Originally published June 19, 2015
By Nicole Tsong, former Fit for Life writer
DON LOSEFF’S EMAIL was contagious. He wanted me to try his favorite form of exercise — inline skating while blasting songs on a boombox.
I was mildly concerned about inline skating. I have a pair of Rollerblades I haven’t used since high school but lugged around the country as an adult.
I definitely was concerned about the proposed music-blasting in public. If I’ve seen you on a hiking trail playing music, I secretly wanted you to turn it off.
But then Don emailed, and I agreed to be that person. Forgive me.
Don was even more enthusiastic in person. He also had a cool setup, with custom-made pouches; mini-stereos rather than the big, black boombox I had envisioned; and Bluetooth. He had a pouch setup for me.
Don and his wife, Debby Heath, used to roll with earbuds. They found it was more dangerous, especially on mixed-use trails, where inline skaters tend to go faster than everyone else.
Now, people can hear them coming, especially kids. As soon as people register the music, Don and Debby fly by, taking the music with them. Some people smile.
I was reassured.
Once I was set up with my own tiny boombox, we synced our playlists, then we were off around Green Lake. [Bicycles, skates and other wheeled uses, other than strollers and mobility devices, since have been banned from the park’s inner loop.]
Don and Debby are fast skaters, but they stayed with me to start. Don explained he sometimes gets anti-social. He listens to the music and likes to be alone, dancing.
We settled into our own rhythms, and they both moved ahead of me. Don danced and wove through the sunny weekday afternoon crowds, while Debby skated at a steady, quick clip.
Behind them, I focused on my skating form.
I forgot that you can feel every rumble of the path through your feet in inline skating. I thought I had every rise and curve memorized, but skating emphasizes every shift in terrain. I emulated Don and got lower in my legs to pick up speed. My hips were tight at first, and I told myself to relax. My heart rate also rose, and I was soon sweating. It was exercise, no doubt.
I also liked the music. Don started us off with “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and had a fun selection, including “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. By the time we got to “Dancing With Myself” by Billy Idol, I had loosened up a bit and did a shoulder shimmy or two.
People glanced at us as we whizzed past, and I realized how many people had on earbuds. I felt sorry for them. We were having way more fun.
As I passed the guitarist by the pool house, whizzed past the guy offering Spanish lessons, and rolled by someone offering free hugs and kisses, I realized music-playing inline skaters blend easily into the landscape. You might not like us, but it felt like the most Seattle activity I had taken up in a long time.
It also dawned on me that I had stumbled upon exercise disguised as a moving, jamming, outdoor dance party.
Two spins around the lake equaled a good, vigorous skate, though Don and Debby returned to the trail for more. Alki is their favorite spot.
If you have been ignoring your inline skates, I advise you to take them out this summer. Rig up a little boombox contraption, make up a playlist and head out for a head-turning spin. You will sweat, and you’ll definitely have fun.