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Work Out Weekly – The Climb

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

The Climb

Like many athletes, I have subscribed to the theory of “No Pain, No Gain”.  In fact, when I competed, my favourite inspirational quote was “Do not fear the winds of adversity.  Remember; a kite rises against the wind, rather than with it.”

Forget that!  I no longer believe things need to be difficult, to be worthwhile.  Nor do I believe we only make physical gains, by experiencing actual pain.  To do so leaves us tired, injured, and on the sidelines.  (Case in point).  

Injury, illness, setbacks, and disappointment happen.  While I accept that, I refuse to believe that I deserve them, or accept them as part of my journey.  Sh*t happens, but with focus, support, care, and smart training you absolutely can and will reach your goals.  Hence my new motto:  “Rise Above”.  

Last month my good friend Brian Caissie invited me to go up to Mount Seymour with him.  Since I don’t snowboard yet* we decided to climb to the peak.  

“Located just 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the park was named for Frederick Seymour, Governor of British Columbia from 1864 to 1869.  Visitors to Mount Seymour will find many trails of various lengths and difficulty. Lower mountain trails are used extensively by mountain bikers and hikers, while upper mountain trails are restricted to hiking. Winter trails are put in place mid-December thru March 31 each year. Winter snowshoe trails and ski trails marked by BC Parks do not require a permit or pass”

It was a lovely, and sunny day, so we were able to hike up with few supplies.  I climbed in borrowed winter boots, and an extra thermal top from Rydell Suicide, plus Stance wool socks, Lululemon leggings, a vest, and ear muffs- which I only needed at times.  Brian had snowboarding boots, and pants, plus a beanie, but needed just a tee shirt on top.  We had a small back pack with us with snacks, water, and a camera (duh), but for the most part, the hike is well marked, and we didn’t need any equipment to complete it.  That said – This climb is not easy!  Brian & I are both in excellent heath, and work out regularly.  I saw several hikers wearing snow shoes, or using poles for stability, and to help with ascent.  

As with all winter hikes, you should keep to the trail, and avoid walking over flat areas with  no trees (water), or in places without footprints.  Seriously!  It’s important to pay close attention to what you are walking on.  What looks like solid terrain, may actually be a buried tree, unstable ground, or even just very, very deep snow!

We reached the first peak in under an hour, and enjoyed gorgeous views from the top.  It was rad to look out over the clouds at Vancouver, and realize that everyone down there was experiencing another “cloudy day” while we were bathed in sunlight.

We reached the second peak, but decided to make our way down after that, as the sun started to falter.  Better to be safe than sorry!  

This climb was an all over body workout!  I literally used my legs, and arms, to climb up, and come down the mountain.  Sometimes the mountain trail was so narrow, and steep, that only one could pass at a time.  At other points, I needed to be lifted, or braced by Brian to reach across cracks in the snow (short girl problems).  On the way down, we alternated between walking, sliding down on our bums, or crab walking on hands and feet, to keep from slipping down uncontrollably.

By the time our climb was over, I was sore from top to toe!  Everything, including my fingers (which got more action that usual, thanks to grabbing, and crawling) was cooked.  For the most part I focused on engaging my largest muscle groups, to sustain myself through the climb, and descent.  Mountain hikes are a lot like using a stair master – climb, climb, climb, step, step, step.  After a couple of kilometres, your hip flexors, and quads begin to burn!  The steep incline can also wreak havoc on your back.  It’s important to include your hamstrings, and glutes in the process, by kicking your bum out slightly (weight lifting stance), and engage your abs to keep from over burdening any one muscle group. 

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Follow more of Brian’s adventures online:

Work Out Weekly – Get Back Up

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Get Back Up

Before I share this week’s post, I want to talk about a topic that is usually downplayed in popular media, and day to day conversations.  It’s something that we’ve all felt at one time or another, and see all around us, but rarely talk about.  


As you probably know by now, beginning in August I suffered a series of pretty major injuries.  While these things didn’t lay me out completely (I’m much too stubborn for that), they did make an incredible impact on my fitness regime, and my lifestyle.

With the help of physio, specialists, and my very supportive inner circle of friends, and family, I was well enough to perform in an ice show, beginning in November.

While I did some cool work outs along the way, and skated an incredible routine for 4 weeks straight, I still feel far from my usual self .  My strength is less than I am used to, my muscles are smaller than usual, and my energy levels are still building back up.  

More than 4 months later, I still struggle to balance my work schedule, fitness goals, online interaction, and social activities, with my recovery needs.  9 times out of 10, I end up dropping the ball somewhere, and feeling like a huge loser for it.

