Tag Archives: skating

You’re about to get served

Wanna get paid for skating? There’s an App for that, I s#!t you not! That’s right son, forget about trying out for NSC next season, and just let that skating clown in Duluth keep the Northshore purse money for his coffee fund, cause I’m here to clue you in to the secret that’ll let you keep skating the same pace you are today, and pocket da paper you’ve long deserved!

Meet your new sponsor – YOU!

The App is Gym-Pact and it’s too legit to quit. Here’s the nutshell: you make a pact to workout a certain number of days a week. Fulfill your pact, get paid cash by people who don’t fulfill theirs. How that works is this: in making your pact you set the stakes you’re willing to cough up if you come up short on the workout count at the end of the week, meaning you’ll get dinged dineros if you don’t suit up, show up and (in our case) SKATE! It all works though your iPhone, with the promise of an Android version in the not too distant future. I’ve been using the App since February, and I’ve already made some moolah…

Don’t even think about hacking my pizza money account!

Frealz son, that’s all there is to it. Well…that’s all there’s to it if you’re a pedestrian who wants to waste their existence inside LA Meatmarket, Gold’s Sausagehaus or 24 Hour Fatazz’. Not you, intrepid Speed Weenie – for you, there’s one more step. You need to use the integrated RunKeeper App to track your skate-leg log. You can link the Gym-Pact and RunKeeper accounts (they’re both FREE!) right at the Gym-Pact site too. Be sure you follow the instructions for linking the accounts!

And don’t get thrown off by the “…Run, Walk or Bike” language they use at Gym-Pact. You can count any activity that RunKeeper tracks. Just choose “Skating” from the Activity Type menu.

Select Skating in RunKeeper – swimming with the iPhone not advised.

Now don’t get me wrong – this thing has been great to use in the gym. Seriously, it’s really been the ONLY freaking reason I’ve dragged my non-competing butt out of bed every week to complete my pacts, when I’m not skating. When you’re making between $.50 – $.75 per workout, and you potentially lose $5-$10 (as high a stakes as I’ve set) or more if you miss your pact, the little financial incentive really does act as a motivator!

So here’s the deal – I’ve seen a lot of you using EndoMondo and other GPS trackers to brag to your Facebook friends that your butt won’t be as big as theirs cause you’re out there working it. But now, with Gym-Pact, you can do that AND get paid! And if enough of us Speed Weenies get together in the online community and create our own Challenges, we can have a lot of fun, and post some pretty impressive numbers. Hell, how many of you are skating 6-7 days a week as it is? This is the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind.

Be warned though – these guys ain’t dumb. They’ll keep you honest. When you make a pact, you’re committing to working out a set number of DAYS per week, for at least 1/2 hour per workout. It’s not a set number of sessions. So for you World Team members, two and three-a-days ain’t gonna zip you through a 7 day pact by Wednesday morning. But you will earn some much needed cash to pay for that trip to Italy, so you got that going for you!

And think about the applications this has for your club. If you don’t want to pocket the bread yourself, think about getting your entire club to download the App, start tracking at the start of your warm ups, and start a fund for your club! Or start skating now, sock away your earnings in your PayPal account, and this time next year, dedicate the money you made to helping send some of our World Team members to 2013 Worlds! Or, be like me, and save it up for a big, fat, sloppy pizza. Cause that’s the only reason I’m skating this year…so I can keep sloppin’ down the slices.

No matter what your motivation, this is truly the only way 99% of us will EVER get paid for inline speed skating. So I guess I need to replace my oft quoted line, “There’s no gold on a rope at the end of the inline rainbow” with a new mantra as I strap on my skates tomorrow morning: Cash, Grass or Ass, No One Skates For Free.

Or not.

Been Sk8n?

Dateline: 22 December, 2011. I started writing this post back in the beginning of November on my laptop, on a plane out of Vegas. I’m wrapping it up tonight, on a couch bound for LA LA Land, thumbing away on the WordPress App for iPhone. A lot has changed between then and now…as it tends to do when you’re busy bumpin’ and bangin’ your way through this mad world.

