Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-conflict recovery through sport

This is another inspiring short from Women Win looking at different ways women find to recover from trauma suffered during conflict. It might sound a bit facetious to say sport can heal those kinds of scars but watching this, you see it can at least help women to find somewhere to forget for a moment. I'm going to a conference on Gender Based Violence in Dublin today, so seemed an appropriate day to find this film.  

I posted on another Women Win project here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Winter ladies

So winter has decided to make it to Ireland, thankfully not as dramatically as last year - no snow so far - but still chilly enough to make posts about snowboarders a must again. This post is thanks to Snowboard Canada Women.

Canadian Marie-France Roy is on record as saying 'haven't had a real job in five years' but her not-real job involves six Transworld awards and 'multiple' Snowboarder awards for her brave approach to her sport. Twenty-seven now, she's been out on the snow since she was 11 and took a break recently to get over 'burn-out' as SBC reports. Another way to put that could be recovery from breaking a vertebrate in 2010 - yes, and she's out there again this season.

Marie-France told Mpora: "We found this ice wall at the blowhole and I tried to wall ride it and the speed didn’t work so we were just gonna leave and then I said I could just drop from the top over a lil cornice and land on the ice wall. I dropped in and it was pow. The take off looked soft but as soon as I got on it, it was rock hard ice. I was already going a bit too fast but that made me go even faster. I went 45 feet down to an ice flat landing."  Makes you think twice about the photo below doesn't it?

MFR pic Gagnon


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Musical Yoga in Sydney

Sarah Trestrail
When someone says yoga helped her recover from fracturing five lumbar vertebrates in a horse riding accident, you have to think there's something to all this talk of healing and flexibility. Sarah Trestrail is one of only five Jivamukti Yoga teachers in Australia which means ...

When I interviewed her in Sydney she explained the secret to this type of yoga is in the tunes. "We use a lot of music as a feature in class; all styles with rock or jazz. It’ll have a philosophical theme for the class, the teacher works with the theme and sequences the class according to the theme. The teacher might be sitting there with a guitar leading a chant  or playing the harmonium. It's good fun." 

A former fitness instructor, she was taken to a yoga class when the pain from her healing back prevented her from working. And now she's "addicted".

But loving yoga is about more than flexing a few moves. 

Sarah said it's all about losing that fear of re-hurting yourself or aggravating an old injury. 

"The first time you do a headstand, it's like Oh my god, I just did my first head stand, I can do anything. It's amazing, you can do things you never thought you would do." 


Friday, November 18, 2011

Snowboarding in Finland

Scrolling through snowboarding films to find one showcasing women? Leave some time for that search. But there are some - like this one from Finland. "Shotgun" was produced by Suomen Naislautailijat & Optic Oy and filmed by Osku Tuominen & Olli Koivula. If you like this trailer, you can find the full 26 minutes here on Vimeo.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Shotgun trailer - snowboardfilm made by SNL girls from Suomen Naislautailijat on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Arthritis and adventure racing

sport arthritis
Robyn from Project Athena Foundation
Hip replacements and arthritis are things we usually associate with older people, people in their 60s maybe. But not always. American adventure racer Robyn Benincasa was diagnosed with osteoarthritis at 41. 

Robyn says on her website she was taking part in the World Championships in 2007 when it all came to a head. "I was in so much pain that I took one final step and fell to the ground on the fifth day of the race, the day that my team was climbing the biggest peak in the country, Ben Nevis. My teammates took all of my gear and put me on a tow line. Often during the last thirty-six hours of that race, I had to physically pick up my leg and move it forward because it would no longer respond to signals from my brain." 

I'm sure lots of you reading have felt as if you were throwing a leg up the mountain from time to time but this was something else. With 15 years of adventure racing  - if you don't know, they're the people that run, bike, kayak or climb for days over mountains, through rivers or caves and well over whatever is in the way - behind her Robyn was not someone you'd expect to be told both hips were disintegrating.

And this is where the story moves behind the usual athlete-gets-injured and overcomes. Obviously osteoarthritis isn't a death knell but it can be next to that for many people. 

After two gruesome sounding operations involving dislocation of a leg by the surgeon, Robyn tried to find, well, find the meaning in the mess. First she started with two friends, who'd had rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer, organising an adventure race-team. And from there, it grew into a foundation Project Athena that works with women who've been through disease and want to start living again. 

The woman who sent me on the link (thank you Sandy) says it's an "incredible story". We all think when we're sick we will never forget how frustrating it is but usually once we get better, that's it. Illness packed in a box never to be thought of again. But Robyn Benincasa managed to hold onto that even while she started racing again - enough that she is able to get other women on their feet again. 

I had to smile at the final line on her page from her book Team Works: "I guess the moral of the story is that none of this life changing and life affirming stuff would have happened had there been more cartilage in the world." 

Do you know anyone else living with a disease usually associated with older people?