A Better Telemark Skier

January 18, 2016

Like almost all weekends during winter, this weekend we skied both days.  It’s been a great snow year for the Pacific NW, so this year I’ve been skiing on more than just smooth groomed runs.

The last 2 years weren’t the best years for snowfall, but that worked out great for me because 2 years ago I was skiing ever so carefully while pregnant (well into the 2nd trimester) and last year I was skiing ever so carefully during my 4th through 7th months being post-partum.

Last year, my husband and I took turns in the lodge with baby in the car seat carrier.  That meant that I only did about 4-5 runs each day of the weekend.  Last year, I felt grateful for being able to do any amount of skiing and I physically wasn’t up for doing much more.

Now…this year…

I have to admit that I had some downer moments this weekend.  I usually hold my positive attitude and work with that, try to build on that.  But sometimes I just get bummed out.

This weekend I got down because I just want to be able to ski and hike and pole plant and side step and bend down and carry my gear and FUNCTION like I used to.  I’m sick of having to watch every move I make.  I’m sick of having to think about whether what I’m doing is going to make me feel worse. or not.  I’m sick of having to modify what I do.  I’m just F@&#ing tired of it.

I just want to be more of the hard charging athlete/skier that I used to be.  {{Cry, cry, cry}}

Which brings me to the “good news” part of this post.  I’m in the process of becoming a better Telemark skier, thanks to my prolapse symptoms.  Seriously!  And that IS a good thing.  It’s the good thing that I’m holding onto right now.

I feel quite excellent in the tele turn, as I’ve mentioned recently.  I do want to LIVE in the tele turn at all times when I’m on skis.  However– in order to do that, I need to improve my skiing.  I.e. I need to get back to my pre-pregnancy skiing skill level.  I need to stop being lazy when my legs get a little tired (which means I revert back to the alpine turn).  I need to get over feeling timid and I need to stop skiing overly cautious.  It makes things worse, not better!

So this weekend, I worked on doing as many tele turns as possible.  When my legs got to burning on a run, I didn’t switch to alpine turns and keep going.  I stopped and rested and then continued on in the tele.

When I encountered bumpier, deeper terrain, I started adopting my old “Spank it or be spanked” attitude (which is a line from a classic instructional ski video that we have, “Beyond The Groomed”).  Getting my weight slightly forward helped noticeably.

The more I Telemark ski the more at peace I feel on skis.  Thank goodness for that.  I’d hate to feel worse doing tele turns rather than better!  I shall focus on the positive.

I am healed.

Skiing Down, Hiking Up

January 10, 2015

It was another ski weekend for us.

Once again, I definitely noticed that Telemark turns are the best kind of ski turns for my prolapse symptoms.  Beyond that, it feels “the best” for me physically to ski on either smooth, groomed runs or in light, untracked powder.  (That’s the best skiing in general!)

When I do standard old downhill ski turns, I feel fine, but in certain places and situations I can definitely feel somewhat of a pull, a sensation, a “whatever it is I’m feeling” in my lower abdomen region.  (More on that in a separate post.)

At this point, I’m trying not to get myself into too much snow that’s on the heavier side…or wind-affected…or bumped up with moguls…etc.  Basically, I feel best when my body isn’t having to “react” to sudden forces all the time.

And…

As for hiking with my skis, I’m doing that way differently that I used to.

At Mission Ridge (Wenatchee, WA), where we usually ski, we have to hike up Windy Ridge for ~20 minutes to get to the top of the Microwave Tower (starting at the top of the Liberator quad chair).

I used to always carry my skis in front of me, holding them horizontally using the strength in my biceps and upper back.

Now– the reality in my world is that carrying just about ANYTHING in front of me (that has any weight to it at all…think baby, laundry basket, boxes, etc) provokes increased prolapse symptoms and reminds me of what NOT to do.

Therefore, I tend to carry heavier items toward my sides/over one hip whenever possible.  To carry my skis, I’m now training my shoulder muscles.  I’m now carrying my skis over one shoulder, like everyone else does.