>>>Been skating much? No. Not really. Not much. Not like I used to. I mean, it’s not like I haven’t been at all, but man, it hasn’t been a lot. Or, it hasn’t seemed that way. Life’s been busy. Crazy busy. And nothing ever used to get in the way of “me time” and my skates. But it ain’t like that anymore. I’ve been making different choices. I’m reaching more for Skittles than my skates, and that’s making me blow up bigger than a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. Just get a few dozen linemen to hold me down and you’ll see me bounching off the walls down the corridors of babylon here in a few weeks, right behind Sponge Bob and Mr. Monopoly. Hmmm, wonder if they’ll be blowing him up in or near Zuccotti Park…

Team Butterball. We Round. We Roll.

This season came and went and it’s like I wasn’t even there. No goals. No Garmin. No PBR’s. No 100mile enduraskates. No NSIM. When I did skate it was just…skating.

This is where all the high rollers hang out.

Took my skates to Vegas. What the hell was I thinking? In the land of free drinks and free, public smoking, there wasn’t a workout to be had for less than $15, and that was in the hotel I was staying in!

<<<Wow…flash forward to this quiet Winter Solstice night, and I pick up where I left off…haven't been skating much, but I've been skating more than writing, and that ain't sayin' much. I've got eight posts in various states of limbo. Actually, decomposition is more like it. Maybe they'll be published, maybe not. I meant to write more, but the trail to hell is paved with good intentions…

When writing that earlier post, I spoke of life being busy. That was a classic understatement. I've been traveling a lot for work, and in classic First Loser style, I'm sitting here on the eve of doing something I said I'd never do…moving to California! So I've sacrificed my training in anticipation of this move, knowing that I'm heading to the land of the never ending outdoor season. I guess it was inevitable, and knowing how well I do with the "We'll I'll never do that!" statements, I'd be willing to bet the last time I said that about Cali I had a twinkle in my eye.

So as I sit here blogging from my iPhone ("You'll never catch me with one of those!") waiting for the moving truck to show up at noon tomorrow, I feel like Bilbo Baggins, on the verge of another great adventure. To all my friends at Rollerland Skate Center ("I'll never become a Rink Rat!") on the Rink Rabbits, with WestWind Speed, Rocky Mountain Racing, and Colorado Gold, it's truly been my honor and privilege to come to know you and skate with you. I've made some friends for life, and I know we'll skate the same pace lines again together someday in the future. You all now have an official excuse to bring your skates to LA the next time you visit!

To all the miles of trails I've come to know…I like some of you more than you know, and others more than you deserve, but all together it was here on these trails that I began this inline journey that ended at the finish line somewhere in Duluth, and I will forever remember fondly our time together, striding and gliding toward a faster tomorrow. The sun sets on this chapter old friend, but our time wasn't spent in vain.

20111223-013917.jpg

When the sun rises on my first full day in the Santa Clarita Valley, I’ll think of you as I get that first whiff of foot-funk while lacing up, knowing exactly where my skates acquired their putrid aroma. Through the miles of sweaty determination we skated together. I’ll honor the memories by getting back to that place I know and love so much. That zone I’ve only ever known skating the trail, point to point. Yes…it’s time to pound it out.

Merry Christmas to you all and I wish you miles of bliss in the coming new year.

Hippy, hippy skate

The “hips-forward” position. It’s not something that comes to us naturally, particularly the male of the species, for what should be obvious reasons. Unless you’re puttin’ your junk in a box to give your baby a little something to let her know what’s on your mind, or you’re a pervert hip-reaching for a glancing rub on a crowded cross-town bus, your hips are usually hanging straight to slightly back when you walk, keeping yo junk tucked safely out of harms way. When you’re skating though, this position gives you a leg up on the field, allowing you to optimize your form and maximize your stride. Ed Grimley would be a helluva speed skater, if he’d just bend his knees…

I must say, I really don't find those skin suits to be all that flattering.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my coach say to push my hips forward. Honestly, it’s taken me about three years to finally figure out what he meant. Intellectually, I understood him when he’d illustrate the pelvic thrust on dry-land, although I’m the first to admit I was a little distracted when he put “The Time Warp” on the rink sound system and dressed like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror to show us the proper position, but that aside it was easy enough to see what he was talking about. It was quite another thing to apply it while skating, particularly in indoor speed skating. (Sorry – no visual on the Rocky Horror thing.)

