Now that The World Round Up Online Showdown filming is wrapped up (contest on Braille Skateboarding YouTube on July 12th), I have started getting clips for my next video part. This will be the fourth NeverWas Skateboarding video. I use these parts to show where my skating is currently. They show what I'm into at that particular time and how much I have (or haven't) progressed.
This year my video will be entirely on a longboard and entirely on flatground. I'm also trying to avoid single trick clips. I want to do multiple tricks per clip to show that I can link tricks together. I don't want it to be a straight up freestyle run like a contest though as I think different camera angles and cutting out slower middle sections make a better video part.
It has been a good week of skating even though my Saturday July 4th session was less than perfect. I went out to work on backwards walk the dogs since Tony Gale just posted a new trick tip on his freestyletricktips.com website and ended up practicing those, 1-foot nose shove-its, and walk the cows for nearly 1 1/2 hours. At the end of the day, I didn't feel like I was any better at any of them and, after watching a short video clip of my 1-foot shove-its, I realized how I was doing them was pointless.
I was doing them as, take the back foot off, shove-it off the nose, land on the board. I realized I need to cross-step up to the nose with the back foot and (almost like a walk the cow) do the shove-it off the foot that has just stepped from the back to the front. If you do them from the front foot they just look like a shove it and taking off the back foot is pretty much hidden. Back to the drawing board on those.
Before I even start this post, I am not a doctor, and I'm not a personal trainer. You should always speak to a doctor about any new physical regimen. I'm only giving you my take on physical fitness and the aging skateboarder because I feel like my fitness regimen is necessary to keep me going at the level i skate. That isn't to say that other people can't skate better on less exercise, but to feel my best and feel like I skate my best this post will give a rundown of what I do. I'm one of those people that really likes to work out, and I feel that my workouts help to keep me on a skateboard as I approach the big 5-0.
Each morning, Monday through Friday, I lift weights and do some core work before I head out to the day job. If I didn't skate I'd still lift weights before work. It kickstarts my day, and makes me feel like I have already accomplished something long before my workday has begun. Of course, it has added benefits. Weight training helps bone density, helps me maintain a healthy weight, and helps me maintain good body mechanics.
Secondly, is cardio training. Skateboarding, of course, can count as cardio, and I don't spend a lot more time doing cardio outside of skating. However, I do try to get on a bike and go for a run at least once a week. Being a distance skater I feel like changing things up helps me keep my cardiovascular fitness up while using my muscles in a different way. The idea is that, by cross-training in running and cycling, I'm improving cardio and developing strength in areas not used skating keeping from having any imbalances in my fitness.
Last, but not least, stretching and mobility. I used to do a series of static stretches everyday but I've moved away from doing as much static stretching over the last year. I incorporated yoga poses into my basic stretches and added some very simple mobility exercises that I now do. Some of them are very simple from ankle and knee circles to standing on one leg (and doing some calf raises). I feel like the mobility exercises help keep my range of motion and help in body awareness. I even have a series of toe exercises I do daily. Toe exercises?! Yep. Unfortunately I suffered from something called "turf toe" at one point. It is a sprain to the bottom joint of the big toe, and it is very painful. I felt like I never fully recovered from it, and massage/toe mobility exercises have helped incredibly. One exercise, for instance, is to pick up a towel, over and over, with my toes. At one point this was very difficult for me. Now it is easy.
So, how much exercise do you need to do as an older skater?
That's up to you. Only you know your body. I just wanted to give an insight on what I do to keep myself rolling healthy into my late forties.
My run for the World Round Up Online Showdown has been filmed and uploaded. I have paid my entry fee. It is all over but the judging in July. Strangely enough, tons of people are sharing their runs on Facebook. I'm really surprised. I didn't want to share mine until it was being judged or being run on the Braille channel's live feed in July. The kind of cool thing is that I'm getting to see the "competition" as they do their runs. I feel like, despite riding a longboard and doing a very simple run, I fit in nicely with the videos I've seen so far. That is a relief. When I heard Braille was doing a live feed of the Round-Up I was a little surprised. I thought I was skating for a couple hundred other people that were entering the contest. Instead, it is going to be broadcast on a channel with over 4 million subscribers! It is like thinking you're playing a gig in a club but finding out you are really doing a stadium show.
