Passion of Ice Skating

I will never forget that day because up until that point I had never witnessed a jump like that up close and in person. I had only seen ice skating on television, where professional figure skaters seemed to execute jumps effortlessly, almost as if they were just dancing, and not barreling down the ice rink at 20 miles per hour. And, I have to tell you that nothing prepares you to see that kind of power and speed up close. What I also remember is that I saw David’s skates at almost eye level as they reached the top of the boards that day- nearly 4 feet off the ground! That’s what I call flying!

At that rink, I got to see a lot of great skating like that all the time. It was my new home rink and I was still an amateur skater, just getting to know the sport. Seeing the raw power of that jump, and the perfect landing made me want learn how to jump and spin and do all those tricks that I saw the other skaters do, and I became determined to do what David did that day…

But my skating career began much earlier, when I was about 9 years old. It all started one summer when my mom asked me if I wanted to take up a hobby for the summer. She introduced to me the idea of either learning how to roller skate or ice skate because she thought a hobby with an exercise aspect would be good for my health. Initially, I thought about roller blading, but the streets around our house were uneven, and had plenty of cracks, which made it difficult to roller blade, so I chose ice skating because there was an ice rink close to our house. It was that simple!

I returned to the sport at age 21, and since then, I’ve learned many spins and many jumps and all the moves in between. And yes… I even the flip that I saw David perform that fateful day. Over the years I took on new elements, practiced them, took quite a few falls, got back up and finally mastered them.

I’ll tell you, there is no greater feeling in the world than learning how to spin so fast that it feels like you’re floating above the ice, or the brief weightlessness you feel when executing a jump – it’s almost like flying. And learning how to control your edges, how to stick the landing and move through footwork as though it were a melody played out before you. It took years to master some of these moves but they have been the best years of my life, because I didn’t just learn the physical moves, but gained the confidence that comes with mastering difficult physical routines!

In addition to learning elements, I learned some other things along the way too like discipline and perseverance, attention to detail and grace, strength, and confidence – all of which have served me well on and off the ice. I spent many hours at the rink drilling and working hard on my elements and I did this as often as possible not because someone told me to, but because I loved it! I even went so far as to take gymnastics and dance lessons in order to improve body awareness and grace, and I cross trained off the ice so that I could become strong and confident. All of this spilled over into other aspects of my life and created the person I am today.

I should mention that I did almost all of my skating as an adult. I realize ice skating as a sport can be intimidating, especially for adults, but regardless of your age, you can participate at any level you want to. And the best part of learning ice skating as an adult is that you get to choose how often you engage in this amazing sport. You can simply do it once a week, recreationally, and just have fun, or you could do it every day if you wanted to for an amazing exercise routine.

Another great aspect is that there isn’t a learning barrier. You could take lessons from a professional trainer, or simply get a learn-to-skate program and practice on your own, at your own pace and comfort level. The most important thing for adults to realize is that anyone can learn (women and men) and no one is too old! During my years, I’ve met all ages and people from all walks of life on the ice and have formed great friendships and come to realize that anyone can learn how to skate!

I have been teaching skating for over 15 years now and I love passing on the passion of this amazing sport! Come join me on the ice, and let me share the joys and personal development it can bring into your life!

Recreational Running

Recreational running has also become a great social activity in our society today. Everyone who has incorporated it in their lifestyle knows the health benefits associated with it. Due to the increased number of people currently engaging in fun running, there are now more cases of running related injuries than there were few years back. I get asked all the time how one can deal with these injuries and since every case is different we are going to look at general ways to avoid or manage running related injuries.

Build your mileage gradually

It is human nature to try and accomplish as much as possible in life within a short time. For running unfortunately, doing too much too soon will only hurt you and discourage you from pursuing your favorite sport. This mainly applies to beginners more than advanced runners. It is important to remember that your body has to adjust to accommodate the any increased physical stress and it can only do so gradually. An increment of around 10 percent of your weekly mileage is enough after every 3 to 6 weeks. In other words, if you are doing 15 miles per week and you want to increase your mileage, you do not need to go past 16.5 miles per week. Bear in mind that your body will need up to 4 weeks to accommodate the increase comfortably.

