Thunder Thighs

3 Nov

When I was in Grade 9 (middle school) I asked to tryout for the Senior High Girls Soccer team (Grades 10 to 12).  I was from a different school at the time but my older brother encouraged me (he was in Grade 12 at the time) and after some discussion between my principal and the Coach from the Senior High, I was given the green light.

I tried out, I made the team, and I was ecstatic.

It was exciting to play at that level as I had always been an athletic kid, but I was also a tad socially inadequate.  I was a big tomboy and devastatingly shy, and if it wasn’t for the love of the game, I would have hightailed it out there pretty quick.  It was practically a living nightmare to be surrounded by a bunch of older (much cooler) senior girls (and boys).

I tried to fly under the radar and keep to myself, on and off the field, but one day, during a home game, my somewhat excitable Coach decided to throw out some verbal support.

As I was sprinting up the field with the ball (I was a right wing mid-fielder) my female Coach threw her hands in the air and hollered (in front of all the Senior School kids),
“Go thunder thighs GOOOOOO!”


She clearly had no idea how young teenage girls felt about the term ‘Thunder Thighs’.  I had learned from reading magazines like Seventeen and Cosmo (borrowed from my older sister), that having a big ol’ pair of ‘thunder thighs’ was not something young women sought after.

At 5 feet tall, 125lbs, I definitely had a solid frame, and after years of playing soccer and running with the cross-country team, my quadriceps had become somewhat… developed.
Most wouldn’t see this as a bad thing, however, suddenly at the age of 14, I became hyper aware of just how muscular or ‘bulky’ I appeared to others.

It took many years later (many years), for me to understand that my Coach didn’t mean to embarrass me, but was actually cheering me on, having no idea the connotation of her words, and most likely was honestly impressed by my young yet sturdy physique.

As an adult, who has had the privilege of playing many empowering sports, including roller derby, I have learned to appreciate and be proud of the ‘bulk’ on my build. I feel (and hope) that many other women in sports have learned these lessons about respecting and loving their own bodies as well.

Today I post a Leg Workout titled ‘Thunder Thighs’ on my workout blog #Fitspiration because I want to pay homage to that defining moment in my life and spread the word that ‘thunder’ is actually defined in many dictionaries as ‘explosive’… and you know what?  That’s actually pretty fucking awesome.

Bad A$$

3 Mar

Last weekend I did a photo shoot…and okay…before I go any further I just have to stop and say that even just writing, “last weekend I did a photo shoot” makes me feel like I can never complain about anything in my life, because honestly…who does photo shoots with professional photographers for fun in their free time…seriously…if you ever hear me say FML (worst phrase ever) or complain about how hard my poor little life is, you have absolute authorization to throw an egg at my head or come up with another type of response of creative equivalence in order to correct my temporary yet immensely skewed perspective of the universe.

Anyways, I spent last Saturday hanging out with TJ Chase and Kim Janna and Breen Johnson at the Rollergirl store in Vancouver getting my photo taken ( Here is a bit of a background on how this whole thing came to be:

About two years ago, TJ Chase photographed his first TCRG bout ever (All-Stars vs the Murder, a Men’s team from Cloverdale, B.C at Central City Arena) and posted his photo album shortly thereafter on his Facebook page. Soon realizing he didn’t know many of the skaters he had photographed, he sent me a message asking if could tag some of my team mates.

All-Stars vs. Murder December 2012

All-Stars vs. Murder
December 2012

Welllll….after looking through his photos I was beyond excited to share them with my team and our league and the world and pretty much – BOOM – the rest is history.
TJ is freaking awesome and his talent speaks for itself.

After this brief interaction, TJ and I started a friendship in which we would message back and forth to chat about derby, derby skaters, derby photographers, derby experiences and the portrayal of the sport. We both agreed it would be really fun to do a portrait-style shoot that focused on capturing that “alter-ego” aspect of the multifaceted “derby culture”. This was in my early skating days, and I was very interested in this part of the community and the sport, however, I also took the game very seriously and really appreciated TJ’s vision behind the lens and his obvious respect for the game.

We both definitely shared excitement about the culture of roller derby at that time, but it was also very refreshing to see a photographer that recognized the complexity of the sport and focused on the action, the strategy, the team work. There was definite purpose in how he chose to depict the subjects of his photographs.

