learntoski

Learning to Ski at Blue Mountain

Well hello there!

I hope everyone has had a fabulous week! I spent the week foam rolling and icing my IT Band (while keeping an eye on the Olympics) in hopes that it is up to snuff for my first race of 2014 this weekend!

Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 2.42.25 PMI may have to drop down to 8 KM from the 8 Miler depending on how my leg is feeling by Sunday but I have my fingers crossed. Side note: I am so so proud of our Canadian girls for their huge win yesterday. Going down in Canadian history, I’m sure.

Regardless, let’s talk about something I do significantly better than keeping myself injury-free…trying new things!

At my recent stay at Blue Mountain, I was given the opportunity to learn how to ski and I jumped at the chance!

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I have been a snowboarder since high school and I recently was gifted a shiny pair of skis that have been collecting dust in my basement. I decided it was time to bite the bullet so I spring for a pair of boots and booked myself a ski lesson.

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The lesson itself was about as un-intimidating as they come. I met my private instructor at the Ski Lesson shelter and he did a quick check on my ski experience and decided to throw me on the hill right away considering I had cross country ski experience.

Blue Mountain has a five step learning system to teach you how to ski. Starting at level one and two, you learn techniques on the ground before heading up the hill. I began on level three which puts you on a moving belt up the hill (which is actually more like a slight incline).

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It is the perfect slope for someone who is headed down the hill for the first time and I spent a few runs there mastering my technique with my instructor before he sent me to the next hill over, which is the steeper level 4.

I spent a few more runs on the hill working on leaning on my leading leg and perfecting my form. The hour had flown by at this point and it was so helpful to have someone analyzing my form and technique from the get go. I feel like I have a solid base to build on and I didn’t fall once during my lesson! My instructor was super patient and knowledgable and ended up being a triathlete from Collingwood so we had lots to chat about on the way up and down the slopes!

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After the lesson, I headed to the level 5 hill to spend some more time getting more comfortable in skis on a steeper hill. I have been up to the resort a couple times since and it has been good to see progression every time I go.

It was a lot of fun tackling a new sport, especially one that it feels like everyone else is doing! I like to be as versatile an athlete as possible so it is a lot of fun to have the option to ski or snowboard now.

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I highly recommend a lesson to anyone who is learning to ski or snowboard. If you think it takes a long time to learn with a professional, just wait until you try to do it on your own! :)

And now for the big giveaway announcement from Sears Canada for three $50 gift cards:

1. Tammy from @mommaoftwoboyz
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2. Rebby from @RebTheCatSitter

Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 3.38.52 PM3. Ann from @justamuggle2

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Congratulations ladies! Please send me your contact information and I will connect you to Sears Canada for your prizes.

Have you ever had a ski or snowboard lesson?
Do you ski, snowboard or both? 

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Snowboarding at Blue Mountain

Whew! What a day.

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This week, I headed up to Blue Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort, Ontario’s largest mountain village resort on the shore of Georgian Bay and spanning across the Niagara Escarpment.

I’ve had a long history at the resort. I have been snowboarding for years at the resort with family and friends and we even did an off-season visit to the resort this summer to try out the mountain biking trails and Wind Rider Triple Zip Lines. 

I checked in for a a couple days of training, relaxing and of course to check out the new ski runs on the hill. On Thursday, I was joined by a few friends and family to get out and play in the powder.

KaitlynThat is Kaitlyn, the friend I adventure with. You may remember her from that last minute trip I took to Tennessee last year? Only person I know who will road trip over 2,000 to see a concert.

This year, I have been snowboarding at Blue Mountain with a Super Pass, which gives me access to the hills at anytime. It has been a lot of fun to head up whenever I have a spare moment and do a bit of cross training. It gives me access to the terrain park, all the hills, free snowshoe rentals and discounts on the food and shopping at the resort.

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One of the things I was most excited about was riding the new trails in the Orchard area. Blue Mountain has added six new trails, new chairlifts, and 64 acres of terrain. My favourite runs on the hill have traditionally been the North side as they are fast, steep and often not as busy.

I had so much fun riding the new trails this week because the first thing I noticed was that they seemed longer than the trails on the resort. They are not as steep as the north side so there were a few more jumps to hit and it was easy to go fast.

It was noticeably busier over in the new area as people were clearly checking it out, however it didn’t inhibit riding at all.

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I have a terrain park pass and love to check it out when I am feeling brave in my off-season, however, now that I am back to training with some important races coming up, I tend to shy away from the most extreme bits of snowboard ing, but it didn’t stop some of our group from checking it out.

blue mountainTrevor, doing some impressive tricks in the terrain park.

One thing I really like about the park is that it offers jumps, rails and boxes for every ability level to make sure that everyone has a good riding experience. They are focused on safety and make sure that each rider is trained on terrain park safety before going into the park.

Living in South-Western Ontario where we are not exactly surrounded by mountains, Blue Mountain is my favourite place to go play in the snow. It has trails for every ability levels, lessons to learn proper form and technique if you are just starting to ski or snowboard and has fabulous amenities to make the trip amazing.

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What is your favourite local ski hill?
Have you tried out the new Orchard at Blue Mountain? What did you think? 

 

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Killing Achilles Tenosynovitis

This week will mark almost 2 months of no running for me.

