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Re-learning to skate

Posted in exercise log

I’ve been wanted to roller skate or rollerblade for years now. I started thinking about it seriously when a friend married a roller derby player, but then the pandemic hit… Two weeks ago I was chatting with the massage therapist at physical therapy, and mentioned it. He encouraged me to go for it. So I researched rollerblades and found a pair that would hold my not-inconsiderable weight. (I’m six feet tall, broad-shouldered, and not exactly stick-thin. Heavy duty skates are a must.)

The skates arrived a few days ago. I asked around to find skating buddies; one person I don’t know stepped up, as well as a new friend of mine. Both do derby. So I have people to skate with. But first I need to learn to do it again. I’m in my mid-forties, and it’s been more than twenty years since I last strapped on a set of rollerblades. (I did a ton of quad skating as a little kid, and changed up to rollerblading outdoors in my late teens.) So I decided to go to the local skating rink for a lesson.

The lesson was this morning. I own a full set of protective gear for when I start skating outside again, but for indoors I just went with my elbow pads and wrist braces. I’m awfully glad I did, because less than two seconds after I put the skates on I fell backwards. On the rink’s carpet, thankfully. I landed on the left side of my back, with my butt cheek and my elbow taking most of the fall. I’m really, really glad I wore the elbow pads. The elbow doesn’t hurt at all, but has a bit of a friction rash where the sleeve dug in. If I hadn’t had the pads on, it would have done some damage.

I laughed off the fall, though, got back up, and tried again. It was supposed to be a half-hour lesson, but after 15 minutes my legs informed me that they were Done and that I’d be keeling over again if I didn’t stop. So I called it quits. I never left the carpet, because I’m super wobbly, but I’m fine with that. Not falling a second time was victory enough.

My teacher is this very nice kid who’s very wise at 21 and wants me to come back for more lessons. I think this is a brilliant idea. I need to get way better before I start skating outdoors. S: Saturday morning lessons, and he told me the best times during the week to come if I want to practice without being run over by small children. So I will go to Adult Night on Wednesday, and stick to the carpet again. Saturday I will do another lesson. Thankfully admission to the rink and the lessons are very cheap.

Once I get some confidence I definitely want to go outdoors, but right now I’m pretty sure I’d kill myself if I tried, even with protective gear…

I am going to ask the derby friends if they can recommend exercises to build up/strengthen skating muscles. I suspect the best way is just “more skating”, but I’d like to help that along if I can.

I actually had a really good time at the lesson, despite my fall. (My teacher says to just accept that I will fall, because trying not to will just make me do it more. He’s probably right.) Skating is fun, even if I’m bad at it right now. And I remember how much fun I used to have rollerblading outdoors. I’ve missed it for years. And I want it back. it’s worth working towards.

Right now, though, I’m going to take some Aleve and relax for a while. I’m gonna hurt later. Worth it.

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