Which brings me to this blog.

In 2011 I began this site with one goal –  To share my life, adventures, and fitness tips with my friends, and fans.  Things went well, momentum built quickly, and in time I was able to post twice a week, and then some!  I posted my collaborations, events, travels, and fitness tips without fail, for over a year straight.  And then… Life caught up to me.

Now, do not think for one minute that I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself.  Far from it!  I have had a positive attitude throughout my ordeal – Which for the record included a sprained neck, displaced ribs, sprained ankle and fingers, a broken tooth, dental surgery, and finally Pityriasis Rosea (look it up, it ain’t pretty).  I seriously do not begrudge any of my life, or experiences.  I learned a ton of very valuable lessons this year and I am thankful for all of them, even the ugly ones (skin condition, I’m looking at you).

In any case, here I am, writing my first fitness post, in over a month.

Who’s to blame?  What’s the reason? How did this happen?

Simple.  I got discouraged.  

I wasn’t posting every week, and I didn’t know how to account for it.
I thought things had to be done a certain way, and I didn’t know how else to do them.
I felt like I was letting you down, and I didn’t know what to do about it.

Then today I realized, “Waitasecond!  How can I be blowing it, if there aren’t any rules in the first place?”  

Thanks to my years of very gruelling, demanding, and routine training, I often fall into the trap of thinking things are black or white.  You do it, and succeed.  Or you don’t, and fail.  It’s incredible that I think this way about myself, when I am exactly the opposite way with other people.  

As a coach I help skaters reach their highest potential, congratulate them when they win, and support them when they lose.  As a social media specialist I help my clients branch out into new territories, unlock potential they didn’t know they had, and talk them through things when they are slow.  As a person I strive to listen to my friends, encourage them when they are uncertain, laugh with them when they mess up, and catch them when they fall.   

So why on earth was I doing any different with myself?

So here’s my advice to me (and you if you’ve been feeling discouraged lately)

Buck up buttercup.
There is not right or wrong.  
You make the rules.
You call the shots.
When things change, you change right with them.  
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try all over again. 

Oh.  And eat a fuggin cupcake!
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Work Out Weekly – Tabata Training

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Tabata Training

I recently performed so close to home that my sisters came to visit me!  

They got dolled up to watch skating

Then we acted silly
And… ate treats!
The next morning it was time to work off all that cake!  It was also the perfect opportunity to take another step on my road to recovery, and introduce a new circuit training program…

Tabata Training is interval training, with a twist!  20 second, high intensity bursts are followed by 10 second periods of active rest.  This allows you to keep your overall heart rate in the optimal zone for fat burning.  

From beginners looking to lose fat, and intermediates who have hit a plateau, to elite athletes who wish to reach their next goal, Tabata circuits can be tailored to people at all fitness levels.

My sister RandiFitMom swears by Tabata workouts, and includes them in her work out regime all year long. 

“I’ve put it to the test and seen the results!! I’m definitely leaner and my muscles look more full when I do this type of training to get my cardio in!  Lifting heavy is great, but if you want to shed weight on top of muscle this shizzznat works!!”

We did the following  6 gut busting exercises, for 8 sets of 20 on, 10 off each.  That’s a total of 20 minutes of sweat inducing plyometrics, weights, and co-ordination training.


Bench Jump Overs

Dumbell Squat Swings (similar to kettle bell swings)

Squat Jumps (onto bench)

Leg Raises with Butt Lift (using the stability ball)

Ta da!
It was a full scale family take over in the gym, with our sister killing it on the treadmill, while we worked through our circuit. 
I obvi stole her for a mirror selfie too ;) 

I feel so incredibly lucky to be killing it in the gym, and performing again.  After injuries like mine, you definitely have to rebuild slowly, or risk undoing all of your progress.  I still get fatigued a lot easier than I used to, but I know that this too will improve in time.  For now I am trying my best to listen to my body, keep active, and take it easy in between.  The same will be true for any of you trying Tabata for the first time!  Take it easy, take breaks, and tailor the exercises to your level of fitness.  The Internet is full of great examples of this type of exercise.  Remember, all you need is a little imagination, and the will to succeed! 

Grab more inspiration here:
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Work Out Wednesday – Weight Training

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Weight Training

I had the incredible opportunity to work out with the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the University of British Colombia, Jim Diehl.

Jim has been head of the UBC Athletics Department for 3 years, and has lead countless athletes to personal and professional victory.  From the world renowned UBC varsity program, to the X Games, CFL, NFL, and MLB, Diehl’s work has been seen all over the world! 

