This post has been sitting in draft state for, no joke, almost a year. A lot has gone down in that year.
To recap: I signed up for the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon. Shortly after, I began seeking treatment and diagnosis of a back injury that was bothering me somewhat intermittently. It started around the same time I started my new job at the University of Maryland, so I was willing to blame the transition between working at home and working in the office. I went through 3 desk chairs and finally a standing desk at work. In the meantime, I saw a chiropractor and, when that didn’t seem to help, I went to see my physical therapist (who I can’t say enough good things about).
With the help of my physical therapist, I made it through the 2018 roller derby season, capping off my derby career at the North America East Continental Cup in Kalamazoo, MI. My husband made the trip with me, and some of my family and friends from the midwest came to see me play. It was a great way to go out. I retired with the intentions of focusing on my graduate school courses and hoped to continue skating on a recreational level as time allowed.
A few weeks after the derby season ended, I hurt myself lifting at the gym. My back was feeling really great after 2.5 months of PT, so I decided to do the exercise I noticed bothered it in the first place to see if it still bothered me — back squats. I didn’t even move that much weight (95 lbs, which would have been a warmup set for me in the past). I did two sets of 10 at the beginning of my workout and then did other things. Everything seemed okay at the time.
Immediately after completing the workout, I was walking across campus to my office and already starting to regret the weighted squats. My back was getting very sore already. It felt like DOMS at first, except it set in WAY fast, and the pain continued to get worse for about two days. Ibuprofen didn’t help. Stretching didn’t help. My PT exercises didn’t help. Moving around was uncomfortable, but so was sitting down and laying down. This culminated in me coming home from work one night and laying on the living room floor in agony. Corner asked if we should go to the emergency room. I was in so much pain I couldn’t imagine being so uncomfortable anywhere but my own home. Plus, I already suspected the pain was not muscular, so I wasn’t convinced there was anything they could actually do to help me, short of giving me some crazy pain medication that I wasn’t sure would resolve the actual problem. So I stayed home.
A few days after the ill-fated workout, I saw my physical therapist, who recommended I also seek out an orthopedist. She recommended a guy and I made an appointment. Of course, it took a few weeks to get in and during this time my nerve pain (because I know that’s what it was now) started to subside. In October, I finally got an MRI and discovered that I have two herniated discs (L4-L5 and L5-S1; the two most commonly herniated ones). And not a little herniated….a lot herniated. The ortho says the damage was probably cumulative (so not from one specific incident), but there’s no way to really know.
I was told no more roller derby (good thing I had just “retired”) and no yoga and no spin class, but I was allowed to run as long as it didn’t hurt. Running was never the thing that seemed to make it flare up, so I continued sporadic short runs (3-4 miles, never on back-to-back days) and going to the gym to do upper body and very basic bodyweight workouts.
At some point during all this, I deferred my Marine Corps Marathon registration from 2018 to 2019. I was bummed but knew I would be better suited for marathon training 12 months down the road.
It was a pretty boring couple of months, if I’m being honest. Luckily the holidays and my grad school courses kept me fairly busy.
I was released from PT just before Thanksgiving. Eventually the ortho cleared me for more activities, but yoga still makes my back stiff and crabby afterwards so I am continuing to avoid it for now. And I’m still not allowed to play roller derby. While I had no plans to skate competitively this season, I did want to drop in occasionally to scrimmage and, you know, see my friends.
I started running longer distances again knowing that I am running the Rival Run Challenge at Disney World in April. I also joined OrangeTheory Fitness in February when they opened a location in College Park (it’s a 5-minute walk from work!). It’s great cross-training and I don’t have to plan the workouts myself. I just modify parts of the floor workout if it involves movements that irritate my lower back. Love it!!!
On Saturday I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC half marathon. It was my first half marathon in over a year (my last half was the 2018 Disney Princess Half Marathon last February!). I even managed to snag a PR — 1:57:09. Almost 6 minutes faster than my last half! And my back didn’t hurt afterwards (only my legs, hahaha)!
tldr; I’m back to distance running and planning to run my first marathon in the fall. Pending my followup MRI later this week, I hope to be back on skates soon, too.
Sooooo I got you guys all excited for my debut as a Gotham Girl and then I fell off the face of the blogging planet! MY BAD! Have I mentioned that roller derby can be pretty time-consuming?!
I am pleased to inform you that I have been drafted to the Queens of Pain (captained by none other than Suzy Hotrod)! I will also be playing with Gotham’s B travel team, the Wall Street Traitors.