My perineum is much more at peace when I shoulder my skis.  I’m not going to carry them in front of me again!

This is just one example of how I’ve learned (and I’m continuing to learn) to modify my daily activities to manage my prolapse symptoms appropriately.  I can still ski, and I can still hike with my skis, but I have to discover what works best for me and what’s best to avoid.

Skiing is a sport and a recreational activity and a hobby that I’m glad I can keep doing AND enjoying.  Our 16.5 month old boy got on his skis in the snow for the first time this weekend!  I’m looking forward to many, many family ski adventures in the near (and far) future.

I am healed.

Whole Woman Skiing

December 12, 2015

Hello out there!  Has anyone noticed that I’ve fallen off my habit of blogging nearly every day?  I guess it’s because I’ve had more to do lately since Christmas is coming soon, along with the fact that some days I just don’t have much to say.

Today I do have several things to report, though!  Today we went skiing, so our ski season has officially started…woo-hoo!

First, my ski pants do not fit.  And that’s no big surprise.  They were brand new literally right before I found out I was pregnant in December of 2013.  I bought them new when I was at my leanest and lightest.  And those Patagonia size XS pants cost me a pretty penny…about $450 I believe.

Then I got pregnant.  Then I had my baby.  Then I found out that I couldn’t just get back to my old exercising ways on account of my little prolapse problem.  Then I got pretty lean again just with my healthy (vegan) diet alone.  Then I was able to fit into those ski pants at the very end of last ski season (late March 2015).  Then, I was “sucking and tucking” ((cringe)).

NOW…

I certainly don’t suck and tuck (my abs and my pelvis).  I allow my belly to stay relaxed.  And while I’m still just a few pounds over my lightest weight, it seems that my body proportions are different than before I had a baby.

Which means my pants don’t fit.  Which bums me out not because they don’t fit, but because I don’t like wasting $$$!  I have a hard time believing that I’ll ever be able to fit my now-relaxed-belly into those pants again.  Bummer.

But now onto the good news!

Skiing today felt AWESOME.  Last year I was feeling soooo much worse than I felt today.  Last year I felt like things were falling out!  I kind of lived in a state of fear.  Last year I remember that skiing felt better than walking…but that wasn’t really saying much because walking felt pretty shitty.

Last year, I remember feeling particularly uncomfortable and unnerved when my body would be jostled by bumpier sections of terrain.  Only now– one year further into my healing– I realize just how fragile and vulnerable my post-partum body was back then.  I really can appreciate that now.

Today was Day 1 of my period.  Just like last month, it wasn’t as painful as Day 1 on other months.

But what I REALLy want to mention today is that telemark skiing (the kind of skiing I do!) is an ideal exercise for gals with prolapse symptoms!  Last year during ski season, I wasn’t doing Whole Woman posture.  This year I most certainly am!

Today I noticed that when I ski, and especially when I do tele (telemark) turns, my body is in a great position for keeping my pelvic organs “pinned” safely against the bony wall that is my pubic bone.  When I ski, my lumbar curve is maintained, my upper body remains lifted, yet I’m tipped slightly forward as I move down the hill with gravity (which further pins my organs where they ought to be).

And– when I do tele turns, one leg is always further back than the other.  THAT really optimizes my pelvic organ stability.  Unfortunately, I can’t really explain it.  I just notice a definite difference compared to doing “regular” parallel turns.  Tele turns are the best!

Oh, how I loved telemark skiing before I had a kid.  And oh, how I love it now! 🙂

Long before I got pregnant, I enjoyed a lot of “Gratitude Saturdays” while skiing.  Today was definitely a Gratitude Saturday.  Today I felt peaceful and grateful as I noted just how much I’ve improved from one year ago.

My ski pants might not fit, but…

I am healed.

(If you want to buy my like-new Size XS Patagonia ski pants for a great deal, then shoot me an e-mail.  Seriously!)