Avoid running on hard surfaces

Most injuries associated with running are as a result of running on hard surfaces. I am sure there are trails or parks almost every location and making good use of them is paramount. If you like running along paved surfaces, at least make an effort to run on grass or dirt roads or trails once or twice every week. A good time is when you are doing one of your longer runs; it is refreshing to your legs. It is also important to avoid uneven surfaces as these may mess up the alignment of your body especially your legs and back.

Choose the right running shoe

I cannot stress this enough, but the condition of your running shoe greatly determines the number, type and frequency of running related injuries in your running pursuits. In other words, if you choose the wrong shoe type for your feet, the chances are that you be hurt even if the shoes are new. Sometimes you may have the right type of running shoe, but you have exceeded the mileage requirement for the shoe. If you are a beginner and you are not sure what type of running shoe to buy, get advice from running shoe expert or your trainer or more experienced runners. Avoid buying cheap shoe simply because of the price, it may cost you a fortune to treat injuries or even worse case stop you from running altogether.

Supplement recreational running with other activities

Our bodies need a break from running especially when we are tired. Since taking a break has its place in our running schedules, I recommend doing other activities that will yield similar benefits as running, but put less stress in our bodies. Swimming and biking are the two most common and effective supplements to running. Both of these activities lift the pressure away from your legs and in the process allow them to recover without you really taking time off from working out. If swimming is not enough, try running in the pool, this will surely give you a great workout. Swimming and biking are also great for rehabilitation after sustaining an injury.

Take time off from running

As mentioned earlier in this article, our bodies need time to accommodate the physical stress that we are inducing through running. The principle behind training in any sport is to improve performance. This happens through recovery and adaptation. The simple explanation of this fact is when you run you are stressing your muscles and other body systems and they can only be stressed to a certain level. Once that level is reached, fatigue sets in and if you do not stop, your body will break down. The best way to avoid breaking down due to fatigue is to take one or two days off every week from running. If you neglect taking time off, you are calling for trouble, you will get burnout or injured and you may not have a choice but to quit running.

Eat healthy and hydrate well

Most people use recreational running to lose extra weight or control their body weight. Due to bad advice, I have seen people running and still eating wrong foods and drinking highly dehydrating drinks. If the whole idea of running is to be healthy, then it does not make sense to counter that effect with bad eating habits. There is no right or wrong, I believe moderation is the key. Eating a desert once in a while is great and fun, eating it after every meal – well, you can answer that for yourself. It is a fact that carbonated drinks when taken excessively only help to dehydrate your body. Drinking water and non-carbonated sports drinks are highly recommended. Supplements and vitamins also go along way in keeping you away from injuries. So remember always to eat enough to supply just enough energy to meet your daily demands, but not excess that will be stored as fats. Extra body weight makes your body more susceptible to injuries.

Climatic Nutrition for Runners

We realise that to run a marathon in 3 hours (or 2 or 4 for that matter) will cost us a certain amount of carbohydrate stored in glycogen and a certain amount stored in fats. We top this up with carbohydrates during the run and we have more or less success (in a nutritional sense)depending on how good we are at getting the right quantity into our system at the right time. But the complicating factor is that we sweat. On a hot day we sweat a lot, on a cool day we sweat a little and on a cold day we only sweat icecubes. But our carbohydrate intake is often linked directly to our re-hydration schedule. This is because for many of us we rely on carbohydrate drinks of various forms to provide our water, salts and carbohydrates in fixed quantities. We use the same formulas for a deadly hot day when our highest priority (and most impossible task) is to replace our salts and water, as we do for a freezing cold day ,when all we really need is carbohydrates (because we’ve lost little due to sweating).

So here is a marketing angle for any aspiring sports nutrition producer. How about supplying a pre-mixed drink that comes in various temperature formulas. Ranging from highly concentrated carbohydrates for cold running to highly diluted (but still high in salts) formulas for hot runs. Maybe call one “High Sweat”, another “Medium Sweat” and the most concentrated carbohydrate model “No Sweat”.

Maybe we should just be more creative with the products we have at our disposal already, by using combinations of gels, drinks, solid fuel, and dare I say it WATER to make up the perfect solution. Of course this is just one more complication that we can probably do without, but it may be that for optimal performance we can’t stick to one fueling strategy for all conditions.