What better way to get back into weight lifting than with someone as established and knowledgable as The Thunderbirds head coach!

Jim put together a weight based circuit for Jordan and I, focused on technique, range of motion, and continuous movement.  We did a total 5 exercises, 8-10 sets each, with declining reps – and a major warm up!

Warm up:
3 X High knees/Jogging
3 X Cable swings/Walking lunges

Work out:
DB Bench Press 
Overhead Squats
Pull Ups
Reverse Push Ups
Suspended Mountain Climbers

Returning to weights after 12 weeks off, was a major step on my road to recovery.  Having to start from scratch with my work outs means I am restoring not only strength, but also muscle memory; which can get discouraging from time to time.  It turned out I was a lot stronger than I expected, but it was still very helpful, and important to have a trained eye nearby to correct my form.  Not only did Jim make sure I didn’t over do it, he also pushed me further than I thought I could go! 

I’ve since gone on to reintroduce weight lifting into my weekly training, and owe it all to this work out at UBC…

I often work out at home, or outdoors, so to have the opportunity to work along side a trained professional as renowned as Mr. Diehl was a true pleasure.  Be sure to keep an eye out for Vancouver’s national and international athletes, because when they do well, there’s a good chance Mr. Diehl had something to do with it ;)

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Follow Jim’s training and athletes via social media:


Work Out Weekly – Step by Step

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Step by Step

I’m baaaaack!!

The final stages of recovery proved to be more time consuming than I anticipated.  Weekly physio treatments, travel, and day to day activities ate up a lot of the past month.  Now that I’ve finally been given 100% clearance to get back into fitness, I invite you to WOW with me!

This week, I’m giving you the “step by step” breakdown to how I used one park on my road to recovery.  

“Lynn Canyon Park is the home of several beautiful hiking trails that are suitable for any hiking level. If you are looking for a leisurely stroll through the forest or a brisk climb up hill, Lynn Canyon has lots to choose from.”

When my friend Brian Caissie first asked me to accompany him to Lynn Canyon this summer, I had no idea what I was in for…

It may be hard to believe, but this incredible spot is just 15 minutes from my house!  On the first visit, we took a pretty low key stroll through the main sections of the park, eventually settling next to a quiet section of waterway with a large whirlpool, and a cave, to stage a wicked shot on Brian’s camera.  More on that in a moment…

In October I went back to the park with my sister, to walk some of the trails with my dog Pato.  I was still taking it pretty easy that month, so we kept it low impact.  Even at a slow pace, it was a beautiful hike with several level changes, including stairs.  

When I finally got the go ahead to work out this month, I felt like I’d been given a “get out of jail free card”!  I couldn’t think of a better way to test my newfound freedom than to head back to Lynn Canyon for some trail running.

Their extensive list of park trails is available online, which is super helpful if you are looking to plan your work out based on terrain, or distance.  Since Brian frequents the park, Pato & I were able to just follow along…

In the end we covered just over 6 km of mixed terrain, with a mix of trail running, hiking, and walking. While Brian was ahead of me the whole way, I surprised myself with how well I was able to keep up.  My lungs were a little heavy as I made my way up the final set of (never-ending!) stairs, but otherwise my body kept up quite well through the whole work out.  The only thing I really held back on was jumping down from things as I didn’t want to jar my neck unexpectedly.

I still can’t believe how lucky I was to have this incredible park so close to me all season.  Lynn Canyon provided the perfect setting for my return to exercise, which included a mix of aerobic and anaerobic activity.  Not only will I be back for more of the same next year, but I’m already planning to add swimming in the watering holes, and a trek down the waterfalls to the agenda.

Who knows!  Maybe I’ll include a photo shoot or two too ;)
“Tita” by Brian Caissie

Brian Caissie is an accomplished photographer of action sports, travel, and portraits, as well as a talented painter, and artist.  He chronicles his incredible adventures both online, in print, and in his beautiful and creative journals. 

See more of Brian’s amazing photos here:

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Work Out Weekly – Record Breaker

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Record Breaker

The Canadian marathon ladies have returned faster and stronger than ever.  

After an incredible victory over mind, matter, and marathons – Lanni Marchant, and Krista Duchene set the COC on it’s head with their record breaking finishes last Sunday.  This is as much a story about the human spirit, as it is about sport and fitness.  

Instead of a straight up fitness post, this week, I offer you a little inspiration, in the form of two incredible athletes that refuse to take no for an answer.  

