It took me all of about 18 seconds to fall in love. In real time it was actually only really like three seconds on the jam clock. The short video of a brief moment in a December game between two talented west coast teams seemed this week to set all of derby Facebook’s hearts aflutter, mine included. If you’re a derbyist on social media, you know the video I’m talking about, in which a tenacious jammer lights up a very solid-looking blocker who attempts to backwards block her on the inside line. Basically the jammer just trucks right through her with a shoulder hit to take that inside like she owns it, barely missing a stride, while the blocker lands flat on her back. If you had to define the word “badass” with a video, this would be a good choice.

I watched the footage maybe 10 or 40 times. I just love how there’s no hesitation by either party, particularly the jammer, who decides instinctually where she’s going and gets there by battering through the formidable obstacle in her path, freeing herself from the pack. It’s that kind of fearlessness and fierceness that I want to channel this season, even if my skills could never match up to players of that level. The video provides some nice visual inspiration.

In a prior post about kicking more better ass in 2013, I wrote that this year I would go to more classes, which I’m lucky to have available at my work for free. On different days of the work week, I can attend Pilates, yoga, zumba or boot camp instead of taking an hour off for lunch. And so I finally bucked up this week and went back to boot camp. And it wasn’t that bad.

The first time I attended a boot camp class was right after I started my job in 2009. It was about a million degrees outside and I was out of shape and there was a lot of yelling and I thought I might die and I never went back. I’m glad to say that three and a half years of derby and intermittent Pilates and yoga prepared me to survive boot camp this week. That’s not to say that I beat anyone on the wall sits with weights resting on my quads or that I don’t audibly groan every time I get up from a chair or I’m not walking around with the gait of a geriatric arthritic giraffe. But I did it. And it was kind of fun, even.

I recognized a lot of the warm-ups from off-skates routines we do in derby. Grapevines, speed skaters, Heismans, high knees, butt kicks, etc. I could really throw myself into these exercises. Additionally, I found the vibe accepting and encouraging. Maybe the culture of the class has changed or I’m just less sensitive to yelling in an athletic context (I am fully in touch with my inner pivot). I may even be slightly improving at push-ups, a real weakness of mine. I went on Tuesday, then went back on Thursday. I book-ended my week with Pilates on Monday and Friday. I went on a second run, for a continuous 36 minutes, on Saturday. During my run, I realized I have about five weeks of training before we play our first bout of the season on the road. Five weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but then I look at what I’ve accomplished in a week and realize that I can create opportunities for myself that will probably have an impact even in that short period. It’s probably mostly mental at this point, but I’m feeling stronger already.