March 31 was my first bout with Queens (and my first official bout EVER!). We lost to Brooklyn, but barely. Then last weekend (on April 14), Queens traveled to Philly to play the Heavy Metal Hookers. We won (!) and I scored a few of our points.
I’ve been asked to write my player bio for GGRD’s website and 2012 program. As a writer, you’d think this would be easy, but it’s HARD to write about yourself! I need to reveal some random facts about me, list some of my likes and dislikes, etc. I’ve shared my draft below.
Also, it’s super weird referring to myself as “Byers”. I like the nickname Morse better. Or Remorse. Or Remy. But unfortunately, I think Byers is the most organic shortened name.
Derby Name: Byers Remorse
Number: 13% APR
2012 Tagline: No refunds or exchanges.
2013 Tagline: ???
2014 Tagline: Transaction cannot be stopped.
2015 Tagline: She’ll take your money and run.
Byers Remorse discovered derby in the summer of 2010, when a coworker convinced Byers to join her in trying out for the local league, the Monterey Bay Derby Dames. After attending an open skate session at the local rink (and using crappy rental skates), Byers was hooked. She went home and immediately ordered a pair of skates to call her own (Riedell 265s, in case you’re wondering). She successfully tried out for MBDD and began working her way through the league’s Fresh Meat program.
However, a few weeks into her training, Byers learned that she would be moving to New York City. With only a few months of skating under her belt, Byers tried out for the Gotham Girls and was invited to callbacks. When she did not make the final cut, Byers skated with Gotham’s rec league and tried to find other opportunities to skate as much as she could. The following summer she found a home at Suburbia Roller Derby and skated with them for several months before trying out for the Gotham Girls again. This time, Byers was accepted as part of their 2012 Fresh Meat class. WOO!
In 2014, during her 3rd season with Gotham, Byers was sidelined due to a knee injury. During this same time, she learned she would be moving to Washington, DC. Following an ACL reconstruction in May of 2014, she returned to the track in 2015 with the DC Rollergirls. She skated with DCRG for 2 seasons (captaining the travel team for the 2016 season) and also skated with Team Maryland during this time. Always thirsty for the highest level of competition available, she transferred to Charm City Roller Girls prior to the start of the 2017 season.
While Byers has always had a competitive edge, team sports were never really her thing. Prior to roller derby, her most athletic endeavor was spending two seasons with the Glassmen Drum & Bugle Corps.
Byers Remorse was born and raised in Michigan, where she attended college and studied Digital Design & Rhetoric. She currently lives in Washington, DC and works as a web designer for an institution of higher education. When she’s not skating, Byers enjoys reading, writing, and spoiling her dog.
Charm City Roller Girls 2017-present
Team Maryland 2015-present
Bad Apples 2013-present
DC Rollergirls 2014-2016
Gotham Girls Roller Derby 2012-2014
Pigtown Butchers vs. Dundalk Deviants (3/25/17) – Jammer MVP
Team Maryland vs. Team Maine (2/19/17) – MVP
Team Maryland vs. Team West Virginia (2/18/17) – MVP
Pigtown Butchers vs. Dundalk Deviants (1/28/17) – Jammer MVP
Pigtown Butchers vs. Hampden Hons (1/28/17) – Jammer MVP
Team Maryland vs. Pennsylvania All-Stars (10/23/16) – Jammer MVP
DC Rollergirls vs. Charlotte Roller Girls (4/2/16) – Jammer MVP
Cherry Blossom Bombshells vs. DC DemonCats (3/19/16) – Jammer MVP
Bad Apples vs. NJRD (8/22/15) – Bad Apples Jammer MVP
DCRG Channing Skatum Interleague Scrimmage (3/15/15) – Team Step Up MVP
Bad Apples vs. NY All Stars (2/15/14) – Bad Apples Jammer MVP
Wall Street Traitors vs. Rat City Rain of Terror (8/10/13) – Traitors MVP
Empire Skate Showdown 2012 – Wall Street Traitors Tournament MVP
Suburbia Roller Derby 2011 – Meat MVP
gel nail polish, metallic shoes, proper grammar, manual transmissions, sour patch kids, sushi, bubble tea, letterpress, the color green, listening to Christmas music starting July 25
red meat, long commutes, late trains, crowded trains, people with poor public transit etiquette, single-ply toilet paper, tanlines, visible bra straps
Takes her boutday makeup and manicure very seriously
Is an athletic clothing snob
I decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day by providing you with a brief wedding planning update:
- Venue is booked
- Photographer is booked
- Photobooth is booked
- DJ is booked
- Wedding dress has been purchased
- Bridesmaid dresses have been purchased
- Hair appointments have been scheduled
I also started designing our invitations. These will also be used as a starting point for our other paper goods (save the dates, menus, etc.). I will need some feedback at some point during this process, so let me know if you’d like to help! We still have lots of decor and other DIY projects to get started on…*sigh*
In other news, training with GGRD is going really well. The draft happens in just two weeks; at that point, I will be placed on one of the four home teams (Brooklyn Bombshells, Queens of Pain, Bronx Gridlock, or Manhattan Mayhem). That means my first bout will happen in a month or two. SO EXCITING!