I can tell you this…skating with your hip forward, or “tail-tucked” as they say, is one of those fine little technical points that immediately shaves time off the lap counter. I’ve been doing nothing but skating Grimley-style since I got clued into its true importance. Seriously…it’s one of those things I feel like I could take a year off just to work on. To get perfect. And judging by a recent post out there in the inline/online world by Bill Begg, Chad Hedrick’s hip position was the key to his massive double push technique, so I guess I was onto something after all…

Why is it so important? Because that’s where the power lives. There are some big muscles in them there parts. We’re talking butts and quads.  For me, when I’ve got all my attention focused on keeping my tail tucked way under me, my thighs come up directly underneath me, allowing me to stack my position over my ankle. For me, this makes it easier to keep everything tight and in line, particularly when I lean into the turns. Holy crap have I been doing a lot of work to get a better corner lean! But anyway…

The most obvious benefit that almost anyone who tries this will find immediately is that your stride extends more fully to the side and more forward, as opposed to dropping back and away. In the corners, it’s a wicked technical improvement. I’ve found my underpush feels stronger, and I feel more in control when I’m doing this right. Did I mention it’s making me faster as I ride a tighter line through the corners? Now if only I’d step into the damn turn a little sooner. That, combined with this, would probably help me shave another 1/10th of a second off my lap time.

Also, the falling motion seems to gain a little juice when I’m stacked up right. (Hell, if I was truly stacked I’d never leave the house, but that’s yet another tale better left untold.) This probably has something to do with having more weight forward, falling in the direction of travel, building forward momentum to carry you along at a higher rate of speed. But hey, I’m not a physicist, but I’ve had nasty cysts, and they’re just about as much fun as science class was for me in high school. So it goes…

For all this intellectualized blather, I’m still the kind of skater that tosses everything out the window when the starter pistol fires. But with practice, and I’m talking every rolling minute on skates, it’s becoming more second nature to get my hips more forward. And the more I talk about it with people much smarter than me, the more it becomes clear that this is truly important in the grand scheme of this skating thing.

I’ve been working on all of this for about a month and a half, ever since I filmed my coach using a golf swing analyzer App on my iPad2 (yet another blog post for another day.) Watching his form in slow-motion, I was able to really see the difference between his hip placement and mine. It’s one of those things that’s eventually going to lead to that one second gap closing between us. Because all of this analysis, all of this desire to improve technically, is to ultimately improve my 100m flying time by one-freaking-second. It’s the stuff like this that separates them – the greats – from us – the haters. One godforsaken second between me and a former world champ. There’s about 25 good years of skating experience in between us too, but it’s the small technical things that are keeping us apart skating indoors. With all this hip and stacking and stepping and leaning stuff, I feel like I’ve unlocked the secret to shaving another 4/10th’s of that second off when I get this stuff right.  Now…where the hell is the rest of it going to come from?

NOTE: These are just my observations. I’m not an expert and don’t claim to be even related to one. So don’t hold me up or put me down, if you know something more, share it. Constructively. Have a nice day, know-it-all.

Ice to meet you

In the course of events in this thing I call my life, I need to mix things up. I’m not the kinda guy that you can expect to sit still for more than a few minutes at a clip, at least with my pants on…

REVEALED: This is how I cop so much time on SkateLog Speed Skating Forum.

I need to be busy. Need to be doing something. And no matter what it is, if I really find it interesting, I can become very disciplined, very quickly and develop routines that I’ll adhere to, religiously, for years without interruption. But once I start getting bored, the routines get hard to maintain, and I need to find something to spice things up, or I’ll start getting lazy and I’ll start relying on anything I can find to use as an excuse to get distracted from that thing I was so engrossed with that it became a part of my daily life and part of the definition of…me.