As far as preparing for the round up, I was so ready for it to be over, and ready to not do the same few tricks over and over. Now (of course), I miss working on the run. Insert a big sigh right here.
So, what am I to do next?! That's the real dilemma. Do I do the cyber slalom challenge this weekend? Do I finish my 100 miles for the month? Do I start working on new freestyle and dance tricks?
I took the week to work on dance stuff, like true dance stuff, riding a board with no kicks so I wasn't tempted to move into classic freestyle or ollie based tricks. My Peter Pans and cross-stepping needed work so I worked on those, and added walking the plank to my slowly growing dance list. On Friday I took my freestyle set up back out and integrated walk the dogs with a backwards cross-step. Two walk the dogs followed by what looks to be a turn in, but while the board is rolling backwards I do a cross-step into more walk the dogs. It is simple, but walking one direction while the board rolls another direction is more difficult than it sounds. I have to distribute my weight slightly backward and that feels odd.
Really, I just want to do more freestyle so I'm looking at what's next freestyle trick wise, and seeing what longboard dance stuff I can add to my skating.
Next week is the deadline for my World Round Up Online Showdown freestyle run, and I'm very glad. As I believe I have mentioned before, I'm very much over doing the same run over and over in practice. I'm ready to incorporate new tricks, but I can't for filming because (a) I want the run to be as smooth as possible and (b) I don't want to have to film it five million times just to get a clean run. I'd rather get several usable videos and choose the best from all of them rather than get one video and have to use it because it is the only one that is clean.
So, Monday through Friday this week I took a video everyday. On Friday evening I went back, looked over them, and chose the cleanest for the competition. Now, my run is very simple. Simple footwork, simple tricks done the smoothest I can on a longboard NOT a freestyle board. I have, essentially, made this a freestyle run without any of the rail or pogo stuff (which I don't care much for). I know I made claims that this run would combine freestyle and dance (and I still do a cross-step at one point in the run), but I ended up with trucks so tight to make the freestyle oriented stuff look freestyle-ish that the dance elements looked stiff and terrible so I took most of those out.
Over the course of the weekend I've skated a little but I've done zero freestyle. I've set up another hybrid longboard deck with Caliber 160mm trucks and I've been switching between that deck and an OG Dancer from Funbox Distribution that is set up with Gullwing Chargers. I'm really enjoying the turn this weekend. I've been working on basic dance stuff: crossteps, Peter Pans, crossover carving (in Peter Pan position but carving back and forth without changing foot position) and some ghost ride stuff. It has been fun, but it looks like I'll have to switch back over for this last week so I can put my best freestyle foot forward.
If I'm honest, signing up for a contest sounded great, but I do think I regret it now. I don't know that I have the correct attention span to be a competetive freestyle skater. I enjoy going with the flow a bit too much, maybe? Next week is a cyber slalom challenge from the folks at the ISSA. I'm thinking about doing that, but it would be like my 100 mile ride for the IDSA, a one and done mission so I can go back to dancing.
I walked out of my house at 5:45 a.m. on Friday June 5th and noticed that it was already warmer outside than inside my house. It made me nervous because I had watched the weather forecast for the day grow hotter and hotter over the last two weeks. When the date was chosen the forecast said it would be mild outside, in the lower 80s with some nice cloud cover. Now the forecast was for 90 degree temps and sunny.
By 6:00 a.m. I was taking my first laps as I sipped on my morning coffee. It felt great. In fact, the first 20 miles felt great. It felt so great that I kept going, and skipped my planned 20 mile break. I was wearing my new IDSA hydration vest so I was able to drink water as I skated into mile 33 when I finally pulled off to my aid station and took my first time out.
Seated in the aid station (really just the only shady tree at the park that I could put a chair and cooler under, I changed my socks for the first time and applied some petroleum jelly to my feet. I knew that trick from running and hoped it would translate to distance skating to help keep blisters from popping up on my feet. I changed shirts, and a fresh, dry t-shirt felt wonderful. I reapplied sunscreen, drank some sports drink, and ate some salty chips before taking off toward my goal.
