Monday, February 18, 2013
I want to share with anyone who wants to read our blogs, what Sk8 the State for MS means to me and a little about the women involved.
This charity that my fellow Sk8 gals and I have grown is so much more than just a charity to me. We have grown together progressively as sisters every year we skate another state. I have not only gained a humbling experience that I can do every year to help raise funds and awareness for the National MS Society, which alone is much more than anyone could ask for. I got something along with being a part of this beautiful and selfless organization, I gained 3 women in my life that I trust and love as if they were my blood sisters. Every year when we skate a state we get everything together, jump in a van, and go to a starting off point to start our journey. From that point on we spend every minute of every day for a week together. We buy groceries together, we skate for 8+ hours a day together talking about anything and everything under the sun, we share hotel rooms or living spaces, and every morning for that week we wake up with the sun together, fill our Camelbacks with water, stretch, and throw on our skates to do it all over again.
We have our motherly saag driver, an amazing writer and our route expert, Skinner. I say motherly only in a good way because she pretty much takes care of us the whole trip. She makes sure we have our special energy drinks along with something to eat whenever we stop. She keeps us informed about our upcoming miles. She worries about us and she makes us laugh whenever she has a chance. She is an amazingly intelligent woman whom I respect immensely and couldn't imagine Sk8 the State for MS with out her.
We have the optimist, PBR. Every single day on the trip she is the most positive person in our group and maybe even the most positive person I know. She is constantly bringing us up when we are getting sluggish on the skate. Even if she is hurting she would never let you know it and push you to push through your pain so we can finish our miles for the day. She never gives up and won't let you give up on yourself either. I also don't think Sk8 would be making it into it's upcoming 4th year without her optimism and heart.
We have Mo who never stops and is always introducing us to new and strange health foods to keep us going. I love this and probably wouldn't ever have tried all the things I have, because she has made me try them. Mo has the biggest goals and makes you believe that anything you can dream up can be done and she will help you get it going. She doesn't let anything hold her back and she only propels forward and if you want to she will bring you with her. Sk8 the State would of never happened with out her dreaming it up and pushing it forward.
I'm not sure what I bring to the group yet. I think I have a humor the girls like and I hope they can't live without.
Skating across a state is not easy, and there is always a point in the year before it comes around again that I think about quitting or don't want to do it. Then I think about my sisters and what Sk8 the State does. There is no way I can leave it now, these women and friends we have met on the road for our charity are family now. It's in my blood ( at least most of the state of Nebraska is when I bled all over it on Sk8 2011), it's in my soul, my heart, and my mind constantly. I would not take back a single horribly painful day of any of our past Sk8 the State's. We are good women with good hearts and that is enough to want to keep our charity rolling. I hope we keep touching hearts and keep making a difference for many more years to come.
2013 Sk8 Kansas is coming up soon :-)
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The last thing Team IronFeet of Sk8 the State for MS wants to be worrying about as we trek across a new state each year is our wheels…The weather, road conditions, physical wellbeing and other matters are ranked higher. Yet, all 8 wheels are the glue to which hold the project together. That’s where we have been humbly honored to have Atom Wheels back our mission as they have provided us with their signature Pulse’s to trek across yet another state.
We pride ourselves on being “road connoisseurs” as we have seen many miles in the past 3 years. There is really no way to fully prepare for what lay ahead on the trek as far as road elements. The grade, irrigation, texture, softness, hardness, temperature, etc. are elements we cannot always foresee but knowing we are rolling on Pulse’s helps ease the worry.
I, Libby “PBR” Claeys, am going out on a sturdy limb to say that Atom Pulse’s are my favorite outdoor wheels. I’ve had my fair share of trial and errors when it comes to outdoor wheels. Along with the other ladies of Team IronFeet, our testimonies of Pulse’s durability will withstand the test of time. Quality that comes thru time and time again! Big THANK YOU to the Staff of Atom for joining forces again in our efforts, we are forever grateful!
Saturday, January 19, 2013
NO! No, wait…
Phew, I do not know how to tell you this but you almost killed me. Iowa you were the first state to make me want to give in. Numerous times I had to dig DEEP inside to push myself across your state. I was able to find inspiration in the folks that push through life daily with MS and just kept skating for them. Somewhere around Carol, Iowa I realized I would not give in but that next year I would come WAY more prepared.