My career as Skatey Spice was short lived...I just couldn't bring myself to shave my legs.

I’ll admit it…I started getting bored with this thing of ours. That’s right. I started to become a slacker skater. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you’ve seen the ups and downs. What I’ve published here really only scratches the surface. And yes, my posts do tend to exaggerate the state of things, and go more for a cheap fart joke than any real substance, but that aside it’s a pretty honest portrayal of my skating life. I’ve added emphasis there because my skating life is truly more than roller skating, or, you know, inline speed skating. Ice has become a part of this thing I do. To the extent that I should really just say I’m a skater, as opposed to an inline skater, because the latter implies a singularity of purpose that just isn’t in my make up anymore. It’s like saying “I’m a road-skater,” or “I’m a trail-skater,” or “I’m an indoor speed skater,” or “I’m a marathon skater.” The label “inline skater” has become too restrictive. And since freedom is so much of what I love about this sport, I think saying “I’m a skater” is about as liberating as I can get. That said, inline is really my core so I’m not dumping the label. I’m just more open-minded about this thing I do.

We're just not coming at this from the same place.

Being one of such open mind, I decided that since nude speed skating is flat-out too dangerous and just wrong (God knows the view would be hanus trying to catch a draft,) 2011 is the year of doing things differently. By that I mean setting new goals, tackling new challenges and stretching past my comfort zone. It’s one thing to try to break a personal best time, whether it’s for 100m or 26.2 miles. It’s another to try to become somewhat competent in another discipline, and that’s what I’ve chosen to focus on. I’ve moved to ice. Not in the epic sense of a Jondon Trevena or Derek Parra or Chad Hedrick. No. Just in the sense of being me and trying something new. And it’s been a humbling experience, one that’s done the ego some good.

Taking a similar track to what I did my first year on inlines, I jumped right into the deep end of training and competing. Honestly, the main reason I haven’t been updating these pages all that much lately is that I’ve been using all the spare time I can find to get me some quality ice time on my new Marchese One boots and Marchese Zero blades. (Full disclosure…CadoMotus makes these Marchese’s, and CadoMotus is a sponsor of First Loser.)

These skates kick butt.

Yep…I’ve become a short track slut, puttin’ out on the ice as much as I can, and gettin’ my money’s worth out of the Ice Center Super Pass I bought in February. But I digress…

To really kick up the excitement a notch, I competed in my first ice meet earlier this season, The 2011 Colorado Speed Skating Championships. The meet was organized by Colorado Gold Speedskating, and they’re just awesome! anyway…this meet was a quick test of my ego-resiliency. Considering that my only real competition was a self-described “old lady” and some guys that have been doing short track for all of maybe eight months to a year, I was thinking I was on my way to gold, or at least the claim of having my First Loser status carry over in my ice debut. That wasn’t to be the case. I did pretty well, in that I got the entry fee’s worth out of the event by placing in my heats and skating all the finals, but the podium was a bit further away than I thought it would be.

Turns out I was competing in the masters division. So even though I was on the ice with the Bony Pony’s, or whatever we were being called, I was skating against those guys I was watching and going “Holy S#!t look at that!” So needless to say I didn’t come home with any medals (not even a freaking participation award or a chocolate bar) but I did skate away having had a great time and really falling for this new discipline. (Father’s pride: Freezy Weezy took third in his division!)

Freezy Weezy takes Bronze!

As it stands right now, I’m on the fence about NSIM this year. I honestly don’t know if I’m going to go. It’s a lot of effort for a little better than an hour’s worth of skating time. Yes, it’s the premiere event for me, no doubt. But I’m not excited about the idea anywhere near as much as I’m stoked to go to a short track clinic at the Oval in SLC in June, and compete here in Fort Collins at our first ice meet in October. I’m truly excited and I’m working hard to try to improve my technique so that I can show improvement versus what I did down there at the World Arena in April. That’s got me fired up man. Honestly, I miss that about inline. That same fire just ain’t there anymore.

