This weekend I drove 1,024 miles between Daytona, Miami, Cross City and the Satellite Beach, Florida, all in the name of skating <3
Friday night I had the opportunity to meet Anthony Dunn in person! He was in Miami for the 2016 Miami Skater Migration! So, I figured if he traveled 1000 miles to visit the Sunshine State, then I could drive the 250+ miles and kick some asphalt with him 🙂
It was a thrill and a treat to FINALLY meet him!!
I saw him and said, “hey, I know that guy!!!” and when he saw me we both beamed and shared an AMAZING hug! Right after, he said, “I thought you were taller!”
HAHAHA best <3
We did about 11 miles before it started getting drizzly and I got back to the starting point just before the rain really started coming down. I am so stoked to meet up with Anthony again over the summer for several events coming up in the north east, such as the Big Apple Roll and Skate Baltimore!
The skate itself…okay, talk about the right thing in the right place at the exact right time! A bit outside of my comfort zone – urban streets, at night, with a bunch of inline skating athletes. I was the only quad skater there, and aside from Anthony, I didn’t know anyone else. Those inline skaters can GO. They were hauling ass! I loved it 🙂 It pushed me to skate fast, and since I was so focused on keeping up on my quads, there wasn’t room for much else in my mind to process. When I would have a few moments to process things, I practiced a mantra of “success is the ONLY option” and this that I practice regularly, “His will be done.” I’ve GOT to step up my night lighting game, both wearable lighting as well as functional lighting to help me see better. My little head lamp isn’t sufficient enough for what we were doing. So, great lesson learned, and a taste of what I’ve got coming up this summer for The New York City Skate Marathon and the Athens to Atlanta Road Skate.
Those events sure sound appealing…
…until I learned truly what I was getting myself into. I got a big taste of it yesterday.
Yesterday was a huge first.
Hammer (center) is visiting from Canada, so Cinn (right) and I met with Hammer in Cross City, Florida at the Nature Coast State Trail. On the drive, I figured I’d better download a weather app…those clouds are pretty typical of Florida this time of year, and sometimes they mean rain. Weather Bug (that I’ve since friggin uninstalled because it was full of SHIT) said it was only going to be a 30% chance of rain. Cinn and I met up and waited for Hammer…Hammer didn’t realize there was a time change, so she got there about an hour later.
I had a snack about an hour before meeting Cinn, so it was two hours from the last time I ate to when we hit the trail. Not thinking about how long we’d be out, I didn’t take the bottle of water I bought just moments before meeting Cinn.
We met Hammer, geared up, and hit the trail. We started skating a decent stroll, got talking, and within 3 miles, we were cruising along, despite the slight drizzle coming down.
When the drizzle started, I’ll admit I wasn’t too happy. My body and especially my mind were reacting from the cold, and the drizzle was making me nervous. I don’t skate in the rain. I thought people who skated in the rain were totally off their rockers.
Miles went by, and we made it to the Swanee River about 11 miles in.
My body was hurting – it was a crazy training week and I pushed myself and my classes super hard this week. I figured I’d get in some serious training early in the week to take it a bit easy before our group skate. Thursday…Thursday I taught the hardest class I’ve taught since I first started teaching Cardioga. It was INTENSE. Then, Friday I skated 11 miles with inline speed skaters. So 11 miles in, the rain was coming down harder, my body was hurting and my mind was playing tricks on me, but I figured Cinn deserved a good long skate, and who better to do it than with Hammer? After all, we all drove over 2 hours to get to the trail. Over and hour and change in, we would at least skate as long as we drove.
12.5 miles in and I figured you know what? It’s only 2.5 miles more, and we’ll give Cinn her first 30 mile skate.
When we hit 15, my gluteus medius had seized. The pain was remarkable leading up to that point, and I knew I had to stretch. I sped way up ahead to give myself time to stretch so by the time I got it done, Cinn and Hammer would catch up to me and we’d turn around together. By the time they reached me, I was still stretching.
The mental challenge was unlike any I have ever experienced in all of my long skates. I felt like I was finished. I almost told them to leave me, skate back, and come back with their cars and pick me up. However, I stretched some more, got up, and we turned around and started the skate back.
A few miles in, we rolled over a wood bridge we’ve already skated, and now it was MUCH wetter and WAY slick. I fell at the very end, mainly due to not trusting myself. The mental challenge was so intense.
Then we hit the Swanee again. We made it across and kept going.
A few more miles…and I felt everything. Everything I’ve ever felt in all the time I’ve been skating. The fear, the pain, the doubt, the desire to stop, the sadness…everything. Everything I’d felt in derby, everything I’ve ever felt on a long distance skate…everything at once. I was so thankful for the rain and Hammer’s insight – she’s done the NYC Skate Marathon three times, and two of those were in the goddamn rain. In the fucking rain. Who better to share that experience with?
