It appears very few of my friends follow the Valentine’s capitalist rush with any diligence. We all know love is about more than gifts and one certain day (which was actually based on the story of two male lovers…- I didn’t know that until this year).
After a fabulous Saturday of lessons I skated solo to Victoria in the fading light, lit up like a Xmas tree I must add, and enjoyed the pleasure of gentle, tired, solo street skating to visit my friend James. James is a personal trainer (www.exercise-solutions.com) who is best mates with Seb, the doctor flatmate I had while living in Ladbroke Grove in the early-mid Skatefresh years. James skates very well, but has never ‘done’ the skate scene in any mad social way. He’s always got too many other things going on. Namely basketball, playing, training, coaching, travelling to games, and working with his clients etc. He’s a personal trainer with a very indepth understanding of the human body that goes beyond the perfect lunge and squat. He can stretch my ‘skater muscles’ as well as any shiatsu therapist and the foam rollers he uses are incredible for muscle training, balance and self massage (truely excruciating pressure possible without any self effort, it’s genius). Check out James’s photos on his website albums for how to use the rollers. He’s a friend of mine on Facebook (James Applin). After shedding several pink layers of clothing and hanging out in my pink thermals, James showed me some new stretches to add to my post skate workout. James got me on The Roller, an amazing piece of kit which allows you to self massage and stretch deep internal muscles. It’s really amazing for my leg muscles after a day of skating
And then the touch of genius. He throws me some cold wobbly square jelly things and says “get those on your feet”. They are toe spreaders/separators which I have been looking for since last year (I usually use the nail varnish ones but these are from another reality)!Theratoes! I cannot recommend these enough for anyone who skates allot and has ‘foot issues’ on the balls or arches of the feet. Don’t think these are just about toes. I felt like I had had a 30 minute massgae after wearing them for just 15mins, and my toes took on a shape reminiscent of my 10 year old, pre-skating feet (with some gaps between my toes). Buy some! They are called ‘Thera Toes’ or ‘Yogatoes’ and you can buy them online.
James then provided nutritious, delicious snack food (humous, raw veggie chunks, good stuffed olives, coconut, dried goji berries), the works. Followed by BoojaBooja truffles. When chocolates are that organic they truely become a superfood! (I thank Matt for the tip!). While eating food and catching up with each others’ love lives (or lack of them in my case) I found a bottle of very cold beer put at my foot with Jame’s next instruction: “Now roll your foot around on that”. The coldness is a gentle anti-inflamatory and the rolling was good for isolating pressure points that needed treating. Giving my feet more attention is a new determination for this year.
The evening of new gadgets, fitness techniques and luxuries continued with a neat hand held foot hard skin scraper/grater. It even catches your foot cheese in a little box and is very ergodynamic. I’m buying one of these as its better than my natural pumice.
The conversation turned to an interesting book James has just read called ‘The Primal Blue Print’ by Mark Sisson. I will try and buy this too. This book makes so much sense in the areas of health, exercise, movement and nutrition with contents page titles like: “It’s all about insulin. No really, it IS all about insulin”. I have noticed this with my own pretty healthy food which is punctuated by sugar cravings which don’t appear as such. I will share more from this book as I get through it. If you want to get fit, stay fitter or enter into a new and healthier lifestyle, James can really help you develop in the areas you want to. He is a great guy, extremely knowledgeable and best of all, practices what he preaches. James@exercise-solutions.com.
Sunday 14th, Valentine’s day, and another fun day of lessons, involving teaching the double push, rolling spins, back cross unders and two sisters Nadia and Anna, fans of Skate Nation who bought skates for 1 pound in a village sale and taught themselves to skate, one at a time using the same pair. They said they used my CBBC lesson snippets. It’s good to know they achieved their aim, to get more kids into skating.
I would usually head home to Brighton on a Sunday night but I had plans to see my mother for a few days. On the train to the west country I sat next to Richard Chappell, a teenage ballet dancer studying part time at the Royal Ballet School’s Associate programme. He’s in his first year of GCSEs and wants to go on to dance college and has applied to 12 of them. There were many aspects of our teenage lives in common as my training as a competitive figure skater was pretty rigorous and competitions seem very similar in all sports.
Richard came 4th in the all England dance final last year and is determined to dance professionally. We talked about what sport gives young people regarding transferable skills and the theory of using your mind to attract what you want. We also swapped notes on yoga, pilates and travelling. Richard wants to learn to skate sometime and I’m sure he will be a natural from the start. Dancers are used to telling their bodies to do specific things. I hope to see Richard in the new spring SkateDance classes I’m starting.
By Sunday night I found myself transported to a remote village pub in Exmoor national park which my mother owns and runs. Sitting by the log fire drinking a (free) glass of port, I concluded it had been a ‘great’ day.
I spent my time with my mum walking in stunning countryside with Huck, her little dog and willing companion; we had three great walks, ontop of the moor with 360 degree views of sky and moors, valleys and deer, along the river Tarr and the famous Tarr steps, then to the enchanting Snowdrop valley (where monks planted the snowdrop hundreds of years ago).
I did a few yoga asanas (positions) to help relax me and warm me up. It’s amazing how just a few of these can get the blood pumping, the breath flowing and everything feeling more aligned. Doing yoga in any kind of outdoor natural setting is always for me a luxury.
All rounded off with spiritual chats with my step sister Louisa. Good to get away from normal routine but I can’t eat any more pub food, desserts or drink port!