The last time I rollerbladed was three years ago, when I was training for my first marathon. Just like this Monday, when I finally whipped these bad boys out of my car trunk for the first time since moving (a full year ago), I decided a leisurely rollerblading jaunt would make for good cross training to take the pounding off my joints. I was all, “Yeah! I’m still good at this!” as I barreled down a hill in the park near my old house.
The wind was in my sweaty hair, wheels smooth on the pavement, and then I spotted it: a stray stick on the ground. With no time to react, my right wheels jammed into it. Kneepad-less and afraid, I launched my body into the grass to the left of the path to avoid a rough slam into the concrete and landed with full force on my left knee. After taking my rollerblades off and hobbling home, I swore I’d never endanger myself on those rude rollerthings again. (Thankfully my knee felt better after about a week, and marathon training continued without a hitch.)
Given that this was my last rollerblading experience, I was a bit nervous to give them a go again. I even walked in flip-flops to the bike path before putting them on—like I was going to attempt those uneven sidewalks, please. But after the initial freak out as I trembled down the slight decline to that smooth, safe path, I was gliding again! Forget long runs and vinyasa flows, this was pure childlike joy. And with some Taylor Swift blasting from my headphones—don’t judge—everything was sunny and perfect.
Back in high school, rollerblading was my thing. You know how “Let’s grab drinks!” is the default activity suggestion for adult friends? Well “Let’s go rollerblading!” was it for my friend group. Even after a tough cross-country or track practice, we’d meet at the corner in our neighborhood and roll through the wide suburban streets, just talking and goofing around. I wasn’t always so afraid of falling either. Once, against the better judgment of my friend who carefully removed her rollerblades to walk, I whooshed down a steep hill that ended with either a sharp right-angle turn onto a path or a crash into a fence—can you guess which happened? After dislodging my rollerblade from the chain-link web, we proceeded to a nearby library where I begged for Band-Aids. Oof.
This is probably where you tell me I should avoid rollerblading, or at the very least hills. Trust me, I will try my best to stay away from the latter, but rollerblading is far too fun to give up. I love to run, but it would be so boring if that were my only form of regular exercise. Sometimes you just have to put on your skates and dodge annoyed looks from cyclists on the bike path to remember how fun it is to be outside, in motion, loving life.