Lanni Marchant breaks 28-year-old Canadian women’s record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

TORONTO — Lanni Marchant was taking her first steps when Oshawa, Ont., native Sylvia Ruegger set Canada’s record time in the women’s marathon in 1985.
On Sunday, the 28-year-old took that mark and beat it.

Marchant set the new Canadian record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a time of two hours 28 minutes, besting Ruegger’s mark of 2:28:36. Krista DuChene of Brantford, Ont., crossed the finish line 32 seconds after her Canadian teammate, clocking in at 2:28:32 to also beat Ruegger’s time.
“The day was perfect. Both Krista and I ran perfect. I am ecstatic right now,” Marchant said after the race. “I think Sylvia Ruegger was ready for Canadian women to take that jump and set a new record.”

Marchant will take home $8,000 in prize money plus a $28,000 bonus for her record-breaking time.
The London, Ont., native placed 44th at the women’s marathon at the world track and field championships in Moscow last summer after experiencing significant cramping in the left side of her body.
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Frank Gunn/The Canadian PressLanni Marchant celebrates as she crosses the line to set a new Canadian record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
She said she thought about her experience in Moscow during the Toronto race.
“My calves didn’t cramp as bad as the worlds, but they definitely started to hurt. … After the first 10 kilometres I though, ‘OK, you are feeling alright. Stay with the group until 20 km.’ And then 20 km came and then 30 km,” Marchant said.
“I guess about 33 km or 34 km in, I kind of pulled away from Krista and I was [thinking], ‘I have to keep going.’ The worlds was in the back of mind, and with a flip of a switch things can go wrong. So I thought ‘take control, stay patient.’”
Prior to the Moscow event, Canada had not had a woman run the distance at a world championship since Tara Quinn-Smith in 2009. Marchant and DuChene represent a resurgence in the sport among Canadian women.
DuChene, who clocked a personal best at the Toronto event, said she was happy to be running alongside Marchant through most of the race.
“It’s ideal — someone right beside you pushing you,” she said. “It’s phenomenal for women in this sport. I have no regrets, I left everything out there.”
Natasha Wodak of Port Moody, B.C., ran a 2:35:16 in her marathon debut.
The worlds was in the back of mind, and with a flip of a switch things can go wrong. So I thought ‘take control, stay patient’
Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., was the top Canadian male in 2:11:47, while Rob Watson of London, Ont., set a personal best of 2:13:27.
Gillis was the favourite to win the $38,000 bonus offered to anyone who could break the Canadian men’s record of 2:10:09 set by Jerome Drayton 38 years ago.
“Somewhere in the last five kilometres I really slowed down,” Gillis said. “I had the best first half of a race I have ever had.
“I had amazing pacers that took me to 30 km on Canadian record pace, and today showed me that I am going to have to get stronger for that last 12 km.”
In the men’s race, Deressa Chimsa from Ethiopia finished first with a time of 2:07:05, the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil, while Flomena Cheyech became the new women’s champion with a time of 2:25:13.

For more info on the athletes and their incredible journey this season, check out:
My sisters, and my Mum at the finish line with Lanni
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Work Out Weekly – Resistance Isn’t Futile

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Resistance Isn’t Futile

You guys!  Something super duper amazing awesome happened this week!  A super sneaky secret admirer sent me this Black Mountain Products Resistance Band set from my Wishlist  (Whoever you are THANK YOU!  Please e mail me so I can send you a thank you treat!)

More than a thoughtful surprise, this set came just in time for my physiotherapist to increase my activity level to include – you guessed it – Resistance Bands!

Imagine my delight when I came home from another gruelling session to unwrap this unexpected present.

Ever since my injury, followed by my car accident, my work outs have been severely limited.  Aside from a couple of 20 minute sessions on the elliptical machine, to test my progress, I have more or less stuck to neck tucks, and heating pads :P

Now, with permission from physio to increase my range of motion AND this incredible new work out system, I am more motivated than ever to get back into the game!

Here’s a breakdown of my newly prescribed resistance work outs:
Elastic Row (bent elbows) 3 X 15
Elastic Lat Pulldown (straight arms) 3 X 15
Elastic Tricep Extension
Elastic Trunk Rotation (each direction) 2 X 10
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Work Out Weekly – Roll Out

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime

Roll Out

After all the EXXXOTICA craziness, the hotel gym was a great place to unwind.  

