This winter, my friend James has been skating. every. single. day.
That's right, no matter the temperature, windchill or snowfall, James has put on skates and taken a turn on the ice every day this winter.
James is not a particularly experienced skater. He skated a bit as a child, and didn't put skates on again until his twenties. A few winters ago, a figure skating friend of his showed him a few tricks, and he and went out on the ice in a (too big) pair of used pair of skates a number of times. "I just wanted to learn how to stop," he tells me.
Then, before the beginning of this winter, he decided to challenge himself to skate every day. He bought himself a new pair of skates and started hitting the ice every day. James tells me he started the project because "I've struggled off and on with anxiety and depression, and 21 minutes of exercise a day is supposed to help with that. ... Sometimes I have to be out on the ice for an hour before I feel right."
On particularly cold days, James will only spend a few minutes out on the ice, but other days he'll spend a lot of time working on stops, turns and skating backwards. He proudly showed me his only trick, a bunny hop.
The project has had its difficulties as well as its benefits. He has a bruise on his wrist that's been there off and on most of the winter due to falls. Two weeks ago, he tweaked his back while falling. "I kept expecting to really hurt myself and have to stop. But so far I've been able to keep skating."
As of today, James has been skating for 89 days straight. He told me he now feels he could stop any time, but has decided to keep going. He wants to reach 100, and beyond that, we'll see. You can follow James' project on Instagram under the hashtag #bestthingaboutwinter.