So I started making a mental log. I wish I could have a pen and paper along while we skate for all the thoughts that go through my head. And not to mention the funny stories Dubbs and PBR tell along the way. You would be shocked to know what we talk about. Well I guess if you know us you probably wouldn't be shocked in the least. –I digress- back to my mental log, I realized that I did not train as well so I went through what I didn't do to be prepared and then how I would do better for the Kansas skate. Cross training I thought would be my drug of choice since South Dakota weather gets icky and it gets hard to skate outside, although I skated 12 miles on Thanksgiving Eve with PBR and Tigre Force, that is not normal. My next change to be ready for 2013 sk8 was eating clean and portion control.
As of today January 18, 2013, I have stuck to my promise, and many good benefits have come from this new lifestyle. First I have dropped 20 pounds. RAD! And I feel like a spring chicken again. I have noticed myself feeling all sorts of awesome all the time. It has not been easy and I do not love:
Run 1 lap around the track, do 10 burpees
Run 1 lap around the track, do 10 knee to chest jumps
Run 1 lap around the track, do 100 crunches
Repeat for up to a mile
I hit my running goal without my brain saying “this is dumb, running is dumb.” And now I can do three pull-ups (don’t judge me). From years of roller derby, I could crack nuts with my thighs but until recently I wasn't so worried about upper body strength. But I can do 3 pull-ups, now!
Now 128 days out, I have raised the bar on myself and have some new goals I hope to hit before the skate. I will report back on how much of a difference this "clean" life style has made after Team Iron Feet rolls all over Kansas.
Sum Mo Payne
Friday, April 20, 2012
Another amazing sponsor for 2 years rolling (see what I did there?) is Bones Bearings. The only way I can think to explain how amazing theses bearing are is to explaining the first 10 miles of Sk8 South Dakota verses Sk8 Nebraska.
Sk8 South Dakota: Day 1. We woke in our casino motel ready for the journey, or so we thought. Jarrod, Loose ifur Hooker, PBR, Dubbs and I, grabbed our camelbacks full of ice and water picked up all our junk in the motel room and set out to begin this journey. (Mind you I have spent 2 years trying to block out the memories of the pain of the first year so I may be a little off.) But we headed out to find the allusive North Dakota border, after locating it we piled out. We started immediately getting our skates on, checking out the road, and stretching. I can only speak for myself but, we had NO idea what I was about to get myself into.
I honestly thought, “this won’t be too bad.” Then a short time after, when I meet the six mile hill that never ended, I changed my tune. It took what seemed like all afternoon in the 91 degree heat to conquer this dang hill (did I say I don’t remember details? because, they seem to be coming back to me quite well now). At the time I would not have known enough to realize it, but my bearings and wheels were complete and total junk. Let’s just say a year later I would really know the difference…
Sk8 Nebraska: Now skipping to straight to the skating in the good life state, that is, Nebraska. As I said I would not have known the difference until the years changed over. Day one, minute four, I thought, “Holy sh*t, this is a smooth ride.” That thought was followed by a shout, “I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE DOING THIS AGAIN!” But the rest of those 216 miles seemed to roll by quite quickly. We were even, sometimes rolling at 20 miles an hour on the straight away.
The Bones Reds, which are the ones we used for Sk8 Nebraska, are super easy to clean and lube. We could have easily cleaned them every night in about ten minutes, if we hadn’t been sleeping in the van on our way to and from fundraising events. Even with less-than-perfect care, the bearings worked great.
For Sk8 Iowa, Bones has generously donated Super Reds. I don’t know yet what exactly is “Super” about them, but I’m sure I’ll find out when we tackle the hills of Iowa.
I guess the point I am trying to get to is: that a clean, good pair of bearings can really make a world of difference in your skating especially if you are skating a whole state. So when you are thinking about getting a new set of bearing—which you should do from time to time—make Bones your first stop. Not only because they sponsor Sk8 the State for MS because they rock!
Sum Mo Payne
Monday, April 16, 2012
I would like to thank and talk about one of the sponsors that helps make Sk8 the State for MS possible. Atom Wheels makes Pulses, which are an outdoor quad skate wheel. Every year since we started Sk8 the State in 2010, when we first skated across South Dakota, Atom wheels has generously donated multiple sets of wheels for each skater to help us with our journey to raise money for MS research and funding.
Now, I have owned many pairs of outdoor wheels and I can honestly say that none of them even come close to the Pulses awesome-ness! Not only do they absorb the stress and shock that accompany outdoor skating, they also glide over small pebbles and sticks that would usually leave a skater bleeding on the street. I know this because I usually am the skater bleeding in the street. They are smooth and heavenly which makes outdoor skating pleasurable as it should be.
