Ow, not a good idea

On the advice of my doctor, when I was looking for exercise less stressing for my knees than walking (seriously–my knees swell up every time I go for a long walk), she suggested rollerblading. I do pretty good at ice skating–just the basic push-yourself-forward stuff, nothing fancy–and I thought, you know, a set of Rollerblades would be a great birthday present for myself.
So I went out and got a good pair, at a nice discount–they were marked $129 but apparently weren’t marked for the significant sale price, and I got them for $80-something instead. Very nice!
Today, for my maiden voyage on rollerblades, I figured I’d just skate up and down my block. It looks pretty even, despite being at the top of a hill.
At least, I thought so.
After a block of slight-uphill fumbling, I turned the corner and realized that despite looking pretty even, it was actually enough of an incline to get me rolling at a pretty good clip despite me only standing there, without pushing off. If I didn’t stop–and I know how to stop several ways, but at that speed, I didn’t have the skill to do it without causing some major flippage–I’d be on my face at the end of the block in the middle of the intersection.
So instead I steered for the grass, thinking I could slow myself. But I was WAY too fast for the difference in terrain, and instead sent myself sprawling. Messed up my knee pretty good (low impact?) and decided I wasn’t making it the 3 blocks to the library after all. No, it was time to go home.
So I turned around and rolled around the corner to my house… and repeated the process, this time in front of the four twenty-something girls two doors down, and several of their guy friends, who all laughed at me. And I think I nearly dislocated my right arm in the process.
I had wrist guards on, but didn’t go for knee and elbow pads because I thought I’d be okay for just this little jaunt. So, road rash galore on elbows and knees, and a little humiliation to boot.
Next time (and there will be a next time–I am GOING to figure this out) I’m just going to walk down to Green Lake to the smooth, even track there (concrete, but it’s EVEN) and figure out where to stash my shoes after that. I don’t think carrying anything is a good idea–that was part of my problem, I was carrying a library book I wanted to return, which threw me off balance) so I’ll have to figure out the shoe issue somehow.
Any suggestions in starting rollerblading i
n your “not as agile as I was in my 20s” years? I mean, I’m as flexible as I ever was, but I just don’t fall as easily, I’m not as quick physically, etc. Not nearly the reflexes of Katara anymore, sadly.
As a side note, it probably wasn’t a good idea to even try today of all days, because I’m still dealing with a sinus infection that gave me nasty vertigo most of last week. The vertigo is mostly gone, but what remains didn’t help AT ALL. I came home wanting to puke from the nausea the rolling and falling induced, so pretty much that’s a good sign that I shouldn’t have tried this today.