Thursday, July 7, 2016

Makin' Progress

At the beginning of this year, I started making it a point to post monthly parkour videos showing my progress. The videos have really helped me to see improvements from where I started over two years ago, and I have been amazed at the positive feedback I've received. Filming these videos has also helped me push myself to work on new skills.

I'm learning to trust myself to react. When I finally commit to doing something new, I'll often find that my body knows how to react and I'm able to complete the challenge. While it's still difficult to go for the skills that scare me, this realization is helping me build confidence. Oh yeah, I also competed in my first ever competition and took second. That was cool!

Parkour Progress Playlist

We have started taking swing dancing classes which was something I never pictured myself doing. So far, we have taken classes on East Coast, Charleston, and Lindy Hop. We will be starting an intermediate Lindy Hop class soon.

Swing Dancing at the Hoedown
This past spring, we took an spur of the moment trip to Winter Park to go snowboarding and see a concert by American Authors. We had a great time, and something about not planning it out in advance made it that much more memorable. 

Snowboarding at Winter Park
Front and Center at the American Authors Concert
American Authors
I completed my first Spartan Race and am signed up to do another in the fall. It was definitely harder than I expected, but I really enjoyed (most) the obstacles. Here's a summary of our race, courtesy of Tonia.
Climbing the Rope
Spartan Race - Complete!
At the start of summer, my sister, Stacie visited. We had a blast! We went hiking, completed the Tour de BCycle (40 stops in one day), listened to live music, ate a ton of good food, went shopping, visited with friends and family, and completed the Lookout Mountain Triathlon Sprint. This was our first triathlon, and it felt like an accomplishment to complete it. We also went with a big group to see Sweet and Lucky, which was a really cool interactive play. I highly recommend it. I loved having my sister visit and we had a ton of fun.
Our Lookout Mountain Triathlon T-Shirt
Animoto of Stacie's Visit

Eric and I went to Top Taco and enjoyed the unlimited tacos and margaritas. (Maybe a little too much!)
Eric and I at Top Taco
A group of coworkers and I climbed our second 14er (my fifth). It was freezing at the top and rained on us as we approached the base, but it was fun to do together.

Summit on the Summit - Quandary
This is the first summer in several years that I haven't taken a trip outside the state (or country), but it's going well so far and I'm really enjoying the down time.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Makin' it to Winter Break

The school year is off to a great start, and as much as I'm glad it's winter break, I have to admit I'm really enjoying this year. Each year we welcome the new seventh graders with an introduction video. This year, we took the silly route and came up with this.

7 Blue Trailer

For this year's Wellness Day, I had the chance to teach a parkour workshop. I had fun finding challenges in front of the school, and each session concluded with a short time trials course. The kids seemed to really enjoy it, and I got to spend a work day doing what I love.

Vaulting Over a Wall at Work

I love that I work in a school where not only are we allowed to do things like this, but I have coworkers who will play along and enjoy it with me.

To unwind after fall conferences, we took a weekend trip to Steamboat. As always, it was a ton of fun. We hung out, hiked up Rabbit Ears pass, went to the Hot Springs, and ended the weekend by watching the Broncos game.

Hiking up Rabbit Ears

At the Summit of Rabbit Ears

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit this, but up until this fall, I had never been to a Red Rocks concert. (I know, what kind of Coloradan am I?) We went to see X Ambassadors, American Authors, and Panic! at the Disco. The concert was great overall, but American Authors was especially awesome, and I am now a bit obsessed with their music.

Eric & I at Red Rocks

I have been back at work for the past few months, and have been doing parkour as much as possible. Unfortunately I've been fighting a sprained ankle and torn cartilage around my ribs. It can be tough to balance letting my body heal while still pushing myself to learn new skills.

My focus has been on gaining more flow and confidence during time trials and learning new flips. In the recent weeks, I have been working on cast backs from a wall, standing gainers, swing through gainers, and devil drops. About a year ago, I gave up on cast backs from a wall. Also, I have always had gainers on my "never going to learn" list. I was beyond excited to learn both in one day. It was another push of confidence that facing your fears can pay off. It has been so great having all the positive feedback from others each time I attempt something new.
First Recorded Time Trials Run

Running Gainer & Cast Back

My goal for last year was to do a backflip without a spotter somewhere other than the trampoline. This is one of those things that I often watch first timers come in and get within a day, yet, for some reason, I've really had to work on it. I did my first one without a spotter right before New's Year's Eve last year, and before spraining my ankle, it seemed I was making moderate progress with taking them to the grass. This is still one of my goals, but here's my progress so far. I feel like landing a standing back tuck is within my reach, I just need to be more consistent about working on it.