We have to remember:

The hotter it gets the more we sweat, but our carbohydrate demand doesn’t change so drastically

The colder it gets the less hydration we need but again our carbohydrate demand doesn’t change drastically.

So really all we have to do is work out a formula which tells us how many calories we need to top up per klm at a given speed and we can keep that level constant regardless of the environment. Then work out our sweat co-efficient (how much we expect to loose in attempting to cool ourselves) for a variety of temperatures and then drink accordingly throughout the race or session.

Info of Bowling Balls

Let’s briefly breakdown what each of the above mentioned terms mean in reference to bowling balls.

  • Coverstock is essentially to outer surface of the bowling ball that creates the shell. Typically, the coverstock can either be dull or shiny on a bowling ball.
  • A weight block is the core of the bowling ball. Depending on the shape and density of the weight block, it can influence the reaction of the bowling ball.
  • Top weight is the core variation within the bowling ball. If the core is higher in the ball, it produces a higher top weight. If the core is lower, then the bowling ball will have a lower top weight.
  • Pin location simply designates the location of the top of the weight block in a bowling ball.

These definitions simply apply to the bowling ball itself. What factors not related to the make/model of the bowling ball? For this we are referring to factors such as your bowling game itself. Things such as ball speed, track flare, axis tilt, etc all play an important role in bowling. Each person has their own unique way of bowling. Knowing your game and style will make it easier for you to make the proper selection when buying a new bowling ball.

Below is a brief breakdown of a few key definitions.

  • Ball Speed is simply the speed at which you roll your bowling ball. Many of the newer scoring systems measure the speed of your bowling ball. However, not all are 100% accurate, but it can give you a general idea of what the speed is.
  • Track flare is the “oil rings” that appear on your bowling ball after you throw it. These rings show the progression of the rotation of your ball as it is rolling down the lane and the ball changing its axis of rotation while seeking its preferred spin axis.
  • Axis tilt is the angle of rotation of the bowling ball.

Depending on your style and lane conditions, making the right decision can be tricky at times. The easiest and best way to decide which bowling ball is right for you is to visit your local bowling pro shop. Many pro shop owners have been around the game of bowling for quite some time. With their knowledge and experience, as well as watching you bowl, they can give you strong recommendations on which bowling ball will suit your game.

However, not every bowling center has an on-site pro shop. Luckily the internet provides a plethora of information regarding bowling balls. Many of the manufacturer sites provide in depth analysis of reactions and characteristics and even a few videos with the bowling balls in action. Customer reviews found on various bowling ball message forums can also provide real life insight as to what a particular bowling ball can do on certain lane conditions. There are even a few retail sites that provide bowling ball reviews, which are customer reviews for various products.

Start a Running Program

The first mistake people make when they begin a running or jogging program is that they run too fast. This will leave you out of breath and spent in about 5 or 10 minutes. When this happens people generally think to themselves that anyone who runs is crazy or likes punishing themselves.

This simply is not true. Once I found out how to run properly, I was able to run a few miles with ease and comfort.

I had been running for about a month and was up to two miles. But at the end of these two miles, I felt as if I was going to keel over and die. My legs hurt. My lungs hurt. Everything felt wrong.

I thought I would just keep running these two miles until it became easier, but it never did. It got harder, if anything.

Then I heard about a guy named Stu Mittleman. This guy had run from San Diego to New York in 56 days. Basically Stu ran two marathons a day for 56 days. So I bought his book called Slow Burn and it completely changed any negative feelings I had about running.

The first thing I did was bought a heart rate monitor. This cost around 100 dollars and was the best purchase I have ever made. It allowed me to monitor my heart rate and stay at a comfortable running level, even while running up hills.

What I did, was started running at 50 to 70% of my maximum heart rate. At first, I felt like I was going too slow and not getting a good workout. But within a week, I was able to run 4 miles without any problems. The best thing was that after the four miles, I felt incredible. Instead of feeling like I was going to die before, I actually felt better.

To find your targeted heart rate zone, do the following:

Subtract your age from 220. Then multiply this by .50 and .70 and that will give you your targeted zone.