DON’T GET ME WRONG DAMNIT! I still love inline skating more than any other sport. And now that the weather is somewhat improving here in NoCo I’ve been able to hit the trails with gusto again (94 miles logged last week!) and I’m truly amazed every time I skate in my Pro M1’s on the trail and feel truly in command of every facet of my stride, but it’s that, I don’t know, maybe it’s the novelty of new-found passion that I just don’t have for inline anymore. With inline, it’s like I have something to maintain. I’ve achieved a little something. With ice, I ain’t done s#!t, so I’ve got the world before me. And with a 1:07 500m time, I’ve got nowhere to go but up…at least I hope.

AND NOW A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

Crazy F’in Glenn is at it again! Just to make things nice and tidy, he’s offered up a really schweet deal on Bont Patriot Short Track boots and Bont ice blades. Check it speed freaks:

Any in-stock Bont Patriot short track boots, normally $225, this month only, $175. 

Any  in-stock Bont Platinum blades (top-of-the-line!), normally $450, this month only, $375.

NEW – full custom Bont Patriot boots and Platinum blades, $1000!  Note that the blades alone normally retail for $450.  Shipping and applicable taxes extra, please.

Email Glenn today: glenn916@yahoo.com to get this crazy azz deal before it’s too late. Sorry Rick! (Inside joke.)

Carry that weight

Last week I noticed we’re spending more on groceries lately. Innocently enough, I asked Horseypants where all the grocery money is going. She says, “Take a side-long look in the mirror!” So it goes…but I thought this skating thing took care of those details. These past few weeks, I’ve been feeling like a guy I once knew,  a guy I’ll call Crossfire. He would consume cubic tons of Bolivian marching powder, in all it’s forms, on a daily basis, all the while cutting and maintaining a figure that would make Jackie Gleason slim by comparison. If you know anything about the physiological effects of nose candy, you’re thinking this is nothing short of impossible. But it is possible and it’s exactly how I feel…despite how much I skate, I need a wheel barrow to cart around ma belly.

"I'm gonna eat your pace line."

I’m just back from a week in Pasadena, California. I was there on business, but my only carry-on was my CadoMotus Travel Bag stuffed with a week’s worth of corporate casual work-wear and spandex. Seriously, I didn’t even bring a brief case, but that’s because I’ve become a simpering, Angry Bird playing, App wetting iPad devotee and no longer feel the need to travel with my “adult viewer,” er, I mean, laptop computer. (We’ve been SO over-sold on technology…but I digress.)

It's quite the tidy bowl I tell you.

3 out of 5 days I was lucky enough to get in a sunrise skate at The Rose Bowl loop (big UP to R (O) (O) (O) (O) GER for the tip!) There’s a great 3 mile loop around the perimeter of the world famous complex.

East side stretch along the golf course.

Along the east side, (I think it’s the east side, as it was closest to the mountains. Might be north…) a 3/4 mile long hill. It’s the gradual kind, it had me crying about half way through. Tree-lined but not too much debris, it was a welcome challenge after having spent much of the winter indoor on flat tracks in Colorado. The West is just the opposite, and I was hitting speeds of 28mph, which got scary on the approach to the parking lots.

The west side...see the cars? They stop for walkers...skaters, not so much.

The first day there I was clearly pissing off the locals by going to the left. The looks said it all. Several of them shouted something, but I couldn’t hear them over the sound of my squealing bearings. I don’t think the hand gestures had anything to do with looking up, despite where their fingers were pointing.

Coming around to the west side (I think).

Nonetheless, I got in a few really incredible workouts. My schedule was such that I skated Tuesday & Wednesday. I rested on Thursday, and by Friday, I was eating that hill on the east side for breakfast.

But it was what I was eating the rest of the time that did me in. Since my wife has scored so well with finding great restaurants in strange cities using TripAdviser.com, I decided to do the same, and man, did I end up packing on the pounds.

If you’re ever in Pasadena, you’ll want to check these spots out:

Lovebirds Cafe: Incredible breakfast burrito. I bought one and it was breakfast one day, lunch the next.