March 2013 Photo courtesy of Breen Johnson - Image by Lantern

March 2013
Photo courtesy of Breen Johnson – Image by Lantern

Fast forward to last weekend, two years have passed, and a lot has changed about the game including the reasons we both love it. Specifically, in the last few months we chatted a lot about how this sport has unveiled some pretty amazing and focused competitors. Words like “strength”, “grit” and “intensity” kept repeating throughout our conversations, as well as terms such as “bad ass” and “athlete”.

TJ explained that something struck him in particular one day when he was looking online for inspiration. When using key search words such as “female athlete portrait” compared to just “athlete portrait”, he noticed there was a concerning (and annoying) disparity in the types of photos that would come up (do a search yourself and you’ll see what I mean). Granted, there are a lot of great images out there, but there are also quite a few not so great ones. So the goal of this shoot was to avoid the concept of “hey look! Female athletes!”! Or “we are tough girls” or “girls play aggressive sports too” and rather be represented as simply athletes. After all, we consider ourselves to be committed and passionate athletes…at least I do.

I’m excited to see how the photos turned out. Yes, I have to admit that I feel weird about being so vulnerable and allowing the general public to see what goes on underneath my t-shirt, but at the same time I really think it’s great when people can be proud of who they are, what they have accomplished and support one another. Kim and TJ have been such amazing supporters and I am so proud of what they both have achieved since getting to know them…and this past weekend was a fun way to hang out, reflect, and enjoy all the cool experiences and crazy challenges that have been introduced into our lives since we got involved in roller derby.

ALSO, we had a lot of fun and a lot of outtakes, which I’m sure, will be floating around in the next month or so…

To conclude, today my workout was inspired by the damn kettle bell Kim and I held during throughout the shoot…it was heavier than you think, especially after having to stand still with it for TJ’s version of “5 more seconds” (which was never actually 5 more seconds)….

Find his work on Facebook!

Find his work on Facebook!

TJ Chase Photography:
Breen Johnson:
EP Fitness ’52: (my fitness page!)

Hiit Hiit Hooray

25 Feb

I am in love with HIIT.
Why? Because it’s quick, it’s flexible (in regards to where you can do it and what kind of equipment is required) and it’s effective.

If you think about our sport, we play in intervals of 2 minutes, full throttle, and generally have a few minutes to recover.  Therefore, it makes sense to prep your mind and body for this type of exertion and recovery.

I am so passionate about this type of workout, and so please feel free to message me or come and talk to me if you see me at a practice or tournament, because I could go on for HOURS about different workout ideas and routines.

Anyways, yesterday the gym was closed at my work, so I came up with this workout to do in the hallway outside the change rooms.  I used a set of 8lb weights and a 6lb medicine ball I found outside the gym doors.  You don’t always need to lift heavy, as long as you are breaking a sweat, keeping your heart rate up and completing enough reps to feel the burn (try completing the exercise in a slower and controlled movement to really push yourself).  Honestly, I prefer lighter weight when I’m using free weights.

Full body killer workout complete.  No treadmill or Elpitical required.


To learn more about my fitness routines, check out my website at or my Facebook page!

Feelin’ Fresh ;)

16 Feb

I haven’t written in awhile and have to admit that a lot has happened since my last entry. I would say however, that the biggest change over the course of the past few months has been my perspective of Roller Derby. Just as the game is ‘ever evolving’ so is my relationship with it. In previous entries (if you go back a year or two) there was definitely a sense of excitement and infatuation for an ‘alternative’ game and sub-culture that I feel has shifted greatly as the sport has continued to progress.

At first I wanted to completely immerse myself in this newfound community. Why? Because I, like many others (but not all of you) who have discovered and joined this “rebellious” and still seemingly “underground” athletic movement, was running away from something.

As the years have passed I have had the opportunity to hide behind a persona, re-create myself and my story. How many people have that chance to do that?

At the time I felt like this was something that I needed to do. However, after being a member of this community for almost four years, I have actually felt like the real me has kind of bubbled up to the surface and I’m learning to be “okay” with that.

