Monday, January 24, 2011

Feelin' groovy

I've tried cross-country skiing before, but always to no great success. As a skier for the past 20 years -- and a boarder for the past 11 -- my challenge is typically the inability to remember that my heels are not attached to my skis. The result: skin that ends up looking like a beat-up piece of fruit, bruised and tender from a long day of falling.

Yesterday, however, I disregarded my painful past with cross-country skiing. It was such a beautiful Alberta day -- it actually broke the zero-degree mark -- and, with the sun blazing in the clear blue sky overhead, it seemed the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time outdoors with my handsome man. With no regard for the pain that may have been awaiting us, Nathan and I decided to rent some skis and head out to K-country for a day on the trails.

Needless to say, it was a shaky start for each of us. There was plenty of falling, and we have some bumps and bruises to show for it, but by the end of our 9.2-kilometre ski -- which took a whopping three hours -- we were in our groove and skiing quite convincingly.

As tired as we were, Nathan and I agreed that cross-country skiing is definitely something we'd like to revisit together. Voici quelques photos:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Creative cross-training

As any avid athlete knows, a vital part of being active is cross-training. Not only does it build strength and create balance in the body, but it makes us better at the sport we primarily practice.

Writing is my greatest passion, but I've felt lately that a little artistic variety might inspire a renewed sense of fearlessness and patience. It was with this mentality today that I went down to the Mona Lisa art supply store and, for the first time in a decade, replenished my supply of paint and brushes. I would not have been so successful in my mission were it not for the kind gent who walked me through the store, helping me select everything I would need to begin my creative cross-training.

Sadly, I did not catch his name. What I did grasp, though, were his views on patience with ourselves as we practice our art -- whether it's writing, painting, yoga, or throwing horseshoes (OK, he didn't actually say that last one, but you get my point). As I went off on a nervous monologue about my desire to dabble in the visual arts, the philosophical purveyor of paint reminded me that patience and forgiveness are two of the essential ingredients in anything we practice.

"That's why it's called 'a practice,'" he said with a kind smile, wrapping up our browse through the store's aisles as he took my debit card.

"You're so right," I smiled back at him from my side of the counter. "Thank you so much for all your help, and for that little life lesson."

The debit machine beeped in approval, and I bounced out the door into the crisp, January air, excited to colour my creativity a few new shades.

A small, acrylic painting I did to get the paint-ball rolling.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Story in BeatRoute's first issue of 2011

Last month, I had the opportunity to talk with Montreal-based musician Jon Cohen. Covering everything from media censorship to music, our conversation was an inspiring snapshot of a man who fearlessly pursues his passion as a musician. Check out the story in this month's BeatRoute.


I'm so grateful to have given myself permission to fail, because that's just what I did with my "25 healthy days of Christmas" challenge. Far from an epic fail, however, I still went for long walks with my little pup on a much more regular basis; I hit up several yoga classes; and I went to the gym more frequently.

Over the holidays, I secured a part time position with lululemon. Having worked there briefly last year, I knew already what a wonderful company this is to work with. It is a society of goal-oriented, healthy, positive people. As I move toward embracing my fitness and writing goals, I am confident that surrounding myself by such people in this culture will propel me forward to making my goals a reality.

While the 25-days challenge wasn't fully met, I have forgiven myself for said failure because, as my philosophy goes: in giving myself permission to fail, I have given myself permission to try (again and again, if I must). Moving into 2011, I have a continued commitment to working out on a regular basis and trying new things to keep me engaged and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. In addition to my goal of doing yoga at least once a week, I have signed up for an abs class to meet my goal of getting back my six-pack (this year), and I will also be waking up extra early on Wednesdays to take part in a TRX suspension class.

Here's to a year of healthy living, meeting goals, and giving ourselves permission to fail.