I think I may be past the shin pain thing, finally. The last couple of times I have skated -- Wednesday at Skate World in Springfield, and Monday at Lebanon (as Sick Town practice -- the warehouse floor was wet so we couldn't skate there) -- I have pushed through the shin pain and it has gotten better. Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, both times the rinks were crowded as hell, and both times I skated harder than usual. (Monday I'm sure it was because the rest of the derby team was there and I didn't want to look like a weenie.) It's gotten to the point where I no longer remember which songs I skated all the way through, because there are too many of them. (And many in a row too. These last couple of times I have skated way more than I've sat out.)
On Monday night I skated a few laps during the speed skate (at Lebanon, they designate one song a "speed skate" so that the proficient skaters can have a chance to skate without having to dodge little kids and slowpokes). Charlie timed me for a lap, and he said my time was 13 seconds. The rink in Lebanon is about the size of a standard flat-track derby track (I think). To pass minimum skills I have to be able to do 25 laps in 5 minutes. Now, being able to do one lap in 13 seconds is a very different thing than doing 25 laps in 5 minutes ... but it means there's at least hope. :-)
On Wednesday Charlie challenged me to lap him. We started at the same place, and my goal was to get so far ahead that I caught up to him again. I had to work for it -- Charlie's getting much better at skating. But I made it within ... maybe three, maybe four laps. Not too bad, for me.
Monday night in Lebanon, during the girls' skate, a BOY zipped onto the rink (recklessly, I might add) and knocked me down. A fricking boy, during the girls' skate. That pissed me off. If it had been a girl who knocked me down, it wouldn't have annoyed me nearly as much; but the boy shouldn't even have been out there!
I don't think we'll skate in Springfield again unless we're really hard up. The rink is fine; the surface seems to be some sort of painted wood, and it's not as grippy as the floor in Lebanon but it's way better than the sport court or the polished concrete at the fairgrounds (which is the worst surface I've skated on). But the employees are all teenagers, and they do a pretty poor job of policing the rink. There were groups of kids standing in the middle of the rink, not skating (two laps in a row I told them to skate or get off as I went past). There was a woman skating while pushing her baby in a stroller (I was honestly concerned for the baby's safety on that one -- it was a very crowded rink and accidents happen). There were parents walking on the rink holding their little kids' hands while they "skated" (apparently the rink allows this; I assume the stroller thing is allowed too, because the lady was doing it for hours). There was a group of insolent 12-year-old girls running around on the rink in their sneakers. Not Heelys (which are allowed, and which I don't agree with -- Heelys are not skates) ... just sneakers. I pointed this out to a staff member and asked if it was allowed. He said no, and then just looked at me with dead eyes until I walked away. Nothing was done about it. I complained again as I skated past the staff members on the rink, and a few minutes later I saw them talking to the girls ... and then I saw the girls walking around the outer edge of the rink (but still on it). I guess that was the solution. Sheesh.
Oaks Park and Lebanon have rules, and the staff are adults, and shit like that is not allowed. Oaks Park is 70 miles away, whereas Springfield is more like 40, *and* Oaks Park serves nasty Pepsi (while Springfield has Coke), but it's still worth it to go to Oaks. (Of course Lebanon is still the first choice, when it's open.)
They all need to play better music, though.