Example: Age 28

220-28 = 192

192 x .50 = 96

192 x .70 = 134

By this example, if you are 28, then you should be running in the heart rate zone of 96 to 134. To make it easier to remember, just round it up to 100-135.

If you are running in this zone, you will probably be very comfortable and be able to run a good distance.

You see, the problem people usually face is that they start off running too fast. You just need to slow down. It isn’t necessarily how hard you run, but that you are moving as much as possible, as often as possible.

Once you begin to add mileage, you will get in better shape and be running faster anyways. You just won’t be working any harder. Your body will adapt, and you will begin to move more efficiently, without more effort.

Ice Climbing on Mount Cascade

“Avalanche”, came the words from my mouth. I had yelled them-I think I had, but it was tough to be sure that the words cam from my mouth. I don’t know how I knew. I had never experienced an avalanche before, never taken a course in avalanches, I hadn’t even seen the movie-there must be several. I wasn’t prepared and I didn’t know the proper procedures. None of that mattered as I gazed at the gathering cloud of snow in the distance above Ian. There was a certain beauty about that momentary view. Ian appeared to be centre stage in a billowing framework. The cloud was somehow perfect, as in a cartoon strip, with its rounded, comfy, edges. It should have been pure white, but it was gray…very gray-it was noticeably dirty!

“Why is it dirty?” I thought. On reflection, it makes no sense that a tiny, seemingly insignificant detail should have preoccupied my mind in this time of great urgency. Perhaps it is a sensory distortion-a part of the “slow motion” effect popularized in tales of survival. There seemed to be all sorts of time to contemplate the finer details of the avalanche rushing dangerously towards me. The details and distractions didn’t betray the almost immediate recognition of the catastrophic danger.

“Who care’s if it is dirty or not! Get on with it.” Within milliseconds I had instinctively recognized the danger for what it was and had begun some kind of crude defensive…or should I say my mouth had begun some kind of crude defensive. The same kind of defensive that takes over when a barking dog startles you out from a daydream. It began as a withdrawal fear response and quickly changed into a warning scream: “Aaaaaahhhhh…valanche!”

I had first met Ian on an earlier trip to the Rockies-he was “a friend of a friend”. Six of us had met to climb “Professor’s”, a spectacular icefall within hiking distance of the Banff Springs Hotel. On that weekend I was second (followed another’s lead up the climbing pitch) to Chuck and I believe Ian had entrusted Nina to be his second. A trust that should by all rights not be taken lightly for if you fall you rely on your partner’s skill to arrest your fall and support your ongoing existence. It is not uncommon in climbing, however, to hand over the other end of your rope (your lifeline) to a complete stranger. A person who’s sole qualification is that they are “a friend of a friend”. On that weekend Chuck took a reasonably significant lead fall of approximately 10 meters.

A lead fall is particularly more dangerous than a second fall. When you are climbing second there is never much more than a half-meter of rope slack depending on how conscientious your partner is. So, if you do slip and fall you will fall that amount of rope slack plus whatever inherent elasticity the rope affords in added slack. In most circumstances your lead will have reached a spot above you where (s)he feels comfortable setting up a base: an area that allows a stable anchor to be constructed. So there is little likelihood of you pulling free from your protection (“pro”). A lead fall is an entirely different situation. A leader falls from the highest point reached, down to the last piece of “pro” that was placed–if only that were the end of it. (S)he then falls until all the accumulated rope has come to tension on the down side of the last piece of pro. The higher you climb beyond protection, the farther you fall below protection. A necessary addition to this is that the longer the fall the greater the amount of stretch on the rope and therefore the greater the fall due to the elastic deformation of the rope. I have never taken a lead fall, but I am certain that it involves a considerable terror.