Truth is, I am ridiculously shy. Very very shy. I don’t even like talking on the phone or ordering food in a restaurant (this may be borderline something else, but I’ll stick with “shy”). Previous to derby, this trait tended to get me classified as rude or standoffish or worse, and I hated feeling judged in that way. And so, when I joined up with a bunch of strangers to start a league, this was one of the first “defects” about myself that I felt I could finally disguise. I decided I would transform from lame introvert to some sort of ‘mysterious’, restrained character with a hardened glare. It worked okay for awhile, but honestly, I started to realize that I do really like people…and hugs…and laughing…and being a goof…and so it seems now that the self-possessed mask of mystery is wearing thin.

Also, around the time I started skating, I decided to come out to family and friends. It wasn’t the most favorite time in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad I did it and I am also so blessed with amazing people who love me unconditionally, so that was great….however, the hardest part was actually accepting myself and how I fit in to the life I had created.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that my love for Roller Derby has shifted to a passion and respect for a competitive sport, whereas before I feel as though I looked at it as a hiding place.
I have been able to reconnect with a part of myself that I had buried away and realized that it’s okay if I’m not some kind of superhero. I don’t need a mask anymore to find my strength.

True emancipation began by slowly accepting who I am, by admitting all of my flaws and quirks, and being bad ass enough to be willing to work on them.

I want to share this chapter now.

Many of you may just be starting your own journey, or maybe you are at the end of it, or perhaps you wrote a completely different book. I just wanted to share how I have begun to find my own sense of purpose and belonging. A couple of really close friends of mine once said “you do a lot of work on your outside, but you also have to do a lot of work on your inside”. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true.

Having goals and creating ways to get there has become my new existence. It is about connecting the mind and body. No matter what your goals are (emotional, physical or mental growth), we all should have something to strive for, and then take ownership of how we plan to make it happen.

If you have questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer, or you can message me on Facebook on my page at EP Fitness ’52.


29 Jan

A Day in the Life…

I make a ton of commitments.
Stress about not being able to complete them all.
Lock myself out of my house.
Realize I lost my house keys.
Definitely do not complete any of my desired tasks.
Somehow smash the top of my head with the hatchback of my car while attempting to slam it in a quiet rage because I have lost my house keys.
Curse quietly about my self-inflicted mildly concussed brain injury.
Realize all my issues aren’t really ‘issues’, but opportunities.
Feel so ridiculous that I even feel sorry for myself for even a tenth of a second.
Realize that we are our own biggest critic.
Understand that I need to cut myself some slack.
Find my housekeys right where they are supposed to be.  In a place I checked probably ten times already.
Vow to believe that nobody gives a shit about how imperfect I am.
Remember that those that count know my heart and love me and all my faults.
Treat myself to a healthy meal and some chocolate.
Cherish the love in my life.
Thank the universe for each day I am given.
Try and get a good night’s sleep.


13 Dec

Enjoying the view from up here.  Riding a wave that will surely at some point have to reach the shore and toss me tumbling into the sands of reality.  But for now I am breathing deeply and sucking in the refreshing sea breeze, letting my lungs fill with the taste of change and possibility.
This is paradise.
As the year comes to an end I am thankful for so many things.  For a (somewhat) healthy body which allows me to go where I want to go and the opportunity to physically push myself to new limits.
Having the chance to participate in Team Canada try-outs this month was a dream come true and a very specific goal that I had worked towards for more than two years.  Skating amongst my heroes and my friends in the town where I first put on a pair of roller-skates was a surreal and an unforgettable moment.
Waiting to hear back on the results, I am totally at peace.  I left it all on the track and accept this path I’m on.
It is no longer up to me.
Though the past year has presented some incredibly difficult tests and tough lessons I am able to say that I have no regrets and am grateful for every experience that has shaped my heart and soul and placed me where I am right now.
I have fallen in love again with skating.  With competing.
I am ready to make new goals.  Ready to work.

I have also fallen in love with life again.  With the pain and sorrows and the wild tornadoes that spin you around and drop you in the most unexpected and unexplored places.

It all happens for a reason and here I am, feeling so incredibly lucky and excited about my future.
The fact that I get to spend the holidays with my family and friends and that I will end this year with nothing but hope in my heart and new experiences to look forward to…

Honestly, anything else that might happen…well that’ll just be gravy.

Patience Grasshopper

20 Nov ???????????????????????????????????????????

Just give it time.
Things will get better in time.
In good time.
You just need some time.

