Parkour and me.

The Oregonian once per week publishes a feature called, “My Workout.” I enjoy reading about what other people do to get and stay in shape and I also pick up good ideas. One guy does push ups and sit ups daily equal to his age, which I think was 45. I thought that was a good idea so for awhile I did push ups and lunges equal to my age and sit ups three times my age. Then I got bored and wandered off to other things.

This week, the “my workout” featured Adam Dunlap, who spends four hours a day doing parkour. In the feature, he explains what parkour is, and if I could ever get the article to pop up in the very lame Oregonian’s search engine–there. Here’s his explanation:

“Also called free running, parkour began about 20 years ago with a Frenchman named David Belle. Practitioners are called tracers or, in London, where it’s popular, traceurs.

In Dunlap’s words: “Tracers interact with their environment using only their bodies to overcome obstacles in their path. Whether it be a 12-foot wall, a 10-foot drop, cars, rails or other natural or man-made obstacles, a tracer learns the appropriate techniques to overcome even the most difficult terrain.”

How I explain it: running and jumping.

Here’s a YouTube video of a female doing it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLzuqCEm5rQ

And here’s Adam Dunlap himself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SetL292wrHs

I’ve been feeling better lately, with much more energy and looking for something to do. I don’t want to start another weight program, and I’ve been building up the bike muscles again, but frankly, I’ve been feeling bored. The Oregonian feature had a few links about parkour, which I notice did not show up in the online version, and so I took a look. It turns out that Adam Dunlap himself is teaching parkour, and an 8 week class was starting on March 8. I emailed him to see if there was still space available and there was so I decided to do it.

The first class was today. Adam gave me a discount because I’m the first woman to sign up–it’s a sport that attracts adolescent males. So the discount was nice, but then I was worried it was going to be me and a bunch of 17 year olds.

I took the Max and then a bus and then walked (the gym is all the way out in office-park hell Beaverton). When I got there I found my classmates were: an 11 year old boy, a 12 year old boy, a 17 year old boy, a 20 year old guy, a guy around my age and me. The class was so much fun! First of all the gym is really cool. It has some treadmills, etc. and some dumbbells, but the majority of the gym is a big open space with some fun things along the side wall. If you click on that link above, there are some pictures at the bottom. They have a double staircase and a bunch of things that I’m sure have real names, but I would describe them as, railings, sort of parallel bar railings, some varying platforms to jump up to and down from and some u-shaped things to jump over and run under.

We did a warm up, then did some things like ducking through railings, and bear walking on parallel bars and jumping up to the platforms and bear climbing up the stairs. It was hard, but very fun. My scalp was sweating and After that we took a fitness test and worked on crawling and rolling. It turns out I need a lot of practice crawling, and my roll over my right shoulder isn’t so great, but my left shoulder roll is good. I got to demonstrate that for the class. After rolling, we did a cool down and that was it. I came home and took a bath but I can tell I’m going to be sore tomorrow. But that’s okay. I had fun.

One thought on “Parkour and me.”

  1. So interesting. Your posts came up on Shawn’s reader first, so he was watching the videos and checking out the gym and drew me in! We went to wikopedia and checked it out further. Then, last night, I was doing a bit of parkour in my dreams. Funny, I just remembered that.

    Sounds really fun and like a pretty sweet gym! And way to represent for the women! -S

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