Certainly a lot of falls occur as a result of an error in judgment: a placement that was not as stable as had been anticipated, or a hastily applied ice axe, for example. But the worst failure of judgment, a precursor to the most terrifying fall, is an error of setting one’s limit: an over-extension of one’s own ability. Falling unexpectedly is like being called upon to stand up in front of a crowd and say a few words about a subject you are knowledgeable in. It’s scary, but soon you are in the throes of the situation and there is no time left to continue agonizing. I was the MC at a local showing of the “Best of Banff Film Festival” a couple of years back. For weeks in advance I would have momentary flashes-a few seconds at most-of anxiety as I imagined myself in front of the crowd on center stage. On the Friday of the show I was having difficulty with more frequent and increasingly longer flashes of anxiety. In the minutes leading up to my presentation I was in a considerable state of disarray: sweaty palms, armpits, and back; an ongoing urge to defecate; dry mouth; pacing; and a strong need to be by myself. The feelings are welling up in me again just thinking about it. The evening went well and I doubt whether anyone would have guessed at the nervous pre-amble, but I believe, that is the kind of slow, agonizing, self-torture that goes on before the anticipated fall-the “fear-fall. You know that your time is imminent; you know that you are drawing ever closer to the climax and for the most part you must follow through and yet you have doubts as to your capacity to succeed. The fear-fall however, goes beyond stepping up onto a stage…, it involves a whole another level and degree of anxiety.

Prior to the fear fall there must be an impasse, a breakdown of options. Of the options you have available to you none appear to be working and as you tire fewer and fewer options present themselves. In tiring you begin to realise that you may be in trouble. When you can least afford the leisure, you begin to consider the safety of your protection. “How good was that last placement? Will it withstand the forces of a fall of this magnitude? Is the rope positioned to maximal benefit? Why didn’t I place another piece of pro at that last buttress when I had a chance?” And then it comes to you-“I need to get another piece of pro in quick!” You have reduced yourself to one option, and most times it’s not the best option.

Putting a piece of protection into ice is not easy. Most commonly you are looking at putting in an ice screw, which is very similar to a normal screw but larger: about the size of a plastic tent peg. There are no pre-bored holes in ice, so one must first chip a small area of ice away for purchase: a depression that allows the screw to bite. If you are lucky the screw does bite and then you are able to begin boring into the ice. No screw drivers, no vises, no warm basement workshops, and no hands because you are still clinging by ice axes to the approximately perpendicular face of waterfall ice. Houdini would have appreciated the act. Placing a screw is difficult. Placing a screw in the throes of worrying about a fear-fall, is next to impossible.

I remember Chuck verbalizing his concerns to the ice. He had begun to agonize. At the time I thought, “he probably talks to his computer also, he’s just like that. Its normal as long as he doesn’t start responding to himself.” He must have been 15-20 meters above me, but clearly audible. I distinctly remember him discussing his impasse; he seemed calm, in control. Unbeknownst to me, he had begun to toil mentally and physically. The best solution would have been to buckle down and go forward for the safety of the top, but he was despairing. He began to doubt his ability to reach the top and decided instead to place a piece of pro. The act of placing a piece of pro at this point confirms that you are in trouble. Chuck must have known for some time before he fell, that he was falling.

One of the biggest fears I have is being trapped under water. In the early years of learning to windsurf I remember on several occasions being flung around by a big gust of wind and landing underneath the sail, still harnessed to it and submerged under both the sail and the water. For the most part such unnatural acts require much less than ten seconds to correct and yet your mind is deceived. In the bathtub I am to hold my breath for up to a minute with great ease, but out here on the lake a few seconds is all it takes before I am bowing to my lungs’ unrelenting demand to blow off accumulated carbon dioxide. As panic strikes you begin to struggle and ten seconds feels like an eternity.

The same eternity strikes at the ice climber’s impasse only there is no heroic struggle to get your head above water. The last seconds are spent inertly agonizing over protection-toiling mentally without a doubt-but there is no Herculean effort for life. At some point Chuck must have come to the worst of all doubts-“who the hell is that guy at the other end of my rope”. It was me-“a friend of a friend.”
“I’m falling”, came the cry. In the end you actually jump, you don’t allow yourself to fall; it’s safer to jump. I had never caught a human’s fall before, only some manner of punching bag that had been rigged indoors at the University of Calgary climbing wall. The mute punching bag had caught me even more unawares than the screaming Chuck had. And, I had for the most part successfully caught the punching bag. In retrospect things were looking good for Chuck.