By now the sun was fully up and it was hot. Very hot. I spotted a snake sunning itself on my path. I stopped, took a picture of him and started riding again. A couple laps later and he was gone, but I saw another, very tiny, snake sunning itself. On my next lap around, I saved the guy's life. I noticed he was coiled up as if he were ready to strike. I also noticed a bird, fluttering above him (about my head height). The bird was getting ready to time a pounce on the snake, but when it saw me, the bird flew away. After watching a deer die on my last over 10 mile ride (read here), it was a nice that the animal lived this time.
It wasn't much longer and I decided another break was in order. The heat was getting to me, and I was disappointed that I had to pull back off of the course again already. I had hoped to be at 50 miles by the time I pulled off again. I drank some more liquids and ate a banana before heading back onto the course. At this point, I also switched from the audiobook I had been playing through my headphones to some music.
The music was a good choice. The combination of tunes and the food I had consumed helped give me a boost for a little bit. I skated a few more miles before putting on the breaks again. More food. More liquids. I changed hydration bladders in my vest. I pondered changing shirts again, but wanted to save my last shirt until mile 66.
At 5 hours and 42 minutes I finished my 50th mile and sat down again for another break. The heat was stifling. I wasn't sure exactly the temperature, but it was hot. I sent my wife a screenshot of my current Endomondo and she replied that she was worried about the heat.
Truthfully, I was too. At mile 50 I realized that I may not make it in one go. I might have to go home, rest through the heat of the day and come back when it begins cooling down. the problem with that was that there are no lights on my course. If I come back I'm skating in the dark. If I can't skate in the dark then I'm never going to make it. I decided to push forward, but take break even more often.
I'd ride a few miles then take a break. I'd ride a mile or two more then take a break.
At mile 58 I got a cramp in my right quad. I hopped off my board at the aid station and drank a bottle of pickle juice and ate my third (and last) banana. I finished my 48 ounce of sports drink and drank down some more stock I had brought (for the liquid/sodium). Luckily, the beverages seemed to work and the cramp faded away as I skated into my 60th mile.
Another short break. I put my third, and final, bladder into my hydration vest before pushing on to mile 61. It was just after mile 61 that I knew I was done. I realized that I had not urinated since I left the house at 5:45 this morning. That really scared me. Despite all of these liquids I've drank I hadn't had the need or urge to use the restroom. Just how hot was it today?!
At the end of mile 62 I loaded my gear up and hopped into my car. According to Endomondo, I had burnt over 3,500 calories (I have no idea the truth on that), and I thought it was time to get some mass calories and fluids into me so I could at least need to urinate. I went through a drive through, skarfed a couple burgers and drank a large coca cola on my way home. Once at home I filled my 48 ounce bottle with water drank water as I took a cool shower (it felt amazing).
I finally had the need to urinate after drinking a ton of liquids. It was dark, nearly brown and I knew I wasn't headed back out tonight. It turns out the temperature had climbed to 93 degrees outside today, just two degrees away from tying the record high of 95 degrees.
Instead of heading back out I drank water and snacked into the evening, and opted to watch a movie with my wife instead of looping the track. Since I have to go back to getting ready for the Online Showdown, I won't be attempting the 100 in 24 hours again this month (and since it will only get hotter as June pushes on), but I will do a few more rides to get me over 100 for the month so I'll still fulfill one of the IDSA challenges. And I'm happy that I made 62 miles. The longest ride I've ever done was a 26.2 ride so I've more than doubled my distance, and that is something I can be proud of.
Well, I guess it has now officially been two months since I decided to skate in a freestyle contest, and I have to say I'm ready to be done with it. I'm over doing the same pieces of footwork over and over again, and I've found that I've been ignoring a lot of other things in my repertoire. Honestly, it makes the three pieces (I've broken the routine into three 30 second sections for practice purposes) I've been doing feel stale and old hat.
