall into the water behind me.
I had an awesome day, thanks so much for the laughs and company Gemma (Suffolk Punch), Kellie, Lesley (Scary Quadmother) and Cristal (Firth of Force), and hopefully more of SRD will be tempted to join us for the next one! Most importantly, we all raised our target funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and the event as a whole raised over £150,000. This is a critical service for our area, and one that has special meaning for us as they saved the life of Suffolk Punch’s dad last year, getting him to hospital for emergency surgery after a motorbike accident.
All in all a great event, more of the same please!
notes from the President…
*Want to get involved in an obstacle course run? Muddy Races has a wonderful directory full of events across the country! My own personal annual pilgrimage is to the Suffolk Whole Hog/Boss Hog event – hopefully I’ll get a team together to go this year
*If you want some more advice for staying fit for roller derby (or in general!) there are a number of great resources available – some of my favourites are Darebees, Roller Derby Athletics, Flat Mat Yoga, and Iron Octopus Fitness. But mainly I like to mess about with barbells!
*Have you checked out our “Upcoming Bouts” page lately? We’ve got loads of stuff coming up! We also have an officiating bootcamp at the end of April – keep an eye on the event page for more info as tickets go live soon!
Later, sports fans 🙂