Whether you are physically or emotionally ‘broken’, this tends to be the type of advice handed down to you by the currently healthy and happy people in your life.
It’s hard to hear.  It’s hard to believe.
It’s easy to retort with thoughts like, “But you’re not broken.  You cannot understand how this pain feels.  You do not know if it will get better.  How can you tell me that?”

I am writing this now because I have been through it.  I have experienced the pain and uncertainty of broken bones and a broken spirit.

And though, until recent time, I would have been the last person to have believed it, please know that time truly does heal all wounds.

In the past couple of years I have experienced what seemed to be an unsurmountable amount upheavel in my life.  Throughout this time friends, family and co-workers continually repeated those cliche words of wisdom, “it will get better”.  They would continue to promise me this whenever I expressed complete and utter hopelessness… and for awhile I have to admit I was convinced that everyone on this planet was a liar and had no idea the pain I was experiencing.

However, one important truth I have learned from all of this is that we have all, as human beings, suffered broken parts, whether they be broken bones or broken relationships.

And as human beings, we have the ability to recover.

The proof is in the pudding.

In terms of tangible physical injuries:
When I was 14 I broke both my Fibula and Tibia during a soccer game at the beginning of my season.
The E.R Doctor informed me I would most likely never play soccer again (jerk).
After months wrapped up in casts, hobbling around in crutches and being pushed around in a wheelchair, there was physio, the removal of the cast, then a pulled groin, and therefore even more physio…
At times when I was trapped in bed and just day dreaming about being able to walk up the stairs, I started to believe I would never be able to be the athlete I once was.  My dreams of playing for Team Canada someday were drifting further and further away.
That’s when doctors and friends and family would give me the whole, “in good time” speech.
How dare they.
However, just maintining even a speck of hope and belief that it would get better at some point in time, kept me going and with every day that passed, it was a tiny bit better than the day before.

I was able to return to the sport I loved by the following season and ended up playing for about five more years before having to give it up for school and work and other unexpected life events.
Never could I have imagined the path my life would take and the passion and fufilliment I would later find in a sport that some of you might have heard of…Roller Derby.  And another chance at that coveted Team Canada dream.

In terms of emotinal injury, loss and the broken heart, I have this experience to share…
Just a months ago my perspective on love was this:

“I have loved. And lost.  The results are that I am perpetually confused, sad and anxious.  I have allowed myself to love and lose and love again and lose again.  I am reaching the conclusion that I really don’t want to keep doing that.  I’d rather be alone for the remainder of my years than to torture myself with the ongoing of relationships which require feelings of absolute desperation, self-doubt and the questioning of who I truly am. 
So. Lost.
Currently I have delved in to my writing in hopes in hopes of gaining some understanding, forgiveness and self-reflection.  I am hoping I can pull myself out of this melancholy existence.
I know that life is a beautiful gift and that things could be worse, so much worse.  However, I just feel like life could be a lot less complicated without love.  Feelings just end up hurting.  Or even worse…turning into numbness.  I am numb.  
I want a simple existence. I want to have a good head on my shoulders.  I want to feel happiness and make other people in my life happy.  I feel like I just keep failing everyone.
Sure, heartache inspires art and is a universal experience, however it is also extremely fucking painful.
Why bother.”

FLASH FORWARD to RIGHT NOW and I can tell you this:
I am hopeful.  I am excited.  I am terrified, but I am ready and willing to keep trying.

Sure, life is potentially a bit simpler without the involvement of emotion or the consideration of other human beings, however it is also a lot less exciting.  I want to live my life to the fullest.  Part of that is learning from past mistakes, appreciating every lesson, and trying again.  It is about not ‘banking’ on something when it doesn’t turn out.  Because you never know where the path you are on is going to take you, and who might be waiting around the next corner.  The dreams you had that now seem no longer possible can change, will change,  into new dreams, different dreams, better dreams.

Scars are beautiful.  They tell a story.  They are proof that you are a survivor.  Scaped knees, stitches, dents and painful memories only provide proof that you, my friend, have lived, taken risks, and allowed yourself to be vulnerable.

So do it again.  Go ahead and jump! As high as you can! Trip, fall down, fall hard, and get back up.  Dust yourself off, take however long it takes to nurse your wounds, and then get out there and try again.

It just keeps getting better.  Just give it some time.