The Sheraton has launched a “360-degree training and nutrition program that incorporates the organization’s four fundamentals of optimal performance: mindset, nutrition, movement, and recovery” programmed by Core Performance. Their updated fitness centre features cardio equipment, weights, and a comprehensive stretching and training guide.  The timing of this new system couldn’t have been better.  Last night was only my second time in the gym since I was rear-ended, so I kept my cardio session low impact by doing just 30 minutes on the elliptical machine.  Afterwards I took full advantage of the stretching are (and large flat screen TV) by rolling out my arms, legs, and back, using the massage sticks. 

I used the shorter stick, with one large roller for my legs, and the longer beaded stick for my upper body.

Next up, I laid on this large foam roller for several minutes, beginning at my lower back, and rolling, at increments, to my neck.  

In addition to cardio and rolling, I also went through my prescribed physio exercises using an exercise ball.  

Chin tuck on wall with arms up (Wood Chopper) 3 X 15
Trunk Rotation 2 X 5 each direction
Chin Tuck + Head Lift while laying down 2 X 10 
Face Down T’s 2 X 10

Following all that activity I was a little sore, but a hot bath, advil, and a heating pad settled everything down nicely.

Photo by Steve Prue
As I continue to recover from my injuries, I am forced to consider how much I put my body through each day.  Something as insignificant as sitting on an airplane, or in a car was very uncomfortable, even a week ago!  (I never realized how hard your neck works just to keep you upright, and absorb movement during travel.)

With several weeks of rest behind me, and the help of my physiotherapist, I am well on my way to a full recovery.  There have been many moments of frustration, and I’m sure there are more to come, but the risk of re-injury is more than enough to settle me down, and keep me still a little longer.  In the end, I know my lack of activity won’t impact my fitness in the long run.  And lucky for me, I have the opportunity to travel to warm climates where I can skate, push, and run around all winter long.

Not like I’d let a little cold weather stop me ;)

“Tita and Tires” by Steve Prue
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Work Out Weekly – Adventures

The Who, What, Where, When & Why of my fitness regime


Steve Prue coined what is now the Team Rockstar motto “Advenutures.  We has em.”

From conventions, to photo shoots, to rockstar road trips, wherever we go, adventure ensues.  This weekend, we headed to Salem, MA, to take in some autumn treats, act like tourists, and walk (and walk, and walk).

Measuring up at The Burying Point
Checking out Haunted Houses

Scarring myself at the Horror Museum

As I struggle to keep low impact, I find myself more frustrated than ever by my injuries.  I’ve been doing physio twice per week, stretching, and doing basic alignment exercises only.  My skateboard has been put away, my roller skates are in storage, and I haven’t used a work out video, or weight set in weeks.  

For the most part, my body is happy with the break.  The muscle knots that typically reside in my upper back and shoulders, have settled down, and my ankle is happier than ever (I haven’t even worn skates to coach).

Selfie Saturday in Salem
Mostly I miss the energy that fitness gives me, as well as the mental break it provides from work.  When you truly focus on your work out, you not only get the best results, you also give yourself the opportunity to shift you brain from what “has to get done” to what you want to do!  The rest of the world falls away, and you can accomplish whatever you wish.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m clearly capable of keeping busy, and never suffer from ennui.  But this lack of physical activity has definitely left me feeling “bored”, and even a little bit stroppy.   

Tita vs Pirate
Needless to say, the fresh air, time with friends, and new surroundings definitely helped my mood.  
And things only got better when I got to try something new… Namely Slacklining!  We happened upon a group in Salem Common called “The Slack Pack” who describe themselves as “a crew of slackliners who take pride in teaching newcomers the lifestyle, promoting health, and putting smiles on faces.”
Taking a page on the “Summer of Yes” motto I had earlier this year, I decided to head over and ask if they minded showing me the ropes (pun intended)

Attempt 1: with assistance from The Slack Pack


At this stage I realized how complicated a skill this is.  Not only do you need to have impeccable balance, and focus, it’s also necessary to push your limits and test your reaction time.  
Attempt 2:


Having some pretty serious injuries to account for, I didn’t try to fight through imbalance, and paid attention to clear signals of misalignment.  For what it was worth, I simply went up, and right back down, however quickly that occurred (for the record, it was pretty quick :P).

Attempt 3:


Attempt 4:

Ta Da!

Basically, given more time, and perfect health, I would have LOVED to spend more time figuring out the “sweet spot” on a slackline.  The dudes in the park were terrifically talented, and massively patient.  They were so generous with their time, and expertise, and seemed genuinely interested in explaining their club to me.  I adore when like minded people find one another, and create something around which they can congregate, and practice/learn/grow.  When we left I had only one question: “I wonder if I can hang a slackline in The Compound?”

“Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed.  Give me the tightrope” – Edith Wharton

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