Back in the Rollerskating Groove

Skating is great exercise and fun to do whether you’re 15 or 42!

As a teenager, I spent many a weekend at the old Happy Wheels in Bangor. That was my favorite place to be. If you asked me what I wanted to do back in the 80’s, ‘go roller-skating’ was always the answer. Skating was the best way to get exercise, listen to totally awesome music – The Scorpions, Aldo Nova, Kiss and Loverboy stick in my memory as favorites to skate to – hang out with friends and of course meet boys.

What used to be an every/every other weekend thing got pushed to the wayside once I was old enough to go dancing in clubs instead. Then, over the years, it was the rare occasion that I went skating because my kids had a birthday party to attend at Great Skates. My kids rarely asked to go skating otherwise and there was never time for me to get away and go myself. Until a few years ago when I went with a friend.

It was like starting over again for me – not quite like riding a bike. My legs got tired pretty quickly. As the night went on, I became more confident, less wobbly and began to remember how fun skating used to be. I vowed I would start to go more often. I probably went a couple of months later. Then a year later. Okay, I really want to do this. I thought, I could even play roller derby. That would be so cool. I’m going to do this.

So I bought some skates online. I figured that would be good motivation for me to skate. It would be incentive for me to go to Great Skates because I wouldn’t have to pay a rental fee. I could even just do it in my basement if I wanted. I even ordered two sets of wheels – indoor and outdoor – and a helmet, so I could skate outside whenever the urge hit me. This was about 3 years ago. I used them twice early on.  One time, I tried to skate down my street while clinging to my husband for support.  Since then, the skates have lived in the trunk of my car.

That was, until earlier this week when I saw on that Central Maine Roller Derby has a couple of bouts coming up at the Cross Insurance Center – April 18th and May 30th 6pm and on that CMD is hosting a “meet and greet event for anyone interested in playing, officiating, or volunteering with roller derby!” at the Orono-Old Town Y on April 23rd at 8 pm.

So, this all got me motivated to get my skates out of my trunk and bring them inside.

For four days now, I have been skating in my house. Well, not four days straight. But anyway.  Skating is great exercise and fun to do whether you’re 15 or 42! According to Roller-skating burns about 460 calories per hour. If you prefer rollerblading, that burns about 790 calories. I grew up with quad skates so that’s what I prefer, myself.

Here’s how I eased back into skating:

Day 1: I wore my skates for 20 minutes. They felt weird, heavy and clunky on my feet. I felt like a toddler wearing Fisher-Price skates. My arms rotated in their sockets like a couple of pinwheels. If only I had a pool to fall into to complete the slapstick comedy scene. I wore my helmet. Thankfully, I didn’t actually fall into or onto anything.

Day 2: I felt a bit more balanced on my skates and kept them on for a good 40 minutes. I skated through my house in between bites of breakfast and every couple of plates while doing dishes. This made doing dishes much more fun. My shins began to hurt after a while and every so often I stopped to stretch and shake my legs out while holding onto something. I worked on stopping, which consisted of pointing my toe downward so the rubber brake thingy (note to self: find out what this is called) would skid along the floor so I wouldn’t crash into the wall as hard. I made progress.

Day 3: I kept my skates on for an hour. Wearing my skates started to feel more natural. I did the same cook, skate, eat, skate, eat, skate, wash a dish, skate, wash a dish, skate, etc. routine I did the day before. By the end of the hour, I could stop with my toe stopper without the use of a wall or piece of furniture. Not only that, but I could do a 360 turn to come to almost a complete stop but not quite. I still needed to catch myself on the arm of the couch or the doorjamb. But because I didn’t figure out how to actually stop with a turn right away and I didn’t always catch myself either, a couple of times I did a 360 turn, I actually started skating backwards. Completely by accident. Backwards. Now that was something I didn’t even know how to do when I was a teen.

Day 4: This was today. I wore my skates for an hour again today and did all of the usual stuff and now the skates feel like an extension of my feet. No more pinwheel arms. No more Fisher-Price. I can do a smooth 360 turn and stop. I can skate backwards. My shins don’t hurt.  My dog is a bit wary of me.

So maybe it really isn’t much harder than getting back on a bike. Next step – getting out of my house!

Is there something you’ve always loved to do that you’d like to get back into doing? There’s no better time than right now.

Laurie Frisbey

About Laurie Frisbey

Laurie Frisbey is the mom of a college graduate, a teenager and a preteen with special needs. She has been an administrative assistant, but is now a SAHM and full-time college student (third attempt) . She is about to embark on a brand new career in CIS at the age of 42.