Backflip Progress

Every time I learn something new, I return to the gym with intentions to work on it again. There's always so much going on that it's easy to get excited to learn something else new and work on that instead. That's one of the things I love most about parkour. I feel like there are so many different ways to move that I never get bored of doing the same thing.

We kicked off winter break with happy hour. From there, a few friends and I went to Former Future for a beer and doughnut pairing. It was awesome, and definitely a highlight of the night. Oh yeah, I also won an ugly sweater contest at work with my "Ninjabread Men" sweater. We finished off the night at Pub on Pearl listening to a friend play music. It was the perfect start to winter break.

Beer & Doughnut Pairing at Former Future

Live Music at Pub on Pearl

We continued winter break by meeting up at CO-Brew with several friends and spent the afternoon brewing our own beer. It was a cool experience and we will return in two weeks to bottle our beer.

Hanging out at CO-Brew

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lovin' Summer

I have just a few days left of my summer break, and while it's always sad when it comes to an end, I'm really glad I was able to do everything I did and enjoy my time off.

I just returned from an awesome trip to Washington to see my sister. We truly made the most of our time and packed in as many activities as possible.

We spent the first week in Port Townsend enjoying concerts on the dock, coffee, amazing meals and cocktails, farmer's markets, coffee, movies at the Rose Theater & Starlight Room, beach time, exploring Fort Worden, visiting Olympia, hanging out, oh, and did I mention, coffee?

Movie Night at the Starlight Theater

Chillin' at Fort Worden

Wall Spins at Fort Worden

During the week, we also took the ferry for a day trip to Victoria, BC where we wandered the shops and visited the art gallery at the Robert Bateman Centre.

The Parliament Building and a Totem Pole in Victoria, BC

For the last weekend in Washington, we went to Seattle. We started the weekend with a trip to Emerald City Trapeze. Stacie worked on the gazelle, and I worked on the penny roll. Even though I was having trouble with the form and timing, I was able to make the catch at the end of the day.

Penny Roll Catch

After trapeze, we wandered around Seattle and had a late lunch at The Pink Door. That evening, we decided to walk to the Space Needle, and on a whim, went to the Chihuly Exhibit. We had fun taking pictures and loved seeing everything lit up. We even enjoyed dessert and a bottle of wine while waiting for dark. It was one of those perfect days that makes you smile just thinking about it.

Outside the Pink Door in Seattle

The Space Needle at the Chihuly Exhibit

While in Seattle, we also went to the North American Women's Parkour Jam. Unfortunately, I injured my ankle a few weeks before the trip, so I had to take it easy. However, it was still fun to be a part of the event, and Seattle has some amazing training spots. We were also able to coordinate a visit with some of our cousins and had a great time walking around Seattle and having dinner at Tulio. On the way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon the Seafair Torchlight Parade and joined the crowd to watch.

Lache at Gasworks Park in Seattle

Hanging out with our cousin Beth in Seattle

My visit ended with a concert and Marymoor Park. We had a blast listening to Colin Hay, The Violent Femmes, and The Barenaked Ladies.

Cracking up at the Barenaked Ladies Concert

After returning home, I was able to visit with some of my other Portland cousins. We had dinner at my house and went to Elitch's together.

Dinner with the Earnests & Keturis

Freaking Out on the Tower of Doom

I took my first few aerials classes, and even had the chance to play on the outdoor rig during Nat Jam. It requires very different types of movements from what I'm used to, but it is a good challenge, and something new to work on each week. It was nice to be able to still do something at the jam with a sprained ankle.

Gazelle on the Outdoor Aerials Rig

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Livin' Easy Belizy

My summer started off with a trip to Belize. We had a ton of fun and felt like we were able to see much of the country on our trip.

