Let me start off by saying, that after practicing for 2 full weeks without gear, practicing with gear feels a thousand times hotter. My head was drenched in sweat! (I'm gonna have to wear a bandana under my helmet like some of the other girls do)
Stepping onto the rink in my own skates, with my new wheels, I instantly felt more stable than while wearing the rental skates. The wheels I got were recommended by a few of the girls on my team for being a wheel with a lot of grip, but also with speed. I definitely noticed a difference between them and the rental skates.
I am in love with my wrist guards and my elbow pads (although I'll definitely have to wear some kind of sock under the elbow pads because I'm already getting some irritation from the sweat.)
My knee pads required some tweaking. The pad itself is the perfect size, but the straps that fasten behind the knee were a wee bit small. I'm told they will stretch over time, but in order to make them work tonight, I had to buy some velcro strips to connect the pieces. Then the outer straps fastened just fine over them, but I noticed as the night wore on that the pads became looser so hopefully I'll be able to go without the extra velcro next time I try.
The difficult thing about the knee pads, is crossing your legs while wearing them.
This is problematic for me, as crossing my legs is hard enough to do in skates, although I have been getting better. But it is definitely going to take some practice to cross my legs around these giant knee pads!
The awesome thing about knee pads tho, is falling on them! Tonight we practiced some different falls. (single knee, double knee, and single knee 180s). The falling is the easy part. Getting up (in 2 seconds, without using hands) is the EXTREMELY HARD part!
I can get up, but it takes me a lot longer than 2 seconds, and as hard as I try, I can't do it without my hands. This is bad, because in a real derby situation you do not want your fingers on the track (someone could skate right over them).
I know that with practice I will get better. I already have improved since the first practice when I couldn't even get up without using the wall.
Tonight, getting up was made further difficult by the fact that my toe stops were coming loose, so trying to stand on them while getting up was nearly impossible. Thankfully one of the other girls had a wrench and was able to help me tighten them, so it shouldn't be a problem in the future.
That's pretty much all I've got to say for now. My brain is exhausted so it must be time for bed!