I believe the punching bag exercise is used to build confidence in the novice’s ability to stop a fall of considerable force. The mechanism of catching a fall is based on a friction device that at first glance appears very flimsy. It can be as crude as wrapping the rope around your back and in fact this is often the case in ice climbing because the rope freezes and jams in the normal friction device. The worst sin possible, when using a friction device (a “plate”) is to let your hand be drawn into the mechanism. If your hand is drawn in, your skin becomes the new friction device (read horrendous “rope burn”). In our class, I was unfortunate enough to be the first saviour of the hapless punching bag and the instructor must have placed enough confidence in my abilities to let the bag go without any warning.

I was initially taken off guard and allowed my hand to be drawn terrifyingly close to the friction device. Fortunately the bag came pendulously to a halt in front of the class in a scene somewhat reminiscent of an old tyme public display of Canadian capital punishment. At the time I didn’t think to enter into a discussion of my error nor did I share my brush with failure with the other classmates. My fellow amateurs were busying themselves within the camaraderie of the situation, who was I to allow reality to interrupt the spreading fuzzy feeling. Each in turn readied for a chance at the punching bag. If it were up to the bag as to who should have been let out into the real world of climbing, I doubt whether I would have been the “friend of a friend” at the end of Chuck’s rope.

I don’t know what prompted me to look up at Cascade. It must have been the sound–a low rumbling–that first alerted me to the danger. I had positioned myself at the bottom of a small pitch, which I was about to climb without ropes (free climb). Ian had already summitted this pitch and was continuing upward on a short flat stretch toward the next pitch. I could still see him if I backed away from the ice face. It was a clear and relatively warm day and I was looking forward to a glorious climb.

All climbers have heard tragic tales from Cascade Falls and I suppose we all treat the stories similarly: “… it couldn’t happen to me, I’m careful; they must have made some obvious error”. The winter prior a fellow from France had met with untimely death as a result of a rockfall! Freak accident, I rationalized. The highway drive to the mountains poses considerably greater risk to life and limb.

It was not long before the rumbling overtook us. Within seconds of alerting Ian I hacked at the iceface with both axes. When you place an ice axe there is a feel and an accompanying sound of a good placement, similar in many respects to an effective wood chop with a woodsman’s axe. My left axe entered the ice with a reassuring “thunk” and felt firm; my right, weak and ineffective. There was no second chance to better my right axe placement. The heavy snow began to forcibly thud on my back so much so that it was an effort to stay standing. I pulled as close to the ice face and my axes as was possible. The deluge of snow worsened and its pressure on my back and head intensified.

I have never experienced my life flashing before my eyes and had prior to this day believed it was a Hollywood stunt only. My wife had, the evening before subjected me to an avalanche pop quiz. At the time I had resented her concern. Against my better intention I became distant from the immediate predicament and began to relive our conversation and visions of her and our daughter. We were sitting comfortably on our bed. I could see the moment as from the outside and above. I couldn’t make out any of the discussion but the words widow and fatherless echoed. I wanted to go back to the present-I needed me. The flash was not comforting. It seemed to herald the end. But this couldn’t be the end. There had been no prolonged struggle, the day had not been climactic; the weather was clear and beautiful. WHERE, was my struggle!?

The snow continued its pounding and my right axe finally failed, my arm was sucked away in the avalanche’s torrent and with it went the axe. They two dangled and danced in the nearby current of falling snow. I had only one arm of support left to me and as much as I wanted to rely heavily upon it, I also wanted to relieve as much stress from it as was possible. It was my last hope-I wanted to cling to it with all that I had and yet I was put in a position of rationing its use. The pounding continued and I began to despair. “You should have never attempted Cascade and certainly not on a warm day in January”, I thought to myself.

The snow was heavy and I began to be weighted down. If I were buried, there would be no chance for movement or self-rescue. The snow would set like concrete around me and I would have to hope that someone would be able to find me quickly. My mind went to Ian. He had reached a flat unprotected area above me. If the avalanche had hit him, there was no doubt that he was now buried somewhere below me. He needed me to find him quickly. We were horribly ill-prepared: neither of us had Pieps, a radio transceiver device that enables rescuers to find buried comrades. We both desperately needed that left axe to hold and yet the snow continued its assault.

With only one axe remaining I was unable to maintain my back parallel to the ice flow. My right shoulder was pulled away from the iceface and in response my body began to turn toward the falling snow placing more stress on the remaining axe. My helmet was becoming noticeably heavy. Snow had been packed into it through the tiny holes on top; so much so that it effectively tripled its weight and the only way to remove the snow was to melt it out later.

