Join Me At Yoga Jam

On July 6th I was beyond honoured to kick off the summer by leading the first Tribe park yoga class, as part of the summer long Yoga Jam.

yoga jam 1 We had 28 participants show up to stretch and build strength in the glorious sun. Oakley Canada provided yoga mats to all participants, Degree Canada provided participants with antiperspirant to Do More.  Music was playing, the sun was shining, and fun was had by all.

yoga 3 Free community yoga as part of Yoga Jam happens every Sunday morning from 10-11am at Canoe Landing Park, 95 Fort York Blvd. All levels and ages are invited to this weekly event. For further information check out the upcoming Tribe Fitness events here! Hope to see you on the mat!yoga 2

Getting Off The Road

Many of my running Tribe  run the trails in and around Toronto often. Finally, after a few months of hearing about it, I put aside my inner voices of “I’m going to roll my ankle” and “I’m going to get muddy,” and with the guidance of trail expert Alex Flint, and with the thoughts of the 5 Peaks Trail Running Series in mind, with my Tribe by my side I gave it a try – twice!

trail1For both runs we went up to Pottery Rd to hit up the mountain biking trails. We chatted about trail etiquette (stay single file, let people know about obstacles, and when passing let people know how many are in your group), safety (slow your pace, be aware), and some tips and tricks when completing a trail race. I learned that the space we were headed to was mostly “single track” which means single file, and that the distance of trail runs should be perceived as being half the distance longer when related to the effort of the runner – so this 5km run would feel more like 7.5km.

tribe2For most of this first run I was on high alert looking around at the logs and branches, avoiding the mud, and trying to remember the path. I felt like I was really focused on not falling and remembering where I was going vs enjoying the trail and having fun.

 My second trail run was definitely more relaxed and a lot more fun. It was another 5km, was very hilly, but although I still had no clue where I was or remembering how to get back (and yes I even sent an I’m lost text, although I quickly took it back) I was able to enjoy my surroundings, I ran really steep dirt hills, used as many logs as possible as balance beams, and this time just generally had more fun.

trail group

Does this sound like fun or what!
With Tribe we will be headed out for two more Try-A-Trail runs this month, if you are free (and they are free) you should join me!

Details here:
Thursday July 24th  or Thursday July 31st. If you’ve ever been intrigued by running in the woods and getting off the road – join us!

Any tips for running the trails for this newbie? Leave them below!

Guest Post: I Tri’d, I Duo, and we THANK YOU! by Andrea Haefele

You’ll remember back in April when I gratefully opened my blog to the writing of my friend Andrea Haefele who shared her story of her daughter Bella and their life with autism (read the blog post here).  Bella would soon be competing in a du-athlon and her family had submitted a video in the FilmPossible Film Festival.Here is an update from Andrea.

Thank you to our good friends Heather and Royan for sharing their personal blogs with us. Through social media, we were able to share our family’s journey with special needs. Over 1000 people have read our story and have shared it with their own family and friends.

We were astounded by the number of views of Bella’s video, created by the very talented Jesse MacNevin. With his talent for photography and videography, he was able to capture the joy and spirit of our beautiful Bella. With your continuous daily support, Bella’s video finished #1 with the top number of votes and comments in the Bloorview Filmpossible contest, making her a top 10 finalist placing 4th overall.

filmpossibleEven though we did not win the contest, we have triumphed in the positive feedback, shared stories, and new contacts that we have made by sharing a glimpse of our lives. For the past 5 years, my husband and I have been on a difficult journey. First with wondering whether our baby was developing ‘normally’, then in testing to obtain a diagnosis for Bella, processing the fact that she was developmentally delayed and on the severe spectrum of Autism Spectrum Disorder, figuring out the best tools and therapies for her to achieve the best of her potential, and accepting our daughter for everything that she is. Needless to say, it has been toiling, both emotionally and physically, as well as incredibly rewarding to witness each step that she has taken. No one knows what the future will hold. We constantly wonder what Bella’s life will be like: Will she be able to get dressed on her own? Will she be able to write her name? Will she have friends who want to play with her at recess? Will she ever tell me that she loves me?
All we can do as parents is give our kids our best, and help them turn their cant’s into cans.

On Saturday, May 31st, Bella proved that she could DUO! She participated in the Family Fun Fit East End Kids KOS Duathlon , and proudly ran 50 metres, rode her bike for 600 metres, followed by another 100 metre run. To our family this race was not only an extension of our passion for physical activity, but a great step in our pursuit to bring visibility to disABILITY.

Group shotIf it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. This is what Bella has taught us. Since she was an infant, she was born with challenges. Despite these obstacles and the medical predictions and assumptions of what she would and would not be able to do, she has constantly surprised us with her abilities, from the time she took her first step to walk at the age of 2, to the first time she used her communication book to request for her favourite shaker.

When I stepped into the world as a parent of a child with special needs, I thought I would have to teach my child about the world. I thought I would have to focus my energy in teaching her how to sit quietly, play appropriately, and behave in a way that others would perceive as ‘normal’. I was wrong. It turns out I have to teach the world about my child.

By sharing our story, we hope that the next time you meet someone with special needs, you have a better understanding of that person’s struggles, but also of his or her accomplishments. We hope that, if you were to meet Bella, you would see a person who wants a friend to play with, who perseveres through challenges and never gives up, who radiates happiness with her ear-to-ear grin.

Bella and MomYes, “special parents” have it pretty rough. But, like all other parents, it’s not like we were given a choice. We just tough it through, each and every day, and have impressed ourselves with all that we can and continue to do… Just as Bella has impressed us with all that she can and will continue to do. I’m often asked how I find the strength to push on. The following quote provides the answer and truly embodies our family: “Children with special needs are not sent to special parents. Children with special needs make parents special.”