T minus 4 weeks till me v basic skills 2

So, big news. The next intake at my local Roller Derby club is in 4 weeks time. 4 weeks today!


Good, Bad…

The best thing for me is that this time, the training set up has been changed so if I don’t pass the first basic skills test I can keep training at a slower pace.

The worst thing for me this time is that I am still pretty messed up physically, with an appointment with a Rheumatologist (joints specialist) looming, I don’t know “what is wrong with me” and it’s a bit scary.

… and whatev’s

Ultimately, my biggest problem will never be my health, even if I get really super sick like an actual sick person. My biggest problem is my total lack of coordination and bemusement at those who have it. How do they skate about so fast and not die?! It must be magic….

So, it’s same old same old really isn’t it?  I have decided “to hell with it” : I am going to just work really hard at my physio and co-ordination exercises for the next month and just go for it, irrespective of the mystery physical ailments which may be resolved by then anyway, who knows!


Failure needs to be an option

One thing I am quite determined about is, while I have lots of plans for the next four weeks,… and colour coded schedules… and stickers for when I do good…. (*yay*) I need to accept that motivation is hard and I might not do as much as I want to. I can’t use that as an excuse later for not going to derby training.

I want do do my physio every day (three times!) keep going for walks and also start swimming and yoga, but if I don’t, I will still be going to derby training. I *promise*.

Allowing myself to Dream

Part of the next month is going to be about allowing myself to hope and dream: usually I am pretty cautious, I don’t want to get my hopes up because I don’t have a great track record with either sport or “sticking with it..”  I even will not watch too many derby videos on youtube because the more I grow to love it the more it will hurt when I give up. Maybe, in a few years time, all of this will just be a distant memory and I won’t be any better at skating than I am now. It’s possible, I just need to accept that and not let it hold me back.


I have already succeeded

Even I never end up becoming a super awesome derby player, I have already won really. I am in touch with my body and listening to it for the first time since very early childhood. I have done a lot of work to improve my health and have the determination to fight for my own well-being when the doctor people don’t listen to me. And, of course, I have met some amazing women who have inspired me loads.

For all this, I am proud of myself and grateful for this amazing sport and the people who play it. If this is all I ever achieve, then it’s still pretty freeking awesome right?!




Gout Pout

Not feeling great, turns out the pain issues I have been struggling with are caused by gout. I was so close to getting back on skates and then I put my back out with some over zealous physio. I feel…


I have been looking at some slo-mo footage of a derby game I went to recently, which I will put up as a video soon. I might be laid-up but I can still study 😉 *nerd*

Freaky feet and the case of the missing thigh skin

I am learning tons about my feet at the moment, which explain many of the issues I have had on skates – best of all, it’s putting me in a better position to get back on skates soon  and have fewer issues when I do!


According to the nice man at Clitheroe hospital, who drew the diagram above, when my ankle is at a right angle, on an imaginary invisible floor, my heel is something like 10mm further away from that floor than my toes (see the above picture). So, my body’s only options are to walk around on tiptoe (which he seemed to think is madness but whatevs) or for my ankle, legs hips and spine to contort oddly to let my heel touch the ground while I walk.

So, my ankle rotates upwards, then inwards (hence the over-pronation situation). This also means my weight is forwards on my toes, which then puts a lot of strain on the arch of my foot, especially when on skates. The agonising heart-breaking pain I had in the last few weeks of my first fresh-meat was caused by a series of tears along the tendons in the sole of my foot, which have now healed into some painful nodules of scar tissue (those are the round things in the diagram he drew me).

So first things first, I have some temporary insoles.

They support my heal and the arch of my foot and tilt my foot into a better position.

I have to wear them ALL the time, which as a long-term barefoot harpie who happily frolics about the house using monkey toes for grip, is a big deal. I got some light weight pumps which I am slowly training myself to wear.

The difference is amazing, 85% of my day-to-day pain has gone right away , I can’t wait to see how much easier skating is with them! I just need to wait a little more time for my Achilles to heal.

The only negative side affect, which I guess shows you how much the insoles alone have changed the way my body moves, is that my trousers keep rubbing the skin off my inner thighs. Being the delicate milky skinned chubby little maiden I am (rah) my skin is pretty fragile, and the change in the position of my hips means my clothes and their death by vicious cotton seams, are in slightly different places to normal.  Also…. just for anyone who ever experiences this. don’t put a sticking plaster on it. That is a bad bad thing. Bad!