So, I've been learning some new things for the last couple weeks. I've learned tiger claw, aero grab, ghost ride fakie big spins, tailstop underflips, and some kind of Peter Pan-ish move where you cross-step and carve/pump from that position. All but the tailstop underflip are longboard dance moves, and the only dance move I would give strong consideration for a freestyle run would be the cross-step pump thing. The rest require stepping off the board which is just not freestyle in a pure sense. You know the old freestyle saying, "Foot down and it doesn't count." It doesn't necessarily apply as law, but unless you can do no comply tricks into your run like Conner Burke, stepping off probably isn't a great look much less two feet down to ghost ride (although I've really learned to enjoy ghost ride tricks).
The one thing I did finally accomplish this week is decide on my music for my run. This is my third and final song choice. I had started off with The Church's song Under the Milky Way, but switched over to Pentagram's Be Forewarned. After seeing myself skate to Be Forewarned I decided that wasn't the right song. It just didn't fit my skating. Finally, after trying multiple songs, I have decided to skate to Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It seems to fit my skating perfectly, and it is an underappreciated song.
This is an unusual blog post for me. I'm a writer, and I like to sit down and write my own updates, but this morning Bob and Tony have just about written the whole thing for me. I quote Bob first because, man, yeah, exactly.
Then there's this from Tony Gale:
I've spent the last year (and more) working on footwork, and I've never really been able to put into words how much that footwork flows. It has become very second nature. Tony Gale is right when he talks about learn, perfect, forget. I'm a little embarrassed that I've never connected wu wei with skateboarding. Doing footwork that you've mastered really is effortless action.
My biggest issue these days is that I go to the well too often on certain footwork and longboard dance steps. I have to remind myself to do tricks other than the handful that come to mind first. I've started forcing myself to do new combos because I've don't want to do the same few over and over again.
A couple weeks ago I posted about joining the IDSA, and completing the 1 km sprint challenge. I finished the 1 km ride in just under 3 minutes, and that time made me pretty excited to try the 1 mile sprint challenge which was next on the list. It would be my third challenge completed, but my first to submit to the organization as it would be my first challenge completed as a member.
As I've mentioned before, the online challenges are the reason I finally joined the IDSA, and I've been really excited about distance skating since joining. On the other hand, I am much more dedicated time-wise to freestyle and dancing. So, a monthly (or shorter bi-weekly) challenge is perfect. In fact, it has inspired me to both put my running shoes back on and get back on my bicycles. I enjoy both cycling and running, but I've been so focused on trick skating that I hated to take time away from it. Now I'm getting my longboard dance sessions in and often finishing them off with a short distance skate, run or bike ride (more on my end of day short distance sessions in another post).
I had intended to find a new, straighter path to complete the 1 mile challenge, but I didn't. I stuck with my looping section which, of course, doesn't lend itself to sprinting. In fact, in my clockwise mile, I had to foot break twice per loop. You can't footbreak and sprint at the same time, of course, but I am very happy with my times. I ran the course both clockwise and counterclockwise and the good folks and the IDSA average the two rides out.
My average time was 4:37.5 per mile which is the fastest mile I have ever skated. I know there are some sub 4 minute miles out there, but looking back at all the distance rides I've done on Endomondo, the fastest miles I can find are about 4:40 miles so I'm very happy with my time.
The challenge for June is a big one. You can either choose to do 100 miles in the month or 100 miles in 24 hours. I'm going for the 100 miles in 24 hours. It is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but have never taken the time to do.
tAccording to the weather forecast, this week was going to be a total bust, but just the opposite happened. It turned out to be a pretty great week to skate, and the sun was plentiful. So plentiful that I got the worst sunburn I've had in years mid-week. I've never had a sunburn take down my activity level like it did this week. My energy felt off and I can't think of anything besides the sunburn that could be the cause. It is stupid really. I carry sunscreen in the side pocket of my bag every single day. For once it just slipped my mind.
Anyway, about the skateboarding. I completed my 1 mile sprints for the IDSA, logged a new PR for a mile, and got that sunburn in the process on Thursday, but the rest of the week was spent doing freedance and getting ready for the Online Showdown in a few weeks (more about my 1 mile ride in another post).