Also, my derby name is officially being submitted to the registry (this is BIG NEWS as it has taken me SO LONG to get to this point)! I will officially be Byers Remorse of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and my number will be 13% APR.
This post could also be titled “The Best Christmas Gift Ever!”
I have been bursting at the seams to share this news with everyone, and now that all of my ducks are in a row, I finally can!
On November 19, I tried out for Gotham Girls Roller Derby for the second time. I think 80-some girls tried out, and about 30 of us were invited to callbacks the following day. I made it to callbacks last year, too, but there was another round of cuts after callbacks, and I was not asked to continue on in the process. This year, however, I was invited to be part of the Fresh Meat pool! So for the past 3 weeks, I attended 3 practices/week with the 20 girls in the Fresh Meat pool. I also got to participate in a scrimmage with a bunch of World Cup skaters from around the world (I was a bit awestruck at the fact that I was sharing the track with Bonnie Thunders, Donna Matrix, OMG WTF, and Fisti Cuffs). What a great night!
It was an amazing experience overall, and I felt like I could see a difference in my skating after just 9 practices.
The final practice was on Sunday — and it was just scrimmaging. I say “just” not because scrimmaging is easy, but because that’s all we did. So the potential Fresh Meats scrimmaged while the coaches stood around in the middle of the track making notes on their clipboards. Nervewracking, for sure.
On Sunday evening, I eagerly awaited the phone call that would determine my fate. Ariel Assault called at 6:19 PM with good news. I am so, so proud to announce that I am one of 13 girls who make up Gotham’s 2012 Fresh Meat class!
So while I am sad to leave my friends at Suburbia, I am thrilled that I will no longer have a 1.5 hour commute to and from practice. More time spent with Corner + Nigel = happy Kristen.
I can’t wait to skate with the best league in the country. I’m going to learn so much. Who knows where my derby career will go from here?
I’m starting to feel like I may be leaving Fresh Meat purgatory very soon!
I am out of pack hours and into scrimmage hours! In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, Suburbia Roller Derby requires members of the Fresh Meat class to complete 10 pack hours, followed by 10 scrimmage hours. At the end of this, there will be a vote…and then hopefully I will officially become a league member (and get to register my name! FINALLY!).
Imagine my elation when I found out on Wednesday that, even though I am still technically Fresh Meat, I have been rostered for next Saturday’s bout! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen…I will be making my skating debut at Suburbia’s charity bout next weekend! It’s a Dogs vs. Cat bout that will benefit the Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry, and I am on the Dogs team.
So, my dear friends, if you are free next Saturday and located in the near vicinity, come watch me skate!!!
Tryouts for Suburban Brawl (Suburbia’s travel team) are at the beginning of November. I signed up, and I am pretty excited.
And in case you haven’t seen the photos of Suzy Hotrod in ESPN’s body issue, please go check it out (feel free to ogle the other athletes, too). She motivates me to train harder (those ARMS! My goodness!).
The past two weeks, I’ve been trying out Derbalife. It’s an Herbalife program designed for derby athletes. Riggs affectionately refers to the various stuff she sees me drinking as “weight gain shakes”, but really I am just trying to get leaner, tougher, stronger, etc. We will see if I get any results.
In other news, today is cold cold COLD here in New York! I busted out my winter coat this morning, thinking it would be warmish again by midday and I would be overdressed…but I just walked to Chipotle for lunch with a couple other derby girls, and it’s still quite brisk outside. Brrrrrr!
Today when I get home, Corner will be waiting for me. He is finally back from his work trip to Ohio (although he may be going back in December or January). Looking forward to a fun (derby-filled) weekend!