Injury recovery – a time for patience

September 2014

Hey There,

It’s been a while since my last post. Quite frankly, the primary reason being that there were so many things were going on at once (not all being of significance) that the thought of organizing them into a coherent message was overwhelming. Because I felt little need to make sense of my wonderful chaos, this post will, in turn may be quite chaotic.

My time has primarily involved recovering from my back injury. A reoccurring bulging disc in my lumbar spine. The bulge causes nerves surrounding my spinal column to get aggravated when I move and squish the disc, setting off a chain of events that include a severe tightening in all of my lower back and abdominal muscles creating the need for frequent stops to the bathroom and the inability to put on one’s socks, not to mention a level of geriatric mobility that makes my grandmother seem agile (correction: that makes anyone else’s grandmother seem agile as my grandmother, at the fresh age of 91, would put the average middle-aged man to shame).

Recovery is slow. I need to balance increasing mobility without causing another flare up. The positive part of this process is that you really get to focus on strengthening your weaknesses. While I am not able to run, jump or do any backflips, I have been able to work on my dance lines (straight legs, pointed toes), my shoulder strength and the ability to just sit and read a book (or two, or three). I have been learning a group silks routine that my troupe has given me. Minus the big drops or anything that involves touching my toes, I’ve managed to learn the whole thing. Everything feels great when you’re suspended upside down, 20 feet in the air and your spine is being decompressed…until you get tangled in the tissue and you feel like a little gerbil being held by its tale with no way out but up and that is a near impossible feat of strength when you don’t currently possess the core strength or trunk mobility to free yourself. I have since continued my training 3 feet from the ground where my coach can rescue me in times of such duress.

One of the highlights of my recovery, was being on the set of the TV series Arrow. I had the opportunity to be an extra for one of the scenes. Me and 140 other extras. It felt as if we were herded cattle as they quickly ushered us on and off set while they change the camera angles. That wasn’t the exciting part though. The exciting part was watching a stunt being filmed. Everything from the stunt choreographer rehearsing with the stunt man, the actor’s stand in marking the spot where the heroic action will take place, to the countless repetitions so that the stunt will look believable in the final cut. Watching that process solidified that I want to do that some day soon. I’ve never been so excited to be knocked to the ground.

Athlete Inspired

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A time for Mum: setbacks and support

Hey There,

This week was a little rough to be perfectly blunt. I came back from Norway on such a happy high, ready to work super hard only to hit a bit of a roadblock. Have you ever thrown out your back turning around too fast to get cream for your coffee? Because I sure have. That’s what a combination of sitting on a plane for 10 hours, stress tension from making major life decisions and a vulnerable L4/L5 disc will do to a person.

I was definitely tested this week. I couldn’t train, I had to drop out of my pole fitness competition and I officially released my position at my old job back in Calgary. Needless to say, I definitely went through a few, “what the hell am I doing with my life” and “where is my mom to hug me and tell me everything will work out” moments. Although my mother passed away almost a decade ago, I am fortunate enough to have a handful of pretty stellar maternal figures in my life. One being my aunt who has been  my “executive mother” since my mom past and continues to live up to the title. My best friend from high school’s mom, who has been my dedicated advice giver and moral supporter since I met her. Then there’s the “parkour team mom”, who is a very cool, intelligent and wise lady and understands me and all of the hoopla around parkour, circus, and living a slightly unconventional life. And lastly, one of my closest friends since our university days. She is placed in the maternal category because she has a two-year old son (which officially makes her a mom) and she knows me better than anyone else on this planet.

What I’m trying to say is that these ladies keep me in check and this time was no different. After a short cry-fest, I was making a mean batch of lemonade out of some pretty bitter lemons. I accepted a part-time coaching position here in Vancouver, I e-mailed every stunt coordinator that is working on a set right now and took advantage of my 5am jetlag by getting in 3 hours of solid laptop work at a coffee shop every morning. It seems that at the very moment when you decide that things usually happen for a reason that something good and exciting happens to you. My week concluded with me receiving an aerial silks routine from my circus troupe (Once I learn the choreography I will hopefully get to perform it, and my stunt headshots being delivered (the photographer, Andrew Miller is incredibly talented, he made me look like such a bad a$$).

So the lesson learned this week for when things start to crumble is to survive the night of bathtub, wine and Bon Iver and then wake up the next morning and start crushing those lemons. Because lemonade is delicious.

Athlete Inspired