Saladang & Saladang Song: Simply some of the best Thai food in the US. Seriously, the food and atmosphere (particularly Saladang Song) are out of this world and deserving of their Zagat’s ratings.

Smitty’s Grill: this is the one that killed me. I’m still skating off the filet mignon burger. The Chicken Pot Pie is the size of a manhole cover and truly to die for.

Cafe 140: Great food, great atmosphere, with a signature Blue Corn Salad.

Wolfe Burgers: You know it’s good when the entire Pasadena police force is taking shifts on the front dining room and there’s a big guy named Fat Al sleeping at the center table in the back dining room. Another belly bomber of a breakfast burrito, made to order.

And of course you’ve got your Starbucks, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and Apple Store all within easy skating distance. But thanks to these restaurants, I’ve now got some work to do. Time to bust out the fitness skates, crank up Something/Anything? on the iPod, and hit the trails here at home. Ah…it’s winter coat shedding time. 12 pounds to go. Let’s see how quickly I can do this. I’ve got a feeling it won’t be such a long time…gotta love inline skating.

Thursday Night Throwdown

In just a few short hours it’s on again. NSC is gonna burn up some bandwidth with the fastest turnin’ and burnin’ the net has ever seen. And with all the expectation surrounding Horne’s return to the NSC, let’s not forget “The Big Man,” “Cheex” a.k.a. Michael Cheek. The NSC’s late-season entry who went on to become the Overall Grand Champion and current Fastest Man 100m record holder. Cheex has been battling a back injury throughout the entire second season so he’s not quite up to the form that people generally know him for. And according to those that know him best, the man hates to lose more than Charlie Sheen, and he’s eager to prove he’s back (no pun intended) in full form. Maybe he should get his hair cut like The Situation…that’d show ’em he’s serious.

Separated at birth? I hope he skates better than he roasts...

Then there’s one man who’s billed as a Hurricane – who never lets the crowd down and always keeps the energy up. World Champion Harry Vogel, who dodged every opportunity to be a part of the NSC in Season 1, is in for the action and looking to destroy anyone or anything standing in his path to victory. I saw Harry skate at indoor nationals last year, and if he’s still got the heat, he’ll burn the track up tonight.

Let’s not forget Justin Stelly. This guy can throw a pass on a Bugatti Veyron at top speed. He’s the one I’m always referring to when the Rink Rabbits want to know what a pass looks like. Stelly has been overshadowed with second place finishes to Bowen all season in the Grand Champion race but he’s still the Endurance champ. Apparently, tonight he’s looking to prove he’s not the official First Loser of the NSC. We’ll see…

Live feed starts at 6:45 PST / 9:45 EST – click the banner, bring the noize!

Crank it up babies!

Do the namaste

Roll out your stinky mat, light the incense, rub some coriander oil into your pecs and get ready to get downward D-O-Double-G. This is another one of those things I said I’d never do. But here I sit…and I think…they say change comes from within, so the next time I break one off I want to pass a Grant, two Jackson’s and a Hamilton, with interest, ’cause I’ve been holding this exploration for a long time. That’s right Boo-boo…bang a gong and strike a pose as we endure initiation into the world of Yoga. Who’s your Yogi, baby?

A few more inches and I'll never have to leave the house again...

It started innocently enough…Horseypants invited me to attend what her friend Mrs. Needle Pusher (SpeedLord’s Mom) sucked her into…Core Power Yoga. I’d done a Yoga class with her a few years before, so I knew what I was getting into. And since I’m down a few sizes since my Jabba-The-Hutt Mu-Mu wearing days, and I’ve been told that I need to get more flexible, I decided it was time to try again.

My first observation: Yoga isn’t just for unbathed hippies, flatulent vegans or chicks that like their partners hung like a doughnut anymore…not only is my own MILF regularly going, but there were plenty of would-be yogis in what Mr. Needle Pusher calls “distracting” outfits. The talent has really come along since the last time I tried this 10 years ago. But other than the influx of Cougars and Co-eds, not much more has changed, particularly the smell of sweat steeped patchouli and the heat.