Well, let me qualify that – 2 months of not training hard. I have been running, but I have not been able to just leave the house, find a trail and GO. Trust me, it is absolutely nothing of my own doing!

Why am I not running? I had self-diagnosed myself with achilles tendonitis, but when I went to my physiotherapist, what I actually am dealing with is achilles tenosynovitis, which means that the sheath or layer surrounding my achilles is inflamed. In my defence  all the symptoms and treatments are the same, so I wasn’t that far off! 

What am I doing about it? Well, I am a firm believer that although no one plans to be injured, it is a normal part of being an athlete, so I am trying to use the downtime to become the best athlete I can. I am trying different sports to cross train such as climbing, tennis and snowboarding. 

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I am also doing physiotherapy. I have been seeing a fantastic local specialist who has done biomechanics analysis and has me doing therapy exercises and stretches.

What have we found?

The small little problem that has caused everything has been a small tweak in my stride where I float my left foot to far to my midline which causes stress on my right hip. Basically, because I twist my left foot and collapse my right hip, I have achilles issues on my left side and IT band issues on my right.

I have been retraining my stride by running short intervals and thinking “1/2 cm to the left” which helps correct my movements. It is the equivalent of learning to write with your left hand when you are right handed so it is a slow and awkward process.

I also have been doing a lot of heel lifts and foam rolling to help strengthen the area and stretch out tired muscles.

I have also been seeing my chiropractor who has been resetting the bones in my foot. Because I was favouring my foot, I was locking it and causing more problems.

Another thing I have been working with has been acupuncture.

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More specifically, trigger point acupuncture which is where a needle is inserted right at the trigger point of pain. Yes, it is as painful as it sounds but it works. It is more aggressive and invasive then regular acupuncture treatments, but I found that my injury was feeling better after only one session. I also have been receiving natural injections into the area to relax and speed up the healing process.

Aside from that, I have been taking the time to focus on what I want my goals to be in the new year and how I am going to achieve them. I have a lot of exciting things in store for me, so I need to hurry up and heal this injury so I can get out there and go!

Have you ever struggled from a running injury? What steps did you take to overcome it? 

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Christmas Recap

We made it through Christmas, folks. I hope that you have emerged from your turkey coma and are looking towards celebrating the new year!

This morning, I spent some quality time at the gym before getting started on my day.

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It had been almost 2 weeks since I was at my home gym and it was good to be back; I almost had the place to myself!

Looking back over the past couple days, it has been a very merry Christmas full of family, fun and activity! A few of my favourite moments?

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Last minute gift wrapping on Christmas eve.

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Christmas Morning with the Brubachers. :) My sister and her husband.

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A cat who thinks she’s God’s gift to the world.

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Cutest onesie

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Making lunch in my sister’s kitchen.

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Crew of cousins. I love these people.

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Ugly Christmas sweater twins with my brother in law.

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Simon, the spiffy siamese in his mandatory Christmas tux shot.

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The very littlest sister, looking adorable.

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We all have those creepy relatives…

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Making sugar cookies.

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Boxing Day steal.

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Fabulous family.

What are some of your most memorable moments for Christmas 2013?

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The Definition of Insanity and other weekend adventures.

I just returned from a fabulous weekend away with my family.

We were all sitting around the table for dinner one evening and Max (my sister’s fiance) remarked how ridiculous it is that we need to drive 3 hours away in order to all be together as a family. We all agreed, but it is about being intentional with our time. That is why vacations are so important – to get away from the regular routine and to intentionally carve out space for your loved ones. I was only gone for 2 days, but I feel so much more refreshed than the average weekend.

We joined my father at The Carriage Ridge Resort where he had been staying all week.

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In all honesty, I don’t have many pictures of this weekend because it was the furthest thing from my mind, but our rooms looked something like this:

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We spent the majority of Saturday snowboarding.

Max & Megan - We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

Max & Megan – We talked lots of wedding plans this weekend!

LOVE these girls.

LOVE these girls.

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We didn’t really do all that much, which is the best part! I tackled more of my book. 

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If you follow my Books I am Reading Board on Pinterest, you will know that it has been the last book up there since…Novemberish?

It has been a rough book to work through. Recently, I was lamenting it’s difficulty to a friend and she asked me if the reason if the reason I cannot put down hard books in favour of things I ACTUALLY want to read is a residual affect of my athleticism? The fact that I just do things over and over, even though they suck. (Which is mighty close to the definition of insanity, I may add). I think she is right, I feel a moral obligation to a book to finish it once I have cracked it’s spine.

I have to say, my efforts are being rewarded because at about 250 pages in, it is becoming fabulous. It has been one of those books from the beginning that I couldn’t give up on even though I didn’t know why. (Maybe because my English Major heart would be wounded by the fact that I gave up on a book that won the Booker of Booker prizes.)

Regardless, I read my book.

I had a race and a faux water aerobics class that left me and my siblings laughing so hard we were crying.

Outdoor portion of the pool!

Outdoor portion of the pool!

We ate some beautiful meals together.

We watched this movie and talked about it:

We fought a little.

And then we made up.

That is the beauty of family and why I am so proud to call them mine.

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What did you do this weekend?

Are you one of those people that when you pick up a book, you HAVE to finish it? Or perhaps a tad more level? :P