I will tell you all about my physio next! Working super hard, finally making progress, hoping to be back on skates soon!

Wobbly update

Just had a blood test and feeling a little sickly so having a cup of sweet tea and passing the time writing this.

20160707_114120It’s been a little while since my last blog but things have been moving along steadily. I have had appointments with my GP,  podiatrist and physio, have some temporary insoles and a whole bunch of physio exercises. The blood tests are to check for rumatoid arthritis and… gout…. yes gout…. both of which could be underlying the problem I have with my feet and all the stuff which connect to them (like the rest of my body).

It all sounds very serious, but actually the insoles and physio are working wonders already, I am up and walking around almost like normal for the first time in months. Derby has finally given me the motivation to address health problems which have been plaguing me for years and to care about my physical wellbeing… I expect to be kicking ass on skates soon!!

PS: loving this bench outside the doctors surgery!!


Finding my feet: an off-skate brain trainer to help the uncoordinated

I don’t have great coordination in general, and often feel like “I don’t know what my feet are doing.” I also know, from the footage I have taken of my skate practice, that my feet are not quite symmetrical in my “pizza slice” when I am skating. I also know, from when I have tried to learn to do crossovers, that I struggle to get my feet pointing in the same direction too, which is the main cause of my tripping over myself!

While I am off skates with my Achilles injury, I have found a good way of working on both these issues.

Creative Commons Licence
Finding my feet by captainjanerage.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The idea is to get someone, my lovely fella in this case, to move one of my feet and for me to move the other to match it.

There are four exercises, one is to mirror, so you move your other foot to it’s symmetrically placed. The other is to move in parallel, so both feet point the same way. Mirroring is great for improving pizza slice and speed, and parallel is great for crossovers. Both mirroring and parallel can be done where one foot is moved, then the other is matched after, or so you try and follow the moments in real time.

My theory, based on some of the stuff I learned in neuro-science class at uni and a little intuition, is that this activity will really help me once I get back on skates.

It’s about strengthening and working out the pathways between my feet, solar plexus and bran, exercising and building more neural pathways for motor control of my feet in my brain too. It’s a workout, just like pumping iron, only I get to do it lying down.

Right now I am trying with my eyes closed, so I can see what my natural baseline is. I am going to try lots of different variations over the next few weeks to see what helps me improve the most.  I will keep you posted!


My pie is poor

My asymmetrical pie slice

When learning to skate, learning to point your toes out so your feet form a pie slice (or pizza slice) shape is important.

If the toes point forwards (rather than out) the tenancy is to “walk” on skates, which is a recipe for slipping around and falling over. It also burns energy and doesn’t give you any real speed.

While I know how important this is, I have found it quite hard to learn. The video below shows me that I have made some real progress from when I started out though: there is a little outwards point most of the time on both feet.

However, my feet are often pointing asymmetrically, and not consistently either, so sometimes the left points more than the right, and sometimes the right more than the left. Sometimes both are pointing almost forwards again too.

I think this is one of the reasons I feel unstable on skates and sometimes feel my feet slip from under me.

Also, even when I feel like my feet are pointing “really out” they are actually not pointing out much.

I have been busy thinking up some ways to address this while I am off-skates. I will let you know what I find!

KT tape – my painkilling wonder cure!

According to “Science” KT tape doesn’t work. Science is clearly wrong! It’s the only thing so far which has stopped my Achilles pain completely and it works way better than, for example, co-codamol pills.

Which tape to choose?

I went for the cheapest that amazon next day deliver could offer me. In Orange.  I figured, as I am not an expert at applying it, there isn’t much point spending a lot of money: I was right, the first few applications just in loved me sticking my hand to my leg and swearing a lot.


I am thinking I might get a proper physio to apply it for me, in which case I am happy to pay for the branded tape, if that is what they recommend.

How to apply it

I watched the following youtube videos:


I ended up with something in between the two, I couldn’t seem to get the central bit of tape to go right up the middle of my leg. I applied a second strip to make a v shape, a bit like they do here:

Don’t forget to rub it all down, it makes it stick better.

The result

My Achilles feels right away warmer and much less painful. The “background” pain that is there while I am just watching TV or whatever is gone. I also feel more secure while walking about, and it hurts much less then too. I haven’t tied being more active on my leg yet though.

The cheaper stuff I bought came off in the bath, it’s not supposed to tough, so I have had to re-apply. My second application felt less good than the first, so I will try it again later. The cheap roll was definitely a good idea!

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