Another amazing thing about the Pulses is how many miles you can push out of a set! South Dakota was 266 miles and Nebraska was 216, all on pulses. Of course, after so many miles the wheels will have wear and tear, the occasional chunk out or crack. This is bound to happen when you are cruising across a state at 15 miles per hour on well-worn roads. On the last two Sk8 the State's each state only destroyed between 2-4 of my wheels. This fact alone proves how awesome they are, because out of eight wheels on your skates only chunking a couple of the wheels after well over two hundred miles is fantastic!
Thank you Atom wheels, not only for your generosity,but for making amazing and durable skating equipment. Thank you for sponsoring the Sk8 the State for MS girls.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
For the 3rd year in a row, the crew at Vanilla Skates has gone above and beyond to make Sk8 the State for MS happen! How do they do such thing you may wonder?! Well imagine a pair of sk8s that the average derby player rolls on which rarely leave their feet for practice, side training, casual sk8ing, and bouting. They take a beating just as much as the player who rolls on them. The ladies involved in Team Ironfeet aka the Sk8rs of Sk8 the State for MS ( Dubbs, Sum Mo Payne, Skinnerella & P.B.R) are also involved in 2-4 other derby organizations that allow them to basically be derby orientated 24/7!
So those average sk8rs' sk8s I was telling you about see some serious "derby love" on and off the track BUT NOW throw countless training miles on side roads, highways, interstates and anything paved covered in unpredictable elements & unexpected twists/turns. Then ADD the actual event of sk8ing across a WHOLE state and what you are left with is pieces of material that once looked like sk8s which serves a serious set back in an event such as Sk8 the State for MS. Would we Walk the State for MS?! Would we Jump rope the State for MS?! What about Cartwheel the State for MS?! Nahhh, we are sk8rs and we needed to roll! In 2010 as we started the planning for the 266mile training/rolling across South Dakota sk8s were at the top of the list of needs to make this event happen because as we all looked at the current setups we were rolling on and it was obvious they would not survive the journey nor even the training.
Now imagine your car broke down, you're in the middle of no mans land, no cars are in site or civilization, there is somewhere you need to be to make something amazing happen which could be reached by foot but you will be about 2 days late, let's say it's 13 degrees hotter out than boiling water, finally you lose hope on ever seeing that dream become a reality, and just then at that exact moment of sitting down to sulk you spot a vehicle in the distance heading your way. As the dream come true car approaches and gradually comes to a hault, the tinted window rolls down and there sitting in the front seat is a female who states " My name is Vanilla, Where do we need to go?!" with a kind smile on her face. As you hop into the air conditioned vehicle she hands you a thirst quenching glass of milk & freshly baked cookies which soothes your previous worried self. She informs you instantly that her friend, who is a mechanic, is already in route to come get your car and fix it up. As she drops you off at your destination right on time and you have thanked her 1 million times, you know that she will never realize how much she provided a solution to your problem and that you are eternally grateful! Now I know that's a lengthy lead up to explaining this and may be a little far fetched but Vanilla Skates made all our dreams come true for Sk8 the State for MS when we thought it was not possible and they did it with no ifs ands or buts but rather smiles & humbleness. They believed in our mission just as much as we did of eradicated such a debilitated disease and wanted to make sure we made the journey happen! After saving the day and sending us set ups of Brass Knuckles, Sk8 the State for MS 2010 rolled just as planned (granted it was our first year at the event and we learned many valuable lessons along the 266 miles) and our Vanilla Skates were right there with us with every stride!
In 2011 Team Ironfeet took to sk8ing Nebraska's 216 miles as Vanilla Skates provided Curves for Sum Mo Payne, Dubbs & Skinnerella and Knuckles again for P.B.R. and yet again in 2012 the unsung hero "Vanilla" has provided Team Ironfeet with the means to make Sk8 the State for MS across Iowa happen!
|Sum Mo Payne|
Monday, September 12, 2011
This is the article I (Skinnerella) wrote about the Sk8 experience.
During the final week of August, the last of the dog days of summer, three roller derby teammates undertook the second annual Sk8 the State for MS. The trek across Nebraska was a grueling 216 miles from the Kansas border to Yankton, South Dakota, where the skate across South Dakota ended in 2010. After I helped out with last year’s fundraiser, the skaters invited me to be a full-fledged member of “Team Ironfeet” and skate with them this year. I was thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful event, and determined to make this year bigger and better than last.
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a widespread central nervous system disease which can affect people of any race, age or gender, regardless of health or family history. Most commonly, MS sufferers lose control of their movements, sometimes losing the ability to move altogether. The mission of Sk8 the State for MS is to keep moving, skating across a different state each year, in an effort to bring greater attention and funding to the National MS Society.