So, I completely redid the opening 20 seconds of my run. I've been starting the run with longboard dancing, but decided to make the run freestyle-centric with some spin shove-its, walk the dogs, and a tailstop fingerflip before going into some dance moves.
I've also been working on a carving 360 wheelie. It is more difficult than it sounds. The first 200 or so degrees is pretty easy but getting to exactly 360 is a little tougher. You have to try and find the centrifugal force to keep the turn going, but it can be hard to find the balance. That said, I've upped my workouts to include ankle mobility issues.
I came to the realization last week that I've had issues with 360s and spacewalks because of my right (rear) ankle. I broke it about 17 years ago, and while the break healed well, one of the ligaments in my ankle was ripped in two. I elected not to have it surgically reattached. The doctor had told me it would be very painful and that the other ligaments in my ankle would most likely strengthen so much that I wouldn't notice a difference. He was correct except that I am a skateboarder and my ankles are very important for the act of skating.
So, here I am 17 years later, starting some PT to strengthen the other ligaments in my ankle to help my freestyle and dance skateboarding.
I'm loving online challenges. As a family man unable to make a bunch of contest/race trips, I am thrilled to be able do them on my own time in my home space. I know they aren't the same thing as being in a set location competing with others on the same course, but I am enjoying it very much.
The first online challenge I did was the Cyber Slalom Challenge through the NCDSA. I later ran my own Cyber Slalom Challenge through Facebook. A move from central Arkansas to the hills of northwest Arkansas coincided with taking up freestyle so I haven't competed in an online challenge since 2018. Of course, the World Round-Up Online Showdown kicked off the contests for me (I just practiced my run), but the IDSA (International Distance Skateboard Association) has started challenges as well.
I recently posted about the 10K challenge from them. It was a lot of fun, and I wanted to become more of a part of it. So, I paid the 20 bucks to join and became a member of the IDSA. I know I will probably never go to an IDSA event (unless they have one in Arkansas or Memphis, TN), but at least I can support the organization promoting something that I support. Skating for fitness is a great thing. Plus, they sent some cool swag for joining. I've been thinking about a hydration vest for a long time. So, to get one for the cost of joining the IDSA and shipping is great. I'm going to get a lot of use out of that over the next year.
SoNow, for the story of my 1KM Sprint:
I completed the challenge on Mother's Day morning. I warmed up by doing a freedance session (what I'm calling my freestyle/dance hybrid skating), and followed it with my attempt at the challenge. It should be of note that I knew my track wasn't the right place to do this. A straight stretch would be ideal, and there isn't much straight stretch on this course at all. However, as I mentioned, it was Mother's Day morning and I felt a little guilt leaving my wife behind to go skating on her day. While I should have been making her a breakfast in bed, I was out skating instead. So, I was at my usual spot. It is, after all, five minutes from home which is much better than driving 20 minutes into town. This way I skate for an hour and a half and I'm only gone for about an hour and a half.
I put my everyday board into the back of my truck and used my push board, a Bustin Sportster with 180mm Caliber trucks, 80mm Kegel wheels and Bones Swiss bearings. I pushed off, got to a decent speed and hit the start button. It felt great moving into the first, at speed, corner.
Unfortunately, I was going way too fast for this course. Turning and sprints just don't marry well. I came off the board just as I went into that first corner as my trucks couldn't turn fast enough. Luckily, I was able to run it out, and didn't land on my face. In fact, I was able to get myself back on the trail and hopped back on, but I knew I couldn't sprint at my the best possible speed. After all, I had several more turns each time around the track, and several times around the track. So, since I had already come off the board and because I had to slow down for each corner, I knew my time would be slow, but I did push like mad on the one long side of the track, and got myself nice and winded. They've started a 1 mile challenge and, now that I'm an actual member of the IDSA, I am going to find a straight path and I may just send my times into the IDSA. Judging from the times I've seen on Facebook, I think if I stay on the board and have a straight path, I may do okay.
I do hope, after the world goes back to a normal a little bit, they'll keep these challenges going. It is a great way to feel connected, at a distance, to other distance skaters.