Some of my favorite photos from the trip

Belize seemed like a perfect mix of adventure in the jungle and relaxation on the beach. For the first half, we stayed at Sleeping Giant Lodge. We had a different activity for each day and started the week with cabe tubing. Within the cave, we floated in a line of six with only our head lamps to illuminate the inside. We spent the afternoon indulging with the included rum drinks and sampled at least one of every color.

Entering the cave for some tubing

Afternoon drinks

We spent the next day exploring the Mayan Ruins of Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. It was amazing to see the massive monuments and living quarters. Cahal Pech was smaller, however, there was a lot to explore. The afternoon included reading in the hammock and relaxing.


One of my favorite parts of the trips was the Black Hole Drop in which we hiked through the jungle for about an hour and a half, and then rappelled down a 300 foot sinkhole. The views were amazing and the rappel was exhilarating. We enjoyed lunch at the bottom before hiking out.

Starting the Black Hole Drop

On our final day at Sleeping Giant, we started out disappointed when the Waterfall Hike was cancelled, but we were able to go horseback riding instead. When we arrived, our group had just left without us, so we were able to look at the birds and jaguars within their animal area, and then we took a boat ride up the Belize River. Along the way, we saw howler monkeys and giant iguanas. It was pretty cool to ride through the rainforest and encounter some more howler monkeys.

Boat Ride on the Belize River

Horseback Riding

When we arrived back at the lodge, we were informed that there were two surprises for us. The first was a giant coconut with a straw. The second was an over the top dinner on a private balcony, complete with candles and flowers.

Surprise #1

Surprise #2

For the second half of our trip, we drove to Placencia, and then took a boat 20 miles off shore to Hatchet Caye. While on the island, we snorkeled, kayaked, and relaxed on the beach and at the pool. We also took a boat to a nearby turtle spot. When we arrived, there were several boats cleaning their catch, which attracted turtles, sting rays, and sharks.

Dock Handstand

Sea Kayaking

Marine Life while Snorkeling

I also had a goal to do a backflip on the beach, which I finally attempted on our last day.

First Beach Backflip

Our final day travels included a boat ride back to shore, a small plane from Placencia to Belize City, and two more flights back to Denver. I had been anxious about the small plane considering it would be my first time in over 20 years. While it was a bit emotional, the flight was relatively smooth. It was a long day, but well worth it for the trip.

Small Plane Flight to Belize City

The day after returning home, we participated in Challenge Nation with a few friends. We dressed up in an 80's theme (Let's Get Physical) and ended up taking 4th place overall out of 54 teams.

Our photos at each checkpoint

Team photo near the halfway point

Everybody in!

It has been a great start to the summer so far!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Countin' Down Until Summer

The school year is coming to an end, and I'm anxiously awaiting the start of summer break. This spring, I've taken a few short trips and have continued to do a ton of parkour. I love how I am still so excited about it, and after watching a few of the videos in my earlier in my posts, I'm realizing how much I've learned and how much I've progressed.

My biggest accomplishment has been a standing backflip in the grass. I'll admit it took me much longer than it should have, and while it's still not perfect, I was so excited to finally build up the confidence to try it.

Some other skills I've been working on this spring are side flips, websters, wall flips, kong precisions, lache precisions, and combining moves together. One of my summer goals is to get more comfortable flipping outside on harder surfaces.

Side Flip

Wall Flip

Kong to Webster

Lache to Webster

Side Flip at the Park

I have also been working on building confidence with obstacle courses. I love when I can link several moves together and make everything flow smoothly. I've learned a ton of new bar tricks including flyaways (on hard ground), quasimodos, and castaways. Additionally, I have been taking a break dancing class, and while I feel like most of the class involves me falling on my face, it's still fun and I've learned several cool freezes.

Cast to Baby Knee Giant to Butt Flip



In February, a few friends from work convinced me to take a day off from work to go to Steamboat for a long weekend. We had fun tubing, snowshoeing, and just enjoying each other's company. It was definitely worth taking a sub day.

Posing with Olaf

Snowshoeing on Rabbit Ears Pass

For spring break, We went to Moab with several friends. Besides camping, we went mountain biking, hiking, and rappelling.

Magnificent Seven Ride Bike

Turtle Pose in Canyonlands

Elephant Butte Rappel

I have one week left of work before summer break starts. I can't wait for two months of trips and parkour.