Prior to my breast cancer experience, I completed a rollerblading event for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (TNT). I was curious about the sport, but thought I might be too old to try it. Maybe not? I’ll let you be the judge.
To begin with, somehow I thought four in-line skating wheels were like those two and two “back the in the day”. Those in-line roller blade wheels have a rubber stopper and shock absorbers!!! Yes!! Shock Absorbers!!
Does that give you some idea of how fast you might be going on those skates?
I was so excited to sign up! I love challenges, especially when they cause me to stretch. After buying the needed items (skates, helmet, elbow and knee pads, etc.). Next stop – the bookstore to buy a number of books on rollerblading!
The training was different from my initial thoughts. For instance, maintaining my balance while staying relaxed on the skates was harder for me than I anticipated. Skating around curves was not my friend either. I tended to lean the wrong way in a curve and then try to correct quickly. This was not a good strategy. I managed to skate relatively fast in the straight-away, but slower in the curves.
Another issue for me was, going up steep hills. You had to keep the momentum going long and fast enough to propel you up the hill without faltering. Trying to go uphill from a dead stop at the bottom of a hill is not what you want to try.
Imagine, you are approaching the top of a hill. You’re going pretty fast and you have to prepare to go left, right or straight just after the hill top. This isn’t bad when you can see the road’s direction just beyond the upcoming hill. The problem is when you can’t see the direction of the street until you have reached the highest point, you have no idea which way to turn as you cross the top of the hill. That was a bit daunting, 😱 others thought it was fun. 😅
Another idea some folks thought was great was those Friday night skates in downtown Atlanta. But, I did not take part in those rollerblading night skates. Nope, that would have been too much!
This most mundane part of skating could make you stand up and pay attention. Yep! Stopping. That tiny little rubber plug on the tip of your toe slows you down or stops your forward progress. (spoiler alert) The day of the Road Race, it rained.
I had lots of fun during the Saturday Group Skates. During the week, we trained individually or partnered with someone. This alone time was some of the best time for me. I got up earlier than usual, so i could skate before I went to work. Being out in nature, early in the morning was and still is a time of peace and quiet.
I did not fare well in the injury-free department when rollerblading. One day while skating in Piedmont Park, I did not go over a grate the right way and went up in the air and came down on my back and tailbone. Strange thing about coming down on my tailbone. I thought I was fine, until I tried to get into my car to drive home. I was so stiff! I could not bend, so I had to call my husband and daughter to pick me up from the park. They arrived and we went to the Roswell Hospital emergency room.
Fyi, hospital information:
No Medication, until you are x-rayed.
If your tailbone is damaged, there is little that can be done.
Fortunately, I did not have a major injury! Just bruising, in this race & the Final race, which took a long time to heal. I must remember to thank Edward for hanging in there with me through so many different adventures. But, even with the injury, the experience was so much more!
As with any sport, it is the training, the friendships, mentors and finishing the task that makes it incredibly rewarding! The friendships, training guide, mentors, heroes, volunteers, alums, etc. helped make everything flow smoothly.
We have lived in several different places and often don’t get a chance to see our friends. The TNT events kept me in contact with our friends through more than the annual Christmas card. My fund raiser was always a letter reaching out to my friends, letting them know what I was up to and how they could help. Not a garage sale, not a bake sale, not an auction, but a letter.
After my first race, when I sent out postcards letting people know what “had happened” during the race and the goal had been met, folks asked, “Are you running/skating this year/again?” It was great encouragement and I ended up participating in 4 more events. I really appreciate their love and generous support.
Okay, what lessons did I learn?
1. Lean into the curves. It will help your balance.
2. Try something new. It is fun and exciting. Never lose that curiosity.
3. If you think you can, you just might.
4. I am glad I tried rollerblading, instead of just wondering.
What was familiar that is now new to you?
Nowhere to Run