The ambient music helped create a mood that allowed me to drop my cynicism just long enough to relax and flow with the experience. We start in Balasana, or Child pose, which I imagine is a very familiar posture for your average practicing Muslim, but instead of chanting prayers toward Mecca you’re silent on your knees, driving your hips and weight down over your heels at the same time pushing your forehead into the mat under you and stretching out your arms on the floor over your head. It creates an expansive cavity for you to focus on your breath and release tension in all of your major muscle groups. It’s very effective as a warm up all by itself.

Child pose...don't eat pork and beans the night before class.

As I’ve come to learn, the practice is centered on synchronization of timing and motion. Timing the motion of your body to be synchronous with your breath. With focused practice, Yoga becomes a moving meditation. In the first few weeks I was moving with nothing like what you’d call Swiss accuracy, but by the third week I began to get just a slight feel for the fluidity that the instructors move with. I’ve got a long road ahead of me, but it’s just like those first few times you nail a good double push. You know this can only get better the more you practice, and you start to think about it obsessively, living in anticipation of your next training session to do it again. At least, that’s how I know it’s right for me.

And like skating, you’ve got to start slowly and build a foundation. I’ve chosen to spend time with the breathing, as breath control is something I always struggle with. In Yoga practice, the breath work starts right in Balsana. In pose, it’s simply a matter of taking purposeful long, slow breaths, and timing them so that as you enter a new posture, you lengthen your musculature on the inward breath, and find depth upon the breath release. In some postures, that’s lengthening your spine by lifting your chest to the ceiling as you’re breathing in, and going deeper into a twist or a stretch on release.

A number of these postures were familiar due to the inordinate amount of time I spend being down low as a speed skater or sitting on the crapper. With inline speed skating I’ve built a pretty solid core, so to get down and hold Utkatasana, or Chair pose, isn’t a problem for my quads, but man, it takes on a whole new dimension when you raise your arms over your head and straighten your spine.

Let's see Cheney do this! Heh, heh...

We also use runner’s stretch, and a lot of the Warrior poses put you into a forward lunge that’s familiar. I was surprised at how hard it was to find balance in some of these poses considering the amount of time I spend doing one-legged drills, both on inlines and ice, but I found that as I focused more on my breathing, it was easier to achieve the balance I was looking for. One of the coolest poses is Eagle pose, where you move from the Chair pose to this pose shown below:

Eagle pose: what I usually look like on the floor after attempting a Hawk. To pull this off while standing is a bird of a different feather.

My problem with Eagle is that I can’t seem to get my foot wrapped around by calf, because my blood is tiger’s milk and I have the legs of Adonis. But I digress…The dude in the pic above isn’t fully there, as this one also requires you to get your elbows up to shoulder level. Talk about brutal, but that’s not the worst of it. There’s this inversion pose called Crow pose…

Seriously, WTF am I doing here?

In Crow, you’ve got to balance yourself on the shelf you create with your triceps after you’ve been doing this in a hot room for 45 minutes. This gets slippery…and the danger of face plant is high. Go ahead and try and do this one, naked in front of a mirror (just for added kicks.) Oh, and hold it for a minimum of 5 deep breath cycles. Yeah…Charlie Sheen couldn’t even hang with that s#&t, boyee! It’s Epic!

There are many other poses that skaters can benefit from. And with the Core Power program, they run you through other core building exercises like bicycle crunches. A lot of the poses really stretch out your hammies. After an hour, I’m spent, dripping wet and smelling of rotten feet (but that’s because I hit the Yoga class after having spent an hour on the ice. The chicks really dig the aroma.)

If anything, I’m thinking Yoga will allow me to get deeper in my seat, and improve my core strength, stacked alignment and balance when I’m skating, both inline and on the ice. Am I more flexible? Hard to say at this point. I do know this…I feel a lot more vulnerable, and sometimes really dirty, like I need to take a shower to wash off the ugliness…

I got worried when the instructor introduced herself as Yogi Strap-On Sally.

This might have something to do with Happy Baby pose.