It was some time before I realised that the rumbling had ceased. I was suddenly aware of a beautiful day once again. The axe had held. I noticed a sensation of raggedness in my right arm. The right axe now hung silently from my wrist. I was unhurt.

“Phil!” came a voice. My god I had forgotten about Ian.

“Yes”, I yelled back up to him. I couldn’t muster any better response. It seemed as though I should have other things to say and ask, but for now “yes” was all that mattered.

“Are you okay?” came his voice again. There was no hint of suffering in his voice.

“Yes Ian, and you?” Our conversation seemed too formal. We should have been embracing each other and perhaps we would have were it not for the intervening pitch and the staunch British upbringing common to us both. I pulled the axe from the ice with little difficulty and stepped back into a newly formed mound of heavy-set snow. The small spot next to the face of the icefall, the spot that had given me safety from the deluge of snow, did not look particularly safe and I wondered about the next deluge and where I might go next. I looked up at Ian, who was now standing at the top of the pitch I was supposed to climb.

“Whoa, was that close!” said Ian.

“Ian, I flashed: my family, my life. I thought I was through.”

I do not recall the rest of our discussions on that day. We did not go on to climb Cascade and I haven’t attempted it since, though every time I drive by (you can see the icefall from the Trans-Canada Highway) I can’t resist the urge to study the topography of that climb. To try and figure out where we had been and where the avalanche had come from. I can’t resist the urge to run through all of the “what-if” scenarios. It’s a beautiful sight and a dangerous place. I doubt that I will ever return to climb it.

After a couple of hour’s contemplation we did go on to climb another pitch, a much easier icefall. Our conversations recycled the same theme: how lucky we had been. If we had reached any other place in the climb it could have been disastrous. We were fortunate for the not-so-subtle warning.

The short hike up to Cascade was only slightly more difficult on the way out due to the accumulated snow. In some areas the snow was easily 2 meters deep and it was packed hard. It had set as I had expected and I was glad to be on it and not in it.

There are dangers with climbing and especially with ice climbing. Yet, for me there is no other endeavour that is so totally encompassing of my skills. The clarity of “being” is unparalleled and there is a divine simplicity in the precision of movement. There is no room for the everyday chatter of thought. The need for absolute focus and presence is liberating. As much as it may seem like an anxiety provoking maniacal endeavour, it turns out to be a zen-like peaceful meditation…, perhaps not as comfy.

Ice climbing is something I enjoy with my entirety and the challenge allows my spirit to soar. I am able to breathe fully and life seems clearer. There is a threat to life and some would argue that that is the attraction. But the risk of life need not be significant when ice climbing is approached with focus and clarity, and not with falsely earned “peak bagging” bravado. I find a certain sense of joy in that discipline…, in that clarity.

Ways to Improve Climbing Performance

A better climbing buddy

Having a good rock climber with good climbing technique as a partner has many advantages. By simply watching them climb a wall, you can find out a great deal: watch the way they use footwork, watch when and where they takes rest breaks and attempt to replicate their technique. Also request your buddy watch you climb and analyse your technique. This is certainly a beneficial exercise as you may not appreciate a number of the things you are doing wrong, nor where you can develop. I generally prefer to have a climbing partner who has better climbing technique than me, it forces me to improve and produces a higher performance level from me.

Strengthen your grip

Despite the fact that improving upon rock climbing techniques is essential to bettering your performance, you’ll find that you also must have good strength and grip. There are a selection of techniques to strengthen your grip and fingers. Two products I favor are the power ball that concentrates on your lower arm and wrist muscles which consequently enhances your grip and the gripmaster that focuses on your fingers.

Lose weight

Whilst rock climbing, we are fighting against gravity. The heavier we are, the more difficult it will be to climb up the wall. It may sound totally obvious, but shedding some surplus weight will make a significant difference to your ability. Be aware, if you are pretty trim already, it is considerably more beneficial to focus on bettering your rock climbing techniques than losing a few more pounds in weight.