I will say this – of all the things I was feeling, I didn’t voice them the way they were going on in my head. I didn’t speak once about wanting to quit. Though I did apologize for having to stop again to stretch, I didn’t say how I felt like I was going to vomit, that my head was swimming, that I didn’t know if my body was going to hold up. I knew most of it was in my fucking head. Even prayer was a challenge. My usual His will be done wasn’t as strong as the pain. So, I said I can do all things through He who strengthens me. Then, I felt something…I shortened that and said I CAN.
Every time Hammer spoke, it was like she KNEW what I was feeling and said exactly what I needed to hear. I told her that during the last stretch, I cried. I felt it coming, I needed to get it out. That next time that I stretched, they skated ahead and I was so grateful that they did. As I was in a Pigeon stretch, I cried like I had many, many times when I first started practicing yoga, crying in that posture. So. Many. Feelings.
I was upset that of all the times I’d skated 30 miles alone, I wasn’t holding up as well. I’d done it before. Why was this time different?
No hydration. I didn’t bring honey packets and salt like I always do. It was fucking cold. We were drenched. It was so goddamn wet. The rain…cripes, that fucking rain.
The rain made the skate much slower that I like, so that added to the mental challenge.
We finished <3
It was, by far, the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever done as a clean and sober person. The worst skate I’ve ever had. Ever.
But also the best.
It was the wrong circumstances with the right people, at the right time. I reluctantly signed up for Ramit Sethi’s Hell Week Challenge, knowing that because I was reluctant, I HAD to do it.
Hammer is reading My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey, and shared with me some experiences Ronda’s had. Hammer has also completed the races that I want to do, and she knows what it’s like. She knows the pain. She knows the mental challenges. She gets it.
After the skate, we quickly geared down and heated up our cars. Thank God I had a bit of this and that scattered in the car and trunk and had dry pants, socks, a shirt and a spare jacket to change into. Thank GOD. Hammer had to get back to the panhandle to care for her dog, and before she left, she shared bananas and delicious dates with Cinn and I.
Needless to say, I downed the bottle of water I had foolishly left in the car.
The takeaway from this?
Shit, where do I begin?
Of all the things I felt, I got something from them all. It was both the best and worst experience I’ve had on skates, and now that it’s over…
…I know I’ve got to do it again.
Anything can happen in a race, and the only way to train for it is to get in the shit, feel it all, and step into discomfort. Feel the feels. As Hammer said, “tissue issues.”
Now I have a taste of what I’m getting myself into.
The thought of doing twice that distance now doesn’t sound appealing, especially now that I understand the reality of it and can’t ignore the fact that it may very well rain, be cold, and suck. It may very well suck.
I do know this, though (and Hammer assured me of this today): if I set my mind to do it, I will.
Of all the coulda-shoulda-woulda I felt and the self-resentment I was feeling, there was something that just kept me pushing forward, way past where I wanted to, beyond what even my body was capable of. Or, at least I thought it was capable of.
There’s a point where the pain is so intense, it can break us down, or break us open. I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I was in so much pain and the emotions were so intense, I thought everything was just going to stop.
But, it didn’t. Neither did it.
And then, there we were, back where we started. Though we had returned to where we had started, we returned changed women.
The drive to Ocala was wet, slick and cold, and usually in a downpour like that, I’m a bit concerned. After that skate, I was unphased. I knew we’d be fine. Cinn and I drove an hour to get to Ocala because we figured if we worked that hard, we deserved an amazing super, and we had one. Japanese food for the win! It was incredible. We sat and talked for hours.
Once I returned home, I threw my wet clothes in the washer, drew a hot epsom salt bath with lavender and crashed shortly after.
Today I dismantled my setup and cleaned my bearings before heading to Melbourne to meet some friends for a long overdue catch-up and brunch.
Today was a MUCH needed rest day, and after brunch, I had every intention to take a nap. Instead. when I got home, I finished cleaning my gear and changed the stuffing in my skates to help them dry out. Right now, as per Hammer’s recommendation, they’re stuffed with newspaper to absorb the remaining water.
So, I learned a lot, from Hammer who is a world-class champion and stellar person, from Cinn who is a remarkable and determined woman, and from myself. Even though I KNOW the basics – bring hydration, nutrition, get ample rest and listen to your body – life sure gives us reminders when we’re being dumbasses and need to be taught lessons we’ve already learned time and time again.
Even though it sucked (like…really, really sucked), it was among the best experiences I’ve ever had, and definitely the most challenging and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had on my skates.
Now, onto bed, because I’ve got a Hell Week coming up, and teaching two classes tomorrow is just the tip of the iceberg 🙂