In 2010, the inaugural year of Sk8 the State three Sioux City Roller Dames, Dani “Dubbs” Bock, Melissa “Mo Payne” Dittberner and Libby “PBR” Claeys skated across South Dakota. The 266-mile journey took eight days of hard skating across the low hills (though they don’t seem so low when you are skating over them) of Eastern South Dakota. The trip took a toll on the skater’s minds and bodies as well.
“I had chunks missing from my heels by about day 3,” says Dubbs, “Every morning we had to get up two hours before we actually wanted to skate just so we could bandage up our feet.”
Even with all of the prep, Dubbs’ feet bled through her bandages after the first ten miles.
“We learned how to take care of our feet,” says Mo Payne, “We had really nice skates from Vanilla, but didn’t realize that if you sweat through your socks, your feet are going to blister, no matter how comfortable your skates are.”
They also learned the importance of physical training and nutrition before the skate. For 2011, we took up a rigorous training regimen, which included group skating sessions on the very roads that we would skate during the fundraiser. This was particularly helpful for me; since I didn’t skate with them last year, I really had no idea how different skating on a highway shoulder was from skating on a nice, shady trail. The asphalt radiates heat, making it feel 20 degrees hotter than it actually is. And shade is nowhere to be found.
Potholes and gravel were expected hazards, but I didn’t know–until I hit one–that a tar patch will immediately stop your wheels, while your body keeps moving. I learned early on not to try to jump or step over every crack in the pavement; this breaks your stride and can hurt your knees and hips. We were incredibly lucky to have Atom as our wheel sponsor. They gave us all Pulse’s and their new outdoor wheel, Road Hogs, which are large enough to roll over cracks that would swallow a smaller wheel.
After six months of training on roads, trails, in the gym, even in my bathroom, doing squats every morning while I brushed my teeth, I felt ready to tackle the highways of Nebraska. Then three weeks before the skate, after a night of strength training, I found that my left leg wouldn’t bear any weight. My doctor told me that I had torn my quadricep and would not be able to lace up my skates for four to six weeks.
I spent a couple of days feeling stupid, thinking back over every weight, every exercise, every skipped stretch, and regretting not taking better care of myself. After some words of encouragement and support from my wonderful teammates, I resolved to remain active with Sk8 the State, going along with the other skaters as a support driver, pep-talker, blister bandager, foot masseur and anything else that they might need. It was heartbreaking watching them skate and struggle from behind a windshield, and wanting nothing more than to be out on the 113-degree road with them. But being there to support them, being ready with a snack, a band aid or a hydration drink before they even knew they needed it, helped me feel like I was still part of the team.
Mo, Dubbs and PBR skated 50-60 miles each day, splitting the skating into two or three long sessions to avoid the worst heat of the day. Instead of crawling into an air-conditioned hotel room and passing out after their long days of skating (which is what I would have done if I had been skating), we went out fundraising and spreading the word about the MS Society and their good work. Roller derby teams in Omaha, Lincoln and Norfolk, NE, who are usually our rivals on the track, organized fundraising events for Sk8 the State as we worked our way across Nebraska. These fundraisers accounted for some of our biggest donations, and we can’t thank our derby community enough for stepping up to help us fight MS.
The North-South skate was finished in 4 days, but we wanted to skate across our “home” bridge and right into Sioux City. We found a 5-mile trail from South Sioux City Nebraska to the bridge across the Missouri River and into Iowa. For the last 5 miles of the journey, we invited members of our roller derby team, the men’s team, the Korn Stalkers and other skaters to join us. A dozen skaters rolled into Sioux City where we met our friends, family, teammates and many of the wonderful people who we came to know through the fundraiser. After an afternoon welcome home block party, Mo, Dubbs and PBR suited up for the Roller Dames’ home opener–a bout against the Norfolk Bruizin’ Bettys. After skating 216 miles, these three ladies were the first to take the track, with Dubbs and PBR blocking for Mo Payne, who was on the jam line. Tired and sore, they still owned the track and the Roller Dames won with a final score of 31-259.
We have already started planning for next year’s skate, which will be across our home state of Iowa. When asked if they were going to skate across every state, PBR replied:
“Ask me again when I’m 70.”
For more information about next year’s skate and
what you can do to help, you can follow us on Facebook (Sk8 the State for MS), Twitter (@Sk8theState) and our blog (sk8thestate.blogspot.com).
|We stopped in Madison, NE for a rest, where we met Niko Gronenthal |
|Mo, PBR and Dubbs lead the way across the border into Iowa.|
|And PBR still has the energy to breakdance in the street.|
|"What? We're doing this AGAIN next year?!"|