Take time to warm up

It’s going to take a longer time for your hands and feet to warm up than your arms and legs. Without warming up properly, you risk getting the dreaded pump quickly which no climbing techniques can reverse – your session is effectively finished. Instead, ease your muscles in by beginning on extremely simple routes or problems. Also, you should rest in between routes, and devote 30-45 minutes on warming up prior to you attempting harder routes. This can be annoying, however, it does work!

Bowling Mental Game

Here Is a Outline of a Few Approaches.

  • Visualization – Visualize how you are going to roll your bowling ball in your pre-shot routine, kind of like a video or a mental picture or image
  • Relaxation Or Self Hypnosis – This is one of the techniques that I feel is the root of all mental approaches like a basis for the mental game. There are several methods for this available.
  • Concentration – Here is a technique I use as a pre-shot warm up. I pick out one of the dots on the approach, then stare or focus on it briefly until I can only concentrate on the dot. When I know that I can fully focus on the dot I know that I can focus on my spot or mark on the bowling lane. At this point I know that my mind is clear, focused, and I can concentrate.
  • Subliminal – I use subliminal tapes or cd’s in combination with relaxation or self hypnosis. I have found only a couple of places to get these tapes or cd’s. With subliminal tapes you listen to music to distract you outer mind, while behind the music or in the background are positive suggestions for your inner mind to pick up on. If you can not find these tapes or cd’s that are specifically for bowling use some that are for self confidence.


  • Visualization – Concentration = Accuracy
  • Relaxation Or Self Hypnosis – Subliminal = Confidence
  • Self Hypnosis – Is a basis for mental training and can be used in all aspects of the mental game.

Running to Stay Fit

As long as you have sneakers or running shoes, you can start to enjoy the benefits and really experience running. Running is one of the sports that exercises your entire body and keeps your blood pumping all through out. It makes use of a lot of muscles in your body not just your feet and legs but also your upper body as well.

If you are just starting to experience running as your sport there are a couple of things that you need to know, which will help prevent you from acquiring running injuries. Whether you want to go for long distance running or short distance it is necessary that you have the right warm up. This will prevent your muscles from shock and allow it to adjust to the stress that it is about to undergo. A 10-15 minute slow jog is often recommended to start the blood flowing and your muscles moving. Remember not to run, just slow jogging as this is only the warm-up or preliminaries to your running. Once you have got your blood pumping and your muscles working, be sure to get the right stretching that your muscles need. This is one of the things that you should never forego or miss out since this is one of the most common causes of injury when it comes to running.

Not having the proper stretching can cause your muscles to tear or can give you cramps which can be dangerous when you begin running. Once all this taken care of, you can then start on your running regiment with much ease and lesser chances of injury.

Get a Good Spin in Bowling

A bowler needs to have good bowling shoes because this will ensure an easy maneuver while spinning the ball. A bowler also needs to have a bowling ball that will make them comfortable will spinning. Bowling balls come in different varieties such as plastic balls, resin, and Urethane. The resins balls are highly recommended because they allow the bowler have a thorough grip. A heavy ball for example might make the player stride backwards and cause injury. Knowing your spin ball is very crucial. After identifying the best ball, the player should get the ball fixed through drilling. This is done with the first one being full finger drilling where the middle and the ring finger get into the ball up until it reaches the middle of your finger and the fingertip in two ways.

The next important step is to choose the right shoes for the game. The best type of shoe for the player is the one that will allow the player slide while running up the lane. Brand shoes like Dexter are a perfect outfit for bowlers. The issue of whether the player is right or left handed comes into play if the bowler wants to have a good spin. If the player is right handed, then they should concentrate on the second arrow from the on the right side of the lane but if the player is left hander, they should shift their focus on the second arrow from the left side of the lane. The player should stand upright with the legs closely held and then position his or her shoulder together with the bowling ball directly over the arrow.

The shoulders should be held at angle of 90 degrees on the forearm while the player’s starts to move towards the target arrow, while the feet should be help perpendicular to the shoulders. The player should then push away the ball with the back of the hand facing downwards and then swing the ball from behind while slightly moving forward. As the player approaches the foul line, one should bring back the ball to the front and then plant the left foot exactly in front of the fault line and release the ball to swing forward towards the target arrow. The bowler should at this time keep the arm facing up and at the same time allow the right leg to swing behind the left leg.